What to Look for When Buying a Piano


Deciding to get a new piano can be both exciting and overwhelming, but should be an enjoyable experience. With the amount of options out there it can sometimes be a difficult decision. In this guide, we break down what to consider when buying a new piano.

Type of Piano

The first choice you’ll encounter is the type of piano you want to play and purchase. Understanding the features of each style of piano will help you find the right one for you. 

Grand pianos are renowned for their superior sound quality. Their larger soundboards and longer strings produce a rich and immersive sound that can fill concert halls. The horizontal soundboard creates a deeper and warmer tone. It is often a matter of player preference, however, when choosing between a smaller ‘baby grand’ piano and a taller upright piano.

An upright piano is a great choice for beginners or pianists who are restricted by space or budget but want an acoustic piano. They are more compact and space-efficient compared to grand pianos, making them ideal for small rooms or apartments. Upright pianos have more of an insulated sound due to the cabinet covering the strings and soundboard.

Modern digital pianos are capable of capturing the authentic sound of an acoustic piano. Digital pianos also offer a wide variety of tones and instrument sounds, allowing you to experiment with different sounds and styles. Extra features such as built-in metronomes, recording & headphone jacks can also be helpful learning tools. As well as Bluetooth MIDI and Bluetooth Audio streaming capabilities on a range of models.

Sound Quality, Tone and Playability

A piano first and foremost must sound beautiful, if it doesn’t sound good then you’re less likely going to want to sit down and play. Playing a musical instrument should be an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

Your choice should align with your musical preference and playing style. A piano having good sound quality is especially important when you’re first beginning to learn to play. As is having a piano with a good action that allows the player to express their artistic intentions effectively.

We always recommend playing a piano before you buy it. This allows you to hear the tone and whether the piano is in tune. Your tonal preference is subjective, you may prefer a brighter tone or something more warm. However, we are seeing more and more people choose a piano with a warmer tone due to the greater tonal variation achievable and preferring this sound in their home. 

Space and Size

Establish the designated space in which you need your piano to fit. Although grand pianos tend to have better sound quality, they take up more floor space but can be in the middle of the room or with a side against a wall. If you have limited space, upright pianos and digital pianos are usually ideal. They can be placed against a wall and take up less space. Measuring the space and bringing those details to the store is also a good idea.

Maintenance and Tuning

All pianos require maintenance and tuning to remain in optimal condition. Acoustic pianos need more attention in this regard. They should be tuned at least once every 12 months whether it is played or not (and more frequently if it is being played a lot!). These pianos also need mechanical work (regulation) and voicing (to keep the tone even), while digital pianos are relatively low-maintenance and don’t require tuning. Keep this in mind when considering your willingness and ability to care for your instrument over time.

Should I Buy a Second-Hand Piano?

A question we are often asked is whether to buy a used or new piano. Especially for someone starting, a new quality piano is highly recommended as it’s got its whole life ahead of it. The touch is accurate and the tone is even.

The general life span of a piano is 30-80 years. This is a large range that varies due to the conditions the piano is kept, how often the piano is maintained and how often it is played. There is always a risk in buying second-hand. We always recommend buying the best instrument you can afford.

At Snadens Pianos, we carefully select the second-hand pianos that we sell. We only choose quality used pianos that we have sourced locally or that have been traded in.

Looking to Buy a Piano?

Take some time to consider all these factors when buying a piano. Snadens Piano is Perth’s most trusted and established piano shop. We have introduced quality instruments to many institutions and performance areas. Visit the Snadens Pianos showroom in Nedlands to see our range of pianos. We will consider your requirements and help you find a piano that suits your needs.