Best Upright Piano Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
Whether you’re a novice or an advanced player, finding the best upright piano might still be an intimidating process considering the many models available for sale. To help you ease that process, we have examined reviews of upright pianos, product specs, and customer feedback, and reached the conclusion that the Casio Privia PX-160 is the first option to consider. This digital model includes all the accessories you need to start playing right away. It features technology that will provide the player with authentic grand piano sounds as well as an SP33 pedal system and textured keys for an incredible feel. If this product is out of stock, a reliable alternative is the Yamaha Arius YDP-181.
Our Top Choice
As a general note, this bundle contains the piano stand, the Casio SP-33 triple-pedal system, and a very comfortable bench that is going to make the long practice hours pass faster. You also get an instructional DVD and book, plus a polishing cloth. Moreover, the elegant design comes equipped with a reimagined speaker system.
One buyer, although pleased with the standing piano, thought the bench was too wobbly and unusable.
Casio's best-selling digital piano, the one that can be found in the pack, delivers crystal clear sound and it is suitable for both adults and kids. Additionally, the unit has two headphone outputs.
This unit has all of the conveniences of an electric piano without costing a fortune. It features Graded Hammer keyboard action and ivory keytops, which are highly tactile and responsive. The Pure CF sound engine reproduces the tone of a meticulously sampled Yamaha grand piano, and it allows for a lot of experimentation.
Keep in mind that you'll have to read the provided instructions since assembling it is not easy.
The feel of the unit is enhanced by the realistic pedal performance and by the mellow reverberations. Its notes sound realistic, and you can create songs for a wide variety of genres.
The piano provides an additional level of realism, a grand piano lid simulation, and also sympathetic resonance. The powerful new sound engine offers a new level of detail since it uses the proprietary sound source 'AiR.' The model also features the 88 note Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard, which lets you pick up any song much faster.
We came across buyers who thought the piano has a more modern tonality, which is not ideal for classical music.
The key action has three sensors to record the dynamics of a performance with unmatched speed and accuracy. The machine offers 256 notes of polyphony, and it also delivers 18 instrument tones.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Getting a good upright piano might prove to be quite a challenge. After examining several upright pianos that have triggered the greatest admiration, we have compiled a list of upright piano reviews to provide you with more information about each of the selected models and, thus, to ease your decision-making process.
Casio Privia PX-160
If you want to explore your creativity and give it shape through piano songs, the first option you should consider when looking for a quality upright piano is this digital model from Casio. The item is ideal for beginners but makes a great option for advanced players as well.
The bundle includes anything you need to start playing right away. The package includes the PX-160 piano, a furniture-style stand, the SP33 pedal system as well as a piano bench. Moreover, you get a music rest, a polishing cloth to keep it clean, and an instructional book and DVD so you can learn more and further develop your skills.
Thanks to the powerful technology and the Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator this unit boasts, the player gets to enjoy authentic grand piano sounds. The product also sports a built-in recorder, headphone output jacks to practice in silence, and various learning and playing modes.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($649.99)
Yamaha Arius YDP-181
Featuring all the conveniences of an electric piano and providing the performance of an acoustic piano, this Yamaha Arius model should also be part of your top options. The unit was designed to provide players with unrivaled sound quality, a superb feel as well as a realistic pedal performance.
The item boasts synthetic ivory keytops and Graded Hammer keyboard action that together deliver an incredible feel as well as enhanced responsiveness. Expressive playing and realistic grand piano sounds are ensured by the Pure CF Sound Engine whereas the three pedals enable the player to create more detailed nuances.
Ideal for the aspiring pianist, this model offers you the possibility to practice in silence thanks to its headphone jack. The Stereophonic Optimizer will make sure that, when doing so, the player still enjoys a realistic and natural experience. Moreover, you can capture your performance due to the recording function built into the instrument.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Casio PX860 BK
Another option to consider when looking for a digital piano that will provide you with an extra level of realism is this model from Casio. Featuring the advanced AiR sound set, this unit is committed to delivering sympathetic resonance and grand piano lid simulation.
By combining a powerful sound engine and a new keyboard action, the PX-860 offers an additional level of expression and detail as well as the incredible sound of a 9-foot concert grand piano that is captured in stereo at four dynamic levels. Due to the three pedals the digital piano sports, you will have the chance to reflect your sonic creativity even in greater details and nuances.
This model offers 256 notes of polyphony and 18 instrument tones. Because your piano experience is not only about sounds, this unit comes with simulated ebony and ivory textured keys for a superb feel. Plus, the USB port will enable you to capture your performance.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($999.99)
In case you’re a teacher in need of a classroom digital piano or simply a beginner interested in exploring the piano experience, this model from Suzuki should not go unchecked. The product stands out through its beautiful classic design and the high level of technology it sports.
Allowing you to create new music, listen, store, and compose, this piece of technology will surely upgrade your experience in ways that were considered impossible some decades ago. The CTP-88 comes with 55 preset songs so you can play instantly whenever you feel like doing so. It also offers 100 rhythm styles and 128 MIDI voices.
Moreover, the piano gives you the possibility to record your performance and create original compositions as well. You can use the MIDI ports to send or receive data from other accessories or musical instruments. The piano features a classic finish and comes with three pedals, a music rest, and a bench.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Korg B1SP 88
Designed for beginners and advanced players alike, this compact digital piano from Korg promises to deliver realistic sound reproduction in a stylish design that players of all levels can use. Including anything you need to start playing right away, the Korg B1SPBK should also be at the top of your list.
Thanks to the MFB technology, passive radiator, and full-range speakers it sports, you will get to enjoy an additional level of sound realism and the sounds a large acoustic piano produces. The three pedals and the many functions the unit comes with will enable you to experiment and explore your sonic creativity as well as recreate the range of sounds you usually get with an acoustic piano.
Furthermore, the item can simulate seven other instruments and enables the players to record and share their performance. The piano comes with the Knox Full-Size 19-Inch Piano Bench as well as a piano learning guide.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($599.99)
Casio Privia PX-860
Another option you might want to consider is the PX-860 model from Casio if a high-quality sound and a stylish design are the main things you’re interested in. The full-sized piano comes with hammer action keys and increased touch responsiveness that will make you feel like you’re playing an acoustic piano and not a digital one.
With three different sensitivity levels, that feeling is further enhanced. To complete your experience, the piano promises to produce a sound that might easily be confused with the one an acoustic piano emulates. Capturing the sound of a 9-foot concert piano and boasting three pedals, this unit is a reliable substitute for an acoustic piano.
Besides all that, the product sports a lid you can lift to enjoy a fuller and louder sound just like when you’re using an acoustic piano. The item comes with Stagg Pro Headphones for silent practice, a wood tone stand, a bench, and a polishing cloth.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
With this model, you will hardly feel that you’re actually playing a digital piano and not an acoustic one. The item was designed to deliver highly realistic sounds as well as a tactile experience that will enhance the feeling of being in front of a “real” piano.
The fully weighted action keys are committed to reproducing the touch of an acoustic piano. The synthetic Ivory K6 key tops will further enhance that feeling and prevent slipping. Ideal for beginners and experienced players alike, the unit comes with 500 voices, 10 user styles, 60 preset songs with melody off, 5 demos, and 120 albums.
The 128 polyphony will enable you to play a variety of music styles without a drop of a note. Due to the USB MIDI connectivity, you can connect it to your computer and thanks to the technology used to split the keyboard into two sections, you can take your teaching experience one step closer to convenience.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Yearly Guide & Report
Buying the best upright piano can be daunting. With so many choices out there, it can be really challenging to find the right balance of cost and performance level. However, just like when you’re on the lookout for a cheap keyboard piano, a beginner electric guitar to practice, or a new electric cello, there are some factors that will help you filter the many options available on the market.
To make your upright piano buying experience pleasant, we have highlighted the most important features you need to pay attention to. Use them as your guide and you will get one step closer to making the right decision.
Acoustic or digital?
That’s probably one of the most important questions to ask yourself when embarking on the piano buying journey. Once you know the answer to this question, things will get easier. You can narrow down your list and look only at the digital or acoustic models the market offers.
Both of them come with advantages and disadvantages. Acoustic pianos will get you the best sound, no matter what some would say to argue against, if there are any people to say something of this sort. On the other hand, digital pianos have evolved significantly and can now reproduce the sounds of an acoustic piano incredibly realistically.
Plus, digital pianos offer many other features such as a variety of voices to choose from and the possibility to play even other instruments. Moreover, you can turn down the volume or practice in silence thanks to the headphone option. Consider the ups and downs of both types carefully and then start your search based on what you’ve decided.
Upright or grand piano?
Some people might wonder about the difference between a concert grand piano and an upright piano. It’s easy to see the difference. It’s in their dimensions and the way they look not only on the outside but also on the inside.
The strings in an acoustic upright piano are, just as the name suggests it, upright whereas in a grand piano they are horizontal. The main advantage of an upright piano is its dimension that makes many players opt for such a model. It is smaller and easier to move.
A standard and even a baby grand piano will have a richer and fuller sound than an upright piano but it will also require lots of space and usually a generous wallet. Anyhow, if you opt for a digital upright piano, you will solve the space issue and you can even get to enjoy sounds a grand piano produces. Some models are designed for stage performance and can easily fit a vehicle.
Volume and versatility
Traditional pianos will generate a certain volume range based on how hard the player strikes the keys. Things are different with digital pianos. Their volume can be easily controlled. What’s more, you can even practice in silence since most digital models will allow you to connect your headphones.
Furthermore, you might want to look for a model that comes with an extensive sound set so you can add woodwinds, percussions, brass, or drums to your performance. Even some cheap upright pianos offer such features.
Connectivity and recording capability
If you’ve decided that a digital piano is what you want, then pay attention to its MIDI capability. Most digital models will allow you to connect to recording equipment and computers. This might be a great advantage if you’re a beginner and you want to have the possibility to review your progress. Plus, if you plan to create your own songs, recording and sequencing capabilities are a must.
You will find digital pianos that feature a USB port to connect them with all sorts of audio gear. To boost your experience even more, some digital pianos will allow you to use flash memory cards in case you want to transfer your music to your computer or other devices.
Built-in learning tools
If you’re a beginner, getting an upright piano that comes with built-in lessons, exercises, and note display is desirable. Such features will help you learn even more and practice what piano books for beginners usually include. Just like you use a violin metronome or a guitar metronome to improve your rhythmic ability, you also need a piano metronome to do that, and some digital models sport one.
There are also pianos that feature dual headphone jacks to enable teachers and students to practice and play together in silence. What’s more, some models that are designed for teaching come with split-keyboard functions in order to allow students and teachers to play at the same time.
Even if you are a beginner, there will come a time when you will advance and you’ll want more from your piano. You might want to consider that as well and go for a model that will enable you to create greater sonic complexity.
The entry-level pianos usually have 32-note polyphony, which is good for a beginner yet 64-note polyphony is desired if you target more complex sounds. Advanced players will also find electronic models that deliver 128-note or 264-note polyphony.
Last but not least, it is best to try out the digital piano you intend to acquire. The sound quality it provides is a key factor and it depends on the sound samples that were used to create the sounds digital pianos come with.
High-end digital pianos feature a greater digital memory which translates into their ability to reproduce high-quality sounds more realistically and resemble the sounds acoustic instruments emulate. When judging the sound quality of a digital piano, you need to consider not only the overall realism of sounds but also the sustain and decay of the notes you play.
The amplifiers and speakers the piano has will also affect the quality of the sound. Also, check out the effects the unit delivers. You may want more effects for a more complex performance but having too many of them might prove just a distraction and the extra effects and tones will also add to the piano price.
Frequently asked questions about upright pianos
How much does an upright piano weigh?
Upright pianos come in different sizes and, therefore, have different weights. The standard upright piano, the one you usually find in a school’s music room, weighs anywhere from 300 to 350 pounds. The weight of a piano depends on the cast iron harp used to hold the strings.
This means that the smallest upright piano can have a weight of 300-400 pounds. Big upright pianos, though, can weigh from 500 to 800 pounds. This stands for acoustic upright pianos. Digital models are lighter and range in weight depending on the features they sport. You can even find models weighing only 100 pounds.
How to tune an upright piano?
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have the necessary tuning tools. Get a tuning lever and the right tip size, a piano tuner as well as a variety of mutes. Start by removing the piano’s external panels and playing a bit with them off. This way, you will see which strings go with which keys.
Then place the tuning lever on the top of the pin to tune the string you’re interested in. Make sure your movements are delicate and that you turn it left or right gently. Check the tone with the tuner and turn the pin until you get in tune. Once you do so, make sure you set the pin.
How much does an upright piano cost?
Because upright pianos come in different sizes, their prices vary. Based on the piano’s dimensions, the brand, and the materials used, you can find upright pianos that go from $3,500 to reach even $19,000 in some cases. Now, if you want to opt for an electric piano, things are different.
You can find models with basic features that are available for only $200 but they will provide the minimum experience. When it comes to top-rated digital upright pianos, you will be looking at models that are at least $1,000. Of course, high-end digital pianos can even cost $20,000.
How to mic an upright piano?
There are various techniques you can go for when it comes to recording an upright piano. If you are a beginner and you need to mic your instrument, you’ll first have to remove the front panel that is between the lid and keyboard lid. You will then have to pull out the keyboard lid as well as the larger panel that is placed under the keys.
Depending on the sound you want to record, you can place a stereo pair of condenser microphones above the keyboard that faces towards the hammers for a thin tone or under the keyboard at the same distance from the harp.