New Piano Pros & Cons

Learn the Pros and Cons of Buying a New Acoustic Piano

woman playing piano
MILATAS/Getty Images

Piano prices are all over the place for both new and used instruments. When it comes to pianos, “used” doesn’t always mean economical, and “new” doesn’t always mean quality. Therefore, it’s best to start off by setting a budget while getting a good idea of what you’re looking for in a piano.

Pros of Buying a New Piano

  • Novelty and performance are common reasons to buy new. If you can afford to invest in quality—and you know how to care for your piano—buying a new piano can mean decades of stress-free play.
  • It provides a stable instrument for new learners. Hardly anything could discourage a new pianist more than an out-of-pitch (annoying-to-play) instrument. Even pianos of mediocre quality stay tolerable for at least five years; so a new, low-cost piano might be best for a young child, or if you plan on upgrading in 5-10 years.
  • Warranties. Most new pianos come with warranties ranging from 3 years to “lifetime,” and exist between you and the piano manufacturer—not the piano store. Some warranties must be claimed within a short time period after purchase, so don’t forget to sort this out; the manufacturer’s warranty is a must for serious pianists.
  • A music retailer could offer an additional store warranty that would cover damage caused by them during a tune-up or move. But, always read the fine print before signing a store warranty; and, get a trustworthy second opinion about the warranty details if you’re unfamiliar with them.

Cons of Buying a New Piano

  • You have to pay for quality. You can expect to spend $3,000+ for a high-quality upright, and from $15,000-$30,000 for a grand piano. But, shop around and do your research; exceptions do pop up.
  • Timbre tends to deteriorate quickly in new, cheap pianos, meaning your new piano might have a different voice in five years. Consider opting for an electric piano if both cost and quality are a concern.
  • Some new pianos lack personality. Mass-produced models typically all sound the same, even among different brands. So, while this style of manufacture “can” ensure a consistent (and sometimes very pleasant) timbre, it doesn’t allow much room for individual character.
  • Salesmen. With all due respect to honest professionals, we all know what can happen if a desperate salesperson collides with an uninformed, unrehearsed customer. Even an “honest” salesman will use sales tactics throughout his day, but you need to avoid falling for the sneaky tricks used by some dishonest piano salespeople.