The Pros and Con of Upright and Grand Pianos

Learn why some people prefer uprights to grand pianos, and vice versa

A female pianist playing piano
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Understand the pros and cons of both horizontal and vertical pianos, and find out which style best suits your playing needs.

Prices of Grand vs. Upright

New grand pianos can cost from $10,000 to $150,000, while upright pianos have a smaller price range at $2,000 to $8,500. Used piano prices stay about the same for horizontal pianos, but good vertical pianos are sometimes seen on sale for $500 to $2,500.

Horizontal and Vertical Piano Sizes

Grand pianos range from 4 feet 5 inches to 10 feet in length, and 4 feet to 7 feet in width. Uprights – which are measured in inches or centimeters – range from 36 to 60 inches (91 to 152 centimeters) in height, 24 to 36 inches (91 to 61 centimeters) in depth, and usually have a width of 58 inches (147 centimeters).

Piano Weights:

Grand pianos weigh between 530 and 1,100 pounds (240 to 500 kilograms), and uprights weigh from 400 to 500 pounds (180 to 227 kilograms).

Pros and Cons of Grand Pianos

  • Pro: Long strings make for full, balanced tones.
  • Con: Good grand pianos start at around $10,000.
  • Pro: The polymer finish common on many grands helps protect the piano.
  • Con: Grand pianos take up a lot of space, and can be difficult to fit through doorways.
  • Pro: They can add an ambiance admired by musicians and non-musicians alike.
  • Con: Grand pianos are expensive to move ($200 to $600 under normal circumstances), and adding movers’ insurance can cost an additional $10 per $1,000 of piano value.

Pros and Cons of Upright Pianos

  • Pro: Vertical pianos are far less expensive than even the smallest grand pianos.
  • Con: Upright pianos tend to depreciate in value quickly.
  • Pro: Quick depreciation lets you find a young, used piano for a good price.
  • Con: Uprights are sensitive to temperature fluctuations because of the soundboard’s position.
  • Pro: High-quality uprights have rich voices that age well.
  • Con: The sostenuto pedal is commonly omitted from verticals, but this allows space for the volume-decreasing “practice rail” pedal.