There are many different types of pianos that have been developed to meet the needs of amateurs, piano students and professionals. By its nature the piano is a large and bulky instrument, for this reason smaller compact models have been built, below we will list various types of pianos in order to help you make the right choice for yourself. Whether you need a piano that is small enough to fit in a corner of your house, something easily portable for performing on the road or a full sized piano to impress a large crowd, the world of pianos has something for you. Some musicians today don’t want to use an acoustic piano; instead they prefer using electric pianos, digital pianos and digital keyboards. These devices can imitate the acoustic pianos sound very well and they have features that make them more preferred to the acoustic piano.

Categories of Different Types of Pianos 

  • Acoustic Piano – This is the piano that is the most standard, the piano that everyone knows. It is powered by internal hammers that strike on properly tuned piano wires; these are mounted on a wooden sound board inside of a wood cabinet. This is the original piano that has been used for hundreds of years; it alone has spawned the various different types of pianos we see today.
  • Electric Piano – This piano is similar to the acoustic piano, however this piano has electric sound pickups on the wires. When the hammer strikes the tuned wires this sound is amplified and sent through speakers.
  • Electronic Piano – This piano simulates the piano’s musical tones; it does not have wires or hammers. It operates by using circuitry that is programmed with tones. This electronic piano is similar to a synthesizer or keyboards.
  • Digital Piano – This Digital Piano operates by using digitally sampled recorded tones. When the user presses the keys a sound that was previously recorded is played. If you press the highest key on the keyboard you will hear the prerecorded sound of the highest key on an acoustic piano. These Digital pianos are much lighter and smaller than acoustic and electric pianos.
  • MIDI Piano –the term MIDI represents “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” The MIDI interface allows computers and possibly other digitally empowered instruments to communicate by sending digital signals between each other. The messages inform the other instrument of which notes were played and the amount of volume that was used. In order for a device to be a genuine MIDI device it needs to have an interface system that can communicate with another digital device. Some MIDI pianos have been developed that can record songs and sounds and communicate with varying other musical instruments.

    Types of Pianos – Upright vs Horizontal
     As we have seen the piano comes in a varying makeup of configurations. Pianos have 2 different categories in which they are built, the upright and the horizontal. Of the different types of pianos the vertical is preferred when space is limited. For the more classical feel or for a concert setting, many people choose the classical or Grand Piano. Upright Pianos These pianos are called upright because of their height and the way the wires and soundboard are installed. The general range of height is 36-60 inches.  Of all the different types of pianos, this upright piano is the most popular type. This acoustic piano is popular because of its cost and rich sound. The design on this upright piano is unique as its wood sound board is mounted vertically; the support to this sound board is visible and adjustable from the backside.  The wires are struck by hammers that swing horizontally; because of this, the hammer stroke takes slightly longer than it does in a traditional grand piano.  Often the upright piano is thought of as inferior to the grand piano or horizontal piano; this opinion is due to the low price and the box-like shape of the upright piano. However this is not exactly the case, at times a large upright piano can produce louder music and just as high quality of a tone. Of the various types of pianos, the upright piano is an excellent choice for either your professional studio or home.


Height Measurement



35 – 37″

This is the smallest pianos available.   It is preferred by people who live in small spaces or where room is limited.  The tone and loudness of this piano is somewhat limited due to its size and design.


38 – 39″/



40 – 43″

This piano comes in a variety of colors and designs. It has been designed with a”direct action”. This enhanced action yields a high quality tone.


45 – 48″

Because of the studio pianos compact design and quality sound this piano is often found in music studios and schools. It utilizes a larger wooden soundboard and thicker piano wires.

Full Size/Professional

48 -60″

The tallest among the upright pianos is the Professional Upright. When properly maintained this piano can last well over a century. The tone is warm and it is very compact.

Horizontally Designed Grand Pianos Of all the varying types of pianos, the Grand piano is not only the largest but it is seen as the most prestigious piano available. The soundboard can often be as long as 4 feet in horizontal length and it has a hinged top that opens to reveal the hammers, the wires and the soundboard for easy access and tuning. The case of this piano does not have a traditional bottom, the soundboard along with its supports are exposed to the underside. The keys are made of wood that is coated in Ivory or at times on more deluxe models the keys are pure ivory. In the case of the Grand piano there are 88 keys. On the top just above the keys there usually is a platform for sheet music. Grand pianos are usually said by many to produce the finest sound and have the most responsive action. There has been an ongoing debate as to which piano of the various types of pianos, has the best quality sound and tone, yet most people agree that they key action of the Grand Piano is more favorable.

Type Height Measurement Description
Petite Grand 4’5″ – 4’11” The most compact and small of the horizontal pianos.
Baby Grand 4’11” – 5’6″ A popular model because of its compact size, the classy look of a grand piano and more affordable price.
Medium Grand / Living Room / Palour 5’7″ – 6’4″  
Semi-Concert Grand / Balroom 6’5″ – 7’5″  
Concert Grand 7’5″ – 9′ + The biggest of the Grand Pianos, this piano has the longest sound board on the market.

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