Ultimate Guide to Piano Moving: Size, Weight, and DIY Tips

Ultimate Guide to Piano Moving: Size, Weight, and DIY Tips

Moving a grand piano

There are a wide variety of different types and styles of pianos. Naturally, these variations in weight and size may affect how you transport your piano when moving to a new home.

This guide will explore the many different types of pianos, their weights, and dimensions, and provide some tips on how to move your instrument.

The knowledge you find here should help you get a clearer picture of the type of piano you are hoping to move, and get you one step closer to filling your new home with the music you love. Piano lessons are not included.

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How much does a piano weigh?

The average upright piano weighs between 200-1,000 pounds. Generally speaking, this is just the average weight range for an upright piano. Finding the correct weight and size of your specific piano lies in understanding more about the instrument in your home.

There are three primary types of pianos: Grand, Upright, and Electric.

Grand pianos

Grand pianos are the largest piano type. Additionally, they are also called Horizontal pianos. Their strings are set horizontally to the ground.

They are traditionally used for performing concerts and making music recordings. All grand pianos are about 5 feet in width.

There are six major different types of Grand pianos: petite grand, baby grand, medium grand, parlor grand, ballroom grand, and concert grand.

Petite grand

Petite grand piano

The petite grand ranges from 4 ft. 5 in.- 4 ft. 10 in.

It weighs between 400-500 lbs.

This is the smallest horizontal piano available for musicians.

Baby grand

Baby grand piano

The piano ranges from 4-foot-11 to 5-foot-11.

It weighs between 540-1,100 pounds.

Baby grand pianos are a smaller version of the traditional type and have a smaller soundboard. These pianos are usually not as loud as the full-scale version.

Medium grand

medium grand piano

The medium grand is about 5-foot-7 inches in length

It weighs between 500-600 pounds.

This is the most popular household style of the Grand piano.

Parlor grand

Parlor grand piano

The piano ranges from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1.

It weighs between 600-700 pounds.

The Parlor grand piano type is the smallest of the concert grand pianos. As a matter of fact, they are called living room grand pianos.

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Ballroom grand

Ballroom grand piano

The Ballroom Grand ranges between 6-foot-2 to 6 foot-7.

It weighs between 900-1,000 pounds.

Also known as the Semi-concert grand piano, they are popular in music halls, and concert venues. They are often used by many professional musicians.

Concert grand

Concert grand piano

It is about 9 feet in length.

It weighs between 700-1,200 pounds.

The concert grand is the largest of the grand pianos. Occasionally, they measure beyond 9 feet in length. They are often used in orchestras. Most importantly, they are regarded as having the most balanced tone.

Upright pianos

Upright pianos are the most common type of acoustic pianos. They are also often referred to as vertical pianos. This is because the strings are strung vertically to make the instrument more compact. This makes them a good option for music fans with limited space. All Vertical pianos are about 58 inches in width. There are four major types.

Upright

Upright piano

They range from 50-60 inches.

They weigh between 480-600 pounds.

Interestingly, upright pianos are usually less expensive than grand pianos. They also have a smaller range of tones and contain a smaller soundboard.

Console

Colsole upright piano

They range from 40-45 inches.

They weigh between 350-450 pounds.

The Console piano is the second smallest of the upright pianos. They are often used in homes.

Spinet

Spinet upright piano.

The spinet is about 38 inches in length

They weigh between 200-300 pounds.

This is the smallest type of upright piano. This piano strikes the keys in a different way than other upright pianos. It has a drop-action, otherwise known as an indirect-blow action, with rods under the keyboard that connects each key to the action.

Studio

Studio upright piano

They range from 44-48 inches.

They weigh between 400-500 pounds.

The Studio piano has a full-size action sitting directly on the keys, which many say gives it a sound that rivals that of the grand piano.

Electric pianos

Electric pianos are common for beginners or performers that are constantly on the move. Additionally, they are called digital pianos. These pianos are all under 59 inches in width. There are four major types.

Beginners Electric Keyboard

Beginners electric keyboard

It ranges from 51-57 inches.

It weighs between 20-40 pounds.

These are the lightest of the electric pianos. They are used for beginning music instruction.

Professional Digital Keyboard

Professional digital keyboard

It ranges from 51-57 inches.

It weighs between 25-60 pounds.

This keyboard maintains all of the portable capabilities of the beginner’s electric keyboard. In addition, it provides a richer sound.

Standalone Digital Piano

Standalone digital piano

It ranges from 51-57 inches.

It weighs between 100-300 pounds.

Digital pianos produce sounds closer to that of a traditional acoustic piano. They often come with sound samples of different instruments. This makes them ideal for exploring more sounds on a digital scale.

Digital Grand Piano

Digital grand piano

It ranges from  51-57 inches.

It weights between 150-300 pounds.

This is the heaviest of the electric pianos. Interestingly, it offers the richest sound that is closest to a traditional acoustic grand piano but still allows for portability.

Identify Your Piano

Using the sizing guide above will help you determine the style of piano you have, as well as the approximate height and weight. This may help you decide whether a DIY move is for you, or if you are going to call in some professional help.

Tips for moving your piano

Now that you’ve found your specific piano and have an idea of its height and weight, we can explore some tips and tricks for moving your piano to its new home.

Pianos are very heavy and fragile instruments, making them a bit difficult to move. Hiring a professional is a good option, as it may save you time and energy. Furthermore, it may prevent any damage from happening to your piano during a DIY move.

If you have the type of piano that makes a DIY move possible, and the muscles to back it up, there are some things you should know.

Cost To Move A Piano

If you ultimately decide that getting a moving company’s help in moving your piano is the best route for you, you may be wondering how much it will cost to move a piano.

The average cost to move a piano is about $400 depending on the difficulty and distance of the move. Rates per moving company vary, especially if you’re getting assistance with more than just your piano.

Measure and plan

Take measurements of your piano, as well as the doorframe and any other areas that you are going to move it through.

Next, plan out the path that you are going to take when moving your piano. Make sure this area is clear of any items that may be in the way during the move.

Protection for the surroundings

Place coverings on the floor, such as construction paper or cardboard, and tape them down. This will protect any areas that the piano passes over during transport.

Protection For The Piano

Moving a piano requires the item to be as secure as possible from your old home to the moving truck to your new place. This may be an added cost to move your piano depending on what your moving company provides. There is a particular way you should pack your instrument.

Cover the pedals and the keys of the piano in a protective wrap, such as bubble wrap. These areas of the piano are particularly sensitive. Close the lid of the piano. Then, secure the wrap over the lid with packing tape. This will keep the lid closed during the move.

Next, cover all sides of the piano with moving blankets. This will provide all-over coverage for the piano, and help prevent scuffs and knicks that may happen during the move.

It is advisable to tape the moving blankets down, as well. Be sure to add a protective wrap, moving blankets, and packing tape to your list of moving essentials.

Lifting The Piano

Depending on the size of your piano, you may need 4-5 people to help you lift it. Once again, depending on how many people it takes to lift your piano, it may add to the overall cost to move your piano. Pianos are fragile and strenuous to lift. For these reasons, this part of the process may be difficult.

Lifting belts may be a good precautionary measure for protection. It’s important to have at least one person on each side of the piano.

Next, lift the piano. Have one person slide a 4-wheel dolly underneath. Depending on the size of your piano, you may be using a hand truck. This is what will make your piano mobile. Secure the piano to the dolly using ratchet straps.

Get Back To The Music

Next, you can move your piano to your next destination. Utilize ramps to help load it onto the moving truck, and tie it down with more straps to ensure that it does not move during transport. After moving your piano, be sure to tune it.

Typically, keys can shift during transport. As a matter of fact, waiting a month before retuning is recommended. Finally, after your piano has been retuned, you’ll be ready for your next jam session.

Piano Fun Facts

Italian Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori invented the piano in 1709. MOMA in New York has one of his first-ever pianos on display.

The harp, the metal frame of the piano, is usually made of cast iron. For this reason, pianos are particularly heavy.

Optimally, new pianos should be tuned four times a year. This allows it to adjust to its new environment and changing seasons. After the first year, pianos should be tuned twice a year.

The piano is an instrument that has over 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving.

Depending on the model, the average piano has about 230 strings.

FAQs

What if my piano is damaged during the move?

Any good moving company will have you sign a liability form for your piano. This means that insurance will cover any damage or replacement if your piano is damaged during the move.
If you do a DIY move, you’ll obviously be responsible for any damage to the piano or home.

Is moving a piano worth it?

It depends on how much you value your piano. These are expensive instruments, so likely you will want to keep them rather than sell them or give them away. The piano can also have sentimental value as well.

How much does it cost to move a piano?

This depends on whether you do it yourself or hire a moving company. Each moving company will have their own rates and you should ask for a quote before booking.

Aubrey graduated from UCLA in 2019 with dual degrees in English and Psychology, as well as receiving a concentration in Fiction Creative Writing. Her writing can be found at Locale Magazine, UCLA's MindWell pod, HerCampus, Westwind, and Bloody Donuts. Aubrey currently lives in Los Angeles with her orange tabby cat, Bowie, and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on and soaking up the golden California sun. You can find her hiking the Laguna trails, making jewelry, or exploring the local library.

Maura De Cicco attends the University of Iowa as a Journalism and Anthropology student. She plans to pursue a strategic communications track when it comes to writing, and an archaeology track when it comes to Anthropology.