In this price range, you have a lot of choices. First thing first, I do not recommend you buying a digital piano in this price range, so let’s put that to rest. Categorically speaking, you have 3 good options and 2 bad options. You should also read my previous article which has some tips on evaluating used acoustic pianos.
- Used Yamaha U series or Kawai K series: Used Yamaha U series (U1 and U3) and used Kawai K series (K300, K500, & K800) are the best selling pianos in this price range. You can visit any piano dealer and I guarantee you will find at least one used Yamaha U1 for sale. Yamaha U series and Kawai K series are the professional line of each brand and these pianos are known to be consistent and reliable. Plus, they can be sold quickly and keep value well. If you want to a good piano with reliable quality and good resale value, go no further. Just find a used Yamaha U series or Kawai K series piano that you like and call it a day.
- New Korean or Chinese vertical pianos: If you want a new piano in this price range, you can either buy a entry-level Yamaha or Kawai vertical piano (not the professional line) or a mid to top level Korean or Chinese vertical piano. Value wise, you will get a much better piano if you buy a new Korean or Chinese piano as compared to entry-level Yamaha or Kawai pianos. However, Yamaha and Kawai rule the resale market, which means they will sell faster with better price if one day you decide to sell your piano. If you decide to try out Korean/Chinese pianos in this price range, I would recommend the following brands and models:
- Hailun HU5-P: Chinese pianos have come a long way in the past 30 years and Hailun is one of the best-known Chinese piano brands. Hailun has won many international piano trade awards in recent years. This piano is highly recommended by professional reviewers. I have never played a Hailun vertical piano, so I don’t have personal experience to share.
- Ritmüller UH-121RA: Ritmüller is a higher-end brand owned by the biggest Chinese piano manufacture Pearl River. Pearl River/Ritmüller has also won quite a few piano trade awards in recent years. While Pearl River and Hailun have similar market share in the U.S. market, in Chinese local market Pearl River brands are more popular than Hailun.
- Perzina GP-122: Perzina is another Chinese piano brand and their pianos are known for floating soundboard and very good sound. It is a much smaller company compared to Hailun and Pearl River. I personally have had a bad experience with a Perzina grand piano but I do love the sound and action of their vertical pianos.
- WM. Knabe WKV132MD: Last but not least is this piano made by Samick Music Corp. of South Korea. (Note: “Knabe” is pronounced using the hard K sound followed by “nobby.”) I have played this piano and I am impressed by its tone and touch.
- Used baby grand piano larger than 5’3″: At this price range, you will likely find a few new and used grand pianos for sale. Baby grand is a term used to describe the smaller size grand pianos. Generally speaking, baby grands are grand pianos shorter than 5’5″ (165 cm). In my opinion, you should not buy a grand piano that is smaller than 5’3″ (160 cm). Now, you will find endless debates on the advantages versus disadvantages of baby grands in comparison to vertical pianos, but the general consensus is that grand pianos shorter than 5′ (152 cm) are acoustically compromised and perform no better than regular size vertical pianos (48″ or taller).
- New grand piano: In this price range, if you are going to buy a new grand piano, you most likely will only find grands that are smaller than 5′, aka baby grands. Occasionally, you may find new Korean or Chinese grands larger than 5’3″ for sale at the top of this price range. If you have to buy a new grand piano, please buy one that is at least 4’10” (148 cm) long.
- Used Korean and Chinese pianos: If you have $3k to $7k to spend, you can buy a new Korean or Chinese vertical piano. No need to buy a used Korean or Chinese vertical piano unless you find one in like new condition with huge discount.
Note: The reason I put metric unit along with Imperial unit in the size measurement is because most pianos are measured in metric unit.
This is one of the articles in a series called “Piano Buying Guide for Parents of Young Students“. You can find other articles of the series through this link.