Top 10 Best Piano Makers

Who are the Best Piano Makers in the World?

We move thousands of pianos each year and often get asked who are the best piano makers. There are hundreds of piano makers in the world but only a few have the quality and history to stand out and be claimed as the world’s best piano makers.

There is no scientific metric that can be used to measure the true quality and value of these beautiful instruments. It is a combination of the tone, sound, action, history and passion that imbues each instrument. The best piano makers build timeless instruments that produce unrivalled sound, be that power, tone or range. As such choosing the best piano makers is a subjective assessment but over the years we have listened to the views of pianists, tuners, players and sellers and compiled this combined wisdom into our list of the world’s best piano makers.

In no particular order, here are our Top 10 Piano Makers:


Best Piano MakersBösendorfer is one of the oldest luxury piano makers in the world, having started in Vienna, Austria in 1828. Ignaz Bösendorfer founded the company and was endowed with the honour of “official piano maker” to the Emperor of Austria in 1830. Bösendorfer is famous for inventing the extension to the 88-key keyboard with the Imperial Grand that boasts a 97-key keyboard, giving 8 octaves. This extra range made the Imperial Grand one of the most loved concert grands in the world, which continues to this day. The extra keys were so popular that Bösendorfer have extended the keyboard on many of their range.

“We are world famous for our quality, our outstanding richness of tone colour and our typical pure and inspiring sound. Acquiring a Bösendorfer is a lifetime dream for many people. For them, we build something very special, with devotion and professionalism: the Bösendorfer among the grands”

Bösendorfer offer luxury and exclusive pianos, they make only a few hundred pianos a year and each piano is handmade.  Their pianos are known for a darker or richer sound than the purer but less full-bodied sound of other pianos.


Best Piano MakersAnother great piano manufacturer from Germany, this time Leipzig. In 1853 Julius Blüthner started the company that is still run and managed by the Blüthner family. Forty-seven years later Blüthner had become the largest piano maker in Germany, producing over 5000 instruments a year. Blüthners are still renowned for their quality and a clear tone.  Wilhem Kempff, the acclaimed pianist, praised their pianos as ‘precise’ and having ‘unrivalled beauty’.

A Blüthner grand was the first piano to be used in an airborne recital, the company had built a piano for the famous airship Hindenburg which crossed the atlantic with the piano. World War Two impacted the piano maker quite heavily and their factory was destroyed by an air raid in 1943, fortunately it was rebuilt in 1945.

Over the years and to this day Blüthner has built and maintained a reputation of outstanding quality. Blüthner pianos have been purchased and played by Queen Victoria, Listz, Brahms, Tsar Nicholas II, Rachmaninov, and Tschaikovsky.

Blüthner have been awarded no less than 5 gold medals by the Leipzig Fair for their handcrafted and stunning pianos. If you can’t afford one of their premium instruments Blüthner also offer two other ranges, the Heassler and Irmler ranges.

Steinway & Sons

Best Piano MakersSteinway & Sons are possibly the most well known and revered piano manufacturer in the world. Every Steinway & Sons piano takes over a year to be built by their master craftsman and each piano is made of more than 12,000 parts. Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg began making pianos in his kitchen in Sessen, Germany at the ripe old age of 20. Twenty-five years after building his “kitchen” piano and 482 instruments later Heinrich decided to move to America. In New York, the now Henry E Steinway founded possibly the most famous of our piano makers, Steinway & Sons with his family in 1853.

Steinway & Sons are considered the founders of the modern piano and have127 patents to their name to date.1700 professional pianists swear by their Steinway & Sons piano and many other musical institutions use them. Steinway & Sons still build pianos in New York and also have a factory in Hamburg. The company produce grand and Upright pianos and also have two bespoke lines called Crown jewels and Custom for the customer who wants a real statement piece.

“Each Steinway grand piano a unique masterpiece produced by the hands of craftsmen. We take our time in production – everything is done quietly and with care.”

Steinways & Sons have received awards from New York, Paris and many organisations for the quality of their pianos.  This does mean that their pianos are not cheap but the good news is that if you can’t afford a Steinway & Sons then the company also produce two more affordable brands, Essex and Boston. Essex is Steinway’s entry-level brand and Boston is aimed at the mid-level market.


Best Piano MakersBechstein are celebrated for producing pianos with great tone and beauty. As with all the elite piano makers listed here, Bechstein handcraft each of their instruments. Remarkably Bechstein is another German piano manufacturer that was formed in 1853, this time in Berlin. Carl Bechstein built his first piano for the vigorous and energetic player as well as the subtle and delicate pianist.

In 1885 Bechstein had grown and opened a store in London and the allure of the manufacturer was massively enhanced when Queen Victoria bought a gilded Beckstein grand. The London store grew to be the largest showroom in Europe and the company went on to build the Bechstein Hall, what we now call the Wigmore Hall. Many other stars and artists have been supporters of the brand including the Beatles, Elton John and Freddy Mercury.

Claude Debussey said “One should only write piano music for Bechstein”.

In 1992 Beckstein moved from Berlin to their current location in Seifhennersdorf. Since then Bechstein have invested over £18million on new technology and design to keep Bechstein at the forefront of piano design. The passion and dedication to perfection are second to none within the Bechstein family. The Technical Director has his staff individually select each hammer shank for the treble, middle or bass areas dependant on the shank’s natural pitch.

Beyond the tonal qualities of their pianos, Bechstein have become known as the creators of the one-of-a-kind art case piano. This is where craftsman individually embellish and decorate the piano cases to make individual and unique piano cases. So you not only get a great sounding instrument, it is also a piece of art in its own right. In fact some of Bechstein’s art case pianos are museum pieces.

Piano removals

We specialise in piano removals, having moved some of the world’s most expensive and unique instruments including Beethoven’s Fortepiano.


Best Piano MaketsAlthough the company only began in 1981, Paulo Fazioli has created one of the best piano makers in the world. As a concert pianist and the son of a famous cabinet maker Paulo Fazioli had the perfect background to create a unique piano. He went well beyond this with a passion to create an instrument with unrivalled touch and tone and without compromise. Simply put Paulo Fazioli wanted to make the best piano money could buy.

“To produce grand and concert grand pianos exclusively, aiming for the highest quality with no concern for large production”

Built in Italy these pianos don’t come cheap, their price tag ranges from $100,00 to as much as $300,000. That is a lot of money but the company only produce between 120 and 130 pianos a year, they even make a 24-carat gold leaf piano. However, Fazioli only make grands or concert grand pianos, they do not build upright pianos. Also, don’t try and move their largest concert grand piano on your own, the beautiful F308 weighs a massive 570kg and measures over 10 feet in length.

This young piano maker has really made a mark producing exquisite instruments with an unrivalled reputation and respect. If you can afford it a Fazoili is a really beautiful instrument and, given the low production numbers, has a real potential to be a great investment.

Shigeru Kawai

Best Piano MakersShigeru Kawai is a bespoke brand that span out of the Kawai Piano stable. Kawai pianos was founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai, his son Shigeru took on the company and built on his father’s dream of building the world’s finest piano. Nothing but the finest quality pianos come out of this premier Japanese piano maker.

“The passion, the honour, the soul.”

Shigeru Kawai pianos are a blend of traditional craftsmanship, technical innovations and state-of-the-art materials. The soundboards are built using 10-year aged wood from the rare Ezo Spruce that is found in snow-shrouded mountains of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. This is combined with a piano action, the Millennium III, which is made from modern composite. This action has received many plaudits, with some saying the Millennium III is the most significant development for the piano in our generation – some accolade.

All Shigeru pianos have a supremely rich tonal depth and fewer than 250 pianos are produced each year which bear the name Shigeru Kawai. Every piano is a personal legacy of the Kawai family, you will see not just the labour and love but part of Shigeru Kawai’s life, one of the truly great piano makers.

Mason and Hamlin

Best Piano Makers - Mason and HamlinIn 1854 two Massachusetts gentlemen, Henry Mason a classical pianist and Emmons Hamlin a great inventor, formed the Mason and Hamlin Company to manufacturer a new type of instrument that they called the Organ Harmonium. Their attention to detail, passion and limited production volumes proved immediately popular. From these early beginnings the team went on to win first prize for their American Cabinet Organ in the 1867 Paris Exhibition but it wasn’t until 1881 that the company turned their attention to pianos. At that time Mason and Hamiln’s pianos were the most costly to produce but widely considered the best in the world.

“Mason & Hamlin pianos have a mystique about them.”

Mason and Hamlin slowly lost their way after the Second World War but since they were bought by PianoDisc in 1996 they have regained there former glory as a leader in the world of piano makers. They are still the costliest pianos to build but once again they adorn many concert halls and musical institutes. With a focus on quality not quantity the 70 skilled craftsman produce 50 uprights and 300 grands a year. Each one is inspected no less than 12 times during its birth.

Stuart and Sons 

Best Piano MakersThe youngest of the piano makers on our list, Stuart and Sons started life in 1990 and herald from New South Wales, Australia. What they may lack in years they certainly make up with in home-grown passion and awards. What they are not is mass produced, according to their website to date Stuart & Sons have only built 55 pianos.

Stuart and Sons produce two grands, a studio grand and a concert grand (measuring 7.2’ and 9.5’ respectively) but these two models are made with various beautiful and rare natural timbers. You can get your grand piano made in Red Cedar, Tasmanian Sassafras or Tasmanian Huon Pine and they all look exquisite.

“A rare and beautiful instrument that respects tradition while embracing innovation.”

The Stuart and Sons pianos not only look good they really perform, the range of their instruments is immense with each piano having 97 or 102 keys. They claim that no other piano makers reaches as high pitch as can be reached on their instruments.


Best Piano MakersThe Schimmel brand began life in Leipzig in 1885 and will soon celebrate 130 years of piano production.  Wilhelm Schimmel was the founder of this stellar piano manufacturer, famed for the quality of the actions and tone of their pianos.  The Konzert range is the pinnacle of the pride and innovation that resides at the heart of every Schimmel instrument. Their Konzert upright model highlights this, Schimmel have produced an upright to emulate the tonal and performance qualities of a grand piano.

Schimmel produce their pianos using traditional techniques and their proprietary CAPE system (Computer Assisted Piano Engineering). The pursuit of perfection combined with a national heritage of 300 years building pianos allow Schimmel to proudly stand as one of the best piano makers in the world. In fact, Schimmel are now the largest and most awarded piano manufacturer in Germany.

In 1927 the company moved from Leipzig to what remains their home Braunschweig. Now with a fourth generation Schimmel at the helm, the legacy of artistry, passion and craftsmanship continue with this great piano manufacturer. Schimmel are renowned for timeless and tasteful piano casework designs. This combined with beautiful sound and touch endears them to their fans. Their glass grand piano was unveiled in 1951 and has since become a cult classic.

Grotrian Steinweg

Best Piano MakersGortrian Steinweg can trace its roots all the way back to 1835 when Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg  began building pianos. Theodor Steinweg was the son and heir to Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg who founded Steinway & Sons in America. Theodor Steinweg was joined by Friedrich Grotrian in 1853 after Friedrich returned from his music business in Moscow. This duo then went on to create another amazing piano maker from Germany.

“Build good pianos and the rest will take care of itself”

The company builds the astonishing Gotrian Duo. This is two grand pianos joined together so that they can be played as “one” instrument. Fortunately for us, you can split the piano into two to move it. This piano is a reflection of the philosophy which is at the heart of the company – A unique tone and love for music. Other Gotrian Steinweg innovations include the star-shaped back frame and a unique string scale that allows the hammers strike the strings at the optimal spot.

Gotrian Steiweg have been family piano makers for 157 years and the 6th generation of the family is still running the business. The longevity of this business can be traced back to the founding philosophy of uncompromised quality. The company now produce about 500 uprights and 100 grands a year.

63 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Piano Makers”

  1. Jan Shadbolt

    Dear Colin Batt Removals,
    Whilst readin your website I noticed a typographical error in the Bechstein summary, it states the company was founded in 1953, but I think it should read 1853.
    Kind Regards
    Jan Shadbolt

      1. Mrs Valerie O'Brien

        I owned an exquisite vintage Bosendorfer grand piano for 38 years but was forced to sell it. I have never got over the loss ! It was used by the BBC for a number of years for concerts with the BBC Northern Orchestra and played by John Ogden. It was later used for chamber music on the BBC Third programme classical music programmes. going out from Bristol.
        I sold it for only £2,000 in 1998 and it’s worth now is over £180,000 and was said to have been owned by Adolf Eichmann.
        If I could ever afford another piano I would naturally want a Bosendorfer because of it’s rich bell tone, but my next choice would be Bluthner
        . I detest the tone of a Steinway……, far too tinny.!

        1. John Maass

          Thank-you for your comment. Steinways I hear recorded sound unresponsive and demure. I am sorry for your loss of beloved piano.

        2. Antonia

          Why would you ever want a piano owned by Eichmann???
          I have a Bechstein “C”, 1908, and I want to be rid of it since learning of how the Bechstein family was so chummy with Adolf Hitler and wanted him to marry their daughter. They gave so much $$ to the Nazi party to help him rise to power, and later converted one of their piano factories to build munitions for the Nazis.

          “Otto Adolf Eichmann, SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organisers of the Holocaust – the so-called “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” in Nazi terminology. He was tasked by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics involved in the mass deportation of millions of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II.”

          It didn’t make you want to absolutely throw up when you learned your former piano had belonged to this abomination of a monster? I would recoil from such an instrument feeling my body had been eternally corrupted. Yuck!

          (I’m part-Jewish and my husband and his family are 100% Jewish. I would rather have a beaten-up little Hamilton console with missing key covers and loose pinblock than a piano this beast ever owned.)

          1. Marvin McConoughey

            Very few, if any, individuals in the world who actively participated in WWII are still alive. Let the sins of past generations remain there. People alive today deserve to be judged on their own merits and demerits.

          2. Dburnett

            I am of German heritage and my father’s brothers fought the Nazi in WWII. I agree with the first writer. I could not touch a piano with that history. Some things should never be forgotten or forgiven. I’m not blaming anyone in present day for sins of the past but those sins should not be forgotten lest they be repeated. If statues honoring Confederate battles need to be removed because they are offensive owning a piano with Nazi ties, and taking pride in it, is revolting!

  2. Brad Smith

    I understand that this is quite a subjective list, because it is quite difficult to pinpoint 10 BEST piano brands. And I am not completely agreeing with the choices made. Don’t get me wrong they are all great, no doubt, but if it was up to me I would squeeze in Sauter pianos (for those who never seen these beauties). And to be honest, it is so hard, I don’t even know which brand I would replace. I would make it a top 11 list and be done with it.

    1. Colin Batt Removals Post Author

      Brad, I hadn’t heard of Sauter Pianos before so thanks for introducing me to them. They do look great, stylish and very clean. Can’t wait to get our hands on one. I think I will have to make it a top 11 next time. Let us know if you want one moving!

    1. Cherie

      I would like to know the answer to this as well. We have a 1936 Hamilton by Baldwin and the man who used to come out to tune it kept hounding me to sell it to him – offered a good amount of money for it. It’s a beautiful little grand with a stunning sound. Of course, I refused to sell because it was made the same year my mother was born, thus sentimental! I know Hamilton (dissed above!) is the “affordable Baldwin” but have had soo many compliments by musicians who’ve been here for sessions and played it – ease of playing and beautiful tone.

      1. Graham Cooke

        I understand Liberace was contracted to Baldwin ( you have never seen him play any other instrument If there was not a baldwin available the make of any other piano would be blanked out ) However after listening to dozens and dozens of Liberace recordings – he played on some flippin’ awful instruments. Not a good advertisement for Baldwin at all !!

  3. John Washburn

    Your list is wonderful. Have you ever heard or played on a Petrof piano? Their internet site is and they are extremely wonderful, and to me that’s an understatement.
    Appreciate you and your piano information.

    1. Colin Batt Removals Post Author

      John, Thanks for the feedback. We have heard and moved many Petrof’s in our time. They are a very big piano manufacturer in Europe and make beautiful instruments. Glad you like the blog, thanks for the appreciation.

    2. Reed Gratz

      I performed on a couple of beautiful Petrofs in Czech Rep. a couple of years ago. They were wonderful. As always, each piano (the ones NOT made on the assembly line) are unique and individual. I’ve played Steinways that are incredible, and some, same model, not. It depends SO much on who is taking care of it! My Yamaha grand is fantastic because of the tech who has maintained it.

  4. Jane

    Thanks for the information. For a grand piano, would you choose shiruger Kawai over Schimmel or Schommle over Shiruge Kawai.


    1. Colin Batt Removals Post Author

      You may be right, beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the ear of the pianist in this case. Tough call to make but we felt that whilst some Yamahas are stunning, some others are less so. This is why they didn’t reach the top 10 this time.

      1. fred crossan

        I am a Steinway Grand owner and also a tuner and still think it is has the best overall range for sound and a smooth action-I had a Yamaha for many years but found it constantly needed to be voiced as it was a very loud brassy sound-Fred

        1. Tom Hilton

          Fred I agree. The Steinway piano is always a target because they are so popular. I prefer the New York to the Hamburg. I have a wonderful New York B in my living room. It took me two years to find this incredible instrument.

          By the way, artists know they don’t have to be loyal to one brand or the other. Pianists are one of the most independent species of people on the planet. Their ear is their key to the best sound. And overwhelmingly choose Steinway because of the dynamic range and tone.

          Steinway offers an incredibly uniform sound from the lowest A to the highest C. I have played a few new ones and they are making them better and better. The Spirio playback system is not to be believed. Give the American worker the freedom to build unhampered and no country can compete with us.

  5. Kalev Valgma

    What about the Estonian pianos?
    Piano making in Estonia was an art practiced during the late 18th century and has been documented as early as 1779.
    The craft had flourished, and during the late 19th and the early 20th century there were nearly 20 independent piano companies. The most notable of these manufacturers was Ernst Hiis-Ihse, whose handmade piano from 1893 became the prototype of the Estonia piano. After the WW II, Mr. Hiis was invited to establish a larger facility, known today as the Estonia Piano Factory.

  6. William Roberts

    There are other noteworthy grand piano makers. Such as: Rubenstein Pianos, Ravenscroft, Petrof, Estonia, and Yamaha who makes the CFX grand. Perhaps this should be the top FIFTEEN piano makers in the world.

    1. Colin Batt Removals Post Author

      Lynne, I know, especially as we moved one of the most famous Broadwood’s ever. We moved Beethoven’s own piano that was gifted by Thomas Broadwood on a European Tour (Read more about this here They are amazing instruments and there is a strong argument they should have been in the top 10. It is a very subjective call – maybe when we update the list Broadwood will get a promotion.

  7. Penny

    I have a piano bought buy my grandfather in the 30s. A Nanon from germany dont know much about this brand is it ok

    1. Colin Batt Removals Post Author

      I have to admit, this is not a make I can recall coming across before. As far as I know it is not a common piano in England. Sounds like a lovely family heirloom and you will know better than anyone how it sounds and feels. I hope you’re family enjoy it for years to come.

  8. geraint

    I recently purchased A 1923 restored Gaveau modele 3 6foot 10 grand piano. And it has a wondeful tone and touch plus looks superb in rosewood case. A very underated maker.

  9. John Maass

    Though the Yamaha piano may not belong exactly in this discussion, in listening mostly to jazz I have found it to be a particularly sonorous instrument.

  10. Matt

    Chopin might include the Pleyel piano brand in his list.

    No doubt Liberace would include Baldwin.

    While I own a Steinway studio upright (1098) which I really like, I don’t have the experience with even half the brands you mentioned to make the judgments made here.

    I would imagine Rachmaninoff could make any brand sound stellar provided it was regulated, voiced, tuned and had an intact sound board.

  11. Reed Gratz

    Erard…I played a few of these interesting, straight-strung beauties at the store/museum in Enkhuizen, Netherlands. Heard all about the history of them from the owner/tech of the store and spent a wonderful afternoon with him and the Erard pianos.
    Nice site here, by the way!

  12. Neil Kearney

    Yamaha has just come out with improved version of their flagship CFX concert grand piano.
    Curious if anyone can put it in the pecking order.
    The revered Bösendorfer brand is now in the Yamaha group. I understand that management likes the prestige and has decided not to mess with the tradition of a small volume strictly hand-built instrument, priced accordingly.
    If you aren’t a good player but appreciate the quality of such a product, the big B can now be fitted with Yamaha’s pro version of their Disklavier player system.
    Yamaha makes pianos of varying quality and prices. You get what you pay for. The low end is built in Indonesia. For people on a budget, the mid-range models coming out of Japan would be heard to beat IMHO.

    1. Leo

      Lauberger& Gloss was viennese piano company established at the end of the 19th century. They made two different upright model available in 6 different finishes and 3 different types of grand pianos ranging from the smaller Haydn-model up to the concert-sized Beethoven- and Rossini-models equipped with both the old style viennese or German action or the more desirable English action (also called double-repetition action. This kind of action is still the standard today). Lauberger&Gloss pianos were considered to be upper middle class but I find them to be generally really good. The have a very nice tonal quality to them, they always seem to sing and they are very robust and reliable pianos. Keep in mind, back then, Lauberger & Gloss pianos were very expensive and considered to be on par with Bösendorfers.
      After the Second World War, the company never recovered. They stopped manufacturing in the 60s and went out of business in the 1980s. The building was then sold to the city of Vienna and all the remaining bits and pieces were sold to the Technical Museum in Vienna where they are now displayed in order to show how pianos are made.

      If you ever get the chance to play a Lauberger & Gloss piano, give it a try. I’m sure it has a story to tell 🙂

  13. Tom Hilton

    Steinway & Sons is the overwhelming industry standard. They pay nobody to use their instruments but yet 95% of the great artists choose Steinway.

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  15. M Nel

    Thank you, most informative. Just retired, taking piano lessons, and thinking of buying a piano. An Albert Fahr (Zeitz) is available, as well as 135 yr old Adolf Beethoven… any comments?

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