What is the difference between an upright and grand piano?

Publish Date: 29 June 2024
What is the difference between an upright and grand piano - Markson Pianos

If you’re in the market for a new piano, you may be facing the dilemma of deciding between an upright piano and a grand piano.

Both come with a host of distinctive benefits.

By understanding the differences between these types of piano, you can make a more informed decision and choose an instrument suited to your musical aspirations.

So, to help you make this all-important decision, we’ve created a comprehensive guide for you to compare the key features of each.


One of the most significant differences between a grand and upright piano is their design and build.

Upright pianos are more compact instruments, with their strings and soundboard running vertically.

For many pianists, uprights offer an ideal compromise because they’re better suited to smaller spaces and are more affordable than their grand counterparts.

Grand pianos, however, are designed with horizontal strings and soundboards extending away from the keyboard.

These magnificent instruments are built in a variety of sizes, from the much-loved baby grands to concert grands, measuring between four and nine feet in length alone.


Sound and tonal quality are the next biggest differences between the upright and grand.

Despite their compact casing, modern uprights have a distinct tonal quality.

They offer pianists incredible sound quality perfect for playing at home, in educational settings, and in smaller venues with warm and welcoming tones.

However, the grand piano is the clear winner if you’re looking for a fuller and more resonant sound.

Their larger soundboard and longer strings, spread across the horizontal casing, allow for stronger string vibrations and sound projection.

Difference between grand and upright piano - Markson Pianos


One of the more practical considerations when choosing between an upright and a grand is the space they will require.

Uprights are compact, and can be placed against walls or even wheeled around to another location, making them ideal for smaller spaces.

Grand pianos, on the other hand, require significantly more room as the lid needs to be lifted when playing, making them better suited to larger spaces or concert venues.


Finally, arguably, the most significant difference between upright and grand pianos is the cost.

Upright pianos are generally more affordable and, for many pianists, offer excellent value for money.

Beginners and seasoned pianists can benefit from a high-quality piano at a lower price, making them ideal for music schools needing multiple models and households looking to invest in a compact but quality instrument.

Grand pianos, however, are more expensive due to their size, design, and unparalleled sound quality.

For many musicians, a grand is an investment for those who want nothing less than the best when they practice and perform.

But also, some upright pianos will cost more than you average grand piano. The four components that play a big part in the price of a piano:

  • Brand name
  • Country of production
  • Production length of time
  • The materials used in the manufacturing process

So, are grand pianos better than uprights?

We believe that when it comes to choosing between a grand and an upright piano, what is best will ultimately depend on your personal preferences, available space, budget, and skill as a pianist.

We are proud to supply models from a wide range of new acoustic upright and grand pianos to cater to every musician’s needs.

To learn more about our selection of pianos, please feel free to get in touch with a team member today on 020 7935 8682 or email us at info@marksonpianos.com