Determining Piano Sizes

Posted by Sarah Czarnecki on

Pianos come in a variety of sizes and names for each type.  Essentially, there are two types of pianos: vertical (also known as an upright piano or horizontal) or grand pianos.  The sizes listed are commonly followed but there is some flexibility in the length.

two pianos upright and grand piano

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Measuring Your Piano

You should be able to determine at a glance whether your piano is a grand or some type of upright, but when identifying your piano's size and variety, it's important to measure correctly.


Grand pianos are measured in length from the front of the keys all the way to the tail. The most accurate way to get this measurement is from underneath the piano because there is a lip below the keys.


Uprights are easy to measure: just run a tape measure from the floor to the top of the lid. 

measuring an upright piano  

Image source: The Piano Book by Larry Fine

Upright Pianos

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Vertical or upright pianos are often divided into four size types: spinet, console, studio, and full upright. The actions of these pianos vary slightly, with the spinet (also known as dropped action) having a more specialized mechanism. It's important to become familiar with these differences when your piano requires tuning or repair.

types of upright pianos

Image source: The Piano Book by Larry Fine


36” (or less) to 40”.  Spinet pianos are the smallest vertical pianos.  Spinet pianos are sometimes called dropped action pianos.  Half or more of the action is lowered below the level of the keys.


40” to 44”.  The shortest of the upright pianos.  The compact action is above the keys and the action is directly driven by the end of the key.


44” to 48”.  The mid size upright piano is taller and larger with a more full sound.

Full Upright

49” and above.  Cabinet grand is a name some use for the tallest uprights.  These tallest upright pianos are still produced today but many are known as the classic “Saloon” or “Honky-Tonk” piano from the first half of the 1900s or earlier.




Grand Pianos

Grand pianos are immediately recognizable by their shape, but one size does not fit all. Different companies and organizations may vary the length by a couple inches.  Some divide grand pianos into three size categories: baby grand - under 6’, grand - 6’ to 7’ and concert grand over 7’.  Some break down the sizes into more size categories.  The sizes listed below include both modern and more antiquated names.


steinway grand piano

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Petit Grand or Small Grand

4’ 5” to 4’ 11”

Baby Grand

5’ to 5’ 5”

Medium Grand or Classic Grand

5’ 6” to 5’ 9”

Living Room Grand

5’ 10” 

Professional Grand or Full Grand

5’ 11” to 6’ 2”

Drawing Room Grand

6’ 3” to 6’ 4” 

Boudoir Grand

Sizes cover from mid 5’ to mid 6’

Parlor Grand

6’ 5” to 6’ 10”

Semi Concert Grand or Half Concert Grand

6’ 11” to 7’ 8”

Concert Grand

8’ and larger with most 8’11” to 9’ 6”


Other Pianos

Some makers have models that do not fit in these sizes or even have the typical 88 keys.   

Makers Kawai, Baldwin, Wurlitzer, Melodigrand and others have made acoustic pianos with 44, 49, 64. 73 or 85 keys since the 1950’s.  Small piano models were predominantly produced for smaller homes, and had the advantages of portability and affordable price.  Pianos produced before 1880 often had fewer than 88 keys.

A few makers are currently producing Grand Pianos with more than 88 keys.  Bosendorfer has models with 88, 90, 92 and 97 keys - all extending the bass section lower.  A couple other makers have produced pianos with a similar number of keys.  These pianos were rare and often unique pianos for a particular venue or musician.  Stuart & Sons has piano models with 97, 102 and 108 keys extending both bass and treble sections.


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