Pianos are heavy. Real heavy. You might be surprised at how heavy they are if you’ve ever tried to move one. There’s a reason piano moving is a profession - it takes an enormous amount of skill and strength to move a piano safely, and it's not something you can do yourself.
Digital pianos are not as heavy, but they’re still heavy. But how heavy? This is a really valid question, especially if you’re looking to buy a digital piano and are wondering whether you’ll be able to get it home by yourself. Well, let’s find out - how much does a digital piano weigh?
Ultimately, how much a digital piano weighs depends on the type of piano you buy. A stage piano designed for portability can weigh as little as 10kg, but a full-size digital piano with a wood cabinet, speakers and weighted 88 note keyboard can weigh as much as 50kg.
If you live on the 25th floor, you might want to ask your buddies to come and help out! If you need to move a digital piano, I recommend you check out my guide on how to transport a digital piano.
Why Are Regular Pianos So Heavy?
From the outside, a piano looks just like a wooden box, painted black, or whatever colour you prefer. However, if you’ve ever ventured inside the piano, or ever been tempted to sneak a peek when the tuner is around, you’ll notice a couple of different things.
The two heaviest components of a real piano are the frame and the soundboard. The soundboard is a large piece of wood, usually spruce or birch. It’s constructed from smaller bits of wood glued together, and its’ purpose is to amplify the sound created when the hammers hit the string. As you can imagine, solid wood is very heavy, and this contributes significantly to the overall weight of the piano.
The other thing inside the piano that weighs a lot is the frame. This is essentially what holds the whole piano together. It mainly serves to support the tension of all the strings, which can add up to hundreds or thousands of pounds.
So as you can imagine, this frame needs to be pretty strong. Usually the frame is made of cast iron. On very, very old pianos, the frame used to be made of wood, but piano manufacturers would find that as the range of the keyboard got larger and more strings needed to be added, the frames would collapse in on themselves because they couldn’t support the tension of the strings.
A cast iron frame has no trouble supporting the tension of the strings, but as you can imagine, cast iron is EXTREMELY heavy.
Other things that contribute to the overall weight - the hammers, the key mechanism and the casing. Basically your piano is not much more than a box filled with wood and metal, both of which are pretty heavy. You’ll usually find your acoustic piano weighs anywhere between 100kg - 300kg.
Why Are Digital Pianos Lighter?
Now that we’ve had a whistle-stop tour of the construction of an acoustic piano, let’s look at why digital pianos don’t weigh as much. Simply put, they don’t have a construction anywhere near as complicated as an acoustic piano.
A digital piano consists of the case, the keyboard action, a computer chip and some speakers. That’s essentially it. The casing is probably the heaviest part, but even then on most digital pianos the casing is made out of lightweight MDF or chipboard and not solid wood as on a real piano. Now, because of this, they don't last as long, but that's a story for another article.
Some digital pianos have plastic elements to the case, cutting down the overall weight even more. However, because they're not as substantial as acoustic pianos, sometimes the keyboard action on a digital piano can be a little bit noisy, especially when you've got the headphones in. For some tips on how to solve this, check out my article on digital piano key noise.
How Much Does a Digital Piano Weigh?
I’ve given a rough estimate above, but let’s be a bit more scientific about this. I picked three very popular models of digital piano available today (May 2020) and listed their weights below. If you’re looking to buy a digital piano, simply pick the one that’s closest to each of these three styles, and you’ll get a rough idea of the kind of weight you’re dealing with.
Stage Piano (e.g. Yamaha P45, Casio PX160)
These pianos are generally designed to be portable and lightweight, as they're built to be transferred from gig to gig and lesson to lesson. As a result, they're engineered to be as light and as portable as possible, so this is almost certainly the lightest type of digital piano you'll find, weighing in at around 11kg.
Console Piano (e.g. Korg LP380, Yamaha Arius YDP-144)
These are among the most popular types of digital piano; designed as an upright piano replacement for home practice, and not for carrying from gig to gig. As a result, because these pianos have heavy-duty built in speakers and a wooden or MDF console, they weigh a little more than stage pianos.
If you're looking for a review of this type of piano, check out my Korg LP380 review.
Hybrid/Digital Grand (e.g. Yamaha Avantgrand N1X)
These are some of the heaviest digital pianos you can buy and are on par with a real upright or digital piano in weight. You won't be able to move this type of piano yourself, and if you buy one it'll likely be delivered by a specialist piano removal firm. The reason for this is that these pianos have extensive speaker systems, and in some cases a dummy piano action installed within the case.
As a result, these pianos tend to be the heaviest of all digital pianos.
As I mentioned in the beginning - the weight depends entirely on which piano you buy. Three types of digital piano - very different weights and purposes. Make sure you buy the one most suited to your playing style and to your budget.