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Acoustic vs. Electric piano: What’s the Difference?

Acoustic Vs. Electric Piano- What’s The Difference

If you’re interested in purchasing a piano, you might wonder if it would be better to purchase an acoustic or electric one.

To make the right choice, it’s important to look at their differences to discover which one would be right for you.

Is there a difference in sound between acoustic vs electric piano?

The sound can be a bit different, but that doesn’t mean an electric piano can’t sound like an acoustic one. A high-end electrical piano might even sound better than an entry-level acoustic, as Liberty Park Music reports.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the main differences between these types of pianos, starting with an in-depth view of the acoustic piano.

What You Need To Know About The Acoustic Piano

Starbird Piano

The acoustic piano is considered to be an old-school type of piano.

This is because it has steel strings, a wooden exterior, and keys that are connected to hammers. There are two types of acoustic pianos.

Grand piano

This takes up more space, it has a frame, and it has strings that extend in a horizontal direction so that when you move your fingers away from the keys they are pulled back into their normal positions.

Upright piano

The other type of acoustic piano is the upright piano. It’s kinder on space, so it’s something that you might want to consider if you live in a small home, and its strings run in a vertical direction.

Its keys make use of a spring that resets them after you’ve played them.

What You Need To Know About Electric Or Digital Pianos

Portable Digital Piano

The electronic piano can be described as a more modern version of the acoustic piano.

Sounds are produced in a digital way so that when you play a key, the electronic speakers of the piano will play high-quality recordings that were taken from acoustic pianos, as Liberty Park Music reports.

That’s quite amazing, and there are three types of digital pianos.

  • Grand piano – this has a good quality system but is more expensive than other types.
  • Upright piano – this is more compact and weighs less, so it’s good if you’re short on space.  
  • Portable piano – this has a stand instead of piano legs so that you can easily transport the piano around.

Important Differences Between Acoustic And Electric Pianos

In order to properly look at their differences, we need to focus on some important things: how they fare when it comes to sound, maintenance, tuning, and touch sensitivity.

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound, the acoustic piano wins hands down! Its sound is more authentic than an electric piano and it offers you greater control over the musical notes’ expression.

The electric piano copies the sound produced by an acoustic piano, so it’s never going to be as amazing – even though technology has ensured that these pianos do come close!

In addition, the acoustic piano’s vibration creates a warmer sound.

The downside of an acoustic piano?

It doesn’t have volume control! This is what makes the digital piano so remarkable.

In addition, you can even play a digital piano with the use of headphones, so you can play it as loudly as you want without upsetting your neighbors.


If you want your piano to last you a long time, you’ll have to look after it. An acoustic piano is a bit more high-maintenance than a digital piano.

  • You have to look after your acoustic piano in various ways, such as by getting it tuned at least once a year, a task that requires a piano technician.
  • In addition, you need to avoid exposing the piano to extreme temperature changes and high or low humidity that can ruin the piano and damage its sound. You have to make sure that the piano room has a humidity level of around 40 to 50 percent to maintain it.

Electric pianos also need a bit of maintenance, but not as much as acoustic ones.

  • You’ll need to cover them to prevent dust from damaging them, and you should always turn them off when you’re not using them so that you don’t put a strain on the piano components that can lead to wear and tear.
  • In addition, you should also maintain the same humidity level as that of an acoustic piano, which means that there is still the same amount of maintenance to be done in this regard. The one benefit of digital pianos when it comes to maintenance is that they don’t require tuning!

Sensitivity Of The Keys

Acoustic Piano Keys

This is an important element to consider because you want to feel comfortable when playing the piano. If you like the weighted feeling of keys, then an acoustic piano is a good choice for you.

If, on the other hand, you prefer a gentle touch to produce sound, then a digital piano is better.

That said, the acoustic piano’s keys are usually more touch-sensitive. You can better control the sound you produce, such as by using a different strength on the keys.

When it comes to playing the digital piano, you can’t really control this as much because the sounds that have been produced are recordings.

If key sensitivity is important to you, look for a digital piano that has keys that are similar to those of acoustic pianos.

There are some of these available on the market and they make it easier to play the piano.

How Much It Will Cost

If the price is an important factor for you to consider when choosing an acoustic vs electric piano, it’s good to know that an acoustic piano will cost more.

However, a digital piano has a lower resale value because it depreciates much faster than its acoustic counterpart.

This is as a result of how there are new digital pianos coming onto the market every year, so the one you purchase now could easily become outdated.

If you’re looking for a better investment in the piano you buy, then an acoustic piano is your best bet.


Two Different Pianos

Which one wins when it comes to portability?

The digital piano! While it only requires one person to carry it around, the acoustic piano is much heavier and will usually require two or even three people to transport it.

However, once you take the piano where you need it, you can play it immediately. An electric piano will require a power source.

What You’ll Need It For

One of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing an acoustic vs electric piano is what kind of sounds you want to produce on it.

If you want to play classical music, an acoustic piano is probably your best bet because the sound it produces works well with classical music, and the sensitive keys will allow you to use various expressions that are important in classical pieces.

If you want to play more modern sounds, such as pop or rock, a digital piano is better as it has the benefit of offering other sounds, such as drum beats, which the acoustic piano lacks. 

Why Are Acoustic Pianos Rare These Days?

Mother Teaching Child How To Play Piano

Times have changed and younger people are moving towards digital pianos because of factors such as how portable they are as well as how they cost less than acoustic pianos.

A study by the National Association of Music Merchandisers found that in 2015 there were 1.2 million digital keyboards sold but less than 40,000 acoustic pianos, as The Economist reports.

Related Questions

What is a hybrid piano?

This is a combination of an acoustic and electric piano. Basically, it works as an acoustic piano with its warm sounds and sensitive keys but produces digital sounds.

You can switch between the two modes depending on what you want.

How much does an acoustic vs electric piano cost?

An electric piano will cost between $100 to $1,000.

On the other hand, an entry-level upright acoustic piano can cost between $3,500 to $5,000 while an entry-level grand piano can cost between $7,000 and $30,000.

Finally, a hybrid piano can cost around $5,000, with some being even more expensive.


Choosing between an acoustic vs electric piano isn’t always an easy task.

You have to consider various factors that are outlined in this article, such as the sound that both produce, how easy or difficult they are to maintain, and what kind of music you wish to create.

However, it’s always a good idea to try playing on both an acoustic and electric piano if you get the chance to do so.

This will help you to see what features you want in a piano versus the ones that you’re willing to let slides, such as when it comes to things like volume control and key sensitivity.


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