Is A Free Piano Worth It?

Feb 18 · 6 min read

If you are in the market for a piano you might be looking at pianos online. Often you will see pianos listed online for free, this seems like a great deal. When I was looking to buy my first piano I was on a tight budget and I wondered, is a free piano worth it?

Yes! A free piano is definitely worth getting if you keep in mind four things. Is it in decent/working condition, can you afford to move it, do you have space for it and can you afford to maintain it. If you answered yes to those four questions, you should definitely pick up that free piano!

Why Do People Give Away Free Pianos?

When you're online when you see a piano listed for free you're probably thinking, wait a minute nothing's free why are people giving away a piano oh, there must be something wrong with it. This isn't always necessarily true, sometimes people give away perfectly good actually expensive pianos for free. This might be hard to believe because you currently want a piano and can't imagine someone giving away something so valuable for free, but it happens a lot more than you think.

Pianos are extremely large instruments and take up a lot of room in people's houses. When I am teaching private piano lessons in Hillsboro I notice families often get a piano when they want their child to take piano lessons. But once the child grows up and stops playing the piano regularly all of a sudden they have this very large piece of furniture that doesn't serve any purpose. Grand pianos can often be very beautiful so people will sometimes keep them in their houses as a conversation piece or almost as a piece of art, but lots of the time they'd rather use that space for something else.

Especially when you consider that grand pianos aren't normally up against the wall they take up a huge amount of space. So anyway, why do people give away pianos for free?

One reason people give away pianos for free is, if they don't use them anymore. This is an extremely common reason why people give away perfectly good pianos for free. If you're in the market for piano you should definitely keep your eyes open for a perfectly good and functional piano that is being given away for free.

This is how I got my first piano! An elderly couple was downsizing and had a perfectly good piano that they wanted to get rid of. The thing is, people often initially set out trying to sell their piano and then after a few months on the market they'd rather the piano be out of their house and then make a few hundred dollars. So don't be fooled by the price tag, there are some real deals out there!

The second reason people give away pianos for free is the current owners are moving and do not want to move the piano with them. It can be very expensive to move a piano professionally. This can be an expense that people do not want to incur especially when they do not play the piano anymore. Sometimes people buy homes that come with pianos for this very reason. One time I moved away and left a piano in the rental home, after asking the landlord if it was okay of course. This means but sometimes people are giving away very nice pianos, because they're moving and they simply do not play it anymore or their child has moved out of the house and the child was the one that was playing it.


What to Look For In a Free Piano

There is also another reason why people would give away piano for free, it's because it does not work or it is broken and they know it and they don't want it in their home anymore because it is taking up space.

It is extremely easy to tell if a piano is broken, just play all the keys and if some of them aren't working the piano is clearly broken. at the extreme ranges of the piano this might not even matter to you. Most songs you will play, or want to play don't really use the top five or bottom five notes on the piano. Let's face it we're talking about a free piano, is it really that big of a deal if the top few notes don't work. It might be to some of you but to others it's not a deal-breaker.

Something that should be a deal-breaker to all of you though is if the piano is extremely out of tune, this is something that cannot be fixed necessarily and you should definitely watch out for this. If you go to someone's house to pick up a piano and the piano sounds like a Disney haunted house you did not want to take this piano home! If a piano goes far enough out of tune it can actually be near impossible to get it back into. This is something to always keep in mind. The last thing you want is to move an out of tune piano into your house and then next thing you know you're trying to get rid of the piano and no one will come and pick it up because it is so out of town! you don't want to get involved in a game of broken piano hot potato. If you want to learn more about if it is expensive to maintain a piano check out this article:

So always make sure the piano is in tune, all or most of the important keys work and that there isn't any extreme cosmetic damage. I know it can be hard to remember this when you're in the market for piano but there might be a time where you want to get rid of the piano, so don't take home a piano that you don't think other people would want to take home. Because chances are if the people that are giving the piano away for free weren't able to sell the piano you won't be able to sell the piano either. They're also areas of the country that are completely saturated with pianos and it's extremely hard to even give away pianos because most homes already have a piano.


When Is A Free Piano Not Worth It?

It is important to remember that a free piano is not always worth it. If the piano is clearly damaged, or not working at all you do not want to take this thing home. It will quickly become a liability and you will be paying to move it and when you move you will have to move it. Not old pianos can be brought back to life.


What is the Best Way to Move a Free Piano?

Different methods of moving need to be used for different types of pianos. A small piano can easily be moved by two strong people. You can also just put the piano in a small U-Haul trailer. So always keep in mind the size of the free piano you were getting.

A free grand piano is the hardest to move. You might actually have to hire professional piano movers to move that kind of piano. But if it is fully functional and in decent shape and indecent tune you're getting a huge deal anyway. Grand pianos are very expensive instruments and just paying the cost of moving is still a great deal.

I've moved a small spinet piano with just a U-Haul trailer and a couple two-by-fours. Most pianos are on wheels so that part is easy. But pianos can be extremely heavy so do be careful when you're moving them. And of course if you ever drop or tip over a piano that can be disastrous so go slow.

Just keep in mind that free pianos can be a great deal, but always think ahead. This thing will be in your house and is hard to move and if it's been given away for free it might be hard to give away and probably impossible to sell. I would strongly suggest not to look at this as a way of making money. Always remember if it's being given away for free they probably tried to sell it for months beforehand and are finally sick of having it in their house and ready to just give it away for free.

In conclusion I've had great success with free pianos also I am an advocate of picking up free pianos. If you're reading this article you're probably wanting to pick up your first piano. So you don't have to set the standard too high, just make sure you don't get stuck with something that you can't get rid of. But a free piano that is in tune can be a great first piano! In most cases it's probably better to have a free piano than to have no piano at all, just make sure it's in tune so you don't grow accustomed to listening to music out of tune!

Cloe Haynes
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