The Quality of pianos listed in descending order. This is only my opinion of the quality ranking of the various pianos and is not a definitive list of piano manufacturers.
Group A - World class, high performance pianos.
These pianos are built and perform to the highest standards. Most are limited production, handmade pianos.
- C. Bechstein
- Steinway & Son
- Mason & Hamlin
- Charles R. Walter
Group B - Professional pianos.
Although not world class, these are very high quality and still some of the best pianos in the world.
- Yamaha S series
- Seiler ED
- Rieger Kloss
- Schirmer & Son
- Shigeru Kawai
- August Forester
Group C - Instructional and Home Pianos.
Solid pianos suitable for performance, but made for institutional purpose or practice at home. These are good but very massed produced pianos and in a price rage of average households.
- Hallet, Davis & Co.
- Petrof / Weinbach
- Boston (baby grands and grands built for Steinway by Kawai)
- Yamaha C series
- Yamaha U Series
- Boston (verticals)
- Kawai RX series
- Kawai (K5 + series)
- J. Strauss & Son
- Young Chang Pramberger
- Samick Korean Fenner Series
- Hamilton (by Baldwin)
Group D - Economy Pianos.
Inexpensive starter pianos..
- Young Chang Korean
- Samick non-fenner Korean
- Young Chang Chinese
- Essex ( by Young Chang or Boston)
- Kawai (K15, K2, K3 & ge series)
- Samick Stencil (all stencil pianos Kohler & Campbell, Conover Cable, etc.)
- Yamaha T and M series verticals
- Perzina (carl ebel with laminated soundboard)
- Kawai # series verticals
- Kawai GM-10
Ratings are very subjective. There are many different answers and in many cases they are all correct answers. The piano industry is a very fast paced quickly changing industry that does not lend itself well to generalizations. Such generalizations I hear on almost a daily bases, like, Pianos made in Japan are better than pianos made in China or Indonesia and the like... while this may have been true 10 to 15 years ago. It is definitely no longer true. Quality control from a good quality piano factory in China will match the best Japanese piano factories, and depending on the models, they will sometimes exceed them.
The materials and design specifications that pianos are made of produce the tone and touch of any given piano. Therefore, a NAME brand (or more advertised piano name) doesn't necessarily make for a better piano. If they designed a better piano with better parts than it does! Also a smaller piano company (ie: lesser advertised piano) could produce a superior product in design and materials yet save great quantities of money not paying to advertise their products.
In this day and age of pianos and technical advancement many lower priced pianos will perform within the realm of some of the most expensive pianos. A select few pianists will really be able to notice the small performance gains that come at an enormous increase in pricing that a true high end piano will provide.
Any piano rating system will not be definitive and agreed upon by all pianists. I have my favorite pianos and someone else with the same credentials may like something else! Having worked in the piano industry for over 15 years and I continue to do so, this is my opinion on quality of manufacture and sound quality as well as touch and responsiveness. Many professionals including teachers and tuners are influenced by advertising of certain brands. I have taken my best effort to review these pianos based on construction of build (support beams, construction materials, etc..) and quality of sound and touch (sustain of tone, and quality of timbre) without paying attention to name brands. This is why my list may vary from other lists. It is sometimes difficult to go out on a limb and differ to some extent on the popular consensus, but I do this to try to give you the truth without being blinded by the immense advertising and other gimmicks sometimes propogated by some companies.
It is to this end that it is important for you, the consumer, to trust your ears, hands, and eyes. It is important to note however, that some of the more expensive consumer grade pianos will try to convince you that their lowest priced entry level pianos are somehow superior because the name on the front is the same name that is on stage in "XYZ" concert hall, or that famous pianist "XYZ" plays on that very same NAME BRAND piano.