Essential Tips on How to Move a Piano Safely

Closeup of piano keys

There’s a reason piano owners start to sweat when they think about moving. Getting even the smallest piano out of your house and into a moving truck can be a whole afternoon’s worth of strenuous work — and that’s if you’ve already prepared for it.

If you have questions about moving a piano–or if you’re looking to move a piano yourself or simply store one–we’ve compiled some straightforward advice for getting this major task accomplished as safely, quickly and easily as possible.

Moving a piano by yourself isn’t an impossible chore by any means. If you’re really set on doing it solo, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind — just remember, most of it boils down to preparation.

Plan Ahead and Measure Your Spaces

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you know your route before you start lifting. Measure every doorway, hallway, and staircase that you’ll need to move the piano through to make sure it will fit. Also, anticipate how you may also need to angle the piano as you’re passing through.

Gather Your Moving Supplies

Once you’ve taken all your measurements, you’ll need to get your hands on a few critical supplies. Regardless of piano type, you’ll need piano pads (or moving blankets) and tape, likely several rolls.

For an upright piano, you’ll also need a piano dolly and potentially some straps to hold the piano in place on the dolly. For a grand piano, you’ll need a specialized tool called a piano skid (also known as a piano board) that serves a similar function as a dolly.

Consider Disassembling the Piano

In general, it’s not the best idea to disassemble an upright piano. An upright piano is a highly specialized instrument, meaning taking it apart will be difficult — and putting it back together again without professional help will be next to impossible.

A grand piano can be partially disassembled. Using a screwdriver, remove the piano’s legs and pedals. You and your friends should be stationed around the piano as you remove the legs and pedals to ensure the piano doesn’t suddenly shift without its supports.

Moving an Upright Piano

The first step in moving an upright piano is covering the piano keys and pedals with moving pads or blankets and securing them in place with tape. Then, you’ll cover the rest of the piano with moving pads or an upright piano sleeve. From there, you and your helpers will lift the piano onto a dolly. Generally, you’ll want at least three to four people to help move the piano. Once the piano is on the dolly, carefully transfer it to the moving truck.

Moving a Grand Piano

Moving a grand piano is slightly more complex. Start by lowering the top lid and securing it in place. Remove the legs and pedals with a screwdriver. Then, wrap the keys, lid, and all the piano’s sides securely in moving blankets. The legs and pedals should likewise be wrapped up in moving blankets. Next, you’ll carefully lift the piano onto the piano board and secure it with straps. Push the piano out of your home and into the moving truck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you move a piano by yourself?

Yes, if by “yourself” you mean with a few friends. You don’t necessarily have to hire professional movers to move a piano, but you will need the right equipment, including piano pads and a couple of rolls of tape, as well as some strong helpers.

What is the easiest way to move a piano?

The easiest way by far to move a piano is to hire a team of professional piano movers. If you don’t want to hire movers, you’ll need to gather the proper equipment to make your move easier, including a dolly and piano pads.

How much does it typically cost to move a piano?

It depends on the size of your piano and where you need to move it. For an upright piano, you can expect to pay a baseline of around $200, while for a grand piano the baseline cost will be slightly higher, around $300.

Can regular movers move a piano?

It depends, of course, but the answer is usually no. Especially if you have a nicer piano, moving it will require special expertise and equipment that most regular movers don’t have.

How do you move a piano upstairs?

If it’s a lighter piano, you might be able to carry it. In many cases, however, professional movers will create a ramp over the stairs using a series of planks, and then place the piano on a dolly so that it can be rolled up the ramp.

How do you move a piano without scratching the floor?

Before moving a piano, you should securely cover it in piano pads. If you’re worried about scratching the floor, it’s a good idea to also place moving pads or blankets on the floor in your expected path.

How long does it take to move a piano?

It depends on the size and type of your piano, as well as the specifics of the move, but at the very least you should expect moving a piano to take two hours.