The answer depends on both the piano and the people involved. Specialist piano movers will be able to do more with fewer people and they’ll know exactly what it takes to safely move any piano, from the smallest Spinet to the biggest Concert Grand. Be warned- most everyday moving companies don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to moving pianos, especially the larger horizontal ones. There is a big difference between an ordinary mover and a piano expert.
There are many different types of piano out there. The first step towards successfully moving one is to figure out which type it is, how heavy it is, and how many people will be needed. The smallest upright piano might weigh less than 300lbs where a large concert grand can be more than 1000lbs.
Upright pianos are divided into four groups. Spinets are the smallest, at about 3′ tall and 4’10” long. They weigh 200-300lbs and can usually be moved from room to room by two strong people. Console pianos are a little taller. They range from 3’4″ to 3’7″ in height and don’t weigh much more than a Spinet. Two people are usually able to handle a Console as long as there are no stairs or difficult obstacles. If there is a flight of stairs, all pianos will need at least one extra mover.
Studio pianos are bigger again. They’re about the same length, from 3’9″ to 4′ in height, and can weigh up to 400lbs. This type is common in music schools because they’re considered the best compromise between size and tone. A minimum of three people will be needed to move a piano of this size.
Classic Uprights are the largest of the upright family. They can weigh 500lb or more depending on the exact variety and it will take four people or more to move one.
From there we move up a level in complexity. Horizontal (grand) pianos are such a difficult shape that they usually need to be disassembled before moving and experts with specialist piano moving equipment are definitely required. The smallest Petite Grand will take at least three or four movers.
The popular Baby Grand is the next step up horizontal pianos. They can be up to 5’7″ in length and weigh 500lb or more. It will take three or four people to move one once the legs and pedals have been removed. Parlour Grand pianos are a little bigger but can usually be moved by a crew of the same size.
Semi-Concert (Ballroom) pianos are around 7′ in size and it’ll take four or five strong movers to handle one safely. The biggest of all, the Concert Grand, is a full 2′ longer and a lot heavier. It can take anything up to half a dozen people to move a full-sized Concert Grand and great care should be taken- a fine example could be worth $50,000 or more.
Even if your piano is a more modest horizontal, it’s always best to get specialist piano movers to handle the job. They’ll be able to help with disassembly and reassembly and they’ll have all the equipment required to handle large and valuable instruments. Any piano is a difficult thing to move and each one is a thing of beauty. As any music lover will tell you, they deserve careful treatment.