I am willing to bet that, at first, you didn’t think much about what you sat on while you played the piano.
I mean, isn’t the piano you play more important?
Yes, in some ways that is true. But from my personal piano learning experience, I can tell you the piano bench you are sitting on matters too.
My daughter and I started out with an old wooden bench with a plywood top covered by a piece of fabric.
There was once some padding on it. I think. Maybe.
Sitting on it more than 10 minutes was difficult – at best.
After upgrading our piano to a new digital piano, our next upgrade was the bench. And, it was a welcome improvement.
Here is how I choose our new piano bench.
Does The Piano Bench You Choose Really Matter?
You bet it does.
The seat under you when you are playing affects both not only your comfort while playing, but also your posture!
Maybe you even started with a folding chair or other piano bench alternative when you began playing. But, pretty soon, you noticed the difference I’m sure!
Why is that? I’ll explain.
You Want to Be Comfortable, Right?
Comfort is a very important part of a piano bench. Serious students and players often have marathon practice sessions. Having to get up and down to relieve pressure is annoying and breaks focus.
A comfortable bench will increase the amount of time you practice times. It also helps with long playing sessions.
Proper Posture Improves Your Piano Playing
Maintaining the proper posture is going to affect your piano playing more than you probably think. If you are slumped over with arms that are reaching up too high, you are going to miss notes and chords.
Here are some quick tips for maintaining the proper seated piano posture:
Bad Piano Posture = Bad Playing and Pain
So, how do you know if your posture is bad?
Sitting with a bad playing posture will usually cause some back or neck pain from strain. Not to mention, your playing quality will also be affected.
So, if piano playing causes you pain, look at what you are sitting on!
How to Choose the Best Piano Bench For Your Needs
Before I break down the options available to you, ask yourself these questions:
Answering these questions will help you decide which style of piano bench is best for you.
Ready to learn more about the features available to you?
1. Piano Bench or Piano Stool: Do You Need Portability?
Honestly, I confused these two terms at first. Really, though, most people use these two terms interchangeably. It probably confuses you too.
Stools Are Best If You Need To Move It Often
A piano stool is generally much narrower and is only designed to seat one person. Most aren’t much wider than 15” or 16”.
They are also designed to be lightweight. Many of them fold and are very portable.
This makes it easy for you to carry from gig to gig or performance to performance. You’ll see these used more for traveling musicians who play electronic keyboards.
Benches Are Best For More Permanent Locations
Piano benches though are wider – up to 30 inches wide or more. They are often made of wood or heavier materials so they aren’t as portable.
Few of these fold either.
2. Seating Surface: Durability Vs. Comfort
Piano benches come in three basic styles of seat. Each of course has its own advantages and disadvantages. The option you choose is a matter of preference too.
- Solid Wood Benches. The traditional piano bench has a hard wooden top with four wooden legs. The top is usually polished and lets you slide a little. The main advantage is that they are durable because there is no upholstery or fabric to rip and tear. The obvious drawback is that they can be uncomfortable especially if you are playing for long periods of time at a time.
- Padded, Upholstered Benches. This style of bench covers the top with some sort of padding and an upholstery. The usual upholstery options are vinyl, faux leather, and genuine leathers. Padding is often some sort of foam or fiber batting. These benches are easy to clean too but are generally more comfortable to sit on. However, they aren’t easy to scoot around on.
- Buttoned Padded Benches. These are really a different style of padded bench. I included it separately though because there are some strong opinions about this style! The main difference is that the upholstery fabric is gathered with buttons. This gives these benches a higher end look but some pianists do not like sitting on the buttons. You might feel the buttons even though they are counter sunk.
3. Adjustable Height Piano Benches: Helpful for Taller or Shorter Pianists
This style of piano bench has a mechanism that allows the seat height to be quickly raised or lowered. Move a lever or press a button and the seat raises or lowers – similar to an office chair.
Like I discussed above, piano playing posture is very important. And, the height of your bench affects your posture. These benches adjust to fit your personal needs quickly.
This kind of piano bench is a great choice for piano teachers who have multiple students of varying heights. Households with more than one pianist, like mine, benefit from these too.
People who are above average or below average height can also get the proper fit by using an adjustable piano bench.
Because these benches are more mechanical, they will require occasional maintenance. The lifting mechanism could also break so you might have to replace them more often.
4. Single and Duet Piano Benches: How Wide Should You Go?
The main difference between these two styles is the width. Single player benches are about 21 or 22 inches wide and duet styles are around 30 inches wide or larger.
If you are a piano teachers or you have multiple piano players at home, you would benefit from a wider bench. This is especially true if playing duets is common. A wider bench allows both players to be comfortable and you can both reach the keyboard easily.
Single benches are a little less expensive though if cost is a concern for you.
5. Storage Compartments: Tired of Finding a Home for Music Sheets or Books?
One thing that used to drive me crazy was the whirlwind of piano books and sheet music laying all over, around, on top of, and even under the piano.
Is your piano area a constant mess? Our was too.
But, I found a piano bench that helped with this. Some models have a seat that lifts up with a hidden storage compartment underneath it. This is a great place to stash those books and music sheets when the grandparents pop in for a visit.
Or when you are just sick of the mess.
Not all storage areas are built the same though. Some can be quite shallow. The first bench I bought would only hold a few small books. Our binders that we take back and forth to lessons wouldn’t all fit.
So, I made sure my next bench had a large storage area.
6. Design Choices: Materials, Colors, and More!
The best design is really up to you and your personal style. Design choices range from simple black steel piano stools to highly appointed padded benches with decorative carvings or patterned upholstery. Color choice is usually limited to black, white, or natural wood colors.
The important thing to know is that you’ll be able to find a bench that matches your decor and personal style. It’s even possible to buy unfinished benches that you can paint as wild as you want.
7. Can I Get a Piano Bench with Wheels?
I’ve had people ask about wheels for piano benches so that they do not have to be carried. But, there is a reason you will have trouble finding these.
Why don’t piano benches have wheels?
Piano benches do not have wheels because you should remain stable with your feet on the ground while playing the piano. If you are sitting on a bench with wheels, it moves easily. Especially if you are playing an aggressive piece that requires lots of leaning movements.
8. Combine Features to Get Your Perfect Piano Bench
You’ll find many benches that combine various features above so that you can find the bench or stool that meets your needs.
For example, there are piano stools that are adjustable height as well. There are many combinations of piano benches:
- Standard Single and Duet Benches That Aren’t Adjustable
- Single and Duet Adjustable Height Benches
- Single and Duet Adjustable Height Benches With Storage
- Duet Piano Benches that adjust each side differently are another option too.
Recommended Piano Benches and Stools
Remember those questions I asked you to answer earlier?
Here is where you will use those answers.
Think about your needs you identified based on those answers and compare those to these recommendations.
Ready? Ok! Let’s go!
Best Piano Bench for Beginners
If you are just beginning to learn piano, you may want to choose a more affordable bench or stool. You know, to make sure the habit’s going to stick first.
I would recommend an adjustable height stool like the Rockjam Keyboard Bench for you.
It is important that you get the proper height and posture and are comfortable too for long practice sessions. This stool has all of that at a modest cost and size.
Best Piano Bench for Experienced Pianists
If you are experienced, you might want to get a more comfortable option with more features.
I’d recommend an upholstered storage bench like the CPS Leather Duet Piano Bench.
This bench allows you to get to your best playing height, has a place to store your books and music, and is comfortable too. It’s a great looking bench too with a genuine leather cover.
Best Piano Bench for Traveling Musicians
This group of pianists and keyboard players have special needs.
They need a bench that is easy to set up, take down, and is portable. The folding X-style stools are often the best choice for them.
I recommend the World Tour Deluxe Keyboard Bench because it easy to carry from place to place while also being height adjustable and comfortable. It is also known for being extremely durable. You also won’t have to reset the height every time you move it.
Best Piano Bench for Houses With Multiple Players
If your house is like mine, you have an adult and a child who both play the piano.
Of course, my 8 year old daughter and I have different piano bench requirements. We also play duets together occasionally too.
For this situation, I recommend an adjustable height duet piano bench with storage like the Polar Aurora Adjustable Duet Piano Bench.
This bench quickly adjusts for multiple players and has a large storage compartment for hiding your sheet music and books. It also seats two people comfortable for playing duets or those times when your little one needs a little help or extra encouragement.
Best Piano Bench for Piano Teachers
Piano teachers also have unique needs because there are multiple people sitting at their piano daily.
At a minimum, piano teachers need a duet bench that is comfortable and easy to clean like the Songmics Duet Piano Bench.
My best recommendation for piano teachers is the CPS Adjustable Duet Piano Bench.
This bench is extremely comfortable and easily seats two players at the same time. But, the best part is that each side of the bench can be adjusted independently. One side can be higher or lower than the other. So, if the teacher is playing along with a smaller child, each person can be sitting at the proper height and posture.
Best Piano Bench for Kids or Shorter Piano Players
Do you have a little one who plays the piano or are you shorter than 5 feet tall yourself?
Best Piano Bench for Tall or Larger Piano Players
If you are taller than average, take a look at the Bonnlo Adjustable Height Piano Bench.
This bench has a wide adjustment range and goes as high as 23 inches to accommodate longer legs. It is important to know though that the bench height is limited by the piano height too so that your legs will fit underneath.
If your weight is over 250 lbs or so, carefully look at the weight limits of these benches as you shop.
For adults over 300 pounds, I recommend the Yaheetech 4 Legged Bench. It has a high weight capacity of 440 lbs while remaining comfortable.
Summary and Additional Resources
Choosing the right piano bench affects your posture and your comfort. Both of which directly affect the quality of your piano playing.
Finding a piano bench isn’t difficult at all once you have identified what you need. Use the questions in this guide to help you narrow down the choices.
If you’d like to see more piano bench reviews, click here to see my full list.
Have a question or comment? Let me know about it in the comments below.
Also, I would really appreciate it if you would share this on your favorite social media if it was helpful to you.