Silent and hybrid pianos – A guide for beginners

Blog, Buying a piano

Following our Electric Pianos- A Guide for Beginners and Buying a Piano – A Guide for Beginners posts, we continue today with a guide for buying a silent/hybrid piano.

The main reason for buying a silent/hybrid piano is if you want to keep the piano touch as authentic as possible, but also have the possibility to use it with headphones when needed.  Whilst studying, I lived with many housemates so I seriously considered buying a silent piano for myself. There are many advantages of buying a silent/hybrid instrument one of them being the piano touch.

Piano touch is a key element in developing a healthy technique. While you can definitely learn how to play on an electric piano as a beginner, you might want to swap to an acoustic piano eventually as electric pianos do not lead to a very healthy technique in the long term. However, the loud sound of an acoustic instrument can be an issue, such as when you want to practice late at night or if neighbours complain about the noise. And this is where the silent/hybrid instruments come in. If you want to check our pros and cons about buying a hybrid, check our Buying a Piano – A Guide for Beginners.

While both silent and hybrid pianos have an acoustic piano action, they differ quite dramatically.


A silent piano is an acoustic instrument, with strings and hammers that has added electrical parts. It can be played without being plugged in as you would with any mechanic piano, as the sound is produced by the hammers hitting the strings. However, when plugged in, the silent feature can be activated, which means that the sound is produced electrically, and the player can use headphones without disturbing the neighbours. Whether plugged in or not, the player still has the hammer-weighted action of the original acoustic piano.

Of course, this comes with cons as a silent piano will need tuning and cannot be moved easily due to its size and weight.


Shop around to find the best price. The links below are for reference only.

Silent pianos are expensive, with a silent system adding at least £1,000 on top of the price of the acoustic instrument. As such, all options below are for medium to high budgets. If you find an acoustic piano you like, you can ask if a silent system can be installed, particularly if they are Kawai, Yamaha, Bechstein or Schimmel. Check our Acoustic pianos – A guide for beginners for more acoustic piano recommendations.

Price range: £5,000- £11,000 +

This article is not sponsored by any piano companies or shops. The recommendations are based purely on my experience and professional opinion.


A hybrid piano is an electric instrument, which has an acoustic instrument’s action but no strings. It cannot be played without being plugged in and the sounds are produced electrically. Some hybrid pianos have upright piano action, while others have grand piano action. These instruments do not need tuning, although they might need action regulation after a few years. They are also smaller than a silent or acoustic piano.


Price range: £3,000- £8,000+

This article is not sponsored by any piano companies or shops. The recommendations are based purely on my experience and professional opinion.

Unfortunately, the perfect piano that feels exactly like and sounds like an acoustic, but can also be played with headphones, has not been invented yet. That being said, the gap is becoming smaller and smaller. In the end, it is your decision what you decide to compromise on based on your circumstances, budget, and preferences. As always, my main recommendation is to go to a music shop and play on these instruments. In the end, the important thing is to enjoy playing your instrument and like the sound and touch of it.

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