In part two of Piano vs Digital Piano, we will look at how your living arrangement can impact your decision to go with one or the other. Generally, this decision will be easier once you determine the allowable noise level, obstacles to moving the piano, and the length of time you will stay at the address where you will acquire the piano.
Allowable sound levels or noise complaints can make you wish you had bought something with headphones if the your neighbors don't appreciate the little Mozart living in your home. Many people who buy a piano in Arlington, Bethesda, and Washington DC find that the construction has solid concrete walls between the units leaving only the entrance door for sound to travel into the halls, so some extra weatherstripping or other soundproofing methods can nearly eliminate this problem all together. If you live in a townhouse, or don't have solid concrete walls and floors in your apartment, then you have a couple options....go with a digital piano that you can control the volume or plug headphones in, or buy an upright with a mute or practice pedal. These pedals stay pressed once you put them in position and lower a felt strip between the hammers and strings, so you can still get the practice you need with a fraction of the volume level.
Even if noise is not a consideration, you want to consider the obstacles of getting a piano into your home. If you have 4 flights of narrow steps leading to you apartment, then moving a 6 foot grand piano may be cost prohibitive. Even getting an upright piano up and down those steps with tight turns will raise your piano move cost up considerably. Here the clear winner would be a digital piano because you are able to disassemble most of them into two pieces which can be easily carried or placed on a hand truck. How about the floor load capacity? Some apartments don't allow waterbeds because of their weight and potential leakage, so a large grand piano may not be allowed either.
Finally, the length of time you will be in your home should be considered when making the choice. I once moved a grand piano three times in one year between homes where I lived. I did not want to sell it and take a loss, but at $500 per move, the right thing in retrospect would have been to sell it, buy a digital piano, and move it myself each time along with the small amounts of furniture that I owned. Even better, I could have gone with a piano or digital piano rental during that course of time saving a lot of money and headache. If there is any doubt as to how long you will be at your home, then you may want to play it safe and go with a rental or new or used digital piano purchase.
Hopefully this helps you with your decision or at least confirms what you already know but just need to read. If you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org