We have our fair share of lamps in the house. Some floor lamps. Table lamps. No piano lamp though.
As an aside, piano lamps are often also referred to as banker’s lamps. They’re very similar in design (and price).
Before we answer the question why piano lamps are so expensive, it helps to set out just how expensive they are.
Like everything for the home, it varies. But piano lamps typically start at $40 to $50. That’s just for starters which is high for lamps when you consider that you can buy a low-cost desk lamp for under $10.
Let’s check out some examples by price.
Low-Cost Piano Lamp
First up is an inexpensive piano lamp. It costs around $25 (plus or minus a few dollars depending on whether on sale or not).
Mid-range cost Piano Lamp
Mid-range cost for piano lamps would be $40 to $100. Here’s an example.
Expensive Piano Lamp
An expensive piano lamp will run you $100 to $250. Here’s an example.
Luxury Piano Lamp
Luxury will run you $250 or more. I’m sure there are collector piano lamps and antiques that can cost thousands. The following comes in a tad above $300.
Let’s compare this to a low-cost desk lamp
Here’s an example of a low-cost desk lamp coming under $5:
So why do piano lamps cost so much money?
There are a few contributing reasons. They are:
Weight and quality of design
It boils down to the need for it to be properly weighted and definitely on the heavy side.
The lighting end is also fairly wide which requires more materials and a more expensive design.
When you lift a piano lamp, it weighs more than many other lamps and that’s because in order the light portion, which is long and larger than many lamps, must extend forward like a crane to illuminate sheet music on the piano. In order for this to happen, the base of the lamp must be very heavy which requires higher quality materials and more attention to design.
Target market has money
The thinking goes like this… if someone can afford a piano, they can afford to spend more on a lamp. This is not an unusual line of logic by any company that sells stuff. Plenty of things are marked up more than average just because the target market can afford it. In many cases, if targeting an affluent market, merchants sell more of something if priced higher. After all, you get what you pay for is widely believe and so it follows that many folks think that if something is dirt cheap, it must be garbage.
The good news is piano lamps have been coming down in price
While piano lamps cost more in general than other types of lamps, they have come down in price thanks to LED lighting which not only lasts longer, is more energy-efficient, but costs less than other types of lightbulbs.
It wasn’t long ago where a $25 to $35 piano lamp was not possible.
Do you even need a piano lamp? What’s the point?
Okay, you can get by without one. You could use a low-cost clip-style desk lamp or rely on regular room lighting.
But, if you have a dimmed room and are a serious piano player, a piano lamp, with the wide light, will light up the full width of sheet music or piano books. This is pretty important for proper viewing. I’m not a piano player but my mom is and she has a beautiful piano lamp and uses it every time she plays.
Functional and Beautiful
If you buy a nice piano lamp, they not only illuminate your music but they adorn a piano. If you have a multi-thousand dollar piano the last thing you want to do is cheapen it with a lousy-looking lamp. Instead, invest in a beauty to complement the piano.
Technology may change whether you need a piano lamp at all
These days, you can get all your sheet music online or in apps and display them on a laptop or tablet. Since these devices self-illuminate, when using them for piano music, there’s no reason to have a piano light. This could be a very interesting development in the world of piano lighting.
How to choose – what are the different types of piano lamps?
Typically speaking, piano lamps have a distinct shape and design. Here it is:
Within that design, there are different types and features. They are as follows:
Surface Base: Most have a solid, heavy base and sit on top of a surface.
Clip-on: Some are designed to clip onto something. These are lighter and often cheaper.
LED: Most are LED lighting these days.
CFL: CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamps. However, you can still find CFL light piano lamps. This is an example.
Hinged: The traditional piano lamp has hinged arms that bend at jointed points along the arm.
Flexible: More modern lamps have a fully flexible arm that can be bent at any point.
Electricity: Most piano lamps run on electricity and must be plugged into an outlet.
Battery: Some, however, are battery-powered which are great for portable keyboards or in places where there isn’t an outlet close by.
The type of piano you have makes a difference as well
If you have a full upright piano, you need a piano lamp with the ability to drop down a bit further compared to a grand style piano or non-upwright where the top is not so elevated. Check out the two different types of pianos and you’ll see what I mean.
Compared to a full upright as follows:
When looking at both piano styles above (and a grand is similar in top surface height as the top example) you can see that lamp extension makes a difference.
Where can you buy piano lamps?
I’m sure you can score one at a local lighting store or even a local hardware store. If not and you prefer online, the following are some of our favorite piano lamp websites with great selection.
In fact, it’s not easy to find an online store with decent piano lamp selection. Seriously, Wayfair and Amazon are two of the best so you might very well be better off going to a local piano retailer or lighting retailer for better selection.