If you are looking for the free piano VSTs then look no further. Today I’ll be going over the best free piano VST of 2022 to take you music production quality to the next level, without spending a single dollar!
If you’ve got your head wrapped around all the stock plugins that come with your DAW, you might find yourself looking for a wider range of piano sounds. It can be hard to specifically put your finger on what isn’t quite right, but I’m sure you will find something you love on this list. If you have a bit of money you’re willing to invest, then there are some really great premium piano VSTs on the market too of course, but you can still find some really great sounding free alternatives.
This piano has, and will continue to be, one of the most absolutely essential instruments in just about every genre the West listens to. From rock, to hip-hop, to drum and bass: just about everything you can think of can do with a piano. Luckily, with the astronomic rise of digital music production thanks to technological progress, no longer does a musician need to spends tens of thousands on physical instruments to get the sounds their listeners deserve. In fact, every single one of the piano VSTs in this list is absolutely FREE!
None of these plugins have paid for promotion on this site. These are purely unbiased reviews, and my true thoughts.
8 Best Free Piano VST Plugins
Let’s get into it! There are no doubt hundreds of different free piano VSTs available at the touch of a button, which is great, but it can be difficult to find the ones actually worth downloading. Without further ado, here are my 10 personal favourites.
1) KeyZone Classic – The Best Overall Free Piano VST
This keyboard plugin really is the bee’s knees. KeyZone has to be one of the most widely used free piano plugins, and it has stood the test of time. Even today, this is my personal favourite piano plugin to use.
It has a super intuitive UI, and although there aren’t too many different programs to choose from, the selection is pretty great. My personal favourite program in KeyZone Classic would have to be the Steinway Piano preset. Even without any tweaking, it sounds fantastic. If you combine this with a decent range of velocity when making melodies, you can make some really emotional, human sounding results with ease.
As many other reviewers have noted, the Steinway and Rhodes piano sound the best out of the 5 available presets, but none of us can exactly explain why. That’s not to say the other presets sound bad or anything, they just don’t quite have the same pizzazz to them.
Overall, KeyZone Classic is my favourite free piano VST available. I especially love it when I’m looking for a clean, grand piano sound which many synths like Serum fail to replicate in terms of how natural this sounds. That is to be expected of course, Serum is great but isn’t going to sound as natural as a live recording based sound.
I’m surprised this one is free if I’m being honest. This free piano plugin is so well received that it’s reached a whopping 1 million downloads, and I can see why. The Piano One plugin is based on one of the most iconic pianos of all time, the Yamaha C7 grand piano.
It has a ton of minor tweaking functionality which you would expect in premium, paid plugins, such as damping, perspective and harmonics. The only downside I have noticed is that it can sound a little bit robotic depending on the settings, but that’s just my personal opinion.
As with KeyZone classic, this is another fantastic option if you need to find a good, organic sounding piano for your music production. You can’t really squeeze anything too “quirky” out of it, but sometimes that isn’t what you need anyway.
Don’t be fooled by it’s 2002 style UI, this thing packs a punch. It’s another popular free piano plugin, which is sample based. I personally like sample based piano plugins more than the synthetic alternatives.
It doesn’t have much in the way of customisation – there’s just your standard attack, release, sustain and decay controls. Obviously this may leave some producers wanting a little more, but in my opinion it just sounds pretty damn good as is.
This free piano plugin is based on the high quality samples recorded from a Baldwin baby grand piano. It’s not a huge download, and doesn’t need any tweaking (you can’t really), so I think it’s worth giving a try and seeing if you are a fan of it. Apart from the very outdated UI, there isn’t much to not like with this plugin.
4) Iowa Grand Piano – The Simplest Piano VST
You can get this one as a Kontakt library or a VST. Either way, the Iowa grand piano by Bigcat Instruments is a great free piano VST based on samples of a Steinway piano. These were recorded at the University of Iowa, which is where the name is derived. It has a few options for tweaking, but not a lot.
You can use it’s built in reverb, velocity curve and EQ. The only one of these worth using is the velocity curves as I think we probably all have far more capable separate EQ and reverb plugins.
Nevertheless, this VST on its own sounds great, without the need for a ton of complicated processing afterwards. There probably aren’t going to be any new updates to this VST ever, so what you get is what you get. As far as I can tell the Kontakt version is exactly the same.
If you are keen on being able to create a crisp, brighter sound then an upright piano VST may be more suited to you than a grand / concert piano VST. The Versilian upright piano fits this need with ease. It’s pretty great.
Like the City Piano VST, it doesn’t have much in the way of customisation and tweaking, but it doesn’t really need this in my opinion. It sounds like it has a certain degree of variation with each note, which helps to make it sound a little more realistic.
Piano VSTs can be notorious for sounding super robotic, and even non-producers can often tell if a piano is synthetic or not. This helps with making your piano sound a little more natural without the need for you to go through and make a load of velocity tweaks.
This free grand piano VST isn’t going to win awards for customisation but this is the case with most free piano plugins, if you couldn’t tell already. This piano has great clarity and presence, and seems pretty perfect for more complicated, fast melodies.
As I mentioned, the UI isn’t going to win any awards but it does the job. Sometimes you don’t need a load of extra tweak-ability when it sounds this good out the box.
This is definitely one of the better free grand piano plugins around in 2022.
This piano is pretty cracking. It has a nice velocity range, especially for a free piano VST. Some of the YouTube video demonstrations for this Piano aren’t really great for showing just how capable this thing is, but don’t be fooled.
This plugin sounds warm and inviting, without the tinny tones that many other pianos are guilty of. The UI is notably 2005, but not quite as jarring as City Piano. The one thing I’ve really noticed when exploring the world of great free plugins is that the UI can be deceiving.
Sometimes plugins with really sharp, attractive designs can be far worse in real world sound and performance than their “uglier” counterparts. The Salamander Grand Piano is exactly what comes to mind when thinking of this type of plugin.
This free electric piano VST is going to be your new favourite piano for some of you out there. The interface is super intuitive, with a clean offering that makes a nice change to some of the older piano plugins I have mentioned earlier on in the list.
The main drawback, as with many of the other pianos is the lack of customisation, which you would find on premium piano VSTs. Spitfire Audio describes their offering as being a “legendary vintage electric piano”.
They recommend its use as being perfect for “jazz melodies, or to add warm, mellow tones to your music”. You can get this as both a VST2 and VST3, and doesn’t need Kontakt, which truly makes it one of the best, absolutely free piano plugins available in 2022.
What Makes A Good Free Piano VST?
There are 3 main elements I look for when determining what makes a free piano plugin good. Firstly, the sound. If it sounds good right out of the box, I am much more likely to fall in love.
Unlike synths, I actually prefer a piano plugin to have fewer options for customisation, but more importantly doesn’t need a load of customisation options. Sound is subjective, but we can all agree that a high recording quality is essential in samples when you’re looking for making the highest quality mix possible.
Secondly, the best free piano VSTs typically have a good degree of velocity sensitivity. We are looking to create emotional, heartfelt melodies that transcend beyond the robotic, monotone, boredom inducing chords we are so used to, and this is where velocity sensitivity can help.
Combining a variation in velocity with a lack of strict quantisation can really take your melodies to the next level. Most of the free piano VSTs on my list will be great for this, showing you don’t always need to shell out big money for a great piano sound.
Finally, the UI. It’s not absolutely essential, but a good, clean UI helps draw me back in time and time again. This is probably why one of my favourite VSTs of all time is Serum. The UI is just stunningly brilliant, and everything is exactly where you would want it.
Conclusion. There Are Loads Of Great, Free Piano Plugins In 2022!
Don’t worry if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a Hans Zimmer recordings, you can still find some fantastic, live recording based plugins for free! All the downloads links are at the bottom of my quick reviews. Leave a comment below telling me which of these 8 piano plugins is your personal favourite. If you liked this article, why not check out my post on the best free hip-hop drum kits here?