How to Ship a Keyboard or Electric Piano

Keyboards and electric pianos are considered irregular packages and will likely incur surcharges on top of your postage cost
how to ship a keyboard
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So, you want to ship a keyboard, eh? Maybe you’re a musician going on tour and need to send your piano to the next gig. Maybe you’re moving to a place that’s a bit too far to drive to, and you want to ship your gear to your next residence. Whatever the case, there are plenty of instances where people ship keyboards and electric pianos every single day. This guide is all about how to ship a keyboard or electric piano, how to properly pack them for shipment, and how to save the most money doing it. Let’s boogie!

Table of Contents

UPS is the Best Option for Shipping a Keyboard

Unless you’re sending a smaller electric piano used for recording purposes, keyboards, by nature, are relatively large objects. Most eCommerce packages that the major carriers handle can fit in your hands and don’t weigh a ton. Since that’s the case, shipping carriers classify electric pianos and keyboards as irregularly-shaped items. Irregular packages like these call for bigger, bulkier boxes…and when it’s time to choose the right shipping carrier, UPS is the best option for sending large boxes.

A quick note on the other two major carriers in the United States: USPS is the premier carrier for sending smaller, lightweight packages. FedEx, on the other hand, specializes in niche shipments (such as frozen food packages) and business deliveries. UPS, generally speaking, offers the best mix of affordability and fast delivery for boxes on the larger side.

For the Cheapest Service, Use UPS Ground

If you’re on the hunt for the cheapest UPS service, look no further than UPS Ground. UPS has deliberately kept prices for Ground low so that the service is competitive with USPS Retail Ground. If you look at the prices of these two services, you’ll find that they’re often relatively within the same ballpark. However, UPS Ground is different from USPS Ground by one key element: its delivery speed.

UPS takes anywhere between 1-5 business days to deliver Ground packages, while USPS can take up to two weeks to deliver a similar shipment!

To learn more about the differences between USPS and UPS ground services, check out our article: UPS Ground vs. USPS Ground: Which is Better?

Keyboards or Electric Pianos Will Likely Come With Surcharges

Since keyboards and electric pianos are irregular packages, UPS (and the other carriers) will tack on surcharges on top of the base cost of postage to ship them. For instance, UPS adds an “Additional Handling” surcharge for shipments where a package’s longest side is greater than 48 inches…which most boxes containing keyboards are. The UPS Additional Handling surcharge is around $11, and you’ll have to pay that on top of the service you choose.

How to Properly Pack Keyboards

If you haven’t taken your keyboard out of the box it came in yet, don’t! Keeping your keyboard or electric piano inside the manufacturer’s packaging will always be the best way to ship them. Think about it: these boxes are specifically designed for pianos and often come with customized interior packing material to fit the exact shape of the keyboard.

If you don’t have the keyboard box on hand, then you’ll want to purchase a box that matches the size of your keyboard as exactly as possible. ULINE offers a box that’s exactly fitted to an 88-key electric piano, which you can see and order here.

When sending a keyboard, it’s not entirely necessary to fill the inside of the box with a lot of protective packing material like foam inserts or packing peanuts. You can if you want to, but keyboards are relatively sturdy objects, and they won’t break if their boxes bump up against a hard surface once or twice during transit.

Save Money on Shipping Labels with Online Shipping Software

Since you’ll face surcharges when sending keyboards or electric pianos, it’s crucial to keep your shipping costs as low as possible. The best way to lower your shipping costs is to use shipping software to purchase discounted postage online.

When you use online shipping software, you get access to special levels of discounts that carriers typically only give to huge commercial shippers. For UPS, this special pricing level is part of the Digital Access Program. In some cases, discounts from the UPS Digital Access Program can save you dozens of dollars off what you’d pay to ship the same package at a UPS Store! Those savings go a long way when it comes time to ship larger boxes, and will help offset some of the cost of surcharges that you’ll probably need to pay when sending a keyboard or electric piano.

Consider Shipping Insurance to Protect Your Keyboard or Piano

UPS labels come with $100 of built-in carrier liability that will cover you in case your shipment arrives damaged or goes missing. However, since most keyboards cost more than $100, we suggest protecting your package with shipping insurance. As we said before, most keyboards are pretty sturdy; they won’t break if they get bumped a couple of times during the journey. However, sometimes a shipment goes missing between Point A and Point B…and it’s always a pain when it happens. Adding shipping insurance to your package only costs a couple of bucks, and it’s always a good idea. In our experience, it’s worth it to be able to file a claim for your keyboard if it disappears during transit.

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One Comment

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  1. Gabriel

    Thank you very much for your information. I am a giging musician and all my keyboards are in ata compliant shipping carrying cases. I do not use any cardboard boxes. My keyboards are all Nords and are expensive.Any ideas?


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