Since Spinet pianos and Console Pianos are similar in size, it is difficult to tell the difference by just looking at the outside. There are Spinet Pianos that are the same size as a Console piano, and some Console pianos that are unusually shorter than some Spinet Pianos.
The way to tell the difference between the spinet and the console is to open the top, and look at the hammers (the felts that strike the strings) in relation to the back of the actual keys themselves. The Spinet Piano has a “drop action’, which means that the “action” is “dropped” below the level of the keys. A console action sits fully on top of the keys.
The Console Action (shown below)
Notice the keys fully extend under the action. The Hammers are well above the keys. This is called a “Direct Blow” action.