What made me build a site dedicated to digital piano reviews? Well, I’ve been playing the piano since I was six years old, but unfortunately when I moved out of my parent’s house I didn’t have the budget or the space to accommodate a traditional piano. One day I ran into my old piano teacher and I told her how I felt like I was losing touch with my piano skills. She told me that a lot of her students were purchasing digital pianos due to how cheap they are over the more traditional acoustic piano and recommended that I look into getting one for myself. I began searching around the web for more information in regards to the best digital pianos on the market, but wasn’t finding much. This led me to putting together a review guide of the top digital pianos available today.
Ultimate Comparison Chart
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Obviously there are many more options available, but in my opinion these are some of the absolute best based on the quality and value. Digital pianos certainly aren’t cheap, but they are much more affordable than an acoustic piano. For someone just starting out on the piano it is a much better idea to save your money by going the digital route and investing into piano lessons. Once you’ve advanced in your piano studies then you may want to consider the purchase of a traditional piano, but even then there are still benefits that these digital instruments offer, which may convince you to continue on with a digital piano rather than it’s acoustic counterpart. See below of a peek at just a few of the many benefits digital pianos offer.
Benefits of Going Electric:
Never having to worry about tuning – If you are familiar with acoustic pianos you will know that they need to be tuned every year and if you move the instrument to a new location you must tune it as well. You can expect to pay around $100 just for one tuning and believe me it isn’t something you can do yourself.
Portability – Not only will you not have to worry about tuning your piano when you move, but you also won’t have as much hassle moving it. Some digital pianos are more portable than others, but overall they aren’t hard to move and you can do it yourself. In order to move an acoustic piano you are going to need to hire a professional moving company. Not all movers are equipped to move a piano and even if they are, acoustic pianos are easily damaged in transport.
Price –A very basic upright piano runs around $5,000 dollars whereas a top-of-the-line digital piano will cost around $1,000 and there are plenty of options in the $500-$800 range. That’s a significant savings!
MIDI Capability – If you are someone who is interested in digital audio productions and songwriting than a digital piano is a must. Nowadays most of the pianos you hear in hit songs are actually digital because of the ability to plug directly into a computer and record. Also, there are software programs available which allow you to plug your piano directly into the keyboard and provide real-time instruction. This technology is awesome and can actually save you a ton when compared to the cost of weekly piano lessons.
My Top 3 Picks for the best Piano
Below are a few of my favorite digital pianos based on their value and my first-hand experience and other reviews. Like I said before, I spent quite a bit of time investigating most of the pianos available so while I’m not an expert on pianos I do feel confident in my ability to judge them.
In my opinion this is the cream of the crop when it comes to digital pianos. Casio is one of the best known companies in the piano / keyboard world and has certainly delivered with this upright digital piano. What I liked most about this one was that it felt no different than a traditional acoustic to me. Obviously I’ve been playing a traditional piano for years so for this to feel like the real deal to me says a lot. The main reasoning behind this was that the hammer action and simulated Ebony and Ivory keys provided me with the texture and feedback that I’m accustomed to when playing the piano. The particular Casio includes the patented AiR technology, which makes this the most realistic sounding piano to-date. The piano doesn’t have that stale digital sound that other digital pianos seem to have and instead resonates into a very full grand-piano like experience. This piano packs a very big sound in its compact frame and would provide new piano learners with the best overall learning tool.
This is one of the most affordable digital pianos available and would make a great beginner piano for younger musicians or those who a very portable piano. Yahama is another great brand in the world of musical instruments and they proven that once again with the P35B. This piano is a tabletop meaning you will need a keyboard stand or you can shell out the extra money for an upright piano stand. Amazon actually offers a really good package that includes the piano along with a keyboard stand and bench. This is a full 88-key piano with realistic weighted piano keys. I actually recommend this one to friends the most simply because of the price and how much simple it is.
If the Casio PX850 is out of your price range than this is the next best thing. This tabletop piano still features the patented AiR technology which provides you with the most realistic piano sounds available in the digital world. The downsides here are that the piano keys don’t feel as realistic as the PX850 and although the piano includes the typical organ, strings, and brass sounds, the sound-bank library is significantly smaller. This keyboard also lacks an LED screen and line-out outputs. Still considering the price, this is a great entry-level piano, and you’re still getting access to the same grand piano sounds as the PX850, making this a piano that you won’t outgrow overnight.
Things to Consider Before Buying
If you have spent any amount of time shopping for a digital piano you have probably realized that there are a number of different options available with some being more important than others. Below are some of the more important options worth paying attention to.
Number of Keys – You will find a variety of keyboard sizes, however most with either be 61 or 88 keys. For those of you that do not already know a standard piano has 88 keys, so if you decide to purchase a smaller piano you need to understand that you may possibly be limiting yourself. I typically recommend 88 key pianos for number of reasons, but mainly because the more “professional” keyboards are typically full sized. With that said if you are not expecting to become the next Mozart then you can probably get away with the smaller piano. Most beginning and intermediate pianists probably won’t even being utilizing those keys.
Weighted Keys – This in my opinion is probably the most important aspect of your piano options. Weighted keys mimic the weight and feel of a real piano, where as unweighted keys have more of the keyboard feel to them. I strongly recommend a weight piano, because you want to be able to transition between a regular acoustic piano and your digital with little trouble. Some unweighted keyboards will have a touch sensitivity, which means that the force with which you press the keys determines the volume similar to a real piano. If you decide to go the route of an unweighted keyboard then I think touch sensitivity is an absolute must.
Portability – Where do you plan on using your new instrument? Are you in a band and want to transport it to gigs? Perhaps you playing at church and need to transport it to and from services each week? Or do you live in a cramped space and need the ability to put your piano away in the closet when it is not being used? It is important to think about whether or not you need your new instrument to be portable or not. There are a number of lighter weight options and on the other end of the spectrum there are digital pianos that look like a traditional upright piano.
Split Keys for teacher – Some piano have the ability to actually split the keyboard down the middle so that the student and teacher can play the exact same notes. This option is obviously dependent on whether or not you plan to get formal lessons, but as someone who has been both the student and teacher I really like the ability to play alongside my students. I find that some students (myself included) learn better by hearing an instructor play through the piece so that they can better understand what exactly the song should sound like.
Multiple headphone jacks for teacher and student – To accompany the split keyboard feature mentioned above a larger number of pianos offer you the ability to plug in multiple headphones so that both you and your instructor can listen at once. This is a great feature for those who need to their lessons to stay on the quiet side. I’ve given lessons where the parent works from home and can’t have little bobby’s less than stellar rendition of “Ode to Joy” playing in the background while he’s on the phone with clients.
Cost – This is pretty much a no brainer, but the price range on digital pianos can make shopping for your new instrument a bit intimidating. If you have never played the piano before I would not recommend spending a ton of money on one of the super high-quality pianos, because realistically you may up not playing it as much as you think. With that said, you still want to avoid some of the super low-end models because they are honestly pretty much crap and even though they may get you started in the right direction, you’ll end up needing to upgrade pretty early on. I have a few recommendations on this site for more affordable pianos that are still high quality and will serve you well beyond your first few months of playing.
Best Piano Under $1000
If you have a little more to spend and want a truly great piano that you will never have to worry about outgrowing then the following recommendations with serve you well. Of course there are a wide variety of options once you reach this price point, but I only like to highlight pianos that I have experience with whether that be form my own personal collection (which seems to be growing quite rapidly) or from what I have had the opportunity to use while giving piano lessons.
Casio PX760 & PX750
If it isn’t already obvious from the model numbers the PX760 is the newer version of the two. With that said, the original 750 can be found online heavily discounted, which is why I wanted to make note of it here. Although not common I have seen it available for around $500, which makes it one heck of a bargain steal. Either way both of these pianos are fabulous with wonderful samplings of some of the finest grand pianos and both have weighted keyboards. They also come with a high quality stand that makes the keyboard look like a traditional stand up piano. I find that to be a major plus if you plan on keeping the piano out in the middle of the room and don’t want to lug it back and forth out of the closet. Keep in mind that also means that this piano isn’t the most portable, so you’ll want to have a dedicated space for it. If you need something more compact for traveling, then I recommend you look elsewhere especially considering the fact the 760 weighs just under one hundred pounds. Nobody wants to be lunging a small body in and out of the car everything you play a show or church service. As always Casio prides themselves on the Ebony and Ivory feel of their keys along with its hammer action weight, which combined do a great job at imitating the realistic feel of a traditional piano.
Perhaps one of my absolute favorite digital pianos this is usually my go to recommendation when more advanced students ask what piano to buy. I have previously reviewed this piano here on the site, but I can never say enough good things about the DGX-650. While I know I said I recommend this piano for my advanced students, this is a great piano for players of all levels and is one of the only digital pianos any where near it’s price point which includes a concert grand piano sample. For more information on this particular model I recommend you see my full review.
Best Piano Under $500
For those of you on a tight budget or beginners looking for an instrument to get their feet wet with the pianos mentioned below are my personal recommendations for digital pianos priced under $500. In picking out my recommendations I placed a lot of importance on pianos, which I felt you would not outgrow tomorrow. I would hate to see someone spending his or her hard earned cash on some of the pianos currently on the market that you will end up outgrowing six months down the road. With all of that said lets take a look at my top recommendations.
Williams Allegro 2 88
The Williams Allegro 2 88 key piano is one of my personal favorites. This is probably one of the lowest price digital pianos currently available, but even at such a low price point you get a surprising amount of bang for your buck. Due to the fact that I give lessons on the side I find myself encountering this piano a lot! If you are new to this market, you might now be familiar with the Williams brand, but they have been around forever and our one of the most popular manufactures of digital pianos. One of the most notable takeaways from the Williams Allegro 2 are the hammer action keys, which feel wonderful and rival the realistic nature of pianos that cost twice as much. Also, the Allegro 2 features the ability to split the piano as described above. This is overall a wonderful piano for beginners and those looking for something, which you can use for formal piano lessons. It is important to keep in mind that with the Allegro most retailers sell the piano with out any sort of accessories and that even includes an external power cord. You are going to want to look for package deals (I know amazon has one) where you can get the external power cord along with some other goodies like a pedal, headphones, etc.
Yamaha’s P35B is more expensive then the previously mentioned Williams Allegro 2, but this too is a piano that provides a ton of value for such an affordable price point. First of all, I think it is pretty safe to assume that you are familiar with the Yamaha brand, maybe even for one of their many of the ventures into a variety of different industries, but Yamaha has been and will continue to be one of the biggest brands in world of musical instruments. This P35B is the entry level piano in their series of “prosumer” pianos. This piano also has a full 88 key weighted keyboard, but what really makes this piano stand out from the rest of the competition is the realistic sound bank. Yamaha has spared no expense in the quest to sample some of the finest instruments known to man and bring those sounds to the P35B (and all of their digital pianos for that matter). Another notable feature of the P35B is the ability to buy a stand up cabinet to put the keyboard in. This allows you to have a digital piano that’s super portable or you can dress it up in a cabinet so that it looks like it actually belongs in whatever room you desire to put it in. I hate the look of a piano sitting on the common X shaped piano stands where all the chords hang out the back. This gives you the best of worlds without having to pay about double for the digital pianos that are built into the full stand up cabinet.
I always like to remind readers that the above mentioned pianos are truly just a sample of what is available. I try to stick with instruments that I have had some sort of first hand experience with, so just because a piano isn’t featured here doesn’t mean it isn’t something worthwhile, I just haven’t had any experience with it. If you have any questions about the purchase of a digital piano please do not hesitate to reach out in the comments section. I am happy to help in whatever way possible. The piano is a wonderful instrument and I truly believe that as long as you stick with it you can succeed at learning to play the piano. So hurry up and get to practicing!