You’re a musician and you dream of having that beautiful black grand piano sitting in your living room to play those complex concertos and to write music. That is a beautiful dream, and hopefully one day, you’ll have access to an instrument of that caliber, but until then, you probably have to work, travel, and live in a place where your living room isn’t 1000 square feet on its own.
This is where having a good digital piano comes in. It can be tough to choose the best one, making digital piano reviews essential. You need to find the best digital piano for your situation, and this article will help. Digital piano reviews can help you make your best decision.
Our Top 3 Best Digital Piano Comparison Chart
- 1 Why Should I Buy a Digital Piano? Isn’t Acoustic Better?
- 2 Digital Piano Reviews
- 3 The Top 3 Digital Piano Brands
- 4 Choosing a Digital Piano: Factors to Consider
- 5 Acoustic Vs Digital: Why Should I Buy a Digital Piano?
- 6 Accessories for your Digital Piano
- 7 Why Should I Learn To Play the Piano?
- 8 Tips for Learning to Play
- 9 Will My Posture Help Me Play Better?
- 10 How Do I Take Care of My Digital Piano?
- 11 Can’t I Just Buy a Used Piano?
- 12 The Final Lessons
Why Should I Buy a Digital Piano? Isn’t Acoustic Better?
So why would someone buy a digital piano in the first place? What many people think about digital pianos comes from the very first incarnations. Just about everyone remembers pulling out a toy keyboard from under the Christmas tree and turning it on, only to find that only one note at a time played and the keys felt like pudding.
Digital pianos have come a long way since then and offer authentic sounds in space saving designs that you can carry with you conveniently. They also cost way less than that grand!
We’ve compared digital pianos for you to make this decision a little easier. Keep reading for the list and a comparison of digital and acoustic pianos, as well as some other tips and tricks to get you on the path to success.
Digital Piano Reviews
For this list we’ve compared many different digital pianos to give you a comprehensive view of your options. We’ve chosen the best digital pianos in two different big categories, under $500 and under $1000, to make your decision-making, and respecting your wallet, a little bit easier.
In each of these two categories, we will give you the best digital pianos in several different sub-categories, things ranging from beginner pianos to professional home pianos, so that you can find a piano that suits your particular situation as well. Keep reading to see what we’ve decided!
Yamaha Quality and The Best Bang For Your Buck
Best Digital Piano For Intermediate Players
Professional Piano for a Great Price
Best Digital Piano For Starters and Children
Great Intermediate Digital Piano
Great Digital Piano for Home
Best Digital Keyboard for Professionals
Classic Home Digital Piano
Best Home Digital Piano: The Way Real Piano Feels and Sounds
The Way Real Piano Feels and Sounds
The Top 3 Digital Piano Brands
There are a lot of companies out there that make digital pianos, everyone from knock off brands at big box stores, to thousands of dollars for a professional grade digital piano. If you don’t already know a lot about digital pianos, it can be hard to know where to start looking.
There are three brands that are famous for their digital pianos. These brands have been around since the very beginning days of digital and they make an excellent place to start. We even have reviews of pianos from these companies including from Yamaha.
Yamaha is a leader in the music industry. Their instruments are tough, well built and last a long time. Yamaha has put a lot of time into building a great digital piano in a variety of price ranges. Although pianos are not the only type of instrument they make, they are definitely out front of the competition when it comes to digital pianos, and most Yamaha digital piano reviews will confirm.
Yamaha uses graded hammer action key sets in order to mimic the natural feel of an acoustic piano. While you don’t have to splurge for weighted keys, if you do Yamaha has some excellent models with this feature.
It also uses proprietary wave sampling technology and a variety of other types of voices, modulators, and tones, as well as other features such as recording and playback.
Owning a Yamaha is a solid investment because Yamaha digital pianos use these latest technological advances so you never feel like you are purchasing a piano from the 80’s. These are high value machines, even when you purchase entry level. Yamaha is a leader in the field, and engineers often use Yamaha designs in their own work.
Casio is almost a piece of history. The very beginnings of digital pianos, there were Casios, and today, Casio has come a long way from the toy digital pianos of your childhood. When they started, they had a reputation of cheaply made instruments and they have worked very hard to overcome this reputation.
Now, with digital pianos like the Privia, Casio can offer you some of the best digital pianos on the market in a variety of price ranges and scales. The company offers both short scale keyboards and full keyboards, full console machines, and easily portable gig pianos.
Casio uses graded hammer technology to mimic the natural physics of an acoustic piano. They also use state of the art air wave sound technology and systems, and they feature all these to some extent even in their entry level models.
Most consumers will be pleasantly surprised to play a Casio now. They’ve done a lot to produce quality made instruments, and continue to search for better ways to mimic the natural sounds and feel of acoustic pianos. The best part? Many models are ready to play straight out of the box with only a small learning curve.
Roland pianos have a touch of class, and the brand has the reputation of being a leader in digital piano innovation. Each instrument is expertly constructed and will last a long time. They are sturdy, but also beautiful, instruments.
A Roland digital piano will blend into your existing home decor without screaming “digital piano.” Many have the same look and feel as a classic piano.
They offer graded hammer technology which mimics the different weights of the low and high registers as well as the feeling of a hammer striking the note. They also use proprietary wave sampling technology, and have tone modulation and easy sound customization. They are midi compatible, and include other connections in most of their models.
Regardless of your price range or skill level, Roland has a model that is perfect for your needs. They are classic machines while still offering the latest in digital piano technology. They have some of the best products currently on the market, and make excellent investments for beginning students all the way to seasoned musicians.
Choosing a Digital Piano: Factors to Consider
Of course cost will come up in any conversation about investing in an instrument, but don’t let fear of money keep you from having the conversation in the first place. There are quality digital pianos at just about every budget. Once you decide how much you can spend, you can play a few instruments in person that fit your budget requirements.
Many people still remember the first digital pianos, and how difficult it was to transition from an acoustic to a digital and vice versa. Key sensitivity has come a long way since then, with manufacturers pouring a lot of thought and innovation into recreating the natural resistance of acoustic keys.
Having weighted keys means that the key will respond to light or heavy touch, and the keys will feel different based on where they are located in the register. The best keyboards mimic the resistance of the lower end, and the more responsive touch of the higher end.
If you are playing classical pieces or advanced scores, this sensitivity becomes essential. One option that is available is something called a semi weighted keyboard, which offers more response than unweighted keys, but can be lighter and cheaper than fully weighted keys. That being said, it’s important to play many different options in person before deciding what works best for your needs.
Number of Keys
All pianos have the same number of keys, right? Problem solved.
Not quite. A full scale keyboard offers 88 keys, but there are many options for shorter scale keys. Your most common choices are 88 keys, 76, 61, and 44. Beginning students who don’t need the full range of keys will have an easier time with a shorter scale, though depending on how fast you progress as a student, these could limit you.
88 keys makes for a long keyboard that can be more difficult to move, but it won’t limit the pieces that you can play, especially as you begin to practice advanced scores.
Will you be doing a lot of recording? Experimenting with different sounds? Will you need multiple input jacks or built in speakers?
Digital keyboards can come loaded with features that rival a computer, so it’s important to consider what you are hoping to get out of it. If you’re buying one only for the price, or to save space, then upgrading to fancy features that require you to keep the manual easily accessible may not be necessary.
Some features you may consider are multiple input jacks for headphones so that you are able to play with your teacher without disturbing someone else in the next room. Many people are unhappy with the onboard speakers of even higher end digital pianos, so listening to the sound will be crucial to your decision to get external speakers.
You may also need USB ports and midi connections especially if you are doing a lot of recording. Other types of features can be external pedals for sustain or dampening. If you are looking for a natural piano feel, then the pedal action is just as important as the keys. A good pedal can intensify the experience of playing.
You may also think about how many other types of voices you’ll want aside from the traditional ones. Usually digital pianos come with different tones of piano, plus traditional instruments like organ, strings or harpsichord. Others come with a full range of instrumental sounds plus sound effects. Deciding what sort of sound range is important to you can help you narrow the choices.
Basically, polyphony is the maximum number of sounds that a keyboard is capable of playing at once. Keyboards that are basically children’s toys will only play one note at a time. Real digital keyboards come in a variety of different numbers, but you shouldn’t aim for anything less than 32.
And really, 64 to 128 is a much better option. Even though the standard keyboard only has 88 keys, when playing elaborate pieces with complex runs requiring you to use the sustain, that 32 note cut off will limit your ability to play. If you are a true beginner, this may not be that important, but intermediate to advanced students will need to upgrade in order to practice the full range of scores available to them.
Acoustic Vs Digital: Why Should I Buy a Digital Piano?
Digital Pianos have come a long way since the synthesizers of the 80’s. And students of piano have a choice to make when investing in a piano. Acoustic pianos have a lot to offer, rich beautiful sound goes without saying. But don’t discount digital pianos. The best digital pianos may have some compelling reasons for you to commit besides just saving space.
A brutally honest advantage of electronic pianos is that they are cheaper. A lot cheaper. New student or seasoned musician, you need to be able to practice regularly, and for a lot of people a good quality traditional piano is much more than they can afford. You can hope to get really lucky at a yard sale, but the price range of a quality digital piano puts an instrument within reach.
Another advantage is the level of control you have with a digital. Digital requires no tuning or maintenance, and if you live in an apartment or with roommates, you have the ability to control the volume, or remove it altogether with the use of headphones.
Acoustic pianos are loud even when played quietly, which may not go over well with your neighbors.
Even some of the cheapest digital pianos have record and playback features that come in handy if you are a new student. The best electronic piano will even mimic the feel of playing an acoustic.
A disadvantage of a digital piano is still the sound and feel. Even with the advancements in technology that mimic the natural physics of an acoustic piano, they still don’t reproduce the exact sensations as a real piano.
The sounds of a digital piano are recordings, and while most reputable brands use high quality recordings of acoustic grand pianos, there will always be something missing from the sound of digital.
Another disadvantage, if we are still being brutally honest, is the aesthetic value. Acoustic pianos, especially grands, are beautiful, and digital pianos rarely measure up in sheer beauty.
That being said, the advantages of a digital piano make it a worthwhile investment. It’s possible to love your digital as much as any acoustic piano if you choose the right one for you and make sure that you know exactly what you need. Take the time to play as many as you can before deciding and that will get you much closer to your perfect digital piano.
Accessories for your Digital Piano
Alright, you’ve decided on your piano, and now all that’s left to do is to go home and put it together and start playing, right?
Not exactly. Even if you are a beginner without much knowledge of music and instruments, there are some things that you’ll want to consider to make playing your new digital piano a little easier.
First, a bench would be good, especially if you plan to get a piano with an integrated console. The bench should be comfortable enough to allow you to play, but sturdy enough to maintain your posture.
Second, some kind of pedal will increase the similarity to an acoustic piano. Pedals can sustain sound or dampen sound, among other things.
You might also need some other smaller equipment based on your own needs such as a music stand or headphones.
Choose The Best Piano Bench
On Stage KT7800 Plus Padded Keyboard Bench
This bench is sturdy enough that it can function as your main bench if you have a console, or as a good gig bench if you need to carry your digital piano with you.
It can support up to 330 pounds, and the back and forth sturdiness is solid. It also allows for four different height positions.
The legs can be removed completely or collapsed to allow for travel, though the locking pins require some fiddling before they snap into place.
Best Sustain Pedal For Your Piano
M-Audio SP-2 Universal Sustain Pedal
Do you know what polarity is for digital pianos? If you do or if you don’t, it doesn’t matter because this particular pedal comes with a switch so you never have to worry. It features a realistic sustain and push action.
It’s a solid pedal. It doesn’t rock back and forth the way some do and feels sturdy. Although it has the tendency to slip, keeping the floor and the foot of the pedal free of dirt and debris seems to take care of this issue.
Heavy Duty Piano Keyboard Stand
Knox Z Style Adjustable Piano Stand
If your keyboard doesn’t come with a integrated console, then you’ll probably want to invest in a good stand, rather than simply playing it on the table or the floor. A stand helps keep your posture correct and protect your investment.
This stand is sturdy and features an adjustable height and length. Its open design can be played with pedals and plenty of cables, and the top has foam pads to prevent keyboard slippage. The joints lock into place for security.
It’s an a well designed, yet portable, stand that should last the life of your digital piano.
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
The Audio Technica headphones are a sturdy, foldable set of headphones in the below $100 range. They are comfortable for a wide range of head sizes and feature 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad wire.
They are collapsible for easy portability, and are designed for tasks such as tracking, recording, and have an excellent midrange quality.
Why Should I Learn To Play the Piano?
Playing an instrument isn’t just about the party tricks. You should learn to play the piano because playing an instrument increases your likelihood of staving off the effects of aging on the brain. It builds discipline and helps to instill a sense of follow through.
Learning music translates to other skills as well. The continual practice and accomplishment exercises your brain, and gives you a way to entertain yourself when you are bored. There is no age limit; anyone can pick up the piano at any age.
At the very least, diving into learning the piano gives you a leg up on all those classic New Year’s resolutions. Remember those? Get healthy, stop smoking, and… drumroll… learn the piano. It’s a sure win that won’t be nearly as painful as the other two.
Tips for Learning to Play
One big tip for learning the piano is to have fun with it. Trust me, no one is good when they first start.
It’s important to practice both playing by ear and learning to read some style of music notation. One will increase your ability to play fluidly, and the other will give you a reliable way to practice and recreate songs that you hear.
Practice isn’t fun, but try to choose things that you want to learn to play. This will help you practice without it being too much of a drudgery. Eventually, you will be comfortable enough that you’ll be able to play for enjoyment and get into the flow. However at first, you’ll have to find interesting ways to motivate yourself.
If you need more inspiration, we have another page with easy songs for beginners here to help you get started.
Will My Posture Help Me Play Better?
It’s important also to maintain good posture while at the piano. The way to do this is by first adjusting the bench. The height of the bench should allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor, and the arms to fall freely from the shoulder. You shouldn’t be reaching for the piano, or crunched up. Instead, the hands should rest naturally on the piano keys.
The distance from the bench to the piano should bring your elbows forward ever so slightly. Again, you shouldn’t have to reach for the keys, and the elbows shouldn’t be far in front of you.
You should also be able to move your torso easily from the hips to reach keys at the extreme ends of the keyboard. Don’t perch on the edge of the bench, but don’t sit too far back either. Sit in a position that supports your lower back and allows you to rotate your body easily.
How Do I Take Care of My Digital Piano?
Once you find your perfect keyboard, it’s important to maintain it so that it lasts as long as possible.
Choose the right location. Keep it away from extreme temperature changes, any drafts or direct heating vents, heavy foot traffic, and direct sunlight.
Only clean your keyboard with a dry cloth, never with water or cleaning products. Make sure that your hands are clean before you begin to play.
Keep an eye on all cords and plugs. Make sure that connections are secure and that there is no damage.
Treat your piano as an instrument and not as a piece of furniture. Shelves are for books and plants. Pianos are not. Don’t let children climb on the instrument.
Protect it by covering the keyboard when it isn’t in use, and by keeping pets away. Supervise children when they are playing. Don’t put food or drink near your piano.
Can’t I Just Buy a Used Piano?
So you want a better piano than what you can afford right now, or you may not know where to buy a digital piano. We’ve been trained to look for bargains, but the truth is that shopping for a digital piano can be risky if you are looking for a used model.
There’s no pricing standard for used digital pianos. Sure the one you found on eBay may retail for a lot more but there’s no way to tell if it’s been treated well, or if it’s likely to last you a long time. Used pianos are out of warranty and unpredictable.
Another issue is that sometimes newer models of pianos will retail at the same price your used digital piano is selling for used. Even if the used piano once retailed for a lot more, chances are you’ll find an equivalent piano new in the same price range.
Just because a piano was once expensive doesn’t mean it’s worth the used price now.
Going back to its treatment before you found it, unseen damages can make even the best deal a disappointment in the long run. Again, there’s no way to tell how a piano was treated or stored before it was put up for sale.
Even if it looks good and plays good, there are things that could be wrong inside that are ticking time bombs.
Price depreciation also means that newer models are consistently better quality than older models. Buying a new piano ensures that you get the latest technology when you make your investment, not last year’s tech. Starting with used puts you behind right at the very start, and makes it less likely that the piano will suit your needs for as long as you need it.
Overall, it’s a much safer bet to invest in a new piano. There are just too many unknown factors in play to make a used piano a safe purchase. If you have a really tight budget, there are some good cheap electric pianos out there.
If you need more help, head over to our beginners guide to buying a digital piano. It has tips and information, including the best cheap digital piano advice, to make the whole process a little easier.
The Final Lessons
If you are serious about wanting to learn the piano, don’t let the fear of investing in a good instrument prevent you from fulfilling your goal. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good quality instrument.
Practice is essential and while today you may think it’s possible to go to a practice room, or to borrow someone else’s instrument, you’re going to realize in the long run that having the instrument easily accessible to you will make or break your practice habit.
You might also be thinking that you’ll just wait to purchase a digital piano when you are better at playing. However, you’ll be taking away your best chance of getting better if you wait.
If you are worried about money, there are lower priced instruments that offer quality and similar experience to an acoustic piano. You can even test out a few models in person before you buy, and definitely read some piano reviews, but it’s still essential to go ahead and get the piano.
Don’t wait until you are a better player or you have thousands of dollars. Go ahead and give yourself the best chance you can of accomplishing your goal of learning to play. There’s no better time than right now to do so.
If you have any more questions about buying your new digital piano, be sure to let us know. Take a minute and share this info or comment below with some of your own experiences!