The Best Digital Piano Keyboards - Under $500 & Under $1000

Digital Pianos

There's just no replacing the feel and sound of acoustic pianos, but they are not always practical when considering real world space and budget restrictions. This is where we come in with our feature on the best digital piano keyboards, featuring market favorites in the sub $500 and sub $1000 price brackets that have impressed student and professional pianists alike.

While they may appear similar to regular keyboards, Digital Pianos are meant to be more piano-like, in terms of sound and playing feel. To get playability right, specially designed keys are used to mimic the acoustic piano's hammer action and weight. Sound quality is also refined to respond to dynamic playing and better reproduce acoustic piano sounds. These key features make Digital Pianos viable alternative instruments for pianists, so they can play an electronic keyboard instrument with minimal technique adjustments.

Click on a model name for further details or scroll down:

Methodology

We started by scouring the market for 88 key digital pianos, specifically those with full-size hammer action keys and built-in speakers. We limited our search to those that are widely available and can be bought for under $1000. To keep the list focused, we did not include other portable keyboards, synthesizers, controller keyboards, and arranger keyboards. All relevant ratings and review data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us the scores that allowed us to numerically rank the piano keyboards. We then divided the list into two price categories, Sub $500 and Sub $1000, and featured the top five digital pianos per category.

Things to Consider When Buying a Digital Piano

  • Key Action and Weighting

    To be labeled as a digital piano, the main requirement is to have keys that replicate the feel and action of an acoustic piano. Manufacturers have with their own designs and call them different names, but they all attempt to make the keys heavier and feel like the real thing. Most digital pianos even replicate the different weights of each key, making the lower notes heavier, and gradually reducing the weight as you get higher up the keyboard, much like an acoustic piano - this type of action is highly recommend if you're going for authenticity. Some manufacturers even go so far as to change the skin of the keys to make them "feel" like real ivory and ebony. Note that there are some units that offer semi-weighted keys, but they did not make the list.

  • Sound Quantity and Quality

    Unlike portable keyboards which can have hundreds of sound presets, digital pianos are usually limited to just a few, with the aim of focusing all processing power and memory into better replicating the acoustic piano sound. The most important sound is the acoustic piano and its variants like the Grand Piano, Baby Grand, Closed Lid, Open Lid, Upright and more. The Electric Piano sound is also important, mainly because it continues to be widely used in pop, rock and other styles of music. Other sounds that are normally included are organ, strings, synths, guitar and many more. If you're looking to diversify your sound, you'll want those with more presets. But if you're just into the piano sound then the number of presets take the back seat in your consideration.

    All these digital pianos do a good job of emulating the tone of high quality pianos and judging which sounds 'best' is a highly subjective topic, but ratings and reviews from multiple users can help quantify them into numbers. We've included video demos for each listing so you can hear and decide for yourself.

  • Speaker Volume and Quality

    Ideally, the higher the amplifier power rating, and the bigger the speaker, the more headroom you have to go louder without sacrificing clarity. In particular the bass notes will tend to sound fuller with larger speakers. This is the reason why we've listed this specification where available. While there are other factors to consider like component quality, these specifications can be a practical guide in case you are looking for something that can play louder or softer. If you think you might need a bigger sound than the inbuilt speakers can provide (such as for performing on stage) then look out for units that feature an auxiliary output so you can connect to a dedicated Keyboard Amplifier.

  • Piano Pedals

    Most digital pianos come with just one sustain pedal, and this pedal is used to sustain all the notes of your keyboard. Others allow for two or more pedal connections, but you'll often have to buy the extra pedals separately. There are also furniture stands that come with built-in piano-like pedals, allowing for traditional 3-pedal operation that include the Una Corda (Soft) pedal, Sostenuto Pedal (Half-Damper), and Sustain (Damper). The names of the two extra pedals are somewhat self explanatory, the Una Corda being a pedal used for soft notes and phrases, while the Sostenuto pedal is used to sustain specific notes that you're playing, instead of sustaining everything. Click Here for a more detailed explanation on what acoustic piano pedals do.

  • Form Factor and Stand

    Most digital pianos come in the same shape and form as portable keyboards, with some important differences, the most obvious of which is the lack of extra controls and buttons. The most common color is black, but there are keyboards offered in white and other colors. There are manufacturers who make digital pianos that look like acoustic pianos, complete with wood-like finish and furniture style stands. While not as important as sound and playability, you want a digital piano that will inspire you to play when you look at it. Speaking of stands, some digital pianos come bundled with a metal stand, but most require you to pay extra for them, so this is an important budget consideration. Others offer furniture stands as an option, which look better but tend to be more expensive.

  • Connectivity

    Digital Pianos are meant to be stand alone units that can produce sound on its own, which explains its streamlined connection options and built-in speakers. Still, it is a nice plus to have extras like a Line Out port for plugging into an external amplifier or a PA system. If the keyboard is used for learning or teaching, having two headphone outs will let both the teacher and student listen in without disturbing others. Other connectivity options that you want to look at include 5-Pin MIDI for connecting/controlling older MIDI devices, and USB for connecting with computers and smart devices. Note that some digital pianos offer extras that include mic input and even Bluetooth connectivity!

  • Other Functions

    While not as feature packed as portable keyboards, some digital pianos come with nifty functions that help in practice, songwriting and performances. Those with built-in rhythm and metronome will help keep your timing in tiptop shape. Ironically, there are some who don't want rhythm features because they are the first thing to distract students and non-piano players. Built-in effects let you add color and texture to your sound, which can spice up practice and performances. Another feature to watch out for is recording, you don't want to miss out a song idea just because you have to setup a separate recording gear. It is also useful for self evaluation, to make adjustments to your playing and correct mistakes where necessary.

Best Digital Pianos Under $500

Here are the digital pianos that rose above the rest in the sub $500 category, highly recommended for beginner to intermediate users.

Yamaha P-45 88-Key Digital Piano

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Yamaha P-45 88-Key Digital Piano

There's no denying Yamaha's reputation as a musical instrument manufacturer, especially in the student tier. This is attested to by their top rated products which include the P-45, an affordable digital piano that outscored many of its more expensive competition. The P-45 comes with 88 full-size keys with Yamaha's Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) weighted action, which mimics the uneven key weight distribution of acoustic pianos, where the keys get lighter as the notes go higher. There are also three levels of touch sensitivity to match your playing style and preference. To keep the production cost low, features are streamlined to meet the needs of beginner piano students, so you won't get as many different sounds as you would on a keyboard - but what's included is up to par with more expensive units in terms of quality. Finally, it has enough power and volume to fill the average room size. The Yamaha P-45 is available in black and white finish.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: Hard/Medium/Soft/Fixed
  • Speaker System: 2 x 6W Amplifier and 2 x 4.5" Speakers
  • Pedal: Bundled Sustain Pedal, 1/4" Pedal input
  • Presets: 10 x Demo, 10 x Piano
  • Effects: 4 Types of Reverb
  • Polyphony: 64 Notes
  • Functions: Metronome, Transpose, Layer, Split
  • Audio Output: 1 x TRS (Headphones)
  • MIDI I/O: USB
  • Power: DC IN 12V
  • Stand: Optional
  • Color: Black, White
  • Dimensions: 6" x 52.25" x 11.5"
  • Weight: 25.35 lbs

Pros

While the price is not the lowest, many consider the Yamaha P-45 as the best digital piano for beginners. Both it's sound quality and playability drew a lot of positive responses, meeting and even surpassing the expectations of a good number of users. While most of the reviewers were students, there were also teachers who shared their experiences with the unit, and felt strongly enough to recommend it to others, teachers and students alike.

Cons

There are some who wished that the price was a bit more accessible. There were also a few who wanted a few more nifty features like a built-in metronome, and more sounds.

Overall

If you're not into extra bells and whistles, and you just want to focus on improving your piano playing technique, then the Yamaha P-45 is highly recommended.

Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Digital Piano

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500

Casio are well known for their affordable keyboards and digital pianos. The Casio Privia PX-160 made this list with its balance of quality and value for money, going beyond what others have to offer in the same price range. To match what the competition is offering in terms of playability, Casio equipped this unit with scale weighted keys that have switchable 3-tier touch sensitivity. They then went a step further by upping the amplifier power to 16W and speaker size to 5.12", which translates to more headroom to fill bigger rooms with. Polyphony is also increased along with the addition of extra sounds to choose from. Casio did not compromise with extra features either, adding a 2-track recorder into the unit, along with the ability to layer and split the keyboard.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: 3 Levels
  • Speaker System: 2 x 8W Amplifier and 2 x (5.12" x 2.36") Speakers
  • Pedal: SP-3 Damper
  • Presets: 18 Tones
  • Effects: Reverb, Chorus, Brilliance
  • Polyphony: 128
  • Functions: Layer, Split, Duet, Octave Shift, Transpose, Metronome, 2-Track Recorder
  • Audio Output: 2 x TRS (Headphones)
  • MIDI I/O: USB
  • Power Supply: 12V
  • Stand: Optional
  • Colors: Black, Gold
  • Dimensions: 5.31" x 52.05" x 11.26"
  • Weight: 24.5 lbs

Pros

"Best value for your money", and other variants came up quite often among the reviews, because users were pleased with what they got for the price. And it's not just about having more because there were a lot of good things written about its sound quality and reliability. Most of the reviews are from non-professionals, but there are a good number of them that said that they would recommend the Privia PX-160 without reservations.

Cons

There were some who found the sound options to be lacking, particularly those who are used to portable keyboards with their many sounds. A few users noted that the keys make mechanical noises that can be noticeable when practicing at lower volumes.

Overall

If you're looking for a digital piano with full-size and fully-weighted keys, and you want a few more features to work with then the Casio Privia PX-160 should be high on your list.

Alesis Coda Pro 88-Key Digital Piano

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Alesis Coda Pro

The Coda Pro helped Alesis become a serious contender in this market. This digital piano is packed with extra features, including five different chorus effects, five reverbs and there's even a built-in EQ setting for shaping your sound. But what makes it a crowd favorite is the many student- and teacher-friendly features, that include having two headphone outputs, a built-in lesson mode, and metronome. Being a true digital piano, all of its 88 keys are fully weighted for acoustic piano like playing feel. The Alesis Coda Pro has 20 sound and 60 songs presets, more than enough to keep practice and performance interesting.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Speaker System: Stereo Speakers with Built-in Amplifier
  • Pedal: Sustain Pedal
  • Presets: 20 Tones, 60 Songs
  • Effects: 5 x EQ, 5 x Chorus, 5xReverb
  • Polyphony: 64
  • Functions: Metronome, Transpose, Lesson Mode, Duet Mode
  • Audio Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Audio Output: 2 x 1/4" (Headphones)
  • Pedal Input: 1/4" (Sustain)
  • MIDI I/O: USB, 5-Pin MIDI Out
  • Power Supply: AC Adapter
  • Stand: Optional
  • Dimensions: 5.5" x 53.5" x 14"
  • Weight: 27 lbs

Pros

Many were impressed with the extra features of the Alesis Coda Pro, while others were happy with its resulting sound and the overall build quality. The unit's compact size also helped put the product in a positive light, along with its pitch bend wheel, which is unorthodox, to say the least, for a digital piano.

Cons

Some experienced users noted that the weight of the hammer action across the keys is the same and not scaled, unlike others in the same price range. There were also others who were looking for more sound and control options, but they should have gone for a portable keyboard instead.

Overall

If you are looking for a weighted key digital piano that has some of the features of a portable keyboard, then check out the Alesis Coda Pro.

Best Digital Pianos Under $1000

As the price increases, quality and features are expected to go up as well. Those who are serious about their piano playing and are willing to make the extra investment should consider these top rated digital pianos.

Yamaha P-115 88-Key Digital Piano

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$600
Yamaha P-115 88 Key Digital Piano

The P-115 is based on Yamaha's uber expensive CFIIIS 9' concert grand piano, recreating its heavy playing feel and its distinct clear piano sound. It starts off with Yamaha's fully weighted "Graded Hammer Standard" action keybed, which emulates the feel of hammers hitting acoustic piano strings. To get the sound right, the company employed their "Pure CF Sound Engine" which sampled the CFIIIS at different volume and dynamic levels, resulting in a more organic and responsive sound. In addition to the CFIIIS sound, there are others available, which include different piano voicings, FM-style piano, electric piano, clavinet, vibes, strings and many more. Other features include dual/split voicing, two headphone outputs, built-in reverb and onboard recording.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: Piano Style
  • Speaker System: 2 x 7W Amplifier and 2 x (4.5" x 1.5") Speakers
  • Pedal: Sustain
  • Presets: 14 Voices, 50 Piano Songs, 14 Drum patterns
  • Effects: Reverb
  • Polyphony: 192
  • Functions: Recording (2 tracks), Assignable Split/Dual Voice
  • Audio Output: 2 x Headphones (TRS), 2 x Line (TS)
  • MIDI I/O: via USB
  • Power Supply: 6W PA-150 Yamaha Adapter
  • Stand: Optional Metal or Furniture
  • Dimensions: 6.25" x 52.25" x 11.25"
  • Weight: 26 lbs

Pros

The overall sentiment among reviewers is that the Yamaha P-115 is an impressive and fabulous instrument. Most of the users raved about the authenticity of the piano sound, some even describing the P-115 as a 9' concert grand piano that they can carry around and fit into their cars. The feel of the keys also received a lot of praise, especially from experienced pianists. Even those who were used to synth action keys found the P-115 a joy to play, and commented that it makes for an inspiring instrument and controller with its USB MIDI capability.

Cons

The lack of an LCD display got some users complaining, although most of them still gave perfect ratings. There were a few who found the action to be a bit on the heavy side, but this is to be expected since the P-115 is based on a 9' concert grand. Finally, Android users requested an Android version of the iOS only controller app, which makes adjustments and tweaks more convenient for Apple device users.

Overall

For something this lightweight, the Yamaha P-115 is a true heavyweight in the Digital Piano market, and it should be your top consideration if you aspire for authentic acoustic piano feel and sound.

Yamaha DGX-660 88-Key Digital Piano

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800
Yamaha DGX-660

Described by Yamaha as a "Portable Grand", the DGX-660 combines authentic fully weighted hammer action keys with the sound versatility of portable keyboards. It is a good in-between instrument for those who want the best of both worlds, so to speak. It starts off with weighted keys that follow the action and size of acoustic pianos, but it stands out from the crowd with its expansive sound library having 554 voices, 205 accompaniment styles, and multiple built-in effects. It literally opens up sound possibilities by a wide margin compared to other digital pianos. Connectivity options are just as numerous, with MIDI, USB and TRS ports available, there's even a mic input in case you want to sing along with your music. Recording capabilities wrap up its extended feature set, all of which make the DGX-660 viable for both practice, jamming, live performances and even for music production.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action
  • Speaker System: 2 x 6W Amplifier and 2 x 1.97" Speakers
  • Pedal: Sustain pedal + Optional Multi-pin Yamaha pedal
  • Presets: 554 Voices, 205 Accompaniment Styles, 15 Drum/SFX kits
  • Effects: Reverbs, chorus, DSP, EQ, Acoustic control
  • Polyphony: 192
  • Functions: MIDI Song Notation, 6-Track Recorder (MIDI/WAV), Metronome, Transposition
  • Audio Inputs: 1 x 1/8" TRS (aux in), 1 x 1/4" (mic in)
  • Audio Output: 1 x 1/4" TRS (headphones)
  • MIDI I/O: USB
  • Power Supply: 12V DC
  • Stand: Furniture Stand
  • Dimensions: 29.93" x 55.06 x 17.50"
  • Weight: 56 lbs

Pros

Playability and sound quality were mentioned a good number of times by many users, which include experienced acoustic piano players reported that it feels and sounds very similar to an actual grand piano. With its versatility and extra features, the Yamaha DGX-660 was considered by many as a fun instrument to play with, while others describe it as the best value digital piano in its price range.

Cons

There were a few who complained about the weight, stating that it's too heavy to regularly gig with. Speaker noise were also brought up by a few users, along with other hardware issues.

Overall

If you are looking for a reliable digital piano that can also serve as your music production workstation, then check out the Yamaha DGX-660.

Casio Privia PX-350 88-Key Digital Piano

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$700
Casio Privia PX-350 88-Key Digital Piano

Casio have gone beyond practice keyboards successfully with popular digital pianos like the Privia PX-350. This particular model is meant to meet the needs of professionals, while still being viable for students. It features 88 weighted keys that are scaled to mimic the action of an acoustic piano, while the sound aspect is handled by Casio's AIR (Acoustic and Intelligence Resonator) processor. But it doesn't end with just replicating the sound and feel of a piano, because Casio equipped the PX-350 with extra features that include the ability to select from 250 sounds and 180 rhythms, and the addition of a pitch bend wheel for keyboard like expression. The Privia PX-350's student friendly features include built-in metronome, and duet mode where the keyboard is divided into two, allowing the student and teacher to play notes simultaneously. Finally, Casio packed this keyboard with a 17-track recorder which lets you record your performance or even build complex music tracks.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: Piano Style
  • Speaker System: 2 x 8W Amplifier, 2 x (5.1" x 2.4") Speaker and 2 x 2" Tweeter
  • Pedal: SP-3, Optional (SP-33 Half Damper)
  • Presets: 250 Tones, 6 Demo Songs
  • Effects: Reverb and Chorus
  • Audio Input: 2 x TS (Line Level)
  • Audio Output: 2 x TS, 2 x TRS (Headphones)
  • Pedal Input: Sustain, Soft/Sostenuto, SP32 Connector
  • MIDI I/O: 5-pin, USB
  • Power Supply: DC 12V AC Adapter
  • Polyphony: 128
  • Functions: Metronome, Duet Mode, 180 Rhythms, Pitch Bend Wheel, 17-Track Recorder
  • Stand: Optional CS67 Keyboard Stand
  • Dimensions: 5.31" x 52.05" x 11.26"
  • Weight: 25.35 lbs

Pros

While Casio is known for affordable student friendly keyboards, even experienced pianists were impressed with the Casio Privia PX-350's playability and sound quality. A good number of users described the unit as amazing, especially when considering its prize and size. Speaking of size, many users found its light weight to be easy to lug around, making the PX-350 a viable gigging instrument.

Cons

Because of its lighter and compact frame, Casio had to make the controls and LCD interface small. And as expected there are some people who noticed and complained about them. Hardware issues like keys failing and rattling sounds inside the unit were reported by a few users, so it would be prudent to handle this keyboard with extra care.

Overall

With its 250 sounds, 17-track recording and other extra features, this is one digital piano that gives you more than what you pay for. Do check it out.

Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$700
Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano

Roland enter this list with the Roland FP-30, a sleek looking digital piano that combines a traditional acoustic piano playing feel with modern sound processing and connectivity features. It starts off with 88 fully weighted keys with 5 sensitivity tiers to choose from, so you can better personalize the feel of the instrument. Roland then equipped this piano keyboard with 35 voices via their "SuperNATURAL Piano Engine", which provides enough flexibility without compromising sound quality. But what sets this digital piano apart is its extras which include practical features like Bluetooth wireless connectivity, built-in recorder, rhythm section and more input/output ports. Finally, the FP-30 has student/teacher friendly features that include Dual/Split/Twin Modes, and a built-in metronome.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Full Weighted Hammer Action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: 5-Levels
  • Speaker System: 2 x 11W Amplifier and Speakers: 2 x 4.75"
  • Pedal: Damper, Optional 3-Pedal Accessory
  • Presets: 35 Tones, 30 Internal Songs
  • Effects: Ambience, Brilliance, Resonance
  • Polyphony: 128
  • Functions: Bluetooth 4.0, Dual/Split/Twin Modes, Metronome, Transpose, Recorder, 8 Rhythm Types, Audio Playback,
  • Audio Output: 1/8" and 1/4" Headphone Outputs (these can also be used AUX Outputs)
  • Pedal Input: 1 x 1/4" (damper), 1 x 8-pin DIN (optional KPD-70 pedal board)
  • MIDI I/O: Bluetooth, USB
  • Power Supply: DC Power Supply
  • Stand: Optional Metal or Furniture Stand
  • Dimensions: 5.87" x 51.18" x 11.87"
  • Weight: 31 lbs

Pros

"Stellar" is an appropriate summation of how the market feels about the Roland FP-30. Most reviewers were impressed by the authenticity of Roland's SuperNATURAL piano sounds. The playing feel also got a lot of thumbs up, and mostly from experienced pianists who consider the FP-30 as a serious gigging/teaching instrument. The simpler interface was also mentioned in a positive light, with some commenting that they learned how to properly use the instrument faster than they expected. Many also thanked Roland for the unit's expanded connectivity options, which some feel should be a standard on all digital pianos.

Cons

There aren't that many complaints, aside from a few who wanted a few more sounds and an LCD screen for monitoring.

Overall

Go with the Roland FP-30 if you want modern convenience to go with traditional piano playability and sound.

Comments

It is a major flaw for any

It is a major flaw for any keyboard in these price ranges to not include a USB connection for MIDI data.

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