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The Best Digital Pianos - Under $500 & Under $1000

Digital Pianos

Originally published on Feb 14, 2017 and most recently updated on Mar 9, 2018.

Contents

Digital Piano Overview

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, updated for 2018. We feature market favorites in the sub $500 and sub $1000 price brackets, based on the most current reviews and ratings. Most of our recommended list remains the same, except for the Kawai ES110..

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 to better reproduce acoustic piano sounds. These key elements make Digital Pianos viable for pianists, allowing them to play an electronic keyboard instrument with minimal technique adjustments.

The Best Digital Pianos

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

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Yamaha P-45 88-Key Digital Piano

At the time of publication, the Yamaha P-45 was the Highest Rated Digital Piano Under $500.

Yamaha continues to dominate as a musical instrument manufacturer, especially in the student tier. And the P-45 is a testament to this, an affordable digital piano that consistently rates highly and does well in the market. 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 piano students, so you won't get as many different sounds as you would on a workstation or arranger 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. Sound quality and playability gets commended a lot for surpassing the expectations of a good number of users. While most of the reviewers are students, there are also teachers who share good experiences, many of whom feel strongly enough to recommend it to their students.

Cons

There are some who wish for the price to be a bit more accessible, especially when considering its lack of features. Speaking of features, there are a few who wanted more sounds and student friendly functions like a built-in metronome.

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

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$500
Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Digital Piano

It's not surprising at all to see Casio here, because they are well known for their affordable keyboards and digital pianos. The Casio Privia PX-160 maintains its spot in this list again in 2018 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 16 Watts 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 are found in many reviews, and it's not surprising given its feature set and sound quality. There are also a lot of good things written about its sound quality and reliability. Most of the reviews are from non-professionals and students, but there are some piano instructors who said that they would recommend the Privia PX-160 without reservations.

Cons

There are some who found the sound options to still 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.

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. If you need to go to a higher standard than these options, then you'll have to start looking at instead.

Yamaha P-115

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$550
Yamaha P-115 88 Key Digital Piano

At the time of publication, the Yamaha P-115 Digital Piano was the Equal Highest Rated Digital Piano Under $1000.

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 in a compact and portable form factor. 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

Overall market sentiment continues to be positive, with many describing the Yamaha P-115 as an impressive and fabulous instrument. Most of the users rave 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, even from experienced pianists. What's surprising is that even those who are used to synth action keys found the P-115 a joy to play, and commented that it makes for an inspiring controller thanks to its USB MIDI capability.

Cons

The lack of an LCD display got some users complaining, although most of them still give perfect ratings. There are 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, there are requests for an Android version of its iOS only controller app, which makes adjustments and tweaks more convenient for Apple device users - although this would seem unlikely because Yamaha has discontinued the i-UX1 App.

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.

Casio Privia PX-350

89
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$600
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

Many students are impressed with the Casio Privia PX-350's playability and versatility. Some experienced pianists are just as impressed with its piano-like action and core piano sounds. A good number of users describe the unit as amazing, especially when considering its prize and size. Speaking of size, many users find it reasonably portable and easy to lug around, making the PX-350 a viable gigging instrument.

Cons

Because of its lighter and compact frame, Casio designed the controls and LCD interface small. And as expected there are some people who complain about them. There are also a few reports of hardware issues like keys failing and rattling sounds inside the unit, 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

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$700
Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano

The Roland FP-30 is 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. Many 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, however there were a number of users who wanted more sounds and an LCD screen for monitoring. The lack of these features brought its ratings and Gearank score down.

Overall

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

Kawai ES110 88-key

88
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$730
Kawai ES110 88-key Digital Stage Piano

Japan based manufacturer Kawai joins this list with the ES110, a versatile digital piano with interesting features. It has 88 grade weighted hammer action keys that lets you play with its 19 different voices. It also comes with built-in reverb for adding realistic air to your sound. Student friendly features include built-in lessons mode, song recorder and rhythm. It also comes with MIDI compatibility, for working with other MIDI devices, and it comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity for wireless connection with your computer and smart devices.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Grade Weighted Hammer Action
  • Speaker System: 2 x 7W Amplifier and 2 x 4.72" Speakers
  • Pedal: F-10H Damper Pedal
  • Presets: 19 Voices
  • Effects: Reverbs (Room, Small Hall, Concert Hall)
  • Polyphony: 192
  • Functions: Song Recorder (15,000 note memory), 100 Drum Rhythms, 12 Demo Songs, Bluetooth Compatibility, MIDI Compatibility, Lesson Mode
  • Audio Output: 2 x 1/4"
  • MIDI I/O: 5-Pin
  • Power Supply: AC/DC Adapter
  • Stand: Furniture Stand
  • Dimensions: 5.75" x 51.6 x 11.30"
  • Weight: 26.45 lbs

Pros

Fantastic is a one word adjective that nicely sums up what many feels about the Kawaii ES110. From its concert grand piano sound to its hammer action keys, users have mostly good things to say. There are some who also commended the addition of Bluetooth connectivity, which they use to interface with apps like Garageband on their iPad.

Cons

While many are pleased with its acoustic piano sounds, there are some who find the other voicings to be lacking. One user also complained that some features are hidden in complex submenus. The lack of USB is also mentioned, but this is offset by its MIDI and Bluetooth connectivity.

Overall

If you're looking for a student friendly digital piano with extra features then check out the Kawai ES110.

Yamaha DGX-660

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800
Yamaha DGX-660 88-Key Digital Piano

At the time of publication, the Yamaha DGX-660 Digital Piano was the Equal Highest Rated Digital Piano Under $1000.

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 piano sound quality are mentioned a good number of times by many users. This includes experienced acoustic piano players who commend it for its great feel and overall tone. With its versatility and extra features, the Yamaha DGX-660 is 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 are a few who complained about its weight, stating that it's too heavy to regularly gig with. Speaker noise are 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.

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 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 we have not recommended any of those.

  • 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. We have a separate guide to metal Keyboard Stands

  • Connectivity

    Digital Pianos are meant to be stand alone units that can produce sound on their 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, sometimes 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.

The Best Digital Piano Selection Methodology

Our research included sub $1000 88-key digital pianos, specifically those with full-size hammer action keys and built-in speakers. We did not include portable keyboards, synthesizers, controller keyboards and arranger keyboards, we also limited our search to those that can be easily bought from retailers.

Even with the limitations mentioned, we ended up with a short list of 19 digital pianos and 2000+ related data, which include the most current ratings, reviews and forum discussions. These data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm, resulting in scores that allowed us to numerically rank the piano keyboards. Finally, we divided the list into two price categories, Sub $500 and Sub $1000, with each section featuring the best rated ones. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works

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.

As a result of our March 2018

As a result of our March 2018 update the following digital piano was removed from our recommended list but you can still read our analysis of it: Roland FP-30.

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