Best Digital Pianos Under $500 - Home & Stage

The Highest Rated Digital Pianos Under $500

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Not all musicians have the space and budget for acoustic pianos, even more so for beginners. And this is what digital pianos are for, they provide piano-like playability and sound within more practical space and budget requirements.

Here we feature the best digital piano keyboards in the sub $500 price range, updated for 2021, ideal for beginner to intermediate players who want an affordable instrument to learn on. Even experienced pianists can benefit from a digital piano's portability, sonic versatility, and the ability to play quietly via headphones.

To get the playing feel right, digital pianos come with full-size keys, many of which are modified to mimic the hammer action and weight of acoustic piano keys. Sound wise, better reproduction of acoustic piano voices and improved dynamic response to playing are prioritized. When done right, these key elements make digital pianos viable for pianists who want to play an electronic instrument with minimal technique adjustments.

The Best Digital Pianos Under $500

Casio Casiotone CT-S200 - 61 Keys

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$119
Casio Casiotone CT-S200 61-Key Portable Digital Keyboard

Normally, digital pianos have streamlined voicing features, but since the CT-S200 is from Casio, it comes packed with sounds and other functions.

Together with its ability to run on 6 x AA batteries, the CT-S200 is more akin to a portable keyboard, the main difference being its full-size keys and compact profile.

The Casiotone CT-S200 follows the usual digital piano interface with less buttons, but still allowing you to access its 400 tones and 77 rhythms.

It also comes packed with built-in lessons and effects, and there's even a dance music mode for even more rhythms.

Finally, it can be used as a MIDI keyboard thanks to having USB MIDI.

Features:

  • Keys: 61 Standard Size Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: Not Specified
  • Speaker System: 2 x 5.1", 4W amp
  • Pedal: 1/4" Input for Sustain Pedal
  • Presets: 400 tones, 77 rhythms
  • Effects: 10 Reverb Types
  • Polyphony: 48 Notes
  • Functions: Dance Mode, MIDI compatibility, Lesson Function
  • Audio Output: 1 x 1/8" (headphones/line out)
  • MIDI I/O: USB Micro B
  • Power: AC adapter (included) or 6 x AA batteries
  • Stand: Not included
  • Color: Black, Red, White
  • Dimensions: 2.9" x 36.6" x 10.1"
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs

Pros

For an entry level digital piano, there are quite a lot of positive comments about its sound, mostly coming from the students themselves, but also from their parents and teachers. Playability is also often commended, along with its versatility, which some describe as unprecedented given the CT-S200's price. There are also plenty of good comments about its sleek design.

Cons

There are a few nitpicks about some of the extra tones, as expected of a keyboard with many different sounds. Also note that it doesn't have the full 88 keys of a regular piano, nor does the action feel like a piano's hammer action - but you can't really expect an advanced keybed at this price.

Overall

If you're looking for a budget friendly beginner digital piano that's unabashedly versatile, then check out the Casiotone CT-S200.

Casio Casiotone CT-S300 - 61 Keys

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Casio Casiotone CT-S300 61-Key Digital Piano

The CT-S300 is part of Casio's line of portable digital pianos that comes with way more features than you'd usually expect.

And this one takes the concept a step further with the addition of a Pitchbend Wheel, allowing for note expression that you won't normally get with other digital pianos.

With 400 tones to choose from, it has far more voicing options than your average digital piano, and if that's not enough, you can also pick from 77 rhythms to play along with.

Other features include the option to choose from 10 different reverb types, MIDI compatibility and it has a nifty carrying handle.

Features:

  • Keys: 61 Standard Size Keys with Pitchbend Wheel
  • Touch Sensitivity: Touch Response
  • Speaker System: 2 x 5.1", 4W amp
  • Pedal: 1/4" Input for Sustain Pedal
  • Presets: 400 tones, 77 rhythms
  • Effects: 10 Reverb Types
  • Polyphony: 48 Notes
  • Functions: Dance Mode, MIDI compatibility, Lesson Function
  • Audio Output: 1 x 1/8" (headphones/line out)
  • MIDI I/O: USB Micro B
  • Power: AC adapter (included) or 6 x AA batteries
  • Stand: Not included
  • Color: Black, Red, White
  • Dimensions: 2.9" x 36.6" x 10.1"
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs

Pros

The CT-S300 gets commended often for its combination of portability and sonic versatility. It is described as very easy to carry around and setup, while students are pleased at the number of sounds and rhythms that they can play with. Owners are also pleased with its overall build quality, which is sturdy enough for beginners to use.

Cons

As expected, not all its 400 voicings are well received. Some caution that its many features may end up distracting kids from actual practice.

Overall

With its combination of portability and versatility, this is definitely a good digital piano for adventurous beginners.

Donner DEP-20 - 88 Keys

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1050+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$380
Donner DEP-20 Digital Piano 88 Key Weighted w/ Sustain Pedal

The Donner DEP-20 is a value and feature packed digital piano, with an 88-key hammer-action keybed and over 200 tones to choose from.

The hammer action keys are meant to mimic the weight and feel of acoustic piano keys, and it also comes with adjustable touch response so you can set it to your preference.

Donner equipped the DEP-20 with some student-friendly features which include two headphone outs, to allow for quiet lessons where your teacher can listen in.

More importantly all these features are packed in an offering that's very reasonably priced.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Keys Full Size Hammer Action with Adjustable Touch Response
  • Touch Sensitivity: Touch Response
  • Speaker System: 25W amp
  • Pedal: 1/4" Input for Sustain Pedal
  • Presets: 238 Tones, 100 Demo Songs
  • Effects: Not Specified
  • Polyphony: 128 Notes
  • Functions: Double Tone, Automatic Chord, MIDI compatibility
  • Audio Output: 2 x 1/8" (Headphones), Aux Out
  • MIDI I/O: USB
  • Power: Power Supply Included
  • Stand: Not included
  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 52.3" x 11.6" x 7.2"
  • Weight: 18.9 lbs

Pros

Value for money is the main reason why the Donner DEP-20 is rated highly, many consider it as the closest you can get to an 88-key piano at its price. It's also worth noting that even though it comes with more features than most of its competition, it is just as easy if not easier to setup and play. Most users find the overall build quality to be good given its price.

Cons

Some users caution that this is more bulky in person than they expected. Some voicings are loved more than others.

Overall

With its 88-key hammer action configuration, the Donner DEP-20 is hard to beat when it comes to value for money.

Alesis Recital Pro - 88 Keys

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 2100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$379
Alesis Recital Pro 88 Digital Piano

This digital piano from Alesis gives you an 88-key hammer action keybed with adjustable touch response at a reasonable price.

And to make this unit student friendly, it has a two-zone setting with same pitch and voice, so both the teacher and the student can play side by side on this one piano.

Sound options include 12 different voicings that can be layered or split as you prefer, including different kinds of piano sounds, organ, synth and more.

It also comes with built-in effects that include modulation and reverb.

Other nifty features include record mode, which lets you record and play back your performance and it has a built-in metronome.

Features:

  • Keys: 88 Full-sized Hammer-action Keys
  • Touch Sensitivity: Adjustable Touch Response
  • Speaker System: 2 x 20W speakers, 2 x 10W tweeters
  • Pedal: Sustain Pedal, 1/4" Pedal input
  • Presets: 12 Voices
  • Effects: Different types of Modulation, Reverb
  • Polyphony: 128 Notes
  • Functions: Record Mode, Metronome, Split Keyboard
  • Audio Output: 2 x 1/4" (Line Out), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones)
  • MIDI I/O: USB Type B
  • Power: 12V DC power supply (included), can run on 6 x D batteries
  • Stand: None
  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 13.8" x 51.6" x 5.5"
  • Weight: 26 lbs

Pros

The Alesis Recital Pro continues to impress with its hammer-action piano keys, inspiring young and old pianists alike with its playing feel. More importantly, it does so while keeping the price tag manageable, which is why many consider this digital piano to be a great buy. There are plenty of praises for its sound, especially its acoustic piano and electric piano voices. It is also highly recommended for being easy to setup and use.

Cons

With just 12 voices, sonic options are a bit limited, and this is reflected in a few reviews. There are also a few who wish for practical features like compatibility with more stable keyboard stands and improved sheet music holder.

Overall

If you're looking for a budget-friendly no-nonsense digital piano, then get the Alesis Recital Pro.

Yamaha P71 - 88 Keys

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 3500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$480
Yamaha P71 Digital Piano 88-Key w/ Sustain Pedal

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Digital Piano Under $500.

The P71 is an Amazon exclusive portable digital piano from Yamaha, with 88-keys and features similar to the P45 below. It is essentially the same unit but with a cheaper price tag, and available in different bundles.

At its core is an 88-key full size keybed with Yamaha's GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) weighted action, which mimics the different weight feel of actual acoustic piano keys, heavier on the low notes and gradually getting lighter as you go up.

And it's not just about playing feel because this one features Yamaha's AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) digital sampling technology, which improves the quality of the voicings available.

Each of the 10 voicings are recorded samples from expensive pianos and other instruments, and the AWM technology plays different samples per key with varying levels of volume and timbre, for more realism.

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

The P71 exceeds the expectations of many who got it. It gets a lot of thumbs up for the realism of its piano voicings, while others commend its equally realistic graded hammer action keys. It is commended for being a good bang per buck digital piano, especially when considering that its cheaper than the P45 - just because this one is an Amazon exclusive.

Cons

Speaking of exclusive, the P71 is not as widely available as the P45, and stock maybe limited at times. Also note that the P45 has its own distinct bundles.

Overall

If you're looking for a quality 88-key Yamaha digital piano at a more affordable price point, then this is for you.

Yamaha P-45 - 88 Keys

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 1350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Yamaha P-45 88-Key Digital Piano

Yamaha has a strong reputation for producing student instruments and the P-45 is an affordable digital piano that consistently rates highly.

It 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.

It has enough power and volume to fill the average room size.

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.

Things to Consider When Buying a Budget Digital Piano

  • Key Action and Weighting

    To be labeled as a digital piano, the main requirement is to have keys that replicate the size, 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. Many 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 looking for authenticity. Some manufacturers go so far as to change the skin of the keys to make them "feel" like real ivory and ebony. Note that some lower priced units come with semi-weighted keys, some even synth style keys which don't replicate a piano feel.

  • 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 sometimes 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. Still, this does not stop some manufacturers to pack their digital pianos to the brim with hundreds of voices, some of them rated high enough to make it to this guide for this 2021 edition.

    All these digital pianos do a good job of emulating the tone of pianos and judging which sounds 'best' is a highly subjective topic, but ratings and reviews from multiple users can help quantify them into numbers. Layering and split mode are also important features to look for if you're looking for more sonic versatility. We've included video demos for each model 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 although good examples are usually priced well above $500. 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 lack portability, and 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 their 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 MIDI for connecting to computers.

  • 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 separate recording gear. It is also useful for self evaluation, to make adjustments to your playing and correct mistakes where necessary.

Best Digital Piano Selection Methodology

This guide was first published in 2017 and the latest edition was published on April 29, 2021.

For this April 2021 edition, we retained the same criteria - must be digital pianos within the sub $500 price range, and have piano size keys. And like we often do, we limited our search to those that can be easily bought from retailers based in the USA.

With the criteria in place, we ended up with a short list of 24 digital pianos along with over 14,200 ratings, reviews and forum discussions about them. These data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm, resulting in rating scores out of 100 that allowed us to numerically rank each instrument and feature the best of them here in this guide. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

We've removed the following

We've removed the following keyboard from the recommended list above due to being disconnected, but you can still read our analysis of it: Yamaha P-115.

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.

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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