Quality digital pianos or keyboards will make a huge difference in the music you create whether you’re just starting your journey or you’re an experienced pianist.
Top digital piano will not just help you create amazing sounds similar to the output from original traditional grand piano but will also give you a wide variety of options to mix and share your compositions.
However, getting the right keyboard with all the features you need and at the right price range to suit your budget isn’t an easy task. There are many brands and models of digital pianos and keyboards in the world today, which makes it rather difficult to find the right one for your needs and budget.
Here are some of the important factors you need to consider when shopping for a perfect digital pianos and keyboards today:
In most cases, an electronic “keyboard” that comes with weighted keys is generally referred to as a digital piano while the term keyboard is usually used to describe instruments that have non-weighted keys. Weighted keyboards provide better key action and playing piano experience.
They provide the right amount of resistance as well as gives you authentic feel when playing.
Weighted keyboards are also more responsive than non-weighted ones and when combined with the right sensor system they give you a full spectrum of sounds to enhance your performance.
Weighted keyboard action are also great for building finger strength which helps to improve your playing technique. Non-weighted keyboards are ideal for a beginner because they provide precise playing which is ideal for contemporary and rhythmic styles.
For the best feel, go for a digital piano with fully weighted keys. With fully weighted keys, lower octave will have greater weight just like an real acoustic piano hammers and strings.
Your budget is another important consideration given that most digital pianos and keyboards don’t come cheap. An average digital piano costs around mid 3 figures. Advanced digital pianos will be quite expensive.
Like in everything else in life, you get what you pay for so don’t expect the same quality found in a 4 figure price digital piano in a variant priced at starting range.
For instance, a high end studio and stage pianos such as the Roland R-2000 and Nord Stage 3 will definitely cost more.
For beginners, look for a good digital piano to improve your performance, you don’t necessarily have to buy a variant designed for studio recording or playing on a stage.
Acoustic pianos are basically the traditional old-school as one can get. It uses hammers and steel strings to produce sound. It is usually bulky in nature and enclosed by a wooden exterior.
Digital Pianos, on the other hand, is a modern version designed to adapt and produce sound and feel similar like acoustic pianos. Its tunes are digitally produced. The portable version of the digital version has a more compact and lightweight design.
There are many digital pianos today that can produce sounds like an acoustic piano. Digital pianos also comes with more useful functionalities such as Bluetooth connectivity and mobile apps.
In short, if you want something that can replicate the acoustic pianos at a pocket-friendly budget, then digital piano is what you should get!
This is something that is often overlooked. It is important to consider the number of keys on a digital pianos keyboard. The keys affects the overall performance of the instrument and exactly what you can play.
Most products have 66, 88 or 72 keys but most players recommend going for a model with at least 88-keys. 66 keys will suffice for beginners while learning to play but as your skills progress you’ll need to upgrade keys to improve your performance.
It’s also important to think about portability when shopping for digital pianos or keyboards. If you plan to use home digital pianos and have enough space available, you can buy a heavy-weight variant but if you plan to be traveling or commuting to and from your studio or classes, then go for a lightweight portable keyboard.
Portable digital pianos and keyboards are usually affordable, so don't worry if you have space constraints. Most digital pianos available today are lighter and more compact than acoustic pianos.
Some can even be broken down into separate parts for storage or transportation. The issue of portability will largely depend on how and where you plan to use the digital keyboard.
Thankfully, most digital pianos and keyboards today come with extra options that make it quite easy to play . Most of them feature LED displays, Bluetooth connectivity, recording playback, and much more.
For the best results, look for digital pianos or keyboards with other extra functions such as MIDI capability that allows you to connect it to your computer, a mobile app, and a USB port to connect with other audio devices.
There are some variants that accept flash memory cards that you can use to save and transfer audio to your computer, smartphone, tablet, and other listening devices.
Here are the best digital pianos and keyboards you can get in 2021:
Casio is a top brand in the keyboards, it is known for it's durability. The PX-160 is a perfect example of Casio’s commitment to manufacturing affordable pianos with most of the functionalities found in more expensive products like triple sensor action keys. The PX-160 is comparatively inexpensive yet still delivers the same optimal performance you get in expensive products.
The portable keyboard comes with 88 weighted keys with perfect key action. Casio has also incorporated its proprietary AiR engine and Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II in the PX-160 to ensure that you get premium sound samples regardless of your level of your playing expertise.
PX-160 also comes with powerful speaker system as well as a useful line-out slot that allows you to connect external speakers to the unit. There are also two outputs for headphones if you need a quieter environment to practice or play your compositions.
The Casio PX-160 not only provides awesome sound quality but also comes with class-compliant USB connectivity. You can easily connect the device with your PC or Mac without having to download extra drivers.
Considering it's price, it has versatile and advanced features from a leading brand in the industry, the Casio PX-160 is one of the good option to consider for novice players.
The P515 is the latest upright variant in Yamaha’s P-series. It comes as an upgraded version of the P-255, which was a replacement of the previous P-115 and P-125.
The P515 comes with all the features found in its predecessor and a few extras to match the needs of today’s players. It has Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM), which actually reproduces the interaction between the strings and the keys to deliver the same depth and realistic overtones.
The P515 comes with natural wood keys complete with a soft to touch synthetic ebony and ivory finish. The sleek design and perfect weighting give the keys a natural feel and incredible response.
In terms of sounds, the P515 comes with more than 500 recorded piano sound samples from CFX, Bosendorfer Imperial, and other hybrid pianos. It uses the Pure CF Sound Engine.
TheP515 supports Smart Pianist Application which helps you to get organized and access your sheet notes via your iOS mobile device. Overall, the sound and feel of P515 is great for a intermediate players.
Kawai is one of the well-known brand for manufacturing luxurious digital pianos and keyboards. The Kawai MP11SE is a fine example of the brand's excellence with the capability to deliver concert piano sounds. MP11SE has a natural, smooth, solid, and extremely responsive touch that Kawai refers to as the Grand Feel. The long keys are made of real wood with graded action tilting up and down on a center pin.
The MP11SE may not have a huge amount of sounds as other similar models but delivers finest music to suit your needs.
It’s quite easy to tweak the existing sounds using the Virtual Technician technology and other features to get the sound you need. There are also independent sections accessible via the main panel of the keyboard.
Kawai MP11SE has virtual technician feature, which allows you to customize and regulate the onboard sound set.
You can utilize this feature to customize sounds for every individual performer while addressing every minute detail.
If you’re a Kawai fan, this is one of the best keyboard you can get from the brand. models
If you're looking for a console, then Yamaha got the best one for you! This is Yamaha's latest console digital piano that features sample sets from Bösendorfer and CFX.
The CFX samples are designed for easy listening through headphones. Avantgrand N1X may be considered as a hybrid because of its touch accuracy, physical resonance, and action.
They have even included Spacial Acoustic Sampling as well as a 4-channel built in speakers system to give you more great experience similar to real acoustic instruments.
Avantgrand N1X comes with Virtual Resonance Modeling, which captures every detail or internal components of traditional pianos according to the notes struck, string resonance, naturals soundboard resonance, and damper 3 pedals resonance.
In terms of construction, the Avantgrand N1X features keys and hammers made of real wood to give you the same natural realistic feel you get when playing traditional pianos.
It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to stream sound wirelessly between the instruments and the Smart Pianist App in your iOS or Android device.
You can use the app to control various aspects of it and even create chord charts for the songs that you have in your library.
There’s even options for onboard audio recording that you can also integrate with MusicSoft library. This is a good option if you’re looking for an advanced console digital piano.
Overall, It provides excellent playing experience and there's something very premium feel about it.
Yamaha P71 is our top pick for the best portability. Weighing just 25 pounds, the P71 is a compact and lightweight variant in the P-series.
You will love its elegant design and superior performance in line with Yamaha's tradition of building portable digital piano for starter and advanced users.
The P71 is also one of the best variants in the P lineup compared to others such as the P45 and the P115, which is more expensive but comes with additional functions.
The P71 has 88 fully weighted action keys that are designed to give you a real feel. It has a minimalistic design that makes it extremely appealing. It also comes with dual mode which allows you to play a wide range of tunes. It comes with sampling technology AWM sound engine.
One of the feature dual mode which allows you to combine two musical instruments. The P71 has an embedded sound sampling feature that allows you to perform better. It comes with 10 separate voices to record a wide range of loops.
The P71 also features an impressive collection of songs & tunes including vibraphone, one concert & 2 electric pianos, two pipe organs, 2 harpsichords, and many more. The home digital piano bundle package comes with the keyboard, stand and the bench.
The Alesis Recital is a great all-around budget digital piano for both beginners and advanced players. If you’re just starting out your musical journey and are finding key action too much effort, you will find the Alesis Recital's semi-weighted keys an easier option.
The keys help you strengthen your fingers before you upgrade to key action as you progress. It comes with 88-keys and its semi-weighted response are ideal for most learners.
Another great features of the Alesis Recital digital piano include 5 built-in voices: Organ, Synth, Bass, Acoustic & Electric Piano.
You can easily expand this by blending different sounds to create new ones. You can even click an existing sound to create completely different tunes.
It also comes with learning aid features such as a metronome and a lesson mode that allows the teacher and the student to play together from different ends of the keyboard at the same time.
Alesis Recital is definitely something beginners should consider getting it!
As a new upgrade, the P125 comes with redefined features and better performance than previous products in the P series.
It has a compact lightweight build that makes it convenient to carry around and feel like a premium keyboard. Besides easy portability, it has an amazing user-friendly design. It seems the Japanese manufacturer forecast on simplicity and exceptional performance in the P125.
P125 has an excellent design to enhance performance while keeping everything simple. It comes with 88-key Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key action version designed to produce finest piano tones.
You will also love the digital pianos built-in library that gives you 20 diversified reasons and 50 songs. It has 192 notes polyphony and 24 sound options. P125 utilizes the Pure CF engine from the CFIIIS 9'. The deluxe bundle comes with the wooden furniture stand & bench, pedals and the instrument.
If you’re looking for the best home digital piano to play at home or in your studio, the P125 is our top pick available today's world. It has an affordable price tag and can be counted on to deliver better piano sounds.
Yamaha is one of the renowned digital pianos brand that never disappoints. The P45 is enough proof of this claim. It’s a inexpensive yet comes with impressive performance.
The P45 uses Graded Hammer Standard and excellent tones. Just like other Yamaha keyboards, the P45 has a sleek matte finish which not only looks great but is less slippery too.
The P45 also comes with an Advance Memory Sampling feature. Its performance is further enhanced by CF sound from CF-IIIs and graded hammer action that makes the keys lighter on high registers and heavier on low registers.
It gives you 64-note polyphony which is better than most digital pianos in the same price range. The packages comes with the instrument, pedals, adapters, bench and the stand.
The P45 is a super easy to use. Unlike other instruments that require you to learn algorithms before you can play, the P45 is a lot simpler. You can easily change your settings using a single button. It even comes with a power supply and a handy sustain pedals.
The Roland RD-2000 is a perfect choice for those who plan to get a large home digital piano or for a studio.
It's designed for the professional pianist who needs a wide range of sounds and effects as well as the ability to adjust the sounds professionally to suit their needs. The digital piano provides flexibility and precision required by a professional musician.
Among plenty of digital pianos, Roland RD-2000 manages to stand out and attract many musicians with it's excellent performance.
RD-2000 features a 88-key PHA-50 keyboard complete with ivory layering and smooth keys that give you a excellent authentic feel and command.
One of the best things about the RD 2000 is its wide variety of features and adjustments. It makes it quite easy to produce or perform different styles on any studio or stage. It's has 2 independent sound engine.
The R-2000 is designed for studio's, thanks to its built-in 24-bit 192kHz audio interface that lets you manage the DAW software conveniently via USB connectivity.
Nord is a well-known brand for professional musical equipment. The Nord Stage 3 is a perfect example of the brand’s stage pianos. It’s divided into 3 sections which include a customizable piano, synth, and organ.
The Stage 3 comes with increased memory for both the pianos and synth sections to allow you to enjoy a deeper sampling and better sound class.
The organ section looks like a vintage rotary speakers, complete with physical drawbars to give you better tone control. You can adjust different parameters of the digital pianos from its OLED display screen.
It even features upgraded layer and split functions with additional functions such as the optional crossfade. Nord has also added impressive features such as the delay and compressor. It has 3 main sound engine.
Overall, the Nord 3 will give you high-quality sound samples. The keys feel better to the touch and quite responsive too. For its price, The Nord Stage 3 is one of the best digital stage piano and for studio purposes.
The brands and variants of digital pianos and keyboards reviewed above have been carefully selected based on varying features, options and performance.
Each keyboards has its strong and weak points but they are among the best you can get on the market today. Hopefully, this top digital piano reviews and buyer's guide will helped and pointed you in the right direction!
I'm the lead researcher and content manager at PianoNadu. I test various different digital pianos and share our unbiased reviews here. We test them on various different aspects and make sure it passes our quality criteria. During my college years, I was a part of my college band known as DMT. I was the Pianist in our band. My love for playing the piano grew during middle school. Read more about me here