A quality digital piano or keyboard will make a huge difference in the sounds you create whether you’re just starting your musical journey or you’re an experienced pianist.
The best digital piano will not just help you create amazing sounds similar to the output from original acoustic pianos but will also give you a wide variety of options to mix and share your compositions.
However, getting the right piano or 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 on 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 the best digital piano 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 keyboard action provide better key action and playing experience.
They provide the right amount of resistance as well as gives you realistic feel when playing. Weighted keyboard 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 are also great for building finger strength which helps to improve your playing technique. Non-weighted are ideal for beginners because they provide precise playing which is ideal for contemporary and rhythmic music styles.
For the best feel go for a digital piano with fully weighted action keys with what is usually called graded hammer action or graduated weighting. With fully weighted keyboard, lower octave will have greater weight just like an grand piano hammers and strings.
Your budget is another important consideration given that most digital pianos with high-end features don’t come cheap. An average digital piano costs around mid 3 figures. A advanced digital piano 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, high-end studio and stage pianos such as the Roland R-2000 and Nord Stage 3 will definitely cost more than a model such as the Casio Privia PX-160.
If you’re a beginner looking for a good digital piano or keyboard to improve your performance, you don’t necessarily have to buy a variant designed for studio recording or playing on a stage.
An acoustic piano is basically the traditional old-school piano that 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 of the acoustic piano designed to adapt and produce sounds similar like an acoustic version. Its sounds are digitally produced. The portable version of the digital pianos has a more compact and lightweight design.
There are many digital pianos today that can produce sounds similar to the traditional acoustic pianos. The digital version 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 sound quality 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 number of available keys affects the overall performance of the instrument and exactly what you can play.
Most keyboards have 66, 72, or 88 keys but we recommend going for a digital piano with at least 88 keys. If you’re a beginner, 66 will suffice while you learn to play but as your skills progress you’ll need to upgrade to a 72 or 88 keys to improve your performance.
It’s also important to think about portability when shopping for a digital piano or keyboard. If you plan to use the piano at home and have enough space available, you can buy a heavy-weight model but if you plan to be traveling or commuting to and from your studio or music classes, then go for a lightweight portable keyboard.
Portable pianos are usually affordable, so don't worry if you have space constraints. Most digital pianos available today are lighter and more compact than traditional acoustic pianos. Some models 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 today come with extra options that make it quite easy to play pianos. Most of them feature LED displays, Bluetooth connectivity, recording playback, and much more.
For the best results, look for a piano with other extra functions such as MIDI capability that allows you to connect the piano 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 music from the piano to your computer, smartphone, tablet, and other listening devices.
Here are the best keyboards and digital pianos you can get in 2020:
Casio is a household name in the keyboards and music industry, it is known for it's pleasing sound quality. The Privia PX-160 is a perfect example of Casio’s commitment to manufacturing affordable pianos with most of the features found in more expensive high-end products. The Casio Privia PX-160 is comparatively inexpensive yet still delivers the same optimal performance you get in high-end model.
The portable keyboard comes with 88 weighted keys with perfect hammer action. Casio has also incorporated its proprietary AiR sound engine technology in the Casio Privia PX-160 to ensure that you get high quality sound regardless of your level of piano experience.
The Privia PX-160 also comes with high quality 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 guarantees high-quality sound output but also comes with class-compliant USB connectivity. You can easily connect the keyboard with your PC or Mac without having to download extra drivers. If you’re looking for an affordable yet versatile and feature-rich keyboard from a leading brand in the industry, the Casio Privia PX-160 is a good option to consider.
The P515 is the latest upright piano 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 intermediate players. It has Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) technology, which actually reproduces the interaction between the strings and the keyboard’s case to deliver the same depth and realistic overtones like an acoustic piano does.
One of the best improvements in the P515 is its upgraded keys. 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 keyboard a natural feel and incredible response. In terms of sound quality, the P515 comes with more than 500 high-quality recorded piano sound from Yamaha CFX, Bosendorfer Imperial, and other hybrid keyboards. It uses the Pure CF Sound Engine. The keyboard supports Smart Pianist Application which helps you to get organized and access your sheet music and sounds via your iOS mobile device. Overall, the sound and feel of this piano is great for a intermediate player.
Kawai is one of the well-known brand for manufacturing luxurious pianos and music recording equipment. The Kawai MP11SE is a fine example of the brand's keyboards with the capability to deliver concert grand piano sounds. Its keyboard 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 high-end models but delivers high-quality sounds to suit your needs. It’s quite easy to tweak the existing sounds using the keyboard's Virtual Technician technology and other features to get the sound you need. There are also independent electric piano sections accessible via the main panel of the keyboard.
One of the best things about the Kawai MP11SE is its 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 digital keyboard you can get from the brand. It’s easy to use and comes with high-quality recorded concert grand voices.
If you're looking for a console digital piano, then Yamaha got the best one for you! This is Yamaha's latest console digital piano that features high-quality premium acoustic piano sample sets from Bösendorfer and CFX. The Yamaha CFX samples are designed for easy listening through headphones to give you an immersive experience. The keyboard may be considered as a hybrid because of its touch accuracy, physical resonance, and action.
Yamaha has even included Spacial Acoustic Sampling as well as a 4-channel speakers system in this high-end keyboard to give you more great piano sounds similar to a real acoustic instrument.
The Yamaha Avantgrand N1X comes with Virtual Resonance Modeling, which captures every detail or internal components of acoustic pianos according to the notes struck, string resonance, naturals soundboard resonance, and damper three 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 a concert grand piano. The keyboard also comes with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to stream piano sound wirelessly between the instrument and the Smart Piano App in your iOS or Android device.
You can use the app to control various aspects of the keyboard and even create chord charts for the songs that you have in your library. There’s even an option for onboard audio recording that you can also integrate with Yamaha’s MusicSoft library. This is a good option if you’re looking for an advanced console digital piano from Yamaha. Overall, It provides excellent piano experience and there's something very premium feel about it.
If you are looking for the something portable, you won't go wrong with this Yamaha P71 model. Weighing just 25 pounds, the P71 is a compact and lightweight keyboard in the Yamaha portable or P-series.
You will love its elegant design and superior performance in line with Yamaha's tradition of building high-quality portable digital piano for starter and advanced users. The P71 is also one of the most affordable models in the P lineup compared to other models such as the P45 and the P115, which is more expensive but comes with additional functions.
The P71 has 88 fully weighted keys that are designed to give you a real Piano feel. It has a minimalistic design that makes it extremely easy to use. A digital piano also comes with dual mode which allows you to play a wide range of sounds along with your music. It comes with Yamaha's sampling technology AWM piano sound engine.
This is an another great feature for creative users who love combining two different devices at the same time. For example, you can easily blend the piano with strings to create your unique compositions. The P71 has an embedded sound sampling feature that allows you to generate sound and feel like an acoustic piano. It comes with 10 separate voices you can use to record a wide range of loops.
The P71 also features an impressive range of piano tones & songs including vibraphone sounds, one concert piano, two pipe organs, 2 electric pianos, 2 harpsichords, and many more. The home bundle package comes with the piano, stand and the keyboard bench.
The Alesis Recital is a great all-around digital piano for both advanced and beginner musicians. If you’re just starting out your musical journey and are finding hammer action keys 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 hammer action keys as you progress. The digital pianos 88-keys and its semi-weighted response are ideal for most learners.
Another great features of the Alesis Recital digital piano include piano sound and 5 built-in voices: Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synth and Bass. You can easily expand this by blending different sounds to create new ones. You can even click an existing sound using the included effects to create completely different sounds.
The digital piano 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.
Launched in April 2018, the Yamaha P125 is an upgraded version of the previous model, the Yamaha P115, which many considered as the most popular portable Yamaha digital piano in the P series. As a new upgrade, the P125 is a midrange upright piano with redefined features and better performance than previous models in the P series.
It has a compact lightweight build that makes it convenient to carry around and feel like a premium piano. Besides easy portability, the digital piano has an amazing user-friendly design. It seems the Japanese manufacturer forecast on simplicity and exceptional performance in the P125.
The digital piano has an excellent keyboard designed to enhance performance while keeping everything simple. The keyboard is an 88-key Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key action version designed to produce sound and feel like an acoustic piano. 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 uses the Pure CF sound engine from the Yamaha CFIIIS 9' Concert Grand Piano. The deluxe bundle comes with the wooden furniture stand & bench, three pedals and the piano.
If you’re looking for the best home digital piano to play at home or in your studio, the Yamaha P125 is one of the best pianos available today's world. It has an affordable price tag and can be counted on to deliver high-quality acoustic piano sounds.
Yamaha is one of the renowned musical instruments brand that never disappoints. The P45 is enough proof of this claim. It’s an inexpensive digital piano with impressive performance and good sound quality. The P45 comes with 88 keys that use Graded Hammer Standard keyboard action and excellent piano tones which resembles like a acoustic piano when playing the instrument. 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 and a fine acoustic piano design. Its performance is further enhanced by Yamaha’s CF sound engine from CF-IIIs nine-foot concert grand piano and hammer action that makes the keyboard lighter on high registers and heavier on low registers. It gives you 64-note polyphone which is better than most digital pianos in its price range. The packages comes with the piano, pedals, adapters, keyboard stand and bench.
The P45 is a splendid easy-to-use instrument. Unlike other models 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 stage piano or for a music studio. It's designed for the professional musician 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.
The Roland R-2000 features a high-quality 88-key PHA-50 keyboard complete with ivory layering and smooth keys that give you a excellent realistic feel and command. One of the best things about the keyboard is its wide variety of effects and adjustments. It makes it quite easy to produce or perform different music styles on any studio or stage. It's has 2 independent sound engine.
The R-2000 is designed for studio use thanks to its built-in 24-bit 192kHz audio interface that lets you manage the DAW software conveniently via USB connectivity. You can record audio and MIDI and get high-quality results with the Roland R-2000.
Nord is a well-known brand for professional musicians’ instruments and known for its stage pianos. The Nord Stage 3 is a perfect example of the brand’s high-quality stage piano. 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 quality.
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 compared to the previous models with additional functions such as the optional crossfade. Nord has also added impressive effects such as the delay and compressor in this model. It has 3 main piano sound engine.
Overall, the Nord 3 will give you high-quality sound for a stage piano. The keyboard feel better to the touch 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 price range.
Each options has its strong and weak points but they are among the best you can get on the market today. Hopefully, this best digital piano reviews and buyer's guide will help you find a model that suits your needs and budget.
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