Are you looking for the best digital piano options? Wondering which digital piano to buy in a market full of models, all offering something slightly different? It can be confusing to work out which digital piano is the ideal choice for you, and there is so much variation in price, design, weight, and size.
Our guide to the best digital piano reviews will help you to establish which models might be suited to your own unique needs. We’ve explained some of the key features and provided 6 digital piano reviews of our highest recommended models.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
- 2 Digital Piano Size
- 3 Weighted Keys
- 4 Voices and Sound Engine
- 5 Portable vs Console Digital Pianos
- 6 Tech Features
- 6.1 1. Yamaha YDP164 Arius Series Digital Console Piano
- 6.2 2. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano
- 6.3 3. Casio PX860 BK Privia Digital Home Piano – Best Casio Privia Digital Piano
- 6.4 4. Roland Compact 88-key Digital Piano F-140R – Best Tech Features
- 6.5 5. Alesis Recital 88 Key Beginner Digital Piano – Best Cheap Option
- 6.6 6. Donner DDP-100 Digital Piano – Budget Console Piano
- 7 Conclusion
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Digital Piano Size
This is one of the key considerations before you buy your digital piano. What size do you need?
It is fair to say that the vast majority of digital pianos have 88 keys. An 88-key design is standard. Acoustic pianos have 88 keys, and so there are a huge number of digital pianos that have been made to look and feel like an acoustic piano. The actual keyboard should be the same as a piano, but the size of the whole instrument will be a bit smaller, and in some cases, a lot smaller.
There are some models that are more of a digital keyboard in terms of features and size. Digital pianos can be very lightweight. Some of the options are just 20-30 lbs, made to be stage piano models or just be easy to take to band practice or to store away somewhere at home.
If you are in the market for a digital piano then you won’t want to sacrifice the sound and feel of an acoustic model too much. Maybe you are transitioning from a home acoustic piano to a product that you can take with you on location. Weighted keys can be one of the most vital features to get the piano sound as well as the realistic feel.
What is a weighted key? Most digital pianos have resistance when you press the keys. The harder you press the key, it will give a louder sound. This mimics the way an acoustic piano works with a hammer action. Pressing the key makes a tiny hammer trigger the sound. The harder it is hit, the louder the sound.
This will be referred to as “hammer action” on the listing for a digital piano. It makes the piano feel more like an acoustic. Some digital pianos have a weighted action that doesn’t feel as much like a hammer action. Some offer what is called a “semi-weighted” action. This means that they still detect how hard the keys are being pressed but they aren’t quite as realistic feeling compared to acoustic pianos.
For the most professional feel, graded hammer action gives the most “realistic” vibe to your piano. Graded means that the low-end keys feel heavier and the higher keys feel lighter, which is exactly the same as acoustic models.
Voices and Sound Engine
You may hear the term “voices” to describe the sounds available. Each instrument “sound” that your digital piano can load and play counts as a voice. Some digital pianos have relatively few voices. If you compare your digital piano to a digital keyboard, there are usually loads more sounds on the keyboard, but they may not be such good quality.
The sound engines are what actually drives the audio and the way that acoustic pianos are sampled and then triggered when you play your digital piano. It is important to find the best piano engine to ensure a realistic sound. The technology driving sound engines has come a long way in recent years. Many pianos now offer stereo sampling and advanced acoustic technologies to try and replicate the acoustic sound.
The approach of digital pianos when it comes to sound engines and voices is “quality over quantity”. They try to replicate the sounds of acoustic pianos, so many of them will only have 10 or so sounds, but these tend to be excellent compared to keyboard sounds.
Portable vs Console Digital Pianos
This is another term you will see a lot when you are looking to buy a digital piano. The two main varieties in terms of style are portable and console digital pianos. What does this mean?
A console digital piano is usually sold with an inbuilt stand. For instance, the stand may be a furniture style stand and the piano may permanently sit within. This gives a look that is similar to an upright acoustic piano. Some console panels can be removed from the stand and become a bit more portable.
A portable digital piano is more flexible. They tend to be lightweight and allow you to take your instrument to band practice, for instance. They are sometimes also called stage pianos. They are sometimes sold with portable stands, too.
Each individual needs to decide on their own personal preference here. If you are likely to play out and about a lot and need an instrument that can come to practice with you, the best digital pianos for you might be portable models. If you just want something to sit in the home, but not take up the space of a grand piano, a console option could be best.
There are a lot of different tech features that you will find when looking at digital and electric pianos. You can choose which ones you need to prioritize. For instance, some people might want to use their digital piano in conjunction with a laptop or as a basis for their recording studio. A USB-MIDI control option will be a good choice for people who want to control a DAW or virtual instruments.
Other simple tech features can include inbuilt effects, 1/4 inch output for use with headphones or to connect to an amplifier. Learning modes, apps, and pedals are all tech features that some people choose to prioritize.
If you are looking for a console piano with some brilliant sound quality, from the reliable Yamaha brand, the YDP164 is definitely an option worth exploring. It is very similar to having an upright piano in your home, except for the fact that it doesn’t need tuning and it has a lot of extra tech features.
It has 88 weighted keys and comes with a console bench, it looks great in your home. The hammer action is graded, which means that the lower keys are heavier to the touch. They also have synthetic ebony and ivory but they are also designed to absorb moisture and not get slippery.
All three pedals are included with the digital piano. It’s enjoyable to play and definitely deserves its place on our list of the best digital pianos. The voices included have been sampled to an exceptionally high standard, meaning some of the best possible sounds from a digital piano.
If you are looking for a digital console piano to sit in the same place within your home all the time, this is one of the best digital pianos possible. The Yamaha YDP164 has the sound and feel of an acoustic model, and the Yamaha seal of approval along with their manufacturer warranty. It’s not the cheapest of the digital pianos available., but the sound makes up for the extra expense.
Also, it looks great! This can even be a design feature within your home. A lot of people like the elegant look of a piano in their home.
Another model of digital piano from Yamaha. If you are looking for a portable electric piano then the P71 could be a good option as it is easier to transport than most other digital pianos. This is identical to the Yamaha P45. The P45 is sold all over the internet but the P71 is an Amazon exclusive.
In spite of being more lightweight, this model still has some pretty impressive features. It is also very affordable when compared to a lot of the other digital pianos on this list. You can get a flimsy keyboard cheaper, but this is a proper stage piano with a good sound engine and weighted keys to give a proper acoustic piano feel and sound.
This piano comes with 10 different voices and has high-quality sampled tones from the Yamaha grand piano range to allow for excellent sounds to go with the modern features. There is USB functionality to allow you to use this with a laptop. You can control a DAW or the sounds in a VST instrument.
If you are looking for an affordable model that can be easily taken on the road with you then this could be one of the best options. USB to host means that you can use this to control software, so it is equally at home in the studio as well as out and about at concerts or practice.
3. Casio PX860 BK Privia Digital Home Piano – Best Casio Privia Digital Piano
This is the Casio answer to the Yamaha YDP164. Both are quite similar in terms of their black, console digital piano design. Casio manufactures a lot of keyboards, but this is one of their best digital piano options. The brand is sometimes seen as a cheaper alternative to Yamaha, but the sound quality of the Casio Privia range is not a huge sacrifice in terms of features and sound. In fact, it’s a rival to the YDP164.
The AiR sound engine is one of the best things about the Casio PX860. It does a very good job of sampling piano sound from exceptional acoustic instruments. The 20W + 20W amplifiers on the speakers provide a really impressive level of projection. The sound can fill a room, making it a good choice for a home digital piano.
The Casio has some good tech features, too. A 256 note polyphony makes it a great choice for playing even complex melodies. It has a great feel to the weighted keys, and the choice of 18 sounds is higher than a lot of the other digital pianos on the list.
While some people think of Casio digital pianos as inferior, this option is proof that they have some very high-quality digital pianos. The AiR sound engine is very impressive, and this is a little more affordable than the top Yamaha product reviews. The added bonus of some tech features like USB recording means this is a good choice for all kinds of musicians. If you are looking for a console piano under $1,000 it is very hard to argue with this.
4. Roland Compact 88-key Digital Piano F-140R – Best Tech Features
Roland is a manufacturer of a load of different music tech products, and this is probably the reason why they have such brilliant digital piano offerings, including the F-140R. This is a very small console piano, and it is lightweight, so you can install it and move it around your house with ease.
One of the best things about this model is the fact that you can take advantage of some advanced tech features, for instance, there are rhythms included to play along to and practice playing in time. You can trigger loads of different backing tracks, and the F-140R also has a number of voices to choose from. The electric guitar sounds and other non-piano sounds are arguably far superior to the other digital pianos.
This model feels lovely to play. The PHA-4 Standard Keyboard has Progressive Hammer Action, which means that it becomes heavier in the lower keys and lighter in the higher keys. This mimics the feel of an acoustic model perfectly.
One of the most useful modern features is the Bluetooth connectivity which lets you use this digital piano in conjunction with a number of different apps. This can help both seasoned musicians and beginners. You can connect your Apple or Android device and enjoy more functions as a result.
Roland is a brand that can normally be relied on to push the boundaries of music tech, and their piano offerings are pretty impressive. The keyboard of the F-140R really does feel like an acoustic model, meaning it is a good, lightweight console piano to use in your home and transition from playing an acoustic piano.
The tech features include Bluetooth connectivity and app support, as well as lots of different backing tracks to help you to learn how to play in time. This is an impressive option at a pretty reasonable price tag.
5. Alesis Recital 88 Key Beginner Digital Piano – Best Cheap Option
Learning to play the piano can be quite an expensive pursuit. As well as looking for the best digital pianos, a lot of people are looking for value. Alesis manufactures a lot of different budget audio products including digital pianos, and though the Recital 88 is not as “realistic” feeling as some of the other electric pianos on this list, it does a great job considering the price. It’s a fraction of the cost of some other pianos and keyboards on the list.
The Recital 88 doesn’t have a graded hammer action, but it does have a semi-weighted option and it is responsive to how hard the keys are pressed. This “touch-sensitive” option is a good way to mimic an acoustic piano and the second best thing, after weighted, hammer-action keys.
Portability is high on the priorities here. As well as a power adapter, this can be played using 6 D cell batteries. A few of the tech features of the Recital are actually surprisingly pro. The 2 x 20W speaker system has a lot of power, especially when you consider the affordable nature of this keyboard. It also has chorus and reverb effects built-in so that you can alter the onboard sounds and voices.
It’s fair to say that this is a cheap option. You will struggle to find an 88-key digital piano cheaper than this. Even most keyboard options at the same size are more expensive, in spite of not having weighted keys.
There are some sacrifices when buying a cheap option like this. The piano sounds aren’t necessarily true to an acoustic piano and the reviews aren’t likely to be as good as with a product that costs thousands of dollars, however, for an affordable beginner digital piano or a stage piano, this is one of the better options on the market.
6. Donner DDP-100 Digital Piano – Budget Console Piano
Some of the console pianos on the market are not that affordable. In fact, if you are looking to get a piano on a budget then you might find your choices limited. The DDP-100 is a good option for beginners and people who want a console piano but don’t intend to spend a huge amount of money. For instance, maybe you aren’t confident you will keep up the hobby and don’t want to spend thousands.
The Donner still has some relatively high-quality features. It isn’t going to be the choice of concert pianists. However, those who want a cheap and convenient acoustic piano alternative may be tempted.
While there is always an element of “you get what you pay for” when it comes to pianos, this is a good option at a very good price point. It’s not the elite pick on our list but for those looking to save a few dollars, they can still rest assured they have good tech features and a sturdy console piano without spending too much money.
The Yamaha YDP164 Arius Series Digital Console Piano is our highest recommended product. If you are looking for a console piano that will sit permanently within your home then this can be a great option. It has exceptionally good sampled sounds and an AWM engine. The graded keys feel realistic and even have a moisture-wicking feature to stop them from becoming slippery.
For a more portable and lightweight option, the Yamaha P71 retains a lot of quality but is less than 30 lbs so you can take it out and about with you. It’s perfect for stage use and the price is attractive to beginners, too.
As there are so many different options on the market, it is really important to do a bit of research and choose the right brand, and the right design, based on your unique needs.