Nothing beats jamming on some keys after a long day of work. I typically prefer my real piano over most but if I’m in the mood, but having a digital piano on deck for home, studio or stage performance can be an amazing investment if you’re serious about your playing. If you’re unaware, a digital piano gives you a different sound as well as feel when compared to a traditional piano. It basically simulates the way a real piano sounds and is played. You also get a lot more advanced features included in the model depending on which one you buy. It all really comes down to personal preferences, uses and needs. We’ll elaborate on the other benefits you get. If you’re looking for some of the best digital piano models in the market, we found the top 10 worth looking at.
Why buy a digital piano?
Digital pianos attempt to emulate that sound and feel we’ve all come to love for centuries. They are a more advanced version of a traditional acoustic piano when it comes a few aspects (aside from actually feeling real and weight hundreds of pounds). Some advantages of buying a digital piano include the incorporation of modern technological features such as FX, metronomes, LED displays, other voices\sounds (like harpsichords, synths, choirs, etc.), headphone inputs, adjustable sound levels, transposition operation, and can be hooked up straight to an amplifier without a microphone. What you’re getting is a more convenient and customized playing experience, and depending on how much you can spend, a more compact and lighter-weight version of a real piano.
Digital pianos are also typically cheaper than acoustic pianos. Some are even portable and can be traveled with! So depending on your needs, a digital piano may be just what you’re looking for. Albeit, we’re assuming you aren’t into VST instruments and a MIDI keyboard (which is as digital as you can get) — don’t forget there also stage pianos, which are a bit more advanced (and cost more) than some of the models in here if you plan on playing live and want something super advanced.
“But anything digital doesn’t even come close to the feel of porcelain or sound of a vintage piano!” the acoustic lovers may argue. While we agree slightly, there is a time for both types of pianos, and that all comes down to your own taste (we know many pianists who have both). Let alone the others who prefer a real synthesizer, these can be very powerful pieces of machinery depend on how you plan on using yours.
How to choose your digital piano
- Your budget. There’s a pretty broad range in cost when it comes to shopping for your own model. The higher in price you go, the more advanced features are included and most importantly, the nicer the overall piano is (in terms of build, key-make, and the like). How much cash you’re willing to spend will determine this.
- What key count? Digital pianos come in various key counts, as in how many keys attached to the piano itself. When deciding, just keep in mind that the standard piano key count is 88. You can also go a bit lower with 76 or 61 keys if you want a small piano or perhaps don’t need the full 88. However, we don’t recommend going any lower if you’re planning on investing in a digital piano (also keep in mind, some classical pieces can only be played with 88 keys!). Especially if you’re starting to learn, we insist you start with the legitimate amount of keys. We actually mostly recommend 88-key models in here with a few exceptions.
- Key make. The traditional acoustic piano keys are weighted, but there are numerous other makes out there including semi-weighted and synth-action. Aside from these weighted-types, you have some fancy tech words companies use to make the keys sound as realistic as possible. Touch sensors,
- Portability? Some of these are technically portable, being that they’re just the piano itself and the stand be folded and what not. However, others are strictly made for traveling. Will you be on-the-go a lot? This may be important for you.
- Extra accessories you’ll need. We’re talking piano stands, headphones, speaker systems (most have one built-in, albeit not too high of quality), sheet holder, etc.
The top 10 best digital pianos
Below is our list of the top 10 best digital pianos on the planet. We summarize the features and what’s been said about the particular piano, as well as provide some sample sounds for you to hear what you’ll be getting if you choose it. Let us know in the comments which model you’ve decided to buy!
Yamaha P Series P105
The Yamaha P105 is one of our all-time favorites in the digital piano world. This 88-Key model by Yamaha Music is exceptional in terms of overall quality and sound. The reviews have been so high it was quite easy to list this one first. In terms of highlights, you’re getting sounds sampled from the famous CFIII concert grand Yamaha piano. There’s also a built-in duet partner which is great for learning or opening up to different types of playing styles (states ten available). Also noted are the drum patterns you can use to play as opposed to a traditional metronome if you want a different spin on your jamming. The keys are very realistic and completely weighted with “GHS action”.
In terms of other tech included, there’s a USB port to hook it up straight to your computer. There’s also an AUX plug-in for attaching it to other consoles and what not, perfect if you’re a recording artist. If not, there’s still the beloved headphone output (something I absolutely love) in case you need to keep it quiet or want some privacy.
The only kicker is that you’ll have to spend a few more bucks on the bundle that includes a stand; however, we still feel its worth it in that sense. If not, you can still fit it on a desk or whatever you currently have set up. You can choose between a black or white version, as well. Here’s a video demo.
Nord Stage 3
Here’s a beastly high-end digital piano to check out, and the Nord Stage 3 definitely overpowers a lot of the models in here if you have a higher budget than most. With a reputation for only beauty when it comes to pianos, their entire Nord Stage series is worth checking out. With this particular model, we have an 88-note “Triple Sensor” keybed, some grand weighted action for a sleek feel, OLED-display to help navigate, a huge 1GB of “Nord Piano Library” sounds, and some layer and split-functionality for extras.
Aside from the sound and feel, you’re also getting some effects (all stereo) to tweak the notes as you feel: vibe, tube overdrive sim, pan, tremolo, wah-wah and ring-mod (from the control pedal). Your piano section has 3 dynamic curves, a versatile string resonance and delicate soft release. We recommend grabbing this if you’re serious about your digital piano playing — we had a lot of requests to add this one in our list from the comments so we listened. It’s worth looking at if you have the cash, even if you’re a beginner or intermediate player looking to elevate your piano playing as well as plan for the future.
Williams Legato 88
The Williams Legato 88 is our pick for best budget-friendly digital piano by far. If you go this route you’re going to save a lot of money, although it does not come with a stand or any other accessories that you may also be looking for. It’s one of the highest rated digital pianos on popular websites and for good reason. The only kicker is that the keys are semi-weighted, not fully weighted like real pianos. However, not that semi-weighted is necessarily bad (nearly all MIDI keyboards are this). You’re still getting 88 keys, five sound options (piano, electric piano, organ, bass, and synth) and built-in speakers. There’s also a feature called ‘Split Mode’ where you can divide the keyboard into two sections allowing two types of sounds to be played on each side. Pretty nifty feature, although not necessarily revolutionary its still something that’s fun to mess around with. Lastly, you’re getting some effects, too — reverb and chorus can be applied to each sound and retrained, perfect for customizing your sounds for a more natural feel.
You can hook up a sustain pedal and it also has USB MIDI connections which to me is huge because you can always use a VST to replace the sounds with numerous possibilities. Lastly, it’s battery operated although you can use an AC power adapter, but that lets us know that you can travel with it (although pretty big since it has 88 keys). Here’s a demo video showing the sounds of the Williams Legato to give you a better feel.
Casio CAS PX150
Another huge player in the keyboard game is Casio, and I remember having my first CAS keyboard when I started to walk. The Casio CAS PX150 has 88 keys that are weighted with hammer action technology. The keys feel pretty much the same as a regular piano with the full weight. They also call the key tech “Tri-sensor scaled”, which is stated to emulate the ivory keys with three sensors for better speed and accuracy when you play. ‘Damper Resonance Simulator’ is also stated to help with the feel. Regardless of their fancy terms, what’s also great is the 18 sounds built-in (compared to the Legato’s 5). It’s USB MIDI compliant however, so you can also use it as a controller if you’re into that. You get some strings, organs, electric piano and bass. You can also use the same split mode tech as the Legato to have different sounds for each hand. Also note you can hook up a pedal to the PX150, too.
Recommended if you’re trying to save a few bucks as opposed to grabbing the P105. It’s below that price point and can be see as in the middle. It doesn’t have an LED screen, ins or outs and or other capabilities as a few competitors, but the key bed technology isn’t just fancy wording — it feels extremely real and isn’t plastic whatsoever. Grab it if you want some high quality keys and a solid build for a digital piano. Here’s a video of the PX150 to hear it out.
The Korg SV-1 is a breathtaking piece of machinery, coming in as yet another one of the best digital pianos if you have the money at hand. Giving us a nice elegant feel and sound, this one is great not only for the home but stage as well. First and foremost, the SV-1’s sounds include a pretty wide range aside from our standard piano keys — electric and acoustic pianos, organs, synths, and strings. You’re also getting some clavs (four variations of tonal settings), choir, and other fat synths many would only associate with lead-based synthesizers.
Additionally, the FX chain and amp modeling really sets this one apart from a standard, budget-friendly digital piano (which is why it only appeals to some, in other words those who will actually use FX chains with their digital piano). An equalizer, pre fx with compression, u-vibe, boost and more, modulation fx (chorus, phaser, flanger, etc.) top it off. Don’t forget your reverb and delay to help us with those minor keys. To top it all off, we have some advanced connection, giving us pedals, MIDI, and a few ins and outs.
The Yamaha YPG-235 is fully portable but is 76 keys as opposed to the traditional 88. You’re missing out on 12 but it’s only a big difference if you’re planning on playing a piece or composing that will involve every key, otherwise it’ll slide. It has ‘Graded Soft Touch’ action keys, a built-in recorder if you feel like it, a pitch bend wheel (commonly found in MIDI keyboards — always fun to play around with or incorporate into your recordings), and USB connectivity. If you’re somebody who’s looking to learn or purchasing the piano for somebody who is a beginner, it also a ‘Performance Assistant Technology’ which helps you understand chords and what not. If you’re advanced, there’s a built-in sequencer (6 tracks) to record to, and although not that many, gives you the capability to perhaps record full songs.
It’s been stated to look and feel of high quality — no plastic stuff here at all. It’s decently priced as well and won’t completely break your wallet. This is our pick for the best portable digital piano. It’s perfect for those who travel to shows, choirs, band practice, or even a friend’s house to jam out. The sounds are very realistic as well. You have a whopping 361! More than any other digital piano out there (excluding those with MIDI). I’ve heard great things about the sounds. Watch the video below for some samples. There’s a higher version you may want to look at, albeit more expensive, that comes with a stand and the full 88 keys. Here’s a video demo.
Williams Allegro 88
Here’s another Williams model, and this particular piano as compared to the Legato is a bit cheaper but still very nicely made. The Williams Allegro 88 has a very realistic feel to it. The keys are weighted, comes with the full 88 (hammer-action), and the keys are velocity-sensitive to give you a natural feel depending on how hard you hit the keys. We’ve heard some people nit-pick about the volume and how hard you hit the keys, but you have to remember that this is a lot cheaper in price than other digital pianos out there for a reason. It’s still a super affordable piano if you’re not looking to spend a whopping amount.
Note that it also comes with MIDI, so to us that is always a huge plus. The stereo\mono line inputs are great for hooking up to a separate speaker system (studio monitor for example), and you can also use a sustain pedal for an even more realistic sound and feel. A solid piano with a lot of positive reviews, so you’re able to trust that others have approved. Here’s a video of the Allegro 88.
Another heavy-hitter in the high-end digital piano category, Roland’s V-Piano brings us stunning sound and feel. We have a multitude of sounds to start off, ranging from grand-pianos to some futuristic almost synth-like hybrid tones. The 88 keys have a lovely ivory feel having a feature called “Escapement”, which is their term for the subtle click we get as we press the hammer key down. The control panel is quite user-friendly which makes this one great for home as well as stage, giving us quick and easy access to sound and FX without much fuss and extra clicks and scrolls.
In regards to ins and outs, you have an XLR and 1/4″ analog, a digital (coaxial) output, and USB memory paired up with MIDI I/O (pretty standard for a type of digital piano like this). This is one of the most natural-sounding digital pianos in the game, making us scratch our head why it’s considered “digital” aside from the build and size. Roland has a classic here.
Here’s another portable ‘keyboard’ but it’s within their DGX line which is one of the best series of models. With the Yamaha DGX-530, you get 88 keys with ‘Graded Soft Touch’ (lightly weighted, not fully), a stand, sustain pedal, USB storage, and an LCD display that can show you notation and\or lyrics. You also get their “Yamaha Education Suite” which we saw in the previous DGX model, a perfect technology for those looking to learn. You’ve also got a built-in 6-track recorder, and USB storage. I really dig the notation display because you can load digital copies of sheet music as opposed to having to lug around the sheet holder and books. Also been stated to be pretty easy to use, so for younger ages this can be optimal. Rear panel also has a headphone jack for some private playing capability.
Grab it if you’re looking for a nicer portable option as compared to the other cheaper models in the article. It’s also great for beginners and the digital storage of notations make it a big plus. Below are some sounds being played with it so you can see it in use. We love this video demo of the DGX-530.
Casio PX850 Privia
It’s a bit up there in price, but if you want one of the best digital pianos out there in terms of overall build, sound quality and more, this is the model to grab. The Casio PX850 Privia is a monster, jam-packed full of features: The keys feel like ebony and ivory, some of the best quality we’ve seen (makes sense with the price), they’re scaled and weighted for an even more realistic feel (hammer-action), and sound source, although fancy sounding, is ‘Multi-Dimensinal Morphing AiR” (a new technology by Casio for better tonal variations and lingering reverberations).266 notes of polyphony, and a few alternatives to sounds with organs, strings, electric pianos and bass. Duet mode for splitting the keyboard in half for different sounds, USB MIDI, and a “Lid Simulator”. What doesn’t this have? Nothing, really, aside from affordability or portability. I mean, take a look at it: it looks like a real piano, pedals, body and all.
This is the big Bertha of them all, and if you have the money and are looking to invest in a serious piece of equipment, grab it. You can’t go wrong with it of course. This thing is professional, and their Privia line is one of the best in the world. Here’s a video of the PX-850 by Casio.