Pianos are intricate machines. Think about it, their many precise, moving parts work together to form the instrument we all know and love.
Learning to play the piano is something I’d recommend to anyone, but the price barrier to begin might seem a little high.
It’s been nearly two decades since prototype digital pianos hit the market, and that means we’re working with mature technology. Regardless of your budget, there’s probably a good keyboard that suits your needs.
As longstanding fans of the digital piano revolution (as you’ve noticed from our website), we’ve reviewed and tested dozens of digital pianos throughout the years.
Our Top 5 Lists feature the best digital pianos and keyboards for each price point, ranging from budget beginner setups to wooden, furniture-style consoles.
So, in this article, we’ve decided to combine all those best choices into one article and present them to you.
Your Perfect Digital Piano: What to Look For?
To start, these are the main factors you should consider when purchasing a new digital piano:
High-end digital pianos are crazy expensive, some costing as much as a new car! If that’s up your alley, then go for it; but do your research first. If you want bang for your buck, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re just starting out, all you really need is a digital piano that facilitates the practice of proper piano technique. Experienced players might want keyboards with sound-shaping or detailed recording facilities. We’ll briefly cover what you can expect and why certain features are essential.
True beginners might be a bit apprehensive about starting with an expensive digital piano. What if you find it’s not for you? Well, it’s perfectly fine to start out with a cheaper digital piano or even a keyboard. Upgrades are always available down the line when needed.
This is a minor consideration, but if you’re living in a small apartment, you might want to avoid a furniture-like console.
Bigger isn’t always better with digital pianos, and slab-style versions are still worth checking out. In fact, our lists offer recommendations from both categories.
Best of the Best: How Did We Choose?
Our lists favor instruments that offer a perfect blend of quality and playability.
We’ve combed through the myriad of eligible options to pick our personal top five picks. If you’ve already got a budget in mind, feel free to jump ahead to the articles that fit your budget.
Our articles give intuitive details for each choice. Each featured instrument has its own merits, so our top choice may not be the perfect keyboard for you.
By offering 5 (or 4) choices, we cover more ground and provide extra insight to demonstrate the merits of each choice.
However, these articles are long reads, and while the extra detail will be helpful for some, you might be looking for a quick summary instead.
If that’s the case, then this article is for you.
We also linked our Top 5 articles and related reviews (whenever applicable) in corresponding sections. If you find any category especially interesting, you can jump straight into our more detailed accounts to learn more.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Here are one of the best keyboards and digital pianos you can get in 2020:
- Casio CT-S300 – Best Cheap Portable Keyboard (Under $150)
- Yamaha NP-32 – Best Beginner Keyboard Piano (Under $300)
- Casio PX-160 – Best Beginner Digital Piano (Under $500)
- Roland FP-30 – Best Intermediate Digital Piano (Under $700)
- Kawai ES8 – Best Professional Digital Piano (Under $2,000)
- Casio PX-870 – Best Home Digital Piano (Under $1,000)
- Kawai KDP110 – Best Home Digital Piano (Under $1,500)
- Yamaha CLP-635 – Best Premium Home Digital Piano (Under $3,000)
Portable digital pianos are sometimes called slab-style pianos due to their shape and size.
While the name might imply that they are designed for musicians on the go, that’s not entirely true. Digital pianos of this kind are generally cheaper as their construction material costs less.
That’s not necessarily a black mark against their quality since these digital pianos (apart from the keyboards in the sub-$150/sub-$300 range) can still feature hammer-action keys and built-in speakers.
Ultimately, that’s really all you need from a digital piano.
As we rise through the price tiers, you’ll find digital pianos with extra nifty features, like multi-speaker setups, sound editing, synthesis and even software modeling.
If what we’ve covered so far tickles your fancy, then read on.
Best Portable Keyboard Under $150 – Casio CT-S300
We do realize that money will always be a factor under consideration, and even our cheaper recommendations might be overly expensive for the thrifty spenders out there.
At the absolute lowest price point, we’ve selected these keyboards, which include the bare minimum required to get you through the basic learning processes. Upgrades are a must if you decide to pursue music further.
These are as far off from real pianos as you can get, and they’re not particularly impressive, but they’re good enough to build up the fundamentals.
So, with our expectations tempered, let’s get into our drastic price saving measures.
Our Best Pick
The Casiotone CT-S300 is our personal favorite choice as a budget keyboard. At this price point, sounds and keys are as far from the real deal as you can get, so it was hard to choose a winner here.
The CT-S300 is a new offering from Casio and a part of their reboot of their classic Casiotone keyboards. Casio also entered our sub-$300 list with their cheap CTX-series keyboards, and a similar sound chip is included in the CT-S300.
While I wouldn’t call the included 400 sounds particularly good, they are good enough for practice purposes. There are even basic rhythms and stripped-down accompaniment features too to spice things up.
While there are cheaper keyboards in the Casiotone line, the CT-S3000 is the cheapest option that includes velocity-sensitive keys, which makes it the right choice.
As we’ve mentioned before, playability is the most important aspect at this price point, and having reactive keys that respond to your playing intensity is a must to build up dynamic control skills.
The keys themselves are very basic synth-style keys, which is sadly the norm at this price range. These won’t get you too far in terms of piano-focused proficiency, but they are good enough to build up fundamental muscle memory.
For what it’s worth, the keys don’t feel as cheap as many other entry-level keyboards mostly due to the textured keytops and block-end piano-style keys.
The main downgrades compared to the CTX-line are that you lose out on the more advanced accompaniment features. You don’t have different variations, and advanced bass-following is absent as well.
Add decent speakers to the mix, and the CT-S300 is a solid budget choice for beginners. Just remember that better options do exist if you’re willing to pay slightly more.
Much like other portable keyboards, the CT-S300 can be powered off 6 AA batteries, and a headphone jack is also present for silent practice.
A pitch bend wheel is also included, which is rare even on more expensive keyboards. This allows you to practice synthesizer-focused techniques too.
Finally, you also get a USB to Host port, which not only allows you to record MIDI on your devices but also enables you to use Casio’s Chordana Play app to add a graphical user interface for added control.
While the CT-S300 is very basic, it is a complete package. That’s more than you usually get, and that makes this a great budget choice.
Check the availability and current price of the Casio Casiotone CT-S300 in your region:
We included the Yamaha PSR-E263 in our roundup, and while it does sound better, I still consider the Casiotone a superior choice for beginners.
I’ll give the PSR-E263 this though, it has a built-in MIDI recorder, and a bit more in terms of arrangement features.
However, these aren’t necessary for beginners and might end up becoming distractions that hamper your learning.
If you do want to go that route, consider paying a bit more for the PSR-E363 or the PSR-EW300, which are both better built and well worth the extra price, not to mention the addition of touch-sensitive keys.
When working with a severely limited budget, we did come up with some inventive options. Regardless, the CT-S300 is arguably the best choice.
The star of the newly rebooted Casiotone line is a basic but complete package, and it includes all the necessary features to be considered a proficient practice keyboard.
While there are undoubtedly better keyboards out there, this is hands down one of the best options at this low price bracket.
Best Beginner Keyboard Under $300 – Yamaha NP-32
For the beginners out there, shelling out big bucks for a hobby might seem scary.
If you’re concerned about getting as much keyboard as possible for a cheap price, this category is for you. At this price, we’re not too concerned about realism.
Hammer-action keys and natural sounding samples are crucial for learning proper piano technique, but you can’t expect too much at this price.
Our Best Pick
The Yamaha NP-32 is the easy winner in this category. We rave over it because Yamaha has mastered the sound sampling, so the NP-32 sounds and plays the best out of this price bracket.
The primary piano sound recreates a Yamaha concert grand and delivers fairly clean tones many times better than similarly-priced competitors.
While Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) technology is on the old side, it works well enough on the NP-32.
The main problem with keyboards below $300 is playability. Realistic feeling keys are nonexistent unless you’re willing to bump your budget up a notch.
The NP-32’s 73 keys look great at first glance and appear similar to the keys on the more expensive digital pianos, but visuals are where the similarities end.
The NP-32 features Yamaha’s Graded Soft Touch key bed, which Yamaha claims is semi-weighted.
In actuality, I think the keys aren’t any better than the synth-style keys on cheap arranger keyboards (like Yamaha’s own PSR-EW300).
I’ll give them this though, since the keys detect velocity well enough. The keys are also graded, so lower keys are heavier than those at the upper end of the keyboard.
The velocity sensitivity is probably the best part of the keys, and when combined with the excellent samples, they perform as a good inexpensive practice keyboard.
While the speakers aren’t anything to write home about, they’re decent.
The NP-32 can be powered by 6 AA batteries and features a headphone jack.
A USB to Host jack also enables you to work with Yamaha’s lesson applications for self-learning. You also get a 1-track recorder, sound layering and metronome.
You’re not getting a lot of extras, but I’d even consider that a pro of the NP-32. As a beginner, the last thing you want is excessive distractions during practice.
Check the availability and current price of the Yamaha NP-32/NP-12 in your region:
The NP-32 is a great first keyboard for beginners, but if you’re already trained, consider the Roland GO:Keys.
This is an amazingly fun keyboard that prioritizes looping and composition over realistic sounds. I had a ton of fun with this during my playtest.
While the NP-32 topped our list for beginners, I’d highly recommend the GO:Keys for more experienced players. It’s easy inspiration in an inexpensive package.
Arranger keyboards are also available. While they aren’t the best alternatives to real pianos, you might like them for performance- or keyboard-based courses (like Trinity Guildhall’s keyboard course).
It was hard to find great keyboards on a limited budget, but the NP-32 clearly came out on top. Good sounds, passable keys and portability make this the top choice for newcomers to the world of music.
Best Beginner Digital Piano Under $500 – Casio PX-160
In my opinion, this is the minimum price point if you’re serious about learning the piano. Less than ideal conditions will stifle the learning process, and sub-$300 keyboards aren’t ideal for mastering correct piano technique.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend an arm and leg to get a good keyboard. For less than $500, you can get a solid digital piano with weighted keys and realistic sounds.
While I wouldn’t call any of our picks perfect, they’re good enough to achieve an intermediate level.
Our Best Pick
The Casio PX-160 unsurprisingly wins out in this category. While it comes really close to exceeding the $500 price point, it justifies the cost with excellent key action, great sounds and more default features you’d expect at this price.
In fact, we’d even say the PX-160 competes with digital pianos above its class. The Yamaha P-125 and Roland FP-30 barely missed making the list due to their price, but why spend more when the PX-160 offers such good value?
The PX-160 is one of two sub-$500 digital piano to feature triple sensor hammer action keys, Casio’s well-received Tri-sensor Hammer Action II to be precise.
Triple sensors allow more accurate detection of your keypresses, performing especially well on pieces with quick note repetitions.
Be aware that these keys have a reputation for being louder than the competition.
The keys even feature synthetic Ebony and Ivory keytops, which add to the premium feel and accommodate people with sweaty hands.
Excellent feeling keys aside, the PX-160 features Casio’s AiR Sound Source engine. This has been Casio’s main sound engine for a long time and it delivers solid sampled sounds, especially the pianos.
One of the main improvements you’ll notice over the cheaper keyboards is the good sounding 16W speakers and increased multi-samples (making the piano even more responsive during play).
The 2-track MIDI Recorder and essential metronome, transposition, and tuning functions are included right out of the box.
Apart from Layer Mode, you also get Split Mode (only limited to bass sounds on the left).
Casio’s Duet Play mode might sound new. It’s a split mode that allows two players to share the same key range, which is ideal for teachers and students playing together during lessons.
Check the availability and current price of the Casio PX-160 in your region:
The Roland FP-10 is the other digital piano that features triple sensor keys and it nearly topped the list.
The FP-10’s greatest asset is a PHA-4 Standard keyboard that feels fantastic and is the same one as on its bigger brothers up to the FP-60.
The main factor giving the PX-160 an edge was a lack of features on the FP-10. It’s bare bones but not unusable. As I said in the sub-$300 section, less distractions mean more focus in practice.
Both are excellent instruments and equally worthy of consideration.
Best Intermediate Digital Piano Under $700 – Roland FP-30
More serious piano players demand more features and higher quality.
While the entries in the sub-$500 bracket are competent digital pianos in their own right, they do feel tailored for the entry-level market.
The biggest upgrade with the $700 digital pianos is the sounds. Companies feature higher quality samples in these models over their entry level counterparts.
Again, we’re not featuring workstation keyboards or keyboards with lackluster key-beds, only digital pianos with full, 88-key weighted keys were considered for this list.
Our Best Pick
The Roland FP-30 was an easy choice here.
It’s one of the bestselling intermediate digital pianos for good reason.
We’ve covered the FP-10 briefly in our sub-$500 section and this is the original, non-stripped-down version of it.
The PHA-4 Standard key action is great and the expanded sound palette, when compared to the FP-10, makes the FP-30 a terrific digital piano.
Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound engine is used for most of their instruments, from keyboards to electronic drums. It merges audio samples with software modeling for a malleable sound palette.
The main piano sound is also solid and recreates the feel of an actual piano quite well for the price. All prior recommendations up to this point felt a bit off, mainly due to less detailed sounds, but Roland pulls this off really well.
Sounds aren’t the only way that the FP-30 excels.
The PHA-4 Standard key action uses triple sensors, and we’ve already talked about how this increases the precision and accuracy of keypress detection.
I also rank this above other key actions in the price bracket due to a realistic weight and feel.
The keys feel similar to those on acoustic uprights and they recreate the physical mechanics well. It’s a subtle but welcome touch. To be sure, the PHA-4 Standard is among the best key actions you’ll find below $1,500.
The only minor complaint I have with the FP-30 is its dual speakers. They don’t sound bad, quite the opposite in fact; but they are a bit biased toward the low end and can distort at max volume (not that you need it that loud).
Wide selection of tones aside, the FP-30 features Bluetooth MIDI, perfect for using apps to further your learning.
A 1-track MIDI recorder and the essentials are included. Most special, though, is the string resonance, damper resonance, and key off resonance, all subtle touches that enhance realism.
Finally, it’s worth noting the PHA-4 Standard’s inclusion of escapement, which uses weights to simulate the effect of having a hammer strike the strings after keys are depressed.
The only somewhat glaring omission here is the lack of stereo outputs. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s definitely something Roland should have considered adding in.
Check the availability and current price of the Roland FP-30 in your region:
The newly released Casio PX-S1000 is one of the slimmest digital pianos in the world and a pretty good one at that.
While the FP-30 opts for a classic, functional look, the PX-S1000’s glass-like chassis looks gorgeous.
The keys feel great and the included sounds (courtesy of an upgraded Casio AiR sound engine) are also well-done.
The main reason we chose the FP-30 as top in this category is the PX-S1000’s keys. They’re very playable, but not as realistic as the PHA-4’s action, lacking some heft and mechanical feedback.
The FP-30’s bestseller status is well deserved. It’s been 3 years since its release and we can still heartily recommend it as one of the best portable digital pianos available.
Best Advanced Digital Piano Under $2,000 – Kawai ES8
The price jump might seem crazy, so I’d like to open up this section by noting that not everyone needs a $2,000 digital piano.
Most people at the advanced level prefer stage pianos, workstations or synthesizers. These keyboards favor sound designers wanting deep control of their sound. We’re not covering that here.
Digital pianos are more basic, but they do have the benefit of costing less, favoring players who just want a solid piano playing experience.
Our Best Pick
This was, yet again, another hard category to picking a winner. Most pianos in this range are close in terms of sound and build quality, so it’s hard to pick a straightforward winner.
If we’re going for the best overall piano playing experience, the Kawai ES8 is a safe bet.
Kawai is known for their acoustic pianos and many will argue that their RHIII action (as featured on this model) is one of the best plastic “folded” type key actions out there.
Sounds are also well-made on the ES8. Pure sampling is used, but there’s a clearly observable improvement over previous categories. Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging XL (HI-XL) technology is put to good use here.
You may write off the RHIII action because it’s plastic, but that’s a rookie mistake. Playing the keys will easily show why people love them.
Kawai has been in the piano business for a long time, since the early 1900s, and their experience in making pianos pays off. These keys feel great and are definitely at the top of their class.
34 tones might seem fairly small, but you know what they say – quality over quantity is always best.
The 10 piano sounds sound great and they’re also quite natural. You can even modify the piano parameters using Kawai’s Virtual Technician to achieve your ideal sound.
The dual 15W speakers are also clear, barely distorting the sound, even at high volumes.
All in all, the ES8 is a solid package that offers some of the best value.
Practically all of the features you’d expect are here – Split, Layer and Dual mode are available, and recording functionality is fairly robust, with a 2-track MIDI recorder and the ability to record both WAVs and MP3s.
The rear panel actually makes the ES8 a worthy gigging keyboard. You don’t just get the typical headphone jack and stereo TRS jacks.
You also get 5-pin MIDI connectors, for integrating legacy gear like sound modules and synthesizers into your performances.
Check the availability and current price of the Kawai ES8 in your region:
Like I said, this category has worthy contenders and the FP-90 came really close to winning out.
This is a slightly more expensive keyboard, but it features Roland’s PHA-50 hybrid wood keys, which are one of my favorite key actions out there.
The FP-90, even its controls, feels great to use. Its unique design won Roland a Red Dot award, which is no small feat!
The reason we chose the Kawai was due to personal preference. The FP-90 sounds great, but its modeled tones might not be for everyone.
I’d recommend testing out both options to see which one you prefer, as both are equally valid choices and well worth their asking prices.
For its price, the Kawai ES8 is an excellent digital piano and easily a top choice for intermediate and advanced players alike.
I’d like to remind you to test out as many of the options we’ve listed as possible to ensure the best choice for you. Chances are, if you’re looking at this price bracket, you already know what you want.
Our previous options were portable digital pianos, and while some of them came with matching wooden stands, you’d be hard pressed to call them furniture-like.
Console digital pianos are, in many ways, the opposite of our previous discussions. They’re bulky and more expensive.
They do look great, however, and can serve as beautiful centerpieces for your rooms.
That’s not the only thing worth discussing. These models tend to feature full, 3-pedal setups from the get-go, whereas portable counterparts require a separate purchase.
Which type you choose depends on your needs and interests. We’ll help by showing you our personal top picks.
Best Home Digital Piano Under $1,000 – Casio PX-870
Furniture-style digital pianos under $1,000 don’t necessarily market themselves as being top tier instruments, being more geared towards the entry-to-intermediate level.
However, that’s no reason to skimp on decision making. $1,000 is still a heavy investment, so you’ll certainly want to get as much bang for your buck as possible.
Our Best Pick
The Casio PX-870 was an easy top pick.
As the flagship instrument in the Privia line, it’s easily one of the best value propositions you’ll find.
Casio’s Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Acton Keyboard II is used here and feels great to the touch, even simulating the feel of textured ebony and ivory keytops.
While the keys tend to be noisier than other key actions, the feel more than makes up for this downside. The internal mechanisms are responsive, and that’s really all that matters.
The sounds are arguably the best of the bunch as well, with Casio’s AiR sound engine delivering great sounds that use the dual 20W speakers to their maximum advantage.
Casio is a prolific digital piano manufacturer, but for the longest time I never enjoyed playing their keyboards. Their sound was a major sticking point for me, as I always felt their samples were 2nd rate compared to other manufacturers.
That has changed in recent years and the PX-870 sounds excellent. The keys feel great and the key noise is barely an issue when you’ve got the speakers turned on.
One of the main advantages of Casio’s AiR sound engine here is dubbed ‘Multi-dimensional Morphing,’ which uses modifiable parameters like resonance and hammer response to simulate real piano sounds.
Split, Layer and Dual mode are available, and you get a 2-track MIDI recorder. Sadly, Split mode is limited to the included Bass sound.
However, the Audio recorder is surprisingly fully-fledged. You can record up to 99 songs, each with a maximum length of 25 min. These songs can then be saved onto flash drives for safekeeping.
Check the availability and current price of the Casio Privia PX-870 in your region:
Roland’s RP-102 is their unexpected entry into the realm of beginner console digital pianos.
It uses the same PHA-4 Standard action we liked on the FP-10 and FP-30. While the keys are a strength, the PX-870 wins out with a more complete feature set.
Sound-wise, it’s a close call. One can argue that the PX-870 simulates more organic piano sound elements and offers a more powerful sound system than the RP-102.
That said, there’s no denying that the RP-102 has a natural decay and a wider dynamic range, thanks to an innovative SuperNATURAL sound engine.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these instruments. Depending on your preferences, one might be slightly more suitable than the other, but overall, these are arguably the best home digital pianos below $1,000.
Casio’s PX-870 is the easiest digital piano among the bunch to recommend. I’d even say it’s worth considering for beginners and intermediate players alike due to its playability.
Great sound and feel are the most important aspect of any digital piano, and the PX-870 nails this.
Best Home Digital Piano Under $1,500 – Kawai KDP110
Furniture-style digital pianos can get a little absurd with their prices, but you don’t need to spend too much to get a great experience.
The $1,500 price range is still geared towards beginners and intermediate players. But you get more features and a larger chassis (in most cases), which improves both aesthetics and sound generation.
I previously praised the PX-870 for its good number of features and impressive degree of quality for the price, so the pianos here really needed to step up their game to impress me.
Our top pick may not be familiar to many, but being popular doesn’t mean a keyboard is the best.
Our Best Pick
Kawai has already showed that they make excellent pianos (the ES8 won our advanced digital piano category), and their KDP110 was our favorite in this group.
This digital piano uses Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging sound engine. Though it is one of Kawai’s more affordable, it’s no slouch.
A quick listen to demos (or better yet, actual hands-on experience) will show that the samples sound very natural.
Much like the ES8, you can even modify parameters using Kawai’s Virtual Technician app.
Sadly, the lack of a display makes it slightly harder to modify the parameters without external devices. Thankfully, Bluetooth support makes connectivity a snap.
Kawai’s RHCII action is used here is similar to the ES8’s RHIII action, despite being a price-level down.
The key action is purely plastic and lacks the synthetic ivory and ebony surface textures we’ve seen on other digital pianos.
However, Kawai is well known for their keys and this feels like a great action that features the heft and feedback you’d expect from a real keyboard.
The only minor complaint with the keys is a slightly lighter weight compared to acoustic pianos.
This really isn’t much of an issue during play, though. In actual play, the KDP110 feels nice, both in touch and sound, thanks in no small part to a powerful dual, 20W speaker system.
Layer and Dual mode are included, but Split mode is strangely absent, though you get a single-track MIDI recorder.
Five preset music books is an impressive bonus here, allowing you to practice and listen to up to 200 songs right on the piano. This is great for beginners, as they’re tailored to assist the learning process.
As we’ve discussed, Bluetooth is included. If you’re rocking some old-school gear, there are even proper 5-pin MIDI In and Out ports, as well.
Check the availability and current price of the Kawai KDP110 in your region:
The main thing worth considering here is the GH3 action (as opposed to the GHS action on the YDP-144). This action feels far more realistic and is certainly a step up from its younger brother.
Personally, I prefer the KDP110’s RHCII action, though the GH3 action has its supporters. The main point of discussion here is weight, as it’s even heavier than some actual acoustic pianos.
The KDP110 proves you don’t need to break the bank for a good digital piano, so it gets our seal of approval.
However, if you’re looking at this category, you’re probably an experienced player. In that case, I’d recommend you test as many digital pianos as possible before pulling the trigger. After all, you probably know what’s best.
Best Home Digital Piano Under $3,000 – Yamaha CLP-635
So far, we’ve been keeping our recommendations to more or less budget-friendly models.
We did mention that furniture-style digital pianos can go slightly overboard in terms of their prices, but many do justify their steep asking prices.
The $3000 price range is undoubtedly premium, and some might even say luxurious, but advanced players, and even classically trained pianists who work with acoustic grands can benefit from them.
As you might have expected, our choices here feature beautiful furniture-style bodies and extra features. And let’s not forget about the sophisticated sound-generating setups that use the structurally sound bodies to further enhance the realism factor.
To be included in this list, digital pianos don’t only need to sound good, they also need to have the feel of a real acoustic piano, at least to a certain degree.
Like it or not, you can get brand new acoustic pianos at this price, so we took that into consideration as well.
Our Best Pick
Yamaha’s Clavinova flagship line has been a public favorite for years now, and it’s not surprising that it makes this list as well.
The CLP-635 is part of the most recent line of Clavinova pianos, and it’s made to cater to the most demanding home-based piano players.
It goes without saying that it sounds and feels incredible, making its spot on this list well deserved. Yamaha’s no-holds-barred approach with the CLP-635 shows.
The highlights of the included sounds are the sampled Yamaha CFX and the Bösendorfer Imperial, both top tier concert grands which are staples of concert halls throughout the world.
Yamaha’s strength over the competition is their so-called Virtual Resonance Modelling (VRM) technology, which recreates the physical resonances that make their digital pianos sound and feel like the real deal.
Add the powerful dual 30W speakers, and you’ve got an instrument that sounds very close to an acoustic piano.
What you hear isn’t all you get either, the simple LCD display allows you to modify parameters in the Piano Room modeling software, which also includes a selection of effects to make each sound your own.
The CLP-635 uses the Yamaha GH3X key action, which is a good reliable action that feels realistic, though many have said that it leans towards being slightly heavy.
While I definitely prefer the NWX action on the higher-end CLP-645, the GH3X action is still very good. This has been the standard for CLP-line keyboards for years now, and it is a good way for training dynamic control.
Simulated ebony and ivory keytops are added to make things feel more natural. Add a good key pivot length and escapement simulation to the mix, and you’ve got an immensely playable key action.
The LCD screen is also worth mentioning here, as it is fairly informative despite its small size. The arrow keys make navigation a breeze, and there are quick recall options that quickly switch you over to the CFX or Bösendorfer presets.
Overall, the CLP-635 is a joy to play, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
As always, you get Layer and Split mode, which allows you to practice stage performance styles without purchasing extra software or a dedicated stage piano.
Dual mode is also present, allowing teachers to teach whilst sitting alongside their students, sharing the whole key range.
A robust recorder allows you to save up to 250 songs of 16 tracks each, which is a lot more than most console-style digital pianos have.
Of course, for more modern recording techniques using a computer, you have USB MIDI and Audio capabilities, so an external audio interface is not required.
In fact, you even get 5-pin MIDI ports (IN, OUT and THRU) ensuring compatibility with legacy equipment.
Pretty much all you’d ever need is featured here. The CLP-635 is as fully featured as you’d expect from a premium digital piano.
Check the availability and current price of the Yamaha CLP-635 in your region:
There are a ton of digital piano alternatives at this premium price point, but we’ll cover the Kawai CA58 here.
Coincidentally, the Kawai KDP110 was also featured the best sub-$1500 digital piano.
While we did choose the CLP-635 to be included on this list, do remember that things are subjective, and you really should give all possible choices a test run before buying, especially at this price point.
The highlight of Kawai’s CA series is wooden-key actions. The CA-58 in particular features the Grand Feel Compact (GFC) key action, which is one of the best key action you’ll find on the market today.
However, the compact version does feel a little bit weaker, mainly due to the reduced size of the keys. The pivot point remains long though, and some people will certainly prefer this over the Clavinova.
Again, you shouldn’t be spending $3000 on a whim. Test out both (or even better, all the options we listed, including Roland’s newest HP models) before making a purchase. You might easily prefer another keyboard.
The CLP-635 is expensive, but we can attest that it’s well worth every penny. The premium sound, build quality and keys make for a very compelling package.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you should always test things out before shelling out the big bucks. $3000 is not a small investment.
We’d go as far as to recommend that you test digital pianos at the sub-$1500 bracket as well. You might find our recommendations there to be quite satisfactory instruments in their own right.
Bonus – Best MIDI Keyboards
If you’re not necessarily interested in a full-fledged digital piano and simply want to control your virtual instruments and/or produce music using a DAW running on your computer, a good MIDI keyboard may be all you need!
Check out our in-depth guide on how to choose the “right” MIDI keyboard where we also share our favorite picks in different categories.
To learn more about MIDI keyboards and all other major keyboard types, follow this guide.
We hope we’ve helped your pursuit of the ideal digital piano for your needs and interests. The market is really overcrowded these days, so it can be hard to identify the best options.
I’d suggest diving deeper into the categories by entering our full top 5 lists for more information. There’s only so much we can do in these aggregate lists, and you know what they say – a ton of detail can get lost in the summaries.
Regardless, I hope you’ve learned something from this article. Whether you’ve learned about great value propositions (like the Roland FP-30) or about some of the more obscure choices (like Kawai’s KDP110), I’m sure you’ve gained some valuable direction.