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 digital piano that suits your needs.
Digital pianos aren’t just for beginners. Manufacturers have pumped a ton of resources into research and development and have developed high-end digital pianos with built-in key actions and sound engines that make them sound and feel very much like acoustic ones.
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.
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.
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 digital piano 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’ve grouped our top picks into a single read. If you want to know what each price point entails, this article has you covered.
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.
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 $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 modelling.
If what we’ve covered so far tickles your fancy, then read on.
Best Portable 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.
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.