Modern digital pianos come in every size, shape and form you can imagine.
There are portable, stage, console, and even grand digital pianos available on the market today.
But if you want to get as close as possible to replicating the characteristics of a real acoustic piano, you should definitely look in the direction of console digital pianos.
Console digital pianos (aka furniture cabinet digital pianos) are perfect for home use, and while they tend to be more expensive than their portable alternatives (with similar characteristics), they also provide a more realistic playing experience.
The good news is that today you can get a solid digital piano with an authentic sound, touch and good feature set for less than $1000.
No matter if you’re a beginner or an intermediate pianist, these pianos will give you enough room to play and enjoy music as well as develop your skills even further.
Each type of digital pianos has its pros and cons, and the console type is no exception.
1) The main advantage of console digital pianos comes from their design. Compared to portable pianos, they look and feel much more like an acoustic piano, making a nice addition to your home decor.
2) Console pianos come with a furniture-style cabinet and a full set of 3 piano pedals, which means you don’t need to spend extra money on a stand or pedals for your instrument, as you probably would with portable pianos.
3) Finally, thanks to a bigger keyboard base, console pianos usually sound fuller and bolder compared to their portable alternatives, mainly because of the resonance effect caused by the cabinet.
If you ask me which brands to go for when choosing a console digital piano, I’d certainly recommend sticking with the following manufacturers:
These brands provide the highest level of performance, reliability, and realism that other brands cannot match (at least for now).
With that out of the way, here are the 5 models that we think are the best digital pianos under $1000:
- Casio PX-870 – Best Value for Money, Packed with Useful Features
- Roland RP-102 – Simple and Affordable Introduction to the Roland quality
- Yamaha YDP-144 – No-frills Console Piano That Gets the Job Done
- Casio PX-770 – The Best Choice for Those on a Tight Budget
- Korg LP-380 – Japanese Quality, Great Selection of Sounds
- Fully-Weighted Keys
- Simulated Ivory/Ebony
- Touch Sensitivity
- Tone Generator
- Built-in Tones
- Lesson Function
- MIDI Recorder
- Audio Recorder
- Piano Elements
- Preset Temperaments
- USB Type B
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Casio PX-870
- Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II
- 3 types, OFF
- Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR
- 256 notes
- 19 (5 pianos)
- Dual, Split (Bass only), Duo
- 60 songs
- 2-track, 1 song
- 25 min per song, 99 songs
- Damper/String/Key Off Resonance, Hammer Response, Lid Simulator, Key On/Off Action Noise
- 17 types
- 20W + 20W
- 75.6 lbs (34.3 kg)
- Roland RP-102
- PHA-4 Standard with Escapement and Ivory Feel
- (Ivory only)
- 5 types, OFF
- SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine
- 128 notes
- 15 (4 pianos)
- Dual, Duo (Twin Piano)
- Damper/String/Key Off Resonance
- 6W + 6W
- 83.3 lbs (37.7 kg)
- Yamaha YDP-144
- Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
- 3 types, OFF
- Pure CF Sound Engine
- 192 notes
- 10 (3 pianos)
- Dual, Duo
- 50 songs
- 2-track, 1 song
- Damper/String/Key Off Resonance
- 6W + 6W
- 83.7 lbs (38 kg)
- Casio PX-770
- Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II
- 3 types, OFF
- Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR
- 128 notes
- 19 (5 pianos)
- Dual, Split (Bass only), Duo
- 60 songs
- 2-track, 1 song
- Damper Resonance, Hammer Response
- 17 types
- 8W + 8W
- 69.4 lbs (31.4 kg)
1) Casio PX-870 – Best value for money, packed with useful features
The PX-870 is a flagship model that offers the most realistic playing experience in the series.
It comes with a few significant improvements, including a redesigned cabinet, an upgraded piano sound, and a new 40W sound projection system.
But first let’s take a closer look at the two most important aspects of any digital piano, touch and sound.
The PX-870 comes with Casio’s famous Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II with 88 full-size keys.
The keyboard utilizes hammer action system with triple sensor detection technology, which allows for faster note repetition and greater expressiveness.
The keys of the PX-870 have simulated ivory & ebony keytops which provide a nice textured feel. The surface of the keys also helps absorb moisture from your fingers and enhances control.
To my fingers, the PX-870’s keyboard has a nicer and more accurate feel than Yamaha’s GHS keyboard, but it also seemed a bit noisier than the rest of the keyboards on the list (especially noticeable when playing at low volume levels).
The previous PX-860 model had a very good sound already, but the new PX-870 proves that there’s always room for improvement.
At the heart of the PX-870 is the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source, which comes with an upgraded 4-layer piano tone. I must say it sounds incredibly realistic and there are a few reasons for that.
The PX-870 fully reproduces important elements of the acoustic piano sound such as damper resonance, string resonance and key on/off action noise.
Apart from that it also has Key Off simulator, Lid Simulator, and Casio’s proprietary Hammer Response feature.
The second thing that makes the PX-870 stand out from the competitors is its unique 4-speaker sound projection system with 40W of output power.
It delivers a full, rich sound and can get as loud as a real acoustic piano. The dynamic range is also very impressive ranging from the softest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo.
Another thing worth mentioning is 256-note polyphony, which ensures that the notes will continue to sound fully and naturally even under high demand performance situations (fast passages, layered sounds, etc.). It’s the only piano in this price range that has 256-note polyphony.
When it comes to features and functions, the PX-870 does not disappoint either.
Along with the standard features like metronome, transpose, dual/duo modes, the PX-870 offers 60 internal songs to listen to and play along with as well as great recording capabilities.
With the PX-870 you can record your performances not only in MIDI but also in WAV, meaning you can record the actual sound of the instrument and share it with your friends and family easily. It’s the only piano on the list that has this function.
Another great feature the PX-870 has is called Concert Play.
It provides you with 10 different tunes, which are real recordings of the symphony orchestra. First, you can practice the piano part of those pieces (each hand can be practiced separately) and then move on to playing along with the orchestra accompaniment.
It’s pleasing to see that Casio continue to improve their instruments and provide the technology normally only available on much higher-priced pianos.
2) Roland RP-102 – Excellent-quality keyboard, Bluetooth onboard
This is another amazing digital piano and a worthy addition to Roland’s RP series of home digital pianos.
Up until now, Roland didn’t offer any digital pianos under 1000$ except for their popular FP-30 model. But they soon realized that it’s a very popular price point among beginners and intermediate players and decided to join the game.
The RP-102 is almost identical to the FP-30, as far as piano playing goes, but unlike the FP-30 it comes with a furniture-style cabinet, 3 pedals and a whole bunch of preset songs.
Even though the RP-102 doesn’t offer many bells and whistles, it does an excellent job of recreating the sound and feel of an acoustic instrument.
The RP102 features the PHA-4 Standard keyboard with Escapement mechanism and Ivory feel keys.
It’s the latest iteration of Roland’s hammer actions, which have become even more realistic and less “noisy” compared to the 3rd generation.
The PHA-4 Standard uses triple sensor detection system, which allows for more accurate key repetition sensing and better expression.
The escapement mechanism simulates that unique clicking sensation felt when you gently press the keys on a grand piano.
The Ivory textured keys aid control and help absorb moisture from your fingers.
Overall, PHA-4 Standard is one of the most reliable and realistic key actions in this price range, and is one of my favorites keyboards under $1500.
At the heart of the piano is Roland’s unique SuperNATURAL modeling technology, which is known for delivering a very full, rich piano sound with seamless dynamics.
Some people like the sound, some people find it a bit too bright and metallic. I personally like the rich sound of Roland pianos. It’s very dynamic, powerful, and has its own character.
Since the PR-102 and the FP-30 share the same sound engine; you can compare how it sounds compared to Yamaha and Kawai instruments (note that the Yamaha P-115 in the video uses a different piano sound than the one in the YDP-144):
The RP-102 probably doesn’t have as many features as the other pianos on the list, but thanks to its great connectivity (USB port, Bluetooth) you can easily expand the capabilities of the instrument using music apps such as FlowKey (for learning songs), GarageBand (for creating music), Logic Pro X, etc.
Moreover, Roland designed a great app called Piano Partner 2 (available for both iOS and Android devices).
Using this app, you can quickly access all the functions and songs on the PR-102 as well as display the scores of preset songs, develop your note-reading skills using the Flash Card game and much more.
What’s important is that the app also allows you to record your performances in MIDI, which is particularly useful for the RP-102 as it doesn’t have a built-in recorder.
Speaking of preset songs, the RP-102 has over 200 songs that you can listen to and play along with.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide a lesson function, which means you can’t turn off R or L track of a song to practice each hand’s part separately. But apps like FlowKey and Synthesia will easily solve that problem.
3) Yamaha YDP-144 – A straightforward piano that gets the job done
Yamaha is probably the most popular manufacturer not only when it comes to budget-friendly digital pianos but pianos in general.
The company’s updated YDP line consists of console digital pianos that offer realistic piano playing experience for a fairly affordable price. This is what makes this series so popular among beginners and intermediate pianists.
The piano comes with a traditional-looking cabinet and 3 piano-style pedals. It’s the heaviest piano on the list (83.75 lbs) and it’s slightly deeper than its competitors (16.6″).
If you take a closer look at the specs of the YDP-144, you can see that it’s very similar to the portable Yamaha P-125.
The pianos share the same key action and have an almost identical set of features. However, the piano sound is different.
The P-125 features the Pure CF sound engine (same as was used in the YDP-143), while the YDP-144 uses Yamaha’s CFX sampling found in their higher-end Clavinova series.
The YDP-144 is equipped with 88 full-size touch-sensitive keys that use the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action (Yamaha’s most affordable fully weighted action).
I was a bit disappointed that Yamaha didn’t even try to improve on this aspect by designing an improved version of this action or a new action entirely.
Instead, you get the same tried and true key action that Yamaha have been using on their entry-level and mid-range digital pianos for years.
The GHS provides a fairly realistic feel with a lighter touch in the upper range and heavier touch in the lower range.
The white keys have regular smooth plastic keytops, while the black ones have a black matte finish and are less slippery when playing over long periods of time.
There are a few limitations I’ve run into with this keyboard, and key pivot length is one of them.
The GHS action is relatively short, which makes the pivot length shorter as well. This, in turn, makes it a bit tricky to play further up the keys, as they do get quite heavy towards their upper points.
Although this is quite common among budget-friendly digital pianos, the GHS is definitely not on the better side of the spectrum.
One of the major upgrades in the new YDP-144 compared to the YDP-143 is sound.
The YDP-144 uses Yamaha CFX sampling, which means you get to enjoy the sound recorded from Yamaha’s most expensive piano, the Yamaha CFX 9-foot concert grand.
This time Yamaha finally added some of the organic piano elements to the sound including string resonance, damper resonance, and key-off samples.
Thanks to the high-quality samples, 192-note polyphony and Yamaha’s latest technologies for sound optimization (Intelligent Acoustic Control, Stereophonic Optimizer), the YDP-144 offers a very rich and realistic sound through both headphones and 12W onboard speakers.
The sound options on the YDP-144 are pretty limited. There are 10 sounds including 3 different grand piano variations (CFX, mellow, pop), 2 electric pianos, 2 organs (pipe, jazz), strings, a harpsichord and a vibraphone.
When it comes to sound customization options, you don’t have much choice either. 4 reverb types are pretty much all you get.
As far as features are concerned, the YDP-144 is pretty basic as well, but I wouldn’t say something important is missing here.
The piano has a metronome, dual and duo modes, a 2-track MIDI recorder, and a lesson function with 50 preset songs to practice right and left-hand parts independently.
Moreover, using the USB port, you can connect the piano to a computer or iPad to use it as a MIDI-controller with various music-making and teaching apps.
Using this port, you can also load up to 10 User Songs onto the instrument and use them in the same way as preset songs.
The YDP-144 is compatible with Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app, which will allow you to navigate the YDP-144 using an intuitive graphical interface and get access to some of the extra features.
If you like the sound and feel of the YDP-144, but you’re looking for something more slim and compact take a look at the YDP-S34, which is basically the same piano as the YDP-144 but has a different cabinet design.
4) Korg LP-380-U – Japanese quality, great selection of sounds
The Korg LP-380 is another popular digital piano on the market and a great alternative to the newer C1 Air for those who has a limited budget.
Until recently, the LP-380 was a flagship model in Korg’s range of home digital pianos.
The piano features the same RH3 keyboard action as the C1 Air model.
The RH3 is one of the best key actions you can get for under $1500, and the LP-380 is actually Korg’s most affordable digital piano that uses this key action.
While the RH3 is based on a 2-sensor detection technology and doesn’t offer any ivory or ebony simulation on the keys, it’s one of the longest mid-range key actions out there, which considerably improves pivot length and makes it easier to play further up the keys.
In this particular component it beats every other key action on this list.
The RH3 has a medium weight touch, feels very responsive, and reproduces the feel of an acoustic piano pretty accurately.
The Korg LP-380 uses the same stereo PCM sound engine and 120-note polyphony as the C1 Air model.
If you want to have as many sound options as possible, the LP-380 is the way to go. It has more built-in tones than any other piano on the list.
Unfortunately, the LP-380 doesn’t have the new piano sounds of Japanese and German grand pianos found on the C1 Air, which, as I previously said, are quite impressive.
But even with the Classic Grand Piano sound and slightly less powerful speakers (2 x 22W), the LP-380 sounds more than decent. Take a listen!
The LP-380, just like the C1 Air, is manufactured in Japan, which means you get the same exceptional Japanese quality for an even better price.
But there are also certain limitations that come with the lower price tag. In particular, the LP-380 doesn’t have a built-in MIDI recorder or lesson function.
There are 30 built-in songs (10 demos and 20 piano songs), which you can play back and play along with but you can’t change the sound of the song or turn off one of the tracks (R or L) to practice each hand’s part separately.
Connectivity also isn’t something the LP-380 is very good at. There is no Bluetooth support and more importantly no USB ports.
The rest of the connectors include two headphone jacks and a mini line out jack for connecting to external speakers, amps, etc.
If you feel that you could benefit from having a few extra features such as Bluetooth Audio connectivity, and the new upgraded piano sounds (Japanese and German grand pianos) with sympathetic damper resonance and key-off simulation, you should consider the Korg C1 Air.
5) Casio PX-770 – The best choice for those on a budget
We already talked about the PX-770’s older brother and the flagship of the Privia series, the PX-870.
These two digital pianos have a lot of similarities, though the Casio PX-770 does lack a couple of features, which explains the lower price tag.
When it comes to piano-playing experience, they are very similar since they share the same key action and sound engine (same set of built-in tones too).
Although piano sounds are the same, the PX-870 simulates more organic piano elements, which makes it fuller and more realistic sounding compared to the PX-770.
When using the onboard speakers you’ll also be able to tell the difference between the two, as the PX-870 has a more powerful and sophisticated speaker system.
However, don’t be fooled by the numbers, the PX-770 gets louder than you’ll ever need for a typical home situation.
Polyphony also isn’t something to sweat over. Be it 128 or 256 notes, you’ll be able to play pretty much anything you like without fearing that any notes will be cut off.
There are also a few sound-enhancing technologies present on the PX-870, though I wouldn’t say they change things dramatically sound-wise.
The PX-770 also doesn’t have an audio recorder, which none of the pianos on this list have, except for the PX-870.
As you can see, the PX-770 is basically a watered-down version of the PX-870. It has a beautiful 4-layer piano sound, very decent keyboard, and some cool features to keep you busy.
Things you MUST KNOW before choosing your Home Digital Piano
There you have, folks! Note that this list is based on what we believe are the best home digital pianos under $1000.
In case you haven’t found the instrument that suits your needs in this article, I’d like to provide some extra information that will hopefully help you find the right instrument.
Here are some of the main terms and aspects of the digital piano world that you’ll most likely run into when searching for your dream piano.
Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most keyboards and digital pianos have 88, 76, 73 or 61 keys.
73 keys are enough to play most (99%) modern pieces. Some advanced (classical) pieces require a full set of 88 keys.
There are 3 most common types of actions:
1) Non-weighted – most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
2) Semi-weighted – common action for budget portable keyboards (usually cost <300$). Spring-loaded mechanism adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.
3) Fully weighted (hammer action) is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers (rather than springs) attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements found inside a real piano.
If your main goal is to play piano that you’ll definitely want a keyboard with hammer action keys.
It’s the key action that feels close to the real piano keys and will help you build proper finger strength and technique, making it much easier to transition to an acoustic in the future (if you decide to).
Touch sensitivity (a.k.a velocity sensitivity or touch response) is a very important feature of any keyboard or digital piano, which ensures that the volume produced by the instrument will change depending on how hard or soft you play the keys.
It’s not a big deal nowadays as almost any $150+ keyboard have touch-sensitive keys regardless of its action type.
Much more important is whether the keyboard is weighted or not. Keyboards with fully weighted action often have adjustable touch-sensitivity so you can adjust it to your playing style.
Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.
These days, most digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.
You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all together.
First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two notes for each key played.
Furthermore, using the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), dual-mode (layering), and even the metronome ticking sound takes up additional notes of polyphony.
For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.
Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.
In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for the backing track.
You’ll rarely need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limits, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.
For an intermediate player it’s desirable to have 128 notes of polyphony or more.
Along with the standard “Single” keyboard mode, digital pianos often offer additional modes that allow you to use two instrument sounds at the same time or playing four hands.
Here are the most popular modes that digital pianos have:
1) Split Mode – divides the keyboard into two parts, allowing you to play a different instrument sound in each of them. For example, you can play guitar with your left hand and piano with your right hand at the same time.
2) Dual Mode (Layering) – allows you to layer two different sounds so that they sound simultaneously whenever you press a key. For example, you can layer strings with the piano sound or combine whatever sounds you like to get some new interesting combinations.
3) Duo Mode (a.k.a. Duet Play, Partner Mode, Twin Piano) – divides the keyboard into two halves with identical pitch ranges (two middle Cs) allowing two people to play the same notes at the same time.
Duet Play is particularly useful when you use it with your teacher or tutor who will play you some tunes on one side of the keyboard, and you’ll be able to follow along on the other side, playing the exact same notes at the same time.
Some digital pianos allows you to turn off the left- or right-hand part (track) of a song (preset or downloaded from the Internet) and practice it, playing along to the playback of the other part.
Pianos that have this function usually have a multi-track MIDI recorder.
A MIDI recorder allows you to record and play back your own performances without using any additional equipment.
Multi-track recording (2 and more tracks) allows you to record several musical parts onto separate tracks and play them back as a single song. You can also experiment with your recording by turning off some of the recorded tracks.
For example, you can record the right-hand part of the song on track 1, and the left-hand part on track two (while listening to the playback of the first track).
You can also create complex, multi-instrument recordings by recording several instrument parts onto separate tracks and playing them back together afterwards.
MIDI-recording is not the recording of the actual sound of the instrument. Here, we’re recording the MIDI data (a sequence of notes, their length, velocity and other parameters).
A built-in audio recorder will allow you to record the actual sound of the instrument (native samples) and save it to a flash drive usually in WAV format (Linear PCM, 16bit, 44.1 kHz, Stereo).
You can then share your recording on social media, upload it to SoundCloud, burn to CD, etc.
Audio recordings are more universal than MIDI ones because they provide you with a CD-quality audio file playable on most modern devices, and don’t require any additional software, and sample libraries (VSTs) to render a MIDI recording to audio.
Accompaniment function will enrich your performance, providing full backing accompaniment (rhythm, bass, harmony) that will follow your playing and make you sound like full band.
The accompaniment changes depending to what notes you play with you left hand (chords or even single notes if you don’t know full cords).
In other words, you manage your “band” with your left hand (by specifying chords) and play the main melody with your right hand.
Some instruments offer several accompaniment modes, and allow you specify chords using the full range of the keyboard.
1) Transpose function allows you to shift the overall pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps. The function is particularly useful when want to play a song in a different key but don’t want to change your fingering and learn it in a new key.
So, for example, if you know how to play a song in F major, you can transpose the pitch and play it in C major without actually learning it in the new key.
You can also transpose a song written in a difficult key (e.g., many black keys) into a different key with easier chords, but still hear it as if you were playing in the original key.
2) Tuning function allows you to shift the pitch from the standard A440 tuning in 0.1Hz or 0.2Hz steps.
You can use this function to match the piano’s pitch finely to that of another instrument or music (old piano, recording).
This port is also known as USB to Device port or USB drive port. The port can be used for connecting a flash drive to the piano to exchange files quickly and easily.
For example, you can load MIDI songs into the piano’s internal memory for playback or rehearsal (if the piano offers this option).
Alternatively, you can play back WAV and MIDI files (depends on the piano model) directly from the flash drive without loading them into the piano’s internal memory.
And finally, you can save your own performances recorded with the instrument to the flash drive as well as load them back onto the instrument when needed.
This port is often referred to as USB to Host terminal or USB to Computer port. This port is used to connect your digital piano to a computer or a smart device (using a special adapter) to exchange songs/files, and MIDI data.
There are actually tons of other apps that can expand the functionality of your digital piano in terms of learning, composing, recording, editing music.
Some brands offer their own free apps designed for certain piano models. Such apps usually enable you to control all the settings and functions of the instrument using an intuitive graphical interface.
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If after reading this review you still have doubts about what instrument to choose, take a look at our Digital Piano Buying Guide and other popular articles listed below: