Modern digital pianos come in every size, shape, and form you can imagine (and every possible price point, too).
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 a real acoustic piano without spending a fortune, you should definitely take a look at console-style digital pianos.
These instruments mainly focus on reproducing the sound and feel of an acoustic piano and usually come with a furniture-style cabinet, hammer-action keyboard, and 3 pedals.
The good news is that today you can get a solid digital piano with an authentic sound, touch and a bunch of extra features for less than 1000 dollars.
So in this article, we’re going to look at the best 3 digital pianos under 1000$ on the market (+ 2 slightly more expensive options) so that you can compare them thoroughly find the one that’s right for you.
Each type of digital piano has its pros and cons, and console type is no exception.
1) The main advantage of console 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 3 pedals, which means you don’t need to spend extra money on a stand or pedals for your instrument, as in the case of 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.
In any case, console pianos aren’t really designed to be moved around constantly.
If you ask me which brands to go for, I’d certainly recommend sticking with the following companies:
They provide the highest levels of performance, reliability, and realism that other brands cannot match (at least for now).
5 best budget-friendly digital pianos for home use
- Touch Sensitivity
- Tone Generator
- Built-in Tones
- Lesson Function
- MIDI Recorder
- Audio Recorder
- Preset Temperaments
- USB Type B
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
- 3 types, OFF
- Pure CF Sound Engine
- 192 notes
- 10 (3 pianos)
- Dual, Duo
- 50 songs
- 2-track, 1 song
- 6W + 6W
- 83.75 lbs
- Real Weighted Hammer Action 3 (RH3)
- 4 types, OFF
- Stereo PCM
- 120 notes
- 30 (6 pianos)
- Dual, Split (Bass only), Duo
- 40 songs
- 2-track, 1 song
- 3 types
- MIDI In/Out
- A2DP Sink (Bluetooth speaker)
- 25W + 25W
- 77.16 lbs
- 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
- 17 types
- 20W + 20W
- 75.6 lbs
- PHA-4 Standard with Escapement and Ivory Feel
- 5 types, OFF
- SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine
- 128 notes
- 15 (4 pianos)
- Dual, Duo (Twin Piano)
- 6W + 6W
- 83.3 lbs
1) Casio PX-870 – Best Value for Money
The piano comes with a number of 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: sound and touch.
The piano features 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 enhance 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 (esp. noticeable at low volume levels).
The previous PX-860 model had a very good sound on its own, but the new PX-870 showed us that there’s always a 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’re a few reasons for that.
The PX-870 fully reproduces important components of an acoustic piano sound such as damper resonance, string resonance, key on/off action noise.
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 almost 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 will not disappoint you 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 offers that.
Another great feature the PX-870 has is called Concert Play.
It provides you with 10 different tunes, which are real recordings of a symphony orchestra. You can first practice the piano part of those pieces (each hand can be practiced separately) and then play along with the orchestra accompaniment.
Overall, it’s safe to say that the PX-870 is currently one of the best digital pianos you can get for under 1000$.
It has an incredible sound (really hard to beat), realistic hammer action and lots of nice features to keep any pianist entertained.
It’s pleasing to see that Casio continue to improve their instruments and provide the best technology normally only available on much higher priced pianos.
2) Korg C1 Air – Magnificent sound of German and Japanese Grand Pianos
Even though the Korg C1 Air is slightly out of our budget range, I couldn’t help but include this digital piano on the list.
Finally, I can say without any hesitation that Korg have done an excellent job and their new pianos are strong competitors in the market of home digital pianos.
The very first thing that makes the C1 Air stand from the competition is Japanese Quality.
Everything from making the RH3 keyboard action to assembling the complete unit is carried out in Miyama-cho, Japan, which gives the instrument an excellent built quality and reliability.
The C1 features Korg’s high-end keyboard action called Real Weighted Hammer Action 3 (RH3).
You may have heard about this action because Korg uses it in lots of their digital pianos and professional keyboards.
I’ve had some experience with the RH3 and like how it feels and plays. It feels a bit lighter than Yamaha and Casio actions, but at the same time, it’s super responsive and smooth.
Sound is the area where the C1 Air really shines.
The instrument has a big, bold piano sound thanks to the exceptional 50W speaker system and high-quality piano sounds sampled from German and Japanese grand pianos.
A realistically recreated damper resonance and key-off simulation add even more realism to the playing experience.
In total, there are 6 different piano tones as well as 24 other instrument sounds including organs, electric pianos, strings, harpsichords, guitars, etc.
I’m glad that Korg decided to add a few important features and functions that are missing in the B1 such as onboard recorder, lesson function, MIDI connectivity, etc.
The C1 has a 2-track MIDI recorder and 40 preset songs that you can use to independently practice right- and left-hand parts.
Korg has decided to stick with traditional MIDI In/Out ports, so you won’t find a USB port on the piano.
You can still connect the C1 to a computer and use it as MIDI-controller with the help of a MIDI-USB adapter.
“Air” in the name of the piano implies that you can connect your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device to the C1 and play your stored music through the piano’s speakers.
You can also play along on the piano as a recording is playing back, which is very convenient.
3) Yamaha YDP-143 – A solid digital piano from a reputable brand
Yamaha is probably the most popular manufacturer when it comes to budget-friendly digital pianos.
The company’s updated YDP line (2016) consists of console digital pianos that offer realistic piano playing experience for an affordable price.
That’s why they’re pretty much in demand on the market.
The YDP-143 is the middle model in the YDP series (YDP-163 – next model up; YDP-103 – next model down), which primarily targets intermediate piano players.
The piano comes with a cabinet and 3 pedals. It’s the heaviest piano on the list (83.75 lbs) and slightly deeper than its competitors (depth: 16.6”).
If you take a closer look on the inside of the YDP-143, you can see that it’s very similar to the portable Yamaha P-115. The pianos share the same sound engine, the same action and have an almost identical set of features.
The YDP-143 is equipped with 88 full-size touch-sensitive keys that use the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action (Yamaha’s most affordable fully-weighted action).
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 shiny keytops, while the black ones have a black matte finish and are less slippery when playing for long periods of time.
The YDP-143 is equipped with the Pure CF sound engine. It provides 3 different piano tones sampled from a full concert Grand Piano (CFIIIS 9′ Concert Grand) as well as a bunch of other instrument sounds including a pipe organ, electric pianos, harpsichord, strings, etc.
But what interest you the most is probably the piano sound. Well, there’s nothing to worry about here because the YDP-143 sounds amazing.
Thanks to the high-quality samples, 192-note polyphony and Yamaha’s latest technologies for sound optimization (Intelligent Acoustic Control, Stereophonic Optimizer, Acoustic Optimizer), the YDP-143 offers a very rich and realistic sound through both headphones and 12W onboard speakers.
As far as features go, I’d say the YDP-143 does a good job and provides enough to keep you interested.
The piano has a metronome, duet mode, layering function, 2-track MIDI recorder, and lesson function with 50 preset songs to practice right and left-hand parts independently.
Moreover, using a USB port, you can connect the piano to a computer/iPad and use it as a MIDI-controller with various music-making and learning apps. Using USB, you can also load up to 10 User Songs into the instrument and use them in the same way as preset songs.
The YDP-143 is also compatible with Yamaha’s Digital Piano Controller app, which will allow you to easier and more convenient control the instrument.
The things I didn’t quite like about the YDP-143 is a limited range of sounds (10), and not many options to adjust the parameters of sound except for 4 reverb types.
4) Roland RP-102 – Roland’s most affordable console piano
This is another newly released 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 the FP-30. But since this is a sweet price range, which is very popular among beginner and intermediate players, Roland has 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 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 piano features the PHA-4 Standard keyboard with Escapement mechanism and Ivory feel keys.
It’s the latest generation 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 at the end of a stroke found on a grand piano.
The Ivory textured keys aid control and help absorb moisture from your fingers.
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.
Moreover, the RP-102 and the PX-870 are the only pianos in this price range that simulate sympathetic string resonance found on an acoustic piano.
Since the PR-102 and the FP-30 share the same sound engine; the Yamaha YDP-143 and the Yamaha P-115 do too, you can compare how the instruments sound compared to each other in the video below:
The RP-102 probably doesn’t have as many features as the other pianos on the list, but thanks to its great connectivity (USB, Bluetooth) you can easily expand the capabilities of the instrument using various music apps such as FlowKey (for learning songs), GarageBand (for creating music), Logic Pro X, etc.
Moreover, Roland has 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.
The most important thing 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 an onboard recorder.
Speaking of built-in songs, the RP-102 has over 200 songs that you can listen to and play along with.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a lesson function, which means you can’t turn off R or L track of a song to practice each hand part separately. But apps like FlowKey, Synthesia, etc., will easily solve that problem.
5) Korg LP-380 – Japanese quality for a reasonable price
The LP-380 is another popular digital piano on the market and a great alternative to the C1 Air for those with a limited budget.
Until recently, the LP-380 was a flagship model in Korg’s range of home digital pianos.
But even now, after the G1 Air and the C1 Air have been released, the LP-380 is still a worthy piano with an appealing price.
The piano features the same RH3 keyboard action as the C1 model.
It also uses the same PCM sound engine, has 120-note polyphony and 30 built-in sounds.
Unfortunately, the LP-380 doesn’t have the new piano sounds of Japanese and German grand pianos found on the C1, which, as I said, are quite impressive.
But even with the “regular” Grand Piano sound and slightly less powerful speakers (2 x 22W), the LP-380 sounds more than decent.
Another beautiful performance (not very good sound quality):
The LP-380, just like the C1 Air, is produced in Japan, which means you get the same exceptional Japanese quality for an even better price.
But the truth is “you get what you pay for”, and with a lower price also come some limitations. 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 a song or turn off one of the tracks (R or L) to practice a one-hand part.
Connectivity also isn’t something the LP-380 is very good at. There are no Bluetooth support and more importantly no USB ports to connect to a computer.
Instead you get MIDI In/Out ports, which you can also use exchange MIDI data with your computer.
But a MIDI-USB adapter needed for this connection is pricier and harder to find than, say, a USB A to B adapter, which you get at any electronics store for less than 5 bucks.
The rest of the connectors include two headphone jacks and Line Out jacks for connecting to external speakers, amps, etc.
Things you MUST KNOW before choosing your Home Digital Piano
Well, our top 5 list is based on what we believe are the best home digital pianos under $1000 available on the market.
This might not suit you, so we prefer you to have a look at all the information below. That will help you choose your digital piano and understand the important aspects and characteristics of these instruments.
Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most keyboards and digital pianos have 88, 76, or 61 keys.
76 keys are enough to play most (99%) modern pieces. Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.
There are 3 most common types of actions:
1) Non-weighted – most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
2) Semi-weighted – common action for budget portable keyboards (usually cost <300$). Spring-loaded mechanizm 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 piano.
If your main goal is to play piano that you’ll definitely want a keyboard with hammer action keys. It’s the only type of action that feels close to 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.
Touch-sensitivity (also called velocity-sensitivity or touch-response) is a very important feature of any keyboard or digital piano, which means 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.
The polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.
Most of the contemporary 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.
Another thing is that the use of the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), Dual mode (layering) and even the metronome tick sound take 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 a backing track.
You’ll hardly ever need all the 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at a time, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limit, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.
For an intermediate player it’s desireble to have 128 notes of polyphony or more.
Along with the “standard” keyboard mode, digital pianos usually offer additional modes for using two instrumen sounds at the same time or playing four hands.
Here are the most popular modes that digital pianos offer nowadays:
1) Split – 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 (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 sounds.
3) Duo (a.k.a. Duet Play, Partner Mode, Twin Piano) – devides 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 be able to play you some tunes on one side of the keyboard, and you’ll be able to follow along on the other playing the exact same notes
Some digital pianos allows you to turn off the left or right hand part (track) of a song (built-in or downloaded from the Internet) and practice it while listening to the playback of the other part.
Pianos that have this function usually have a multi-track MIDI recorder.
MIDI recorder allows you to record and playback your own performances right onboard.
Multi-track recording (2 and more tracks) allows you to record several musical parts on 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.
MIDI-recording is not the recording of the actual sound of the instrument. Here, we’re recoding the MIDI data (a sequence of notes, their length, velocity and other parameters).
Built-in Audio recorder will allow you to record the audio output of the instrument 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 recoding is much more universal than MIDI recording and allows you to get a CD-quality audio file playable on most modern devices.
Accompaniment function will enrich your playing with a full backing band (rhythm, bass, harmony) making you performance a full-fledged song.
The accompaniment (rhythm + bass + chords) changes according to the notes you play with you left hand (chords or even single notes if you don’t full cords).
In other words, you manage the “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 the song in C major without actually learning it in a 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, hearing it as 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 PX-770’s pitch finely to that of other instruments or music (old piano, tape).
Also called USB to Device port or USB drive port. The port is used to plug in a flash drive into 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.
Alternatively, you can play back WAV and MIDI files (depends on the isntrument) directly from the flash drive without loading them into the piano’s flash memory.
And finally, you can save your own performances recorded with the instrument to the flash drive as well as load them back when needed.
Also called USB to Host terminal. This jack can be used to connect a computer or a tablet (using special adapter) to exchange songs/files, and MIDI data.
There are actually many other apps that can expand the functionality of a digital piano in terms of learning, composing, recording, editing, notation creation, etc., depending on the kind of software you use.
Some brands offer their own free apps designed for certain models. Such apps usually enable you to control all the settings and functions of the instrument using an intuitive on-screen interface.