Finding the right instrument is one of the most tumultuous dilemmas that musicians will face. Regardless of if you're just starting out or if you're a seasoned professional, you need to have a digital piano that makes playing intuitive and accessible.
To help you navigate the vast world of digital pianos, we've created a buyer's guide with information on what to look for and which products are the best!
How to Choose the Best Piano
The best digital piano for you will depend on what level of pianist you are and what type of music you intend to play. For example, if you are someone simply looking for a keyboard to use for composing on, then you likely don't need something too nuanced. In this situation, it is completely fine if you get something that is not very expensive, as you will just need it to hear certain tonalities.
Things to Look for When Looking for a Digital Piano
When looking at which pianos are best for certain types of music, it is important to consider all of the features that differentiate pianos:
- Number of Keys: If you want to get a full range that compares to an acoustic piano, you should be focused on getting an 88-key piano. This will allow you to have nuance with your playing and not be missing any notes when trying to read scores.
- Weighted Keys: When you press a key on an acoustic piano, the key triggers a hammer that then hits a string. As you can imagine, pressing the key harder will cause the hammer to hit the string harder, allowing players to express themselves in how hard they press the keys. Pianos with weighted keys recreate this feature, making it possible to have dynamic expression with each note. This is especially useful for types of music that require a lot of nuance with dynamics (i.e. classical music), but might not be as necessary for other types of music that rely on effects and other methods of expression (i.e. electronic dance music).
- Comes with a Stand: If you are someone who wants to purchase a piano that you can begin playing right out of the box, it might be useful to purchase a product that comes with a piano stand. If you don't do this, you risk not being able to properly play the piano when you open it! Another option is buying a piano stand with your piano, but that would be an added cost.
- Different Voicings: One of the benefits of using a piano as opposed to an acoustic one is that a digital instrument can also double as a synthesizer. If you want to use your piano as a synthesizer, we recommend that you get one that has multiple voicings. With different voicing settings, you can make your piano sound like a variety of instruments and sounds!
- Built-In Speakers and Headphone Support: Those looking to only play at home should look into instruments that either have built-in speakers or have the option to connect headphones to the output. If you are simply looking for something to use for performance, though, then getting a piano that has a ¼" output will suffice. With a ¼" output, you can connect the piano to speakers and amplifiers!
What Are the Advantages of Digital Pianos?
The main advantage of using a piano is that you can bring your instrument wherever you go. Unlike an acoustic piano, pianos are typically easily transportable by only one person. They are also very intuitive to set up at home, allowing anybody to have a piano without having it take up a lot of space in their living area.
If you are someone who is frequently performing music, having a piano is also helpful for making sure that you are able to carry all of your equipment with you to the venue. Having to always find spaces that have acoustic pianos either in storage or available for rental can be costly and inconvenient, making it necessary for you to supply as much of your equipment as possible.
What is the Best Way to Use a Digital Piano?
The best way to use a piano is simply as a digital instrument. One of the biggest misinterpretations that people have when purchasing a piano is that it will fill their need for an acoustic piano. Though pianos are perfectly acceptable instruments in both professional and casual situations, it is important to recognize that they are not acoustic instruments. Because of this, you'll never get the exact same sound that you do with an acoustic piano. You shouldn't let this deter you from purchasing a piano, though—in today's technological age, they are the most affordable and accessible way to play piano.
Precautions to Take When Using a Piano
Before using your piano, you should familiarize yourself with the entirety of the device's manual to make sure that you are using it properly. Though pianos are very intuitive instruments to play, you want to make sure that you are not putting yourself in a potentially harmful situation by plugging it in or setting up the instrument incorrectly.
Digital Piano Reviews
As one of the best piano manufacturers of all-time, Yamaha are wonderful at consistently creating products that you can truly rely on. The Yamaha P-45 Piano is no different, giving consumers an accessible piano experience that allows for a surprising range of nuance in tone. The GHS weighted action included gives you a good amount of nuance, having less resistance in the upper ranges like an acoustic piano does. The sustain pedal is also very durable and nuanced, giving you a tight amount of control without feeling too flimsy or delicate.
However, Yamaha P-45 piano is best for those who want a fully functioning product that also comes with a durable stand. The only downside to the stand itself is that it can be complicated to put up and take down, but that is only because the structure itself is quite durable. The price of this product is also quite expensive when compared to other options available, but is definitely worth it.
In terms of the actual keyboard, this one is not too different than the Yamaha P-45 mentioned earlier on this list. The weighted keys are not as thorough as the Yamaha product, but it definitely gets the job done. This product also comes with a stand similar to the aforementioned Yamaha product, but is slightly more intuitive to set up and dismantle.
What makes this Casio piano unique, though, is the fact that it comes with three different pedals (soft, sustaining, and sostenuto) to control the tone with. This makes it wonderful for those looking to practice classical music or other genres that require the nuance that only three pedals can provide. Casio digital piano also comes with a built-in speaker system that sounds pretty good for a setup of its kind! We should note that—although this piano is cheaper than the aforementioned Yamaha one—it is still on the expensive side of pianos. You also get a free bench, something that a majority of pianos do not come with!
Out of all of the pianos available on the market, perhaps none are as remarkable as this Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Piano. Not only does it boast the same GHS weighted key system that the other Yamaha product on this list has, but it also has a wonderfully faithful sound bank that can get you a wide variety of different sounds. In particular, the sound bank that allows you to almost perfectly replicate the sound of a Yamaha concert grand piano is more than enough reason to purchase this if you want something authentic.
However, the most defining feature of this product is that you're able to adjust the tuning of the instrument itself. As opposed to having the piano tuned to a standard of 440Hz, you can change the tuning to fit anywhere between 414.8 and 446.8Hz. This might seem like a small difference, but those interested in performing Baroque music will greatly appreciate being able to adjust the tuning to something more historically accurate. Yamaha P125 is expensive and only comes with the keyboard itself, but if you want to find what we believe to be the best product on the market, look no further than the Yamaha Digital Piano P125.
Though Casio products do not often have the technological nuance that Yamaha products do, they are definitely the second-best option for those looking for high-quality pianos. With the built-in AiR engine, you can be sure that you're getting accurate piano tones. There aren't weighted keys, but a comparable Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action System that is pretty effective as well. We also appreciate how this keyboard allows you to split the sound between two voices so you can mix and match your desired tones. If you're looking for a moderately-priced product that functions close to a premium product, this piano is for you. If you do purchase Casio Digital Piano, though, you should keep in mind that it does not come with a stand.
If you are somebody who wants the quality that can only be found in a Yamaha product without having to break the bank, then the Yamaha P71 might be for you. The weighted action is not as nuanced as more premium Yamaha products, but it is still leagues of head of other models available on the market.
The design of this keyboard is also slimmer than other Yamaha digital piano models, something that makes it more portable. This product also has a great set of 10 different voices to enhance your playing. Unlike other pianos, the non-piano sounds on this keyboard (i.e. Harp) sound pretty realistic. Though this product is not the best keyboard you can get on the market, we definitely recommend it for those looking to have the nuance required to practice classical music without needing to spend too much money on an instrument.
There are two things you'll notice when comparing the Casio WK-245 PPK to other products on this list: it comes at an affordable price, but only has 76 keys. This shouldn't be an issue for those who are playing styles of music that don't require large ranges, but those trying to perform intense classical pieces like Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto should avoid this product. There are still 600 built-in tones to choose from along with 152 different songs included, making this a great product for beginner pianists.
That being said, it comes with a great stand that is very easy to fold up and take with you wherever you need to go. The included headphones and power supply also make it easier than ever to simply bring the piano somewhere and start playing immediately. Something else that is unique about this keyboard is the detailed LCD display and EQ controls that allow you to adjust the specific sound without much difficulty.
This is the same Casio keyboard mentioned above, but it doesn't come with the stand or headphones. Because of this, it has all of the positive features included in the last review as well. You'll still get the 600 built-in tones and the 152 included songs, so this is still a great electric piano for beginning pianists to use. So, if you already have your own stand and headphones, then you might want to just get this version of the Casio WK-245.
RIF6 Electric 61-Key Piano Keyboard – with Over-Ear Headphones, Music Stand, Digital LCD Display, Teaching Modes and Adjustable Stool
Do you want to purchase a piano for your child that will allow them to start learning the instrument? If so, you should definitely purchase this product. It only comes with 61 keys, but you likely won't need more than that if you are just providing a keyboard for a child to learn on. This product also comes with all of the components you need to get started right away, including built-in speakers, a stand, a bench and even headphones. There are no weighted keys, but this is not a product for those who need that type of nuance.
In the event that someone who is a more accomplished pianist wants to play the piano, this is no problem. With over 300 different tones to choose from, even seasoned musicians can get the nuance they need to express themselves using the instrument. It also has an incredibly affordable price!
If you are someone who is looking for an affordable piano that you can take with you to shows, this product is a great option. The fact that it has 61 keys makes it have a smaller range when compared to other products, but this also makes it quite compact and portable. Something that makes this piano particularly impressive is that it allows you to connect your phone and use apps to trigger the sounds of the piano. This adds an entirely new dimension to the concept of a piano, making it perfect for those who want to have complete control over their sound while playing live.
Those who want to compose with this keyboard will be glad to know that you can also transfer MIDI files to and from the device, allowing you to create new tracks while also interacting with your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) of choice. There is also a built-in system that teaches you how to play from a selection of pop music!
However, the most impressive part of this electric piano is the sound bank. With 400 different tones and 100 rhythms to choose from, you won't run out of options while creating new music. Unlike other pianos that compete with this product, the Casio CTK2550 has wonderful orchestral sounds. For example, the violins have a type of attack and release that feels very close to the real thing, while the flute sound is very versatile while still being realistic.
Alesis Melody 61 MKII 61-Key Portable Keyboard with Built-In Speakers, Headphones, Microphone, Piano Stand, Music Rest and Stool
If you need an item that is incredibly affordable while also providing you with all of the tools you need to start recording music immediately, this is the best product available on the market. It's important to note, though, that this piano is not meant for those who want to practice or perform classical music. There are only 61 keys, they are not weighted, and the piano sound is not very realistic. However, there are over 300 built-in tones to choose from and there is always the option to split the range into two different voices.
The built-in speakers on this product are not very high-quality, but you won't need to use the speakers if you are plugging into a DAW. This product is especially suited for singer-songwriters who want an easy way to compose and record demos while at home. Alesis digital piano is also compact enough that you will be able to easily adjust its position to get the best sound. If you have any trouble figuring out how to best record it, don't worry—the included microphone will help you get the job done!
Even if you're not interested in just recording, you can also learn piano with the included 40 demo songs. In the event that you want to save something you've been toying around with, you can also record and save your own demo songs. Though the overall design is a bit flimsy, this is truly a good value and one of the cheapest items on our list.
Because this piano is also on this list as a premium package, it shares many similarities to our previous review. This piano only has 61 keys, but the design is very efficient and makes it great to bring with you to performances. The ability to connect your phone to this piano makes it efficient for people performing types of rock music that often require many different effects to be applied in the moment.
You can also transfer MIDI files between this device and your computer, allowing you to have a more fluid compositional process. Though the piano sound on this keyboard isn't very realistic, the orchestral sounds are unparalleled when compared with other budget pianos.
At the end of the day, the best piano currently available on the market is the Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Piano. Not only does this piano have some of the most nuanced controls out there, but the design is also exceptionally durable. The only thing that one might take issue with when looking at this product is the fact that it is expensive when compared to other options. That being said, you definitely get what you are paying for! Those who aren't afraid to pay a premium price for a reliable product should definitely get this piano.
When looking for a piano, it's important to note that the product you purchase should be the one you are most comfortable with. Any of the 11 options on our list are good pianos to choose from, but ultimately you should be weighing your options and considering what is best for you. We hope this buyer's guide has been helpful so that the next time you're in the market for a piano, you know just what to look for!