Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you most likely want the best digital piano your money can buy, as well as a piano that will meet your needs as far as features go. In which case, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this article, we explore the digital piano, what separates it from a traditional piano and keyboard, and the best digital pianos from the best brands on the market.
Best All-Around Digital Pianos
To kick things off, we’ve chosen our two favorite pianos currently on the market.
Korg SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano
Perfect for both home and stage, the Korg SV-1 not only looks great with its vintage finish, but it also sounds fantastic and includes a variety of style options, including electric, acoustic, organ, synth, and string variations. There are also four tonal settings so you can alter the sound to suit your style.
Above its aesthetics and sound quality, it’s the SV-1’s adaptability that attracts us most. Unlike lower-end digital pianos, the SV-1 has a variety of connections including audio input and output, headphones, MIDI, computer, and a damper pedal which gives you more control over the sound in comparison to other pianos. With the SV-1, there are few limitations, allowing for ultimate creativity.
In our humble opinion, Roland’s high-end V-Piano is one of the most authentic-sounding digital pianos currently on the market and, aesthetically, it’s on the road to becoming a classic. As well as having the traditional edge, the V-Piano comes with a variety of sounds, including everything from the grand piano through to wacky synth-inspired tones. As standard, the piano has 88 keys, and as an extra, there’s an ‘Escapement’ feature which can replicate the vibrations of a traditional acoustic piano.
The V-Piano has four output slots, input, and room for both a piano pedal and damper pedal, as well as a control pedal, plus MIDI, USB, and headphones. This digital piano is free of creative limitation. If you’re a professional musician with plenty of music money to spare, this is the digital piano for you.
Best Low-Cost Option
If you’re trying the digital piano for the first time or you’re a musician that needs something affordable and portable for rehearsals that you don’t mind getting bumped, bashed and bruised, you need a low-cost digital piano that meets all your requirements without paying over the odds for slick aesthetics.
Incredible value for money, the Yamaha P-45 is a simple but effective digital piano packed with features. The piano includes a full set of 88 weighted keys; ten stereo sampled voices and sounds, including grand piano, electric piano, organ, string, and harpsichord; and a reasonable sound system consisting of two built-in 6W amplifiers and speakers, as well as room for your headphones.
Despite its various plus points, it’s worth keeping in mind that the Yamaha P-45 doesn’t have a recording capability and, therefore, could be limiting if you’re looking to use your digital piano to produce music which you can then upload to your computer and edit using software, for instance.
Best for Experts
If you’re a piano pro, you’re going to want something that’s top-notch, and we have the answer.
Despite its premium price tag, the Kawai CE220 digital piano is still excellent value for money thanks to its variety of features suited to the professional pianist. Not only does this digital piano have slick wooden keys, but it also boasts recording capability, as well as a 192-note polyphony to enhance creativity. As expected of an advanced digital piano, the CE220 has plenty of useful connecting points.
The CE220’s connectivity is one of its primary selling points, so let’s elaborate. In addition to having three pedals, including a damper with a half-pedal, sostenuto, and soft pedal, the Kawai CE220 has rooms for two sets of headphones, both input and output, as well as MIDI and USB. If you’re a professional pianist looking for a complete solution and value for money, this is one of the best digital pianos on the market.
Best Digital Piano with Weighted Keys
If you’re a professional pianist used to playing classic acoustic or grand pianos, authentic weighted keys will be an essential consideration when purchasing a portable digital piano.
The Roland RD-800 digital piano is a specially designed stage piano that offers the feel of a classic piano but with ease of portability. Developed from Roland’s best-selling and very attractive V-Piano Grand, the RD-800 features 88 weighted keys for ultimate piano sound authenticity. It also has a variety of other features including 34 acoustic piano sounds as well as a flexible onboard Piano Designer which allows you to adjust the piano, including string resonance and hammer noise.
As well as the above, the RD-800 looks slick and is, therefore, perfect for the stage. This digital piano is also very lightweight and has a variety of connections, including two output slots, input, pedal, MIDI, two USB jacks, and room for your headphones. If you’re looking for a professional-standard digital piano with weighted keys, the Roland RD-800 is an all-time favorite that is very competitive, too.
Best to Learn On / For Beginners
If you’re a complete beginner, you will want a beginner’s digital piano to learn on. Rather than purchasing the most expensive digital piano, you should find one that is fairly priced based on what it offers as well as being easy to use, durable, and having excellent sound quality.
Both affordable and packed with features, the Yamaha DGX230 is not the most attractive digital piano; however, it offers excellent value for money and a board that will take you from budding beginner through to persistent pro piano player. Rather than having an 88-key board the DGX230 has a 76-key board and a master equalizer, plus multiple acoustic sounds, performance assistance, and USB.
Yamaha is known for its built-in Education Suite which makes its digital pianos perfect for learners. The Education Suite includes various modes that will help you learn, including those that will improve your timing, listening, tempo and chord knowledge, as well as teaching you to play by playing notes and songs and then asking you to repeat them for grading. The easy-to-understand interface makes all of this incredibly simple and, in our opinion, sets the Yamaha DGX230 apart from its competitors.
About the Brands
Just like any instrument, there are a variety of different digital piano brands on the market. Some brands are in higher regard than others; however, more specialized brands may be costlier, too.
Some of the top digital piano brands out there include:
Perhaps one of the most well-known household names in tech and, in particular, digital pianos, Japanese manufacturer Casio knows what it’s digital when it comes to electronic musical instruments. To show off its know-how, Casio has an extensive digital piano range to suit every need, with something for both beginners and professional musicians.
Casio’s digital piano range includes three main categories: Celviano, Privia, and Compact. Celviano is the best quality piano Casio offers and provides an authentic grand piano sound, while Privia is a budget digital piano that is also versatile in its sound, replicating a grand piano with the addition of being able to be adapted for rock, jazz or classical music effortlessly. Lastly, there’s Compact which, as the same suggests, is Casio’s range of compact digital pianos that come without a cabinet and are, therefore, much easier to transport.
Founded in 1927, Kawai is a known brand amongst piano players, however, elsewhere it goes largely unnoticed. Unlike Casio, Kawai specializes solely in pianos and has a much larger range of digital pianos. Kawai is renowned for its premium concert pianos and its products look incredibly sharp, too.
The brand also offers a Classic series, which is still luxurious, followed by its CN series which is lower-end and, before reaching Stage, Compact, and Portable pianos, its beginner’s KDP digital pianos which are the perfect introductory digital piano for those working towards a career in music.
With more than 55 years of piano experience, Japanese music tech brand Korg specializes in digital pianos but also has synthesizers, keyboards, DJ and production tools, computer software and parts, and electronic drums, as well as a variety of electronic musical instrument accessories such as tuners and amplifiers, behind it.
In simple terms, it is a one-stop-shop for budding musicians looking for electronic gear. Korg’s range of digital pianos includes everything from premium concert digital pianos through to a fun tiny toy piano; however, Korg is renowned for its mid-range ‘standard’ digital pianos.
Compared to other digital piano brands out there, Japanese manufacturer Roland is one of the newer brands to hit the market as the company was started in 1972, just 45 years ago. However, the name is just as respectable as some of the more established digital piano brands out there. In addition to making digital pianos, Roland also produces organs, grand pianos, keyboards,
In addition to making digital pianos, Roland also produces organs, grand pianos, keyboards, synthesizers, organs, guitars and drums, plus other musical instruments and accessories. When comparing price, it’s undeniable that Roland is a premium brand focusing on aesthetics as well as sound, as all of Roland’s digital pianos are incredibly slick and look at home in a contemporary building.
Its digital piano range includes more than 25 styles, including premium upright, upright, and a large selection of stage pianos.
Did we leave the best to last? You decide. With almost 130 years of heritage, Japanese company Yamaha is, perhaps, the most well-known digital piano brand out there, and it also produces a variety of other instruments including drums and guitars, as well as accessories. Not to mention, Yamaha is also known for its infamous motorcycles. Back to digital pianos, while Yamaha is incredibly well known, its selection of digital pianos is somewhat limited as it focuses more on keyboards and
Back to digital pianos, while Yamaha is incredibly well known, its selection of digital pianos is somewhat limited as it focuses more on keyboards and synthesizers.
Yamaha’s digital piano offering is very worthwhile, with both sound quality and appearance taken into consideration. Better still, Yamaha has digital pianos suitable for everyone from absolute beginners through to seasoned professionals and hits a variety of price points both low and high.
So what are the top digital pianos?
There may be hundreds, if not thousands, of digital pianos on the market, however, to make the selection process that little bit easier, we’ve chosen out favorites covering all budgets and experience levels, as well as those with special features you’re either going to love or find entirely unnecessary.
What is a Digital Piano?
Before purchasing a digital piano, it’s essential you understand what a digital piano is and what sets it apart from a traditional piano and, very importantly, a keyboard.
Many budding musicians and hobbyists make the mistake of thinking that a digital piano and keyboard are the same which, of course, they are not. In fact, digital pianos and keywords are incredibly different and have different functions. To avoid purchasing something other than what you want, make sure you clue yourself up on the differences between a digital piano, traditional acoustic or grand piano, and a keyboard.
In simple terms, a digital piano replicates all the features of traditional acoustic or grand piano but for a much more affordable price, in some instances as much as ten times less than the cost of a grand piano.
Also, importantly, a digital piano was designed to be portable and is, therefore, lighter than a traditional piano and, typically, comes without a large cabinet or with a cabinet can be removed when being transported. Digital pianos connected to their cabinets will take a little more time to dismantle.
Is that not what a keyboard does? While a keyboard is also light and transportable, it defeats the primary purpose of a portable piano, which is to replicate the sound of an acoustic or grand piano. Of course, keyboards replicate authentic pianos in some ways; however, they come with lots of other bells and whistles which make them more useful as a method of producing digital music with different sounds rather than working as a means to produce an authentic piano sound. Keyboards can be used to produce electronic-sounding music or as a learning mechanism for beginners, such as students.
Digital pianos also have the bonus of being able to connect to a computer, which means you can play your music back and cut and edit it using music software, which is perfect if you’re a budding musician.
As well as varying from a classic acoustic or grand piano, there are also a handful of different types of digital piano you can choose from depending on how you will use your piano. The main types of digital piano include ‘standard’ digital pianos which, also referred to as ‘slabs’, upright or vertical digital pianos, and stage pianos.
What’s the difference? Upright pianos are, usually, flat-pack pianos that you can put together and take down yourself, however, the shape is similar to a classic piano which does make it somewhat less portable, or at least a little harder to prepare for transportation. If you want a truly authentic digital piano, an upright digital piano is your best bet. Otherwise, there’s a stage piano which is ideal for musicians that move around to perform or need something that they can transport effortlessly. They are not as aesthetically striking as an upright digital piano; however, they have the same power. Alternatively, you can choose a ‘standard’ digital piano for the best of both worlds.
The main differences between classic and digital pianos are:
- Price: Digital pianos are much cheaper than classic pianos.
- Weight: Grand pianos range from 500 to 1200lbs in weight while many digital pianos weight less than 150lbs.
- Portability: Thanks to their being much lighter than a grand piano, digital pianos can be transported easily.
- Sounds: As well as replicating an acoustic or grand piano, almost all digital pianos offer electric piano, harpsichord, and string sounds, too. You will also be able to alter the sound volume.
- Connectivity: Most digital pianos can record and playback music and can be connected to a computer, allowing you to upload recorded music and manipulate it using music software.
What Are ‘Weighted Keys’?
In simple terms, weighted keys are piano keys that replicate the keys on a traditional acoustic or grand piano, which means they feel heavier than standard plastic or soft-touch digital piano keys. If you’re a professional pianist or you’re looking to move on and play a grand piano, for instance, in the future, consider learning and developing your piano skills and style using a digital piano with weighted keys.
How to Connect a Digital Piano to a PC
Just like connecting any piece of technology to a computer, connecting a digital piano to a PC is relatively easy and, the first-time round will take just a few minutes. However, you need to make sure you’re using the correct USB connection.
On digital pianos, often, you’ll have a Type A connection which is for external devices while a Type B connection is for connecting to a computer. When you have the correct connection, plug your digital piano into your computer, where you’ll be asked to ‘install the device’. Once you have installed your device, you’re good to go. If you are plugging your piano into your computer for the first time, you may need to install software in the form of a disk provided when you purchased your piano. You’ll find the disk with the manual and information pack.
Would prefer a visual guide of how to connect a digital piano to a computer? Check out MusicRadar’s YouTube tutorial:
Learning to Play the Piano
To learn to play the piano, you must be prepared to be both patient and persistent and have the time to put into the craft, which means allowing at least a couple of hours a day, if not more, to practice.
To begin with, you need to learn how the piano works which, for a digital piano, means learning the interface from back to front and inside-out. Also, you should learn how to correctly position your fingers and hands to reach the correct keys and how to position yourself when sitting at your piano to prevent back strain. Like most forms of music, you need to learn to listen to the sound, too, so you can hear where you’re going wrong, where you’re going right, and where you’re improving. Although, before you begin anything, you should try and learn to read piano music as you won’t be able to play music if you can’t read music. If it helps you to learn, consider marking the keys with colored stickers.
There are hundreds of resources you can use to learn to play the piano; however, some of our favorites include:
- Zebra Keys: Easy-to-understand and follow online piano lessons with an interactive keyboard.
- MusicTheory: Teaches the basics of learning piano, focusing on essential piano theory.
- PianoNanny: Advanced piano lessons online for once you’ve learned and polished the basics.
- Ben Hilton: Perfect if you’re a visual learner, Bill Hilton’s YouTube channel is a must-follow.
- Musicnotes: More than 300,000 pieces of sheet music that you can download, print and learn.
- FirstTutors: To help guide you and polish your piano skills, find a piano teacher near you.
- Lypur: YouTube channel by Canadian pianist and piano teacher Andrew Furmanczyk.
When selecting your digital piano, whether you’re a beginner or a professional, take your time and find one that meets most of your needs while offering the best value for money, too. Also, remember, functionality and durability come above aesthetics so never discount a piano purely for its looks.