How to choose the Best Digital Piano
Let’s face it, it is not easy to find a great digital piano on the market if you never purchased one before. It is a tough task and whoever has gone through this process knows about it. Finding an electric piano is getting tougher every single day with new piano models and accessories entering the music industry. If you are a beginner, it’s important to know that you don’t need to invest big to buy a quality electric piano. Even advanced piano players sometimes use relatively simple keyboards which have a great quality/price ratio. If you are looking for trustworthy digital piano reviews, you came to the right place.
This doesn’t mean quality is important, but it all depends on what your expectations are. Surely you don’t need to spend $2000 on a digital piano if your goal is to just play it as a hobby. That’s why we always recommend buying a decent digital piano to improve your skills before moving on to the higher quality models. I assume you didn’t learn how to drive a car with an Aston Martin right?
To make your choice a bit easier, we reviewed hundreds of digital piano’s and selected our top 3 digital pianos for beginners and advanced players. One more thing before we start, if you are looking for a piano for your kids, make sure to check out the Rockjam 61. For 99$ this is a great gift for the youngsters. Let’s start with our list: the best piano keyboard for beginners.
Digital piano for Beginners
1. Casio CTK 2400
Our number one pick for beginners is the Casio CTK 2400. This is a 61- key digital keyboard designed with unique features that are particularly useful to a student or recording musician. The piano is pretty small measuring 40 by 6 by 16 inches. It also weighs just 11.3 pounds. This hence makes it very portable. You can easily carry the keyboard to your music class or while traveling for a performance and it wouldn’t take up much of your space nor feel like a burden. Its compact nature also allows it to fit perfectly on a desk and thus you don’t have to rely on a stand for you to use it. This is vital considering that the piano doesn’t come with a pedal or stand.
The CTK-2400 offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to rhythms as there are 150 different rhythms to choose from. There is also more than 400 different voices! The best part yet is the sampling feature. This piano has a fantastic inbuilt microphone which enables you to record sounds (2 seconds recordings) and then use the sampled voices for the keyboard! This feature is perhaps the reason why the keyboard is remarkable for sampling. Just imagine the opportunities that come with a piano that records countless numbers of sounds and voices for use. This feature and the accompanying USB/MID, I connectivity for Mac and PC, will also make the production a fun experience.
One of the reasons why the CTK-2400 is the best starter keyboard for beginners is its educational features. This piano is fitted with cool LCD which displays a pair of hands for bass, treble, clef, and fingering. Additionally, the display shows you all the music notes you need while playing. There is a mini keyboard which lights up every key you press. It also comes with a songbook that has proven to be very useful to students.
One of the drawbacks of this keyboard is the polyphone count provided. You can only sound 48 keys at any moment which is quite small especially if you were looking for advanced performance.
Its boxed keys also pose another serious problem. These keys are not correctly weighted which can make your transition to a real acoustic piano difficult. With such keys, you will probably need some time and a bit of practice on an acoustic piano to adapt to the new set of keys.
Overall, this electric piano is the best keyboard to learn piano and a fantastic choice if you don’t want to spend too much. Out of 1500 digital piano reviews on Amazon, this electric piano received 4.5 stars out of 5. A guaranteed winner in our digital piano reviews list.
2. Yamaha P71
Our number 2 in the best digital piano list for beginners is the Yamaha P71. Amazon and Yamaha are two reputable companies that have worked tirelessly to deliver quality products. Imagine what can happen when two such companies team up to come with a product. Such powerful brains will arguably come up with a simply outstanding item, and this is precisely what the Amazon Exclusive P71 is. This is a full-size electronic piano powered by electricity. It has 88 weighted action keys which will honestly take your playing experience to the next levels. This piano gives you that rare feeling of playing a real acoustic piano. The Graded hammer Standard holds these keys from Yamaha where quality is prioritized and has been successfully achieved. This graded hammer and the high-quality keys are artistically blended which has seen the piano provide an unbeatable playing experience that other brands have been unable to match. It is also designed with a beautiful resonance, premium acoustic voices and quality sounds for ultimate performance.
It’s easy to think that with such features the piano is bound to be huge and heavy but this isn’t the case. Thanks to advanced technology, all the significant elements of this piano have been compressed to a depth of just 13 inches making a slim and sleekly designed masterpiece. It is also lightweight which should make storage and transportation easy.
The designing of this piano is also user-friendly, and this will benefit both you and your children. Its easy-to-use nature will allow your children to watch, learn and even practice your moves. This is why the P71 is a fantastic household item that you can use and easily pack it away safeguarding it from the young ones and any pets in the house.
This piano is available in two options: You can either pay for just the keyboard or add a few bucks and then receive it with various high-quality accessories such as a stand, pair of headphones and effects pedal. With this equipment, you can set up your piano and play it almost anywhere!
Easy-to-use pianos also make them an excellent choice for beginners. If you are just starting your music career and want to practice on a keyboard that gives you the perfect experience of an acoustic one, then Amazon Exclusive P71 is meant for you. The P71 is a deserved number 2 on the list best piano keyboard for beginners.
3. Yamaha YPG-235
Yamaha electric pianos typically come in two categories, i.e., Portable Grands and Portable Keyboards. These pianos are similar in many ways and even share some features, but there are several differences which make every set unique from the other. Portable keyboards, for instance, are more focused on providing a wide variety of sounds and features for more advanced performance. Portable grand piano’s on the other hand, aim at giving the player a realistic piano experience to prepare you for an acoustic piano. This is why they are usually considered to be the best choice for students or upcoming musicians who are still looking to improve their skills. The bottom-line, however, is that whichever Yamaha piano you select you are guaranteed of excellent performance and the YPG-235 can testify to that.
The Yamaha YPG-235 is an example of a portable grand. This piano offers some of the best features any musician would want and does so at a very affordable price. For under $250, you will get the privilege to enjoy its outstanding durability and functionality. The piano is designed in a manner that allows any piano player regardless of their expertise to use and enjoy its performance. As an amateur, the YPG-235 will equip you with skills and then help you in sharpening these skills. It will grow with you to professional level without having to replace it with another beginner piano.
The first impression you’ll get upon seeing this piano is how stunning it looks. YPG-235 is finished in champagne gold color. This gives it a glossy finishing that blends uniquely with the black and white keys. How Yamaha have managed to make a piano with so many features look so breathtaking yet straightforward is still a mystery. There are no too many unnecessary buttons to confuse you. The control interface is user-friendly making it easier for you to navigate around.
While on the subject of looks it is also important to notice the remarkable resemblance between this piano and the YPG-535. These two are related Yamaha products. In fact, some people consider the YPG-235 as a smaller version of the YPG-535. If you are not keen enough you might even fail to notice any difference between the two keyboards. YPG-535 is however different in that it’s a full set of 88 keys, unlike YPG-235 which features just 76 keys. YPG-235 has fewer keys but in no way is it any inferior. Most musicians can correctly work with the 76 keys which are also a significant step up for beginners coming from the 61-key models.
The size of YPG-235 makes it ideal for traveling musicians. It is compact measuring 46 inches by 16 inches. To further boost portability Yamaha made sure that it weighed just 8.3 kilograms (16 pounds). It, therefore, makes traveling or moving it around the house hassle-free.
Another reason for the popularity of the YPG-235 is its 6-track recording system. This system allows musicians to take different layers of effects and instruments and then pieces them together into six tracks! How is this important? If you are a beginner, this feature enables you to gauge your performance and earn skills by piecing instruments. For producers and composers, the feature makes production not just possible but also much easier.
The YPG-235 is an excellent purchase whichever way you look at it. Its USB port enables you to connect it to your PC boosting its functionality. It’s a reliable item whose features are worth spending on. We rank this one as a solid # in our digital piano reviews list for beginners. A well-earned number 3 spot on our list.
Electric Piano’s for Advanced Players
1. Yamaha DGX-660
The Yamaha DGX-660 is our #1 pick in the best electric piano for advanced players. The Yamaha DGX-650 was a very popular piano and was, for years, among the best Yamaha keyboards in the market. Yamaha then introduced the Yamaha DGX-660 as its successor but has it lived up to the standards set by its predecessor?
Firstly, this DGX-660 costs around $799 but looking at its features you get a feeling that it could be worth it. The piano features 88 Grade Hammer Standard keys that are supported by a 192-note maximum polyphony. The result of all this is a great feel on your fingertips when playing the keyboard that significantly boosts responses from the keys. In fact, the keyboard has four different settings to choose from when it comes to touch responses. You can select from the Hard, Medium, Soft and Fixed. You are no longer forced to adapt to the piano. Instead, you customize the keyboard to your desired response which should make performance much more comfortable.
It’s also inevitable to notice the Intelligent Acoustic Control feature of this piano. What this control does is that it detects your sounds and then goes ahead to balance all the sounds used finding the middle ground where the output is at its best. It hence saves you from the hassle involved in adjusting sounds as is common in many other primary pianos.
The acoustic control alone isn’t enough to produce the best sound possible. To do so, you need to have equally good speakers. DGX-660 has four speakers, two of them are around 12cm while the other two are 5cm. It uses two 6W amplifiers whose output is just insane! This piano produces highly detailed sound where everything sounds so clear, and this is every musician’s dream.
DGX-660 then takes piano playing to a whole new level with its impressive app integration capability. There are seven different iOS apps to use with this piano. Some of these apps include audio, and video recorders and other playback applications and that’s not all; from its split screen (yes, you heard that right, split screen), you can access song sheets and personalize calibrations and settings which will give you the ultimate piano experience.
Now, picture a piano that allows you to download hit songs and then get their music scores. A piano that boots lyrics and lesson features. A keyboard with a fun Style Recommender where you can include backup bands to fit the chords of the playing rhythmic style. A Style Recommender where once you change the chord the piano automatically does the same. This is precisely what the DGX-660 does!
We can’t even extensively cover all the features in this piano. A few other features worth pointing out include:
- 12 new voices
- A dedicated microphone jack
- Six new reverbs
- Piano room capability
- Compatible wireless adaptor
- 151 voices
It was hard to be convinced that anything could beat the DGX-650 but Yamaha have proven us wrong. The DGX-660 has rightfully inherited its predecessor and wholly transformed the piano experience. In the end, for the features you are receiving here it’s safe to say that its price tag isn’t that scary after all. A clear winner on our list for digital piano reviews for advanced players.
2. Yamaha YDP-163
The Yamaha YDP-163 is one of those pianos were checking the price tag alone can have you flipping to the next page without even checking out its features. This is because the piano goes for $1100 which is way above most people’s average budget for a keyboard but is it worth spending over $1000 on?
Aesthetically, the YDP-163 is up there among the best looking pianos in the market. It’s an electric piano that looks like an upright one. This is because instead of its harp lying flat, it is designed to stand up on the back resembling a grand piano. The piano is also fitted with an upright cabinet just behind the keys which are attached to two slender feet. This cabinet can open up creating a significant gap in its stands. Two planks of wood hold the stands. The YDP-163 is available in satin white and black colors with a wood grain finishing. Its key covers slide to reveal the ivory colored keys that complete its exquisite look. With such looks, this piano will not only help you with your music career but will also be a great addition to your home décor.
The key covers are also responsible for protecting the keys from external elements which reduces cases of key breakage. YDP163 console has music stands made of wood grains similar to those of the cabinet above. From this console, you can set up your music and compositions sheets conveniently where you can read them quickly without straining your eyes or neck. The wood grains used in this piano are not just for aesthetic purposes, but their strong nature has also made the entire keyboard durable.
This digital piano’s stands come with three durable pedals attached to the bottom. What’s the purpose of these pedals? Every pedal has its unique use. The one located at the far right, for instance, is called a sustain pedal. This pedal is used to remove dampers from the harp. This enables the strings to continue ringing moments after the key has been struck. Holding the pedal means that the key you’ve just hit will keep ringing until you release the pedal. This is a good thing, but you’ll need precision and finesse when using the pedal because if you over-press it then it is likely to blur everything else. It comes in very handy when you want your performance to have a dramatic end.
Technical players usually want to play different songs without losing any notes in between. This is an important feature that some pianos are unable to offer. With the YDP-163n however, you get a 192-note polyphony that addresses this issue.
For students or upcoming artists, the practice metronome and recorder will be useful in improving your skills. The recorder enables you to record a track, and with the playback option, you’ll be able to listen and determine any notable improvements that you need to do on your next play.
YDP-163 also stands out when you look at the sound outputs produced. It may seem like an upright piano, but it is designed to simulate sound production of a grand piano. These sounds are sampled using the Yamaha CF3S concert grand that delivers a variety of tones from huge, rich and warm tones which aren’t very easy to come across in other pianos.
If you are looking for a piano that can deliver excellent advanced performance, then the YDX-163 is one of your options. It may cost more than you’d want but a few times after using it you’ll realize just how impressive it really is. A deserved spot number 2 on our list.
3. Yamaha P115
Number 2 in our list is the Yamaha P115. Graded Hammer action keys are like the bare minimum of any Yamaha entry-level electric piano. At the lower end, the keys are a bit heavy, and they become much lighter as you come to the top notes. Such keys provide players with a balanced weight on the keys which results in a natural feeling when playing it. A natural feel of the keys is essential as it allows for a flawless transition from one key to another when performing. With the P-115 piano, users also get an opportunity to choose between a heavy and light feel in the graded action. All of these settings make it possible for virtuoso skills which is something most pianos out there can’t do. The customization of the keyboards makes the piano usable to a wide variety of people with different preferences. Children can, for instance, change to light settings which will make it easier for them to use the keyboard. Adults with weak hands can also use this setting to make the playing more seamless. Basically, this means that both you and your children can easily play the piano without any problems.
The Yamaha P115 is programmed with 14 voice options, and two of them are an upgrade from previous versions (Rock-Organ and Wurlitzer). It uses samples from the Yamaha’s CF III concert grand which is renowned for giving keyboards incredibly rich tones. In fact, most of the pianos that have used this concert grand are usually a lot more expensive than the P-115, so this keyboard is really a bargain if you think about. The natural resonance from this piano is also impossible to overlook. This string resonance resembles one from an acoustic instrument. The sympathetic resonance familiar in acoustic instruments is also available in the P-115, and hence you can imagine just how great playing this piano sounds. The tweeter has been moved to the top of the piano improving its spacious sound.
Many are times that pianos end up producing a disturbingly poor sound which not only makes it a nightmare listening to your plays but also makes it somewhat impossible for you to monitor your progress. This problem is usually as a result of poor damper resonance. Yamaha has permanently fixed this problem by increasing the piano’s damper resonance response. This has had an impressive impact as the sound is now clearer, finer and effortlessly natural.
App integration in pianos is perceived as an expensive accessory that can only be enjoyed by people on a big budget. This used to be true but not anymore. The P-115 is an example of an affordable piano that you can link to an app. It may not be as sophisticated as the integrations common in other high-end pianos, but it is still a significant upgrade from standard keyboards.
Notable specifications include:
- MIDI, Headphone, USB and Aux outputs
- Layer, duo and split functions
- Two 7w speakers
- 5-280 bpm metronome
- Intelligent acoustic control feature
- Sound boost, chorus, and four reverb effects
As a beginner, finding the right piano is not easy. It is always good that you get to practice on a piano that gives you an experience as close to a real acoustic piano as possible. While on a tight budget this may be hard but the P-115 offers such an experience at a quite an affordable price. You can record up to two tracks on this piano for tracking your progress. It’s also quite compact weighing just 11.8kg which makes it portable. With this easy-to-use piano, you are likely to learn and grow into a professional musician much faster.
There is a theory that when a consumer can understand the proper importance of the tool that he or she is going to buy, the chances are high that the purchase will be a lot smoother than before. Now, the question that you might have in your mind is that why should you go for a digital piano, right? That’s a very good question and we tried to answer that question in this section of the article.
The biggest reason or the benefit for which people go for digital piano is the price. They are a lot more affordable than the acoustic piano models and that makes a huge difference.
Especially, if you are a newbie and you do not know whether you will establish your career on piano or not, a piano is the obvious selection because you do not want to spend much. Think about it. What if you buy an acoustic piano with so much money and end up not using it? That will be a huge waste of money and it should never happen. So, if you are a beginner or if you are still in the learning phase or are planning to learn the piano, the best idea is to go for an electric piano any day.
Another big reason that why people go for the digital piano over acoustic is the compact size and ease of using. It is not possible to deal with a regular king size piano for everyone. On the other hand, digital models are easy to use and you can easily carry them from one room to another or even in your jamming session if required. Those cannot be done with the big acoustic model.
Maintenance is another big reason that why you should go for the digital pianos. Pianos need constant maintenance but when it is a digital piano, life becomes easier. You do not have to tune it and it won’t have problems related to dust, heat or humidity. It is like owning a laptop with all the piano features (Sorry for the bad example).
From volume control to the sound diversity and quality, there are a lot of features that only the best electric piano models can offer. Yes, the acoustic piano will always have that antique look and feature but you can never compare it with the digital piano. Digital pianos are made to be played every single day if required. These are like good horses that you can depend on.
We will have a detailed article on the differences between a digital piano vs acoustic piano models soon but for now, hopefully, you understand why you should go for an electric model.
Final Words on Digital Piano Reviews
To summarize, if you’re looking to buy the best keyboard to learn piano, we recommend either the Casio CTK 2400 or the Yamaha P71. These piano’s are by far the best piano keyboard for beginners at an affordable price.
Always remember that when you are buying something valuable like a piano the idea of a great electric piano will be different for each individual. A model which is a great option for your friend might not be that awesome to you. It varies depending on your taste, different features and also on the style of using the digital piano.
What we always recommend is that you take time when looking for a digital piano model. We know you will love to get a piano as soon as you can but take a few minutes and think properly on which model will give you a long-term benefit. A lot of people buy the wrong piano without understanding their own style. Do not fall into that trap.
If you ever have any questions related to the best electric piano models, feel free to contact us. We will try our level best to solve all your queries and confusions.