Piano is one of the most popular and most influential instruments in music history. The very first one was invented in 1709 by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy and he’s the one we should all thank for making the way for masterpieces from Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and other brilliant composers.
When my grandfather bought his first acoustic piano, it really wasn’t anything special, but he remembers spending a fortune for it. Back in those times, “average Joes” could only play on them in expensive music schools because not many people could afford them. Luckily for us, we live in a digital era where technology is constantly evolving. Digital pianos are the latest invention in this area and a great affordable alternative to expensive acoustic grand pianos.
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Digital Piano
Acoustic vs Digital Piano – Which one to Buy?
We all know that masterpieces like Goldberg Variations were all conducted on grand pianos, and there’s an indisputable factor of romance and tradition that we can’t take away from them. But digital pianos have their advantages as well, and we have listed some of them below.
Affordable price – Traditional pianos are often too expensive for our budgets, mainly because they are hard to make. Techniques involved in manufacturing haven’t changed very much and they still rely on hand craftsmanship, just like centuries ago. Digital pianos cost more than 5 times less and they are also cheaper to maintain because they are not sensitive to environmental factors and they don’t need a regular tune up.
Sound recording – Most digital pianos have MIDI and USB outputs. That’s something that Mozart, Beethoven and Back have never heard of. They can be connected to computers, which allows you to record everything you are playing. Practice makes perfect and sound recording makes it a lot easier. It is a fact that beginners are learning faster on digital pianos, because most of them also have special features to assist in learning. It’s like having your own private teacher always available for free.
Sound volume adjustment – True story. When I took my first piano lessons when I was a kid, we lived in multi-apartment block with thin walls. You can imagine how happy my neighbors were, especially when I took those first steps in learning, when it all sounded like a nightmare. Playing in daytime wasn’t a problem, but playing a piano after 9PM was strictly forbidden. Playing softly really doesn’t give the appropriate experience and I always wished I could just plug my earphones in and let myself go whenever I wanted to.
More sounds – This is one of the most important advantages of digital pianos. Traditional ones are limited in this area because they always sound the same. Digital ones come with variety of sounds and styles to play along. Few clicks on a button can transform them into organs, guitars, flutes, strings. and many other instruments.
Compactness – While traditional pianos look awesome, they are also heavier and not really designed to move around. Just imagine carrying one to the fifth floor if you can. Some digital pianos are portable and you can carry them around wherever you want to because they weight less than 50 lbs. They can be stored in a closet, which makes them perfect space savers and appropriate even for smallest apartments and studios.
Top 5 Digital Pianos Reviews
Here is our own list of 5 most popular and recommended products that are just waiting for the next Mozart to touch their keyboard. All of them are a great buy, but much of it comes down to personal preference. When we made these reviews, we analyzed their features, customer reviews, testimonials and overall ratings from various sources online, so you don’t have to spend those precious hours by yourself. You can read our complete reviews with complete lists of features in reviews section.
Yamaha ARIUS YDP-181
There’s no need to say that Yamaha is one of the leading piano manufacturers in the world, both digital and acoustic ones. Arius YDP-181 is their highest rated digital piano on Amazon because of its advanced features, classic look and affordable price. Its sound has been sampled from Yamaha Full Concert Piano (CFIIIS), which had won some of the highest acclaims at world’s most famous concert halls and music competitions. One of its features that comes especially handy is USB connectivity, which allows you to record your playing directly to USB flash drive or even USB hard drive.
Yamaha ARIUS YDP-181 comes with a selection of 50 preset classic songs and 14 demo songs, which can be used as a learning reference. This is a feature that most of us missed very much when we took our first steps of learning with acoustic pianos. Keyboard with synthetic Ivory keytops feels authentic and offers variable touch sensitivity, which allows you to choose from hard, medium and soft settings to match your playing style. Read our complete review.
Casio PX 850
PX 850 of Casio’s Privia line is a digital piano that offers one of the most realistic rich concert sounds in this price range. Casio used their new AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) processor, which has more than 3 times more memory than processors from their previous generations, and reproduces the sounds of the finest acoustic grand pianos in the world. PX 850 offers 256 notes of polyphony (highest in this price range) and variety of instrument tones – including strings, organs and bass. It comes in 3 different designs (black, brown and white), so there is no doubt you could find one to fit into your living room.
Tri-sensor scaled hammer keyboard with simulated Ebony and Ivory textured keys offers one of the most authentic experiences you can get for this price and if you are an advanced piano player, PX850 just might be one of the best choices for you. It comes with a huge music library with 60 preset songs, so you can take your first steps in learning as soon as you plug it in. Read our complete review.
Yamaha is one of the leading piano companies in the world and there’s no surprise few of their products managed to get on our list. DGX650B offers variety of advanced features, but one thing that stands above them all is its unreasonably discounted price, which makes it one of the best buys in this price range right now. If we described it in 1 sentence, we would steal Bert Smorenburg’s words “Yamaha DGX650B has everything you wish as a piano player”. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or advanced player, authentic feel of DGX650 with weighted GHS action won’t let you down. Apart from classic black design, it also comes in attractive white color that really impresses most people with its looks.
DGX650 has 88 notes and weighted GHS action, which makes heavier touch on the low end of keyboard and lighter touch on high end, just like acoustic piano. Unlike other pianos in this price range, sound of DGX650B has been sampled with newest technology (pure CF sampling). They used one of the best concert grand pianos in the world (CFIIIS) to capture sounds, so it really provides unmatchable user experience in this price range. Read our complete review.
Yamaha P105 is one of those compact portable pianos that you can carry around wherever you want to, without asking your neighbors for help. It is one of cheapest products in the world that still provide great sound quality, outstanding and authentic touch, and still offer most features that you could expect from products in highest price range. It is one of the top choices of many live performers because of its compactness. With advanced “USB to host” module and AUX line, you can connect it directly to your PC, headphones or more powerful external speakers.
Just like most top-end Yamaha products, sound of P105B was “stolen” from one of their best grand concert pianos (CFIIIS). It’s equipped with standard 88-note keyboard with Graded Hammer technology, which makes sure you get even more authentic touch that can be compared to any acoustic piano out there. Read our complete review.
Casio PX150 comes last in our top 5 list, after a tough battle with Yamaha P105. With no more than 20 lbs, it is the most lightweight and compact product on our list and a perfect choice for everyone that plans to carry it around often. It is also the cheapest product on our top 5 list, but doesn’t lack highly advanced features like others in this price range. Just like most top-end products, it comes with 88-note keyboard with weighted scale hammer action, which provides similar feeling as traditional acoustic pianos.
Just like PX 850, it has the newest “AiR” sound source which provides 3 times more memory than previous Casio models. This results in realistic and detailed sound that can be found rarely in pianos in $500 price range.. PX150 also offers the quality sound of other instruments including strings, organs and bass. It also comes with USB connectivity, so you can record your songs and upload them to your computer without installing additional drivers or software. Read our complete review.
What to look for when buying Digital Piano?
Although they are an affordable alternative to traditional ones, digital pianos can still cost up to few thousand dollars, so it is essential to choose the right one. Here our list of what you should take into consideration before buying one:
Choose a brand with trust – Obviously some brands are better than others, but in general you should always choose one with reputation and trust. Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Korg, Classenti and Kawai are just some of the best brands in the world. Of course there are even cheaper alternatives from unknown companies that don’t come with warranty and their lifespan is suspicious. Do you really want to live in fear that your digital piano will break down any second and there are no spare parts for it available? Always choose a brand with authority, reputation and trust.
What’s your budget? – If your budget is unlimited, you probably have a large house and a room to spare for $20.000 worth grand piano. But most of us can’t spend that amount of money, so it is essential to choose the right one right at the start. More money means better quality and better user experience, so many of us have to choose from alternatives that fit our budget. We have listed some of the best buys in our reviews section and most of them come with a big discount.
How experienced are you? – Obviously if you are a beginner, you don’t really need all the advanced features that come with some top-end digital pianos, and you also won’t be able to tell the difference of their sound anytime soon. If you never played one, you should choose from a basic model with basic features. If you are an expert and you play Chopin ballads “for breakfast”, you won’t be completely satisfied with cheaper models that only offer basic features.
Check the size of it – If you live in a large house and have plenty of unused space in it, that’s great. But if you live in a small studio, you probably don’t have enough space for some of the largest instruments. Carefully measure your apartment and make sure it will fit into your favorite room. They are also different in heights, so if you are buying a piano for your kids, make sure they will have the right posture while playing and still being able to reach pedals on the floor.
Choose the best design – Obviously this is one of the least important factor, but you probably won’t play on piano 24/7. Make sure you choose the right design that will fit into into your favorite room.
Ask for warranty coverage – Most digital pianos come with 12-month warranty, but most warranties can be extended for some extra costs. Just like most electronic goodies, when piano gets broken, it needs a professional hands and it’s nice to use those hands without paying extra.
We have come to an end of our best digital piano guide. Finding the best digital piano can be challenging with so many of them on the market. Mission of our website is to offer all the information that you need as a buyer – all in one place.
You can read more about some of the best products in this area in our detailed, honest and critical reviews, or you can check out our ultimate comparison chart, where you can sort them out based on their price, ratings, or features. We aim to provide the best possible reviews in the world, so if you have any question or proposition for us, you are welcome to send us an email through our contact form. We will reply in shortest time possible!