Ranking The Best Cheap Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys

New piano players often face the challenge of trying to find a budget-friendly piano to play at home.

The problem with a basic keyboard is that it doesn’t prepare musicians for the experience of playing a real piano. Keyboards usually have fewer keys than acoustic pianos. Another difference is that a piano has weighted keys, while a keyboard does not.

On the other hand, acoustic pianos are notoriously expensive, meaning that they’re not a viable option for everyone.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s actually a third option.

A digital piano is essentially a digital imitation of the traditional, acoustic piano. It has all 88 keys, and these keys are at least semi-weighted, if not fully-weighted.

Digital pianos are more expensive than keyboards, but less costly than acoustic pianos. Basically, they replicate the real piano experience for a fraction of the cost.

In today’s guide, we will be ranking and reviewing the best cheap digital pianos with weighted keys and walking you through the process of choosing one for yourself.

OUR TOP PICK

Our highest-ranking digital piano today is the YAMAHA P71 Weighted Action Digital Piano.

This compact, streamlined digital piano looks more like a keyboard than a traditional piano, but it provides everything you need to enjoy a realistic piano-playing experience.

The main piano sound produced by the YAMAHA P71 is actually a digital sampling of a real YAMAHA acoustic grand piano. This means that in addition to feeling authentic thanks to the full range of weighted keys, this digital piano also delivers authentic sound.

In total, the YAMAHA P71 has 10 voices and a dual-mode function that allows for the combination of 2 voices into a unique sound blend.

All of the settings on this digital piano are easily accessible and adjustable through the button controls, which are user-friendly and intuitive.

Because the YAMAHA P71 is so streamlined and compact, it only weighs 25 lbs. This makes it easily portable, which is something that can’t be said for most acoustic pianos.

A sustain pedal is included with the purchase of the YAMAHA P71. Like the weighted keys, this adds to the authenticity of the piano experience unlike the majority of regular keyboards, which don’t typically come with pedals.

Another accessory that comes with this digital piano is, of course, a power cable. Unfortunately, the power cable seems to be the weakest point of the YAMAHA P71 in the sense that it’s not particularly durable, so it may need to be replaced down the line. However, for such an affordably priced digital piano, this isn’t a major issue.

Pros

  • 10 voices - Versatile sound
  • Digitally sampled grand piano sound - Realistic
  • Button controls - Simple and intuitive
  • Sustain pedal included - Authentic playing experience
  • 25 lbs - Lightweight

Cons

  • Power cable not very durable - May need replacing 

EDITORS CHOICE

The Soudimy S-310 is a very popular choice amongst piano players looking for a cheap, digital piano with weighted keys.

This is actually the cheapest digital piano with weighted keys in our top 5, which makes it a great choice for those with a budget to stick to.

However, the lower price point doesn’t mean that Soudimy has compromised on authenticity-enhancing features. In fact, in addition to being one of the cheapest digital pianos on the market, it’s also one of the best in terms of sound settings.

The Soudimy S-310 plays sounds from 237 different instruments, so it’s extremely versatile.

With that being said, even if you only want this digital piano for the piano sound, you won’t be disappointed. The piano audio is sampled from real Steinway grand pianos, delivering exceptionally bright notes.

This piano uses graded hammer action, which means that the weighted hammer action is heavier on the low end of the keyboard and lighter on the higher notes.

A common worry when purchasing a digital piano is that the sound won’t be as powerful as that of an acoustic piano. However, thanks to its combined 50-Watt speaker system (2 speakers rated at 25 Watts each), the Soudimy S-310 delivers a powerful output.

It should be noted that a slight sound distortion has been observed by some users around the base notes of the piano, possibly due to a quality control error, although this is not a common occurrence.

This digital piano includes a sustain pedal so that you can produce a realistic legato effect as needed.

Pros

  • Graded hammer action - Notes sound natural
  • Steinway grand piano sampling - Bright sound
  • 237 instrument sounds - Highly versatile
  • 50-Watt speaker system - Powerful output
  • Includes sustain pedal - Produces legato effect

Cons

  • Slight distortion on bass notes - Quality control issue 

BEST VALUE

Casio is a popular brand in the musical instrument industry, so it’s no surprise that the Casio CDP-S350 Compact Digital Piano is one of the most highly rated digital pianos on the market.

This is also a fairly inexpensive digital piano model, so it ranks third on our list.

The first thing to note about the Casio CDP-S350 is that it uses scale hammer action. This means that notes on the piano can be re-triggered without the player having to release the key.

The Casio CDP-S350 boasts a huge range of settings, featuring a selection of 700 individual tones and 200 different rhythms to choose from. The range of tones means that you can create music that sounds perfect to you, while the rhythm selection

In addition to the tone and rhythm settings, you can layer effects over the sound of the piano, including chorus and reverb effects.

This is the most lightweight digital piano in our ranking, at 24 lbs. You can easily move it around in your home or transport it to different locations if you need to.

However, the digital piano does not come with a pedal, so if you need to use any of the 3 pedals featured on a classic grand piano, you’ll need to purchase digital attachment versions separately.

Pros

  • Scaled hammer action - Effortless re-triggering
  • 700 different tones - Versatile audio
  • 200 rhythms - Keeps tempo
  • Reverb and chorus effects - Additional features
  • 24 lbs - Easily portable

Cons

  • Pedal not included - Separate purchase may be needed 

RUNNER UP

When it comes to cheap, full-size digital pianos with weighted keys, Donner is by far one of the best manufacturers.

This isn’t the cheapest digital piano on the market by any means, but for its size, it’s a real bargain, and it’s still significantly less expensive than any good-quality acoustic piano.

With a total of 238 different tones, this is a highly versatile digital piano that can produce a variety of realistic instrument sounds.

You can further layer these tones using the chorus or reverb effects, depending on the type of sound you’re going for.

Once you’ve selected the settings you need, you can monitor the activated settings using the small but clearly visible LCD display.

There are 2 speakers built into the Donner DEP-20, each rated at 25 Watts. This means that the entire speaker system comes to 50 Watts, so the sound output is quite powerful.

And thanks to the 3 pedals that come built into the stand, you can exercise almost all the playing techniques you’d need on a grand piano.

The only drawback is that the hammer action is ungraded, so playing with noticeable expression (pianissimo, for example) is difficult.

Pros

  • 238 tones - Broad sound selection
  • Chorus and reverb settings - Extra effects 
  • LCD display - User-friendly 
  • 50-Watt system - Powerful sound 
  • 3 built-in pedals - Complete grand piano experience

Cons

  • Ungraded hammer action - Hinders expressive playing 

RUNNER UP

Our fifth-rated digital piano is the Korg B2. This is a very inexpensive option as far as digital pianos go, so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of our previous products have.

However, it’s an excellent budget-friendly option if you want the experience of playing a basic acoustic piano without the added cost.

The natural weighted hammer action of the Korg B2’s keys ensures a fully natural, authentic feel that supports expressive piano playing due to the lighter touch at the higher end of the keyboard.

You can pick from a selection of 12 voices, including various piano types, to diversify your sound.

The sound system on this digital piano isn’t quite as impressive as some of the other higher-ranked models, but the 2 15-Watt speakers produce enough sound output to comfortably fill a room.

Included with the Korg B2 Digital Piano are a sustain pedal for playing legato and a bundle of music software.

The software provided with this piano includes Skoove, which helps piano players to improve their technique and skills, and Korg Gadget 2, which is a software program for music production.

Our one criticism of the Korg B2 is that there’s no digital display screen, so monitoring which settings you have selected is not as intuitive.

Pros

  • Natural weighted hammer action - Suitable for expressive playing
  • 12 voices - Good range of sounds
  • 30-Watt sound system - Significant output
  • Includes learning and production software - Excellent value for money
  • Sustain pedal included - For legato effect

Cons

  • No display screen - Difficult to monitor settings 

Choosing A Cheap Digital Piano With Weighted Keys: Buyer’s Guide

If you’ve read this far into our digital piano guide, you probably already know that budget-friendliness and weighted keys are important factors in your selection process.

However, there are some other features and factors that you should take into account in addition to the main focuses of today’s article.

Ranking The Best Cheap Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys

Build And Style

One of the main concerns faced by piano players investing in digital pianos is space.

While some keyboard-style digital pianos are extremely portable and compact, weighing as little as 24 lbs, other full-size models represent much more of a spatial commitment.

If portability is your priority, you’ll definitely be better off with a simple, compact keyboard-style digital piano. However, if you want the complete acoustic piano experience and have the space for a full-size digital piano in your home, go for it!

Bear in mind that many full-size digital pianos actually come in 2 pieces: the keyboard and the stand. This means that you can always detach the keyboard from the piano stand if you ever need a portable piano.

Before purchasing a digital piano of any size, we’d always recommend verifying the measurements and checking them against what you foresee being the designated piano space in your home.

Hammer Action

All of the digital pianos we’ve been looking at have weighted keys, meaning that they all use some form of hammer action.

However, when you see the words ‘hammer action’ pop up in a product description, you should always seek to find out what type of hammer action this is referring to. That’s right - as you might have noticed from our product reviews, there is more than one type of hammer action.

Graded hammer action is the most sought-after hammer action in digital pianos. That’s because graded hammer action means that the hammer is heavier on the lower notes and lighter on the higher notes.

Why is that a good thing? Because different styles of playing are called for by piano music, and it can be quite difficult to play softly on higher notes if the keys are so heavy that you have to force them down.

Similarly, playing loudly on lower notes is tricky when there’s not enough weight behind the keys.

Basically, if you want to learn to play the piano with expression and emotion, graded or ‘natural’ hammer action is the way forward.

Alternatively, there’s also something called scaled hammer action. This is where a note can be re-triggered without fully releasing the key first. This helps to enhance the fluidity of your playing.

Voices And Instruments

One great thing about digital pianos that you don’t get with acoustic pianos is the range of different instruments, tones, and voices in which you can choose to play.

Some digital pianos, including a couple we’ve reviewed today, feature hundreds of different instrumental voices, ranging from various piano types to stringed instruments and even percussion.

Of course, these are not necessary for learning and practicing the piano, but it can be a fun way to explore your music taste and the potential for creating different sounds.

If you’re lucky, your piano might even have a dual mode that you can use to mix different sounds together.

Settings And Effects

It’s definitely worth considering the other settings that come with your digital piano options as well.

Some digital pianos have the ability to sound out a rhythm to help you keep in time. Certain models have hundreds of different rhythms stored in the computerized system, so no matter what your sheet music calls for, you’ll be able to maintain the right tempo.

Additional effects are sometimes also included in a digital piano’s settings, mainly chorus and reverb effects. These can add some extra depth to your sound.

Control Panel

The user-friendliness of a digital piano’s control panel will, in part, dictate the quality of your experience, so this is a crucial feature to focus on.

Most digital pianos use button controls, apart from the more expensive models, which we haven’t featured in this article.

Button controls might seem outdated to some in the age of touchscreen, but they have the advantage of being very easy and intuitive to work with, no matter how familiar you are with technology.

Some cheap digital pianos also include a digital LCD display to help you monitor your setting selection. Whether or not this is a priority for you is entirely up to your own discretion.

Additional Features

One of the additional features we’d recommend prioritizing is a pedal. A grand piano typically has 3 pedals, while most acoustic pianos have 2.

In most cases, if digital pianos come with a pedal (not all of them do), it will be the sostenuto pedal. This is also known as the sustain pedal, and while it’s held down, it prolongs notes for a more fluid effect.

If you really like the look of a digital piano but it doesn’t come with a pedal, don’t worry. It should have a port to plug a pedal into, so once you know what kind of port you’re working with, you can purchase a compatible pedal separately.

Some digital pianos also include software bundles. If you’re interested in enhancing your piano playing skills or trying your hand at music productions, keep an eye out for any software inclusions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Digital Piano And A Keyboard?

Although some digital pianos resemble keyboards, a standard keyboard will not have the full 88 keys of an acoustic piano and won’t have weighted keys. A keyboard with 88 weighted keys is not, in fact, a keyboard - it’s a digital piano.

Digital pianos also differ from keyboards in that they usually have more options for sound variation and more robust speaker systems.

What Is The Price Difference Between A Digital Piano And An Acoustic Piano?

Typically, entry level acoustic pianos start at around $1000. A more high-quality acoustic piano can easily set you back $3000, if not more.

Digital pianos, on the other hand, start at roughly $300 to $500, although some of the more advanced models can exceed $1000.

What Is The Price Difference Between A Digital Piano And A Keyboard?

You can get a decent, beginner-friendly keyboard for $100, although models with 61 keys or more typically cost at least $250. This is less than the starting point for digital pianos, which almost always start at $300 minimum.

However, like digital pianos, keyboards with a lot of high-tech features can retail for up to $1000.

Do I Need Weighted Keys To Learn The Piano?

Weighted keys aren’t a strict necessity when learning the piano, but if you’re currently using an unweighted keyboard, you may find it difficult to transition to an acoustic piano in the future.

If you want to be able to play acoustic pianos with ease, we recommend practicing using weighted keys as often as possible.

David Williams
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