Full-sized, acoustic pianos are without a doubt one of the most distinctive and charismatic instruments out there. Their gorgeous sound and grand presence within a room make acoustic pianos more than just an instrument, but a piece of art.
However, they aren't the most practical or accessible of instruments. In fact, despite the versatility of the sound produced by a piano, the instrument itself is anything but.
Acoustic pianos are large, heavy, and require tuning after they have been moved. They can also put a heavy dent in your wallet!
As such, in recent years, digital pianos have skyrocketed in popularity. In addition to being more portable, they also boast a wide range of additional features that acoustic pianos don’t have.
In fact, you can experiment with hundreds of different piano sounds that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access, such as organ, synth, and harpsichord timbres.
Digital pianos are therefore some of the most versatile, useful, and fun instruments available. Although, they do have one downside.
They don’t necessarily ‘feel’ like an acoustic piano. To some of you, this may sound like a minor point, but for the traditional piano players amongst you, it can be a real problem!
The keys on an acoustic piano are substantial. They have a notable weight and resistance, which gradually decreases as you move from the lower notes to the higher ones.
Digital pianos aren’t always manufactured to replicate this feature, and thus, can often feel very different and uncomfortable to play.
However, some manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem. In fact, some digital pianos are particularly similar in feel and sound to the real thing.
Below, we’ve listed the best, full-sized, digital pianos with weighted keys. Each one has been hand selected according to its quality, features, and resemblance to its acoustic counterparts. Be sure to check them out!
OUR TOP PICK
Korg is a Japanese manufacturer with an exemplary reputation for high-quality digital products, and the B2 is no exception! In fact, the Korg B2 digital piano is an ideal piano for the whole family, as it is particularly easy to use and not intimidating at all.
It has an authentic, acoustic piano feel, thanks to Korg’s acclaimed Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard.
It provides the realistic sensation of hammers on an acoustic piano, which gradually changes in intensity as you move from the lower range to the higher.
It boasts three touch control settings, which allow you to customize the instrument to work for your particular playing style. The keys also respond to a nuanced touch, meaning that you can practice using dynamics in your performance.
The B2 also has a great range of sounds available. Specifically, there are 12 gorgeous piano sounds, consisting of legendary grand pianos from around the globe, electric pianos, and even organs.
The organ sounds are particularly great if you plan on playing rock or jazz!
Its connectivity is also super versatile, thanks to its USB-to-Host port. You can buy a Lightning-USB camera adapter, which will enable you to record your performance as data on your smartphone.
When you’re tired of playing, you can still use the B2’s speakers as a way to enjoy music in your downtime!
The B2 also comes with a variety of useful equipment and software. For example, after purchasing, you get access to a three-month trial membership in Skoove, which provides over 10 courses and hundreds of songs to help improve your playing! The bundle listed here also includes a sleek piano stand, a three-pedal unit, and a piano bench.
- Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard - perfectly imitates the feel of an acoustic piano.
- Sensitive keys - ideal for playing dynamics.
- Range of sounds - large and of good quality.
- Connectivity - makes for a versatile instrument.
- Bundle - software and accessories are included.
- Portability - not as portable as other digital pianos.
This is one of Yamaha’s more basic options, but it is an ideal, budget-friendly digital piano. It is a slim, lightweight keyboard that is well designed for people who travel or those who don’t have much storage space.
Despite the price and compact nature, the P71 doesn’t compromise on sound or quality. There are ten different sounds to choose from, including samples from Yamaha’s most prestigious grand pianos. You also have the option of blending different sounds together.
The Yamaha brand is known for its excellent quality products, and the P71 is absolutely no exception, as a sleek but surprisingly robust piece of equipment.
It also features a one-touch system, which elevates its minimalistic design, and makes it particularly non-intimidating for new learners!
Though other digital pianos which have far more features are available at this price, none can quite compare with the P71’s design.
It is rare to find such a light, portable keyboard that also feels comparable to an acoustic piano, thanks to its weighted action keyboard. It also comes with a handy sustain pedal.
- Lightweight, slim design - very portable and sleek.
- Sound range - quite large.
- Weighted action keyboard - feels close to an acoustic piano.
- Features - quite limited.
- Stand - doesn’t come with a stand.
Casio is a brand which is renowned for its ability to design digital pianos that provide an authentic feel and lifelike acoustic sound, and the PX-S3000 definitely doesn’t disappoint!
Its sleek and glossy appearance is combined with a keyboard touch that is particularly reminiscent of an acoustic piano, to create a modern piece of equipment with a timeless feel.
The PX-S3000 has hundreds of onboard tones, including gorgeous grand piano voices, that can be heard with great detail.
Hammer response and key-off simulation react as you play dynamics, which produce a wonderfully realistic response that one would expect from an acoustic piano.
It also has hundreds of onboard rhythms from all different styles of music, which play with very realistic instruments.
The useful USB connection and integrated Bluetooth audio are ideal, letting you connect to any tablet, computer, or smartphone device with no drivers or installation required. As such, the PX-S3000 is the perfect master controller for your home studio.
It is also customizable, thanks to the free Chordana Play for Piano app. Using this app you can change instrument settings, control the MIDI recorder and work on your technique!
The PX-S3000 also manages to be compact and lightweight, making it an ideal, studio-quality digital piano for musicians who need a portable device.
In fact, this model is 43% smaller than previous generations, and hasn’t compromised on performance at all! It also comes with a damper pedal, an expression pedal jack for additional modulation possibilities, and an optional 3-pedal unit.
- 700 tones & 200 rhythms - make it a very versatile instrument.
- Smart Scaled Hammer Action keyboard - imitates the feel of an acoustic piano well.
- USB port & Bluetooth audio - great for connectivity.
- Slimline design - makes it very portable and sleek.
- Stand - doesn’t come with a stand.
If you’re looking for a digital piano that feels, sounds, and looks like the real thing, look no further than the Yamaha YDP 144. The true piano sound and weighted keyboard work together to provide a truly authentic playing experience!
Yamaha’s extensive expertise in making acoustic pianos really shows in the wonderful design of this digital piano. The way that the YDP 144 responds to touch is practically exactly how one would expect an acoustic piano to respond.
In fact, thanks to the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) weighted keyboard, this digital piano is one that is essentially unbeatable in terms of its similarities to the real thing.
The quality of the voices available is also quite spectacular. In fact, the CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice recreates the power and tone of a concert grand piano.
The YDP 144 also boasts a dual-mode, which allows you to combine two voices, such as a piano and strings, making it an incredibly versatile instrument.
Finally, this digital piano really looks the part. Coming in a dark oak-colored frame with 3 pedals and a matching piano bench, this piano would act as a glorious piece of furniture in anyone’s home.
The matt black key tops are also designed to prolong its life by absorbing moisture and keeping the keys tactile after extended use.
- Graded Hammer Standard keyboard - feels like an acoustic piano.
- CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice - recreates the power of a concert grand piano.
- Dual-mode - able to mix two voices.
- Design - very stylish, comes with a matching piano bench.
- Size - not very portable.
Roland is a particularly reliable, well-known audio brand, and the RP102 is a perfect example of what they can do! It is a superior quality digital piano that has a rich and wonderful sound.
In fact, their technology delivers an authentic tone and key response which understands every nuance of your touch.
The keyboard benefits from Roland’s progressive hammer action technology and an ivory-like texture, which not only ensures highly expressive playability but also feels wonderfully familiar.
There are over 200 onboard songs, which range from famous classical pieces to essential practice etudes. The RP102 also has two different modes, a Dual Mode and a Twin Piano Mode.
Like some of the other digital pianos listed above, the Dual Mode allows you to play using two different voices at once.
The Twin Piano Mode is a great function, especially for people who are learning to play the piano.
It uniquely allows you to split the keyboard into two equal sections with identical pitch ranges. This is a great function to use with a teacher or student for effective practice.
In terms of connectivity, the RP102 provides all of the essential features. It has a USB-to-computer port (type B), two headphone jacks, and a USB-to-device port (type A), and Bluetooth.
The headphone jacks have different plug types, meaning that it's possible to attach your headphones easily regardless of which type they have.
The digital piano comes with a 3-pedal unit, a keyboard cover, a stand, and an adjustable piano bench. It has quite a modern look, which would look perfect in a fashionable, minimalist space.
- Hammer action technology and ivory-like finish - feels like an acoustic piano.
- Dual Mode and Twin Piano Mode - provides versatility and is ideal for learners.
- Connectivity options - vary varied.
- Bundle - piano comes with a 3-pedal unit, keyboard cover, stand, and an adjustable bench.
- Size - not very portable.
One of the greatest things about digital pianos is their versatility. However, this means that there is a huge number of different digital pianos available today, and it can be hard to sift through all the jargon whilst trying to figure out which one is right for you.
To make this process easier, we’ve made a handy buyer’s guide. Below, we’ve listed things you should understand and consider before making a purchase. Be sure to check them out!
Types Of Digital Piano
First, it is necessary to describe the basic different types of digital pianos. A digital piano is simply a type of electronic keyboard designed primarily as an alternative to the traditional acoustic piano.
Digital keyboards are often thought of as a great way for budding musicians to practice, without having to commit to buying an acoustic piano, which is generally more expensive and takes up far more space.
However, digital pianos have become popular in their own right. They aren’t limited to a specific number of keys, they can be more compact and portable, and they can produce a huge variety of sounds. They have thus become very popular amongst all types of musicians.
If you’re thinking about buying a digital piano, these are the five main types that you should know about:
1. Home Piano
A home piano is an 88-key digital piano that has been designed primarily for home-usage. As such, they aren’t built to be portable, but rather, are built to remain in one place. They often have built-in stands and speakers. Sometimes, they look like upright or even grand pianos.
2. Upright Piano
Upright pianos were originally designed to be a smaller version of a grand piano. Acoustic upright pianos are slightly more compact, but a little taller, due to the vertical strings.
Digital upright pianos make great use of the extra space, using it to improve key action and the quality of the speakers.
3. Stage Piano
Stage pianos are digital pianos designed to be as portable as possible. They are not just compactly designed, but rather are also generally compatible with multiple stands and inputs/outputs. They are ideal for performers who regularly do session work and gigging.
4. Portable Piano
This is often just used as another name for stage pianos. These are lightweight, compact, easy to transport, and don't come with stands.
5. Grand Piano
Believe it or not, digital grand pianos do exist! They mimic the luxury and grandness of a grand piano perfectly.
Weighted Keys vs. Non-Weighted Keys
Acoustic pianos have a very distinct feel. Their keys are heavy and responsive to touch. In fact, the lower notes on a piano will provide more resistance, and the higher keys will feel lighter to touch.
This change is a very gradual, seamless one, that a lot of musicians don’t pay a huge amount of attention to.
However, it is very easy to notice a difference in feel if you go from playing an acoustic piano, to trying out a particularly cheap digital piano.
This is due to the fact that there is a natural weight and resistance in the keys of an acoustic piano, which, unless intentionally replicated, isn’t the case in a digital piano.
Most good digital pianos today try to imitate the feel of an acoustic piano by adding some resistance and weight to the keys.
However, there are different ways to do this, and each of these ways replicates the natural feel of an acoustic piano to different extents. There are broadly four different types of weighted keys, these are:
Smaller, or cheaper, keyboards generally have very lightweight keys. These offer little-to-no- resistance when you press down on them. As such, they don’t imitate the feel of an acoustic piano very well.
2. Spring-Action Mechanism
Digital pianos with a spring-action mechanism feel slightly more like an acoustic piano than digital pianos with non-weighted keys. These digital pianos are often also called semi-weighted, as they don't feel fully weighted, but do provide some resistance.
Digital pianos with a hammer-action mechanism are far more convincing than their semi-weighted or unweighted counterparts.
Thanks to weighted leverage which adds extra resistance to the key action, hammer-action digital keyboards are a very convincing alternative to acoustic pianos.
4. Graded Weighting
As discussed above, acoustic pianos actually gradually decrease in resistance from the lower keys to the higher keys.
Digital pianos with graded weighting provide the most advanced replication of acoustic pianos, as they replicate this gradual increase in resistance. The lower keys are made to feel heavier, and will gradually become lighter as you move up the piano.
Number Of Keys
On a standard, full-sized piano, there are 88 keys, composed of 52 white keys and 36 black keys. Keyboards, however, come in many different sizes. One of the most important things to consider before buying a digital piano is how many keys you require.
If you’re just starting to learn how to play the piano, you can get away with purchasing a smaller digital piano, which has around 61 to 76 keys.
These smaller pianos might also suit you if you only plan to use it for specific reasons, like recording music that doesn't require the full range of notes.
However, if you plan on being able to play the piano well, the full 88 keys will be necessary. There is nothing worse than trying to learn a beautiful piece of music, to find that you don't have the necessary keys available to play it properly!
In addition to realistic keys, there are many other features on digital pianos that can be great assets. For instance, if you’re learning to play, a digital keyboard with lesson modes and metronome modes might be particularly useful.
Similarly, connectivity might be of importance to you. Therefore, it's always important to check to see what connection options are available on the digital pianos that you’re interested in,
The sound created by a digital piano is a result of the keyboard playing an electronically altered sample from an acoustic piano.
As such, when you’re buying a digital piano, you might want to look at how their sample has been required. For instance, the brand Yamaha uses recordings from their most prestigious concert grand pianos.
The in-built speakers will also make a difference to the quality of the sound produced from a digital piano.
With a good quality speaker, the sound produced will be clear and closely reproduce the feel of an acoustic piano. With a sub-par speaker, the crispness and distinctness of each note are likely to be compromised.
As always, it's important to consider the quality of the instrument you plan to purchase.
Digital pianos that haven’t been made to a particularly high standard may not survive the rigors of gigging and touring. Likewise, lower-quality pieces of equipment may struggle with extended time in storage.
To ensure you’re buying a good quality digital piano, be sure to check the reviews left by other buyers. Or, if the quality is very important to you, opt for a well-trusted brand, like Yamaha.
Acoustic pianos are often treated as a piece of visual art within a home, and there is no reason that digital pianos can’t be viewed as such either.
If you are planning to purchase a digital piano for your home, be sure to check that it will match your decor well. There are often numerous designs, shapes, and colors to choose from!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is An 88 Key Keyboard?
An 88 key keyboard is simply a digital piano that has 88 keys. This means they have the same number of keys as a standard acoustic piano.
Can I Record With A Digital Piano?
Yes! In fact, most modern digital pianos are very easy to record with. The most important thing to consider if you need to record with a digital piano is connectivity.
The most common types of connection found on a digital piano are:
1. ¼ Inch Jack
This type can be used to connect headphones or external sound sources like laptops and phones.
2. ¾ Inch Jack
This is the standard instrument audio connection, which can easily connect a digital piano to an amplifier, mixer, or audio interface.
This allows connection from the piano to a computer or your own flash drive for audio playback. This is a super handy tool for learning and practicing because you can record and alter your sound easily.
Having a MIDI connection allows you to alter every little part of your performance afterward. It also works with hundreds of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and apps.
This is the standard microphone-style connection. Not all digital pianos will have this, but those that do mean that it provides a clearer sound and is less susceptible to loss of quality.
Quite a few digital pianos are compatible with Bluetooth, meaning that you can connect the piano to smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Can I Learn On A Digital Piano?
Digital pianos are ideal for learners. Simply having access to a keyboard, so that you can practice playing scales and build up strength and dexterity, is super useful.
There are some digital pianos that are actually tailored to beginners and learners. Some come with example songs and pieces, a built-in metronome, and access to backing tracks. Some brands even have a series of apps that make learning how to play on a digital piano interactive and easy!
Do Digital Pianos Come With Stands And Stools?
Not necessarily. However, there are some great bundle options available. These tend to be more budget-friendly and save you the time of searching the web for compatible accessories.
Are digital pianos more expensive than acoustic pianos?
Digital pianos are available in far more sizes and designs than their acoustic counterparts. As such, digital pianos can often also be cheaper than acoustic pianos.
However, they aren’t all necessarily cheaper. Some top-end digital pianos combine incredibly innovative technology with beautiful design, and their price tag reflects this!
Are Digital Pianos Better Than Acoustic Pianos?
This is ultimately down to personal preference. However, there are a number of ways in which digital pianos may be considered superior to acoustic pianos.
Digital pianos are far more versatile and portable than acoustic pianos. You can use headphones whilst you’re playing so you don’t frustrate the neighbors, and they also don’t have to be tuned, which is a great bonus!
However, for some musicians, acoustic pianos will always come out on top. Regardless of how great weighted key technology becomes, no digital piano will ever truly clone the feel and sound of an acoustic piano.
Also, acoustic pianos have an unbeatable presence in a room that is hard to replicate!