For many music lovers, the piano is their first instrument. It can be expressive and versatile because you can play any style from jazz to folk. But pianos can be expensive. And loud. Especially if you live in an apartment or any shared space. This is where digital pianos come in.
They’re powered by batteries or direct current so they don’t need tuning or maintenance. And because they’re digital, you can control the volume or even plug them into headphones. Meaning you can rehearse any time without being a nuisance. Now let’s find the best digital piano brand.
Top 7 Best Digital Piano & Keyboard of 2021
1. Casio Casiotone 61 Keys Electronic Keyboard
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned keyboardist, you understand the value of portability. Maybe you want to play in a warmer spot. Or you’re looking for better acoustics. You might just need to get closer to the power outlet. Either way, lugging your piano around could hurt you and damage the piano. This Casio keyboard resolves that issue by molding the handle onto the piano.
The ergonomic hand-hold is at the top of the piano, right at the center, above the control buttons. The hole does take up some of the keyboard space. But this is a smaller 61-key piano so you’re not losing much. Despite its bare-bones aesthetic, this keyboard has a good preset library.
It has 60 pre-recorded songs, 77 rhythmic samples, and 400 individual tones. Using these tools plus the piano keys themselves, you can play and arrange complex music pieces, both modern and classic. The piano comes with a power supply cable and a music stand for sheet music. The keyboard has a USB connector and can be played using 6 AA batteries. Recharge-ables are best.
You may want to try fancy effects on your piano. It has a pitch-bending wheel on one side of the keyboard, plus 10 reverb wheels for deliberate distortion. You can pre-program your preferred settings and save them under ‘My Setup’. The LCD screen makes it easier to control and play this digital instrument. This is especially useful when you want to compose and arrange tunes.
Use ‘Dance music mode’ to open a selection of drums, snares, loops, and transitions are you craft home-spun EDM tracks or recreate existing tracks as covers. You can also use the 1/8th inch port for feeding audio into your keyboard. The piano has built-in speakers but you can also connect it to corded headphones or external speakers. It links to smartphone apps as well.
Casiotone is a good choice for musicians who are starting out and are more interested in contemporary tunes than classic piano play. It measures 10.08” by 36.61” by 2.83”.
- The keyboard has touch response for easy playing.
- It has 400 pre-recorded tones and nearly 80 sample songs.
- The handle is built-in for added portability.
- The piano only has 61 keys and weighs 11 pounds so it limits your options. The recommended size is 88 keys, just like a full-sized acoustic grand piano or upright piano.
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2. Roland Premium 88 Keys Digital Piano
Roland digital pianos are a firm market favorite. They produce a clear, articulate, natural sound backed by tons of features. It’s a portable stage piano, so it measures roughly 56 inches by 14.5 inches by 3 inches and weighs a little under 50 pounds. The keyboard has multiple features so it can be hard to keep track of what’s on and what’s not. That’s why all the controls have LEDs.
These colored lights indicate what function is active at the moment so it’s easy to toggle your snares and your melodic pre-recorded tones. To achieve true stereo effects – which makes all the difference in live performances – the Roland has two independent sound systems so you get quality surround sound. The keyboard has 88 keys made of hybrid wood composite.
These sound systems are separate in their functions, not just their sound sources. The piano section uses one sound engine while the pre-set tones and add-ons have their own sound engine. These features are controlled via eight knobs and nine sliders. Having – for example – your snares and your arpeggios coming from different sound sources helps facilitate full stereo.
If you want to use this Roland for a live show, it pairs well with live sets from RD-800. Since you’ll need to link it to various equipment, it has 8 input zones for internal and external feeds. This digital piano is a composite of many other models, so it includes classic electronic piano samples from RD-1000, MKS-20, plus 1,100 non-piano instruments including strings and brass.
For a one-man show or a one-woman backing band, this Roland digital piano is the perfect arsenal. Its segregated sound systems provide realistic surround sound.
- It has 88 keys and all the features of a stage piano.
- The piano has 128 pre-recorded polyphonic tones.
- The keys are made of hybrid wood.
- The piano has pedals but no built-in speakers so you may need external amps.
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3. Nord Piano 88 Keys Electric keyboard
Some of us are attracted to bright colors. But even the most neutral tastes will be drawn to this bright red digital piano. It measures 50.7 inches by 13.4 inches and is nearly 5 inches thick, so it’s a big keyboard. The piano weighs nearly 50 pounds so it’s not the most portable piece. But it has a built-in memory. Its sample library is 512MB and it has multiple controls centrally placed.
This could be a downside because all the controls are squashed into the middle of the piano. This can make it frustrating to use. It’s a comprehensive control pad though, with tons of features. The keys are especially noteworthy. They’re weighted to make them feel more like an acoustic piano. But they’re also soft-touch keys thanks to Nord Virtual Hammer Action.
This feature means when you press a key, you can sound a second note without completely releasing the previous key. This lets you produce smooth, uninterrupted melodies and riffs. It’s especially helpful when you’re working with transitions and crossfades.
The control panel has an OLED so you can easily monitor the functionalities you’re playing with. And if you’re creating hooks or loops, you can use enhanced organizer mode to copy/paste sections of the beat or arranging musical highlights in a specific order.
For multiple tools, you can arrange your presets into a ‘song list’ made of pre-selected programs. There’s even a handy set of transposing buttons that let you shift an octave up or down with a single touch. You can set your keys to emit soft-touch release or to produce piano string reverbs. Or you can select ‘live mode’ for that ‘unplugged’ acoustic ambiance.
This version of the Nord Digital Piano is a 4th generation upgrade. The Nord 4 rivals acoustic pianos in its performance. It also has a vast array of synth features, pre-sets, and controls.
- It has a bright red body and weighted keys.
- The control pad is numbered for easier control.
- It has a 512MB internal library.
- At 48 pounds it’s too bulky to lug around, especially since it doesn’t come with a carrier bag.
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4. Yamaha P-45 88 Keys Electronic Keyboard
Digital musical instruments are often made of plastic or composite materials. In pianos, this makes the keys feel light. They respond to the slightest touch. But some users prefer their digital keyboards to feel more … weighty … like the keys of an acoustic piano. Yamaha uses a patented technology called the Grand Hammer Standard (GHS). This makes the keys feel heavier.
The keys have a matte coating, so they’re low-slip and comfier to play, especially when you’re polishing your fingering, posture, and technique. Apart from feeling like an upright piano when you play it, this digital keyboard has tools to help you play better. This includes a piano bench, pedals, headphones, and a stand for sheet music. The piano has a 36-month warranty.
Achieving authentic stereo sound is tricky, but this Yamaha manages, thanks to AWM technology. AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) uses left and right microphones to record acoustic piano tones which are then reproduced when you play your digital piano keys. But besides the keys, the piano has minimal control buttons, each one being multifunctional.
This can be tricky because it’ll take a minute to become familiar with all the available functionalities. Remember though, this is an entry-level digital keyboard. So if you want complex mixes and multiple beat systems, this isn’t the piano for you. Plus, the keyboard always comes with a pedal, so if you buy this bundle, you’ll get an extra pedal.
If you want a piano-like keyboard to refine your technique, this is a good choice. Headphones and a piano bench allow you to practice until you’re blue without bugging your roommates.
- The piano comes with accessories including headphones, pedals, and a stand.
- It’s covered by Yamaha’s 3-year warranty.
- The keyboard is fitted with a GHS (Grand Hammer Standard) weighted keyboard.
- The piano has a tiny control panel so you have to use a single button for multiple functionalities. This takes time to learn.
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5. Kawai Digital Home Piano
A traditional upright piano could cost upwards of $500. So if you want the look of an acoustic upright piano at a friendlier price point, consider getting the Kawai CA58. Visually, you can barely distinguish it from an acoustic upright. It’s made of satin black wood with compact Ivory Touch keys. The sheet music stand is solid and sturdy, and the piano has three pedals.
This type of piano is sometimes called a console piano because of the cabinets and piano housing. Kawai’s version uses harmonic imaging to more closely mimic acoustic piano sounds. These sounds are recorded using a Kawai Grand and Shigeru Kawai as sources. These concert-level grand pianos produced by the same brand so you’re getting the real deal sound-wise.
That said, the piano may be smaller than an acoustic piano, but it needs a good chunk of space. The digital piano weighs 161 pounds and measures about 57 inches by 18 inches by 37.5 inches. Kawai has nearly 150 presets (32 demos, 176 concertos, and between 29 and 42 piano pieces, depending on where you bought it. The piano has four built-in speakers and 100 drum rhythms.
As you play your own tunes, you can record up to 10 songs. The keyboard has a sliding cover to protect the keys, and the piano uses 100W. At a glance, this piano has a clean finish without too many control buttons. But its virtual technician has nearly 20 features including hammer delays, stretch tuning, and key-off. It can emit 42 distinct sounds, 6 reverbs, and 24 additional effects.
Kawai digital pianos aren’t just cute. At that size and silhouette, they’re elegant and elevated. This 88-key piano closely copies its acoustic sibling at a fraction of the price.
- It has 88 keys and 286 polyphonic tones.
- The piano has pre-recorded lessons from Alfred Music.
- There’s a solid music stand for your sheets.
- This model was discontinued so you’d have to buy a pre-loved one and you can’t be sure how well its previous owner maintained it.
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6. Alesis Recital 88 Keys Digital Piano Keyboard (Our Top Pick)
Alesis is a pretty popular model, and some consider it the best digital piano. It’s an 88-key set that plays in five voices – acoustic piano, electric piano, bass, synth, and organ. You can play the piano is several modes including lesson mode, standard, split, or layered. The 128 polyphonic tones are helpful when you’re adding sound effects and rhythmic patterns to your pieces.
Some digital pianos have weighted keys to make them feel more like the wooden keys on acoustic pianos. But if you prefer a softer touch, you can adjust the ‘weight’ of the keys to make them more responsive. Music is emitted through two built-in 20W speakers. These speakers have reverb and chorus sound effects so you can achieve better … acoustics, pun intended.
When you buy this piano, you get 3 months of free piano lessons online. The lessons are offered by Skoove. And while the piano can be played while plugged in, you can also buy 6 D batteries for portable playing. For pedal playing, you can plug in a footswitch. There’s a fitting foot port though the pedal isn’t included with the piano. You can use the piano’s headphones as well.
Lesson mode is perfect for beginners and for polishing technique. It divides the piano into two identical halves, each with the same pitch and instrumental ‘voice’. This makes it easier to learn melodies and master your fingering, whether or not you’re following along with the free lessons from Skoove. You can also play in Metronome mode for speed and rhythmic rehearsal.
Alesis is a good entry-level piano because it lets you improve your tacticals (e.g. posture, speed, fingering, trills, and other musical ornaments). Don’t forget to buy a separate foot pedal though!
- The piano has built-in speakers and five ‘voices’.
- You can adjust key weight to your preference.
- It can use AC or 6 D batteries.
- The pedal and batteries aren’t included. You have to buy them separately.
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7. Korg 88-Key Digital Piano with Speaker
Even if we don’t have a ‘favorite color’ you probably have a preference. This digital piano from Korg comes in black or white. It’s billed as a lightweight piano though it weighs 56.9 pounds. Size-wise, its 88 keys are laid out on a base that’s 61.57 inches by 18.89. The piano is 11.14 inches deep, which is the thickest piano we’ve looked at so far. It has a removable music stand included.
Apart from the color, the curves give this digital piano a pretty silhouette. And it’s a green unit that only uses 15W. The keys are weighted using the brand’s NH system (natural weighted hammer action). This brings them closer to the sensation of playing an acoustic wooden piano. The piano is controlled using the 20+ buttons. Many of these buttons have LED indicators.
To ease your playing, the piano comes with a foldable stand that’s easy to set up and dismantle. You’ll have to source a piano stool though. Korg comes with a pedal so you can mimic acoustic piano damping. The piano plays multiple ‘voices’ including harpsichord, organ, acoustic, clavs, synth, and strings. You can also add the optional soft/sostenuto pedal to your order.
Apart from voices, you can activate three effects to make your notes sound brighter, enhance reverb, or give them that natural ‘unplugged’ sound of live stage performances. Korg has line-in and line-out ports and the piano is preloaded with 30 sounds including vintage acoustic tones.
For the bare basics of digital pianos, Korg is a clever buy. Its curves make it visually distinct and it plays multiple voices and thirty tonnes. Order the PU-2 pedal separately if you need one.
- The piano has a built-in speaker.
- It’s incredibly energy-efficient at just 15W.
- The brand uses NH (natural weighted hammer action).
- The main audio jack in the back, so it’s hard to reach. But there’s an audio jack at the front too – you just have to find it …
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Digital pianos are often more convenient and portable than analog pianos. They’re also cheaper offers lots of benefits like discretion and noise control. So let’s explore some of the features to look out for when you’re shopping for the best digital piano, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
Digital pianos are powered by electricity. Some use dry cells or rechargeable batteries while others plug directly into your power sockets. Ideally, get a piano that uses both. That way you can continue playing during a power outage. If your piano is portable, you definitely want a battery-powered option for versatility, but it still needs AC back-up because batteries die quickly.
Check the wattage of your piano to see how it will affect your power bills. Especially if you have a studio set-up where or a class, meaning you’ll use the piano for six or more hours a day. It also helps if your piano has a fuse or power guard. This will prevent your electronic components from frying or causing accidents during bad weather, power surges, or lightning strikes.
Some buyers focus on the physical size of the piano. Particularly for portable models. But it’s smart to go beyond dimensions and assess practicality. Specifically, check the number of keys or octaves. Ideally, the more octaves, the better, because this means you can play a wider variety of pieces. But if you squash too many keys on a small keyboard, they won’t feel natural to play.
Tiny keys can mess with your posture and fingering, resulting in bad playing. So weigh the number of keys against correct finger placement. Test out the piano if you can, or watch a video of someone playing it. This will give you a clearer picture of how ergonomic your piano is. But if you buy a piano with grand-piano-sized keys but only one octave, it’s redundant.
Modern digital pianos are immensely realistic. Some low-end ones still sound tinny and synthetic, but some have rich, rounded sounds that rival the greatest grand piano. In fact, some modern digital keyboards are modeled after grand pianos and upright pianos.
They will have a solid frame, foot pedals, felt padding, and some even have wooden bodies or wooden keys. Some of these contemporary keyboards are semi-digital or semi-acoustic, so you can play them normally or in digital mode. These are sometimes called silent pianos because you can channel the sound to headphones or silence it completely for finger practice.
You can also look for colors or shapes if those are important features for you. Or the number of ports (e.g. for aux cables and headphone jacks) and pre-recorded tracks. Keys fall here too. Some users prefer weighted keys that mimic acoustic pianos while others want soft-touch keys.
Styles and types of digital pianos often overlap. But for comparison purposes, there are five main types of digital pianos. First is the portable piano, sometimes called a slab piano or a keyboard to distinguish it from semi-acoustic pianos. Second is the console piano, which resembles an upright piano and may have cabinets. They have pedals and a bare back.
Third, digital grand pianos, which are rare and expensive. Fourth, stage pianos made with live performance in mind. They’re lightweight, portable, and have more pre-recorded samples and beats. Some function as a self-contained instrumental band all on one keyboard.
Finally, arranger pianos sometimes called synthesizers. Any of the other types can be an arranger. They’re characterized by multiple samples and sounds. Sometimes, they can mimic the tone of other string instruments like harpsichords, organs, or even electric guitars.
Keys and Scales!
Based on our research, the best digital piano for domestic buyers is the Alesis. Here’s why:
- The piano has 88 weighted full-sized keys.
- Unlike analog pianos that have a set ‘weight’, you can adjust your keys’ response.
- You can play in five ‘voices’ i.e. electric, synth, bass, acoustic, and organ.
- It has two built-in speakers that each use up 20W.
- The piano comes with a free subscription for 3 months of virtual piano lessons.
- It has a stand for your sheet music.
What kind of keyboard are you using right now? Show us a photo in the comments!