5 Best Keyboards for Piano Players

digital pianos

Sifting through digital piano reviews can be a time-consuming task, but it’s important to find the right fit when you’re purchasing your first piano or keyboard! Here, Powell, OH teacher Sara Marie B. shares her top 5 options to consider… 


Whether you’re a pianist without the space for an acoustic piano, you want something portable, or you just prefer the bells and whistles of a keyboard, it can be difficult for pianists to find keyboards that really fit all of our requirements.

Most importantly, however, as you begin learning how to play the piano, you should have a keyboard that feels and sounds as much like a piano as possible. Some of the requirements to look for are weighted keys, real-size keys, at least 66 keys (but preferably 88), a sustain pedal, touch-tone sensitivity, piano action, well-sampled piano sounds, an adjustable stand, and an adjustable bench.

When the keyboard is not realistic enough (meaning, it is not enough like an actual acoustic piano), your learning may be hampered when performing live on an acoustic piano. And if you do anything in the way of events, recitals, group classes, talent shows, or even playing for fun in the back of a favorite bar, if the acoustic piano feels too foreign then the results will be frustrating. Dynamics will be harder to produce, keys may be missed due to being used to another weight of keys that is unlike an acoustic piano, and tone quality may be poor. Having a keyboard that mimics the function of an acoustic piano is vital.

Here are five of the best keyboards for piano players that I recommend to my students if an acoustic piano purchase is not possible (all are under $2,000 retail price!), with descriptions taken directly from merchandiser websites, in part or in whole:

Korg SP-170s Digital Piano

Korg SP-170s

Screenshot from http://www.korg.com/us/

The new Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard is accurately weighted like a traditional piano, with a heavier touch in the lower ranges and becoming progressively lighter in the higher registers. Three levels of Key Touch Control allow the keyboard response to be matched to nearly any playing style, preserving all of the subtle expression of the original performance.

Yamaha P35B 88-key Digital Keyboard

yamaha p-35

As the entry level to the hugely popular P-Series digital pianos, the P35 brings together everything an aspiring pianist needs to develop: high-quality AWM (Advanced Waveform Memory) samples, an easy to understand interface, and a slim 88-key graded hammer action for maximum portability. Sheet music stand, power supply and pedal/footswitch are all included.

Yamaha YDP-V240 Arius 88 Key Digital Piano

Screenshot from KraftMusic.com

Screenshot from KraftMusic.com

The Yamaha YDP-V240 is an ensemble console digital piano featuring 88-note Graded Hammer Standard weighted Action. It has the authentic look, feel and most importantly the sound of an expensive acoustic Grand piano. Its 88-key graded hammer action keyboard delivers all the expressiveness, depth and subtle nuances to satisfy even the most demanding pianist, from developing student to seasoned professional.

Kawai KDP-90 Digital Piano

Screenshot from http://www.kawaius.com/

Screenshot from http://www.kawaius.com/

The Kawai KDP-90 Digital Piano is designed using its Advanced Hammer Action IV (AHAIV-F) as an 88-note, “graded” keyboard, formed from extremely accurate stereo “maps” of sections through the entire dynamic range of the original piano. Touch and response authentically reproduce the feel of a grand piano.

Casio Privia PX-850 88 Weighted-Key Digital Piano

Screenshot credit: http://www.soundtechnology.com.au/

Screenshot credit: http://www.soundtechnology.com.au/

The PX-850 is the flagship digital piano from Casio’s Privia line, with big sound and amazing tones. The PX-850 has the advanced AiR sound set providing an additional level of realism including grand piano lid simulation and sympathetic resonance. This 88-key digital piano also has a dual 20W speaker system and a cabinet that opens, providing a rich concert sound.

Whatever you buy, just remember to make sure that you are able to sit properly at the keyboard (adjustable bench, adjustable stand) and that the keyboard is as similar to an acoustic piano as you can find. You probably won’t be able to find these at your nearby big-box stores, so take a trip to the music store nearest you and begin exploring the quality keyboards available for pianists of all levels!

Looking for additional digital piano reviews? Check out some of our favorite resources here:

SaraSara Marie B. teaches piano, singing, songwriting, music theory, and more in Powell, OH, as well as online. She has been teaching music lessons since 1992, and has been involved in music and performance since 1983. Learn more about Sara Marie here!



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45 replies
  1. Sarah Bailey
    Sarah Bailey says:

    Hi Suzy,

    I have just launched my own digital piano reviews site after many years of contemplation 🙂 I loved this article! Is there any chance you could add my site into your resource section? I’d be happy to return the favor in some of my new blog posts 🙂

  2. Dori
    Dori says:

    Hi there, your site looks great. We also just launched our digital piano review site feel free to check us out. Thanks for your time! We’d return the favor whenever needed.

  3. Pranay Rana
    Pranay Rana says:

    Thanks a lot Suzy, for this excellent list. I’m a new Piano player and I’m currently using a MIDI keyboard for practice, but I have been thinking of considering a digital piano for advancement. I will surely have a look at these Pianos. Thanks a lot for sharing 🙂

  4. Eliza
    Eliza says:

    Hi Suzy!

    This is a great roundup of the best keyboards. I love all the digital pianos you added to this list and we share similar opinions on many most of them. On my website I also review different models of digital pianos and help beginners but also advanced pianists find the right piano. Would you consider adding my site to your resource section? I’d love to return the favor in future blog posts. 🙂

  5. Anjali
    Anjali says:

    I a newbie and learning how to play piano online. I am currently watching you tube videos it would be great if you suggest me some guides or sites where they teach piano also suggest me one good piano under 500$ pls !!

    • Suzy S.
      Suzy S. says:

      Hi Anjali – we have a few articles showcasing our favorite YouTube tutorials for piano songs, which you can find in the piano section of the blog (/blog/learn-piano). However, I’d really recommend connecting with one of our online piano teachers for private lessons! A teacher can give you individualized guidance that you don’t get from videos, and can identify which specific exercises you need to work on to improve. You can search for teachers in your area here: /category/piano-lessons. Let us know if you need any help setting up your schedule! 🙂

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    I have to go with The Yamaha YDP-V240, it is a lovely piano.

    It has the beautiful sound of an acoustic grand piano and a very authentic feel. To top it off, it has the backend console which brings out the digital age in this classic feeling piano.

    On the whole, a good review. Thanks

  7. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Hi there,

    Great job reviewing some of the best options for digital pianos out there. Personally, I have a PX-860 model and a AP-650 model. Both are from Casio and I really like them.


  8. Best Online Movies Sites
    Best Online Movies Sites says:

    I’d used Korg Sp 170s, my experience was really cool. I still remember those days when I was used to play it and have fun with my family.


  9. Rakesh sharma
    Rakesh sharma says:

    i have tried Yamaha Digital Keyboard once and it was awesome. i will try Casio Privia soon, thanks for this post for Piano lovers.

  10. mother
    mother says:

    I have a piano but its working. Keyboard has some problem. I will refer your post before buying a new one. Thanks for this post.

  11. five nights at freddy's
    five nights at freddy's says:

    I really loved reading your blog. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well!

  12. iosemus
    iosemus says:

    After going over a handful of the blog articles on your website, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and let me know what you think.This excellent website truly has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  13. Fortune
    Fortune says:

    I am personally going to write on this topic my self, a what to look for in a digital piano guide, this article was definitely an eye opener, thanks, Sara :).


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