Digital Piano Buying Guide: 2017’s Best Digital Pianos Under $2000 (But Above $500)

Digital Piano Buying Guide: 2017’s Best Digital Pianos Under $2000 (But Above $500)

If you are in the market looking for the best digital piano that’s not going to break the bank as compared to buying an acoustic grand piano but will still more than satisfy your discerning taste, then you cannot go wrong with any of our top 7 digital stage pianos.

The word ‘stage’ is a bit misleading because you can certainly put any of these digital pianos anywhere you like - in your house, studio, a concert hall, or wherever you do your music gigs.

Unlike the 10 best 61-key beginner keyboards which we have reviewed on this site as well, these digital pianos are on a totally different level as these cater to a more advanced piano crowd.

Beginners are welcome to buy a digital piano especially if you are truly serious about your music education and if you can justify the cost as these are after all great investments.

Check out this short video of the best digital pianos for this year:​

The 7 Best Digital Pianos in 2017 from $500 to $2000

In this section of our review, we have summarized our top digital keyboards in the table below. If you scroll further down, you can read our more detailed reviews for each keyboard. 

Rank / Digital Piano

Outstanding Features

Price

Details

TOP 1:

Yamaha CP4 Stage Piano

*433 voices including famous grand pianos, electric pianos, and other classic sounds

*Natural wood keys with ivory keytops

*One touch layer and split options

Portable at 17.5 kg

*5-band EQ and Master Compressor

MIDI and USB outputs as well as L/R and XLR outputs

FC3 foot pedal included, which has half-dampening capability

$$$$

TOP 2:

Yamaha YDP-163 Arius Series

*Excellent digital piano for any venue (including your home)

*88 graded hammer 3 keyboard

*10 high quality voices

*Synthetic ivory key tops provide authentic touch

*192-note polyphony to play those difficult pieces without dropping notes

*Can extend built-in features with Yamaha iOS apps

$$$$

TOP 3:

Casio PX-560 Digital Stage Piano

*550 voices including the excellent concert grand piano sounds

*Can record up to 100 songs

*Can easily connect to a PC, Mac or other iOS device with no extra driver installations necessary

*Duet mode splits keyboard to two equal ranges (makes you feel like you have two different keyboards)

*Built-in speakers are loud and sound awesome

*Plenty of features are highly customizable including the voices/tones which you can tweak to your satisfaction!

$$$

TOP 4:

Kawai KDP-90 Digital Piano

*Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology

*AHAIV-F Graded-hammer Action

*88-key Piano Sampling

*192-Note Polyphony

*15 exceptional instrument sounds

*Built-in Stereo Speaker System

*Dual and Four-Hands modes

*Built-in Alfred Piano Lessons

*Grand Feel Pedal System

*Sliding Key Cover

$$$

TOP 5:

Casio Privia PX-860 Digital Piano

*88 keys tri-sensor keyboard with Scaled Hammer Action features

*The keys have a simulated and textured ivory and ebony feel

*Touch Response features with three sensitivity levels

*Can record up to 100 songs with each song up to 74 minutes long

*MIDI recorder can record up to 16 tracks

*Lessons included for beginners

$$$

TOP 6:

Yamaha DGX-660 Digital Grand Piano

*88 Grade Hammer Standard (GHS) Keys

*Pure CF Sound Engine

*USB Audio Recording and Playback

*192 polyphony

*151 voices plus additional Live!, Cool! and Sweet! Voices

*Damper Resonance

*Smart Chord and EZ Chord

*Wireless Connectivity options

*Style Recommender

*Built-in speakers

*Dual and split modes

*Auto Off Function

$$$

TOP 7:

Yamaha P115 Digital Piano

*88 Graded hammer standard (GHS) keyboard

*Matte finish on black keys

*Pure CF Sound Engine for piano sounds

*Option to change touch sensitivity (hard/medium/soft/fixed)

*192 polyphony

*14 built in voices

*USB to host

*Auto Power Off function

$$$


In this section, we have laid out each digital piano review with a summary of each piano’s highlights and then what we liked and disliked about each model so it’s easier for you to pick out which piano appeals most to you.

TOP 1: The Yamaha CP4 Stage Piano

"The Best Yamaha Digital Piano That’s Perfect For Professionals and Serious Musicians"

If you are a serious player looking to play an extraordinary musical instrument, then the Yamaha CP4 should be at the top of your list. Yamaha wasn’t kidding when they said the CP4 is the best stage piano they ever made.

This premium 88-key stage piano has a natural wood graded hammer keyboard with synthetic ivory key tops. The white keys are also made of natural wood which means perfect piano touch and response. No one will certainly accuse the CP4 as being made of cheap plastic.

Design-wise, it does look like a throwback to past decades which we find quite stylish. The textured panel on the top surface definitely adds a touch of class as well.

The features are truly well laid out and won’t be getting in your way... Well, except the stereo headphone jack which is placed at the back (it would have been really convenient if this was somewhere on the front). Apart from that, the line out connectors are in its usual place in the back; these include the unbalanced standard mono-phone jacks as well as balanced XLR output jacks.

Looks aside, this piano has a lot to brag about. At 17.5 kilograms or a bit under 40 pounds, this piano is still portable and relatively easy to carry. This means you’re not limited to playing this on stage or in your studio. You can easily have this transported from one place to another and impress people wherever you are with your musical prowess.

Going back to the piano specs, it’s got 128 note polyphony and 433 voices including several of Yamaha’s Premium Grand Piano voices as well as its vintage Electric Pianos. In addition to the piano voices, its voice library includes a variety of clarinet, organ, strings, bass and pad sounds based on Yamaha’s flagship MOTIF synthesizer. All of these voices you can easily save in it’s voice memory so whether you are gigging at a bar, a concert hall or any other stage for that matter, you’re just need to hit your favorite voice button and you’re ready to go and play serious tunes!

PROS

CONS

*The simple interface is surprisingly intuitive and gives you instant access to all controls

*The all-natural wood keys and ivory key tops feel nice and stable to the touch 

*The grand piano voice recreates the tone and power of Yamaha’s flagship CFX concert grand piano 

*It accurately recreates the sound of vintage effects 

*Perfect for gigs and other live performances thanks to its portability 

*Overall we think this is the best Yamaha digital piano because it is exactly as advertised and what you will expect for its premium price

*No internal speakers so you have to plug in good speakers to listen to your music-

*Mostly geared towards professionals so not really the best for beginners 

*The manual could do with a complete rewrite and make it more in-depth considering the piano’s advanced features

TOP 2: Yamaha YDP-163 Arius Series Console Digital Piano

"A Popular Digital Piano That Offers Modern Features"

One of the very best digital pianos today is the Yamaha YDP-163 of the Arius line. The main selling point for this piano is the fact that it’s like having an actual acoustic piano without all the inconveniences that goes with its size (and the price tag too). For a fraction of the cost of an acoustic piano, this digital piano will give you a response similar to that of the finest acoustic pianos because this model features a Graded Hammer 3 keyboard action with three on-board sensors.

Similar to the more expensive Yamaha CP4 stage piano, the YDP-163 also features synthetic ivory key tops to provide a tactile surface thereby giving your fingertips more grip while playing and prevents slipping or sliding off the keys.

While it’s only got 10 voices, Yamaha made sure these are the best quality ones by utilizing the Pure CF Sound Engine (the CFIIIS concert grand piano voice is truly a stand-out)! Along with its 192-note polyphony, you can certainly play even the most technically demanding piano pieces from the masters without dropping a single note plus sustained notes ring through faithfully as well.

We also like the fact that it has 3 pedals built-in (damper, sostenuto, soft) which creates more detailed nuances. It also has 10 demo songs and 50 classic piano songs built-in so you can play along to these if you wanted to. It’s also possible to record your music but you are going to be limited to 1 song or approximately 11,000 notes.

Now, if you wanted to listen to play without disturbing other people, you can do so thanks to the Stereophonic Optimizer which adjusts the spacing of the sound that results in surround-sound like quality! You would certainly love playing with your headphones on!

Moreover, if you don’t want to put on headphones and don’t want to disturb your neighbors or roommates then you can simply lower the volume. Yamaha’s Intelligent Acoustic feature allows the piano to automatically adjust the balance of bass and treble even at lower volumes so it doesn’t sound distorted like in other cheaper digital pianos.

Another great modern feature is the iOS compatibility which allows you to connect your digital piano to your Mac or iPhone using Lightning-USB Camera Adaptor. Alternatively, should you prefer a wireless connection you can use the Yamaha UD-BT01. You can even adjust some settings, change voices and record performances using the proprietary app “Digital Piano Controller”.

PROS

CONS

*Not too complicated for beginners to setup and use

*Connectivity with Yamaha apps to help improve your playing skills

*The built in speakers and dual headphone outputs

*The piano cover makes the keys dust-free

*It's quite heavy at 38 kg (or 83 lbs) to be portable

*You can only record 1 song at a time so if you plan on recording many of your music you would be better off getting either a Casio PX-560 or Casio Privia PX-860

TOP 3: Casio PX-560 88-Key Digital Stage Piano

"An Affordable and Versatile Digital Piano With High End Features"

Casio has been very consistent in making high quality musical instruments from their beginner line to the most expensive ones whilst still selling them at a fraction of Yamaha or Roland pianos. If you’re looking for a digital piano that that brings the most bang for your bucks, then you need to get a Casio PX-560 now.

This incredibly lightweight portable piano (only 26 lbs), features Casio’s Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action which accurately reproduces a concert grand piano’s touch response while it’s Multi-Dimensional Air Sound Source skillfully mimics probably the best piano voices you will ever hear.

In addition to all these excellent piano sounds, Casio has included a total of 550 voices to the mix which covers a ton of genres and musical instruments such as strings, guitars, basses and drums . It even has 256-polyphony which is more than what Yamaha offers at similar price point products.

With regard to the feel and touch of this piano, Casio did its best to make you feel like you’re on a concert grand piano by making the keys feel heavier in the lower register (usually played by left hand) and lighter up top (usually played by right hand). To complete the concert grand piano feeling, they’ve used synthetic ebony and ivory textures on the keytops to give you a positive grip even after you’ve played for a few hours.

If you plan on recording, then this is definitely THE digital piano for you. You can record up to 100 songs with each song going up to 74 minutes max! Now, this is definitely an exciting feature for musicians who want to share their music without being limited to playing only 5 minutes at a time. You can even save your audio recording directly to your USB stick. For MIDI recording, you can record up to 16 tracks for approximately 50,000 notes.

But wait there’s more. Another feature that we love about this Casio is the ability to connect your music player to its audio input jack and use the built-in speakers to play your music. If you’re in the mood, you can play along to your music too making you feel like part of a band or orchestra (depending on what music you’re playing of course).

PROS

CONS

*Excellent and very realistic sounds

*Built in speakers has total of 16 watts and headphone jack is in front which is very convenient

*Large 5.3” color touchscreen panel to customize almost all digital aspects

*Very lightweight at 26 lbs

*Very user friendly as well as device friendly since you can easily connect to almost any device using a USB cable

*Can’t run on batteries, has to be plugged all the time

*It takes several seconds to ‘warm up’ when switched on

TOP 4: Kawai KDP-90 Digital Piano

"The Best Digital Piano For Beginners and Experts Alike"

Kawai is a well known brand in acoustic pianos and in their foray into the digital piano world, they have done everything possible to make the Kawai KDP-90 as close to being a real acoustic piano as possible.

Their Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology essentially captured the beautiful sound of their famous 9-foot EX concert grand piano on all 88 keys. Each nuance had been carefully captured right down to the last detail. Obviously it would be difficult to recreate the actual physical experience of playing on a concert grand, but audio- and sound-wise this digital piano sounds EXACTLY like a concert grand piano!

The keyboard uses a graded hammer action system instead of springs which results to a wonderfully natural playing feel. The weighted keys are graded meaning the bass keys are heavier than the treble notes which are lighter. The overall settings for key sensitivity can also be changed to light, normal, heavy or off, depending on your preference.

Additionally, the Grand Feel Pedals system feature soft, sostenuto, and damper (with half-damper capability). Again, this successfully mimics the individual weighting of the Kawai EX concert grand.

The Kawai KDP-90 offers 15 instrument sounds, 4 of which are rich piano sounds and the others are organs, harpsichords, vibraphone, strings, new age, choir and atmospheric sounds. It’s also got 192 polyphony which reduces dropped notes from occurring when playing complex pieces.

It has a Duo Mode which allows you to play two different sounds at the same time (it layers the sounds very nicely and you can even control the volume of each sound!).

It also has a Four-Hands mode which is perfect for two people playing together (like a teacher and student) as it basically divides the piano into 2 equal pianos with 44 keys each. The dual headphones also tie in nicely with the Four-Hands Mode as you can listen without disturbing other people.

If you’re not into headphones, the built-in speakers do a mighty fine job and is loud enough to fill your living room at 26 watts (for both L and R speakers) with its detailed dynamic sounds.

For beginners, the built-in Alfred Piano Lessons will help you get up to speed on your piano skills. If you aren’t familiar with Alfred, they publish popular first-year children’s book. To help with your self-evaluation on your progress, you can use the built-in recorder which allows you to record up to 3 songs.

PROS

CONS

*The digital voices have all been sampled perfectly and sounds really, really great even to professional ears. There’s no voice we don’t like!

*The premium rosewood finish is excellent and it makes the Kawai KDP-90 an attractive fixture (or furniture) in your house

*The sliding lid does a great job at keeping dust and dirt off your precious piano

*The MIDI in/out port allows a connection to a computer so you can easily edit your music on Garageband or other similar software.

*Not exactly portable at 83 pounds

*The clacking sound is very minimal but it can be heard when the volume is turned down low

TOP 5: Casio Privia PX-860 Digital Piano

"The Best Digital Piano Under $1000"

When we played with this digital piano at a local music store, we were quite impressed with its elegant, stylish and polished look. Its piano sound was magnificent and we could definitely hear the Casio’s AiR Technology at work. It actually sounded like we were playing on a 9-foot concert grand piano instead of the PX-860! This is because the advanced AiR technology provides sympathetic resonance and grand piano lid simulation (sound volume and quality change when lid is lowered or raised).

The Tri-Sensor Hammer Action II keyboard has been scaled to match the resistance and weight of an actual grand piano. And what we find really pleasing was the fact that it felt good to the touch as the keys feature synthetic ebony and ivory textures. It prevented slipping on the keys whilst playing as well as absorbed the (little) sweat from our fingers.

While other digital pianos at this price point feature only 192 polyphony, the Casio Privia PX-860 has 256 polyphony. You can also choose from 18 instrument voices which include of course the grand piano, electric piano, strings and bass.

For beginners to the piano scene, you can’t go wrong with this model. The duet mode is perfect if you want to pair up with a teacher to show how to play some music. This is because the duet mode will ‘split’ the 88 keys into two 44-key keyboards with equal ranges so you can easily copy the keys your teacher is pressing and press the same notes on your side of the keyboard. The PX-860 even has two headphone jacks so you and your teacher can listen to your music on your own headsets.

If you want to share your music to the world you can easily record your performance and save it to a USB. You can then easily edit your music on your computer and from there share it online.

If you want to share your music the old-fashioned way, the 20W+20W amplifiers will provide you with plenty of volume so if you’re performing in front of a small crowd then you will certainly be heard.

PROS

CONS

*Easy to set up and use

*We like the fact that there are 2 grand piano buttons and an electric piano button for quick access

*The piano sounds are realistic (a lot of work has been done by Casio to make sure this is the case!)

*The touch sensitive textured keys are perfect for long practices

*The duet mode is perfect for those just starting to learn to play

*We love that Casio has included the SP-3 pedal so there’s no need to buy an extra one from the store

*The features offer excellent value for the price

*It’s not easy to move around because you’d have to take it apart, move the parts, and then put it back together again.

TOP 6: Yamaha DGX-660 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Grand Piano

"Most Versatile and Contemporary Digital Piano"

One of the most popular and oft requested digital pianos in 2016 was the Yamaha DGX-660 and it’s no wonder because this piano truly is one of the best offerings from Yamaha at its price point (well below $1000). It replaces the Yamaha DGX-650 which is one of the top selling digital pianos in the USA.

Like its more expensive counterparts the Yamaha CP4 and the YDP-163, this piano also has weighted key actions which is heavier in the bass register and lighter in the trebles. In addition the Pure CF Sound Engine perfectly reproduces the tone of a Yamaha concert grand piano, the CFIIIS. Also, just like in an acoustic piano, the damper resonance in a damper pedal add color to the notes you play until the pedal is released.

If you love performing in front of people or even for yourself, then you’re going to love this digital piano as this is perfect for those who love to sing along to their music! You can easily plug in a mic to the 1/4” microphone input so you can sing along. You can add some digital vocal effects such as chorus and reverb and then record your entire performance to a USB device! It’s so easy to share your music because you can now wirelessly stream your audio over a wifi connection to an iOS device. You just need to install Yamaha apps on your iOS device and you’re good to go!

On the other hand, if you just want to play in front of a room full of people, the large, front-facing speakers will allow your audience to hear your digital piano’s rich sounds at optimum volume.

Going back to the iOS apps, you can install up to 7 Yamaha apps that connect with the DGX-660. These apps allow you record audio and video, playback your music, give you access to music sheets, and personalize your piano settings. If you know how to read sheet music, then you can just download the music scores of the latest chart toppers, practice and perfect it, then impress your friends with your talent!

For beginners, the Yamaha Education Suite will help you get up to speed as it teaches the basics such as timing, waiting, listening and tempo. There are even accompaniment features such as EZ chord and Smart chord to help you out with your practice.

Lastly, the Piano Room feature lets you create a virtual and personalized practice environment by choosing from a variety of acoustic and piano settings. All you have to do is choose your desired piano and then select your virtual space (plain room, club, stage, concert hall). What’s really cool about this is you can even adjust the position of your virtual piano lid.

PROS

CONS

*You can sing along while you play, record your performance and share it with the world in a simple steps or clicks on your iOS device

*Wireless connectivity to Yamaha apps extend the piano’s features and makes it even more useful

*The piano sounds are truly amazing especially the CFIIIS concert grand piano sound

*The weighted keys allow you to perfect finger technique and build proper strength for when you move on to perform to a real acoustic piano

*A bit heavy at 21kg (46 lbs) for just the piano alone, with the stand it’s 7 kgs heavier.

*Recording memory is limited to 30,000 notes per song up to 5 songs

TOP 7: Yamaha P115 Digital Piano

"The Best Budget Digital Piano For Beginners"

If you are looking for a digital piano that has the full range of 88 weighted keys, but won’t break your bank account, then you should consider the Yamaha P115 digital piano. This is especially useful if you want to transition later on to a real acoustic piano as the weighted keys has a similar force profile to a real piano and gives good training for your fingers (unlike unweighted keyboards that don’t help with strength training). In addition, the black keys also come with a matte finish which makes it less slippery when playing for quite some time.

Just like the other more expensive Yamaha’s on this list, the P115 also uses the Pure CF Sound Engine to record and sample Yamaha’s acclaimed 9 foot CFIIIS concert grand piano. So when you use the concert grand piano voice, you are essentially listening to the real thing for a fraction of the price (of course the experience won’t be the same as you can’t exactly copy a concert grand that costs tens of thousands of dollars for a digital piano that costs below $1000!).

The sound system on this piano faces the pianist and are in line with the ears; this results in more expressive melody lines and treble passages. This is especially great when you use the on-board drum rhythms whilst performing. You can choose from basic rock to shuffle to swing beats and use them either for practicing or as a virtual drummer in your virtual band.

Another popular feature is called ‘Pianist Styles’ which basically allows you to sound like there are two different players performing. You just need to play the chords in your left hand and Pianist Style will be the ‘other player’ and pair up your left-hand-chords with rich accompaniment patterns. So what does your right hand need to do? Well, it doesn’t have to do anything but if you’re in the mood then you can play other melodies or chords. You can get really creative with this feature and surprise yourself with your new music!

If you want to connect your iPad or iPhone to your digital piano, you do so using the app ‘Digital Piano Controller’. You can then change different settings like the voices, rhythms and plenty more. You can even save your favorite settings on the app and when you play on your piano at a later date, all you have to do is just fire up the app and click on your favorite settings. This is pretty useful if you’re used to an LCD display especially if you come from a beginner 61-key keyboard which more often than not have an LCD screen on-board.

PROS

CONS

*It’s quite portable at 11.8 kg or 26 lbs so you can easily move it around from one place to another

*The speakers are quite good for the price but you can also put your earphones on if you want to play in peace

*The matte black keys are perfect when playing for extended periods of time

*Very limited audio recording (only one 2-track song of approximately 11,000 notes)

*No MIDI support but you can still connect the piano to a computer if you like

*Headphones are not the standard 3.5mm but 6.5mm so you have to buy an adapter if you want to use your 3.5mm headphones


2017's Digital Piano Buying Guide


Nothing beats an acoustic piano in terms of ‘real’ piano experience but the price can be prohibitive so it’s not really practical for everyone especially those who are just starting out.

For beginners, you can have the option to go with weighted or unweighted keys. The unweighted ones are great for absolute beginners as these are very cheap and have features that are designed to help a newbie learn fast.

Weighted keys, on the other hand, while being considerably more expensive than unweighted ones, are also great for beginners especially those who intend to move forward to a real acoustic piano in the future as the weighted keys and hammer action will help strengthen your fingers.

Either way, the perfect middle ground are the digital pianos as these are not too expensive and some have been manufactured (like the top ones on our list) to provide users with an experience as close as possible to a real acoustic piano.

There are plenty of digital pianos available on the market from many different manufacturers but the brands that truly stand out from the crowd are those manufactured by Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Casio and Korg. Our best digital piano list features 4 Yamahas, 2 Casios and 1 Kawai -- these pianos offer the best bang for your buck and you sincerely wouldn’t go wrong with any of these choices.

Here are some of the parameters we have considered in our best digital piano reviews to make sure we are as impartial and as accurate as possible:

1. Versatility

All of the digital pianos we have featured have weighted and hammered keys which means the harder you strike, the louder the volume.

You also have the option to set the sensitivity for this feature to hard, medium, soft or fixed, so you can adjust these depending on the musical piece you are playing.

All of the pianos on our list also gives you the ability to use headphones so you can play in peace without getting interrupted by your roommates or neighbors asking you to turn the volume down.

2.​ Portability 

While these digital pianos (with their weighted keys) are certainly heavier than their unweighted counterparts, these are still pretty portable.

The lightest ones on our list are the Yamaha P115 and the Casio PX-560 at 26 lbs. The heaviest digital piano (and least portable) are the Yamaha YDP-163 and Kawai KDP-90 at 83 lbs.

3.  Price 

Digital pianos are way cheaper than real acoustic pianos. And what’s even better is you no longer have to pay a piano tuner over a hundred bucks an hour to tune your piano 2 or 3 times a year since there’s no tuning required for digital pianos! All you have to do really to maintain your piano is dust it from time to time and of course use it so your skills don’t get rusty.​

4. Piano Sound 

All of the digital pianos on our list have top notch and extremely realistic ‘concert grand piano’ sounds! After all this is what digital pianos are made for - to be a cheaper alternative to real acoustic pianos - but without sacrificing the rich sound of a real piano.​

5. Recording  

All of the pianos on our list allow users to record their performance either with a built-in recorder or with a MIDI connection to your computer. However, the 2 Casios are truly spectacular in this regard as they allow users to record up to 100 songs onboard the piano!​

Final Thoughts

We hope this digital piano buying guide will help you choose the most suitable piano for your needs. If money were not an object, we would recommend going for the Yamaha CP4 Stage Piano as it truly provides the most realistic and most authentic concert grand piano voice.

Now, if you want a digital piano that has practically everything on the music spectrum (an all rounder), then choose the Casio PX-560 88-Key Digital Stage Piano. If you want something in between, then any of the other digital pianos on this list will be an excellent choice.

Lastly, if you think you don't need 88 keys, you should check out other other article for the best 76-key keyboards for beginners and musicians of all levels!

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