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Best Keyboard Pianos: Our Top Picks

Photograph of the blog post author, Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

29.9.2020

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There’s never been a better time to buy one of the best keyboard pianos. But, choosing the best piano in your budget and for your ability can be a challenge. It is sometimes tricky to pinpoint which one is right for you.

There is a wide range of amazing digital pianos and keyboards on the market, so, we understand that it can be overwhelming picking the best one. There are many options, whether you are an experienced pianist or just starting out. There are loads of budget options to get the best keyboard piano for beginners to help get you started or if you are looking for one more long term, you can check out some beautiful high-end pianos available.

We have put together a list of the best keyboards available to help you find the best keyboard in your playing style and budget.

What Is A Keyboard/Digital Piano?

keyboard piano

Unlike an acoustic piano a digital piano doesn’t require tuning, with a more versatile sound, another bonus is they come with headphone sockets should you require a quieter practice.

Although there are some differences between a keyboard and a digital piano, this has become unclear over time. With the increase of technology, there has been some cross over in functionality.

That being said, there are some key aspects each instrument has been designed to fulfil. One box doesn’t necessarily tick all unless you pay a premium price.

Here is the core of what they both do:

  • A digital piano is intended to imitate an acoustic piano’s feel and sound
  • Many encompass a few digital effects as well as PC connectivity
  • Keyboards generate a much wider variety of sounds and have an arranger feature
  • The core function of keyboards is to act as a MIDI controller for PC software
  • There is no attempt to simulate an acoustic piano and they also have slighter keys

Best Buy Piano Keyboard

person playing keyboard

When looking for the best digital piano, it is fair to say there are plenty available. The Yamaha NP-12 portable piano is a sure winner. Nothing can compare in the budget price range for pedigree sound. If you want something a little more expensive there’s the Nord Piano 4, a professional’s dream for performing on stage. When playing at home, you can get the amazing sounding, good value Casio Privia PX-770.

With improvements and modifications in sampling and software emulation technology, digital pianos often sound and feel good nowadays. There are still some points to consider, for the home, you may want something which fits your home decor, not too heavy in case you move and sounds realistic/projects nicely. It is desirable to have realistic hammer action keyboards, however, if you are looking for kids to learn, the keyboard should not have too heavy an action. It is also important to consider when you are practising/playing if you need sounds, sounds with effects, or MIDI and auto-backings.

Stage pianos often come with more sounds and effects and are the best option for gigs and live performance. Most of these won’t have built-in speakers, because they are intended to be connected to a PA or mixing desk.

Best Keyboard Pianos

Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 portable keyboard

yamaha keyboard

This one is the best for authentic sound on a small budget:

  • Great sound
  • Best digital piano for beginner
  • Excellent for children
  • Might be too basic depending on your ability

The NP-12 is a piano style digital keyboard, with lifelike AWM Stereo Sampled piano sound and scaled downsize makes it a great choice for children when they are learning or pianists looking to downsize or no longer have the room for a full-size piano. Regardless of the lightweight, synth-action, the 61 key NP-12 has classic styling and waterfall fronted keys. It comes with mains and battery power as well as headphones, sustain pedal, MIDI I/O, USB and a selection of 10 sounds. This portable keyboard is slim, lightweight and no-frills but if you’re looking for an even better piano-like experience, try the 76-note NP-32.

Price: £199

Casio Privia PX-770

casio keyboard

Mid-range digital piano perfect for the home:

  • Sounds and feels satisfactory
  • Excellent value
  • Great quality
  • Limited connectivity

This is one of the best mid-range digital pianos. It features a triple-sensor graduated hammer-action, three-foot pedals (as you would get on an acoustic piano), half-damper pedalling, built-in library with 10 classical songs so you can play along. The piano is good value for money but has limited onboard sounds in comparison to a stage piano. There are also only two headphone ports and no audio outputs, no standard MIDI outputs but MIDI can be sent/received via USB. These are minor issues within this price range so overall PX-770 is a brilliant mid-range option for home pianists.

Price: £599

Roland RD-88 Stage Piano

roland stage piano

Reasonably priced stage piano for gigs and home:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great sound selection
  • Onboard speaker system

Roland RD-88 is a compact, lightweight stage piano with lots of features. Slightly more affordable than some of its competition and half the price of the flagship RD-2000. Perfect for on stage or at home use, there is an easy to use interface optimised performance and thousands of tones as well as a powerful set of onboard speakers. It only weighs 13 kilos so it is easy to move around.

Price: £1,049

Nord Piano 4

nord piano

Suitable for Professional pianist’s:

  • Established technology
  • Amazing sounds
  • Distinctive looking
  • No pitch or mod wheels

Nord Piano 4 has a vast variety of solid, eclectic pianos which sound amazing. When you watch live music on TV or attend a gig you are likely to see one or more on stage. It has nicely balanced, grant weighted action which is playable for pianos as well as synth sounds. There’s sample memory, pedal noise and string resonance. Due to lack of pitch/modulation wheels onboard it limits the expressiveness when using the synth sounds and potential as a MIDI controller. The Nord Piano is virtually an industry-standard stage piano which implies it’s a top choice.

Price: £2,332

Korg SV-2 / SV-2S

korg piano keyboard

Excellent stage piano:

  • Excellent sounds and playability
  • Looks good
  • Not the cheapest

Korg SV-2 delivers more sounds, polyphony, tweak-ability, memory slots for all your top pre-sets and sonic authenticity. Available in 73 or 88-note versions, the version with speakers built-in is known as the SV-2S which makes it viable both as an on-stage or at home piano. The acoustic sounds really come through with sound sets in German, Italian, Austrian, and Japanese instrument makers.

Price: £1,749

Yamaha YDP-184

yamaha piano

An excellent at home digital piano:

  • Traditional looking
  • Great expressiveness of weighted keys
  • Authentic

You can enhance the experience by altering parameters such as string and damper resonance with VRM. One of the greatest elements to the YDP-184 is the expressiveness of the weighted keys. It has 24 voices including electric pianos and 256-note max polyphony. There is an easy USB connection to enable you to connect to other devices and the MIDI record enables you to record your playing. The YDP-184 prides itself on being an authentic choice and even if you play while wearing headphones the stereophonic optimiser reconstructs the familiarity of an acoustic piano.

Sound is distributed in a way which implies it’s coming from the body of the instrument. Access the Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app to find a host of interactive features. Ultimately, this is a stunning piano and for experienced pianists, you can’t get much better than the YDP-184.

Price: £2,175

Roland RP501R

roland

One for all the family:

  • Top rated
  • Great for intermediate players
  • Versatile

Another top-rated piano is the Roland RP501R it has 300 voices alongside acoustic piano tones, this makes it one of the most versatile digital pianos. It is a great piano for intermediate players who are looking for an instrument to bridge the gap between beginner and advanced as there are some good tuition features such as dual split. To help progress you can go to the Roland App where you will find some nice interactive learning material. You are also able to record directly to the piano’s internal memory with its record function or use a USB flash drive.

Generally, the sound and feel of the Roland RP501R digital piano is a great option for those going beyond beginner and intermediate playing levels.

Alesis Recital Pro

alesis pro keyboard

This is a great alternative:

  • Simple introduction to digital keyboard
  • Excellent value
  • Lacking in quality

Perfect for beginners this is a very easy introduction to digital keyboard pianos. It has 12 unique voices and hammer action keys. Unfortunately, the weight of the keys is a little lighter than expected but they do offer certain resistance. The acoustic piano tone is good but not the best. Although this one might be lacking some quality it is great value for money. If you are hoping for a decent piano which sounds good, has weighted keys but isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg, then the Alesis Recital Pro could be the one for you.

Price: £311

YAMAHA PSS-F30 PORTABLE KEYBOARD

yamaha portable

Ideal cheap piano keyboard:

  • Cheap keyboard
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Small size

The Yamaha PSS-F30 Portable Keyboard is perfect for those wanting a cheap starter keyboard for home recording. It’s very easy to work and a great keyboard which won’t break the bank. It could also be an excellent gift for a friend/family member interested in learning the keyboard. The compact size means it is great to use in portable studios or as a touring musician. With 37 high-quality mini keys which are easy to play, 120 voices and a range of functions that beginners, as well as professionals, can benefit from.

The Smart Chord feature on the PSS-F30 essentially complements any melody you play with appropriate chords, fundamentally playing along with you and filling out your sound. Even though it is suitable for younger players or beginners, there are still some very useful sounds and functions such as Sustain, Metronome and more to create your music with.

Price: £70

YAMAHA PIAGGERO NP12 Portable Digital Piano, Black

yamaha digital

Great value for money:

  • Budget-friendly
  • More experienced players
  • Expressive piano keyboard

This is an extremely popular model for those who have more experience and looking to progress as a performer but probably not the best keyboard to learn piano. It is still an incredibly good value keyboard. For the price, you really can’t go wrong, especially when you consider the sound you get from this keyboard piano. Each of the 10 preset voices including the two acoustic piano sounds, two electric piano, two organ sounds and even the strings, vibes and two harpsichord sounds are delightfully sampled and respond immediately to the touch response keyboard.

61 keys give you ample space to play your music and the built-in speakers and headphones input enables you to play and practice on the road. Its lightweight means you can move this into your existing workspace and carry it with you anywhere. Overall, it is an expressive piano keyboard which has a great sound, easily portable and within an affordable price range.

Price: £160

Final Thoughts On The Best Keyboard Pianos And Best Digital Pianos

There you have it, the best digital pianos and keyboard pianos available. These are just some of the best-selling, looking and sounding digital pianos around at the moment. It is clear to see that price does have an impact on what you will be able to get but that shouldn’t stop you from giving a keyboard or digital piano a go.

There are also other factors which you should take into consideration, so once you have set a budget, remember you may also need to buy additional accessories such as a piano stool or headphones. Think about where you will be using the piano, do you need one which is lightweight and portable or do you have a permanent space for it in your home?

As always, it is worth trying out multiple options before making a purchase, each one on the list is good but everyone has their own preferences. No matter which one you choose you can’t go wrong with any from the list!

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