Buying a digital piano can be overwhelming for anyone, even so-called piano “experts.” So many manufacturers and so many models can make anyone confused.
In this article, I will attempt to make some sense out of what can become chaos when shopping for a digital piano.
And to better help you, please take a look at the table below, which showcases some of the top digital pianos on the market
|Casio PX-160||88||$||Dual Headphone Outputs on Front|
|Casio PX-870||88||$$$||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha P-45||88||$||64 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha YDP-144||88||$$$||GHS action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Korg B1SP||88||$$||Stand and Pedal Unit Included|
|Kawai ES110||88||$$||Bluetooth MIDI|
|Roland F-140||88||$$$||SuperNATURAL Piano engine|
|Yamaha DGX-660||88||$$||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) Keyboard|
|Korg C1 Air||88||$$$||120 Notes Polyphony|
|Yamaha P-515||88||$$$||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Nord Piano 4||88||$$$||88-Note Triple Sensor Keybed|
|Korg Grandstage||88 or 73 Keys||$$$||500 Sounds|
|Yamaha YDP-184||88||$$$||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)|
Top Digital Piano Brands Worth Discussing
Moving on, let’s start with my top five digital piano manufacturers, from bottom to top:
Of all the digital pianos I’ve played over the past two weeks—and there have been many!—these manufacturers have produced the best quality instruments. Just one caveat: price range is not considered on these instruments.
Starting from the least to the best, here are the 12 best digital brands (models) from the above manufacturers:
- Kurzweil CGP 220
- Roland FP 30
- Roland RP501
- Roland GP 607 EP
- Casio AP 270
- Casio AP 470
- Casio GP500
- Kawai CA 98
- Kawai Novus NV10
- Yamaha P515
- Yamaha CSP 150 PE
- Yamaha CVP 709
Kurzweil CGP 220
Kurzweil is known for their synthesizers more than their digital pianos. I found one that really impressed me: the Kurzweil CGP 220. This instrument visually resembles a small grand piano, which is a traditional piano look. It sounds like a large grand piano with sampling from a 9-foot grand piano as its best sound feature.
This piano has all the bells and whistles of a high-end digital piano, from its 200-watt 4-speaker sound system, to integrated 3-pedal action, to an onboard metronome, transposer, and recording system. The keys are wooden, which is such a nice touch, and it has Italian graded hammer action to resemble the touch of an acoustic piano.
This piano is a sweet little digital piano with 35 sounds onboard. The piano sampling comes from Steinway, one of the premier piano manufacturers in the world, which gives this smaller-sized digital piano a big sound.
The FP 30, one of the many digital instruments produced by the Roland company, proves that a small piano can project just as much sound as a large one, if the technology is used well. This little piano is small enough to fit in a decent-sized motorhome, but your neighbors in your RV park will think you smuggled a Steinway into your motorhome!
- You can check out our Roland FP-30 review here.
Another in the Roland family is the RP501. This digital piano has 305 sounds onboard and offers 72 various rhythm styles and backing tracks. Equipped with a USB port, it can record and play back any music you choose to record. It also has Bluetooth and wireless capability and can accommodate your tablet or smart phone.
This instrument comes with cabinet and integrated 3 pedals and is family friendly. It only weighs about 90 pounds, so two adults (or large teenagers!) can handily move it. With all of the features on this instrument, it would make a great first digital piano for any musician or family.
Roland GP 607 EP
This piano is the ‘big daddy’ of the Roland family of digital pianos. Modeled on the Steinway escapements (which is a specific action of the keys that feels like a second level) and the lovely overtones (resonation of the hammers on the strings and all of the surrounding strings), this digital piano plays like it belongs in a concert hall. Many digitals tend to fall short on the overtone resonation, but not this one!
This piano offers Bluetooth and MIDI capability, a set of headphones that will make you believe you’re in Carnegie Hall even when practicing privately, and multi-speaker sound projection that will fill your room—or your house—with beautiful piano sound. If I were going to buy a Roland and money was no object, this instrument is the one I would select.
The Celviano Casio class of pianos came as a great surprise to me. My mental picture of Casio instruments was limited to the little 18-note keyboards my kids used to play around with and torture. These Casio Celviano pianos are far more than the dinky little keyboards I remember!
The Casio AP 270 includes integrated cabinetry in black or walnut, integrated 3-pedal system that functions as a grand, and it weighs less than 90 pounds. It features damper resonance, which simulates the entire body of a grand piano, not just the strings. A nice piano for a nice price!
- You can check out our Casio AP-270 review here.
This model features 22 sounds and 256 notes of polyphony, which is the maximum I have found on digital pianos. This instrument offers 60 installed songs that you can enjoy listening to or can play along. It features USB and MIDI recording capabilities.
This Casio would be a welcome piece in any room with its rich cabinetry in black, walnut, or white finishes. Three pedals are standard and integrated in this model. The damper resonance offered on the 270 is also a feature of the 470.
- You can check out our Casio AP-470 review here.
The most advanced of the Celviano class of digital pianos, the GP500 offers beautiful cabinetry, rich sound, and what Casio calls “Grand Hybrid” keys. The Grand Hybrid key system consists of full length, Austrian wood keys and actual hammers, with the associated moving parts, that make this piano feel more like an acoustic grand piano that almost anything else I played during this research.
The Casio company sampled three different types of grand pianos—the Berlin, the Hamburg, and the Vienna—and offers each one, as well as several others, in this amazing instrument. This piano offers such amazing features and a multitude of options that I would have loved to bring it home with me!
The priciest of the Casio Celviano line, this piano is probably for the most discerning tastes in furniture and music; not the kind of piano someone would buy for an uncertain beginner, but a piano that could last a lifetime.
Kawai CA 98
I have always loved the Kawai brand of acoustic pianos with their rich tone and easy feel. This digital piano is one of what Kawai calls its Hybrid Digital Pianos. Offered in a satin black, polished ebony or premium rosewood cabinetry, it is beautiful as well as functional. This instrument features a 5-inch digital touch screen display on the side plate of the piano.
It offers authentic, acoustic piano touch with its Grand Feel II wooden keys key action. In short, it plays with a touch very close to that of an acoustic piano. As with most digitals in its class, it offers Bluetooth technology and USB storage capability. A good piano for a good price!
Kawai Novus NV10
The NV 10 is a beautiful hybrid digital piano that replaced the Kawai CP series. It offers wooden-key hybrid technology and mechanisms that play like a Kawai acoustic grand piano. It uses a key-and-hammer combination with contact-less optical sensors to mimic the touch of a grand.
Its 7-speaker sound system blew me away with the magnitude and clarity of its sound. Four types of resonance imbedded into this system give this piano one of the most authentic acoustic sounds anyone could find in the digital world.
This piano is actually a portable piano. The sales associate I spoke with told me that, as a working musician, he had purchased two of these instruments for use with the band with whom he regularly plays gigs.
The stand, pedals, headphones, and bench are all sold separately. That being said, this is a sweet little digital piano with 88 full-size keys and an impressive grand piano sound.
- You can check out our detailed Yamaha P-515 review here.
I love Yamaha digital pianos. I owned and taught piano on one of the earliest models of Clavinova, which I bought more than 25 years ago. Of all the digital pianos I played in my research, the CSP 150 PE was my favorite.
It offers all sorts of smart technology, from analysis of any song that you wish to play in its vast library to creation of a chord and melody chart to lights above the keys to show you which ones to play, this piano does so many amazing things to help a musician improve skills.
It offers a microphone input so you can play and sing along through the sound system of this piano. The GH3X graded hammer system mimics the feel of a grand piano even to the lighter touch in the treble keys and the heavier touch on the bass end. The cabinet is clean and simple, with the electronic features offered through your tablet. You can even charge your tablet by plugging it into the piano!
The escapement touch mimics that of a grand, as does the beautiful overtones offered through the Virtual Resonance Modeling of this model of Clavinova. If I could have loaded this instrument into my (little) car, it would have come home with me!
This model of the Clavinova is the granddaddy of all the digital pianos I played. The CVP 709 has all of the bells and whistles that a musician could ever ask for, including (but not limited to) two grand piano samplings (Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial), a built-in recording studio that allows the musician to record their own compositions or their own arrangements of already-published songs, the 88-key Linear Graded Hammer action that assigns each of the keys its own unique weight, and so many more amazing features.
It’s beautiful, and it almost feels like sitting at the cockpit of a jetliner with so many buttons and functions. Yamaha has sampled almost every instrument they build and placed those samplings in this piano. That means that the ‘clarinet’ sounds like a Yamaha clarinet. The ‘flute’ sounds like a Yamaha flute. You get the picture. When you use the various orchestral and band options on this digital piano, you will be playing with a Yamaha orchestra/band!
You can download karaoke tunes from a dedicated Yamaha web site and sing and play along. This instrument is the most expensive of all of the digital pianos I researched, but it does more than any of the other instruments that I played. Whether you are a beginning musician or a virtuoso, this piano will bring learning and enjoyment for the rest of your life.
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