In this article, I’m going to present you with some of the best digital pianos with 88 weighted keys that are available on the market.
And in order to better help you decide, please view our interactive guide below, which will allow you to directly compare popular pianos against one another.
|Yamaha YDP-144||GHS action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Yamaha P-515||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha YDP-164||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Roland RP-102||Works w/Roland Piano Partner 2 app|
|Casio AP-470||256 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha YDP-184||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)|
The Best Digital Pianos with Weighted Keys
Let’s begin this list with the Yamaha P-125.
Yamaha are one of the best known and loved manufacturers of digital piano. They have produced a staggering number of different models over the years, most of which are of a very good quality. They have been at the forefront of the digital piano technology for quite some time, so it is no wonder that a handful of their models feature on this list of some of the best weighted keys.
The P125 is a relatively compact model, and weighing in at around 26 lbs is designed to be both slimline and portable – yet the keyboard does not compensate for this portability with substandard keys.
The P125 features Yamaha’s GHS key-weighting (Graded Hammer System), which is not their ,most advanced key system, but is by no means an ineffective system. The weight is graded across the keys, resulting in heavier keys in the bottom octaves, and lighter keys towards the top of the keyboard. The P115 also features hammer-action.
The inclusion of the Pure CF sound engine adds polish to the playing of the keys – with the piano samples well representing the nuance of your playing.
The P125 is not the most advanced of weighted keyboards, however it manages to deliver very good performance despite its portable build, and is ideally suited to beginner to intermediate players whom wont miss some of the complexity of other key weighting systems.
- You might want to read: Are Yamaha P-125 Bundles Worth the Money?
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos on the market, and then see how well they stack up to some of the instruments on this list.
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-144|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Casio PX-870|
Now, let’s move onto the Yamaha Arius line–specifically, the YDP-164.
The Yamaha Arius YDP164 is a fair bit more expensive than the P125, however is a significant upgrade in a number of areas.
The YDP164 is built into a traditional style upright cabinet, complete with a trio of pedals built in underneath, and is much better suited for home use than on the go (good luck trying to shift this thing about with you). While a traditional upright build does not directly influence the quality of the keys themselves, it does have an indirect influence on your playing experience – I have found that portable keyboards are much more prone to some shackling depending not he stand you use, whereas cabinet style digital pianos feel a lot more solid, you feel like you can really play into the keys.
This isn’t something that is always tangible, and is perhaps sometimes a product of the mind rather than the physical – but cabinet style instruments do feel heftier than their portable counterparts, and this in turn makes the keys feel beefier.
The YDP164 boasts Yamaha’s GH3 key system, which is a big step above the GHS system in the P115.
The key difference between this and GHS, beyond further refinement of the Hammer action and graded weighting – is the inclusion of a trio of sensors below each key.
Whereas other digital piano models are prone to feature two or even just the single sensor beneath each key, these three sensors provide a greater level of sensitivity to the nuance of your playing, for example allowing for keys to be pressed more than once prior to be completely depressed.
The quality of these keys is further enhanced by a 192 polyphony, and excellent piano sampling system (using Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine).
The Yamaha YDP164 is fantastic mid-level cabinet style digital piano, with keys that are suitable particularly for intermediate players – with the keys allowing for increasingly detailed translation of your playing.
- You might want to read: Yamaha YDP-163 review
The Roland FP-30 is another model towards the cheaper end of the market, and is another portable instrument, being housed in a body that is sleek and slimline.
The keys on the FP-30 are fantastic at this price point – and while the hammer-action is not quite as sophisticated as some of the models from the likes of Yamaha and Casio, is still of very good quality.
The individual sampling of each key (as opposed to uniform across the range) means that each key sounds independent of one another: which in a way impacts upon your playing. Each key feels a little more responsive, and a little more characterful.
What really sets this digital piano out from other models is the relative quietness of the keys – the clacking of keys down and the thumping back upwards can become a nuisance for both your family and your neighbors, and can even bother you whilst playing if you are playing at a lower volume.
Fortunately, these keys are remarkably quiet – I have been in rooms where people are plying this keyboard through headphones, and I have completely forgotten they were even playing, so silent were the keys!
The combination of very good weighting and quiet keys means the Roland FP-30 is a great model to consider if you prefer playing at lower volumes, or through headphones – or simply don’t want to disturb touchy neighbors!
- You might want to read: Roland FP-30 review
Yamaha Clavinova CLP-675
There is perhaps no line of digital piano more renowned than Yamaha’s Clavinova range. For years, the Clavinova family has sat at the very top of the digital piano market, offering unparalleled quality of sound and build.
The CLP-675 is not an exception, and is merely the continuation of a long line of excellence.
The sampling implemented is excellent, with the user being able to choose between Yamaha’s own CFX grand piano, or Bosendorfer’s Imperial model – both sampled and mixed by Yamahas best audio engineers, and you can really hear the quality shining through.
The keys themselves are an absolute joy to play, they offer a level of control and responsiveness that I haven’t managed to find in any other digital piano model to date. Pressing the key at the very bottom or the very top of the key feels exactly like it would if you were playing a real acoustic piano.
The hammers built into the body of the instrument are equally fantastic, feeling smooth but offering enough resistance to simulate a real piano well.
The CLP-675 offers perhaps the best weighted keys on the market today – they have come along way since the plasticky keys of the 90s, and now offer a piano playing experience that is almost physically identical to playing a real acoustic piano.
Casio are another prolific manufacturer of digital pianos, with their models particularly common across the budget end of the market.
The PX-160 features fantastic hammer-action within the body of the keyboard, with the hammers feeling a lot more realistic than other competitors at a similar price point. I particularly liked the distinctive give and click as you plush a key hard enough to trigger the hammer, it felt remarkably similar to playing a real acoustic piano.
The keys themselves are produced to emulate the feeling of playing real ebony and ivories – with each key encased in a faux-material that does its best to make your fingers feel the specific friction and slide of the real thing.
One of the best things about the Casio PX-160, however, is that the keys feature Casio’s Tri Sensor Scaled Hammer Action – which convolutely refers to the inclusion of a trio of sensors beneath each key. This is something seen on the aforementioned YDP 163, however the Casio sits at a much lower price point, making their inclusion particularly noteworthy.
- You might want to read: Casio PX-160 review
The Korg LP380 is an alternative to the Casio PX-160 that offers a similar level of quality through its keys.
Instead of Casio’s Tris Sensor Scaled Hammer Action system, however, we are treated to Korg RH3 (Real Hammer) keys, which are among the best in the mid-range market.
The keys themselves have a lovely weight to them, not feeling too heavy or too light. There is just enough give when you push hard enough into a key for it too feel like you are pushing against a really lever, however not so much that the keys feel bogged down when you push into them. There is also little in the way of lock as the keys pull themselves back into position.
The whit keys are glossed over and smooth, whereas the black key have a matte finish – which produces a feeling not quite as good as the Casio, but is by no means poor.
One of the best things about the Korg is the fact that the weighting can be changed on the fly between light, medium and heavy – allowing you to control precisely how weighted you want the piano to feel, which is a really nice touch (if you’ll pardon the pun).
The Korg features a great weighted keyboard, with each key feeling deep and resonant.
- You might want to read: Korg LP 380 review
Roland Virtual Piano
The Roland Virtual Piano, rightly considering its particularly high price point, features a set of keys that include all of the bells and whistles.
The hammer-action is among the best on the market, with the keys feeling exactly like a more expensive acoustic piano.
The reason the Virtual Piano is noteworthy, however, is the manner in which its sound system really brings out the best in its weighted keys. This may be cheating somewhat considering this article is about analyzing the best weighted keys, however we should not take lightly the impact an effective sound engine can have on your physical playing experience.
Most digital pianos playback sampled piano sounds. Sound engineers play notes at various velocities, and this is mapped to the computers motherboard which monitors your playing of the keys, which in turn triggers specific samples. The majority of piano-sampling is now done to tremendous effect, with pianos rarely sounding as fake as they did even ten or twenty years ago. However, this method doesn’t quite capture the essence and soul of piano playing.
The Virtual Piano effectively digitally models a real piano, creating the ultimate piano synthesis. Every element of piano playing, from hitting of hammer on string, to the shifting of levers as you release the dampener pedal: its all modeled by the onboard computer.
This leads to a nuance of sound that is unparalleled, and this in turn brings out the best in the keys. While many other models of digital piano feature equality adept keys, the Virtual Piano stands out for its ability to translate your playing to fantastic piano sound. You are much more likely to appreciate the subtle nuances gently pressing a key into the hammer when this results in an equally subtle shift in sound.
This Roland digital piano feel absolutely great to play.
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