When the time to buy a digital piano comes, people often start to asking themselves if it’s smarter to buy a used piano, or if a brand new one fresh out the box is the better route. And while there’s always a concern that buying something used will result in you getting a piano that’s a lemon, the truth is that lots of people actually opt to save money buy spending money on a second hand instrument.
Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice. Therefore, in this article, we will analyze the pros and the cons of buying a second hand digital piano and opting for a brand new product. We’ll explain the potential benefits of choosing to buy it from an online shop or from a brick and mortar retailer in your hometown, and we’ll even dive into the risks involved from deciding to pursue both avenues.
Finally, we will pick five ideal digital pianos that users should look closely at when considering to buy their first digital piano—be it brand new or used.
Below, please use our interactive table to compare some of the best selling pianos currently available on the market today. You can compare each digital piano based on price, number of keys, weight, and customer review score averages:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
BUYING A USED PIANO
The first, obvious benefit of buying a second hand piano is certainly its price. Right after the piano leaves the shop, the value of the musical instrument drastically drops by a percentage of about 15% to 20%.
The more a piano has been used, the more that price continues to drop (like any piece of technology, really), so it’s quite easy to find several offers of used digital pianos around half the original retail price.
So, if your budget is not high enough to buy the digital piano of your dreams, but you still want to own it no matter what, then opting for an used product could be a wise choice. Of course, when you find an offer that satisfies you, there are several things that you must carefully evaluate before buying:
1) THE CONDITIONS: The status of a digital piano is massively important, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but the actual state of its operations. You must pay attention to every single scratch or damage that’s both visible and hidden on the chassis, the buttons, knobs, faders, wheels and each of the 88 keys. You also need to, ideally, test all the primary functions of the digital piano to make sure that it makes your expectations and you find the feel and sound to be more than satisfactory.
2) THE WARRANTY: All electronic devices are subject to malfunctions or flaws, and digital pianos are no exception, so choosing a product with a remaining warranty or reliable return policy is a plus. In this way, you help to avoid spending lots of the money on a used piano that will require additional repair. To this end, it helps to buy your piano online from a reputable website that offers used products, as purchasing from a private individual usually won’t afford you the opportunity to receive a warranty or return policy.
3) THE ACCESSORIES: Look for any included equipment to be there as well—things like sustain pedals, AC adaptors, music rests or furniture stands. Also, you want to make sure the piano comes with any and all chords, cables, manuals and CDs. If anything is missing, try to obtain an additional discount.
4) THE PRICE: Nobody gives away anything for free, so beware of extremely low prices or, at least, take your time to test the machine multiple times before buying. You should take a look online in order to find out the average price of a specific used piano, and then look for a good offer in a similar price range.
Before we move forward, please take a look at some of the best selling pianos currently available for sale on Amazon:
BUYING A NEW PIANO
There are a few advantages in selecting a new piano instead of a used one, starting from the warranty to the potential discounts that you can get when a revamped edition of a digital piano ships on the market (and the old model is being sold on sale). If you choose to buy a new piano, you will of course enjoy the feeling of being the very first person to unbox and play it.
Now, when you buy a new piano both online and in local stores, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best value (and spend as little as possible):
1) THE WARRANTY: Again, the first benefit when buying a new product is obviously the warranty offered by both the store and the manufacturer. Many companies are offering an additional period of warranty (that usually extends the 1-year time frame by a year or two—though this can differ), which means you won’t have to worry as much about potential flaws or malfunctions for several months to come.
2) THE BUNDLES: When retailers and online shops have too many units in stock, they usually drop the prices in order to quickly clear their warehouses. When this occurs, it’s very common to find great pianos for the money, even in convenient bundles along with first-party accessories or other useful accessories (benches, lamps, and more).
3) THE TRADE-OFF: When you opt for a new digital piano from a local retailer, you could even try to exchange your old piano in order to get a great discount on the new one. It’s common for offline shopping, though several online shops are starting to jump on board this train too. This sort of “trade-in” is unlikely to be considered by retailers when buying second hand digital pianos.
4) THE RETURN POLICY: Some stores, especially those online, offer a 30-day return period to the customer on new products. This means that if you choose a brand new digital piano and you are not happy with it, you can return it to and get your money back. This is a benefit that almost no one would offer on a used piano.
So to wrap up–if you want to shop with far less concerns, opting for a new piano is still recommended. While it’s true that a second hand piano can lead to great money saving, you can still hunt for great offers online and get the best value for your budget, especially when stores start selling discounted products right after the shipping of new musical instruments.
SHOULD I BUY ONLINE?
In the past few years, online shopping has become as common as breathing. While brick and mortar stores would gladly take the opportunity to sell you something, the e-commerce phenomenon is growing more and more everyday and has successfully reached a wider audience than ever before.
The benefit of buying online is simple. You point, click, pay, and you’re done. After a few days, your piano arrives and you’re all set. It’s as easy as pie. And, if you bought it from a reputable place, you should be able to not only read customer reviews before buying, but receive customer service via phone, email, or live chat should anything go wrong.
The downside of buying online is obvious—you have zero interaction with another human being. If you buy at a store, you can ask a piano expert questions on the instrument, as well as the return policy. He or she can also give you recommendations, as well. So, you definitely lose that aspect when buying online.
At the same time, when buying through your phone or computer, you often have the ability to check out pianos that likely aren’t available in your local area. And if you can’t try the piano locally, it’s nice to know that you can buy it online and, if for any reason you’re unhappy with it, likely return it for a full refund (this varies from website to website, so again, always check any online retailer’s policies when it comes to purchasing, shipping, and returns.
WHAT PIANO SHOULD I BUY?
Finally, as we wrap up this article, we’d like to leave you with five great digital pianos that we feel are great for beginners and intermediate players. Whether you want to buy the piano brand new or used, we think most players will be quite content with any of the following five pianos:
- CASIO CDP-130: BEST ENTRY-LEVEL DIGITAL PIANO
This entry-level piano offers the best value to students and beginners, with a great hammer-action keyboard and ten good sounds. With a MSRP of $399, you can buy this piano for $349 (new, online) or around $299 (used). In this case, since the price difference is relatively negligible, we recommend buying new.
Read our review of the Casio CDP-230 here.
- CASIO PX-150/PX-160: BEST DIGITAL PIANO UNDER $500
This piano includes the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR sound engine and the renowned Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer-Action Keyboard, along with great features and mechanical emulations. You can buy for new from both online and local stores for $469, but if you’re lucky to find one of the few used units, you can make yours a second hand PX-150 for $399. In this case, we’d opt for the used unit.
Check out our review of the Casio PX-150 here.
- KAWAI ES-100: BEST DIGITAL PIANO UNDER $1000
This affordable Kawai piano has one of the greatest 88-key weighted action in this price range and possibly the best sounding piano engine of its category. You can find the ES-100 for the street price of $799 (new), but being a relatively new product, you’re not going to find lots of used units in both online and offline spaces. Here, you might want to go the brand new route.
Here’s our review of the Kawai ES-100.
The new furniture-cabinet digital piano from Casio has the best value ever in its price range and includes many of the best features contained within other pianos in the Privia line. You can buy a new one for just $799, while used units are still on sale for about $749 (depending on where you look). We recommend buying the new instrument if the prices are that close, or you can simply wait for the new Casio PX-760 to become a bit more popular in the market and then see if you can track down a very used PX-750.
Here’s our review of the Casio PX-750.
- YAMAHA CLP-535: BEST UPRIGHT-LIKE PIANO UNDER $3000
This revamped iteration of the Clavinova furniture-cabinet pianos offers a stunning sound engine, great keyboard action with ivory keytops, an elegant furniture stand and lots of educational and fun features. It ships for $2899 in its most affordable finish, but you can buy it used for $2300 to $2500. Being a home piano that’s not meant to be even the least bit portable, any used unit you come across might be in pretty good condition. If so, you can potentially save up to $500. If that’s the case, it’s recommended you purchase this piano used.
Read our review of the Casio CLP-535 here.
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