In this article, we’re going to discuss how you can best determine what digital piano with 88 weighted keys you should purchase. We’ll compare and contrast models and brands, and base our decision not just on the quality of the keybed and piano’s features, but also it’s price and overall what it offers you as a piano player.
Be sure to quickly take a look at our interactive table below that features a small handful of fantastic digital pianos that have 88 weighted keys. They all are different and offer something unique, and because of that, you can compare each instrument to one another based on price, weight, and average customer review ratings.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Yamaha P-125||88||$$||GHS Weighted Key Action||★★★★★|
|Casio PX-870||88||$$$||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System||★★★★|
|Yamaha P71||88||$||Amazon Exclusive||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-143||88||$$$||GHS Weighted Action||★★★★★|
|Korg B1||88||$||Onboard Reverb and Chorus effects||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-163||88||$$$||GH3 Weighted action||★★★★|
|Yamaha DGX-660||88||$$||Graded Hammer Standard(GHS) Keyboard||★★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-184||88||$$$||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)||★★★★|
|Yamaha P-45||88||$||64 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Yamaha P255||88||$$$||256 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Kawai ES110||88||$$||Bluetooth MIDI||★★★★★|
Significance of 88 Keys That Are Weighted?
As expected, one major characteristic of a digital piano that heavily influences purchases is the presence of 88 weighted keys.
Digital pianos come in different ranges and sizes, but the most standard of them is a full length keybed containing 88 keys. 88-keys is the basic range that pianos have been made with for many years, and this range consists of 52 white keys, 36 black keys, all ranging over 7 octaves plus a minor third.
The only real exception to this comes from very expensive pianos made by Austrian manufacturers Bösendorfer, which sometimes come with an extended 92 keys.
As the making of digital pianos have progressed, the weight behind the keys has only increased and been made more technologically advanced than ever before. Nowadays digital pianos have exquisite hammer action key systems that are made to the exact detail of the real hammer action in an actual acoustic or grand piano. There are varying levels of detail, cost, and weight that come with these systems.
And below, please take a look at some of the best selling weighted digital pianos currently available for purchase on Amazon:
Touch Sensitivity Catered Towards the User
Another one of the characteristics that makes up part of the decision of a purchase is that of touch sensitivity.
One of the advantages of having a digital platform in dealing with pianos is adjustment and customization. Anyone who has every played a real piano has always had that shocking reaction to the weight of the piano keys—keys that seem to be as heavy as bricks under your fingers.
The classical pianist has learned to develop that hand and finger strength over time, while maturing with the instrument to create a stronger expertise and greater ability to play more intense pieces.
With the advent of numerous technologies and the different climate of much of music today, many times that culture of classical piano no longer is as mandated. This does not mean there is no place for it at all, as there now exists the option to adjust the settings on modern digital pianos.
Most pianos come with about three to five different touch sensitivity settings, usually including hard, medium, soft, and fixed. These settings make it easy to adjust to a setting that is most suitable to the player’s desire.
However, there are some drawbacks to this.
If you are a serious piano player, you may want to take note of the lack of muscle memory generation that may take place if you use these settings in a fashion that it is not intended.
Simply put, practice makes perfect.
So, if you are using these machines to serve as a substitute while real pianos are not available, you will easily be doing a disservice to yourself because when you jump back to playing a real piano, it will suddenly become very difficult for you again.
It is always important to be aware of these touch sensitivity settings and always remember to push yourself if you intend on being a real pianist.
Even though having an 88 key digital piano is the standard, this is not always a hard and fast rule.
Most pianos come with 88 keys, but there are many pianos that come with 76 and 61 keys too. Many times this is done to increase the portability and ease of transport of the machine, and also for machines that are meant for smaller settings such as studio or in home use.
Other times, the full 88 key range is not needed because the user of the piano is most likely a beginner to intermediate player, and is still working on simple concepts and pieces.
For the serious piano player, however, it is almost imperative that you have a piano with a full keybed. One reason is simply that without it, there will be many pieces of music that you just will not have the pleasure of playing, since your machine cannot accommodate it.
With that said, if you feel that this is not a serious concern of yours, then do know that there are many 76 and 61 key machines that will perform adequately for your needs and will be fun to play.
Inexpensive Options for 88 Weighted Keys
First, let’s discuss the cheaper option for those interested in an weighted, 88-key digital piano One such model is that of the Williams Allegro (we also recently reviewed the Williams Allegro 2, as well).
Williams Pianos is a lesser-known company, but they produce dependable machines that appeal to those that are not willing to drop huge stacks of cash on digital pianos.
The Allegro comes with a hammer action system that is not trademarked, but certainly gets the job done. The keys on the piano are all velocity sensitive, so the expression of your music will always come through, instead of the uniform velocity that you see on many a cheap digital piano.
The piano also comes with 8 dependable tones, a metronome, a two track recording system, and MIDI connectivity. All of this for around $300 is truly an amazing package.
I have to keep it real, however, and that means the truth is most people aren’t feeling Williams Pianos. And if you’re one of those people, you may want to try another affordable option. If so, I’d recommend the Yamaha P-115. (Please note, we have recently reviewed the new Yamaha P-125).
The predecessor to the P-115, the Yamaha P-105 (which is now currently discontinued) had previously been one of best selling options on the market for years, and provided a lot of what a young beginning piano player would need to get up and running.
The P-115 features Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key system, a dependable and awesome option for this price range of piano. It has hard, soft, medium, and fixed touch sensitivity settings, along with the tone generation of the original Pure CF Sound Engine, which features real authentic piano samples.
The 14 voices housed on the machine are backed by 192 notes of polyphony (up from a “mere” 128 polyphony housed in the P-105), along with 14 demo songs (and 50 piano songs). This is certainly one of the best options available on the market, and if you shop well, you should be able to find it for roughly $600 brand new.
High End Options for 88 Weighted Keys
If you aren’t afraid of spending a little money, then you have certainly opened yourself up to some of the best options on the market for any digital piano, not just one with 88 weighted keys. And one of the first places to look is the Privia series of pianos from Casio.
The Casio Privia PX 850 is the proclaimed flagship of Privia, and it is easy to see why. It comes with Casio’s Tri Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II system, which is one of the best systems on the market and features 3 sensors for every key in the range (you can read our comparison review between the Casio PX-850 vs Casio PX-860, as well as our Casio PX-870 review).
There are 3 different sensitivity levels, all being supported by the Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator (AiR) sound source, and a whopping 256 notes of polyphony. There are 18 tones here, which is more than enough for any serious piano player, and the entire package will cost you around $1500 retail (likely less if you buy online).
This model uses Roland’s proprietary Ivory Feel G keyboard system, which has the most advanced sensor technology Roland has to offer, with the addition of an escapement mechanism to make the pianist feel at home.
The board is supported by the SuperNATURAL sound engine, which improves upon the velocity response, note decay, and key range behavior of past sound engines.
It features an amazing 128 tones and voices, with over 80 FX controls and 200 rhythm patterns.
On top of that, the Yamaha Arius line is a wonderful line of digital pianos. Featuring a mix of Graded Hammer Standard or Graded Hammer 3 keyboards, these are beautiful pianos that look and sound wonderful. Ranging from more inexpensive options like the Yamaha Arius YDP-103 to the more expensive Yamaha YDP-184, Yamaha’s Arius line is one to consider if you are serious about having an authentic piano playing (or practicing) experience.
The next line up from the Arius would be the Clavinova. This is where the big boy and big girls are more apt to gravitate to if you know you’re “all in” on piano playing and you want an upright digital piano that’s going to do the absolute best job at replicating the acoustic piano experience.
Why’s that? Because the Clavinova line is where Yamaha begins to move away from its popular Graded Hammer key action and move towards Natural Wood X (NWX) action, allowing for the digital piano to have wooden keys and give you a feel and response that best replicates the feel of playing on an acoustic piano. You can read our review of the Yamaha CLP-635 here.
More Expensive Options ($1,500 and Beyond)
Now, most of the digital pianos we’ve covered so far in this article are fairly affordable (aside from the RD-300NX, which costs over $1,000).
But what if you were interested in even higher-end digital pianos that are excellent in what they provide the user, including weighted keybeds? What are your options then?
Well, if you find yourself willing to spend a little bit more money, brands like Nord, Roland, and Kawai have you covered. In fact, here are a few our our favorites are:
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You Also Might Like Reading:
- The Best Piano or Keyboard for Beginners on the Market
- What’s the Best Digital Piano for the Money?
- What’s the Best Sounding Digital Piano?
- Digital Piano Buying Guide: Beginners Edition
- What Digital Piano Has the Best Key Action?
- How to Pick the Best Digital Piano Under $500?
- The Best Piano or Keyboard Brands on the Market
- Yamaha Arius YDP-184 review