Who Makes the Best Digital Pianos?
In this article, I’m going to discuss some of the different brand manufacturers of digital pianos and why some of them are the go to options for pianos right now. In coming to some of these conclusions, I will factor in different aspects such as features, performance of past models, and getting the best bang for your dollar. I will also take into account the different skill level you may be at (beginner, intermediate and advanced) to help you ultimately sift through some of the best digital pianos available today.
Before we dive into the individual manufacturers, we wanted to add the following interactive table below so you can get an immediate idea of a handful of wonderful digital pianos. Made by different manufacturers, ranging from Casio to Yamaha–these handful of models can be compared based on weight, price, number of keys and more.
Who’s Making the Best Pianos Today?
Truthfully, everyone is going to have their own opinion on who really produces the best pianos, but at the end of the day there is a bit of general consensus. I think one of the obvious aspects that feeds into this is past performance and present day success.
A company usually has success with certain models for a reason: they are well crafted and tailor made to suit a player’s very specific needs. No one is forcing people to buy products at gunpoint, so no matter how much marketing there is, the integrity of the product has to be convincing to get a large number of people to buy something.
Secondly, I believe the best companies are versatile. They do not just keep themselves in one specific spectrum of digital pianos without reaching out to better themselves in other areas.
The best manufacturers are well rounded.
Thirdly, the best companies cater to the consumer. They understand that not everyone who buys digital pianos is in the same socio-economic bracket, and they find a way to appeal to all levels, instead of excluding some people while serving to others.
Other people may not agree, and in fact may suggest that if you make too many different pianos that cater to too many different people, that you spread yourself thin. I think, however, that the spectrum of people that play piano is vast—and their skill level and needs are vast. And ultimately, you likely need a variety of different models from a handful of different lines that caters to what the customer both wants and genuinely needs.
Below, please take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos that are currently available online:
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-145|
|3) Roland RP-701|
|4) Yamaha YDP-165|
|5) Casio PX-870|
Some of the Best Digital Piano Manufacturers
There are a number of companies who simply cannot be left off a list like this. They have had far too much success, have expanded their reach and have a wide variety of selections. Of course there will always be the few who vehemently are against their products, but in the end they have survived the test of time.
Yamaha definitely deserves to be on this list—make no bones about it. A company founded in 1887 with over a hundred years of experience, Yamaha has been around the block and knows what it takes to make the best digital pianos.
In fact, Yamaha is so versatile, they’re able to make top-notch pianos, guitars, and even motorcycles.
They are also supported by the fact that they engineer some of the best concert grand pianos and upright pianos in the world. All of this knowledge is funneled into their digital counterparts, and the results are impressive.
In terms of consoles, some could say they are unmatched with their Clavinova series. Clavinovas have been in production since 1983, and they have gone through a number of changes. They received a lot of fame through Stevie Wonder, who reportedly purchased 12 versions of the CLP-100 by himself before the model became obsolete.
The Clavinova CLP 440 is also a wonderful piano, fit with 88 keys and Yamaha’s Graded Hammer III key action, one of the best they have to offer. It is supported by the Real Grand Expression (RGE) sound source, and has an amazing 256 notes of polyphony (I could not imagine a note ever being dropped). This instrument certainly represents the advanced level piano, with retail of $3900. It can be found used online for about $3,000.
Yamaha also has one of the best slab digital pianos in the P-105, a tried and tested piano that has won numerous awards. It has the touch sensitivity and hammer action of Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS), along with the Pure CF sound engine and 128 notes of polyphony.
The Pure CF engine is one of the best parts about the machine, as it uses real samples from Yamaha’s acclaimed CFIII concert grand piano. This machine won’t cost as much as that one, thankfully.
You can find it online for around $600.
Overall, here are a handful of types of pianos that Yamaha offers its customers:
- Portable Keyboards
- Stage Pianos
- Digital Pianos
- Arranger Workstations
Roland is also another successful company that cannot be left out of the discussion. This company shares something in common with Yamaha–Japanese lineage–but is a much younger company, founded in the early 1970’s.
Roland has a long history of successful synthesizers they have created, which has given them an upper hand in bringing that knowledge to many of their digital pianos.
They also make some of the best workstations.
Roland is well known for the production of the Fantom series, which includes the Fantom G8. The G8 is equipped with a full range of 88 keys, supported by the Progressive Hammer Action II keyboard, one of the best on the market today. The PHA II is comparable to systems such as the Graded Hammer 3 from the CLP 440, although admittedly one could argue it’s a bit of a small downgrade in quality—but that’s no doubt debatable. It houses over 2000 sounds and is supported by 128 notes of polyphony.
You can find the Fantom G8 used online for $2800.
The Roland also produces one of the best stage pianos on the market: the RD 300NX. This is an awesome piano built directly for producing the best stage performance in any setting.
It has all of Roland’s latest technologies, including the SuperNATURAL piano sound engine and the Ivory Feel G keyboard, which is simply Roland’s PHA II system with synthetic ivory keytops.
This piano also has 128 notes of polyphony, so you’ll never have notes dropping out during a gig. Also, there are almost a thousand tones housed on here, which gives you the most for your money.
This beauty is usually over $2000, but can easily be found (with a little persistent digging) for a roughly $1300 online.
Casio also has earned the prestigious right to make it into this article.
Casio completes the trifecta of Japanese companies that seem to have a strong grip on the digital piano market. They were first started in 1957, but really began to gain popularity with their instruments around the 1980’s.
One of the best things Casio has been able to offer has been their line of Privia digital pianos. These pianos are some of the best slab and upright pianos available. All of them feature nothing less than the Tri Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard, arguably one of the best hammer systems that can be found in any piano.
This system has an amazing three sensors under each key, making the response to your fingers almost automatic. Most of the Privias have 128-note maximum polyphony, with some of the higher end options having 256 notes. They are also supported by Casio’s proprietary Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator (AiR) sound source, one technical aspect which has caused this line of pianos to be so award winning.
In fact, for more details, you can read our article that specifically addresses Casio digital pianos.
As for me, I consider the Privia PX 350 to be one of the best models offered, a piano with an original price of over $1000 but can be found online for about $700 or less.
Casio has also had great success with their line of upright digitals, called Celviano. While these pianos are not necessarily on the level of Yamaha’s Clavinova, they have had great success as it is a more affordable option that provides a lot of class and great engineering.
The Casio Celviano AP 220 is a great example of this success. It has all of the great engineering that Casio provides, but also an affordable price. It is equipped with the coveted Tri Sensor Scaled Hammer keyboard, along with 128 notes of polyphony. It then supports the 16 onboard tones with its Linear Morphing sound engine, which features 4 layers of samples for every instrument.
The best part about this machine is the double 8 watt amplifier system, making this instrument something that can easily fill the whole room or house with melodic sound. This piano can be purchased online for $1000.
For more helpful insight and instrument reviews, please visit Digital Piano Review Guide.
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