Ranking the Best Budget Digital Pianos

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Maybe you’ve wanted to learn piano for a while now but are intimidated by purchasing a musical instrument. A piano can be a significant investment, and you may be worried about making that investment before you’re confident that you’ll love playing.

Or perhaps you’re a parent thinking about enrolling your little ones in piano lessons. You may be wondering whether purchasing a piano is necessary and, if so, where to start looking for a great option that fits your home and budget.

As a former piano teacher, I can completely relate to your desire to find a good option at an affordable price. And I understand how confusing all the musical jargon is when you’ve only just started your piano journey.

Learning to play an instrument is hard enough without worrying about reading a bunch of reviews and watching countless videos only to feel still overwhelmed when it comes to making a decision.

I get it. And as a self-proclaimed “piano nerd,” I geek out over this stuff! Pianos are my jam, and I love getting into the nitty-gritty details of how they work and who may love a particular instrument as much as I do.

So, please sit back, relax, and take advantage of my tendency to obsessively research the object of my fascination! Let me help you find the best affordable digital piano in your price range.

Pssssst! Are you a skip-to-the-good part kinda person? If so, click below to jump directly to the individual reviews.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliates of Amazon, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All images courtesy of Canva.

Acoustic or digital?

When purchasing a piano, the first decision is whether you want an acoustic or a digital piano. Acoustic pianos come in various sizes that fall into either the upright or grand category.

An acoustic piano generates sound when a hammer hits a string, and the sound resonates across a massive piece of wood called a soundboard.

A digital piano is an electronic replication of an acoustic piano. Digital piano sounds are created by recording individual notes from an acoustic piano and combining them into a sound bank.

There is a great deal of variation in quality for both acoustic and digital pianos. In general, the higher the price tag, the better the quality.

How does a digital piano compare to an acoustic piano?

Although technology has come a long way in sound quality, nothing beats how an acoustic grand piano sounds!

An acoustic grand piano is a gold standard for how a piano should sound, which is why digital piano sounds are made up of grand piano recordings. The feel of an acoustic piano has also historically been hard to replicate.

But purchasing a grand piano is not realistic for most people. Grand pianos are a financial investment between the initial cost and routine maintenance. 

It’s an investment that’s not practical when you’re just starting to learn the instrument or don’t yet know whether you’ll love it.

Like a car, acoustic pianos are individuals, and some need more or less maintenance to reach their full potential.

And not all acoustic pianos are created equal, either—plenty of upright and even grand pianos with subpar manufacturing and sound quality. If you’re thinking about purchasing an acoustic piano, it’s always wise to have a piano technician weigh in on the purchase.

Check the table below for more information on the differences between an acoustic and digital piano.

Acoustic Pianos

Digital Pianos

Initial cost

Varies depending upon brand and type but can range between $1,000-$100,000

Varies depending upon brand and type but can range between $200-$20,000

Maintenace

Needs tuning at least every year and ideally whenever the piano is moved

No regular maintenance 

Repairs

Tuning and repairs can generally be done in your home by a local piano technician

May need to work through the manufacturer for repairs

Space requirements

Upright pianos are 5' wide and 2' deep while grand pianos are 5' wide and 5-9' deep. Plan on at least an additional 2' around the piano for the bench and player comfort

88-key digital pianos are a little less than 5' in length and slightly less than 1' in width. Plan on at least an additional 2' around the piano for the bench and player comfort

Portability

At a standard weight between 200 and 500+ pounds, portability is simply not a feature of this piano

Many models weigh less than 50 pounds and can be easily moved from place to place

Sound quality

Varies depending on brand and model however nothing beats an acoustic for artistic expression

Varies depending on brand and model with limitations on artistic expression

Best for

Beginner, intermediate, advanced pianists

Beginner and early intermediate pianists; musicians who play traveling gigs

Given the challenges with acoustic pianos, digital pianos make an excellent choice for beginners. Digital pianos can even be the best choice for some intermediate piano players. But in most cases, acoustic pianos are ideal for advanced players.

What are the differences between digital pianos and keyboards?

In your search for the best pianos that fit your budget and learning needs, you’ve probably encountered an instrument known as a keyboard. Although digital pianos and keyboards look very similar, there are a few key differences.

Number of Keys and Sounds

Compared to digital pianos, keyboards often come with fewer keys and a more comprehensive range of instrument sounds. Keyboards often come equipped with many different options for making truly electronic music.

Portability

Keyboards are designed with portability in mind. Their compact design and variety of sound effects make them a favorite for gigging musicians who give stage performances.

Music Composition and Vocal Practice

Keyboards can be helpful for musicians who enjoy experimenting with different sounds while composing music. Their smaller size and wide range of sound options are preferable over acoustic instruments for music production.

And for singers looking for help with nailing pitches during practice, nothing beats a portable keyboard!

Key Weight

When it comes to the amount of force it takes to press down a key, also known as key weight, there are differences between digital pianos and keyboards.

Many keyboards are completely unweighted, meaning little to no resistance is felt when a key is played.

On the other end of the spectrum, grand pianos have tiny mechanical parts, including hammers, that strike a string producing a sound. Thanks to the mechanics of an acoustic piano, a real piano will therefore present a fair amount of resistance while playing.

Digital pianos offer varying degrees of key weight, ranging from semi-weighted to hammer action keys more closely simulating the real thing.

Digital pianos with a hammer action keyboard are often graded, meaning it takes more force to depress a key on the lower end of the keyboard than the upper end.

Although keyboards have great features, the difference in key weight and fewer keys make them less ideal for kids and adults who want to learn to play the piano. If you’re not quite ready to invest in an acoustic piano, your best option is a good digital piano.

Check out this video for more in-depth information on the differences between weighted and un-weighted keys.

What should you keep in mind when selecting a digital piano?

Not all digital pianos are created equal. The world of digital pianos is vast, and instruments generally have more features as the price point increases.

This post breaks down the key features you need to consider in purchasing an 88-key digital piano at the lower end of the price scale. The table below lists the criteria used to evaluate each featured model in this post.

Sound Quality

Exceptional = 3

Average = 2

Poor = 1

Portability

<30 pounds = 1

>30 pounds = 0

N/A

MIDI or USB

Yes = 1

No = 0

N/A

Includes stand, pedal, and bench

Yes = 1

No = 0

N/A

Includes bonus online learning resources

Yes = 1

No = 0

N/A

Number of Amazon Customer Reviews

>3,000 = 3

1,000-3,000 = 2

<1,000 = 1

Additional Sounds

10 or more = 3

5-9 = 2

<5 = 1

Transposition/Tuning Option

Yes = 1

No = 0

N/A

Polyphony

>121 = 2

<120 = 1

Information Not Available = 0

Price Point

<$500 = 2

>$500 = 1

N/A

Please keep in mind that the features may be more or less applicable to your situation. For example, you might prioritize high-quality sound, so use the model comparisons to make the decision that fits best for you.

And before we dig into the differences between each of the featured models, let’s touch on a term pertaining to sound quality. This term is “polyphony,” and means the number of voices that can sound at once. In general, the higher the polyphony, the more authentic the sound.

Now, let’s break down the best digital pianos at the lower price scale!

Yamaha P71

Topping the list of best cheap digital pianos is the Yamaha P71. Yamaha is a leading manufacturer of high quality musical instruments. The company got its start manufacturing reed organs in the late 1800s.

Today Yamaha is known for excellence in producing digital and acoustic pianos and a wide range of other musical instruments.

Yamaha also manufactures a nearly identical digital piano called the P45. There are very subtle differences between the two, the biggest being the intended distributor.

The Yamaha P-45 is manufactured for instrument retailers, while the P71 is an Amazon exclusive model. There are otherwise no significant differences between the two models.

Yamaha P71

Star Rating

Sound Quality

Exceptional

Portability

<30 pounds

MIDI/USB

Yes

Pedal, Bench, Stand Included

No

Number of Amazon Reviews

>3,000

Additional Instrument Sounds

10+

Transposition and Tuning Option

Yes

Polyphony

<120

Includes Bonus Online Learning Resources

No

Price

<$500

Total Score

15

Pros of the Yamaha P71

  • Features Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) technology meaning the playing experience is as close to an acoustic as you can get
  • Hands-down the best, most realistic sound of all models featured in this post
  • Each of the additional nine instrument sounds, including harpsichord and organ, is unique and true to their acoustic versions.

Cons of the Yamaha P71

  • Polyphony is low compared to other models
  • This particular model does not come with a bench, pedal, or stand
  • No online learning app included

Why You’ll Love This Digital Piano

Did I mention the great sound that this instrument produces? Although the polyphony is low compared with other models, the sound is incredible! Despite being a die-hard acoustic fan, this model transformed my expectations of how a digital piano should sound.

The realistic feel also makes it a contender for anyone aspiring to advance their classical piano studies. All-in-all, the Yamaha P71/P45 is an excellent digital piano for most beginning students.

Alesis Recital Pro

The Alesis Recital Pro also earned a 5-star rating as a cheap digital piano top pick. Although Alesis as a company started nearly 100 years after Yamaha, it has established itself as a leader in music production and recording. Innovation and creativity are central to the company’s mission.

Alesis Recital Pro

Star Rating

Sound Quality

Average

Portability

<30 pounds

MIDI/USB

Yes

Pedal, Bench, Stand Included

No

Number of Amazon Reviews

1,000-3,000

Additional Instrument Sounds

10+

Transposition and Tuning Option

Yes

Polyphony

>121

Includes Bonus Online Learning Resources

Yes

Price

<$500

Total Score

15

Pros of the Alesis Recital Pro

  • Twice the polyphony of the Yamaha model, which translates to a more realistic sound
  • Up your musical creativity with settings such as reverb and layering to create a unique and custom sound
  • It comes with three months of Skoove premium lessons

Cons of the Alesis Recital Pro

  • Sustain pedal, stand, and bench will need to be purchased separately
  • Many reviews mention difficulty getting assistance from Alesis customer service
  • The sound quality is not as realistic as the Yamaha model

Why You’ll Love This Digital Piano

The Alesis Recital Pro features hammer action keys that simulate an acoustic piano. Touch response is also adjustable, giving you a little bit of control over how the instrument feels.

Although the sound quality is not quite at the level of the Yamaha model, the Alesis has 12 different voices and comes with three months of a premium learning platform. And the over 2,000 Amazon reviews give it an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5, making it a solid contender for anyone wanting to launch their piano journey.

Korg B2

Next up is the Korg B2. Korg has been around since the early 1960s, and the company prides itself on innovation. The company boasts a wide range of musical products ranging from mixers to percussion instruments and even an app that teaches you how to dance.

Korg B2

Star Rating

Sound Quality

Poor

Portability

>30 pounds

MIDI/USB

Yes

Pedal, Bench, Stand Included

Yes

Number of Amazon Reviews

<1,000

Additional Instrument Sounds

10+

Transposition and Tuning Option

Yes

Polyphony

<120

Includes Bonus Online Learning Resources

Yes

Price

>$500

Score

11

Pros of the Korg B2

  • Features Natural Action Hammer Weighted keys to mimic the feel of an acoustic piano
  • Key weight increases as you go up the keyboard to further emulate an acoustic
  • Three months of a premium membership to Skoove is included in the price

Cons of the Korg B2

  • Digital sounds are comprised of a variety of grand pianos around the world, but there are no specifics about which models were included.
  • Sound quality is among the lowest of the pianos featured, while the price point is on the higher end.

Why You’ll Love This Digital Piano

The Korg B2 is a no-frills digital piano excellent for home use. It does not have many extra features making it ideal for piano players who may be distracted by extra bells and whistles. And it includes the 3-month premium Skoove membership, useful for a wide range of piano learners from beginner through advanced.

Roland GO:PIANO 88

Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, the Roland GO:PIANO 88 is a versatile and portable piano suitable for beginners as well as gigging musicians. Roland has been around since 1972 and prides itself on electronic instruments. The company has also developed a free app for iOS and Android with a variety of useful features.

Roland GO:PIANO 88

Star Rating

Sound Quality

Poor

Portability

<30 pounds

MIDI/USB

Yes

Pedal, Bench, Stand Included

Yes

Number of Amazon Reviews

<1,000

Additional Instrument Sounds

<5

Transposition and Tuning Option

Yes

Polyphony

>121

Includes Bonus Online Learning Resources

Yes

Price

<$500

Total Score

12

Pros of the Roland GO:PIANO 88

  • Integration with the Piano Partner 2 app provides access to a library of different tones
  • The app has hundreds of different pieces of sheet music to practice
  • Improve the sound quality while recording videos by integrating the GO:MIXER PRO (sold separately)

Cons of the Roland GO:PIANO 88

  • Advertised to have “traditional piano feel” but difficult to find further specifics on the extent to which keys are weighted or how the acoustic piano feel is replicated
  • Sound quality is fairly low compared to other models in this price range

Why You’ll Love This Digital Piano

If you’re looking for a full size digital piano that is equipped to make electronic music, this is your piano! And at less than 20 pounds, the Roland model is one of the most portable digital pianos out there. With integration of the Roland app, you’ll be playing all your favorite songs in no time!

Casio CDP-S150

The Casio CDP-S150 also features a free app called the Chordana Play for Piano designed for either iOS or Android. Casio was launched in the late 1940s by 4 brothers. The company soon rose to fame when they released the world’s first compact electronic calculator. And throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they became known for producing the best cheap keyboards.

Casio CDP-S150

Star Rating

Sound Quality

Average

Portability

<30 pounds

MIDI/USB

Yes

Pedal, Bench, Stand Included

Yes

Number of Amazon Reviews

<1,000

Additional Instrument Sounds

10+

Transposition and Tuning Option

Yes

Polyphony

Information Not Available

Includes Bonus Online Learning Resources

Yes

Price

<$500

Total Score

13

Pros of the Casio CDP-S150

  • Features a Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard
  • MIDI recorder allows you to document your piano progress
  • Comes equipped with several piano learning resources

Cons of the Casio CDP-S150

  • Sounds more like a keyboard than a digital piano

Why You’ll Love This Digital Piano

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced digital piano that includes everything you’ll need to start learning to play the piano, this is your instrument! It even comes with a headphone jack so you can control who hears you practicing. And as a parent, having the ability to connect headphones is, hands down, one of the absolute best things!

Final Thoughts on the Best Budget Digital Pianos

When considering an instrument, one very important factor is whether the instrument itself fits into your interests and learning goals. If you’re thinking about pursuing classical piano, Yamaha is definitely your best bet in this price range.

But if you love electronic music, the Casio might be your keyboard.

If you’re looking for online piano learning resources, the Alesis or Korg may just be perfect options for you.

And it’s always a good idea to try out an instrument before you buy it to make sure it meets your expectations for sound, touch, and response. Even if you only just started playing, you may be surprised to find that certain instruments are more fun to play than others.

Regardless of the instrument you purchase, music is about having fun. It’s about expressing yourself and learning new skills. Buying a digital piano is incredibly exciting so make sure to take advantage of the information in this post to find the perfect fit.

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