The Definitive Guide to Buying the Best Digital Piano for Beginners
- September 28, 2019
- Posted by: Tom Van Schoor
- Category: Beginners
They say that music is food for the soul. No matter the situation you are in- good or bad, there will always be a genre or style of music that fits the mix.
The best way to play songs is through musical instruments, and piano/keyboard takes center stage when it comes to instruments of contemporary and primordial music.
The piano, also called a pianoforte, is a musical instrument with a keyboard. The standard modern piano features 88 keys and comes with a reach of 7 full octaves and a few keys.
In the world of piano/keyboard instruments, there are different varieties, including portable keyboard, synthesizer, arranger keyboard, electric piano, digital piano, stage piano, and acoustic piano. In the recent past, digital pianos have become more popular, especially among beginners. This is because of the wide range of benefits they offer, including cost efficiency and more convenience as compared to other types of pianos.
As a beginner pianist, you have to start somewhere, and that’s why you need to find the best digital piano for beginners.
A digital piano has no hammers or strings; instead, it uses different electronics to produce sound. They offer greater variation in sounds, thereby allowing for sound modification.
Currently, there are many brands offering digital pianos, and it can be a daunting task to identify the best one for your needs. In addition, the technical terms and jargon employed in the product descriptions make the whole process way more complex.
However, we are here to help you find the best digital piano for your needs as a beginner pianist. This definitive guide will walk you through the top 5 best digital piano for beginners, and also discuss things to consider when buying a digital piano as well as terminologies used in the digital piano industry.
Buckle up for a long read…
Yamaha P71 88-Key Digital Piano
The Yamaha P71 is a compact, high-quality digital piano with all the features a beginner needs to practice and play piano music with a range of rhythms, styles, and sounds. It is portable and easy to set up and thus can be used virtually anywhere.
It offers USB features to allow connection with a range of devices that will help to mix, record, practice, and playback thereby making it a versatile piano for any beginner.
With 88 keys, this digital piano is great for beginners who want to experience the sound and feel of an acoustic piano. Many digital keyboards have only 76 keys with others having 61 keys.
It is great for teaching, learning, and rehearsing piano sounds in a compact space, at a relatively affordable price.
The P71 is also simple to learn and operate and has the sound and feel of a high-quality acoustic piano. Many experts term it as the best digital piano for learners and beginners, as it helps them avoid picking up bad habits from poorly- or non-weighted keyboards.
This digital piano is also a great choice for musicians who travel often and those who want to make great sounds in a portable, lightweight package. It may not have all the features that a seasoned pianist may need for excellent performance, but for a more casual setting, Yamaha P71 is a great choice.
Other Features That Makes It Stand Out
With a depth of fewer than 12 inches and weighing just 25 pounds, the Yamaha P71 is highly portable and thus easy to transport and set up virtually anywhere.
It has an advanced wave memory sampling. With two pairs of microphones for right and left waveforms to capture sounds, this digital piano gives a richer, deeper, and spacious sound.
The 88-key keyboard has been creatively designed. Besides, the graded hammer typical key weight technology makes the keyboard produce heavier tones on the low ends and lighter tones in the high notes, just like an acoustic piano.
As a beginner, practicing with correctly-weighted keys helps one to build proper finger techniques which means you will not find it hard to adjust to using an acoustic piano. Also, you can adjust touch sensitivity for medium, soft, or hard playing, or disable it altogether.
The black keys on Yamaha P71 feature a matte finish to prevent them from getting slippery during stretched play.
A library of ten piano voices offers you unlimited opportunities to layer different sounds for sustained, rich musical compositions. Piano voices offered include a grand piano, organ, vibraphone, electric piano, harpsichord, and strings. It has four chorus and reverb effects, including Hall1, Hall2, Room, and Stage reverb settings.
The Yamaha p71 has a polyphony of 64. Polyphony measures a musical instrument’s ability to play different sounds simultaneously. While 64 is commendable quantity for most beginners needs, some voices use more than four elements at once, and that’s before one begins to layer in complex sounds.
Exceeding the polyphony level of a piano may make some sounds to decay or abruptly cut off prematurely. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not exceed the P71’s peak polyphony capabilities.
This digital piano also has a fine-tuning feature that adjusts the pitch of the sound. The feature comes in handy when you are playing piano with pre-recorded music or along with other musicians. However, in most cases, you will not need to fine-tune when using this piano.
Its dual mode gives you an opportunity to layer sounds together such as strings and piano, and play two instruments simultaneously. The transpose function enables you to adjust and control semitones, thereby offering a perfect way to accompany a vocalist.
The Yamaha P71 also features an automatic shut-off feature, which means it automatically shut itself off after a period of inactivity to conserve power. You can disable this feature if you prefer.
It also features Duo function, which splits the keyboard in half to allow two players to share the 88-key keyboard. This makes it great for piano lessons as it allows the teacher and student to play simultaneously using the metronome function for keeping time.
- The keys feel and sound like a real acoustic piano
- It offers excellent value for your money
- This digital piano is highly portable thanks to its lightweight nature
- It lacks in ports
- Limited controls and functions
Alesis Recital Beginner Digital Piano
Alesis is known for making great electronic instruments and studio equipment, and this digital piano is no exception. The Alesis Recital digital is designed for amateurs and experts alike. It is a complete package with impressive features as well as realistic sound effects and feel.
The piano has a compact design and is lightweight. This means you can carry it anywhere easily.
It features a full-sized keyboard with full-sized 88 keys. The keys are semi-weighted and have the same width and length as an acoustic piano. The semi-weighted nature of the keys means that they feel lighter than a fully-weighted keyboard. Although this is a drawback to experienced pianists, the lightweight keys are ideal for beginners.
In terms of connectivity, Alesis Recital comes with several inputs and output options. These include a quarter-inch sustain pedal input, stereo RCA outputs, and ¼-inch stereo headphone output.
Each of these connectivity options offers you important benefits. Attaching a sustain pedal makes Alesis Recital play more like an acoustic piano by allowing you to work on pedal techniques. The headphone output features allow you to play piano without bothering anyone.
For RCA outputs, they allow you to connect an amplifier, mixer, recorder, or other sound systems to your piano. There is also a USB connector, which allows you to connect your keyboard to a digital audio workstation. The USB/MIDI port makes this keyboard ideal for live performances as well.
Other Features That Makes It Stand Out
This piano comes with 5 different voices. Although this is limiting, this piano compensates for that by including the Split and Layering functions to help you multiply the sounds you get from this piano. With these functions, you can get an array of sounds making it highly versatile.
The speakers are decent and provide a 20W altogether. Although this is enough for in-house practicing, don’t expect your keyboard to make pounding sound. Thankfully, this piano features a headphone jack that allows you to plug in your headphones or external sound system when you are practicing.
One of the main reasons Alesis Recital is considered one of the best digital pianos for beginners is because of its features aid learning. For instance, the keyboard has a lesson mode whereby the keyboard can be divided into two areas; each with similar voices and pitch to allow a student and a teacher to play the piano together. This feature accelerates the rate of learning as the teacher and student don’t have to take turns to learn and play.
In addition, this digital piano is Skoove-compatible. Skoove is a popular online piano instruction platform. This online service helps beginners to improve their musical skills. You can set the tempo you wish to play and learn. Skoove listens to your performance and offers real-time feedback. This piano comes with 3 months Skoove Premium subscription to help you unlock songs and lessons that broaden your learning spectrum.
Overall, this digital piano has everything you need to experiment with piano music. The useful sound and features prove that this is a great learning piano for beginners.
- Piano sounds on this Alesis keyboard are well-balanced and natural
- The keyboard is velocity-sensitive, and thus you can vary pitch and volume based on the intensity of the sound you are playing
- The lessons offered are extensive, and any beginner will find it easy to follow
- Built-in voices are amazing
- It is portable and lightweight and can also run on batteries which means you can carry it with you virtually everywhere
- Being a beginner-friendly piano, you miss out on a lot of add-ons
- The keys are sensitive, but they feel springy and light
Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano
If you are in the market for an 88-key digital piano with built-in speakers and weighted action, The Casino Privia PX-160 ticks all the right boxes. Since making the Privia Keyboard in 2003, Casio has been offering high-quality digital pianos that customers find valuable. This model is no exception and can be enjoyed by people of every skill level.
One of the most important features of the Casio PX-160 is that it comes with really responsive keys. Additionally, the keys are full-weighted and graded, which means you are going to feel like they are on an acoustic. For one thing, weighted keys are designed to mimic that of an acoustic with higher keynotes having a lighter weight than lower notes.
The keys of this piano also feature the popular tri-sensor technology to makes it feel as realistic as possible. This means the sensors register every touch, including the faintest ones, to deliver a nuanced sound that leaves no notes.
Talking about the tones, Casio included a lot of options in this model. Featuring a staggering eighteen different tones, it is easier to get the sound you like for any style and preference. With 33 different sounds, it is almost certain that there will be something about this piano that will suit your ear. Every strike offers a subtle resonance, and you can hear the string resonance when you use the pedal.
Having the speakers included internally is something else you might find impressive. For most keyboards of this price, the speakers do not offer the kind of bass you get in this model. The bass is even and full and will fill most rooms even without internal connections.
Other Features That Makes It Stand Out
If you are looking for a unit that’s capable of hooking up to the computer, the PX-160 offers MIDI, meaning you can easily record on most smart devices. Although this is a standard feature for most high-level keyboards, it will be a handy feature to have.
Another benefit you get is the material used on keys as it absorbs sweat that is likely to accumulate during more intense sessions. This ensures comfort when playing for longer sessions.
As a musician, it is possible that you need an instrument that’s lightweight and easy to transport. The Casio PX-160 is compact with a sleek design and weighs less than 25 pounds. This means that you can take it with you anywhere you like, such as in practice room or gigs.
The unit is also ridiculously easy to control with easy-to-navigate buttons. All the main settings and functions have their own dedicated buttons which make things a whole lot easier for you. It could have been even better if the keyboard had a display, but no complaints at its price.
Lastly, this unit allows you to record and playback, although you can only record one song. This means that you may need an external device to transfer each record, as it deletes the previous record once you begin recording another one.
All in all, this is perhaps the most enjoyable keyboard to use in this price range.
- It comes at a relatively affordable price for its features
- It is compact with a sleek design for easy portability
- The tri-sensor hammer action II technology makes it feel so realistic
- It comes with piano lessons included which are great for beginners
- It lacks a display
- Key action is a bit noisy
ROLAND 88-note FP-30-BK Digital Piano
Roland has made a name in the studio equipment industry thanks to the high-quality products it has released to the market in the recent past. The Roland FP-30 is professional-grade digital piano and among the best digital piano for learners and beginners.
Featuring a contemporary look, this digital piano has a minimal and sleek design which means that it blends with virtually any surrounding and fits in small spaces.
There is a pedalboard featuring a 3-piano pedal, which mimics a real acoustic piano thereby adding to the traditional-style of the piano. However, this doesn’t take away the contemporary design of the keyboard, which many people find attractive.
The pedals are made of metal, which gives it a heavier feel and a more realistic experience when playing. In addition, you don’t have to buy external pedals, and this saves you more.
It is important to mention that Roland FP-30 will require you to assemble some parts. You will need to assemble the rear and sideboards, main keyboard, pedal unit, and music rest. However, with a Philips screwdriver, this should take a few minutes to complete.
Weighing in at 31.1lbs, the Roland FP-30 is a relatively heavier piano, and thus it can be difficult to move around by yourself. Therefore, when assembling or moving it around, have someone else assist you.
The design of this piano is kept to a minimum in terms of buttons used. Unlike most other digital pianos that feature plenty of buttons, the Roland FP-30 features four buttons. This makes it look less cluttered and thus aesthetically appealing.
Other Features That Make It Stand Out
The Roland FP-30 features a PHA-4 standard keyboard with a weighted hammer system that mimics the feel of an acoustic piano. This means Roland uses real hammers in this piano’s keys rather than springs. This keyboard features the escapement mechanism. For those who are unfamiliar with this phrase, this is a clicking sensation that is felt when keys on an acoustic piano are half-way pressed. Escapement action allows repetition of a note without fully releasing the key.
The keys on this digital piano are graded, which means that they feel heavier on the lower registers and lighter to the higher register notes. This allows you to create realistic sounds as it is the case with acoustic pianos.
The keys on Roland FP-30 are built from ivory-stimulated material as opposed to plastics as it is the case with many other pianos in its price range. This offers a better grip to ensure your fingers do not slip. Better grip helps to improve playing ability.
Another area Roland FP-30 shines in is the maximum polyphony it offers. This digital piano features 128-note polyphony. Polyphony is the number of notes a piano can make at the same time without the notes being cut off. The higher the polyphony, the better. For a beginner, 128-note polyphony will be more than enough. With 128-note polyphony, you can be confident of playing your piano without the notes cutting off. Not to mention that this digital piano may suit you better as your playing ability progresses.
For speakers, this digital piano comes with two 12cm speakers on each side of the piano. They may not be as powerful as many would desire, but you can connect this piano to an external set of speakers to amplify the sound.
This piano comes with decent connectivity options, which enables one to connect it to speakers, PA systems, monitors, amplifiers, etc.
- It has a compact and neat finish. In addition, its uncluttered appearance makes it easier to navigate different settings and attractive
- The cabinet-style piano stand has a fine finish and contemporary design that accentuates any room. In other words, this digital piano has an old-school look with a modern feel
- Has a PHA-4 standard keyboard with to ensure realistic playability
- 3 pedal controls give it a real acoustic piano feel
- Fully-weighted action keys
- It is not easy to carry out due to its weight
- Its speakers are not as powerful as you would expect
Korg B1SP 88-Key Digital Piano
Korg is known for its affordable digital pianos and keyboards that are sturdy and great-looking. However, this brand is not as popular as, say, Yamaha or Casio, which also make excellent models. Korg brand has to work extremely hard to keep up with this competition and offer something innovative. One of the popular units from this innovative brand is the Korg B1SP.
This digital piano comes with 88 weighted keys that give it a fantastic sound and feel like a real acoustic piano. Besides, it comes with natural weighted Action Keyboard. The NH keyboard has real hammers with a natural feel and response. The lower registries are heavier than, the higher registries to ensure you get the exact sound you need.
Besides, it features keys that are touch-sensitive, which ensures you apply the power you intend and achieve a powerful sound. Korg offers eight sounds, including grand pianos, electric pianos, organs, and harpsichord. Through the PCM stereo sampling technology, this digital piano replicates the sound of a real piano. You can also make more adjustment to sounds using the Reverb and Chorus effects.
Korg B1SP uses full-range speakers that come with Motional Feedback technology. This is a powerful technology that ensures more accurate sounds by controlling how the speaker cone moves. For its effects, you can achieve very natural, rich, and clear sounds.
This unit weighs around 26 pounds and has 1.2 inches depth. It is such a compact digital piano that you can easily carry around and have fun. Though it’s not as slim as some similar digital pianos, it is easy to move it.
Other Features That Makes It Stand Out
The B1 is equipped with 120-note polyphony which helps you play complex classical pieces without worrying about notes dropping. And since this unit does not offer the dual-mode, you do not need all the 120 notes of polyphony at a go.
It also offers the transpose function that lets you raise or lower the pitch in semitone steps. This function comes handy when you need to play a song in a separate key without having to shift fingers. It also comes with the fine-tuning action that helps you change the pitch in 0.5Hz steps. This function is particularly important when you want to match pitches with other instruments.
The B1 also comes with a built-in metronome that offers a steady beat to play along with — practicing how the metronome works will help you gain essential skills as the sense of rhythm and timekeeping. The good thing with the metronome is that it allows you to adjust the tempo, volume, and time-signature, to suit your needs.
When it comes to connectivity, B1 is very basic as it has only two jacks. There is the 1/8” headphone jack that can also work as a line out. It allows for the connection to both a headphone and external amplifier or speaker. The second jack is the ¼” pedal jack that helps to connect the sustain pedal that you can have separately.
- It is compact and portable
- Has eight authentic sounds for sound accuracy
- It is sturdy with high-quality construction for durability
- The volume may not be loud enough for some
How to Buy the Best Digital Piano for Beginners
There are so many options in the market, finding the best digital piano for beginners can seem a lot of work. So, we, looked into various factors when preparing our list to ensure you get the best bang for your buck with less effort. Read about the factors to consider when choosing the best digital piano for beginners.
- Number of Keys
A full-sized standard piano is 88 keys, and most learning pianists get better results when playing on a full-sized piano. Learners will get the most range of sound with such units. On the other hand, there are some digital pianos with fewer keys, either 76 or 61. With these options, you may have to lose an octave or two, though a keyboard with lesser keys is more straightforward and lighter.
- Weight of Keys
For a digital piano, you need one with weighted or semi-weighted keys to feel like an acoustic piano. There are a variety of weighted keys ranging from keys with weights to springs to hammer action. Most digital pianos have the latter as it makes the sound more authentic. Each kind comes with its pros and cons, but in general, you need a keyboard with weighted keys to achieve the deep.
- Touch Sensitivity
Digital pianos may differ when it comes to the level of touch sensitivity. This means that you may feel a difference from one piano to another. The amount of pressure you need to apply on keys to emit a sound is a vital consideration. As a beginner, you need to invest in a digital piano that allows for adjustments on the various level of sensitivity. This will allow you to set which degree fits your style.
- MIDI Capability
In general, it means the ability of a digital piano to connect with another device, such as a computer. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. With MIDI capability, it is possible to hook up your piano to a computer or other devices. This feature is vital for people who want to keep records of their sounds.
A digital piano should have various options ranging from AUX, USB, AC/DC inputs, and options such as amplifiers and pedals. When choosing the right Digital Piano, think about what you might like to connect it to.
A digital piano is designed with voices of different kinds of instruments that it can sound like. Voices may include harpsichord, grand pianos, organs, electric pianos, guitars and others. Having more voices to use means more possibilities, but most beginners just focus on one. Think about whether you’ll need different voices in an instrument or not.
Polyphony refers to the number of notes a digital piano is capable of producing at a time. Pianos with a higher polyphony allow for many notes at ones which ensures a high-quality sound. Beginners may not need this, but learning how it works can help you advance in piano skills.
You need to choose the option that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Our list offers most cost-efficient options for a beginner who is not quite ready to invest in the highest-end piano. Choose an option that is easy to learn with and grow. The most important thing to look for is the features that you need to work with and the models that are best suited to that.
Find the top digital piano today!