You have little to no experience in playing the piano so you don’t actually want to spend thousands of dollars on a digital piano. You need to test things out first. You want to see if this hobby (and potential future profession) is right for you. As a result, you need the perfect “entry-level digital piano”.
To help, I have compiled some of the digital pianos that I think are the best digital piano for beginners. I don’t think any other digital piano is worthy of being considered the fifth-best when compared to these four. To explain, I tried to put a few limitations.
- The digital piano should be relatively cheap. Let’s say around $700 or less.
- I tried to focus strictly on the grand piano simulation. That’s why I don’t list certain awesome digital pianos like the Yamaha DGX-640. A good portion of the DGX-640′s value comes from its features. This list shows the best value for beginners.
- I mainly took into consideration the keys and sound, although I added some minor points about durability and portability when necessary.
Top 4 Best Beginner Digital Piano
1. Yamaha P85
You are getting arguably the greatest digital piano for beginners. First, the sound quality is on par with some of Yamaha’s other models that cost almost twice as much.
Although it only has one sampling layer, which is the least out of this list, you would not be able to tell simply because of the sound’s incredibly rich quality.
Second, it uses Yamaha’s well-known GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) action keyboard, which is Yamaha’s entry-level weighted keys. With their technology, Yamaha has managed to simulate the feel of the acoustic pianos keys.
Although lighter than normal, it is relatively great. Naturally, the higher notes weigh less than the lower notes so that you can enjoy the full piano experience.
2. Casio PX-130
This digital piano is the cheapest on the list. What makes this digital piano so amazing that you are getting 4 sampling layers and an amazing action keyboard.
When you play an acoustic piano, the sound of the notes changes depending on how much force you exert when pressing the key/keys.
The Casio PX-130 has four different sounds for every single key (that’s 88 keys). You get the most dynamic experience out of all the digital piano with this. In addition to this, the keys are incredibly realistic. They aren’t as light as the GHS action keyboard that the Yamaha P85 uses so they are quite a bit closer to an actual acoustic piano.
However, despite all these amazing points, the Casio PX-130 lost a few points for being made of cheap plastic. As a result, this digital piano isn’t as durable as the others. The keys tend to feel plastic and can wobble a little at times.
3. Korg SP-250
This digital piano is the most expensive on the list. At the same time, it’s probably the “best”. By that, I mean that the keys are the most realistic on the list. Korg used their advanced technology and used their best action keys on this digital piano. So, The SP-250 feels the best out of the four on the list.
In addition, the grand piano sound is arguably the best on the list. It only has 2 velocity layers (less than the Casio PX-130), but velocity layers aren’t the only aspect of sound quality.
It’s also the deep, resonating sound that just accurately feels like the acoustic piano, and the Korg SP-250 captures that vibe. It is ugly though. It’s also not portable. Nevertheless, it’s grand piano qualities are top-notch.
4. Yamaha P95
This digital piano is the second most expensive on the list. Actually, I’m still a bit undecided between this and the Korg SP-250. Nevertheless, the Yamaha P95 has only one fault; it uses the GHS action keyboard. Actually, it’s not really a “fault”, but the keys are still a bit lighter than an actual acoustic piano.
Nevertheless, this digital piano has four sampling layers (tied for most). It has the most beautiful grand piano sound on the list too, in my opinion. It’s cheaper than the Korg SP-250 with better sound quality. The keys don’t feel as good, but at the same time, less so I think the Yamaha P95 gives you more value per dollar.
5. Kawai MP6
If you can afford it or if you have been looking for beginners digital piano that feels like an acoustic piano, this is the one to get. Let’s just say that this digital piano sounds equal to or is on par with digital pianos.
First, it can duplicate some of the most well-known grand pianos like the Yamaha and Steinway…and yes, it duplicates them beautifully. In addition to the variety of acoustic piano sounds, the MP6 also supports many famous electric pianos like the Wurlitzers and Yamaha DX7.
Second, it features an incredible 192-note polyphony. This will usually be more than enough for the most complex compositions whether they are layered, split, or not. The 192-note polyphony is also the most powerful of all that I have reviewed so far.
Third, it supports the use of all 3 pedals like the traditional acoustic piano. This only further emphasizes the control you will have over your piano. Only one pedal (damper/sustain pedal) is included when purchasing the MP6 though.
Fourth, in addition to its very responsive and expressive feel, it emulates the “let-off” sensation. It’s a very subtle feeling that you notice when playing the note very slowly. A lot of experts believe that this touch allows more expressiveness in their performances.
Finally, you can record yourself on the MP6. The recording won’t lose any sound quality at all. Instead, when you replay it, it’ll sound exactly as you heard it the first time. It can be recorded as a MIDI, MP3, or WAVE file so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
Feel and Sound
There is no other way to describe this than to say that it feels and sounds like an expensive acoustic piano. Even professionals can come to appreciate the beauty of this piano. Yes, it’s THAT good. The gaps between the keys are uniform, unlike some other models.
The keys are actually silent when pressing it so that you will not notice. Many digital pianos “click” or sputter when you press them. It’s especially annoying during low volumes, but the Kawai MP6 does not have that issue. Some other expensive digital pianos might have slightly more features, but Kawai did something right and different.
6. M-Audio Prokeys 88
We’d like weighted keys to simulate the grand piano, but these keys were unrealistically heavy.
Second, I thought the keys felt a little “spongy”. If you plan on just practicing chords or something, maybe you can get by with these keys, but why would you do that when you can get better quality keys for about the same price? Anyone with a sense of touch when playing the piano would not want this.
Third, the keys do not respond uniformly. This might go with the whole “spongy” feeling, but when I tried to duplicate the same sound, the same sound would not come all the time.
Fourth, the keys are loud. You can’t play softly because the sound of hitting the keys will distract you from the sound of the music. Actually, with this digital piano, you can’t even play keys softly anyway.
The features aren’t as bad. It has 126-note polyphony, which is actually powerful for its price. You can also alter the tone on the spot. In other words, you can adjust the sound while playing the piano. Adjusting the reverb or chorus are just two of the features in this digital piano.
The Pro keys 88 only comes with 14 sounds though, and to be honest, they aren’t great. The strings are ok. Electric piano is decent as well, but the organs and everything else is terrible.
In addition, at 48 pounds, you’re probably not going to be taking this digital piano anywhere.
Finally, people have complained about it breaking after just a few months of playing. Some sounds just stop working. The lights start going out. Overall, it’s not a durable one.
These are my highly recommended best beginners digital pianos. I can say with confidence that you will be extremely satisfied with any of the listed four digital pianos.
Ultimately, it will come down to personal confidence. If you can afford to spend a little more, then the Korg SP-250 is an excellent choice. If you want to save money, the Yamaha P85 is a great choice.
If you want to save even more money for a better grand piano sound/feel, you should get the Casio PX-130. Just be aware that it’s made of plastic. If you want something that costs cheap but also gives above-average quality in every aspect, gets the Yamaha P95.