Choosing the best digital pianos model out of the huge range on the market is not a simple job, these electric pianos come with all kinds of different sound qualities, piano tones and sizes.
Whether you want to look for an acoustic piano sound in your digital piano or you want a digital piano style that is portable, you should always be looking out for the main feature in your digital piano type such as; the number of keys, sound, connectivity, polyphony and features.
So as you can understand more about digital pianos such as how they work, the different types on the market, what features to watch out for in higher-end digital pianos and how they match up to acoustic models, we have composed an extensive digital piano buying guide below with everything you need to know.
Before we can dive into our guide and start learning everything there is to buy a digital piano, we must ensure that we go over the terminology frequently used when describing digital pianos, this ensures that when you are buying you know exactly what features you need in your piano.
Digital pianos work essentially like a keyboard, except they have the addition of using a full 88-key set like a traditional piano, these key mechanisms are also weighted to feel more realistic when playing like acoustic pianos hammer keys do.
As these pianos are electronic, they use a computer within the piano to produce sound quality and samples when the keys are pressed, audio output is through the external speakers of the piano, and many of these keyboard like pianos still have built-sounds to choose from too.
Down below we will list the basic terminology manufacturers tend to use when describing each part of a digital piano to help you avoid any confusion when buying your model.
Not only is all the terminology for digital pianos a little confusing but so are the different types on the market, choosing the right type of digital piano is important to suit your needs and get the most out of your playing.
We have listed the common types of digital pianos to choose from on the market down below.
Portable types of digital pianos are often mistaken for a standard keyboard with sound effects, however, this is not the case. Although these are often cheaper models thanks to their smaller size they still pack in 88-key setups and weighted hammer keys for an acoustic piano keyboard feel.
The only downfall of this piano in terms of design has to be their lack of digital piano accessories such as a stand which would need to be brought separately.
These types of upright pianos are very similar to classic music pianos due to their large design with a stand incorporated and fit nicely in a modern home.
They often come with piano pedals like traditional models but are not for people who are looking for a portable keyboard.
Stage pianos are perfect for professional gigging and have top-notch built-in sounds for this purpose, they are portable and can be paired with a stand but are often the most expensive kind of digital pianos too due to the higher sound quality and external speakers in the device.
Hybrid digital pianos are a mix of a grand digital piano with acoustic key action for a realistic feel, they are extremely expensive but produce excellent elements of piano sound.
If you are on the fence about whether or not your 100% want to invest in a digital piano then it might be worth taking some time to go over the pros and cons of these pianos to see if they are right for you.
We have listed the advantages as well as the disadvantages of these types of pianos down below to help you make a decision.
Now we know the main parts of digital pianos, different types and the pros and cons, we can get into looking at the top features you should be looking out for in your digital piano.
We have listed the main specs to consider in your piano down below.
When you are on a hunt for the best digital piano you might be wondering if an acoustic piano might be better for you than a digital model would.
We have compared both a digital piano and acoustic piano down below to see which might suit you best.
New and modern digital pianos are now able to compete with an acoustic piano in terms of feeling thanks to their weighted keys and 88-key set design which makes them feel more like an acoustic piano.
Digital pianos also have the upper hand over acoustic pianos as they are more portable and versatile with their computer sounds, they need less maintenance too with no tuning or tightening.
The disadvantages of digital pianos in comparison to acoustic pianos have to be their sound and feel which despite recent advancements in digital piano technology, still don't match up entirely to acoustic pianos.
Some of the more portable keyboards might also lack piano pedals and other features to enhance your playing.
On the other hand, acoustic pianos win over digital pianos when it comes to organic sound, they are the best choice for piano players who want to take their playing to professional levels and have that wow factor thanks to their large furniture like design.
Acoustic pianos do fall short in comparison to digital pianos when it comes to portability because of their large size, they also need more maintenance such as turning in the long run.
These types of powerful instrument are often more expensive than digital pianos too.
Overall, if you are an experienced piano player who is looking to invest in their piano and want an actual instrument sound, you might be best sticking with an acoustic piano.
However, for people who are looking for a more affordable piano with great digital features such as MIDI connectivity and headphones, a digital piano is best.
Learning to use a digital piano for the first time can be a little overwhelming and entry-level keyboards often don't come with as many keys and features to play with.
We have listed our best learning tips down below for using a digital piano for the first time.
In comparison to acoustic pianos, digital pianos are much easier to maintain and take care of due to their electronic power.
But this doesn't mean digital pianos don't need any care at all, we have listed our best steps and tips to maintaining your digital piano down below.
Overall, you might be wondering, is a digital piano for me?
We would suggest a digital piano is worth it if you are after an electronic piano which is more versatile with sounds than an acoustic one, they are a great choice for piano players who want features such as MIDI connectivity or for people who want to have a more portable piano to carry around with them.
Not only do digital pianos come with lots of extra features but they also have advanced mechanisms such as weighted keys to produce acoustic piano action meaning you don't miss out on how a real piano feels.
How much do digital pianos cost?
Digital pianos are versatile musical instruments that can cost anything between £550-£4000, this is a huge variable price range as you can buy cheaper instruments that are built with lower quality parts or high range expensive instrument types with are built with a similar quality to acoustic pianos.
We would always suggest investing in higher quality digital pianos as these will last you longer and typically comes with art speaker systems and better sound quality.
What is an arranger digital piano?
An arranger digital piano is closer to keyboard musical instruments in the sense it has a huge range of built-in music libraries to choose from for editing music, however, the difference with these kinds of digital pianos is that they have all these extra features but also use acoustic keyboard action and come with a full 88 key set for playing like a real piano.
Are digital pianos and keyboards the same?
Both digital pianos and keyboards share the desirable feature of being electronically powered and have in-built sounds, so you might be wondering, what makes them different?
Well, digital pianos differ from keyboards as they are built with better quality parts and sounds which makes them more expensive, they also have more dynamic range and are closer to an acoustic piano because of their large number of keys.
How many keys should my digital piano have?
Digital pianos come with a wide range of key numbers ranging between 60-88, small key numbers might work well for beginner piano players but are more restricting in terms of the notes that you can play.
To have the best experience playing your digital piano we would suggest going for a piano that has a larger number of keys.
What are the best brands for digital pianos?
Some of the best brands for making the most reliable kinds of pianos are Yamaha, Roland, Casio and Kawai. A good brand indicates your piano will be made with high-quality parts. most of the reliable brands include a warranty on their piano too.
Do digital pianos feel like acoustic pianos?
Digital pianos with newer modern technology do feel more like acoustic pianos than they used to thanks to technology such as weighted keys and high-quality audio samples which allow them to sound exactly like acoustic pianos.
Cheaper pianos with lower sound quality and non-weighted keys will often feel more plastic and less like a real acoustic piano.
What does an acoustic piano pedal do?
Acoustic pedals on a piano come in three types; soft pedal, sostenuto pedal, and sustain pedal, these are often found on upright and grand style digital pianos.
Each type of pedal allows the audio to sound different, for example, the sustain pedal allows you to keep the note sounding for longer after pressed.
How long do digital pianos last?
Digital pianos can last between 20-50 years with the correct care, cheaper pianos will last a shorter amount of time as they are made with lower quality parts.
Three main factors affect how long your piano will last; the frequency of use, quality of the piano and how you look after it.
What polyphony count should my digital piano be?
Notes of polyphony range between 16-256 notes, the best polyphony notes to look for are around 64 as this will give you the best sound.
What features should an entry-level digital piano have?
For beginners, your entry-level digital piano should have 88 keys, 64 notes of polyphony, headphones and weighted keys, this is so if you even transition to an acoustic piano it will be easier to have the same hand dynamics.
A stand will also be a helpful accessory to have your piano play more professional if you get a console type digital piano.
Is Bluetooth MIDI function important?
A Bluetooth MIDI function is great as it allows you to transfer audio data as a music producer to your computer without the need for cables.
Do digital pianos have onboard speakers?
Yes, all digital pianos come with onboard speakers to play sample tones with, these speakers often have different wattage powers which will produce a better sounding quality the more powerful they are.
What interactive features does a digital piano have?
Digital pianos come with a huge range of features such as recording features, layering functions, split functions and multiple instrument tones to add to your music.
What is an escapement mechanism on a digital piano?
The escapement mechanism on digital pianos try's to mimic how acoustic pianos keys feel after you let them go, this small vibration stops you from playing repeated notes quickly.
Do digital pianos have adjustable touch sensitivity?
Some of the best digital pianos do have adjustable touch sensitivity, this allows you to change how hard or soft you play your keys to achieve a certain sounding note.
What should I consider when finding a place for my digital grand piano?
When finding the right location for your digital piano you need to consider putting it in a place where it will not get knocked easily by passers-by, out of direct sunlight and somewhere where noise will not be an issue.
Overall, to conclude, the main features to consider in a digital piano are its size, number of keys, sound quality and connection features. We always recommend going for a high-quality digital piano that costs a little more as they will have a better sound quality and feel which is closer to an acoustic piano.
To ensure your piano lasts a long time, we suggest following our care tips and learning tips above to get the most out of your piano in the long run.