There are many new model digital pianos being offered by the top piano manufacturers these days and sometimes it can be very confusing as to what the best digital piano is for a particular price range. So I have written this blog article (and others) to help out people looking for good digital pianos between $1000US - $2000US. I also have done a review comparison of new digital pianos under $1000US which you can also read about on my blog at the following link: Digital Pianos under $1000US. I consider the top digital piano manufacturers to include Kawai, Casio, Yamaha, and Roland. In the $1000-$2000 price range, the Korg digital piano company makes one cabinet piano called the LP380 ($999 internet price) which is OK but not up to the quality of the top brands in my opinion. Go to the following link to read my review on that model: Korg LP380 review. The Kurzweil piano/keyboard company makes nice looking furniture style digital pianos and although they sound pretty good overall, in my opinion they just have too many deficiencies to be a real contender and are not very good when it comes to better quality key actions and pedaling system in the under $2000US price range. I have done a few reviews of Kurzweil pianos on this blog if you want more info.
Roland digital pianos are generally fine instruments and that company has five furniture cabinet models that sell for under $2000 and they're called the RP301R ($1999US approx store discount price), RP301 ($1699US internet price), F120 compact cabinet version of the RP301 ($1699 internet price), and the new F130R ($1299US internet price) and new RP401R ($1599US internet price). The 1st three pianos are being discontinued in favor of the new RP401R and F130R pianos, and are the same as far as key action, piano sound, and speaker system. All three pianos (RP301, RP301R, F120) have 128-notes of polyphony. The key action (ivory feel-G) is nicely weighted but has a noticeably sluggish key movement as compared to the other digital piano brands as well as real acoustic pianos. The key action unfortunately is also noisy and distracting as the keys go down and touch bottom when playing in a harder more dynamic manner. It's like the keys don't have enough felt underneath them. The other brands here do not have this issue as the keys hit the keybed underneath, and I have played all the brands and models. The other two pianos, RP401R/F130R, are new 2015 models and have major upgrades over the other older Roland pianos and all the previous issues I mentioned are no longer a concern because of the major improvements. The older RP301/301R, F120 sound is somewhat thin and tinny in the middle to higher octaves of these pianos (the new ones are much better and I like them. The RP301 and RP301R piano have buttons across the front panel so it's easy to operate and has a nice selection of realistic instrument and percussion tones which is good and their stereo amplifier speaker system puts out a total of 24 watts of power which is more than enough for most homes. The RP301 & F120 did not have a USB output connector (just standard MIDI connectors), but the new models do have them as well as other useful connectivity features. Overall I think Roland pianos in this price range are very good, with the exception of the key action and sound on the older models (which are now discontinued). However, the new models are much better as compared to some other name brands in this price range and a big step up from the previous Roland models. I have detailed blog reviews of these new Roland models here on my blogsite if you want to read more. Roland RP401R/F130R Review
headphones as I mentioned (with 128 notes of polyphony). It also has a layering feature but no split or duet play, but the piano does not have a high speed USB output which would have been a convenient option and is available on other Yamaha models. It does have a USB flashdrive input so basic MIDI song recordings can be saved and stored to flashdrive (it does not play General MIDI files). The YDP181 has a 2-track basic MIDI recorder for separate right and left hand recording and playback. As far as looks, it might be slightly better looking than the Roland as far as furniture cabinet and is offered in the simulated dark rosewood finish only, as opposed to some models which also offer a black color. The Yamaha pianos are quite good but in my opinion just don't compete right now with what Casio, Kawai, and Roland has to offer under $2000, especially in the key action movement. The Yamaha Arius key actions are a bit stiff when you press down the keys from a resting position (static touch weight), especially when playing lightly or softly and Casio, Kawai, and Roland are noticeably better in that way. The internet selling prices for these Yamaha pianos are still too high these days given the competition out there.
produces the natural echo found in a real acoustic piano when pressing down on the damper pedal and hearing the strings vibrate. Other features include duet four hand play, layering, splitting, transpose, and some other cool things. The control buttons are across the front of the piano so it's user friendly. Casio has also included some advanced tech features like USB CoreMIDI connectivity (very nice for plug & play connection to iPad and computer) as well as having audio outputs. The PX860 audio speaker system is surprisingly powerful at this price and includes four speakers going through 40 watts of stereo power with a lid opening feature which allows the sound to project more in an acoustic piano fashion. The PX860 gives you the sense you're sitting in front of a real piano and it looks attractive in its compact cabinet with sliding key cover. So for $1099 internet price, this piano is a very impressive package and a great "bang for the buck." With that in mind there is no reason to purchase a discontinued PX850 on the internet should you find one for sale. Go to the following link to read my Casio PX860 review: Casio PX860 Review
In reality all of these top models are interchangeable in their rating order because they are all different from each other in a number of ways and all very good. It really is difficult to objectively rate digital pianos because their prices and features are so diverse and that's why I believe that the top 5 models can be switched around in order depending on your needs and budget. The Kawai CE220 & Kawai
ES7 key action are better (more authentic) than the Casio PX860 in my opinion as well as their acoustic piano sound, but they are another $800-$900 more, so they should be better, and their higher prices is the only reason I put them in 2nd & 3rd place:). The Kawai KDP90 ($1149 internet price) would be in 5th place but is also a very good choice, and then followed in the distance by the Yamaha YDP162 ($1499 internet price for satin finishes). The YDP162 is good choice but the Kawai, Casio and Roland pianos do offer more bang for the buck right now based on what you get for the price paid in terms of a more realistic piano playing experience. There are really no bad digital pianos out there as long as you get a good reputable brand such as the ones I've mentioned. Also, price obviously has some bearing on the order in which I rated these pianos, so depending on what you can afford, if you can spend more money then in many cases, you will get more for that extra money. Even though I rated the Casio PX860 as my #1 pick under $2000, the Kawai CE220, ES7, and Roland RP401R offer even more quality and piano playing realism if you can get into those price ranges. It just depends on what YOU like and how much YOU can afford to pay.
*Just so you know, there is no precise or totally impartial digital piano rating system (like stars, check marks, numbers, etc) as some people on the internet would have you believe...and that's why I don't do it. There are just too many variables in piano touch, tone, pedaling, features, and looks. In fact there are some so-called "reviewers" out there who have no idea of what they are talking about, they say things that are just not true at all, they rate cheap keyboards along side of digital pianos which is ridiculous (keyboards are not digital pianos), and what they report is only so they can link you to an Amazon site to make THEM money if you buy something. These "reviewers" are as impartial as bees are to honey...in other words, they are not impartial and they only will say things that gets you to buy a piano on their Amazon links. If you see something like that (Amazon selling links), then run away from those people as they are not there to help you, regardless of what they say. In fact, I have noticed that many of these "fake review sites" steal my content and then post a version of it on their web sites. I know this because they would NEVER have been able to test out the pianos that I have and come up with the conclusions that they state in their reviews. This is because they have never played those digital pianos and in fact may not even know how to play a piano at all. It is true that imitation or downright coping is the sincerest form of flattery so people stealing (coping and reusing) my blog content does not bother me...much. Unfortunately on those sites it is done solely to make money off of you, and that does bother me!
I always recommend that you do your homework before you buy because as I said, ultimately any of these pianos may be a good choice for you. However there are definitely some models that offer more for the money, depending on the price range you can be in, and if you would like my help in making your decision, please contact me as I do not charge for my advice and I do this as a labor of love:)