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 cabinet model 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 in this price range 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 - only $1 away from $1000:), 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.
Almost all other brands of digital pianos (with a couple of exceptions) that may be available in some piano stores, on-line web sites, or consumer store web sites (like Costco in the US) are what I consider to be off brands. I would definitely not recommend these brands (at least not in the models they have out now) by such names as Artesia, Suzuki, Williams, Adams, Adagio, and a few others that I have seen and played. Stay away from them regardless of how inexpensive the price may be or how attractive the piano may look if you want a good piano playing experience, especially in these mini/micro digital baby grands that are out there. Many of them are just plain bad when it comes to key action response, dynamics, key action noise, durability, etc. I have written reviews on many of these brands and models so if you want more info, take a look at some of my other blog reviews. In this blog article I will be referring only to furniture cabinet style models (including portable pianos with nice furniture stands & pedals) and only those that have an internet or regular store discount price for $1000-$2000US which is where most consumers want to be when shopping for a new digital piano.
Before I talk about my "recommended" brands below, there is a new piano company that most people have not heard of before which produces one digital piano model and it has an internet selling price of $1499, although it can probably be purchased for less money at a discount if you are interested. This digital piano is put out by a company called Wanaka and their new digital piano is called "The ONE Smart Piano." Basically this new piano is a furniture cabinet style digital piano that has just 1 sound in it...piano, and also has a digital metronome in it for timing. Another more interesting feature of this model is that it has little LED lights above the keys which show you what keys to play as songs are playing back. The way you get songs to play back through this piano and what makes this model unique, is that it relies on a special App to be used with an iPad or Android so that you connect The ONE Smart Piano to an iPad or Android tablet using the Smart Piano App, and then everything is done through the App (Application/program). I have played and examined this new digital piano and I think it's worth mentioning, so you can read more about it at the following link: The ONE Smart Piano REVIEW
Roland digital pianos are fine instruments and that brand traditionally offers most of their digital piano models for well above $2000 and are thought of as a "higher end" company. However, Roland does have 3 new model furniture digital pianos which sell between $1000-$2000 and they're called the F140R ($1199US internet price), the RP501R ($1499 internet price) which replaces the recently discontinued RP401R ($1599US internet price), and the new DP603 satin black ($1999US internet price) The RP501 is the identical piano as the RP401R with the exception that Roland replaced the WiFi technology with Bluetooth (but not Bluetooth audio streaming), and Roland changed the shape of the speakers in the RP501 and it's made in a different Roland factory. The RP401R/501R and F140R are identical models in different cabinets and have major upgrades over previous Roland pianos in this price range in past years and they take some of their technology from the higher priced Roland instruments. Roland is a great value for the money and these Roland models are better as compared to some other name brands in this price range such as Yamaha in my opinion) and a big step up from the previous Roland pianos in this price range. The Roland DP603 ($1999 internet price) is in a compact contemporary cabinet and I have done a recent review of the DP603 so look for it under my "search reviews tab." The thing that makes this brand a strong competitor is the realism of the piano playing experience. Although all three models have some unique and useful digital features, it's really the piano sound, key action, and pedaling authenticity they offer in this price range that gives them a few advantages that I like. I have played Roland home and stage pianos professionally for many years and have enjoyed playing them. Roland is not as well known outside of the electronic music business because they do not produce regular acoustic pianos like Yamaha or Kawai do and don't build many consumer products like Casio does. Roland concentrates on producing instruments for musicians and recreational (and beginner) players who want higher quality technology in a musical instrument that is generally easy to use and at a reasonable price range. As with my other recommended brands, Roland is a Japanese company but is relatively small (they are privately owned) compared to huge companies like Yamaha. But it's not about how big you are but it's about how good you are:). I have detailed blog reviews on all of these new Roland models here on my blogsite if you want to read more about them.
Casio has 3 cabinet pianos right now between $1000-$2000 including the newer Celviano AP260 ($1049US internet price), the Celviano AP460 ($1499US internet price - left pic), and finally the Celviano AP650 ($1899 internet price) that is my pick for "best bang for the buck" in this price range under $2000 for a cabinet model digital piano . I have played all 3 models many times, but with regard to the Celviano AP650, in my opinion the keyboard touch, response, and key movement is surprisingly good and provides a fairly realistic acoustic piano playing experience along with the keytops having a Casio proprietary synthetic ivory & ebony material for smoother finger movement and control. There are 250 instrument sounds utilizing 256 notes of polyphony for advanced piano sound reproduction, along with a wav file audio recorder and playback feature which you can save and load to a USB flashdrive. The pedal movement and sustain/decay time is good in this price range and the piano even has damper & string resonance which produces the natural echo and sympathetic vibrations found in a real acoustic piano when pressing down on the damper pedal or playing the notes and hearing the strings vibrate. Other features include duet four-hand play, layering, splitting, transpose, and many other cool things. The control buttons are across the front of the piano so it's user friendly and intuitive to use. 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 AP650 audio speaker system is surprisingly powerful at this price and includes four speakers going through 60 watts of stereo power with a lid opening feature which allows the sound to project more in an acoustic piano fashion. The AP650 gives you the sense you're sitting in front of a real piano and it looks attractive in its furniture compact cabinet with sliding key cover and front designer legs. So for its $1899US internet discount price, this piano is a very impressive package and a great "bang for the buck" as far as I am concerned. Go to the following link to read my Casio AP650 review: Casio AP650 Review Go to the following link to read my review of the Casio AP460: Casio AP460 Review
My 1st choice in this digital piano comparison for overall winner in piano playing realism along with some cool features in the lower price range under $2000 would be the newer Kawai ES8 (left pic) at $1999 discount internet price (not including stand and triple pedal unit which adds another $500 to the price). With a very impressive, realistic graded weighted key movement and resonate acoustic piano tone with better tonal dynamics & color along with its other useful educational features, this one is definitely worth the money and it's out in front of other digital pianos under $2000 in my opinion when it comes to the piano playing authenticity. However, the ES8 is at the top of the price range and the piano is a contemporary "small footprint" portable model with optional furniture stand and triple pedal lyre (left picture) and is not in a "traditional" furniture cabinet. So spending a bit less money on a few other selected models in a traditional furniture cabinet may be more to your liking and be more affordable for some people, but you do normally get what you pay for. My 2nd choice and what I consider to be "best bang for the buck" would be the cabinet model Casio AP650 at $1899 discount internet price (including furniture stand & 3-pedal unit) or Casio AP460 ($1499US internet price) followed closely by the Roland DP603 ($1999US) in 3rd place, followed by the Kawai CE220 ($1899 internet price) in 4th place.* I will also say that Yamaha makes some very nice digital pianos and they have a number of different models including the new YDP163 at $1499US internet price and I would put that model in 5th place.
***Please make note that in reality all of these top models are interchangeable in their rating order because they are all from each other in a number of ways and all very good. So for some people what I call #1 on my list could be #4, and what I call #4 could be #1, it really just depends on your musical goals, abilities, uses for the piano, and your budget. As I said, it really is difficult to objectively rate digital pianos because their prices and features are so diverse and that's why I believe the top 5 models can be switched around in order depending on your needs and budget. The Kawai Kawai ES8 key actions are perhaps more authentic than the Casio AP650 in my opinion, as well as their acoustic piano sound, but for most people they may have a difficult time discerning those differences, so could likely be happy on any of them depending what kind of cabinet they prefer...but the fact is that there definitely are differences. The Kawai KDP90 ($1149 internet price) in the lower price range is also a very good choice as is the new Yamaha YDP163 ($1499 internet price for satin finishes). The YDP163 is a 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, in my opinion. 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 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 Kawai ES8 as my #1 pick under $2000, the Kawai CE220, Casio AP650, Roland DP603, and Yamaha YDP163 offer a lot of 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:)
If you want more info on these pianos and lower prices than internet, Amazon, Bundles, or store discounts in the USA, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 602-571-1864