Digital Piano Reviews - Best Digital Pianos of 2016
UPDATED REVIEW - December 2, 2016
Best Digital Pianos under $1000US
UPDATED REVIEW: December 2, 2016 - Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Casio, Suzuki, Korg, etc...which one is best and which one should you buy?! Hello to everyone shopping for a digital piano. My name is Tim Praskins and I am a digital piano expert and have been teaching & playing on them for over 40 years (started teaching as a young teen:) and have taught 1000's of students during my extensive music career. I play acoustic concert grand pianos, digital pianos, and pro keyboards professionally (as well as play and teach guitar & organ) and do free digital piano consultations for schools, churches, piano teachers, studios, and families all over the world to help you decide what piano might be best for you in your price range. There are some people out there who say they specialize in digital pianos or have had some experience on them, but that does not necessarily mean they know what they are talking about because most of them don't. However, I do know what I am talking about when it comes to hundreds of different models of digital pianos now and in the past, and my older son Erik and I (Erik is also a very talented guy and knows his digital piano stuff) are willing to share that info with you at no charge and explain it on your level and give you free personal advice. I work with my son Erik in our own music studio and as I said, Erik is quite knowledgeable about digital pianos and likes to help answer people's piano questions. We do not have a retail store or warehouse and do not link you to Amazon sites trying to get you to buy a digital piano that you don't need or should not own. I am an experienced teacher & pro musician and offer digital piano advice without needing to "sell" pianos like other so-called reviewers try to do with Amazon links to digital pianos so they can make money regardless of how poor that digital piano may really be. All my reviews are my opinions and done by myself for the public at large. If you want to know more about me and my work, please go to the following link: More about Tim Praskins and AZPianoNews
There are 3 brands of 88-key digital pianos that I recommend right now which, in my opinion, are quite good in the lower price range under $1000US. Those brands are Yamaha, Casio, and Kawai. There are other name brands offered under $1000 including Korg, Roland, and Kurzweil that you may see advertised out there, but at this point I really do not recommend them near as much as I do Casio, Yamaha, and Kawai for a number of reasons. As for the Roland brand which has a big line of digital pianos and are very popular with piano teachers, schools, churches, and families, Roland has some excellent digital pianos but those models are all above $1000. If you can be in that price range then Roland would be a good choice. Typically I don't recommend a brand or model if there are noticeable deficiencies in key action, piano sound realism, or pedaling as compared to a real acoustic piano and that is why some brands or models that you may see advertized on the internet are not recommended by me. It may not be necessary for you to spend more money (over $1000) on a digital piano, even if someone else (like a store salesperson or someone on the internet) says that you need to spend more money to get a proper piano. However, if you do have the budget to spend more than $1000 (up to $2000 or more), the quality of piano sound & key action reproduction in many of those models are very good and can be even more enjoyable to play, especially if you have a higher playing skill level or just want a piano that sounds and plays more like a real acoustic piano. *If you would like to learn about the best digital pianos between $1000-$2000, go to my review of those pianos at the following link: New Digital Pianos under $2000
Casio now offers 9 models of piano type weighted key digital pianos to the general public under $1000US internet discount price including the basic CDP130 ($449US), the brand new Privia PX160 ($499US), Casio PX350 ($699US), the new CGP700, the new PX360, PX760 compact cabinet model ($699US - lower left pic), PX780 compact cabinet model ($899US internet discount price), and the top of the line Privia PX860 ($999US internet price). Casio also offers a Pro Digital Stage Piano called the PX5S at $999US internet price which has no built-in speakers and is for people who want to perform on stage or create special music in a studio, etc, and will be using their own powered monitors or speakers, but want something a bit more flexible in terms of live instrument sound and effects along with controlling capabilities. Go here for my full PX5S review: Casio PX5S Review. Finally, Casio has a top of the line model portable digital piano called the PX560 ($1199 internet discount price) which is the first lightweight self-contained (with internal speakers and music rack) portable keyboard instrument to straddle the worlds of pro digital pianos, pro synthesizers, and home digital pianos all in one instrument. I have played this new model many times already and recently published a review of this very impressive instrument. Although it is sold on the internet for more than $1000, it is worth consideration if it is within your budget and you're looking for a feature packed portable digital piano. Go to the following link to read my PX560 review: Casio PX560 Review
Yamaha currently offers 4 models of 88-key digital pianos models under $1000 including the P45 ($449US internet price), P115 ($599US - left pic), DGX660 at $799US, and the new YDP103 at $899US internet discount price. Yamaha had some older models including the P35, P105, P95, and DGX650 and even though the new models have taken the place of the old models you might still see some of the older models for sale on-line including used ones for a bit less money. I would recommend you focus on the newer models because they are better and upgraded in some important ways. I have reviewed all of the Yamaha models under $1000 with the exception of the new 2016 model DGX660 which has replaced the DGX650 at the same internet selling price of $799US, so stay tuned for my review on it soon although I have played it many times and you can always ask me about it. It looks and acts similar to the DGX650 but with improved piano sound, user interface selection, and some other features. I do recommend all of the Yamaha's mentioned here, and although the least expensive Yamaha P45 portable model is somewhat basic in what it can actually do, it's still a good beginner piano for those people who need to stay under $500 cost. Many of the digital pianos that Yamaha produces sell for over $2000 whereas most of the digital pianos produced by Casio and Korg sell for under $1000. So when it comes to Yamaha, especially in a furniture cabinet style, you'll need to spend a bit more money in some cases, but it can be worth it. It just depends on the piano itself and what you actually get for the money.
|Kawai ES100 w/opt stand & pedals|
|Roland F20 with optional stand|
|Adagio digital piano|
Williams Legato Review Williams Allegro 2 Review
|Artesia AP8 digital piano|
With regard to beginner piano students and their music education, as a long time private & group piano & keyboard teacher, this is something I know a lot about. It is never too early or too late to start piano lessons and enter into the exciting & rewarding world of playing music. I teach and have taught thousands of students from 4 years old to 94 years old. Whether you play piano as a recreational hobby, or go on to do it professionally as many of my friends and some students have done, it's always a tremendous blessing for me to see people at any age enjoy the piano playing experience and bring music into their lives in a very personal way. The little girl in the left picture (she's my granddaughter:) is involved in piano lessons and she loves it whether she's playing on a big concert grand piano such as the Steinway 9' grand she is sitting at (above left pic), or whether it's at a digital piano utilizing iPad apps to further enhance the learning and playing experience.
If you want important info on the best way to proceed as far as lessons and learning go as well wanting to be sure you're getting the right instrument for your needs and budget, please contact me and I'll be happy to answer your questions. Also, click on the links below to read my reviews on these pianos under $1000.
Casio PX350 Review
Casio PX160 Review
Casio CGP700 Review
Casio PX780 Review
Casio PX760 Review
Casio PX5S Review
Korg SP170S Review
Korg SP280/LP380 Review
Yamaha P45 & P115 Review
Yamaha DGX650 Review
Roland F20 review
Kawai ES100 review
*Artesia AP120e Review
*Williams Overture 2 Review
*Williams Rhapsody 2 Review
*Suzuki SD10 Review
Yamaha YPG535 Review
* means not recommended
Of all the digital pianos out there under $1000 I would say overall my favorite cabinet piano under $1000US right now is the Casio Privia PX860 at $999US internet discount price (left pic). This piano really surprised me for its low price after I played it because it has a nicely designed compact cabinet with the 3 built-in full function pedals and slide out key cover, and it had a pretty big sounding acoustic piano tone with a wide dynamic range. The key action has a 3-sensor key technology not normally found in less expensive cabinet digital pianos until you get above $1200 in other brands (the Yamaha Arius series does not have this in any model). The Casio PX860 also has the synthetic ivory & ebony keys (normally found on pianos in higher price ranges), 256-note polyphony piano memory (which is a lot), half-damper recognition (a good feature for piano students and players), fairly realistic acoustic piano hammer (graded piano weighted) key action, direct USB output for instant connectivity with laptop and iPad (go to the following link to learn more about iPad apps: iPad Apps and learning piano), and some useful built-in educational features.
IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE ABOUT MY REVIEWS - Just so you know, there is no precise or 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 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 will say things that gets you to buy a "recommended" piano off their Amazon web site links. If you see something like that 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 copy some of my blog review sentences would they would otherwise NEVER say and they could not have been able to test out many of the unique pianos that I have and then come up with the conclusions they state in their so-called reviews. It is true that imitation or downright coping is the sincerest form of flattery but unfortunately on those sites it is done solely to make money off of you without regard to what is actually true, 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 and other digital pianos and lower prices than internet, Amazon, Bundles, or store discounts in the USA, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me direct at 602-571-1864
* I recommend eMedia educational software. If you decide to make a purchase after clicking on link below, I have arranged a big discount for you direct with eMedia for their educational software and that discount price is displayed through this link only! I want to see everyone learn to play and enjoy piano!