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Best digital pianos for beginners 2021: start playing with authentic sounds and feel

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10 best digital pianos for beginners 2021: start playing in style with authentic sounds and feel
(Image credit: Getty/simon2579)

While lots of us dream of having a beautiful looking acoustic piano in our home, in reality, they aren't always the most practical option - especially for beginners. There are several inconveniences with traditional pianos to consider, from the back-breaking weight, high cost to the regular tuning and maintenance of these instruments. So it's no surprise that smaller, lighter, and cheaper digital pianos have become such a popular alternative. So whether you're just starting out or looking to upgrade from a regular keyboard, we've got you covered with the best digital pianos for beginners.

It's all well and good for your new piano to be beginner-friendly, but remember your new instrument needs to be good enough - with enough engaging features - to keep inspiring you when the going gets tough. That's why we've rounded up ten of the best beginner digital pianos available right now that not only provide a great foundation to build your skills on but will also keep pace with you as you progress along your musical journey.

We've also included a handy 'buying advice' section, so if you need further guidance, simply hit the button above. Then, when you're ready to invest, our price comparison widgets have found today's best prices to ensure you bag a bargain.

Looking for a great Black Friday music deal? Check out our Black Friday keyboard piano deals page for all the latest news and the biggest offers on digital pianos for beginners. 

Best digital pianos for beginners: Top picks

While all our choices are broadly suitable for beginners, we found that the digital pianos we checked out fell into three main price brackets – sub-$/£500 portable, sub-$/£700 portable and sub-$/£1,000 home digital pianos.

In the sub-$/£500 category, the Roland FP-10 came out on top due to a killer combination of that peerless PHA-4 keybed and SuperNatural sound engine. 

Jump up to the price bracket above and the Casio PX-S1100 edges it, with its innovative design, ultra-slim profile and superb sound from the updated AiR processor.

Meanwhile, in the home piano sector, we’d opt for the Casio Privia PX-770 as it represents the best value overall in this guide.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Round-up & reviews

Best digital pianos for beginners: Casio PX-S1100

(Image credit: Casio)

1. Casio Privia PX-S1100

Casio’s popular stage piano gets an upgrade

Specifications
Launch price: £615/$649/€666
Keys: 88 full-size, Weighted
Action: Smart Scaled hammer action
No. of sounds: 18
Max. polyphony: 192
Speaker wattage: 8W
Bluetooth: Audio/MIDI
Connectivity: 2 x headphones, sustain pedal, USB port, line-out L/R mono
Weight (kg): 11.4
Dimensions (mm): 1322 x 232 x 102
Reasons to buy
+Innovative, ultra-slim design +Finely-detailed editing via the Chordana Play app+Bluetooth Audio/MIDI
Reasons to avoid
-Glossy fascia attracts fingerprints! -No user memory slots for edited sounds

The eagerly awaited upgrade of the S1000, the new PX-S1100 builds on its predecessor by adding the modern features today’s budding pianists demand.  This 88-note fully weighted keys piano is perfect for aspiring players looking for an affordable instrument that doesn’t scrimp on quality. 

New for the S1100 is the ability to stream audio and MIDI wirelessly via the included WU-BT10 USB adapter. This handy new feature is sure to revolutionize your practice routine - allowing you to play along with your favourite songs and even take advantage of popular online piano lessons

This sleek new digital piano also comes with an upgraded speaker system, which really is a marked improvement over the previous model - which already sounded pretty great. So if you are looking for an affordable, well-built piano with smart connectivity, then look no further than the Casio PX-S1100. 

Read our full Casio PX-S1100 review  

Best digital pianos for beginners: Roland FP-10

(Image credit: Roland)

2. Roland FP-10

The best playing-action in its price bracket

Specifications
Launch price: $499/£483/€569
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: PHA-4 Standard with escapement and Ivory Feel
No. of sounds: 15
Max. polyphony: 96
Speaker wattage: 6W
Bluetooth: MIDI
Connectivity: USB to host, sustain pedal input, 3.5mm stereo headphone minijack output
Weight (kg): 12.3
Dimensions (mm): 1284 x 258 x 140
Reasons to buy
+Bluetooth MIDI +PHA-4 keybed at a bargain price
Reasons to avoid
-No line outputs -Relatively weedy speakers

As Roland’s newest entry-level, full-size digital piano, the standout feature on the FP-10 has to be its class-leading PHA-4 keyboard. Beautifully responsive and representing staggering value, it’s exactly the same action found on the pricier FP-30 model.

All 88 keys are individually weighted with different weights, as you’d find on an acoustic piano, delivering one of the most authentic-feeling keybeds in this price bracket.

Roland’s patented SuperNatural piano technology delivers an amazingly detailed and nuanced sound, while split mode gives you a four octave piano at each end of the keyboard, great for teaching.

MIDI via both USB and Bluetooth means that the FP-10 plays nicely with Roland’s excellent Piano Partner 2 app, and also makes a great MIDI controller keyboard.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Casio Privia PX-770

(Image credit: Casio)

3. Casio Privia PX-770

Best value digital piano for your living room

Specifications
Launch price: $1,149/£779/€906
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II
No. of sounds: 19
Max. polyphony: 128
Speaker wattage: 8W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: USB to host, 2 x stereo multi-use (headphone / line out) output
Weight (kg): 31.5
Dimensions (mm): 1391 x 299 x 798
Reasons to buy
+Excellent sound and action +Includes triple pedal unit and cabinet
Reasons to avoid
-Not portable

Part of the Compact Living range, the Privia PX-770 is Casio’s most affordable console-style home digital piano, and as such includes a self-assembly, wood-effect, furniture-style stand complete with triple pedalboard and sliding lid.

It features Casio’s Tri-Sensor Scaled hammer action II keybed with simulated ivory & ebony key surfaces to deliver a natural, non-slip playing feel. Meanwhile, the multi-dimensional morphing AiR sound engine produces a rich and authentic tone, with five acoustic piano variations included amongst the 18 available sounds. 

The Concert Play function provides a built-in library of ten classical pieces to learn and play along to, featuring backing recordings of a symphony orchestra, and the PX-770 is also compatible with Casio’s Chordana Play app via a USB connection.

Read our full Casio PX-770 review

Best digital pianos for beginners: Yamaha P-45

(Image credit: Yamaha)

4. Yamaha P-45

Most affordable Yamaha digital piano is a bestseller

Specifications
Launch price: $559/£486/€565
Keys: 88 full-size, Weighted
Action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
No. of sounds: 10
Max. polyphony: 64
Speaker wattage: 6W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: USB to host, Sustain Pedal Input, Stereo headphone output
Weight (kg): 11.5
Dimensions (mm): 1326 x 295 x 154
Reasons to buy
+Great sound quality +Premium brand at entry-level price
Reasons to avoid
-Only 64-note polyphony -No smartphone app integration

Yamaha’s P-45 digital piano has been top of the bestseller lists for a long time now, for good reason. You get the reassurance of the Yamaha’s fine musical pedigree, combined with the brand’s tried-and-tested Advanced Wave Modelling (AWM) sampling technology.

Add in the excellent Graded Hammer Standard keyboard, weighted heavier from left to right like an acoustic piano, and you have a great all-rounder, perfect for beginners.

True, it may be a little light on features compared to some of its peers, and Yamaha’s AWM technology may be getting on a bit now, but as an entry into the world of Yamaha digital pianos, the P-45 still represents great value for money, backed up by a peerless heritage.

Read our full Yamaha P-45 review

Best digital pianos for beginners: Kawai ES110

(Image credit: Kawai)

5. Kawai ES110

Competent and compact all-rounder from Kawai

Specifications
Launch price: $999/£622/€739
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: Responsive Hammer Compact
No. of sounds: 19
Max. polyphony: 192
Speaker wattage: 7W
Bluetooth: MIDI
Connectivity: MIDI In/Out, 2 x 6.3mm headphone output, Line Out (L/R/Mono), Sustain pedal input
Weight (kg): 12
Dimensions (mm): 1312 x 286 x 145
Reasons to buy
+Bluetooth MIDI +Premium sound and action
Reasons to avoid
-No USB connectivity

Kawai is another heavy hitter from the acoustic piano realm, and the ES110 is their contender for the beginner digital piano crown. It features 19 tones, 8 of which are acoustic piano sounds sampled from the Kawai 9’ EX Concert Grand piano and powered by their Harmonic Imaging technology for increased realism across the dynamic range of the samples. 

The ES110 benefits from Kawai’s newly-designed Responsive Hammer Compact action, which employs the same principles as the higher-end RHIII action, but redesigned to fit into the more compact case of the ES110.

There are 100 different drum rhythms on board to make practise sessions go with a swing, and you also get MIDI over Bluetooth for wireless communication with iOS and Android devices, plus Kawai’s own Virtual Technician app for tweaking advanced parameters such as temperament and touch response.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Roland GO:PIANO 88

(Image credit: Roland)

6. Roland GO:PIANO 88

Awesome portability makes this a busker’s dream

Specifications
Launch price: $399/£378/€319
Keys: 88 full-size, semi-weighted
No. of sounds: 4
Max. polyphony: 128
Speaker wattage: 10W
Bluetooth: Audio / MIDI
Connectivity: USB to host, 6.3mm headphone output, sustain pedal input
Weight (kg): 7.0
Dimensions (mm): 1283 x 291 x 87
Reasons to buy
+Supremely lightweight+Bluetooth Audio and MIDI
Reasons to avoid
-Semi-weighted keys -No line outputs

A full-size 88-note piano weighing in at a paltry 7kg that can be set-up anywhere and run off batteries, Roland’s GO:PIANO 88 is great for beginners and buskers alike. The downside of this portability is that the keyboard is only semi-weighted rather than fully-weighted, but it’s a compromise many would be happy to make.

The GO:PIANO 88 has fewer sounds than the smaller GO:PIANO 61 – only 4 – giving you a more focused piano experience, but it’s a case of quality over quantity here, as the sounds that are there are better overall, and it also has the second most powerful speakers on our list.

Bluetooth audio and MIDI connectivity means you can play along with tunes streamed from your smartphone, and record your playing into the Roland Piano Partner 2 app over Bluetooth too.

Read our full Roland GO:PIANO 88 review

Best digital pianos for beginners: Korg B2N

(Image credit: Korg)

7. Korg B2N

A lighter option for beginners from keyboard giants Korg

Specifications
Launch price: $620/£449/€379
Keys: 88 full-size
Action: Natural Touch
No. of sounds: 12
Max. polyphony: 120
Speaker wattage: 15W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: Audio In, USB to Host, Sustain pedal input, Combined Headphone / Line Output
Weight (kg): 9.3
Dimensions (mm): 1312 x 336 x 117
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable +Generous software bundle
Reasons to avoid
-No layer or split function-Proprietary sustain pedal connection

Korg’s B2N provides the same functionality as their B2 digital piano, but in a more portable unit with a graded, lighter-touch ‘Natural Touch’ keyboard specifically aimed at children and beginners.

The B2N offers the same high-quality ‘Italian’ and ‘German’ piano samples as the B2, and supports half-pedalling like an acoustic piano, although you’ll need Korg’s optional PU-2 damper pedal unit to take advantage of this.

Its USB connection transmits and receives both MIDI and audio, and there’s a generous Korg software bundle included, comprising Korg Module LE and Korg Gadget LE, along with a 3-month subscription to the Skoove online piano lesson service.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Yamaha Arius YDP-S34

(Image credit: Yamaha)

8. Yamaha Arius YDP-S34

Yamaha’s most affordable cabinet-style home piano

Specifications
Launch price: $999/£941/€799
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
No. of sounds: 10
Max. polyphony: 192
Speaker wattage: 8W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: USB to Host, 2 x stereo headphone output
Weight (kg): 35.9
Dimensions (mm): 1353 x 296 x 792
Reasons to buy
+Compact footprint +Smartphone app-enabled
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe a tad expensive for a beginner

Yamaha’s YDP-S34 is a superb entry-level, cabinet-style home piano for those not looking for a portable solution. Some self-assembly is required, but it’s easy to put together, after which you’ll have a fixed and compact musical focal point for the home.

At this level, your extra investment gets you a Graded Hammer Action keyboard, the sampled sound of the flagship Yamaha CFX 9’ concert grand piano, 192-note polyphony and a lidded cabinet stand with three-pedal setup that will take you through the ABRSM Grade 4 lessons and beyond. 

There’s a second headphone port for your teacher, and using Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app, you can control advanced features such as damper resonance, access your own music library and even create chord charts based on your favourite tracks.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Casio CDP-S100

(Image credit: Casio)

9. Casio CDP-S100

The most affordable fully-weighted keyboard here

Specifications
Launch price: $449/£399/€345
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II
No. of sounds: 10
Max. polyphony: 64
Speaker wattage: 8W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: USB to Host, headphone output, Sustain pedal input, 3.5mm stereo aux input
Weight (kg): 10.5
Dimensions (mm): 1322 x 232 x 99
Reasons to buy
+Great keybed at an affordable price Chordana compatible
Reasons to avoid
-64-note polyphony -Good but not great acoustic piano sounds

As the entry-level digital piano from Casio, the idea behind the CDP-S100 is to bring a decent, fully-weighted, hammer-action 88-note keyboard down to an affordable level, a task it pulls off with aplomb.

Employing a new sound engine, the acoustic piano sounds, of which there are 3 on board, improve greatly on those found in previous CDP range pianos, and are more than decent enough for beginners, while textured keytops further enhance the playing experience.

As a bonus, the CDP S-100 can be run on battery power and features a useful audio input jack for plugging in an external sound source to play along to, rounding off what amounts to an excellent beginner piano at a price that can’t be argued with.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Yamaha P-125

(Image credit: Yamaha)

10. Yamaha P-125

A feature-packed portable beginner’s piano from Yamaha

Specifications
Launch price: $999/£549/€585
Keys: 88 full-size, weighted
Action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
No. of sounds: 24
Max. polyphony: 192
Speaker wattage: 7W
Bluetooth: No
Connectivity: USB to host, 2 x 6.3 mm line output stereo jack, 2 x 6.3mm stereo headphone outputs, sustain pedal input, connector for LP-1 pedal unit
Weight (kg): 11.8
Dimensions (mm): 1326 x 295 x 166
Reasons to buy
+Wide range of excellent sounds +50 onboard songs to play along with
Reasons to avoid
-No Bluetooth capability

A step up in quality from the P-45 brings you the Yamaha P-125. Featuring the same Graded Hammer Standard keyboard as its stablemate, the P-125 ramps things up a notch in terms of sound quality and breadth of features.

The Pure CF sound engine with a maximum polyphony of 192 notes delivers an exceptionally realistic piano tone. Plus, you get more sounds, an additional 20 onboard rhythms as an alternative to the regular metronome, control over EQ and damper resonance and a one song, two-track recorder.

Dual headphone outputs make it a winner for teachers and students, and, unlike the P-45, the P-125 is compatible with Yamaha’s free Smart Pianist app for iOS devices.

Best digital pianos for beginners: Buying advice

Man playing beginner digital piano in home studio

(Image credit: Future)

What is a digital piano?

Simply put, a digital piano is a keyboard that replicates the feel and sound of an acoustic piano through digital sampling technology. Unlike a traditional keyboard, a digital piano has full-sized weighted keys and isn't concerned with excessive banks of sounds but instead focuses on a few great piano voices. 

Is it worth buying a digital piano?

Going digital has many advantages, from not having to tune your new instrument to the ability to move it around more easily, the option of plugging in digital piano headphones for silent practice, as well as the space-saving nature of these pianos. 

While beginner digital pianos can come with a varying amount of keys - 61, 76, or 88 - we would highly recommend you opt for an 88-note model. This is especially important if you're planning on learning classical piano, as it's the closest you'll get to an acoustic piano in terms of size, feel, and response.

Most major manufacturers now keep costs manageable by dispensing with large onboard displays, opting instead for the ability to control your piano's sounds and settings via a remote mobile app. This not only means you can get a better-sounding, more feature-laden piano for less cash, but it also opens the digital gateway to use your instrument with the many educational and online lesson services compatible with your device.

The majority of the pianos featured in this guide are of the slimline, compact, and more portable type, rather than the traditional cabinet style, although many can be transformed into a more traditional piece of musical furniture with the addition of an optional stand, which may or may not feature a full set of three pedals as found on an acoustic piano. 

All the instruments in this guide were chosen because they provide the full range of essential features you need to look for when buying a great digital piano for a beginner. They all also come complete with a detachable music stand, basic sustain or 'damper' pedal, and power supply.

Digital piano keybed, action and weighting

Keyboard with hand playing middle C

(Image credit: Future)

The way the keyboard feels and responds as you play is known as the 'action'. Each manufacturer has its own method for replicating the feel of a real piano, resulting in differing levels of weight in the keys. Whether you prefer the feel of a light key-action or a heavy one, it's a matter of personal preference - play whichever you feel the most comfortable on. 

Most crucial, in our opinion, is the keyboard itself. All pianos listed here feature 88 full-size, touch-sensitive keys, just like an acoustic piano, and many include a hammer-action. The keys will be weighted so that the feedback feels right, and an authentic amount of pressure from your fingers is required to produce the notes. Ideally, they'll also be graded in weight from left to right so that higher notes require a lighter touch.

Do digital pianos have different sounds?

It's safe to say if you're looking for a great beginner digital piano, a realistic acoustic piano tone is essential - if it doesn't sound and respond like the real thing, it won't be as inspiring to play. 

For digital pianos, quality rather than quantity is the focus. On the other hand, keyboards tend to offer a million different voices, from strings to synth leads, drums to pads, and everything in between. Now, while these sounds can be fun, they aren't necessary for learning the piano.

These days the sampling technology is better now than ever, and with increased polyphony, digital pianos can sound almost indistinguishable from the real thing. So as long as the main piano sound works for you, there's no real need for more than a few variations on the primary piano tone, especially if your main reason for buying is learning the piano!

That said, most digital pianos will include a few different tones, such as stings and electric pianos, which can often be layered alongside the piano sound so that they play simultaneously or applied as a split so that you can play a different sound from each hand.

Do beginner digital pianos come with pedals?

Acoustic pianos can feature up to three foot pedals, but only one of them is absolutely essential when starting out, and that's the sustain or 'damper' pedal. For this reason, all of the pianos on our list offer a sustain pedal input, with a basic pedal or footswitch included in the purchase price. Some pianos even offer the opportunity to add an optional three-pedal board with metal footplates, as you'd find on an acoustic piano at a later point should you need one.

A man plays a beginner digital piano

(Image credit: Getty)

Do beginner pianos have a built-in metronome?

It may sound boring, but a metronome is a useful tool to help keep things in time, particularly when practicing scales and arpeggios. Luckily every beginner piano has one built right in. A couple of our choices also feature built-in drum patterns to play along to, and many offer basic performance recording and playback features to monitor your progress.

Can I use headphones with a beginner digital piano?

Yes! One of the biggest advantages of going digital is the ability to practice with a set of headphones. As well as built-in speakers, a headphone output is absolutely crucial so that you can practise confidently to your heart's content while the rest of the family does their own thing. All of our contenders sport at least one headphone socket, and a couple provide a second, extra socket for your teacher or proud parent to listen in!

Other beginner digital piano features

Other common features you'll find on a quality beginner digital piano include extra keyboard modes such as duo, dual, or split. Duo mode creates a four-octave keyboard at each end of the piano so that students and teachers can play together on the same instrument.

Aside from advances in sound generation, technology has enhanced the digital piano experience even further recently, with some models featuring Bluetooth MIDI/Audio capability.

Together with companion smartphone apps, these functions allow you to edit sounds remotely, stream music to play along with from your mobile device through the piano's speakers, or record MIDI data of your performance for evaluation and editing. There's never been a better time to start learning!