For most people, a thousand pounds or dollars represents the threshold at which the graph of quality against affordability begins to level off. So, whether you’re looking for a portable piano to take out for a tinkle on the road or a more stately model to act as a musical centrepiece for your home or studio, the best digital pianos under $1,000/£1,000 give you plenty of choice.
Here we present a wide range of interesting and exciting pianos, but we have to clarify that due to a general increase in pricing, some of our favourite models are now just slightly above our 1K price cap.
Now, since we rate these digital pianos so highly, we thought we'd still include them in this list. We strongly believe that it's worth pushing the budget ever so slightly to get a far superior instrument.
Best digital pianos under $1,000/£1,000: MusicRadar’s Choice
In the portable category, the Alesis Recital Grand (aka Alesis Prestige) surprised us with its excellent tone and remarkable playability. We were also struck by its versatility, representing an excellent budget choice as a stage piano, portable beginner digital piano or, with the addition of an optional matching keyboard stand, a permanent piano for the home.
For us, the Yamaha P-125 represents fantastic value, and as far as we're concerned, you really can't go wrong with a Yamaha. Featuring stereo line outputs and the ability to purchase a separate wooden stand and three-pedal assembly, the P-125 is ideal for those looking for both a portable digital or a stay-at-home option.
Best digital pianos under $1,000/£1,000: Product guide
The Alesis Recital Grand - also known as the Alesis Prestige in some markets - is a bargain-priced, fully-weighted, 88-key digital piano perfect for the cash-strapped pianist in search of a quality and pocket-friendly instrument.
Taking design cues from electric pianos of the 70’s, the Recital Grand’s buttons are angled towards the player for easy access. A stylish red felt accent runs across the top of the keyboard, the action is remarkably expressive for the price point and the quality of the piano sound is right on the money.
Sporting a proper pair of stereo line outputs, the Recital Grand is a great choice for an affordable stage piano. With its optional AHB-1 home accessory bundle that adds a matching black wooden piano stand and triple pedalboard, the Recital Grand can be equally at home in the living room or on stage.
Korg's B2 portable digital piano has proven to be a big success with those needing an authentic-sounding piano to take on their travels. The good news is that you can also get the B2 experience in a more living room-focused format in the shape of the B2SP, which bundles a matching stand and three-way pedalboard with your B2, giving it the look of a slimline console piano.
The B2's keyboard action is smooth and responsive, with an easy feel that's perfect for beginners to get to grips with, and the acoustic piano tones are bright and articulate, with a rich and solid low end. The three-pedal arrangement only adds to the appeal, offering a big improvement over the separate single pedal that ships with the standard B2.
Although it could be described as comparatively feature-light amongst its peers, the B2SP offers players a great-sounding, no-nonsense instrument at a very attractive price. Of course, if you'd prefer the portability and don't need a matching stand, you can save a little money and just plump for the standard version of the B2, or the Korg B2N, which has a lighter keyboard action and different speaker arrangement.
Portable digital pianos have come a long way in recent years, and Yamaha's P-series is a major force to be reckoned with in this sector, distilling the company's years of piano-building experience and their innovative technology into seriously potent instruments worthy of their place at the top of the bestseller lists.
The P-125 hit the shelves in 2018 but still represents great value, and from a quality and reliability perspective, you really can't go wrong with a Yamaha. It features stereo line outputs, allowing it to be used as a fully-fledged stage piano, or you can purchase a separate wooden stand and three-pedal assembly to match, giving the P-125 the look and feel of a slimline console piano for home and studio use.
The P-125's Pure CF sound engine, 24 excellent onboard tones and 192-note polyphony elevates it head and shoulders above the cheaper and older P-45 model, making it well worth the extra outlay.
Casio's PX-S1100 is billed as the slimmest 88-key digital piano on the market, with a super-slinky 23cm profile from front to back, yet the action on this instrument, along with the tone from the updated AiR sound engine, belies its affordable price tag.
Featuring the same Smart Scaled Hammer Action keyboard as more expensive Casio models, the S1100 builds on the reputation of the previous S1000 model by adding a newly-enhanced AiR grand piano tone, Bluetooth audio and MIDI (via an included Bluetooth adapter), direct-to-USB audio recording and playback and a redesigned speaker system.
With 192-note polyphony, 60 built-in songs and an updated Active Touch Panel Display in glossy piano black, the PX-S1100 looks set to be more than a worthy successor to the S1000. Plus, like its predecessor, it's also available in red and white finishes and can be powered by 6 AA batteries for up to 4 hours playing time. And if you want a more permanent than portable piano, you can add the optional matching CS-68 stand and SP-34 three-pedal unit to your S1100.
Read the full Casio PX-S1100 review
Featuring Roland’s acclaimed SuperNATURAL piano sound engine alongside a variety of electric piano, organ, string and synth sounds, the FP-30X builds on the entry-level FP-10 model with an enhanced sound engine, more powerful speakers and increased polyphony of 256 notes.
That fabulous PHA-4 keyboard delivers an authentic acoustic piano-style feel and response, and there are plenty of high-tech features - Bluetooth audio lets you stream music from a mobile device through the FP-30X’s speakers, while Bluetooth MIDI will connect you to apps like Roland’s ZenBeats or Apple’s GarageBand.
Suitable for use either as a portable piano or as a console instrument when combined with the optional KSC-70 stand and KPD-70 three-pedal unit, the FP-30X also has a nifty designated setting for optimising the sound when placed on a desktop.
Casio’s Celviano range of high-end digital pianos are primarily aimed at home use, and the entry-level AP-270 brings the authentic acoustic piano experience to your home for well under our target grand (if you’re buying in the UK, at least). Offering the same excellently playable Smart Scaled Hammer Action keyboard as Casio’s more expensive pianos, the AP-270 represents great value.
Casio’s AiR sound engine provides the piano sounds, Concert Play gives you ten orchestral pieces to play along with, and the AP-270 is also compatible with Casio’s Chordana Play Piano app, which lets you change the piano’s settings from your mobile device. When not in use, a stylish sliding keyboard cover hides away the keys for a traditional look.
If you’re open to spending a little more, the larger AP-470 gives you all of this, plus more powerful speakers, USB audio recording, an opening ‘acoustic’ lid and added virtual string resonance for an enhanced sound.
The RP-102 features the same PHA-4 keyboard and SuperNATURAL sound engine as the FP-30X, but housed in a less portable, more traditional-style cabinet intended for the home, with the requisite three-pedal unit included in the bargain.
External hardware controls are kept to a minimum to preserve a sleek, uncluttered look, with access to internal settings requiring a Bluetooth connection to Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app. This lets you view digital sheet music, interact with backing rhythms, and access flash card note identification games.
With 200 ready-to-play onboard songs to practise, the RP-102 should keep the most demanding home pianist happy for a long while.
Kawai is a leading force in the piano world, and we are massive fans of their exquisitely and beautifully made high-end instruments. That said, the KDP75 proves that Kawai can make an affordable digital piano that doesn't compromise on tone, feel or looks.
It may be a fairly compact piano - coming in at a smidge over 40 centimetres in depth - but the KDP75 still manages to look the business with its sturdy frame, retractable key cover and broad music rest.
The tonal centre of this affordable digital is the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand piano - granting you access to one of the most famous and well-respected piano sounds of all time.
Best digital pianos under $1,000/£1,000: Buying advice
A digital piano is an 88-note keyboard that replicates the feel and sound of an acoustic piano through a combination of authentic mechanical keyboard action and digital sampling technology.
Why buy a digital piano?
There are a number of reasons why you might choose a digital piano over an acoustic one, chief of which is the low-maintenance of digital pianos compared to their acoustic counterparts. These days, technology has advanced to the point where some digital pianos are practically indistinguishable from an acoustic grand in terms of both sound and keyboard action. They never need tuning, offer more than one piano sound, have a much smaller footprint and also weigh much less, with some portable, cabinet-less versions coming in at only 12kg or less.
You can also use them with a pair of digital piano headphones to avoid aggro with your neighbours or conflicts with your housemates when you’re intent on becoming the next Jacob Collier while they’re trying to watch TV. A good digital piano from a quality manufacturer will last for years, more than keeping pace with your progress from beginner right through to advanced playing level.
How good are sub $/£1k digital pianos?
These days, a grand will buy you a lot of digital piano, with advanced real piano sounds, increased polyphony allowing you to play more notes at once and sophisticated technology like virtual string and cabinet resonance modelling to recreate the effect of multiple notes resonating together in the soundboard and wooden body of the real thing.
Most major manufacturers also now keep costs manageable by abandoning large onboard displays, opting instead for the ability to control your piano’s sounds and settings with a smartphone or tablet app. This not only means you can get a better-sounding, more feature-laden piano for less money, but also opens the gateway to use your piano with the many educational and online piano lesson services compatible with your device, many of which are designed by the manufacturers themselves, such as Yamaha’s SmartPianist, Casio’s Chordana Play or Roland’s Piano Partner 2.
All of the instruments on this of the best digital pianos under $1,000/£1,000 sport fully-weighted, 88-note keyboards with actions that have been meticulously engineered to replicate the weight and bounce delivered by the keyboard mechanism in an acoustic piano. Ideally, they’ll also be graded in weight from left to right so that higher notes require a lighter touch.
We’ve gone for a mixture of proper console-style pianos which look good in your living room and portable alternatives that can be positioned and moved around anywhere, although many of these have optional matching stands and pedalboards available to complete the traditional look of a proper piece of musical furniture.
Each piano listed below also provides the full range of essential features you need to look for when buying a great digital piano. So, check out our list of recommendations for the best digital pianos you can buy right now for less than a grand - and that pun was completely intended.
- Digital piano vs acoustic piano: what's the difference?
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