As an Amazon Associate Noname Music earn from qualifying purchases.

7 Best 88 Key Weighted Keyboards of 2021

Looking for a keyboard with the feel of an acoustic piano? If so, there are two basic requirements for the keys. There need to be 88 of them, and they need to be properly weighted.

To help in your search, we’re going to check out seven of the best 88 key weighted keyboards out there. We’ll set out what we love and any niggles to watch out for. And our buying guide will help you make the perfect choice.

So without further ado, let’s find your new keyboard!

Quick Glance: The Best 88 Key Weighted Keyboard

 

The Best 88 Key Weighted Keyboard of 2021

1. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano (Our Top Pick)

88 key weighted keyboard

Yamaha’s P71 uses its graded hammer standard action to reproduce the feel of an acoustic piano. Keys at the lower end are heavier, those at the higher end lighter.

If you’re looking for a practice instrument to perfect your fingering technique for an acoustic piano, this is ideal. The black keys also have a matte finish that won’t get slippery, no matter how long you play.

This keyboard sounds like an acoustic too. Yamaha uses what it calls Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling to pull this off. Pairs of waveforms from an acoustic piano are captured using two microphones for a rich, full sound.

You can select from ten different voices, including grand pianos and organs. Just hold down the key marked “Grand piano/ Function” and press a key to switch to a different sound. Use the same approach to play samples or set the on-board metronome.

Whatever voice you choose, you’ll get 64-note polyphony. In other words, this is a keyboard that can play up to 64 notes at once without “losing” any. You’ll be able to play moderately fast, with complex chords, without noticing any difference in your listening experience.

You’ll also be able to layer two different voices using the “dual” mode. The “duo” mode splits the keyboard into two identical zones, great for students and teachers to play together. And the “transpose” function is very helpful when accompanying singers.

And there’s a USB to Host port to allow you to link up to music software and tuition packages. You’ll need to buy your own USB cable if you want to do this.

This is a great keyboard, but there are some limitations. One is that, while the keys are touch-sensitive, the dynamic range is roughly half that of an acoustic piano. In other words, pressing the key harder will produce a louder note – but not that much louder.

There’s no on-board option to record and play back your music, either. And while it comes with a sustain pedal, it’s not as sturdy as we’d like. If you want to avoid having to chase it across the floor, you may want to invest in an upgrade.

This is an Amazon-exclusive model, with identical specifications to Yamaha’s P45. The difference comes in what’s included in the various bundles accompanying the keyboard. If you need particular bits of kit, check what’s available with the different models at the time. Both prices and contents can fluctuate.

Pros:

  • Graded hammer standard action reproduces the feel of an acoustic piano
  • Dual, duo and transpose functions
  • USB to Host port allows connection to musical tuition and other software packages

Cons:

  • The dynamic range is rather limited
  • There’s no on-board option to record and play back your music.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

2. Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano

best 88 key keyboard

Casio’s Privia PX-160BK is roughly 10 percent more expensive than Yamaha’s P71/P45. It has bags of features and great playability.

Let’s start with the keyboard. It uses what Casio calls Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II movement to create the feel of an acoustic piano. It’s heavier on the lower notes and lighter on the higher ones.

The keys are simulated ebony and ivory and have a great feel. Three sensors capture velocity and translate it to dynamics with great accuracy. Even very experienced pianists have said they’re unable to tell the difference between this keyboard and an acoustic piano.

It can deliver 128-note polyphony, enough to handle even the fastest and most complex passages. We have, however, heard from some users who’ve experienced difficulties when trying to play the same note repeatedly and fast. The repeated note does sometimes disappear.

The sound is impressive. It comes from Casio’s AiR system, which stands for acoustic and intelligent resonator.

This uses recordings from a concert grand piano at four different dynamic levels to deliver rich sound and seamless dynamics. It will even convincingly replicate damper resonance when used with a damper pedal.

The sound is delivered by an 8w by 8w speaker system built into the chassis. It’s open at the front and ported at the back. That means you’ll still get great sound, even if the keyboard is positioned against a wall.

There are two headphones ports for quiet listening, plus left and right line outputs for amplifiers. It also offers “class-compliant” USB, allowing it to be connected up to your PC, Mac or iPad. Optional extras include a keyboard stand and three-pedal system.

There are plenty of on-board features too. String ensembles have been added to the acoustic and electric piano, grand piano and harpsichord voices. And there’s the ability to split and layer the keyboard. Play bass with your left hand, and layer two different voices with your right.

Teachers and students can use the duet mode to play together. There’s also a two-track recorder to record and play back practice sessions and performances.

The one downside with all of this is that the defaults and shortcuts aren’t intuitive. You may find you need to spend a lot of time with the manual before you master them.

Pros:

  • 128-note polyphony with great sound
  • Beautifully weighted keys
  • Two-track recorder to record and play back performances

Cons:

  • Some issues with losing repeated notes played at speed
  • The defaults and shortcuts are complicated to learn.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

3. Roland FP-30 88-Key Weighted Keyboard

weighted keyboard 88 keys

The Roland FP-30 is another full-sized model which offers exceptional feel. The Phat4 keyboard offers beautifully weighted keys, with a convincing ivory-like texture. The result is an expressive and responsive playing experience, difficult to distinguish from that of an acoustic piano.

The sound comes from Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound engine, delivered through a powerful amplifier and stereo speakers. You’ll get a choice between the usual piano sounds and other voices including strings, drums and organ.

There are lots of on-board functions too. You can record and play back your performances and layer two different sounds. You can split the keyboard into two identical halves for teachers to play alongside students. And you can play different sounds with each hand.

USB support means you can play along with the music of your choice and save your own compositions. It’s also got Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect to MIDI music apps on mobile devices.

The keyboard also comes with three months’ subscription to music website Skoove. Get unlimited access to tuition and tunes when you register your instrument on the Roland website.

There’s very little not to like about this keyboard. The position of the speakers is, however, an odd choice. They actually sit below the chassis, so the sound is directed downwards.

The other minor niggle comes with the built-in music stand, which is a little flimsy for our liking.

These are, however, small drawbacks with what is otherwise an excellent keyboard. It may not have loads of gadgets, but if your priorities are feel and sound quality, you won’t go wrong here.

Pros:

  • Perfectly weighted keys with convincing ivory texture
  • Ability to record performances
  • Bluetooth connectivity to music apps on mobile devices

Cons:

  • The position of the speakers isn’t the best for sound projection
  • The music rest is a little flimsy.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

4. Alesis Recital Pro 88-Key Weighted Keyboard

88 weighted keyboard

Although one of the least expensive keyboards on our list, there’s no compromise on functionality with the Alesis Recital Pro.

The full-sized keys have hammer action, so they’re lighter on the higher notes, just like an acoustic piano. But unlike an acoustic, players of this keyboard can adjust the weight of the keys to suit their playing style.

There’s impressive 128-note polyphony, so you won’t lose any notes, even when playing the most complex pieces. You can select reverb, modulation and chorus to create new effects for your compositions. And you can save and play back your performances with the on-board recorder.

There’s also a choice of twelve voices. Select from two styles of acoustic piano, electric piano, vibraphone, organs, harpsichord, clavi, strings, synth, brass and bass.

Use the split mode to assign different voices to each hand, or combine two using the layer mode. A lesson function also divides the keyboard into two identical halves to allow students to play alongside teachers.

The sound is delivered through powerful 20-watt speakers. Alternatively, if you want to practice quietly, make use of the ¼-inch jack to divert the sound to headphones. You’ll need an adapter if you have headphones with a 3.5-millimeter connection.

There are also ¼-inch stereo outputs to allow connections to an amplifier, recorder or mixer. And if you want to connect up to a PC or Mac, you can. The USB-MIDI output will give you access to virtual instrument plug-ins and music software.

When you register your keyboard, you’ll also get three months of premium access to Skoove. This website offers an extensive catalog of chart and classical music. New lessons are added every month, and you can even call on experienced musicians for help if you have questions.

Play the keyboard on the go using six D-cell batteries, which you’ll need to buy separately. Or for unlimited playing time, plug in the adapter to your electricity supply.

The one gripe we have with this one is that the keys do click when they’re struck. It’s not a big deal – and for beginners in particular, this is a great keyboard for the money. But professional players may want to pay more to eliminate this issue.

Pros:

  • 128-note polyphony
  • 12 voices and reverb, modulation and chorus effects
  • Comes with three months of premium access to music website Skoove

Cons:

  • You’ll need to get an adapter if you want to use headphones with 3.5-millimeter connections
  • The keys make a slight clicking noise when struck.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

5. Donner DEP-20 88-Key Weighted Keyboard

best weighted keyboard 88 keys

Beginners looking for plenty of features from their 88 key keyboard should take a look at the Donner DEP-20.

The hammer action keys are full-sized, with adjustable touch-response. That means you can make them lighter or heavier to suit the way you play.

There’s 128-note polyphony, so it won’t miss out any notes, even in dense compositions.

You’ll get a choice of 238 different voices, plus chorus and reverb effects, and the ability to layer two sounds.  It comes with a professional-quality sustain pedal too. If you love experimenting with different sounds, this is a great option.

You’ll also be able to record what you’ve created and play it back through the two 25-watt speakers.

It’s got plenty of options when it comes to connectivity too. There’s a socket to connect up your MP3 player, plus a USB transmission interface. There’s another port for a pedal, and a separate one for the sustain pedal.

With audio inputs and outputs, you’ll be able to connect to headphones or an amp. And here, the ¼-inch headphone jack is easy to reach. You won’t need to fumble around at the back of the keyboard.

There’s an LED screen too, which can show you chords and notation, and allow tone adjustments. One thing it doesn’t have, however, is Bluetooth.

Note that this is a more substantial keyboard than many others, weighing it at just over 35 pounds. If you’re looking for something that’s easily portable, it won’t be the right choice.

All in all, this is a great choice for beginners or intermediate players. And with features like 128-note polyphony and adjustable touch-response, this offers exceptional value for money.

Pros:

  • 128-note polyphony
  • Adjustable touch response
  • 238 voices, chorus and reverb and effects, and two-voice layering

Cons:

  • It’s heavy, so not the right choice if you’re looking for a portable keyboard
  • No Bluetooth connectivity.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

6. The ONE Smart Keyboard Pro 88-Key Digital Piano Keyboard

weighted keyboards 88 keys

If you’ve got serious money to invest in your keyboard, check out the Smart Keyboard Pro from The ONE.

The 88 full-sized keys have hammer action to replicate the feel of an acoustic piano. There is, however, less difference between the weight of the lower and higher notes than you’ll find on the real thing.

The touch-response is adjustable. That means you’ll get a pleasant playing experience whether you’re light or heavy-fingered.

There’s 128-note polyphony and realistic piano sound generated from ten layers of samples. A clever dual-purpose button allows you to adjust the volume and change the instrument voice. There’s a huge range of sounds too, including 691 timbres and 11 drum sets.

This is a particularly good option for beginners, whether or not you’re having paid tuition. The keys light up to get you playing in minutes. The modes on offer include illuminated sheet music, video tutorials, fun games and a crash course for fast results.

There’s also a USB-MIDI output, allowing you to connect the keyboard to your computer. That opens up a whole world of online tuition software, music samples and virtual instrument plug-ins. A record and playback function enables you to track your progress.

The colored lights are designed to work with The ONE Smart Piano app, but they’ll also work with Synthesia. The ONE app is fine, if a little limited. Whilst some songs are free, you’ll need to pay a download fee for many of them. And annoyingly, you can’t preview them before doing so.

Finally, it’s worth noting that with this one, you get a choice of finish. It’s available in either black or white to suit your interior design scheme.

Pros:

  • Light-up keys to speed up learning
  • 128-note polyphony
  • 691 timbres and 11 drum sets

Cons:

  • The ONE app is rather limited, with no option to preview music before download
  • Limited difference between the weight of the lower and higher keys.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

7. Yamaha DGX660B 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano

electronic keyboard 88 weighted keys

The DGX660B is another keyboard that’s well worth considering if you have more cash to splash.

It comes with a furniture stand, and offers a whole range of other optional extras. If you’re looking for a bench or three-pedal unit, there are bundles available to suit. And if you’ve already got your furniture, there are accessories bundles including a sustain pedal, headphones and microphone.

But what about the keyboard itself? Well, the 88 keys here are full-sized, and they feature Yamaha’s graded hammer standard. It’s the same mechanism used on the P71, and creates the heavier feel on the lower keys that you’d get with an acoustic.

The sound here is rich and true. It’s generated by the Pure CF Sound Engine. This uses hi-tech sampling technology to replicate the sound of Yamaha’s CFIIIS grand piano.

It’s compatible with MIDI too. Play a MIDI song, and the LCD display will show you either the score or lyrics as it plays. It will also generate the notation for your own compositions. And you can use the built-in USB recorder to record and play them back.

You can also use a USB to download new songs from the MusicSoft site. You’ll be able to access sheet music and hit songs through the online “You are the Artist” music library.

There are also some great options here for beginners. The “Smart Chord” function will generate a full chord from one note played with your left hand. It will build simple triads for pop, or complex sevenths or ninths for jazz.

The niggles here are more with the accessories – and their ports – than with the keyboard itself.

The first is the position of the headphone jack. It’s tucked away at the back of the chassis, underneath the music rest. It makes it tricky to reach, particularly if the keyboard is positioned against the wall.

And the accessories bundle including the sustain pedal and microphone isn’t, in our view, the wisest buy. The quality isn’t great, and you can get better options separately for a similar outlay.

Pros:

  • Graded hammer standard keys effectively mimic the feel of an acoustic piano
  • The Pure CF Sound Engine generates rich, true sound
  • The Smart Chord function is great for beginners

Cons:

  • The headphones jack is a pain to get to, especially if the keyboard is next to the wall
  • The accessories bundle doesn’t offer great value for money.

Check Current Price on Amazon

 

 

Buying guide

So you’ve read all the reviews, but you’re not quite sure which keyboard to choose. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for some factors to consider before you make your final selection.

Keyboard feel

If your keyboard will connect to music software, you can download tuition packages and virtual instrument plug-ins. But one thing you’ll never be able to do is change the feel of the keyboard itself. That’s why it’s one of the most important factors to consider in making your choice.

All the keyboards here are weighted, so they’ll feel more like an acoustic piano than a synth. But it’s also worth looking for those that offer graded hammer action. These will replicate the way the lower keys on an acoustic piano are heavier than the higher ones. And that means a more piano-like experience.

Another feature to consider is the ability to adjust the touch-sensitivity of the keys. If you’re trying to develop your fingering technique for an acoustic piano, you won’t need a keyboard that allows this. But if you want your instrument to adjust to your playing style, it’s a great function to have.

Last but not least, check out the texture of the keys themselves. Some keyboards have a simulated ivory and ebony finish to bring the playing experience closer to an acoustic piano. But the simulation isn’t exact, so it’s worth trying before you buy to check that the texture suits you.

Sound

Generally speaking, the more expensive the keyboard, the better the sound quality. But remember that sound is also a very personal experience. If you can, it’s always a good idea to listen to an instrument before you buy it.

And remember to think about the experience for those around you too. If you want to practice without disturbing others, look for options with headphone jacks. And if you want a keyboard for performance, check that it can be plugged into an amplifier.

Features

Last but not least, check out the features on offer.

If you’re going to be having one-to-one lessons, the ability to split the keyboard into two halves is very useful. This is often referred to as “duo” mode, and will allow you to play alongside your teacher.

Beginners will also benefit from on-board software like light-up keys, and the ability to record and play back performances.

And remember that a keyboard that can be connected to a computer can access a whole range of new functions. You won’t need hundreds of different voices on-board if you can download virtual instrument plug-ins.

Ready to go shopping?

That brings us to the end of our tour of seven of the best 88 key weighted keyboards out there right now. Whatever price point you’re looking at, there are some great options to choose from.

Our favorite is Yamaha’s P71. We love the authentic acoustic piano feel of the graded hammer standard action. There are plenty of on-board functions, and USB connectivity provides a gateway to a world of music software.

A great alternative at a similar price point is the Privia PX-160 from Casio. This offers exceptional feel and 128-note polyphony, making it a great choice for more experienced players.

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional, we hope you find the perfect keyboard. And we’re sure it will bring you, and your audiences, many hours of pleasure.

Leave a Comment