For anyone beginning to learn music, the right instrument can make a huge difference. And for budding pianists, a digital piano offers a space-saving and relatively affordable entry point.
But with a huge choice of instruments available, it can be difficult to know which will best suit your needs. Here, we review seven of the best digital pianos for beginners to help you in your search. And after looking at their pros and cons, we’ll consider how to narrow down your selection.
So step this way for the start of your musical journey…
Are you looking for a digital piano that will bring you closer to the experience of an acoustic one? If so, Lagrima’s 88-key instrument may be a good choice. And although it’s the second most expensive digital piano on your list, you’ll get a lot for your money.
The keys here are weighted so they are heavier for the lower notes and lighter for the high. Note, though, that the difference in volume you’ll get from pressing the keys hard or soft isn’t great. It’s really only noticeable if you have the volume cranked up loud.
It has three pedals for soft, sustain and sostenuto. And to ensure you’ll be able to hear all the notes when using the pedals, there’s a 64-note polyphony.
It offers multiple instrument sounds, and has a dual-mode to allow you to layer one sound on another. You can choose from 960 tones and 200 rhythms. To help you discover your piano’s capabilities, 80 demo songs are included too.
There are a range of functions, including touch, metronome, transpose, and split. You can alter the volume, and record and replay your music. There’s also a serviceable music stand.
You can avoid disturbing others by plugging in headphones to one of the two 3.5 mm jacks. (You’ll need to provide your own headphones, though.) If, on the other hand, you want more volume, you have two options. You can use the built-in speakers or connect it up to an external speaker.
There’s also a USB terminal, allowing you to connect to a variety of apps on your computer or smartphone.
The sturdy design requires a little assembly. The instructions for doing so aren’t as clear as they could be, but it’s not too complex.
This smart keyboard from The ONE is a good choice for younger players. And it’s just as good for adults who don’t want to pay for lessons. Colored LEDs show which keys to press to get you playing music quickly. It’s a great way to build enthusiasm and encourage practice!
The keyboard here has 61 keys, and there aren’t multiple buttons to select tones or rhythms. Instead, this is designed to connect to a tablet and The ONE app. It comes with three different types of cables, allowing it to be used with Android, or old or new Apple devices.
The app includes a crash course allowing tunes to be played in a matter of minutes. You can even choose gaming mode, giving an added incentive to play accurately to score points. And you can choose from 128 different instrument sounds.
The app offers over 100 lessons, with the lights incorporated in demonstrations. Thousands of pieces of sheet music are available too, in all styles from jazz to classical, blues to pop. The auto-play function helps players learn melodies. And when detailed practice is required, there’s an “A-B repeat” function.
Built-in speakers allow you to play music from apps like YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora. And you can play your own harmonies over the top.
Note that the keys here aren’t weighted, and they’re fairly light. If you’re looking for a digital piano to mimic the feel of an acoustic one, this won’t be the right choice.
The clever design means that the keyboard is both small and light. It will easily sit on a desk, and weighs only 11 pounds.
It comes in a choice of colors too: classic black, gold and white, or frosted pink. It can be powered by being plugged into the mains or with six AA batteries. But note that the cord for the charger is very short. You’ll need to position it very close to a power source if using it this way.
Clever light-up keys make learning easy and fun
The app includes over 100 lessons, with play and practice functions
Small and light enough to be used anywhere where space is at a premium
If you’re looking for an 88-key digital piano at an affordable price, this one from Alesis could be for you.
The keys here are semi-weighted for a playing experience that’s mid-way between a keyboard and hammer-action. You can also adjust the touch response, getting the best results whether you naturally press the keys hard or softly.
You can choose between five different instrument sounds: acoustic or electric piano, organ, synth or bass. And you can also select chorus or reverb effects. Built-in 20-watt speakers provide clear sound. Stereo RCA outputs allow you to connect it up to an external speaker or amp too.
If you want to keep things quiet whilst you practice, there’s a headphone port. Note, though, that it’s ¼-inch. If you want to use standard 3 mm jack, you’ll need to get a converter. It also has a ¼-inch input port for a sustain pedal. Like the headphones, you’ll need to buy this separately.
Standard, layer, split and lesson modes allow you to learn on your own or side-by-side with an instructor. In fact, there are a host of advanced settings – so many, that they’re actually in danger of being rather overwhelming. This includes at least three different settings for volume.
The issue is that it’s quite easy to inadvertently enter the advanced settings and change things by accident. If you find your piano has suddenly got quieter, get out the manual and check the settings! But even at the loudest setting, you won’t get big sound here.
There’s a USB-MIDI output to connect up to a Mac or PC. A 3-month premium subscription to Skoove is included too. This gives you access to Skoove’s suite of online interactive piano lessons. And if you need some help, you’ll have access to the site’s team of experienced teachers.
The piano comes with its own charger, allowing it to be powered from the mains. If you need to be unplugged, it can run on six D-cell batteries instead.
88 semi-weighted keys with adjustable touch response
Standard, layer, split and lesson modes
Includes 3-month premium subscription to online educational resource Skoove
The advanced settings are complicated and easy to change by accident
The sound from the built-in speakers isn’t particularly powerful.
This 61-key digital piano from Alesis is one of the most economical options on our list. And you won’t feel as if the price tag means you’re compromising on features.
As well as the keyboard, you’ll get built-in speakers, headphones, a microphone, stand, music rest and even a bench.
The keys aren’t weighted, and there’s no touch sensitivity here. But you will get a choice of 300 different instrument sounds and the same number of rhythms. And it’s pre-set with 40 demo songs to give you an idea of what it can achieve.
There’s no shortage of different functions either. “Dual” allows you to layer different sounds, while “split” allows a student and teacher to play together. And you have the option of recording your music too.
The stand and bench are easy to assemble and lightweight enough to move around easily. The bench is adjustable, with three different height settings. That will be enough for most people to be able to position themselves comfortably.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for the price, the microphone and speakers are quite basic. For a beginner, though, they’ll be more than adequate.
Also included in the package is a three-month premium subscription to online music tuition site Skoove. This means being able to access a range of lessons, and to contact expert musicians if you need help. Brand new lessons are added every month, so there’s always something new to learn.
The major downside with this one is the quality of the sound. There’s no getting away from the fact that it is very electronic. And although there are 300 different sounds, the number you’d actually want to listen to for long is considerably lower.
Overall, this is a good value bundle that will suit younger players. It’s a particularly good choice for parents who aren’t sure how long their children will stick at it. But don’t choose this one if you’re looking for an instrument to continue playing as you grow in skill.
Set includes speakers, a microphone, stand, bench and music rest
Dual, split and record functions
Includes three-month premium subscription to tuition site Skoove
At the other end of the spectrum in terms of price is Yamaha’s P71. This 88-key digital piano will set you back more than twice as much as others on our list. So what do you get for your money?
Well, the 88 keys are all full size. They’re weighted too, so they’re heavier at the lower notes and lighter at the higher ones. The result is a convincing simulation of the feel of an acoustic piano. If you’re looking for a digital piano to practice on between lessons with an acoustic, this will be ideal.
There are ten different sounds, or “voices” as Yamaha calls them. These include samples from Yamaha’s grand pianos. And you also have the ability to layer them to create a new audio experience.
A sustain pedal and power adapter are included in the package. The pedal isn’t the same quality as the piano though. While it will be fine for a beginner, you may want to upgrade as you progress.
There aren’t lots of buttons with this piano. Hold down the grand piano/function key, and different keys will select different functions. It will allow you to change sounds, play demo songs, or set the built-in metronome.
There’s a USB port to allow you to use different music software, but note there’s no MIDI port. The headphone jack is suitable for larger headphones.
The low-profile design is less than 12 inches deep, and the piano weighs just 25 pounds. If you’re looking for a portable option, this will work well. The music rest extends a couple of inches behind the body of the instrument, though. That means you won’t be able to place it flush against a wall.
The real reason for the premium price here is the sound quality. Yamaha uses what it calls “Advanced Wave Memory” sampling to capture the timbre of an acoustic piano. It uses two microphones to record pairs of waveforms for a fuller sound.
All in all, this is a great quality digital piano with a real acoustic feel. If you’re looking for an instrument suitable for both beginners and more advanced players, it’s a strong contender.
88 full-sized and weighted keys give a convincing acoustic piano playing experience
Excellent sound quality from Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory system
USB port for use with music software
The sustain pedal included in the pack isn’t the most robust
The position of the music rest means you won’t be able to rest this flush against a wall.
This digital piano from RockJam comes with a range of extras as standard. You’ll get a stool, stand, headphones and a sustain pedal.
There are 61 keys, making this a smaller option for homes where space is at a premium. But you won’t be short of functionality. This model offers 200 instrument sounds, 200 rhythms, and a teaching function. And there are 30 demo songs included too.
You can record and play back your music, and build layers of sound. A large and well-lit touchscreen display makes it easy to choose features and functions. There’s also a MIDI output, which allows the piano to be integrated with a digital audio workstation.
The stand that accompanies it isn’t the sturdiest out there, but it can be adjusted to different heights. And the stool is well-padded, keeping you comfortable no matter how long you play for. The same goes for the headphones.
Beginners will particularly benefit from the access to RockJam’s learning package, Simply Piano. A voucher for 30 days of membership of the online site is included in the box. If you prefer not to go online, several practice and teaching functions are available on-board too. It also comes with note stickers to help guide new pianists.
The sound quality here is a little tinny, and the keys aren’t weighted. If you want an experience similar to playing an acoustic piano, don’t choose this one. And oddly, the lights on the power button are counter-intuitive. A red light indicates the piano is on, whilst a blue one shows that it’s off.
But if you’re looking for a good, basic digital piano for a beginner, there’s a lot here to like. And you’ll be getting a host of accessories for a good price.
Includes stand, padded stool, headphones and sustain pedal
200 sounds and 200 rhythms
On-board teaching and practice functions, plus 30 days’ membership to tuition site Simply Piano
Sound quality is rather tinny
The lights on the power button are the “wrong” way around.
Casio’s CTK-2550 is a 61-key digital piano that comes with a stand, power adapter and headphones. And it’s very reasonably priced too.
It can be powered using either the AC adapter or six AA batteries. It offers a selection of 400 tones and 150 rhythms, providing almost endless variety. There’s a maximum polyphony of 48 notes, more than enough for a beginner. And a “Dance Music” mode lets you remix electronic music with ease.
You’ll also get access to the Chordana app. This allows you to play a whole range of songs in multiple different styles. Plug in your iOS or Android device and the CTK-2550’s display will show you what to do.
There are built-in speakers, but if you want to practice in silence you can plug in headphones. A set of Samson HP30 closed-cup headphones are included in the pack. They’re lightweight and comfortable, with cushioned earcups and an adjustable headband.
They also include an adapter, allowing you to use them with large or small headphones sockets.
The piano comes with a surprisingly sturdy steel X-frame stand. It’s adjustable for heights between 25¼ and 38¾ inches, allowing you to play seated or standing. It will hold keyboards up to 130 pounds and 88 keys. Rubber end caps on the feet prevent it from marking your floor.
A wire rack and a notch give you somewhere to place your music. But note that this isn’t the sturdiest set-up we’ve seen.
And the keys here aren’t weighted. That means you won’t be able to control the volume depending on how hard you press. So if you want to be able to practice dynamics ready for an acoustic piano, this won’t be the right choice.
And the volume here doesn’t go particularly high. It will be fine for playing to yourself, but not for performing to others.
But for beginners taking their first steps with the piano, this is a well-priced option with everything you need.
Selection of 400 tones and 150 rhythms
Comes with power adapter, stand and headphones
Access to the Chordana tuition app via your Android or iOS device
The keys aren’t weighted, so there’s no dynamic control
If you’re feeling bewildered by the sheer range of digital pianos out there, don’t worry. Here are some questions to help you choose the best option for your needs.
Are you testing the water, or in it for the long haul?
Digital pianos come at all price points. A good place to start is to ask yourself what kind of investment you want to make.
If you’re looking for an instrument to test whether the piano is really for you, you may prefer to put your money towards the basics. There are some great sets out there that include everything you need to get started. Look for options with a stand and bench or stool. A sustain pedal may be helpful too.
Don’t worry if the accessories that are included are rather basic. If you decide to continue playing, you can always upgrade them later.
If, however, you plan to progress from beginner to intermediate, spending more at the outset could be a wise investment. Investing in an instrument with better sound quality will give you more pleasing results as your playing improves.
If that’s what you’re planning, it’s also worth looking for instruments with a higher polyphony. Simply put, that means the piano will be able to play more notes at the same time without “losing” them.
Weighted or unweighted keys?
Next, consider whether you want weighted or unweighted keys, and how large a keyboard you want.
If you want a playing experience that’s as close as possible to an acoustic piano, choose an 88-key model. You’ll also want a weighted keyboard, where the volume changes depending on how hard you press. And where the lower notes will have more resistance than the higher ones.
Weighted keys are more expensive. But if you’re looking for an instrument to practice on between acoustic piano lessons, it’s well worth spending the money.
If, on the other hand, you just want to get used to a keyboard, unweighted options will be easy to use. And keyboards with fewer than 88 keys will take up less space.
What kind of tuition support are you looking for?
There are some great features out there to help beginners learn. At its simplest, this might simply be including note stickers to help you learn which key is which.
Many digital pianos, though, go further and give you access to tuition features, either on-board or online.
Split functions split the keyboard to allow you and your instructor to play side by side. Other options include light-up keys and practice settings to focus on particular pieces of music. And a record and playback function is a great way of listening for where you need to improve.
A number of pianos on our list also include access to online tuition as part of the package. Check what’s included and how long you’ll have membership before needing to pay.
Ready to choose?
That brings us to the end of our list of the seven best digital pianos for beginners. We hope we’ve helped you in your quest to find the perfect instrument to develop your musical ability.
Our favorite is the Melody 61 MKII from Alesis. It includes everything you need to get started without breaking the bank. And the three-month access to online tuition and advice from expert musicians is a great bonus.
But if you’re looking for an instrument with better sound quality, choose the Yamaha P71. The beautifully weighted keys provide an acoustic-like playing experience too.
Whichever digital piano we choose, we hope it brings you joy as you learn to play.