What’s the Best Digital Piano for Learning?

If you want to learn how to play the piano, not just any keyboard will do. You want something that finds a balance between ease of use and authenticity. Which is why we put together this guide to the best digital piano for learning piano.

Our Top Pick
Yamaha P71: Fantastic Yamaha keys at an affordable price tag
Note: As an Amazon Associate, MIDINation earns commissions for qualifying purchases made through Amazon links on this page.

Learning to play the piano is one of the hardest and one of the most rewarding things you can do.

But to learn the piano, you also need, well, a piano. And not just any piano – you need something that offers a mix of affordability and authenticity.

Most digital pianos for experienced players tend to be too expensive for new learners. While a $1,000+ Yamaha YDP will sound fantastic, it makes little sense to spend that much money on something you aren’t even sure of pursuing.

Which is why we put together this list of the best digital pianos for learning. Unlike our other roundups of digital pianos, we focused entirely on learning features and playability in this guide. Authentic key action, learning modes, and a natural sound were our top priorities, as was ease of use and affordable pricing.

Based on this criteria, here’s our pick of the best digital piano for learning:

Best Overall

Yamaha P71

Yamaha topping any list of the “best digital pianos” is almost a given at this point. Their keyboards are so far ahead of most competitors that you can virtually pick any Yamaha keyboard off the shelf and be happy about it.

The P71, in particular, stands out because of its great key action, authentic sounds, ease of use, and affordable pricing. While it misses some of the learning modes found on entry-level Casio keyboards, it out-performs others in sheer sound quality and maturity. This isn’t a toy; it will serve you well right from the time you learn your first note to the time you play an entire Chopin piece.

For its maturity, performance, and price, I’ve ranked it the best digital piano for learning.

When learning to play the piano, you just want to feel the weight and the tone of an acoustic grand piano, but since you do not have one, you can take the next thing closest to it. They do not come any better than the Yamaha P71. You need the best digital piano for learning.

Built with a Yamaha sound engine, this is a perfect option for people that love good sound. It will help with your rehearsing skills at home, thanks to the full piano size as well as the 88 fully weighted keys.

Performance

This digital piano is very good for beginners as well as advanced users, thanks to its simplistic and advanced sound features. First, almost every tenet of its operation can be changed with just one press of a button.

The sound is deep and rich, thanks to the Advanced Wave Memory, an advanced digital sound technology that captures the tones of an acoustic piano. It uses a pair of waveforms, which are captured by the two microphones integrated into the piano. The result is that the AWM technology can play one key at a time. This gives different timbre and volume.

What I like:

  • You can use dual mode to combine voices such as strings and piano to enrich your sound experience when playing
  • It is easy to move around since it only weighs 25 lbs
  • Slim design makes it a space saver when pushed against the wall
  • Comes with 10 unique voices and some of them are tones from the acoustic grand pianos made by Yamaha
  • The weighted keys – 88 of them give you the feeling of playing an acoustic piano
  • Sold with a sustain pedal and a power adapter

What I don’t:

If you plug in the sustain pedal before tuning the piano, it is going to do the opposite of what it is supposed to do. It cuts off the sound when you press it rather than sustain it.

Recommended for: The Yamaha P71 is a good investment for students. The sound is great but soft. It is so good such that it competes with highly priced pianos when it comes to the richness of the sound.

Pros

  • Fully weighted keys make it feel like an acoustic piano
  • You just need to long press the piano button to make any changes to sound settings
  • Can be used in small apartments thanks to small size
  • Very good for students and amateur creators

Cons

  • No MIDI connection but it has a USB port so you can connect to computer
  • Takes some time to figure out how to get the sustain pedal to work

Best Budget Pick: Alesis Recital

The Alesis Recital is a great beginner keyboard that has been manufactured with the needs of a student at heart. This is why it makes learning such fun and it is easy to see why it attracts rave reviews online. The split and layer functions enable you to customize the five inbuilt voices to suit your needs. You cannot exhaust the fun that the features of this keyboard bring.

Performance

The performance is incredible. First, start by using the split feature that allows you to play one voice on one half of the keyboard while you get another voice on the other side. This allows you to increase the number of sounds that you can get from this piano. There is a stereo RCA feature behind the keyboard so that you can plug-in a good speaker to enjoy higher quality sound. It also has a headphone jack if you prefer such.

What I like:

  • 88 half-weighted keys and touch response that can be adjusted
  • Has 5 voices – Synth, Electric Piano, Bass, Organ and Acoustic Piano
  • Good learning features like split, layer, lesson and standard modes
  • Powerful integrated speakers for good sound quality
  • The USB to MIDI connectivity allows you to expand your playing world
  • Use dry cells to power the keyboard when you do not have grid power connectivity, or when camping

What I don’t:

We do not like that the Alesis Recital comes with semi-weighted keys. Everyone knows that fully weighted keys are best for beginners, children and students. However, even at semi-weight, this keyboard is still a good performer.

Recommended for: Beginners and aspiring DJs working on a tight budget who need a full-fledged DJ controller.

Pros

  • Price is very affordable
  • Many connectivity features
  • The organ voice is just great
  • You can use batteries on this keyboard

Cons

  • The keys feel too light, you might think they are not even semi-weighted
  • A bit complicated so the learning curve is a bit longer

Best Performance: Yamaha DGX660

As an improvement of the preceding Yamaha DGX650, this is the best digital piano for learning. It has many special effects such as 44 chorus types, 237 DSP types, 5 Master EQ types and 41 Reverb Types. At 46 pounds of weight minus the stand, it weighs more than most beginner piano models. The features compensate for this weight. With sounds such as 15 drum kits, 100 songs, 151 Panel and others, your piano lessons should be as exhilarating as the real thing.

Performance

Instead of the AWM sound engine that the P45 and P71 digital pianos from Yamaha come with, the Yamaha DGX660 comes with the Pure CF sound engine which produces awesome sound. The sound samples that it comes with have been captured from the CFIII Concert – a grand piano made by Yamaha.

Every aspect of this piano is performance-oriented. Take for example, the keys. They are touch sensitive and so as you bend a note every now and then, you will achieve fantastic sound effects. You also get a whole range of sounds such as 12 electric pianos, 10 pianos, 14 organs, 5 accordions, 14 guitars, 9 bass guitars and so many more. This digital piano is the real deal if you love some excitement.

What I like: 

  • 88 fully weighted keys
  • It displays the lyrics and score on the on-built LCD display screen
  • Comes with Yamaha Education Suite for lessons
  • Has all of 554 different sounds
  • Lots of connectivity options such as auxiliary jack in, headphone, sustain jack and microphone in
  • The keys are touch sensitive with some being hard, soft, fixed or medium
  • Record up to 5 songs with the MIDI recorder
  • Has quite a lot to offer in the effects department

What we don’t like

The user interface can be quite something to figure out, as you would expect from the flurry of features and sound effects that this digital piano comes with. It has quite a learning curve.

Recommended for: Looking at the features and the multitude of sound effects among other things, I am convinced this piano would be great for beginners with some experience, if there is anything like that. Children and total newbies would find the learning curve a bit long. However, if they do learn on it, it will be easy for them to play the grand piano and the organ in future. This makes it the best digital piano for learning.

Pros

  • Incredible collection of sounds
  • Lots of exciting sound effects
  • 192 note polyphony allows you to use backup sounds, layers and different styles as much as you like
  • Split features makes it possible to split the keyboard into two

Cons

  • Headphone jack is installed at the back of the piano – really!
  • Quite bulky without the stand, bulkier with one

Best Entry-Level: Casio CTK-3500

The Casio CTK-3500 is one of the best beginner digital pianos we have. It has many basic and some advanced features too. You will enjoy a dynamic playing experience that is within your control, engaging the effects that you want as well as controlling the sound output. As a lightweight instrument, you can even take it with you when traveling. The touch sensitive keys are a nice touch and many people love the way that they enhance their playing experience.

Performance

The 400 sounds from different instruments in combination with the 48 note polyphony makes the Casio CTK-3500 a really versatile tool, allowing you to create your own unique playing style as you learn. The backing tracks (built-in songs) are a lot of fun as you create your own music. You may also download the Chordana Play app from Google Play Store or App Store and then connect the smartphone to this piano through an audio cable to help you learn faster how to play.

What I like:

  • 61 touch-sensitive keys
  • Has 60 built-in songs
  • More than 400 instrument sounds
  • 48 note polyphony
  • Comes with power adapter or it can use batteries
  • You can store songs with the app
  • Has equalizer, reverb, chorus and other effects

What we don’t like

The keys are not weighted. Although that does not affect your learning experience a lot, semi or fully weighted keys are always better.

Recommended for: Absolute beginners or students buying their first digital piano and working within a strict budget.

Pros

  • Nice inbuilt speakers
  • USB port allows you to connect to your laptop for a better experience
  • Chordana App can help you learn how to position your fingers
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • There is no layering and no split keyboard
  • The main features are hard to access
  • 61 keys only

Other Options

There is a great variety of digital pianos on the market from brands big and small. If you want more options apart from the ones I shared above, you’ll love these:

1. Casio Privia PX-160

This high quality piano is built with durability in mind. The plastic casing is almost one piece, which makes it quite compact and sturdy. You will love how everything is so well laid out to make learning to play the piano for beginners easier. All the controls that you need are clearly laid out, making this a great beginner piano.

Performance

The Casio Privia PX160 combines the best of everything to deliver a great learning experience for anyone. In this class of beginner pianos, it is almost hard to find something that comes with a bass sound that can fill the room without the need to connect any external speaker, but this Casio delivers such. Another thing that you will love about it is that is the split feature. You can split the keyboard sounds to two instruments. This piano is also not lacking in the effects segment because it offers hall reverb, brilliance adjuster as well as a chorus effect.

What I like:

  • 88 fully weighted keys
  • Modes like Dual, Split and Duo
  • Has piano songs built into it
  • Has sustain, Bluetooth and headphone connectivity feature
  • Has a lesson function which enables one to use each hand separately
  • 17 types of temperaments
  • Has many instrument sounds, up to 18

What we don’t like

It would have been better if this model came with more built-in sounds. Right now, it has only 18, which is much lower as compared to what competitors in the same price range come with.

Recommended for: I would recommend the Privia PX160 for children even as young as 9 years old. It is also a good tool for beginners looking forward to learning how to play the piano. The price is not too prohibitive and the size and weight are good, even for a person who likes to pop their instrument into the trunk when going some place.

Pros

  • Affordable keyboard for piano enthusiasts
  • Great bass sound to fill a room
  • Such a simplistic design makes it a good instrument for beginners

Cons

  • The sheet music stand could be better
  • The sustain pedal feels weak

2. Yamaha P45

The build of the Yamaha P45 is such that it collects minimal dust even when in storage,thanks to how the keys are attached. As a result, it does not need as much cleaning as other digital pianos. The Graded Hammer Standard keybed was specifically designed by Yamaha for beginners. This digital piano has 10 voices only, not enough, but certainly not the fewest in the market.

Performance

When it comes to sound, Yamaha really gets it right and it is little wonder that the P45 is the best digital piano for learning. The weight of the keys, and the ivorite touch make you feel as if you are playing a grand piano. There are no thuds or clicks from the keys, and this puts Yamaha miles ahead of the competition. The power cord of the adapter is also quite long, so you do not have to place the piano so close to the outlet. The compact design and good casing ensures the piano can take some abuse from your kids, without falling apart on you.

What I like:

  • 88 keys are actually weighted with a hammer making them heavier than many beginner models
  • Has dual mode for combining two voices to enrich your playing experience
  • One button operation is very simple for beginners
  • AWM technology helps you record the sounds of an acoustic piano
  • Has a music stand, foot pedal and power adapter

What we don’t like

You have to tape or glue the sustain pedal to the floor. The reason for this is that the pedal is not solid or heavy enough.

Recommended for: Like many other digital pianos in this caliber, this one is recommended for students and children. The GHS keybed makes it quite good for learners.

Pros

  • Has good grand piano sound
  • Nice choice for beginners and kids
  • Good construction, compact and durable
  • USB port to connect your laptop and expand your music lessons

Cons

  • You have to buy things like stand and bench
  • Speaker quality could be better

3. Roland GO-61K

According to many users, the Roland GO-61K is more than just the best digital piano for learning. Many say that it is an entertainment system in its own right. The reason for this is that you can stream your own music and play it from the speakers using Bluetooth audio.The Loop Mix features makes it easy for players of all levels to create something fantastic. Even if you have never played a piano before, this feature makes you feel like a pro. It generates a loop and then you can just add instruments as you play along.

Performance

The Roland GO-61K is a creators dream-come-true. First, there are the more than 500 sounds that have been captured from some of the best Roland synthesizers in the market. Then there is the Bluetooth MIDI, which allows you to control all of your MIDI devices blissfully. You will stream your favorite music from your smartphone or other Bluetooth enabled device and jam along with it on the keyboard, creating something special with your best music.

What I like:

  • Bluetooth connectivity for tablet or smartphone
  • More than 500 instrument sounds incorporated into the piano
  • The built-in recorder will record your practice sessions for future reference
  • Has 61 keys
  • Audio in and out, headphone and USB port enhance connectivity
  • Has 128 note polyphony
  • Light in weight for portability and can also use batteries for when you are off the grid

What we don’t like

There is no split function, which as we have seen in other pianos, allows you to play one voice on one half and another on the second half, creating an awesome combination of voices.

Recommended for: Beginners who want an affordable but versatile digital piano/MIDI controller/entertainment unit with great keys and even better design.

Pros

  • Built-in Bluetooth for wider connectivity
  • Easy portability, light in weight
  • Can use batteries when you are traveling

Cons

  • Keys are not weighted
  • Sustain pedal lacks weight

4. Yamaha PSR-EW300

The touch sensitive keys of the Yamaha PSR-EW300 will give the user a feel of an acoustic piano. This means that when you really punch the keys, they will give off a loud sound and vice versa. This piano packs many basic features for beginners. You also get 154 preset songs that will help you create a robust music experience.

Performance

With its 12 inch speakers (two of them), the preset songs and more than 400 other sounds to help your music lessons along, this is the best digital piano for learning. The two 2.5W amplifiers are also incredible and so you do not need external speakers when you are playing to a room. Effects such as Harmony, Reverb and Chorus enhance the sound, and we all know that sound is the most important feature in any piano.

What I like:

  • Has a backlit display –LCD
  • 76 keys, all touch sensitive
  • Has many voices and sound effects – 574 instrument sounds
  • Has split mode, Duo mode and Dual mode
  • Has YES – Yamaha Education Suite for piano lessons
  • Has 154 inbuilt songs
  • Scoring feature, which shows you how good your progress is
  • Function buttons help you adjust things like tempo and volume easily
  • Tuning feature allows you to tune the pitch and volume to your liking

What we don’t like

Yamaha customer service could be better than they are. They take a long time to respond if you have an issue and this is not a good thing considering that they have many products targeted at beginners.

Recommended for: We would recommend this piano for beginners because it is so rich yet simplistic at the same time. One of the features that makes it so good for beginners is the Yamaha Education Suite, which is specifically designed for learners.

Pros

  • USB port can help you get good jams from your laptop
  • Compact design makes the piano portable
  • YES resource is very helpful for beginners
  • Hundreds of instrument sounds

Cons

  • Keys are just 76 so you never get to play the full range
  • The keys are not weighted

Over to You

Buying the best digital piano for learning isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Hopefully, this list will help you decide which is the right digital piano for your needs.

For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also read:

References:

Changelog
  • November 2, 2019: Article published with 8 reviewed digital pianos.