In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: April 16, 2021
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Many people are interested in learning to play the piano, but very few of us have room for an acoustic piano in our homes. A digital piano offers a great solution to this issue. These instruments are designed to be a lightweight and space-saving alternative to an acoustic piano with the functionality of a traditional instrument. Digital pianos tend to offer a similar voice to an acoustic piano, but with additional features and functionality. Although you can spend thousands of dollars on a digital piano, we have focused on the under $500 segment. This would allow beginners, budding musicians, and those with limited space to enjoy the possibilities of having a piano in their own home.
No two digital pianos are the same; these instruments have different voices, functions, and features. In our digital piano reviews, we have considered the types of instruments, features, designs, sounds, and learner tools. Each of these factors will influence your choice of the digital piano to ensure that you choose the ideal instrument to suit your requirements.
Our research team has compiled a list of some of the best digital pianos under 500 dollars on the market. Our researchers not only looked at instrument features but also user feedback and manufacturer information. This information has allowed us to compile a comparison table, in-depth reviews, and a buying guide to help you in making an informed purchase decision.
The Yamaha P71 is an Amazon exclusive which functionally is identical to P45 model and has 88 weighted keys with ten different voices. This piano allows you to layer two voices so that you can be your own one-man band. The P71 model also offers a compact and light design, so it can be easily stored under a bed or sofa and placed on a table when you want to jam. The P71 can also connect to your computer via USB so that you can use it for your composing. It is compatible with Ableton, FL Studio, and other popular sequencers.
The P71 features weighted action keys that give a feeling of playing a real piano. The keys are held by the Yamaha Graded Hammer Action, which means that you can expect a higher quality compared to other brands. There are also premium acoustic piano voices that are backed with beautiful resonance and quality sounds.
The P71 is a great option both for beginners and experienced players. For a beginner, this digital piano provides everything you need. Yamaha aimed to bring customers an instrument to guide them musically, and this is beautifully showcased with this instrument. The overall sound quality is exceptional as Yamaha has integrated digital audio sampling of acoustic pianos to deliver realistic, natural sounds. Whether you want to play crisp treble or full, rich bass, the P71 delivers.
There is also a Dual Mode with the P71 that allows you to play different sounds alongside your music for a lush performance. You can record loops to create soundscapes and styles to take your performance to a new level. This is far more sophisticated than any beginner level instrument on today’s marketplace, so we consider the P71 to be the best digital piano under 500.
The Casio Privia PX160BK is a slim and simple 88-key digital piano that makes an excellent substitute for an acoustic piano. The speaker system is optimal, considering the price, and there is a choice of 18 different sounds. This digital piano model is available in a standard black finish, but you can, however, choose a champagne/gold color that looks really cool.
You can easily connect the Privia PX160BK to your computer or even tablet using a MIDI USB, and there is the reassurance of a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
If you’re familiar with the Privia PX150, you’ll see that this digital piano has inherited many features from the previous model. The most obvious of these is the Multi-Dimensional Air Sound Source. However, Casio has obviously worked on the weaker elements of the PX150 and added more great features.
Another great feature of the PX160BK is its portability. While you will still need a gig bag to protect your digital piano, at approximately 25 pounds, it is easy to carry around. This is impressive, considering that this model has 88 hammer action keys. This portable size means that you will find it easy to take to practice halls and gigs, with a compact size that allows it to fit in a small space. So, if you’re having to take public transport to your gig, you could use a table rather than carrying a keyboard stand.
The Privia PX160BK may be plastic, but its reliability and build quality are unquestionable. There is an easy navigate control panel with dedicated buttons for the standard
functions and settings: metronome, recorder, on/off button switch. But undoubtedly, the most impressive is the sound of this digital piano with its 128-note polyphony, which will not let you lose any notes during your performance because of low-cost firmware. This makes this model our second pick.
The Alesis Recital Pro is a great instrument for beginners as it is supplied with a 3-month premium subscription for online interactive piano lessons. So, if you want to learn to play at home before making your band debut, it provides a great grounding. The Recital Pro has an adjustable touch response with 88 semi-weighted keys. You can also combine two sounds to create layering. To support learning, you can also split the keyboard using lesson mode, so that a tutor can demonstrate music in the right zone.
You can also use the Recital Pro to record your music by connecting this digital piano to your computer using USB MIDI. There are 12 built-in voices that feature two variations of a grand piano, electric piano, synth, harpsichord, organ, and acoustic bass. Switching between voices is very easy, the voice buttons light up blue, and if you press it again for the variation, it will turn red. The name of the voice is also displayed on the screen. There are also some additional features that we’ve touched on above. Layer mode allows you to play two voices simultaneously, which means you can create your unique sound. This model features also the Split Mode, which allows to combine two voices: one for the right hand and the other one for the left hand. The keyboard can also be split into two parts during the Lesson Mode, where the identical pitch and voice can be used on both parts to let a student play along with a tutor.
The Recital Pro can also be powered with batteries, so if you get confident to play an outdoor gig, you don’t need to rely on having a nearby outlet.
What we liked:
3-month subscription for Skoove interactive lessons
The Yamaha YPG535 is a relatively portable digital piano with a matching stand and built-in speakers. This is a great option for those with limited room space, but it isn’t super compact and portable, as with the stand, the YPG535 has a total weight of 37 pounds. However, while the YPG535 is a little bulky, it does have far more features than the typical compact keyboard. If you do want to gig with the YPG535, you should know that the assembly process is relatively simple, but there are other stand options that can be more easily transported.
The YPG535 does have a comprehensive control panel with over 40 buttons and control elements. This means that there is a dedicated button for practically every setting and function, so while it can a little getting used to, it is remarkably transparent. The YPG535 even has a “portable grand” button that allows you to play a grand piano tone throughout the whole keyboard. There is also a monochrome display that makes it easier to navigate the functions and use the educational features on the keyboard.
The YPG535 features a Graded Soft Touch keyboard that while it doesn’t replicate a hammer action, it does have a semi-weight action to provide resistance. This feels far better than many entry-level keyboards and mimics some of the essential qualities of the acoustic piano action. There are also 32-note polyphony, 127 voices, and 361 sounds to help you create your unique sound. This makes this our pick for the best Yamaha digital piano under 500.
Just bear in mind that unlike some other Yamaha digital pianos, the YPG535 does not have the capability to run on battery power, so you’ll always need to be close to an outlet.
The LAGRIMA digital piano is a handsome instrument with an attractive console that is packed with features. It has the visual appeal of a spinet, naturally inviting people to gather and share music with warm, inviting natural sounds.
The LAGRIMA is a great choice for beginners with 88 full size weighted keys that have the feel of an analog piano. There are fully operational pedals to provide the experience and practice of an acoustic piano. However, there are also digital functions and voices that provide more functionality than a traditional piano, for the best of both worlds.
People who would like to continue playing the piano in future will appreciate the key weight and touch response that will definitely help with the transition to playing a grand piano. The touch sensitivity and GHS key weight will help learners to master the precision and finger strength needed for an analog, and the Dual Mode, demo songs, and LCD screen is what makes this model unique if to compare to analog pianos and other digital piano models.
However, the LAGRIMA also provides a great option for those who want a convenient and compact piano in their home. You can adjust the volume or use headphones to play without disturbing other members of your household. For these reasons, the LAGRIMA is our choice as the best real feel digital piano under 500.
In addition to the real-feel piano experience, the LAGRIMA is packed with features. The 128 MB sound sampler provides stable, clear, vivid sounds, while the LCD screen helps to customize piano functions. The LAGRIMA is capable of 64 levels of polyphony with «Sync», «Chord», «Transpose», and «Fill in» features. There are 80 demo songs to help practice, 200 preset rhythms, and 480 tones to allow you to customize your sound.
What we liked:
64 levels of polyphony
Full weighted keys
Mimics a traditional piano
What could be better:
Lacks a natural piano tone
Needs to be placed against a wall
Unclear assembly instructions
Things to Consider
A digital piano can enrich a home. Whether you just want to strike a few keys or practice every day, the right instrument can make all the difference. Not everyone has room for a large acoustic piano or want to disturb their families when they play, so the right digital piano can provide the perfect solution. So, here we’ll explore how to choose the right model for your needs, so you can have confidence in your purchase decision.
Features to consider while choosing a digital piano under 500 dollars
The features to look for in your new digital piano will depend on your skill level. If you are a beginner, you may wish to look for more learning-based features. For example, the Alesis Recital Pro is packed with features that are great for beginners. There is a three-month subscription for online interactive music lessons and a mode so you can split the keyboard and follow on with a tutor.
Sound quality and polyphony number (Max.)
One of the most important things to consider is the sound quality and polyphony. Today’s digital pianos have excellent sampling technology with some models like the ones listed here offering a sampling from high-quality grand pianos. For example, the Yamaha P71 has samples from genuine acoustic pianos, an authentic sound. However, there are other aspects of sound quality to consider.
Polyphony is the number of notes that the digital piano can simultaneously product. This means that you will need a piano with higher polyphony to play more complex pieces.
All of our picks for the digital piano under 500 dollars offer a high polyphony with some picks, such as the LAGRIMA, Casio Privia, and Alesis Recital Pro all offering 128-tone polyphony. This makes them more appropriate for more experienced players to tackle more complicated compositions. This can also help if you are using layering, so you can layer sounds with melodies for a complete and unique sound.
Number and type of keys
Standard pianos have 88 keys, so a good digital piano will emulate this to allow you to play full octaves. While there are some great 61-key digital piano options under 500, 88 keys are a popular choice. However, the type of keys is also important.
Hammer action keys mimic the action of an acoustic piano. Inside an acoustic piano, a hammer strikes strings when you hit a key to create the sound. Hammer action creates the feeling of this mechanical piano, so even though there are no physical hammers, it feels like a “real” piano.
Another aspect of the different types of keys is weighted action. The keys on an acoustic piano have some resistance, so when you use a digital piano to play more classical music, you want to emulate this same feeling. Technically, it can feel far harder to play an advanced musical composition if the keys don’t give anything back.
Number of voices
The number of voices refers to the piano styles that the digital piano is equipped with. This allows you to create a more authentic piano sound or use your digital piano to create new wave synth music or your own unique sound. So, you need to look not only at the number of voices for a digital piano but also the type of voices. Some models have more extensive voice packs with orchestra instrument sounds built in. For example, the LAGRIMA has 480 tones, while the Yamaha YPG535 has over 500. So, if you want to move away from playing classic piano pieces, you need to look for a digital piano that has a higher number of voices.
It is also important to consider what accessories are supplied with your new digital piano. Many models feature stands and benches, so you don’t need to buy a separate keyboard stand. This can be very handy whether you want to set up your digital piano at home or take it out on gigs. There are other accessories, such as pedals and power adapters that can also extend the functionality of your new digital piano. It is also worth considering that while some digital pianos can be battery-powered, it is still important to have a power adapter, so you can use it when you have access to a power outlet.
When assessing what accessories you will need for your digital piano, look at what connectors are fitted on the instrument. For example, if the digital piano has USB and MIDI, you will need the corresponding cables to connect to your computer or mobile device and use the instrument with music creation or editing software.
Weight and Dimensions
Whether you only have plans to have your digital piano set up in your home or want to take it out to practice halls and gig venues, you need to assess the weight and dimensions of the instrument before you make a purchase decision. Most digital pianos are relatively lightweight, but there are some that are a little bulkier, particularly if you take the weight of the bench or stand into account.
The weight and overall dimensions are also an important factor if you have restricted space in your home. Some models, such as the Yamaha P71, have a lightweight and slim profile. This allows you to slide the digital piano into a storage space, such as under the bed or even a keyboard shelf on your computer desk when it is not in use. You can then pull out your digital piano when you want to play.
Price and Warranty
Digital pianos can cost anything from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands, but we’ve focused on models here that cost less than 500 as a moderate price point. However, price should not be your only consideration. It is important to look at the value to price ratio and assess what features and functions are offered with a more expensive model.
If you’re a beginner and would like to learn to play the piano, then you need to look for a model that has lots of learning features. A great example of this is the Alesis Recital Pro, but there are other models on our list of the best 88-key digital piano under 500 that also offer some great features for beginners. For example, the LAGRIMA is designed to provide a genuine piano experience to help students transition more quickly to a traditional acoustic piano.
Key responsiveness is a crucial factor when looking at digital pianos. Acoustic pianos have a unique feel when you hit a key, so ideally, your digital piano should be weighted and have hammer action to create a genuine experience. This can also make it easier to play more complicated compositions.
An 88-key digital piano or keyboard provides the layout of a conventional piano. When this combined with weighted keys, it can provide you with a genuine piano experience that will help you to transition to an acoustic piano if you wish.
If you’re looking for a reliable digital piano to learn how to play, then one of our top picks has to be the Alesis Recital Pro. This digital piano has been designed to support learning with a lesson mode and a free three-month subscription for online, interactive lessons.
If you plan on taking your digital piano out to practice sessions or gigs, the Casio Privia PX160BK is an excellent option. This lightweight, slimline instrument has many features from its predecessor, the PX150 series, but with hammer action keys, 18 voices, and USB connection.
However, a true standout and our pick for the best digital piano under 500 has to the Yamaha P71. This Amazon exclusive is slim and light
weight, yet features weighted keys, graded hammer action, and integrated digital audio sampling for realistic, natural sounds. So, whether you’re a beginner exploring crisp treble or you want to explore rich bass with different sounds with your music for a full performance, the P71 is an excellent choice. This is a far more sophisticated instrument than the typical budget digital piano, to take your music to a whole new level.