Are you a budding musician wanting to get the best digital pianos under $500 or a pianist shopping for the cheaper backup instruments? Whatever your purpose is, the budget of around $500 is just alright. Going too low will leave you with some crappy options unless you’re very lucky or are wise enough.
Especially when you are a newbie, the common pitfall will be to pick the shiniest, if not the cheapest one available without any consideration. So, aside from making a list of the 10 top digital pianos, we also include a simple buying guide below. We made this roundup article for you to be a wise buyer and eventually have the digital piano that you need.
Top 10 Best Digital Pianos Under $500
- Yamaha P45
- Williams Legato
- Artesia PA-88W
- RockJam 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano
- Yamaha P71
- Alesis Recital Pro
- Casio PX-160
- Yamaha P Series P35
- Artesia PE-88
- Yamaha NP32
Yamaha tops our list because, in reality, beginners and professionals alike go to Yamaha for their piano needs. And, if you are looking for the best digital piano under $500, its Yamaha P45 won’t disappoint you. It comes with 88-note weighted keys that are heavier on the low and lighter on the high-end — like a real acoustic piano.
With Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Stereo Sampling, you’ll play deeper, richer and more authentic acoustic piano sounds with each trigger of the keys. It has Dual mode, so you can combine two voices, plus 64-note polyphony for more flexibility. It comes with a simple, single-button operation, which you’ll use to access metronome, play demo songs and change voices.
- Requires minimal maintenance
- The single-button operation is classy and not overwhelming
- Minimalist with great key action and nice sounds
- Better if each key is labeled for a specific function
- Speakers facing downwards, not very ideal
Playing anywhere with a digital piano is made possible with Williams Legato. It’s an ultra-portable piano that you can play with a power supply or a battery. This 88-key digital piano has weighted keys, five built-in sounds (bass, piano, electric piano, synth, and organ) and a built-in metronome. It comes with built-in speakers, Stereo/Mono line out jacks and the ability to integrate with more devices via USB MID connections.
It’s equipped with a Split mode that divides the keyboard into two sections to play different sounds for the left and right sections. You can independently adjust the volume for each section, at the same time, apply Reverb and Chorus effects. The good news is, these settings can be retained even after the power is turned off.
- Great tool for practice, develop strength and dexterity
- Comes with just the useful features you need
- Can operate with six D-cell 1.5V batteries
- The feeling when pressing the keys isn’t consistent
- Speaker quality isn’t the greatest, but still functional
- You can hear the sound of the keys when the volume is low
In the modern age, what we need in a digital piano is flexibility in terms of connectivity options. That and more can be found in the Artesia PA-88W. The 88-note keyboard from Artesia has semi-weighted keys that feel heavier than a synth touch, but lighter than a hammer action. It features class-compliant USB connectivity and USB/MIDI connectivity to easily integrate with other music apps, DAW and other devices.
You can’t believe that this compact and slim cabinet comes with three-layered Grand Piano sampled sounds that are deed and expressive. With the 3D stereo instrument samples, you can get natural sound and feel for comfortable playing. There are eight instrument voices, in total, plus customizable reverb and chorus effects.
- Comes with built-in speakers, but still connects to headphones or amp
- Sound is great — perfect for rehearsals
- Full-sized, but portable and doesn’t take too much space
- Keys are plastic and they are easy to push down
- The keys seem to have a spring action
RockJam 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano
We can’t believe we’re getting the flexibility of connectivity with the cheap RockJam 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano. It’s a versatile digital piano with eight external connections — very useful whether practicing at home or performing onstage. Additionally, you can access more options using the Simply piano mobile application available on both Android and iOS devices.
This keyboard is loaded with 10 unique voices — electric keyboard, Grand piano, strings, upright piano, synth, bass, and more. It also has interactive learning lessons and play your favorite music by connecting to your phone via USB or AUX in. Lastly, you can adjust the sensitivity of the weighted key to fit your playing style, making it the best digital piano under $500.
- Overall sound quality is great
- Well-built digital piano, which is very unexpected for its price
- The feel is fine, neither too tight nor too soft
- Keys seems pressure-sensitive, but not necessarily weighted
- Sound engine is okay, but not great
Yamaha P71 is another 88-key digital piano that promises a quality playing experience. All keys are fully weighted, which means it’s designed to simulate the natural feel of the acoustic piano. With Yamaha’s GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) weighted action, you can experience a heavier touch towards the low-end and lighter touch in the opposite direction.
Aside from the weighted keys, the P71 also comes with 10 different voices onboard — samples of real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos. With the Dual mode, you can combine two of these voices for a more interesting playing. The slim and compact design makes it a great choice for home, studio, and on-the-go.
- You can feel the weighted keys, really feel realistic when playing
- Fast key response with decent sound
- Can go to a very low volume without issues
- Sustain pedal isn’t working (must plug the pedal before you turn the piano on)
- The headphone jack is at the back, difficult to access
Alesis Recital Pro
The digital piano that makes you recital-ready, Alesis Recital Pro sees to it that you can hone your skills effectively. This 88-note keyboard has hammer action keys with adjustable touch response to make playing more personalized. It’s loaded with 12 voices and educational features to help you become a professional in no time.
It has all the right connections, including the ¼-inch headphone output, sustain pedal and other onboard ¼-inch stereo inputs. With USB connectivity, you can expand your potential and your capabilities as a musician since you can connect to a computer and access other educational software. It’s portable and can be operated with six D-cell batteries — taking your performance anywhere you want.
- Touch response is great
- Lesson mode is very helpful for complete beginners
- Compact, lightweight and battery-operated is a big plusCan go to a very low volume without issues
- Has few bells and whistles for its price
- Built-in speakers aren’t the best
For most people, it’s usually a choice between Yamaha and Casio for the best digital pianos. At under $500, you can see that we include several Yamahas, but there’s only one Casio that captures our attention — the Casio PX-160. It’s an 88-key full-sized keyboard that has a compact and lightweight design, weighing only around 25lbs.
Like most of digital pianos under $500, it’s made of plastic, so you should be very careful. The good thing is, this keyboard is equipped with Tri-Sensor Hammer Action II — giving fantastic resistance like you’re playing an acoustic piano. It has 18 built-in tones and the AiR engine for you to enjoy highly accurate piano sounds.
- Has a very realistic response, you feel like playing an acoustic piano
- Comes with easy-to-follow piano lessons
- Onboard speakers have decent quality
- Sustain pedal has poor quality
- Keys can get noisy
Yamaha P Series P35
The newest model from the Yamaha P Series, the P35 has a small footprint with a contemporary design. As a member of the P Series, it’s endowed with portability, connectivity, full features, and a wide range of instrument voices. The P35 still features Yamaha’s AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) sampling to deliver deep and authentic piano sounds.
This standard full-size keyboard comes with GHS Graded Hammer Standard piano action that imitates the response of the traditional acoustic piano. You can adjust the sensitivity for more tailor-fitted playing experience. It comes with a MIDI IN/Out and headphone jack along with professional features like Dual mode, Duo mode, and power-saving operation.
- Compact and more versatile compared to a real piano
- Simple and easy to use — good for beginners
- Very realistic weighted keys along with the adjustable sensitivity
- When playing notes, some keys are louder than others
- Not a recommendable model in this series
The one with the most number of built-in sound effects and rhythm accompaniment, Artesia PE-88 could be the ‘one’ under $500. This digital piano has the best features like three-layered piano samples, weighted keys, and more connectivity options.
You can connect to your computer, smartphone or tablet using the USB port. Hence, you can easily edit your music files using your favorite software or you can also download more voices. Its portability coupled with its connectivity options makes this one a great choice for gigging musicians.
- Versatile with over 130 built-in voices and 100+ rhythms
- Great connectivity, allowing you to become flexible
- Has three-layered samples to ensure you have full control of the sound output
- Pedal seems cheap, has poor quality
- The feel of the keys isn’t what you expected from weighted keys
- Although there are tons of effects, the sound output is not awesome
You might have noticed that the majority of the products on this list are Yamaha digital piano. That doesn’t mean we are biased toward the Japanese brand, but it only means they are one of the best. And, speaking of the best, its Yamaha NP32 is undeniably among the products you can’t just overlook.
This 76-key digital piano comes with brilliantly sampled grand piano sounds that could sound natural through the built-in speakers. It’s designed to have 64-note polyphony, recorder function, and USB to Host port directly to a computer or mobile device. The controller App for iOS allows quick navigation and configuration of the piano via your mobile phone.
- Can connect the piano to apps and other external devices
- Cheap, yet playable and easy to use
- Built-in speakers aren’t that powerful
- Doesn’t come with a sustain or damper pedal, but it’s compatible
Factors to Consider When Buying a Digital Piano Under $500
A budget of under $500 is kind of critical. You don’t want to get something that is completely useless. As professionals in this field, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our juniors don’t end up being frustrated on your first buy. Or if you are a professional pianist, perhaps this guideline will help you trim down your options.
Check Reputable Brands
You know what brands have established a good reputation when it comes to pianos. You have Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Casio, and Alesis. However, there are also digital pianos from less popular brands that are amazing.
Although it’s not a necessity to purchase a digital piano from the brands above, at least you know them and their history. If they have been trusted by pianists and if they have been recommended by many, it means they are worth checking out. If you don’t like them, at least you’ve checked some of the best in the industry.
Keyboard vs Digital Piano
These two are totally different. You should know that a digital piano is 88 hammer-weighted keys, while the keyboard doesn’t necessarily have 88 keys and often have spring-loaded action. At this price point, you may easily fall for a keyboard, instead of a digital piano, so be watchful.
Sensitivity and Response of the Keys
A good digital piano should have the weight and responsiveness of the keys, like a real piano. While there are many digital pianos that can mimic the resistance of the keys, only a few can give realistic key actions — hammer graded keyboards. The good thing about some digital pianos is that you can adjust the sensitivity of the keys to your liking.
You spare the $500 budget because you don’t want to spend too much. However, you’ll end up spending too much because the piano you bought doesn’t have any accessories included. A good investment for beginners is the starter pack with everything you need to start playing.
There are a lot of people complaining about the lack of speakers on the piano that they bought, it’s because they get the portable one. Make sure that you’ve checked all the inclusions before you purchase your new digital piano. A sturdy case is also very useful, especially if you’ll carry the piano to and from the school, church or when gigging.
To give you more tips on how to pick a digital piano under $500 here’s a very useful YouTube video. It specifies the five features your piano needs to have. Additionally, it also advises on what products to avoid because they aren’t pianos, but keyboards and some recommended digital pianos.
Our Top Pick
We’ve come to the very end of our roundup article and it’s time to reveal our recommendations. Our best digital piano under $500 is no other than the Yamaha P45. Why the Yamaha and not the Artesia PE-88, you may ask?
Yes, the Artesia has overwhelming effects onboard, but it doesn’t have the performance you’ll get from the P45. Perhaps, if we’re looking for a beginner digital piano, the PE-88 still has a chance. But, we’re talking about the best under $500.
The Yamaha P45 is one of the few low-cost digital pianos that you’ll get a playing experience closest to an acoustic piano. The AWM Stereo samples also add to the advantage of the P45. Plus, the single-button operation and its minimalist design helps you focus on your playing techniques, rather than the effects onboard.