Best Digital Pianos and Keyboards 2024: Options for Every Level and Budget

Published on 14 December 2023

You are looking for a keyboard. You need help. You’ve come here. Worry no more: I will not let you down!

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time demoing and selling digital pianos and keyboards, so if you are in the market for a new one this year, I can point you towards some of the best that are out there, at all price points!

You may be a beginner, a seasoned player looking for fresh inspiration, or an experienced professional checking up on the best gear currently out there. You will all be catered for in this guide to the best digital pianos and keyboards of 2024!

Contents

Pianos and Keyboards

I’ll divide my choices into three categories: beginner, intermediate and professional. As always, there’s nothing stopping an eager beginner buying a professional grade instrument (and there are plenty of good reasons to support this decision) but realistically, most begin their journey on a more modest keyboard until they know for sure that they’re on the road for good, as it were. I’ll include choices for these players, certainly!

Beginner Digital Pianos and Keyboards

What do you need when you start out playing keys? Arguably, you need three things: an instrument that is easy to play; one that is easy to operate; and one that lets you enjoy yourself, so that you want to continually return to it for more playing.

My choices today hopefully reflect those properties. I’ve opted for a trio of what I’ll call ‘home keyboards’, which combine hundreds of sounds with hundreds of backing rhythms, and contain built-in speakers. This means you can switch it on and have fun selecting sounds without having to either find extra equipment like speakers or indeed face a difficult learning curve in order to operate the unit.

Casio CT-X700

Casio are always a popular beginner’s choice in the world of keyboards. They’ve cornered the market in terms of value, packing their products with features that belie their price.

The model I’ve chosen today is the CT-X700. Why? Well, it does feature improved sounds (thanks to the AiX sound chip), but it’s more about the learning features, really. You can connect your phone via USB and use the keyboard alongside your favourite apps. You can record and save your performances, layering up to 6 tracks and adding drum sounds too! There are built in lessons as well, so even if you are a complete novice, you’ll be able to make progress.

Roland E-X50

Roland are one of the real obvious choices since their innovations spread throughout the price ranges: all Roland gear is good, no matter the price. This E-X50 is what Roland excellently calls an ‘Entertainment Keyboard’ and they’re not wrong! There are nearly 700 sounds to get through here, with hundreds of automatic accompaniment rhythms to play along to quickly and easily. 

You can fire in a set of headphones for silent practice, connect a mic for karaoke (watch that volume!) and there’s USB connectivity too. Hey, you can even record your playing on here and listen back! Bang-for-buck is huge here.

Yamaha PSR-E473

My last beginner choice is the Yamaha PSR-E473, and I chose it for the cool little extra details that are built in. Yes, you can happily select from hundreds of sounds, add backing tracks and so on, but there’s more.

Firstly, there are two real-time control knobs onboard, and their function changes depending on which sound is selected. You can have lots of fun controlling synth sounds here, for example. There’s also a Motion Effect function and a pitch wheel for even more real time control.

The mic input has vocal effects and you can even crossfade from the keyboard’s own sound and any external audio brought in via the inputs. It’s quite a comprehensive setup, but more importantly, it’s a lot of fun!

Intermediate Digital Pianos and Keyboards

Intermediate players will be those who’ve spent a few years learning and are maybe at the point of making recordings and looking to gig. Intermediate keyboards, as I’m counting things at least, won’t be so much about learning features and more about sound and feel. Intermediate-level keyboards might have less in the way of backing tracks but more in the way of sound manipulation. Let’s see what’s on the list!

 

Roland Juno DS

The Juno name is fairly revered in synth circles, since it was a range of well loved and rather pioneering analogue synths in the early 80s. Roland have carried the name - and a little bit of the distinctive Juno visual styling - to this affordable and effective range of keyboards.

The Roland Juno DS comes in three key variants - 61, 73 and 88 - with either semi-weighted or fully weighted (88 key model) keys, so playing piano parts ‘properly’ is definitely an option here!

With the Juno DS, there are hundreds of tones on offer, spanning classic synths from Roland’s past to a full complement of ‘real world’ instruments, as it were. You can layer up to 16 of these, which is a pretty powerful trick on such an affordable piece of gear.

Another cool thing about the Juno DS? You can run it on batteries!

Yamaha P-145

Yamaha are obviously one of the main brands to consider when it comes to digital pianos: they are one of the hugest brands in the world, and that hugeness has been built upon bringing people quality and value. I’ve said it before, but Yamaha don’t make ‘bad’ stuff, and their pianos are a very solid choice.

I’ve opted for the Yamaha P-145 for today’s blog, because I feel like it offers an excellent level of sound quality, feel (the keys are really nice to play on) and value. When choosing a digital piano, I think it’s a mistake to simply go for the most sounds or the biggest list of features: we’re talking about a musical instrument here, and the main factors are feel and sound. This Yamaha brings both in at a great price. 

Yamaha DGX-670

The Yamaha DGX-670 is something of a hybrid keyboard: it features fully weighted keys, but also has built in speakers. It’s not an arranger-style keyboard but it does feature a mic input and a vocal cancel feature in the built in audio interface section, so it’s a big mixture between what you find on a beginner keyboard (and also an arranger) and what you’d expect to see on a more stage-friendly instrument.

In effect, this means you get an excellent sounding keyboard with over 600 sounds and a great keybed; you then get tons of fun stuff to play around with in the house with a mic plugged in!

Professional/High End Digital Pianos and Keyboards

The last section is where I’ll talk a little about my favourite pianos and keyboards that occupy the high end of the price range. Sticking to the original plan, there will be no straight-up, outright synthesizers on here today: I’m sticking with keyboards that offer piano sounds, but as we know, there are plenty of machines out there that will do it all, so let’s include some of those!

 

Nord Stage 4 88

For me, this is the ultimate stage keyboard. Nord are world renowned for their sound, feel, stability, reliability and intuitive interface. Even though there’s tons of sound and power inside this Nord Stage 4, it’s never a chore to navigate and make edits. 

Like most Nords, you can have this in a few sizes but I’ve opted for the 88 key model for the full piano experience! The pianos onboard sound fantastic, and there’s a fully organ section (with proper physical drawbars, amazing!), a comprehensive synth section with loads of sculpting options, and a whole effects section that can be applied to whichever sounds you want. 

Layer these sections, turn them on and off as you see fit, and control almost every parameter with a physical control knob. It’s actually great fun to create and edit sounds: powerful keyboards often require a large screen and loads of sub-menus but Nord have long since figured out a more practical and graceful way of doing things. It’s everything most players will need, with a build and feel that is top tier. 

Yamaha Genos 2 Arranger

Arranger keyboards let you create entire tracks from banks and banks of instruments, add backing vocals and have the ability to change things up on the fly, changing chords by touching a key. Arranger keyboards are used by loads of performers who sing and need bespoke backing tracks, but do not have a full band.

For many years, the ultimate arranger keyboard was the Yamaha Tyros. I sold loads of them as a salesman because their reputation preceded them. You could tell a Tyros customer as soon as they walked in because they went straight for the back wall where the Tyros models lived, and didn’t bat an eyelid at anything else!

Nowadays, the legendary Tyros has been retired in favour of the new Genos. We’re now on to the second generation of Genos, and it’s basically everything everyone loved about the Tyros, but moreso! The Yamaha Genos 2 has more realistic sounds (1900 of them!!!), entirely upgraded styles, a full complement of real time controls and a lovely big screen to hatch your plans from. The Tyros is dead: long live the Genos!

Roland RD-2000

Roland’s RD range of stage pianos are so often used in professional touring they are almost as ubiquitous as Nords. This flagship RD-2000 heaps in the features but has more than enough real time control to satisfy musicians who aren’t too keen on menu-navigating.

Don’t get me wrong, you can go super deep with the edits here, and the large colour screen will definitely facilitate that, but there is a Nord-like emphasis on control knobs, faders and buttons that really helps to keep a kineticism to performing with the RD-2000.

There are loads of instruments, synth tones and effects on here, but I would still recommend seeing this as a top grade performance piano, with a lot of high grade extras. It’s the heart of any operation, basically.

Yamaha NU1X

If your desire is for a beautiful piece of art that also just happens to be a superlative piano, I’d say the Yamaha NU1X fits that bill perfectly.

Designed as an upright piano and available in either polished black or white, the NU1X AvantGrand (Yamaha’s term)  isn’t just a lovely looking piece of furniture. In fact, it hosts a number of Yamaha innovations - given their own acronyms like CFX Binaural Sampling and VRM Virtual Resonance Modelling - to ensure that the sound is as real and indistinguishable from an acoustic piano as it’s possible to get. Since Yamaha own the much-heralded Bosendorfer piano brand, their Imperial piano sound is captured and included in the NU1X, amongst other voices.

Instead of looking to impress with specifications and lists of sounds, the Yamaha NU1X instead offers a superbly intimate, authentic instrument filled with elegance and beauty.

Best Digital Pianos and Keyboards 2024

These selections are the ones I feel offer the most for 2023. I’ve taken in the humblest of beginner keyboards to the most opulent of digital upright pianos, and each will be the correct choice for somebody.

Choosing a piano is as personal an experience as buying clothes or a car: it has to be right for you, and you’ll know when it isn’t. Take your time when trying out keyboards, read the blog as a primer and have fun comparing options!

Click to View our Selection of Digital Pianos and Keyboards

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About the author

Ray

Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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