Ready for an upgrade? We've rated the best digital pianos in the under $1000 category on them market for your viewing pleasure.
Digital piano technology has come a long way.
More and more people are deciding to purchase the more convenient (and budget friendly) digital piano instead of the conventional acoustic. I've been playing with a digital piano from the beginning as it was far too inconvenient to lug around a conventional piano during university.
I always recommend this approach to anyone else considering a new piano. They are lightweight, versatile, quiet, and budget friendly.
While there are a number of options available, there are a select few that are worth recommending in the under $1000 price range. I suspect most of you will be intermediate players who already have some personal preference regarding the style and features found on a piano. If, however, you want a more detailed guide, check out our favorite digital pianos here.
However, we'll quickly cover some of the basics for anyone who is just looking to invest in their piano right off the bat. Let's get started.
Yamaha P115 88-Key
Yamaha DGX650B Digital Piano
Want more options? I've written a comprehensive guide on digital pianos here.
Types of Digital Piano
Digital pianos can be broken down into two different categories: portable, and stationary. Portable pianos generally don't come with a fixed stand or attached pedals. They typically come with a single pedal and are light enough to be transported from gig to gig. They generally will have a selection of sounds that are intended to provide variety for playing alongside a band.
Stationary pianos, on the other hand, come with a stand and three attached pedals. They are designed to stay in one place and therefore don't focus as much on portability. They are heavier, and usually have a large stand attachment. They typically won't have a large sound bank as they primarily focus on having a strong primary piano sound. They are best for people who plan on playing solo and want the closest thing to an acoustic.
The term polyphony refers to the number of sounds the piano can carry simultaneously. For illustration purposes, a piano with a polyphony of two would be able to produce two notes as the same time.
Pressing a third key would not result in another sound. Intermediate level players should be looking for a piano with 128 polyphony. While you won't be maxing this out the entire time, there will be times where you want to play complicated runs that require a high polyphony.
- Most pianos in the under $1000 range will have a polyphony around 128.
Highly recommended. The term weighted is exactly what it sounds like. Each key is weighted to mimic the feel of the hammer weight on an actual acoustic piano. You may come across digital pianos with semi-weight or fully-weighted keys. If given the choice, I recommend going with the fully-weighted keys. This style of keyboard will allow you to have a better feel of the keys and play with more of a natural rhythm.
If you want to sound like you're favourite pianist, you want weighted keys. Chances are they are using an acoustic piano. The weight of the keys is very important to the style and character of their playing.
You will also find a few companies offering variably weighted keys. With acoustic pianos, the keys on the lower register have a heavier weight due to larger hammers. Some digital pianos now have heavier weighted keys on the low-end with lighter keys on the upper register. If you are just starting out you may not notice, but the more experience players may appreciate the subtle difference (I personally think it's mainly there for marketing purposes).
Sound Bank and Quality
This to me is the most important consideration you should be making. I am also very opinionated regarding this subject. When playing, I generally only use 2 of my favourite sounds (3 max). If you are only going to be playing with yourself, you do not need a piano with 300+ different sounds. You need a piano with 2-3 very high quality recordings of actual pianos. Additional sounds are just an additional expense. You most likely won't be using the low-quality harmonica sound very often (if at all).
The only exception to this is if you are going to be playing in a band. You may want a few different styles of piano in your keyboard to change things up from song to song. When jamming, I typically will change the sound to fit the specific genre or style. This is when having more than 3 sounds in the bank is helpful.
If you are just going to be playing solo I highly recommend looking for piano where the company has spent their sampling budget on one or two high-quality piano samples.
- Playing by yourself? Focus on a piano with one high-quality piano sound.
- Planning on jamming? Look for more options in the sound bank.
A note on quality: the best quality piano sounds are typically recorded off of actual pianos. Most companies now do this so you can expect to notch sound.
There are a number of different offerings now available. I won't spend too much time commenting on each one as it really just comes down to personal preference and ability level. Lot's of piano companies are now offering specific apps that now sync to the piano. This gets rid of the extra memory storage, display screen, and UI issues. You can now access practicing videos, lessons, and play-a-longs all on the app. You can also control the tempo, pitch, and other features using the app.
Another feature that not everyone considers is the speakers. The sound quality doesn't stop at the piano samples alone. The speakers of the piano must be of good quality. Unfortunately, it's difficult to upgrade the actual speakers themselves. However, most pianos will have an output that you can direct into a set of external speakers if you are picky about your sound.
Our Rundown Of The Best Digital Pianos Under $1000
The Korg B1SP 88 is a perfect piano for those looking for the pure piano sound. This piano will be great if you plan on primarily playing by yourself and want high-quality piano samples. It focuses on 8 digitally sampled piano sounds and stays away from offering 300 sounds you will never use.
It uses weighted keys that to accurately simulate the piano hammers on acoustic pianos. It also comes with a piano stool and student workbook. Both of the items are just additional savings in the bank making this a great option for those on a budget.
The attached pedals are another feature I like. I'm constantly moving my foot around under my keyboard looking for the plug-in sustain pedal. You'll also be pleased to know that this piano comes with high-quality stereo speakers.
Bottom Line: A great option for those who are budget conscience and are looking for the pure piano sound.
This is the best of the bunch. Simply because of the superior sound. Yamaha sampled their acclaimed 9' CFIIIS concert grand piano. Combined with the Pure CF Sound Engine the sound is exceptional. The tweeters of the piano are positioned to directly output sound to the performer. This allows you to enjoy your playing when not using headphones.
Another feature I like is the natural key weighting. As mentioned above, Yamaha weights the piano keys according to a natural acoustic piano. The lower register keys have a heavier weighting compared to the higher notes. This helps give the piano a natural feel for anyone transferring over from an acoustic piano.
The P115 also comes with a digital piano app that allows you control the functions in the piano straight from your smartphone. Voices, rhythms and sounds can all be selected directly from the app.
In addition, the P115 also provides you with built in rhythms, piano partner, and a 3-year warranty.
All of these features have made this piano one of the most popular pianos on the market, regardless of price range.
Bottom Line: You can't go wrong with this piano. There is a reason why this is the most popular piano on the market.
Another piano that is focused on providing the best piano sound possible. The primary piano sound is exceptional using the Multi Dimensional Morphing Air sound source to provide the most authentic piano sound possible. The Casio PX760 is best used for classical music as it provides 10 orchestral backing tracks to play along with.
The overall look of the piano is stunning and the ivory feel is fantastic. It provides three built-in pedals (I love this feature) which anyone switching from a conventional acoustic will appreciate. You are also able to adjust the key sensitivity with three different levels.
This piano isn't really designed to be lugged around to gigs and is best used for those looking for a more permanent setting. If you want some of the best piano samples, this will be a good choice.
Bottom Line: A great option for those looking for a more permanent option. The price is a little high for our liking.
I've been playing on this piano for some time and love it. I stay away from 90% of the sounds as I feel they are subpar quality. However, I love the main piano samples. The stationary version of the P115. It still offers the same acclaimed CFIIIS concert grand recording. The speakers are fantastic and the key response is good.
I don't really use the other features as much as I should (I prefer to improvise solo), but there are features that some of you may find helpful. The "You Are The Artist" series for example. They are professionally-arranged, play-along songs matched with song books from Hal Leonard. It also comes with a USB port to record songs and an AUX out if you want to output your audio.
If you are just beginning you may like the Smart Chord feature. With a single finger on your left hand, Smart Chord will create entire chords from simple Pop triads to complex jazz 7th and 9th chords.
Bottom Line: Honestly, even though I really enjoy playing on the piano, if I were to do it again I would just stick with the P115. Better price for similar features.
Next level up from the PX760. You still get the AiR sound set providing an additional level of realism, including grand piano lid simulation and sympathetic resonance. A powerful sound engine provides a level of detail, nuance and expression for a grand piano experience. This piano is for those looking for something that will replicate a 9-foot grand.
You also get the most polyphony out of the bunch with 258. This is best used for advanced players.
You will also get upgraded speakers. This really helps with volume and sound quality.
Bottom Line: If you an afford it and need an advanced piano to replicate a 9-foot grand, this is your best option.