One limiting factor of the traditional acoustic pianos is their price. It is often a significant investment even if we consider second hand options. Digital pianos on the other hand, are often much accessible. Thanks to the competition in the industry, we now have some excellent pianos to choose from under the budget of $1,000. Here is my pick of the 5 best digital pianos under $1,000 in 2019.
#1. Kawai KDP 110
If you main focus is piano play and you don’t care much about bells and whistles, the Kawai KDP 110 is in my opinion the best digital piano on the market under $1,000 right now.
To have a satisfying piano experience, key action is probably the most important to consider. The Responsive Hammer Compact II on the KDP 110 is the most realistic key action at this price range. It does an excellent job to mimic the key feel on an acoustic grand piano. After practicing on this digital piano, you would have no problem move to an acoustic grand.
With the KDP 110, you get the sound of Kawai’s world famous SK-EX concert grand. It has a distinct mellow characteristic, which is very different from the sound of a Yamaha. While sound is a personal preference, the KDP 110 from Kawai does have one major advantage. Each note is individually sampled at multiple volume levels. You really don’t get this on a digital piano at this price range. Most other model take samples in group. This enables the KDP 110 to re-produce the SK-EX concert grand with accuracy and nuances. The two 20 watt speakers do a good job transforming these digital samples into a room full of music.
To top things off, the Kawai KDP 110 also has the Grand Feel Pedal system. It’s the best Kawai has to offer. Bluetooth MIDI is also a welcome addition to this amazing instrument.
#2. Casio PX-870
Casio might not be the biggest brand in the digital piano industry. But they certainly have produced some impressive instruments that offer so much value. Their new flagship of the Privia line, the PX-870 is no different. The bang you get for your bucks is beyond any other brand can offer. It is the reason I rank the Casio PX-870 the 2nd best digital piano under $1,000.
On the PX-870, you will get the best key action Casio has to offer. Their Tri-Sensor II Scaled Hammer Action has been very popular and praised by many pianists as well as reviewers. At this price range, it is one of the best key action on the market.
Sound engine on the PX-870 is also very impressive. There are many features that are exclusive to much high priced models. You will have all the details you need to produce a satisfying piano experience. It is also highly customizable. The PX-870 has a maximum polyphony of 256. Many models twice its price do not even have that many notes.
Speaker system on the PX-870 is another place where you will get massive value from. It consists of four speakers facing two different directions. With two powerful 20 watt amplifiers, the PX-870 creates a detailed, dynamic, crystal clear piano sound.
You will also be able to record your performance on the PX-870 and then export it as WAV format to a USB stick thanks to its USB to device port. Multi-track recording is another useful feature that allows you to combine two recordings in one song.
At around $1,000, the Casio PX-870 is a strong performer with huge value to offer. It is definitely one of the best digital pianos you can buy under $1,000.
#3. Casio PX S1000
This 2019 new model from Casio creates a new standard for portable digital piano. It is currently the slimmest model on the market. Not only is the PX S1000 compact and lightweight, it can also be powered by standard AA batteries. This gives a whole new meaning to the word portable.
The key action is also a brand new design from Casio. Even though it is now only dual sensored, some clever software is running in the background to make the keys feel surprisingly authentic.
The sound engine is the same old AiR but you do get a new set of samples. These new samples include much more details and nuances.
The control panel and over design of the piano is modern and minimal. The PX S1000 is the best looking portable piano if you ask me. It also has Bluetooth audio and an impressive 192 polyphony notes.
#4. Kawai ES110
One models I find myself keep recommending to readers is the Kawai ES110. It is the best portable digital piano on the market right now. Being under $1,ooo, the ES110 takes the second spot on this best list.
One thing I can say about the Kawai ES110 is that very dollar you spend goes to enhance the piano experience. There isn’t much bells and whistles on it.
Kawai’s Responsive Hammer Compact key action is hands down the best key action you can get at this price range. Even though it’s not a triple sensor action, I still prefer the feel of it compare to key actions offered by other brands. The touch is very realistic to an acoustic piano and I find it easier to express more emotions while playing on the ES110.
There are reports that the keys on the ES110 are not evenly spaced. This shouldn’t have any impact on your playing experience and I would consider it a deal breaker. However, there are other reports that the keys become clicky after a few months. These might be isolated incidents but do make sure you have good warranty from your local retailer.
The ES110 is equipped with Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging technology. It’s currently not the best sound engine from Kawai. But at this price range, I can not find anything to complain about it. The tonal characteristic in my opinion is great for classical music. The ES110 has a maximum polyphony of 192.
Being a portable digital piano, the ES110 is weak on its speaker system. There are two 7 watt speakers. They are enough for home practicing. But compare to a speaker system like on the Casio PX-870, the ES110 is definitely much weaker. However, at the same time, being portable has its own advantage. You can carry it around and that’s why the ES110 is very popular among gigging musicians.
Bluetooth is usually not a feature you would look for at this low price range. But the Kawai ES110 has it. It’s a very useful feature that you can easily connect the piano with your smart device and utilize many different app.
You can record up to 3 songs internally on the ES110. There is no multi track recording so you won’t be able to mix your performance together. However, with the help of Bluetooth, there are many solutions to achieve that through app.
The ES110 does not come with a three pedal unit like the Casio PX-870 since it’s a portable digital piano. But the one sustain pedal that comes with the ES110 is a very good one. Unlike many portable digital pianos at this price range, this pedal actually supports half pedaling and is very responsive. It’s a big advantage because you won’t have to purchase a separate pedal unit.
For less than $800, the Kawai ES110 offers massive value and has features that are only found on much more expensive models. It ranks number four on my best list and I’m sure you will not be disappointed by it!
#5. Casio PX-160
There are many models I would consider for this 5th spot on the list, like the Roland FP-30 and the Yamaha P-45. But the Casio PX-160 offers a clear cut combination of low price and solid piano experience.
Being an entry level model, the PX-160 does not have many impressive features. But you do get an instrument that’s capable of producing a satisfying piano experience.
With its amazingly low price, you still get the best key action Casio has to offer. The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II key action is the cheapest triple sensor on the market. And it is one of the best key action as well.
You also get the best sound engine from Casio. The Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source is the same engine you will find on Casio’s PX-870. Driving through two 8 watt speakers, the PX-160 definitely sounds a lot more expensive than it is.
Low price comes with compromises. The PX-160 only has a maximum polyphony of 128 notes. This is lower than its competitors. However, I would like to point out that for most beginners, the low polyphony makes no difference and will not be noticed.
You can record one song up to two tracks on the PX-160. It does not have a USB to device port or Bluetooth. But with the price, that’s is to be expected.
For about $500, you get the best key action and sound engine from Casio. This alone wins the 5th spot on my best digital piano under $1,000 list.
Leave a comment and share your experience with digital pianos under $1,000.