For many who are new to the instrument, $1,000 seems to be the magic number in terms of budget. I have been asked many times for my recommendation under that budget. It would be a mission impossible if not for the digital pianos. Even a second hand acoustic piano would cost a lot more than $1,000. The good news is, thanks to the fierce competition in the industry, there are many excellent digital pianos with affordable price. Here are my list of 5 best digital pianos you can buy under $1,000.
#1. 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 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. The RHC on Kawai ES110 is the only key action that might be slightly better.
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 currently the best digital piano you can buy under $1,000.
#2. 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 two on my best list and I’m sure you will not be disappointed by it!
#3. Yamaha DGX-660
The Yamaha DGX-660 is fun, so much fun to play with. It’s the flagship model of Yamaha’s DGX line and it’s packed with features.
The key action on the DGX-660 is lacking. It uses Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard key action what’s identical to the much cheaper P45. The touch is light but not very expressive. I often feel the keys are working against me not for me. It is hard to convey emotions though this key action.
The sound engine on the DGX-660 is Yamaha’s Pure CF engine. It does a great job of reproducing the rich and bright tone of Yamaha’s world famous CFIIIS 9 foot concert grand. Like most digital pianos at this price range, the DGX-660 has a maximum polyphony of 192,
The speaker system on the DGX-660 is not particularly powerful. It consists of two 6 watt amplifiers. The good news is that there are four speakers. The two 5 cm tweeters help produce crystal clear high frequency notes.
One big selling point of the DGX-660 is its features. There are hundreds of voices and styles you can play with. It can also record up to 5 songs each with 6 different tracks. This is where the DGX-660 stand above its competitions. You can also output your performance into WAV format in a USB stick thanks to its USB to device port.
The display on the DGX-660 is what you won’t find on any other model at this price range. It’s a good display not only to show settings but can also be used to display scores and lyrics. Depends on your need, it can be a very useful feature to have.
For around $800, you will not find another digital piano that has so many features as the DGX-660. You can have tons of fun with this piano and it’s especially good for family gatherings and parties.
#4. Yamaha P-125
The Yamaha P-125 is a solid mid range digital piano under $1,000. It is a newly released model in 2018 and has some pretty good upgrades.
The key action on the P-125 is identical to the cheaper P-45 and the DGX-660. The Graded Hammer Standard is the entry level key action from Yamaha.
Just like the DGX-660, the P-125 is equipped with the Pure CF sound engine. Together with its 4 speakers, the P-125 sounds natural, rich and dynamic. Due to the speaker placement, I personally think the P-125 sounds slightly better than the DGX-660. The polyphony number is 192, same like the DGX-660
Feature wise, the P-125 can only record one song with up to two tracks. It does not have USB to device port nor Bluetooth. Considering it’s a new release in 2018, I find it a bit disappointing.
The Yamaha P-125 might not be as impressive as other models. But with $700, it is still a good solid digital piano to consider.
#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.
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