Digital Piano and Keyboard Reviews and Tutorials

Best Digital Pianos Under $1000

If you’re a little more serious about playing the piano and can’t or don’t want to buy an acoustic piano, a digital piano that’s worth up to $1000 is the right choice for you and you might be wondering what are the best digital pianos under 1000 dollars.

We focus on the most important points such as how authentic and natural it feels to play the piano compared to an acoustic one. Also how it sounds, what recording possibilities there are, what other sounds besides the piano sound can you choose from. And things like what kinds of outputs there are to connect the piano to your computer, to speakers, etc..
Of course, we will also look into what’s included in the package of buying such a piano. Some come with a bench included and even a lot more!

Let’s see in a list first what we will be talking about in this article:

The Best Digital Pianos Under $1000:

 

  1. Yamaha P-125
  2. Casio PX-870
  3. Yamaha YDP-103
  4. Roland RP102
  5. Casio PX360

 
And now let’s go deeper into these and see what they offer:

Yamaha P-125

 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

For the sound of the Yamaha P125, the Yamaha 9′ CFS concert grand piano was sampled and digitally reproduced on this digital piano.

The sound was recorded in 4 different velocity layers. This adds to the feeling of creating an authentic piano sound that will work with most music styles.

The piano comes with two built-in speakers (stereo setup), so you are not dependent on headphones.

Take a listen to the sound:

As with most digital pianos, the sound is a little brighter than what you know from an acoustic upright piano. However, we found it still very good sounding.

For the keys, Yamaha implemented GHS (Graded hammer standard) weighted action technology. This means that the keys at the lower end (the left side) are slightly heavier to press down and the ones on the higher end (the right side) easier. This will give a more authentic and natural feel when playing this piano since this is how a real acoustic and grand piano reacts.

Cheaper digital pianos do not have this function and all the keys have the same weight when playing them. It is one of the biggest differences that separate a beginner’s piano from a more advanced one.

The black keys also have a matte finish which absorbs moisture. This is especially important for people who play for longer hours. Keys tend to become slippery after a while due to the sweat. We tried it out and played for almost 3 hours and didn’t notice any moisture on the black keys worth mentioning.

Another feature worth mentioning is the Smart Pianist App that is available for both iOS and Android devices. Installed on an iPad (or similar sized Android tablet) it offers a great overview of the piano and its functions that you can access via the app. Here you can also layer and mix sounds and just get creative!

The P-125 comes with a stand and pedals (!) but can be used without it as well so it becomes very portable!

In the bundle deal on Amazon, it also comes with a bench, which is very convenient, a dust cover, a polishing cloth, an instructional book and a DVD, and also 2 months of live online lessons.

It’s clear why the P-125 needs to be on the list of the best digital pianos under $1000!

 

Casio PX-870

 

best digital pianos under 1000

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This is one of the flagship models of Casio’s Privia line of digital pianos. When we discuss what the best digital pianos under 1000 dollars are, we can’t leave out this one!

Speakers

It features 4 speakers which face forward and back. This gives the player and also the listeners a more authentic reproduction of the sound the way it naturally sounds on an upright piano. Simulating these sound characteristics, the PX-870 is suitable for not only smaller but especially larger rooms.

Headphone Experience

If you can’t play loudly with the speakers you can plug in your headphones. The piano provides you with a binaural experience of the sound to make it sound more natural as if you were not wearing any headphones!

Take a listen to the sound

As with every digital piano, the PX-870 also comes with built-in reverbs.

The thing that makes this one special, however, are the Hall Simulators. Casio captured the characteristics of four real live halls in the world and recreated them for the PX-870. This is of course to give the player the feeling of playing in one of those halls.

Besides the default grand piano sound (for which a 9 foot grand piano has been sampled), there are 18 more sounds. These include an electric piano or strings that can be used when playing. The sound is decent, but this is true for most other digital pianos as well. The main (and important) sound differences between all the digital pianos remain the piano sound as this is used most of the time.

Hammer Action

For its flagship, Casio uses scaled hammer action keys.

This means a heavier touch in the bass and a lighter touch in the treble to reproduce the natural feel of playing on an acoustic piano.

What sets this piano apart from many others are the simulated ebony and ivory keys. They give the player a real grand piano feel when the fingers get in touch with the keys.

A good grip is important because fingers can get sweaty after a certain amount of time.

These keys give you a high-quality feel and you won’t run into problems of slippery keys!

If you want to record your playing, you can do this in two ways:

  • A midi recording, or
  • audio recording.

If you just want an audio file of your recording, you should record your playing as a wave file. This can be saved on a USB drive that is plugged into the piano!

If you want to edit your recording and maybe use other sounds later on your computer, you can record your playing as a midi file. This file can then be imported into a sequencer or notation program on your computer.

Lid

Another very cool function is the lid settings.

The PX-870 allows you to choose if you want it to sound like the lid (of the grand piano sound) is completely removed, half-open, slightly open, or completely closed. This is a very rare function for a digital piano!

We also love the sliding lid that covers the keys when not playing! This helps protect against dust and dirt and is something that most other brands and models do not have!

This model is definitively one of the best digital pianos under 1000 dollars and comes in both black and white finishes!

 

 

Yamaha YDP-S34

 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

As with all pianos of this price range, the YDP-S34 is also equipped with 88 fully weighted keys with implemented- graded-hammer action.

With the graded action, the feel of a real acoustic piano is being simulated by having the keys in lower registers being slightly heavier than the ones in higher registers on the right side.

The touch sensitivity can also be adjusted which is a good option since some players might naturally play a little harder even when they actually want to generate a softer sound. With touch sensitivity you basically “calibrate” the keyboard’s sensors to your personal style of playing!

It comes with three pedals, while the sustain pedal (the one on the right side) also supports half-pedaling. This means you can adjust the amount of the sustain effect you want to have, instead of just having the option to either have it full or not at all.

The keys itself are plastic, with the black ones having a matte finish to prevent slipping from the keys when the fingers are sweatier.

Sound generation

For the sound generation, Yamaha sampled a grand piano in different velocity layers. So when you hit a key harder, you don’t hear the same note that you hear when playing the key soft. It’s actually a separate sample. The more velocity layers that were sampled, the more authentic the keyboard will sound.

For the YDP-S34, Yamaha used AWM Stereo sampling. The grand piano sound comes in two different styles, Concert and Bright. Concert would be the way to go for classical music. When it comes to more modern and pop music, a brighter sound is usually more popular.

Except for the piano sounds, you can also choose between electric pianos, pipe organs, harpsichords, strings and a vibraphone as your sound source.

Here a quick look into the YDP-S34:

To listen to the sound, Yamaha put a stereo speaker inside, one speaker on the left, one on the right side. With 2x8W power, these are certainly not the most powerful speakers. For a normal sized room, however, it is more than enough to be loud.

The YDP-S34 is equipped with two 1/4 headphone jack inputs. It also comes with a usb-to-host output, so you can connect your keyboard to your computer if you like. That is necessary if you e.g. want to record a piano song straight into a sequencer software. This keyboard does not provide a function where you can record directly into a usb drive or similar.

Something that also makes this one of the best digital pianos under 1000 dollars: To protect the keyboard from dust and other damages, it has a sliding cover. This can conveniently and quickly be opened and closed when needed.

It comes with a bench included which is a big plus.

 

 

Roland RP102

 

best digital piano under 1000 dollar

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The RP102 of course comes with 88 fully weighted keys with graded hammer action (heavier keys on the low end, lighter keys for higher notes). Most pianos in this price range do, however, it is worth mentioning that Roland implements Ivory simulated keys instead of plastic.

The key action in the RP102 is the PHA-4 Standard. The action of the PHA-4 is a lot quieter than the previous versions. This is particularly important when you play faster passages. On a real piano, it wouldn’t make a difference. But on a keyboard or any digital piano, you would actually hear your fingers.

Half Pedaling

It also comes with three pedals. While most digital pianos only support half-pedaling for one of the pedals, on the RP102 you can do this with all three pedals!

This contributes a lot to a more authentic sound production when playing piano music that sometimes requires more sensitivity when it comes to the application of pedals.

For the piano sound itself, Roland combined a digitally produced sound with samples of a 9 foot grand piano.

Roland is a company that has developed quite a reputation for being able to recreate a very authentic piano sound on its keyboards. And again, this brand proves that it knows how to do it right with their RP102.

The sound engine not only plays the note but also recreates other ‘sound effects’ that naturally occur when playing the piano, like certain string resonances or when a key is released.

For the sound output, Roland implemented a stereo speaker set. One speaker is on the left, one on the right side with 2x6W power in total. This is the average setup for pianos like this.

It is usually good enough for a regular-sized room. For larger venues, an external speaker setup will likely be necessary, especially if it’s outdoors.

If you want to use a headphone, you can choose from two headphone outputs, one in 1/4” and one in 1/8”.

For one of the very best digital pianos under 1000 dollars, this model surprisingly misses something: It does not offer an option to record your playing as a midi file.

But Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It works with most digital pianos from Roland and lets you do exactly those things – and a lot more.

You can connect to your device via Bluetooth since this piano has Bluetooth onboard!

Check out all of its functions on the official site here.

 

 

Casio PX360

best digital pianos under 1000

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There are two things that make the PX 360 stand out from the other four pianos: The 5.3″ colored touch screen at the center and the light weight of the piano.

Through the touch screen, you have access to hundreds of sounds (550 to be exact) and 200 rhythms. This makes the PX 360 especially interesting for people who are looking for more than just a regular piano sound and more interested in the music-making process in general.

You can not only playback those sounds but for example also create your own rhythms, your own accompaniment with bass sounds, drums, and more instruments. Very handy: You can record music straight onto a plugged in USB drive!

For its keys, the PX 360 uses the Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II technology. We know this one from other high-end pianos in not only this price range but also among higher-priced pianos!

Combined with the ebony and ivory textured look – that provide a better grip if your fingers are sweaty than simple plastic keys) and feel of the keys, everything is set for an authentic experience giving the player the feel of an acoustic grand piano.

This, of course, includes graded hammer action, which makes the lower keys slightly heavier and the upper keys a bit lighter to press down.

The PX 360 recreates the tone of a 9 foot grand piano with Casio’s AiR (Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator) technology.

For a more authentic sound, you will also hear details in the sound like damper resonance.

This is something that happens when strings resonate against the soundboard inside an acoustic piano when you press down the damper pedal.

Another important feature is ‘hammer response’. The Casio PX 360 let’s you control the timing between pressing down a key and actually hearing the note.

Also its decay time when releasing the key.

To be able to fully enjoy these things, Casio included a three-pedal system. This includes the soft, sostenuto, and damper pedal.

The built-in 1/4″ output lets you connect the piano to any standard amp/speaker. Otherwise, you have two 8 watt on-board speakers if you want play without headphones.

Weighing just around 26 pounds, it is very portable.

This is important in case you want to perform at a venue other than your own house.

It comes with its stand, a piano bench (the top opens up so you can store your sheet music or anything else inside the bench!), an instructional book, a DVD, the sheet music rest and a polishing cloth.

This concludes our list of the best digital pianos under 1000 dollars! If you’re at the beginning of your piano playing journey and $1000 seems a bit too much, check out our article on keyboards under $200.

 

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Eric Chang

Piano and music blogger

Hi, I’m Eric. I’ve been playing piano for 15 years and wanted to share everything I have learnt with the world.

Eric Chang

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