10 Best Weighted Digital Pianos and Keyboards
Are you interested in the best keyboard with weighted keys? Do you know if you want a keyboard with 88 keys or a keyboard with 73 or 67 keys? Do you want the best weighted keyboard with graded hammer action? How important are built-in tones and features? If you are interested in learning more about these specifications and want to find the best weighted keyboard for your budget, then check out this list of top picks!
Top Picks: Best Weighted Keyboard Reviews
The Yamaha CP73 is one of Yamaha’s flagship stage pianos. Along with its cousin, the CP88, the CP73 is an update to Yamaha’s top of the line C4 digital piano. Yamaha has a reputation for quality digital pianos that is based on over a century of experience crafting acoustic pianos combined with over 45 years of innovation in digital synthesizers.
The Yamaha CP73 is a 73-key keyboard. A standard keyboard is 88 keys (1), so this instrument is smaller than normal which makes it perfect for gigs with a smaller stage. The keyboard spans E1 to E7 to match the range of electric guitars. The 73 keys feature Yamaha’s BHS Balanced Hammer Sound weight system which provides ideal range,feel, and responsiveness for playing a wide variety of keyboard and synth sounds with a band.
The Yamaha CP73 features 57 built in tones including Yamaha’s own world-class CFX and S700 concert grands, as well as a model Bösendorfer Imperial 290. The CP73 is capable of 128 voice polyphony, meaning the piano can produce 128 different pitches at any one time, which is perfect for use with the sustain pedal. The CP73 also includes a number of excellent electric piano samples such as a CP80 model, a Rhodes sample, a Wurlitzer sample, as well as clavinet and organ patches.
Overall, the Yamaha C73 is a great choice for a professional or intermediate level pianist interested in a high-quality stage piano. Yamaha has been at the forefront of quality digital pianos and has decades experience modeling realistic key action. While the C73 is one of the more expensive options on the list, its quality makes it our overall choice for best keyboard piano with weighted keys.
Glarry is a budget manufacturer of quality and affordable instruments for beginning musicians of all ages. They make electric and acoustic guitars, electric basses, violins, ukuleles, and a range of digital pianos. The Glarry GPP-202 Portable Digital Piano is a great choice for an affordable home, digital piano with weighted keys.
The Glarry GP-202 features a full 88-key keyboard. The keys are fully weighted with hammer action for a realistic playing experience. The GP-202 also features aftertouch and velocity sensitivity for added expressive possibilities. There are 5 levels of adjustable for velocity on the GP-202, meaning you can customize the speed of the sound emerging from the keys and the dynamic, or change in volume, compared to how hard and fast you depress the key. This is an awesome feature for such an affordable instrument and one that is more often included only on higher end instruments.
The GP-202 also includes 800 built-in tones which allows for a great deal of creative fun and exploration. The GP-202 is capable of 64 voice polyphony, which means that the keyboard can produce 64 pitches at one time (2). This is not great compared to some other keyboards on this list, but you get what you pay for and the GP-202 is a deal. Of course, the GP-202 also weighs about 48 lbs. and does not include a stand. You will need to purchase a heavy-duty instrument stand to support this weight.
Overall, the Glarry GP-202 is a great choice for a beginning pianist on a budget looking for a keyboard with weighted keys. The Glarry has many features that are mainly included on higher-end keyboards, but it also only has 64 voice polyphony and is very heavy. But, for the price, you will probably not find a better new keyboard.
Roland has been a major innovator in the world of digital pianos for decades. Their iconic RD1000 stage piano was the height of digital piano technology in the 1980s and was the favorite electric piano of many famous musicians including Elton John and others (3). Roland has continued to expand their designs to include new and interesting technologies as they develop. The RD-2000 is the newest addition to Roland’s legacy of quality.
The Roland RD-2000 features a full 88 keys with Roland’s PHA-50 Progressive Hammer Action weight system. The PHA-50 has succeeded the previous key action technology used in high-end Roland instruments. The PHA-50 action uses triple sensors and they are tuned to be even more reactive to velocity, which makes for a more realistic and expressive playing experience. The keys are built from a hybrid molded plastic and wood combination, further enhancing the authenticity of the keys.
The RD-2000 features Roland’s latest sound modeling updates. The RD-2000 includes two separate state of the art sound engines. The first is designed to model exclusively acoustic piano sounds and is based off Roland’s flagship V-Piano modeling technology. The second is designed to deliver 1100 additional sounds including a wide range of synthesizers, organs, and electronic pianos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, as well as a wide range of modeled instruments from other genres. The RD-2000 can also be used as a controller and paired with any software synths or sounds you might like to use for even further expandability.
Overall, the Roland RD-2000 is one of the best keyboards with weighted keys on the market. The newest technology from an industry pioneer combined with quality materials and craftsmanship form an amazing keyboard for the professional musician. The RD-2000 is the most expensive keyboard with weighted keys on this list.
Like the Glarry brand, Lagrima is another brand that designs and manufactures decent quality, budget instruments for beginning musicians of all ages. Based on their product descriptions, website layouts, and manufacturing techniques, I would guess they are actually part of or subsidiaries of the same company. They incorporate many of the same themes and language in their descriptions and both brands sell primarily on Amazon.
The Lagrima LAG-570 is a full size portable digital piano with 88-keys. The LAG-570 features some sort of graded hammer action weight system which means that the keys are hammer weighted like a traditional acoustic piano and that the action of the keys is heavier in the lower registers and lighter in the higher registers. This is a common feature for a weighted keyboard and some manufacturers do this better than others. There is no mention of any velocity or touch control.
The Lagrima LAG-570 also features 200 built-in tones modeled using the French Dream Sound Source. It is difficult to find information on what exactly this technology is and how it is different or better than anything else on the market. Suffice it to say that the LAG-570 includes quite a few tones including a few acoustic grand, upright, and electric pianos. The LAG-570 also features 128 voice polyphony, meaning the piano is capable of producing 128 pitches simultaneously.
Overall, the Lagrima LAG-570 seems like a quality instrument for a beginning pianist on a budget. It is comparable to the Glarry GP-202 and weighs about 18 lbs. less which is a great advantage. The LAG-570 includes many of the basic features you would expect from a budget weighted keyboard and seems like a great deal.
Like Roland and Yamaha, Casio has been at the forefront of digital piano technology for decades. They are one of the industry leaders in quality and design and have become almost synonymous with affordable digital pianos for beginners. Despite the occasional negative connotations as being cheap or poor quality, Casio truly makes some great instruments for the price. The Casio Privia PX-S1000 Digital Piano is no exception!
The Privia PX-S1000 is a slim weighted keyboard with a full 88 key range. The keys are weighted with Casio’s Scaled Hammer Action system and include 5 adjustable levels of touch sensitivity so you can dial in the feel of a traditional acoustic grand piano. The keys also feature a simulated ebony and ivory texture to further enhance the realistic feel of the keys. Most keyboards in the price range include some variation on plastic keys that do not feel very realistic, so having some simulated texture is an advantage here.
The Privia PX-S1000 includes 18 tones modeled using Casio’s AiR sound engine. The acoustic piano samples include adjustable string resonance that brings out the harmonic bloom between vibrating strings and damper resonance adds natural richness and depth. When you play the PX-S1000, you hear the mechanical sounds of dampers rising and keys being pressed and returning to their original position. The Privia PX-S1000 also includes 192 voice polyphony, which is more than any other digital piano on this list.
Overall, the Casio Privia PX-S1000 should be on your watchlist for a quality weighted keyboard. In terms of quality, the PX-S1000 is probably a step above the other budget models like Glarry and Lagrima. Casio’s AiR sound engine modeling technology is high-quality and the Scaled Hammer Action with adjustable velocity sensitivity will enhance your playing experience.
Alesis has been a major player in the world of digital instruments for about 3 decades. Beginning in the 1908’s, Alesis has consistently innovated the field with new technology all while driving down the previously unreasonably high prices on studio recording gear to open up access to a wider range of amateur musicians. The Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano falls right in this line of history.
The Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano features a full scale of 88 keys. Those 88 keys are weighted with a hammer-action system that includes an adjustable touch response feature. It is unclear how many touch response settings are included. It is also unclear what material the keys are made from, so my guess would be they are basically plastic.
The Recital Pro features 12 built-in tones including 2 acoustic piano samples, an electric piano, organ, synth, strings, and more. Any two voices can be combined in Layer Mode by using the intuitive onboard controls and display screen. Voices can also be assigned to only the left or right hands in Split Mode. You can even add adjustable modulation, reverb and chorus to further tailor your sound. These are all awesome, creative features for a budget instrument.
Overall, the Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano is another great choice for the beginning pianist looking for a quality weighted keyboard on a budget. The Alesis Recital Pro is just slightly more expensive than the Lagrima LAG-507, but with Alesis’s 30 years of production experience, you can be sure that you are getting a great deal on a quality instrument.
If you are looking for a no-frills, basic level keyboard with weighted keys, then check out the Artesia DP-2 Series. Artesia is a manufacturer of mobile keyboards, digital home upright pianos, MIDI controllers, monitor speakers, and more. The DP-2 is one of their middle tier digital pianos and it included many desirable features for an affordable price.
Like most of the keyboards on this list, the Artesia DP-2 features a full 88 keys with full scale hammer action for a realistic feel. Additionally, the keys on the DP-2 are velocity sensitive, meaning the speed in which you push the keys affects the volume of the tone. With 5 adjustable velocity settings, this further increases the DP-2’s accuracy and authenticity.
The Artesia DP-2 only includes 8 tones. Compared to the other pianos on this list, the DP-2 is lacking in this area. However, the DP-2 uses Artesia’s Supra Sound sampling technology. Each of the 8 tones is composed of a 3 layer sample of a real-life instrument. The 8 tones include: Grand Piano, E-Piano, Harpsichord, Vibes, Nylon Guitar, Organ, Strings and Bass. The Artesia DP-2 also includes built-in speakers, MIDI, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity for enhanced practice abilities and a standard 128 voice polyphony for realistic sound production.
Overall, the Artesia DP-2 is a great keyboard with weighted keys if you are looking for a basic, functional piano with nothing you don’t need. The DP-2 does not include 100 tones you will never use. Instead, the focus is on simplicity and quality and the Artesia DP-2 Series covers this territory adequately.
The Korg LP380 is a great weighted keyboard with a slim 26cm profile, which makes it a convenient fit for many locations inside your home. Like other brands on this list, Korg has been making high-quality digital instruments for decades. The Korg LP380 is right up there with the best weighted keyboards with 88 keys, with a hefty price tag to match.
The Korg LP380 features Korg’s RH 3 Real-Weighted Hammer Action 3 system. This technology is comparable to other hammer action systems on this list such as the Yamaha CP-73 and Roland RD-2000 and features a heavier response in the lower register and a lighter touch response in the upper registers. Korg also includes a Key Touch Control to specify three levels of playing dynamics, similar to the adjustable velocity on other keyboards on this list. These systems combine with a built-in sensor that switches between piano samples to more accurately match your style and dynamic as you play.
The Korg LP380 also features 30 built-in tones including 5 acoustic piano samples, 6 electric piano samples, as well as classic organ, string, and choir patches. The PL380 also includes built-in effects like reverb and chorus to give your performances a little extra breathing room. Interestingly, the LP380 includes 9 different temperament settings. According to the GSU Department of Physics (4):
The equal tempered scale is the common musical scale used at present, used for the tuning of pianos and other instruments of relatively fixed scale. It divides the octave into 12 equal semitones.
Historically however, this has not always been the case and with this technology, the LP380 can be used to support period instrument ensembles.
Overall, the Korg LP380 is a high-end and superb quality weighted keyboard with a range of stellar features. Korg is well-known for their quality sound samples and attention to detail. If you are in the market for a weighted keyboard and have a high budget, the LP380 would be a great choice.
The Yamaha YDP103 is a weighted keyboard designed to be set up at home and built for a student pianist. The Arius Series is Yamaha’s standard line of digital home pianos and they are a great overall product for the money. The YDP103 is the entry-level Arius Series piano.
The Yamaha YDP103 features a full scale of 88 keys. The keys are weighted with Yamaha’s proprietary GHS Graded Hammer Standard keyboard action. It is not totally clear how this system is different from the BHS Balanced Hammer System on the Yamaha CP73, but I imagine the difference in price point indicates some difference in quality. The YDP103 also does not feature any synthetic ivory or ebony keys.
The YDP103 includes only 10 built-in tones modeled using Yamaha’s AWM Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling technology. This technology produces a stereo image of the instrument being modeled and is often based on multiple microphone placements for the best possible sound quality. According to Yamaha (5):
AWM is Yamaha’s original system for effectively using sampled waveforms in synthesizers and tone generators. The strength of AWM synthesis lies not only in its extraordinary ability to “shape” and control the sound of the samples…
The YDP103’s sound bank also includes resonance modeling which is designed to capture the resonance of a grand piano’s soundboard, rim, and frame. This further adds to the clarity and depth of the piano tone. Despite this, the YDP103 only features 64 voice polyphony, which is not great compared to other weighted keyboards on this list.
Overall, the Yamaha YDP103 is a fine weighted keyboard for at home practice. I would probably not take the YDP103 to any performances or recording sessions, although it is certainly capable of performing in those types of situations. But, for the money, you should probably spend a little bit more and get the Korg LP380 or a higher tier Arius Series.
The Donner DDP-300 is the flagship model in Donner’s digital home piano series. Donner is a manufacturer of budget music instruments and gear and primarily sells through Amazon and other online retailers. The DDP-300 is a fine weighted keyboard with many desirable features for a middle range price.
The Donner DDP-300 features a full 88 keys. The DDP-300 includes Donner’s full weight keyboard system, which is comparable to other hammer-action systems on this list. The DDP-300 includes the same heavier touch in the lower register and lighter touch in the higher register as many of the other weighted keyboards on this list. There is no mention of key texture or material, so my guess is the keys are made from plastic.
The DDP-300 also features 10 built-in tones including classic timbres like grand piano, electric piano, church and rock organ, and strings. The DDP-300 also features 128 voice polyphony, which means the instrument can produce 128 pitches simultaneously. This seems to be the average number of voices of weighted keyboards on this list and means that all of your pedal glissandos will ring true. Weighing in at 96.8 lbs., the DDP-300 is the heaviest keyboard on the list because it is housed inside a fiberboard cabinet with built-in speakers.
Overall, the DDP-300 is a decent weighted keyboard for home practice. It is comparable to the Yamaha YDP103 in features and size, for about $300 less, which is good if you are on a tighter budget. Donner is a newer brand and is not as well established as other brands like Yamaha, Korg, or Roland. Their customer service is apparently excellent however. If you need an affordable digital piano for home practice, the Donner DDP-300 might be a perfect choice for you!
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Weighted Keyboard
The Quality of the Keys
It is extremely important to consider the quality of the keys when purchasing a weighted keyboard. After all, you are probably interested in purchasing a weighted keyboard because you want something with high quality keys, as opposed to a cheap keyboard with waterfall keys that have no weight to them at all. All the keyboards on this list have some form of hammer action. However, some brands are more well established than others. It is also difficult to discern the quality of a keyboard’s action by the online description of a product.
Each company has its own way to describe the technology of the weight of the keys. Yamaha calls their system BHS Balanced Hammer Action System or GHS Graded Hammer Action System. The BHS system is designed to play somewhere between a traditional acoustic piano and a synth or keyboard. The CP73 uses this BHS system and is designed primarily to be a live performance instrument. The GHS system is designed to imitate the action of a traditional grand piano by making the action heavier in the lower register of the piano and lighter in the upper register of the piano. Many pianos on this list include this sort of graded weight system including the Glarry GP-202, Lagrima LAG-570, and Korg LP380.
It is also important to consider features such as velocity and touch sensitivity and whether or not the keys have any sort of texture or are made from a simulated ebony and ivory material.
Having a weighted keyboard with adjustable velocity and touch sensitivity will enhance your playing experience tremendously and will make your keyboard feel like a more authentic piano.
Instruments on this list with velocity and touch sensitivity include the Glarry GP-202, the Casio Privia PX-S1000, the Alesis Recital Pro, the Artesia DP-2, and Korg LP380. Likewise, having some texture on the keys is an added bonus and will make your playing experience more authentic. The only instrument on this list with some form of textured keys is the Casio Privia PX-S1000.
The Importance of Built-in Tones and Effects
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a keyboard with weighted keys is the importance of built-in tones and effects. If you are going to spend the extra money to get a weighted keyboard, you probably want to get one that actually sounds good and has some cool features, right?
Like with the hammer action systems, some brands are better known for their sound sampling technology than other brands. For example, Yamaha, Roland, and Korg are generally regarded as the industry leaders. Alesis is up there, but not as widely regarded. Brands like Artesia, Glassy, and Donner are basically attempting to replicate the success of the other brands and don’t really have anything unique to offer technology wise.
The Best Overall weighted keyboard on this list, the Yamaha CP73 features 57 built in tones including Yamaha’s own world-class CFX and S700 concert grands, as well as a sampled Bösendorfer Imperial 290 and a number of famous electric pianos. These samples are all studio quality and are professionally recorded with multiple microphones to enhance the accuracy and realism of the sounds.
The Roland RD-2000 features Roland’s latest sound modeling updates. The RD-2000 includes two separate state of the art sound engines. The first is designed to model exclusively acoustic piano sounds and is based off Roland’s flagship V-Piano modeling technology. The second is designed to deliver 1100 additional sounds including a wide range of synthesizers, organs, and electronic pianos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. You will find many of these samples are of instruments that have been used heavily in pop, rock, jazz, and hip-hop styles.
If built-in tones and effects are not as important to you, then a weighted keyboard like the Alesis Recital Pro, Artesia DP-2, or Donner DDp-300 would be perfect. All of those keyboards feature weighted hammer action and basic, solid piano tones with minimal fuss.
The Overall Weight of the Instrument
Finally, it is important to consider the overall weight of the instrument when purchasing a keyboard with weighted keys. What will you be using the instrument for? Will you be frequently transporting the instrument to gigs, rehearsals, and recording sessions? Or will your piano mostly stay at home?
The additional components needed to produce a keyboard with weighted keys increases the overall weight of the instrument. Take it from me, if you will be transporting your keyboard frequently, the lighter the instrument the better.
Compare the weights of the three highest tier instruments on this list. The Yamaha CP73 weighs 28.8 lbs., the Roland RD-2000 weighs 47.9 lbs., and the Korg LP380 weighs in at 81.4 lbs. I don’t know about you, but I would rather carry the CP73 to my gig instead of the LP380! The LP380 is designed to be stationary and comes with a built-in stand and speaker system which also accounts for probably half of its weight at least. But still, for a portable, professional instrument, lighter is always preferable.
If you will be primarily using your instrument at home and not traveling with it, then the overall weight of the instrument is not as important. Most of the home digital pianos with weighted keys on this list come with some sort of cabinet stand with a built-in speaker system like the Korg LG380. This is a benefit in terms of cost.
If you end up purchasing an instrument like the Glarry GP-202 or the Roland RD-2000, you will need to make sure that you get a high-quality keyboard stand that is rated for heavy weight instruments.
The last thing you will want is your hundred or thousand dollar investment to come crashing down and break because you didn’t properly support it! I have personally experienced this and I can tell you it is a terrible sight.
Semi-weighted keys refers to a type of keyboard action that uses springs instead of hammers to control the rebound of the key. Semi-weighted keys combine the spring-loaded mechanism of synth actions with the addition of light weights attached to each key.
Yes, weighted keys are better than unweighted or waterfall keys, especially for beginning pianists who do not have access to a traditional acoustic piano. It is best to practice from the beginning with an instrument that models the real thing as clearly as possible.
No, you do not need a full 88 keys to learn the piano. Beginning piano music generally only uses a few octaves of keys in the middle of the piano. You may want to move up to a full 88 key piano down the road, but it is not necessary to learn the piano on an 88 key instrument.
- Why do pianos have 88 keys? Retrieved from: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/piano/why-pianos-have-88-keys/
- What is polyphony and why is it important? Retrieved from: https://usa.yamaha.com/support/faq/music_production/7255.html
- Elton John’s Roland RD-1000. Retrieved from: https://equipboard.com/pros/elton-john/roland-rd-1000
- Equal Temperament. Retrieved from: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Music/et.html
- Yamaha EX5. Retrieved from: http://www.vintagesynth.com/yamaha/ex5.php