The piano is one of the most popular instruments worldwide and it's not hard to see why. It’s recognised as an integral ingredient that has helped characterise almost every genre; from Jazz to Classical and everything in between, the impact the piano has had on both recorded and live music cannot be understated. This versatility allows you to play accompanied (with a band or ensemble), or simply solo – slotting into a multitude of different musical scenarios with absolute ease.
Many people learn the piano as a first instrument. While most maintain a lifelong interest and passion, others use it as a building block to learn and develop new composition and performance skills in other areas. That’s not to mention the physical and mental health benefits! Research has shown playing piano improves hand-eye coordination, your memory and fine motor skills, reduces anxiety, relieves stress and can even contribute to a lower blood pressure.
Why not check out our selection below of 5 of the best digital pianos and keyboards aimed squarely at beginners. Whether you’re young or old, these affordable, 88-key instruments are an ideal companion to kickstart your musical journey with!
Digital Piano vs Keyboard: What's the Difference?
Due to advancements in technology, the actual discernible differences between a digital piano and a keyboard have become somewhat blurred. You'll usually find that certain aspects and functions crossover between the two styles. Down below however, we've outlined the remaining key features that separate the two - helping you to ultimately decide which is best for yourself or a loved one!
- Produced to accurately reflect both the feel and sound of an acoustic piano at a far cheaper price.
- Improved key action makes them more sensitive and responsive.
- Lightweight construction (in comparison to its traditional counterpart).
- Their compact nature makes them an ideal instrument for gigging with.
- Includes a few different digital effects, instrument tones etc.
- Use alongside a sustain pedal.
- PC connectivity.
- Create a wider range of sounds.
- Can be used as a MIDI controller for PC/Mac software.
- Small, lighter keys. Less sensitive response.
- Most have built-in speakers and an arranger (allowing you to use a backing track while you play).
- Usually cheaper than a digital piano with lower quality audio.
- Perfect for creating on the move.
- Great for beginners and young children who are starting to learn their first instrument.
The Roland FP-10 has been developed to offer an authentic, user friendly playing experience that’s packed full of exciting features. 88-notes provide a full piano layout, granting you enhanced feel, control and dynamics – traits which are usually reserved for larger, traditional models. Throw in an excellent sound engine and innovative practice tools, and you’ve got yourself an excellent all-rounder.
- SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine: Offers a rich and expressive tone. Choose from electric piano, string and organ sounds and experiment to your hearts content.
- 88-Key Hammer Action.
- PHA-4 Standard Keyboard: Replicates the detail, response and nuance of a real hammer-weighted, ivory key model.
- Headphones Port/Quiet Keyboard Action: Practice quietly without disturbing others.
- Twin Piano Mode: Created for teaching, a teacher and student can work in the same octave range, side-by-side.
- Piano Partner 2 App: Select sounds, operate a metronome etc all from your iOS or Android device.
- Built-In Bluetooth, MIDI/USB MIDI Interface: Seamlessly connect to your computer, tablet, phone and/or recording software. Jam along and capture your playing as you go!
- Slim Profile: Increases portability. Easily take your piano where it’s needed.
- Onboard speakers.
- In-built metronome.
The Korg B2 is the next instalment of digital piano innovation from one of the leading brands in the business. Its an excellent option for new piano players and is designed to be as accessible and easy to use as possible. Containing 12 contrasting sounds, a whole host of connectivity options and a bundle of software intended to kick-start your practice sessions - this truly modern instrument takes influence from traditional models, propelling them into the current day for a new generation.
- Includes a music rest made for mobile devices and sheet music.
- Variety of keyboard configurations, allowing you to find something that suits your personal preferences.
- Touch control function provides three levels of adjustment (heavy, normal, light), allowing you to change how your playing dynamics affect the overall sound.
- Excellent sound engine containing 12 contrasting sounds.
- Highly responsive keyboard recreates the touch and feel of an acoustic piano. This is achieved through a natural weighted, hammer action design.
- A selection of inputs & outputs ensure you have a wide range of connectivity options available. Connect to your smartphone, computer or tablet and record your performances onto your devices as music data. Failing that, you can just play along to your favourite tunes!
- Bundled software designed to enhance your practice sessions and composition skills.
- Two effects settings: chorus and reverb.
- Built-in metronome.
- 88 weighted keys.
The CDP-S100 from Casio takes impressive portability and combines it with 88 responsive, hammer action keys. 13 hours of battery life ensures you can practice and perform with this piano wherever, whenever – all without being shackled to a physical charger. The included sustain pedal and music rest means you’ve got everything required to start playing immediately too!
- Chordana Play Piano App: Built for your iOS or Android device, this app works as a remote controller and PDF viewer. It’ll also show you how to play 100+ pieces of classical music!
- USB/3.5mm Aux In: Listen and play along to your favourite tracks from your tablet, computer or smartphone etc.
- Battery Powered Option: 13 hours of playing time. Allows for portable practice and performance.
- Ultra Slim Design: Take your piano to practice, a live show, or just jam wherever the mood takes you.
- Headphones Port – Practice quietly without disturbing people.
- Built-in Dual 8W Speaker.
- Dynamic Stereo Sound Engine: Offers excellent expression, sound and 10 dynamic stereo tones.
- 88 weighted keys.
- Scaled Hammer Action II Mechanism Keyboard: Simulated ivory/ebony textured keys offer the authentic feel and weighting of a traditional acoustic piano.
- Sustain pedal and music rest included.
The Yamaha P45 is a super compact, robust option which delivers the sound and feel of a real acoustic piano at a much smaller size and cost! It uses an AWM synthesis system which harnesses digital recordings of real-life instruments. This results in excellent sounding tones, no matter which voicing you select. A streamlined interface makes this model simple to operate, allowing you to play without any creative barriers!
- Pedal and music rest included.
- Built-in metronome.
- Headphones Port: Plug in and practice quietly.
- Compact Build: Takes up minimal space, allowing you to easily store it away when not in use.
- Four contrasting reverb effects.
- Tone Generation Piano Sound: AWM synthesis delivers 10 unique preset tones (organ, harpsichord, acoustic grand electric pianos etc) with excellent audio quality.
- 88 keys (graded hammer standard keyboard): Results in a natural feeling keyboard, faithfully replicating the sensitivity of a real acoustic piano.
- Duo Mode: Splits the keyboard and allows for two players to play at the same register simultaneously. This is especially useful when it comes to teaching purposes.
- Streamlined User Interface: Select tones and alter volume and power using simple, dedicated controls.
The Roland GO:Piano 88 (which is arguably more of a keyboard) brings a premium piano experience to the table at a very reasonable price point. Its lighter, non-weighted playing feel makes this one especially suitable for kids! Incorporating 88 keys allows you to develop the best possible understanding of the instrument, as having access to the full range is imperative, especially when it comes to classical music. Boasting a number of Bluetooth capabilities and smart practice features, this model is a perfect starting point for beginner pianists.
- Built-In Bluetooth Speakers: Connect your devices wirelessly and play along to your favourite tracks. Access free online Roland content, including song tutorials and technique lessons.
- 88-Note Keyboard: Standard spacing and full-size, sensitive keys offer an impressive playing experience. A non-weighted, lighter feeling action makes it especially suitable for kids!
- Tones include synths, organs, electric pianos and much more!
- Lightweight, Compact Construction: Guarantees easy transport and storage. At just 7.5 kg, its one of the lightest keyboards on the market.
- Battery Power Option: Make use of 8 hours of battery life. Play anywhere, anytime.
- Bluetooth MIDI Support: Perfect for accessing music lessons via your tablet or smartphone.
- Integrated Practice Features: Take your practice sessions to the next level using the smart recording, transpose and metronome tools.
- Headphones Port: Play quietly without disturbing others.
Why Are 88 Keys Important When Learning Piano?
Having access to 88 keys is preferable for a few different reasons:
- A typical traditional piano has 88 keys. Learning on an 88 key equivalent digital piano or keyboard provides you with a solid foundation to learn on, ensuring you develop good technique from the outset. You can then easily translate your skills to an acoustic version in the future.
- Having access to the entire range of keys allows you to play pretty much any style or genre. It is especially important if you're looking to play classical music, as it usually makes use of the full set of keys.
- More keys lets you harness a wider variety of both high and low sounds.
Plug In and Play!
Each of the instruments discussed in this guide feature a headphone port - allowing you to play quietly without disturbing anyone else! As a result, we've rounded up our best, budget friendly headphone options for you to take a look at above. One of these is sure to become an integral accessory during your future practice sessions.
Thrones & Stands
Compliment your instrument further with a bench and throne from Tourtech. A good seat is imperative for good playing. With this adjustable throne, you'll be able to sit comfortably at the correct height. This is important, as being sat incorrectly can be detrimental to your posture and can even cause muscle strain and fatigue. The double-braced stand will ensure your piano/keyboard remains stable while you play, offering a reassuringly sturdy surface during performances or practice sessions.