How a keyboard or piano feels is just as important (if not more) than how it sounds. The weight and action of the keys are what allow you to express your personality in your playing.
We have put together a list of what we consider to be the best 88-key weighted keyboards and digital pianos in 2021.
Our list isn’t just the best money can buy; it’s a mix of quality and value for money.
These are the best 88-key weighted keyboards and digital pianos right now:
The best fully-weighted keyboard for performers
The Roland RD-2000 tops many lists, and it looks like that will continue for some time. It’s an outstanding instrument that gives extremely intuitive control of every aspect of performance. It’s the best 88-key keyboard piano for performers right now.
The RD-2000 is an 88-key stage piano powered by two legendary sound engines: SuperNATURAL and V-Piano.
It delivers a vast and versatile range of voices, including some of Roland’s most iconic vintage keyboards. The SuperNATURAL engine has a max polyphony of 128-notes, and the V-Piano voices offer full polyphony. It comes with what Roland describes as their best progressive hammer-action keyboard to date (plastic/wood hybrid).
To top it off, the RD-2000 offers some of the best built-in effects around and unrivaled connectivity.
Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735
The most realistic piano feel
If you want a realistic piano experience, look no further. The Clavinova CLP-735 is a remarkable instrument that bridges the gap between real and digital. It’s not priced for beginners, but if you are an advanced player with the cash to treat yourself, it’s one of the best digital pianos with weighted keys ever made.
Two things set the Clavinova CLP-735 apart from most other digital pianos, and that’s the sound and feel.
It delivers the sound of two genuinely iconic concert pianos, the Yamaha CFX and the Bösendorfer Imperial. Whether you’re a jazzer or classical pianist, the CLP-735 offers uncanny realism, dynamic range, and expression.
Most of that realism comes from the real wooden keys and Yamaha’s Real Grand Expression Technology and Acoustic Optimizers. It blends a realistic experience with modern digital features perfectly.
Modern meets vintage
The Yamaha CP88 has been one of our favorite keyboard pianos since it was first released. It has a vintage style and vibe that won’t lend itself to everyone’s needs, but if vintage effects and excellent pianos/electric pianos are your thing, the CP88 nails it.
The CP88 is a full-size keyboard piano inspired by Yamaha’s original 1970s Combo Piano.
It delivers high-quality sound from Yamaha’s AWM2 tone generator. It has acoustic pianos (including the Bösendorfer Imperial 290) that can match most others and electric pianos that are even better.
One of the areas that adopt the vintage vibe most is the built-in effects from Yamaha’s Virtual Circuit Modeling technology. VCM accurately replicates the inconsistencies of high-end, studio-grade processors.
Everything is packaged in a retro-styled unit with an intuitive modular layout.
High-end feel at a mid-level price
Kawai has a habit of producing highly realistic digital pianos, and the KDP120 is just that. You could buy a digital piano with 88 weighted keys for less, but it’s unlikely it would be as good. It’s a gorgeous piano.
The KDP120 is a great example of a manufacturer with a background in high-end concert pianos, transferring that knowledge to the digital world.
Obviously, it doesn’t feel like a concert grand, but it delivers a sound and feel that allows you to forget you’re playing a digital instrument.
As well as the sound of Kawai’s SK-EX concert grand, you also get some cool features, like a built-in recorder and 55 internal songs. All of that comes through an impressive 20 W built-in speaker system.
The best feeling budget keyboard piano
The Alesis Prestige and Prestige Artist are fantastic fully-weighted keyboard pianos for beginners to intermediate players. The sound and feel on offer is fantastic value for money, and that’s why the Prestige makes our list.
The Alesis Prestige is an 88-key keyboard piano with graded hammer-action keys. It’s a step up in keyboard feel from the popular Alesis Recital Pro.
It isn’t a versatile keyboard to any great extent, but it does what most Alesis keyboards do, and that’s over-deliver.
The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price, especially the electric pianos. It’s the kind of keyboard piano that will help learners develop their skills. As a beginner keyboard piano, it’s well worth checking out.
The best lightweight keyboard with fully-weighted keys
We love the Roland RD series, and we think it’s awesome that the RD-88 provides a more affordable way to own one. As far as lightweight, stage-ready keyboard pianos go, very few have the kind of realistic feel that the RD-88 offers. We love it.
The Roland RD-88 is a stage-ready keyboard piano for performers who want realism in a lightweight package.
The RD-88 is straightforward to use, and performers can make use of every sound and feature on stage with no fuss. While it doesn’t have the RD-2000’s flexibility, it does share access to over 3000 sounds from Roland’s ZEN-Core engine.
We expect excellent sound quality from any RD series keyboard, but what we didn’t expect is the PHA-4 keyboard to feel so good.
Casio Privia PX-S3000
The most portable keyboard piano with hammer-action keys
The Casio PX-S3000 is a fantastic full-size keyboard piano for beginners or intermediate players. It combines super-sleek looks with high-quality sound and feel.
We didn’t include the PX-S3000 in our best keyboard pianos list, but we couldn’t omit it from this one.
The reason being that it’s the world’s slimmest keyboard piano, and it still has a stunning graded hammer-action keyboard. So, if you want some incredibly portable that feels realistic, it’s the PX-S3000.
It offers a wide range of voices (700) to suit all styles, powered by Casio’s AiR Sound Source. The PX-S3000 is feature-rich and has something to offer players of most levels.
The best slimline digital piano with fully-weighted keys
Korg’s LP-180 isn’t the best 88-key digital piano on the market. But, it’s a reasonably budget-friendly way to get a digital piano that feels and sounds realistic. With its minimalist style, we think it looks as good as it sounds.
The Korg LP-180 is a modern digital piano with a slimline design. The sleek design looks great and saves some space at home.
It has natural hammer-action keys that we have to say are amongst the best in their class. The keyboard feel, coupled with Korg’s impressive piano voices, delivers a very immersive playing experience.
The immersive playing experience is also thanks to the 22 W (2 x 11 W) speaker system that producers a powerful and articulate sound. If you want something modern, the LP-180 is one to check out.
As always, we aim to bring you a list of outstanding keyboard/digital pianos that have something to offer everyone.
It’s important to remember that the best choice is always relative to your ability, needs, and budget. It’s not about choosing the most expensive instrument every time; it’s about choosing the right instrument.
You can also check our digital piano/keyboard reviews page to see all the instruments we’ve reviewed to date.