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The 10 best 88-key weighted keyboards and digital pianos 2024

It’s the weight of acoustic piano keys that allows players to perform with incredible expression and dynamics because they learn to control velocity with immaculate detail and sensitivity. By that logic, if a keyboard or digital piano doesn’t have an authentic piano feel, you’ll never get the best out of its sound.

I understand that it’s nearly impossible to find an exact acoustic feel with a digital instrument, but we can get close. In this article, I’m listing the best weighted keyboards and digital pianos available in 2024. So, if you want a realistic piano feel, this list is for you.

About the author

I’m a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience in the music industry. As a professional pianist, I’ve played and tested everything from a Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano to budget-friendly beginner keyboards.

testing Yamaha's weighted keyboard for realistic feel
Image: Higher Hz

How I chose the pianos for this list?

My top priority for this list is finding keyboards and digital pianos with 88 weighted keys that authentically emulate the resistance you’d get from a real piano. While searching for the best instruments, I focused on the weight, feel, and responsiveness of the keys.

I know that an authentic piano experience on its own isn’t enough. So, my choices also reflect some of the most impressive sounds and features on the market.

My list includes instruments with the best weighted keys money can buy and some cheaper instruments that offer the most realistic feel in their price range.

testing weighted keyboard in Roland's digital piano
Image: Higher Hz

To find out more about how we test and rate keyboards and digital pianos here at Higher Hz and why you can trust our reviews, check out the “Digital piano and keyboard reviews” page.

These are the best and most realistic 88-key weighted keyboards and digital pianos:

  1. Roland RD-2000
  2. Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735
  3. Yamaha CP88
  4. Nord Stage 4
  5. Studiologic Numa X Piano GT
  6. Kawai KDP120
  7. Yamaha P-225
  8. Yamaha CK88
  9. Roland RD-88
  10. Alesis Prestige

Roland RD-2000 4.8

The best fully-weighted keyboard for performers

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, PHA-50
  • Escapement: Yes
  • Polyphony: full (V-Piano), 128 notes (SuperNatural)
  • Presets: over 1,300 voices
  • Built-in speakers: No

The Roland RD-2000 continues the long tradition of RD pianos having fantastic weighted keys. The keys are a little heavier than some similar instruments, but the extra weight allows you to play with complete dynamic freedom.

It’s an outstanding instrument that gives intuitive control of every aspect of performing. It’s exceptionally well-rounded and still the best 88-key keyboard piano for performers in 2024.

Roland RD-2000 digital stage piano
Image: Roland

The RD-2000 is an 88-key stage piano that has been around for quite a few years but shows no signs of age. It features two incredibly powerful sound engines: SuperNatural and V-Piano.

Roland’s V-Piano is the original modeled piano; it delivers a remarkably nuanced tone with full polyphony. The V-Piano recently got even better with the release of the German Concert expansion.

The RD-2000 features the premium PHA-50 keyboard with hybrid wooden/plastic keys. The wooden element of the keyboard provides a very natural weight and realistic response. It makes you work just like a real piano, and it’s the perfect partner for that stunning V-Piano tone.

Read my full Roland RD-2000 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Natural, realistic keyboard feel.
  • Two powerful sound engines.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy Roland RD-2000 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 4.9

The most realistic piano feel overall

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, GrandTouch-S
  • Escapement: Yes
  • Polyphony: 256 notes
  • Presets: 38 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

Clavinova pianos have a reputation for being luxurious, and the CLP-735 doesn’t disappoint. It looks fantastic and sounds better; if you close your eyes, you could be sitting at an acoustic piano.

The CLP-735 offers a playing experience that captures every detail of your personality thanks to one of the best-feeling keyboards you’ll ever play.

Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 digital piano
Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s Clavinova CLP-735 features the flagship GrandTouch-S keyboard with simulated ebony and ivory keytops. The graded hammer-action keyboard feels as realistic as you’ll get in a digital piano.

Combined with the Real Grand Expression 2 technology and Virtual Resonance Modeling, this premium keyboard inspires confidence that what you put in is exactly what you’ll get out; nothing is too nuanced.

Yamaha has paired the GrandTouch-S keyboard with two beautiful piano sounds: the CFX concert grand and Bösendorfer Imperial.

Although the CLP-735 has real wooden keys, it has a relatively fast action that suits any playing style. It also boasts an impressive max polyphony of 256 notes, which should please the classical pianists. You have to feel it to understand how good it is.

Read my full Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Ultra-realistic sound and feel.
  • Immersive playing experience.

What I don’t like

  • Quite expensive.
Buy Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 at: SweetwaterGuitar Center

Yamaha CP88 4.8

The best weighted keyboard with vintage features

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, NW-GH
  • Escapement: No
  • Polyphony: 128 notes
  • Presets: 57 voices
  • Built-in speakers: No

The Yamaha CP88 is one of my favorite Yamaha releases in recent years. It combines modern functionality with authentic vintage features seamlessly. It also emulates a vintage electric piano’s dense but responsive action beautifully, thanks to a gorgeous natural wood keyboard.

Yamaha CP88 stage keyboard piano
Image: Yamaha

The CP88 is a full-size keyboard piano inspired by Yamaha’s original 1970s Combo Piano. It features Yamaha’s triple-sensor NW-GH keyboard with synthetic ebony/ivory keytops.

This natural wood, graded hammer-action keyboard probably isn’t as close to a concert grand feel as Yamaha’s GrandTouch-S, but I think it’s the perfect choice for the CP88.

While the CP88 offers a stunning Bösendorfer Imperial voice, owners tend to love it for its incredible electric piano sounds, including the iconic CP-80 (1978). With electric pianos in mind, I think the NW-GH keyboard is a perfect match.

The CP88 offers various sounds, including vintage organs, clavs, and synths, with a max polyphony of 128 notes. With a one-to-one interface, the CP88 feels like a classic keyboard.

Read my full Yamaha CP88 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Gorgeous natural wood keyboard.
  • Outstanding piano sounds.

What I don’t like

  • The NW-GH keyboard is not ideal for a concert grand feel.
Buy Yamaha CP88 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Nord Stage 4 4.9

The professionals weighted stage piano

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted
  • Escapement: No
  • Polyphony: 120 notes (piano), 46 notes (synth)
  • Presets: 512 voices
  • Built-in speakers: No

I have to be honest, I’ve never been overly impressed by the feel of Nord Stage keyboards. Not because they are terrible but because there are more realistic options for far less money.

However, very few keyboards can match the sound of a Nord, and when thousands of pianists would disagree with me, I have to include it. I’m pleased to say that the Nord Stage 4 feels better than previous models, and the sound is as impeccable as ever.

Nord Stage 4 88-key keyboard
Image: Nord

The Nord Stage 4 features an improved fully-weighted, triple-sensor keybed. The graded hammer-action keyboard has a bit of extra weight, and I think it’s more responsive than ever. The additional weight leaves more room for dynamic performance, and the fast response means it’s great for organs, synths, or pianos.

Other upgrades include doubled sample memory, more voices, and per-layer FX control, which is huge for anyone interested in live sound design.

Some things never change, thankfully, and that starts with the dedicated piano, synth, and organ sound engines. The modular layout remains essentially the same as before and features two OLED displays.

Read my full Nord Stage 4 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Improved fully-weighted keybed.
  • Dedicated sound engines.

What I don’t like

  • Very expensive.
Buy Nord Stage 4 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Studiologic Numa X Piano GT 4.8

The most underrated fully-weighted stage piano

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, Fatar keybed
  • Escapement: Yes
  • Polyphony: 300 notes
  • Presets: 200 voices
  • Built-in speakers: No

Studiologic doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, and I believe the Numa X Piano GT is the instrument to change that.

I think the premium weighted keyboard action will surprise a lot of people. It delivers one of the most realistic piano experiences available under $2000, and it sounds outstanding.

Studiologic Numa X Piano GT digital stage piano
Image: Studiologic

The Numa X Piano GT is Studiologic’s flagship 88-key stage piano, offering over 200 sounds. It’s powered by one of the most underrated sound engines on the market: Studiologic’s True Sound (TrS) technology.

The Numa X Piano GT (Grand Touch) features an innovative Fatar keybed to get the best out of the excellent piano tones (15 acoustic pianos in total). The Fatar keyboard is fully weighted and graded and features escapement and monophonic aftertouch.

Escapement, along with the perfectly weighted keys, produces an ultra-realistic piano feel. The addition of monophonic aftertouch is an amazing feature for synths, strings, or even organ sounds.

While maintaining an unassuming appearance, this stage piano is highly innovative. It featured dedicated DSP effects for acoustic piano sounds, up to eight insert effects per keyboard zone and a built-in four-channel digital mixer.

Read my full Studiologic Numa X Piano GT review to find out more.

What I like

  • Grand Touch keyboard with escapement.
  • Incredible acoustic pianos.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing at this price.
Buy Studiologic Numa X Piano GT review at: SweetwaterAmazon

Kawai KDP120 4.7

The most realistic piano feel in its class

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, RHC II
  • Escapement: Yes
  • Polyphony: 192 notes
  • Presets: 15 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

Kawai manufactures some of the world’s finest concert pianos, so it’s no surprise that they also create realistic digital pianos.

The surprising thing is that the KDP120 competes with digital pianos at almost twice the price for an authentic piano feel. Improvements over previous models make the KDP120 one of the best mid-priced digital pianos in 2024.

Kawai KDP120 digital piano
Image: Kawai

The KDP120 is a mid-priced digital piano with weighted keys, and it comes with a stylish yet traditional wooden stand and a new sliding key cover. The sound of the KDP120 comes from Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging sound technology.

Many keyboards and digital pianos sound good in the midrange but struggle to produce an acoustic piano’s depth, richness, and clarity in the lower and higher ranges. The KDP120 is a prime example of a manufacturer getting it right, and it sounds about as close as you’ll get to a real piano for the money.

The KDP120 features Kawai’s Responsive Hammer Compact II keyboard with escapement, which has been significantly improved for this model. The improved graded hammer-action keyboard has a matte keytop finish that feels great and provides extra grip.

Read my full Kawai KDP120 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Most expressive keybed in its class.
  • Outstanding concert grand sound.

What I don’t like

  • Serious competition.
Buy Kawai KDP120 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Yamaha P-225 4.7

The lightweight champion of weighted keyboards

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, GHC
  • Escapement: No
  • Polyphony: 192 notes
  • Presets: 24 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

The Yamaha P-225 is the new lightweight champion of the world, or weighted keyboards, at least. It has the best blend of authentic piano sound and feel you’ll get in such a compact keyboard piano. The P-225 raises the bar for Yamaha’s legendary P-series.

Yamaha P-225 portable electric digital piano
Image: Yamaha

The slim, lightweight chassis means limited space for a typical hammer-action layout. The answer is Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Compact (GHC) keyboard, which is a joy to play.

The keys might be lighter than a premium stage piano, but not by much, and once you start playing, you quickly forget it’s such a compact instrument. The keyboard action is fast, but not so fast that it becomes unrealistic.

What makes the impressive weighted keyboard even better is that it’s paired with the CFX concert grand piano voice. The P-225 is the first instrument in its class to get the flagship CFX sound, and it’s absolutely stunning.

Very few piano samples can match the depth of sound produced by the CFX concert grand, making the P-225 one of the most expressive and dynamic lightweight keyboards ever.

Read my full Yamaha P-225 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Lightweight yet expressive keyboard.
  • Stunning CFX concert grand sound.

What I don’t like

  • Slightly light keys.
Buy Yamaha P-225 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Yamaha CK88 4.7

The most versatile lightweight stage piano

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, GHS
  • Escapement: No
  • Polyphony: 128 notes
  • Presets: 363 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

If you’re looking for a lightweight stage piano on a relatively small budget, you can’t go wrong with the CK88. It’s an all-rounder ideal for performers who switch sounds often during gigs.

The acoustic/electric pianos and organs are particularly nice, and despite being something of a jack of all trades, it has one of the best weighted keyboards in its class.

Yamaha CK88 digital stage piano
Image: Yamaha

The Yamaha CK88 is a lightweight 88-key stage piano with some incredible sounds. It takes acoustic and electric piano sounds from Yamaha’s flagship CP piano and offers a wide range of organs, synths, and traditional sounds.

It comes with Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keybed, which is amongst the most realistic in its class. When I say in its class, I mean as a lightweight stage piano: the CK88 weighs just 28 lbs.

The graded hammer-action keyboard is slightly lighter than some flagship stage pianos but lends itself well to many different sounds. A surprising feature is the matte finish keys, which you don’t always get at this price point.

Read my full Yamaha CK88 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Amongst the most realistic in its class.
  • Amazing piano sounds.

What I don’t like

  • Keys feel lighter than flagship models.
Buy Yamaha CK88 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Roland RD-88 4.8

The compact fully-weighted keyboard with the most sounds

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted, PHA-4
  • Escapement: Yes
  • Polyphony: 256 notes
  • Presets: over 3,000 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

I’ve owned several RD stage pianos and loved them all, but they were all very heavy. I wish the RD-88 was available when I was carrying an RD-700 up and down stairs for gigs. It’s an outstanding lightweight stage piano with a lovely keyboard action that you rarely find in such a portable instrument.

Roland RD-88 stage piano
Image: Roland

The Roland RD-88 is a stage-ready keyboard piano for performers who want realism in a lightweight package. Although it’s not a flagship model, the RD-88 still boasts the power of Roland’s world-class SuperNatural sound engine.

The SuperNatural engine delivers some of Roland’s most iconic acoustic piano sounds, while the additional Zen-Core engine provides over 3,000 sounds, ranging from classic to experimental.

Roland’s PHA-4 keybed provides weighted, hammer-action ivory touch keys. The weighted keys aren’t as impressive as the RD-2000, but you have to give up a little when you have such a compact, lightweight stage piano.

With that said, the RD-88 is still one of the best 88-key weighted keyboards around, and the ivory feel finish is wonderful.

Read my full Roland RD-88 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Keys feel surprisingly authentic.
  • Lots of high-quality sounds.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy Roland RD-88 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Alesis Prestige 4.6

The best budget weighted keyboard piano

  • Type of keys: fully-weighted,
  • Escapement: No
  • Polyphony: 128 notes
  • Presets: 16 voices
  • Built-in speakers: Yes

The Alesis Prestige isn’t as good as the other keyboards and pianos on this list, and that’s fine because it’s considerably cheaper than all of them.

It’s remarkably good value for money, and it’s hard to believe you can get such a convincing weighted keyboard at such a low price. It’s the perfect keyboard for beginners who don’t want to overspend on a first piano.

Alesis Prestige digital keyboard piano
Image: Alesis

The Alesis Prestige is a budget-friendly 88-key keyboard piano with a few surprising features. When I say surprising features, it’s not that they are uncommon features; it’s more that they are unexpected in this price range.

The most unexpected feature is the premium graded hammer-action keyboard. Again, it’s not premium in relation to the rest of this list, but certainly in its class.

The keyboard has fully-weighted keys that are a touch heavier than usual for a budget keyboard. I’m glad the keys are a little heavier because it’s good for beginners to feel the weight early on, and it leads to more expressive playing down the line.

The keys could be more responsive but won’t cause any issues for beginner to early intermediate players.

Read my full Alesis Prestige review to find out more.

What I like

  • Convincing weighted keyboard at a low price.
  • Surprisingly good sound quality.

What I don’t like

  • Heavier keys than usual.
Buy Alesis Prestige at: SweetwaterAmazon

Conclusion

When it comes to the best weighted keyboards and digital pianos, there are various levels. You have the best overall, you have the best in a particular class, and you have the best at a particular price; this list covers them all.

If an incredibly realistic acoustic piano feel isn’t interesting enough already, these instruments come with some amazingly innovative and creative features.

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Discussions

2 comments
  • Rd-88. I have it. Like it for the most part. Here are the things I don’t like. No music rest option so need a separate stand (something so easy to have but is lacking). Controls for volume and other dials for sound effects are too sensitive so turning them even a little can cause big changes. Happy it has speakers but not the best acoustics. When playing many notes and fast with pedal can cause the keyboard to distort and delay sound (this happens rarely but does happen and is annoying and will be bad for audience performances). Menus and their settings with Roland are notoriously hard to navigate and their “language” is not the most intuitive so it can be difficult for those that are not keyboard nerds. Says there are 3000 sounds but I can’t find 3000 sounds.

  • I own a Kawai CA98 and just recently a Yamaha P-525. The action on the P-525 is fantastic. Granted, it is a newer action in comparison to what is found on the Kawai. Now that I’ve played both, the Kawai feels a bit like mush when playing, almost like I am pushing the keys around in sand. The P-525 is a bit lighter and doesn’t have the sand sensation. Escapement is better on the Kawai though.