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The 5 best digital pianos and keyboards under $1000 in 2024

As you venture closer to the $1000 mark, it’s increasingly important to get the most out of your money; it’s a serious investment. There are plenty of worthy choices in this price range to suit advanced beginners, intermediate players, and even some pro players.

To ensure you make the right investment, I’ve tested an extensive selection of suitable instruments to bring you my picks for the best digital pianos and stage pianos under $1000.

Quick recommendations

The Kawai ES120 is my favorite simple stage piano under $1000. I say simple because it sounds fantastic, feels good, and it’s easy to use with no unnecessary functions.

The Yamaha P-225 has raised the P-series bar, looking and sounding better than ever. The flagship CFX concert grand tone is a game-changer at this price point.

Finally, the Kawai KDP75 is my top pick for the best digital upright piano under $1000. It delivers a beautiful SK-EX concert grand tone with minimal fuss.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Why you should trust me

Over the last 20 years, I’ve spent countless hours in practice rooms, studios, and on stage as a pianist and composer. I’ve played just about every kind of keyboard and piano in just about every scenario.

James Nugent, author and contributor at Higher Hz

The experience I’ve gained in that time helps me choose the right instrument for any given project. More importantly, in my position here, my experience allows me to help others avoid some of the mistakes I made in the early days.

Mistakes like saving money at the expense of high-quality sounds or paying more than I should for features I didn’t need yet. I know the importance of having the right tools for the job without sacrificing value for money.

Choosing the perfect keyboard or digital piano is a personal choice based on your individual needs; only you can make that final decision. What I can do is eliminate the possibility of making a bad choice by providing a list of excellent instruments.

How I chose the instruments for this list

If you pay up to $1000 for a digital piano or stage piano, you can have reasonably high expectations. Even if it’s not high-end prices, it’s the kind of investment you only make when you know you’re serious about learning piano.

For this list, I’ve focused on instruments at the upper levels of the beginner range, moving into intermediate territory.

Rather than set a strict lower price limit, I set some minimum expectations and let those dictate the lower price.

My minimum expectations are:

  • A rich and dynamic grand piano tone (beyond anything you’d get from an early beginner instrument).
  • Weighted hammer-action keys.
  • An instrument that will last beginner/intermediate players several years.

These expectations help rule out less suitable options and focus on the best value for money.

After creating a shortlist, I picked out the best examples that met and exceeded my expectations. I chose instruments with varied feature sets and design styles (traditional/modern/slimline) to make the selection more versatile and interesting.

The list includes traditional and modern digital pianos, excellent stage pianos, and even an arranger keyboard for those who need more than just a piano.

Every instrument on the list is suitable for beginners, intermediate players, and players anywhere between the two.

Here are all the digital pianos and keyboards I recommend under $1000:

Also, be sure to check the Honorable mentions section for instruments that didn’t quite make the list but are still worth considering, whether as alternative or upgrade picks.

Best simple stage piano: Kawai ES120

I loved the older Kawai ES110, and I think the ES120 is even better. It’s not perfect by any means but Kawai is still the leader for me at under $1000. I particularly like the much-improved keyboard action of the ES120.

Kawai ES120 digital piano
Image: Higher Hz

The Kawai ES120 replaces the older ES110, and while it maintains the general character of the older model, it has a few key differences.

The ES120 is an 88-key stage piano with a hammer-action keyboard. The new Responsive Hammer Compact action is an improvement over the ES110, and thanks to upgraded cushion material, the keyboard is now smoother, sturdier, and quieter.

Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging sound technology powers the ES120, and for me, the star of the show is still the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand. I think it’s one of the richest acoustic piano voices in its class.

In addition to the exceptional SK-EX concert grand, the Kawai ES120 features 24 more sounds, including electric pianos, strings, and bass. Max polyphony is 192 notes.

Another improvement from the older model is a more powerful 20-watt speaker system with enhanced clarity.

Read my full Kawai ES120 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Excellent concert grand sound.
  • Improved keyboard action.
  • Enhanced speaker system.

What I don’t like

  • Not the most visually pleasing.
Buy Kawai ES120 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best Yamaha stage piano: Yamaha P-225

The P-225 doesn’t quite make it to the top spot for me, but I imagine it will for some people, thanks to Yamaha’s CFX piano tone. It’s one of the best-sounding stage pianos under $1000, and the new keyboard action is far better than expected. It’s the best P-series keyboard in years.

Yamaha P-225 digital piano (white)
Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s P-225 introduces a couple of new features to the popular P series. The most significant news is that the P-225 is the first P series piano to get the flagship CFX concert grand tone, and it’s a game-changer. It’s a considerable upgrade from the previous Pure CF piano.

The most noticeable change is the new slimline design, making the P-225 lighter and more portable than older models. The new design should be good news for working musicians looking for a lightweight stage piano with a great sound.

The slimmer design means a smaller keyboard action, but the new GHC action, although slightly light, is responsive and very nice to play. The new keyboard action still houses graded hammer-action keys, which is incredibly impressive.

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

What I like

  • CFX sound.
  • Slimline/lightweight design.

What I don’t like

  • As impressive as the new compact keyboard action is, it might be slightly light for some users.
Buy Yamaha P-225 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best digital upright piano: Kawai KDP75

The Kawai KDP75 is one of the best-sounding digital pianos in its class. Although it’s a nice-looking piano, it does lack some of the premium touches of a high-end Kawai product. But, at this price, it’s well ahead of most competitors.

Kawai KDP75
Image: Higher Hz

The KDP75 is a straightforward digital piano demonstrating what Kawai pianos do best, which is sound great.

It doesn’t have an abundance of sounds and features like some other digital pianos; it focuses on a realistic grand piano tone, which comes from Kawai’s premium SK-EX concert grand sample.

Additional sounds include Mellow Grand, electric pianos, Jazz Organ, Strings, and more (15 in total). Max polyphony is 192 notes.

The KDP75 also demonstrates a much-improved hammer-action keyboard compared to previous models (which were already good). The keys have a matte finish, too, which provides extra grip and control.

Read my full Kawai KDP75 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Rich concert grand piano tone.
  • Matte finish keytops.
  • Looks fantastic.

What I don’t like

  • Additional sounds aren’t as good as the flagship piano tone.
Buy Kawai KDP75 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best arranger/piano hybrid: Roland FP-E50

I’m not crazy about the interface on the FP-E50; I don’t like the look or feel of the controls. But if I look past the interface, there’s so much to love. It has more sounds than you’ll ever need, a nice keyboard action, and the built-in effects might be the best on this list.

Roland FP-E50 digital piano/arranger
Image: Roland

The Roland FP-E50 is something a little different; it’s an 88-key arranger keyboard with weighted hammer-action keys.

As an arranger keyboard, it might have features that you wouldn’t typically look for from a stage piano, but since it has 88 weighted keys, and fits the price range, it’s worth checking out.

The FP-E50 offers well over 1000 preset sounds from Roland’s Zen-Core and SuperNatural sound engines. As always, the SuperNatural piano sounds are lovely, and the other presets are far more diverse than anything on the list, featuring synths, world instruments, and percussion.

The FP-E50 has a microphone input and professional vocal effects, including a harmonizer and voice transformer, making it a powerful tool for producers or singer-songwriters. It also features an extensive collection of high-quality interactive accompaniments.

Read my full Roland FP-E50 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Great sounds.
  • Huge preset bank.
  • Vocal effects.

What I don’t like

  • I don’t like the interface.
Buy Roland FP-E50 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best slimline stage piano: Casio PX-S3100

There’s a lot to like about the PX-3100, but for me, the best feature is the ultra-slim chassis. I don’t rate the main piano tone as highly as the competitors above, but it does have a considerable number of onboard sounds, making it more versatile than some.

Casio Privia PX-S3100
Image: Higher Hz

The PX-S3100 redefines what it means to be a slimline stage piano. This 88-key stage piano has graded hammer-action keys with simulated ebony/ivory texture. The simulated texture isn’t the only premium feature: the polished top panel makes the PX-S3100 one of the best-looking stage pianos under $1000.

There are 700 preset tones from Casio’s AiR sound source, acoustic piano tones with improved damper and string resonance. Another improvement from the previous model is the built-in speaker system with increased frequency response, volume, and articulation.

As well as being lightweight and portable, the PX-S3100 offers optional battery power so you can practice anywhere.

Read my full Casio PX-S1100 and PX-S3100 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Looks fantastic
  • Lightweight
  • Massive preset bank.

What I don’t like

  • There are better concert grand tones in the price range.
Buy Casio Privia PX-S3100 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Honorable mentions

These are digital pianos that didn’t make the list but could have.

  • Yamaha Arius YDP-105. At just over $1000, the YDP-105 is a solid digital piano with the trusted Arius name. It doesn’t do anything exceptional, but it does everything to a standard beyond reasonable expectation.
  • Korg LP-380U. I like the simplicity of the LP-380U; the sleek minimalist design looks great. Admittedly, I think there are better options on the list, but if space is an issue, the LP-380 is an excellent choice. I also love the electric piano tones more than most similar digital pianos.
  • Roland RD-88. For those willing to invest a little more, the RD-88 is a gig-ready stage piano on a relatively low budget. I was an avid user of Roland RD keyboards in my early days, and I wish the RD-88 was around back then. It’s lighter than most RD models, and it sounds great.

Recent updates

  • Mar 11, 2024: I’ve replaced the Korg LP-180 with the slightly more expensive LP-380U because I feel the latter offers a much better value. I’ve also removed the Kurzweil SP1 and Casio PX-780 from the list; both are outperformed and don’t deserve their place anymore.
  • Mar 10, 2024: I’ve added the Roland FP-E50 as the “Best arranger/piano hybrid” and replaced the Yamaha YDP-103 with the newer YDP-105 in the Honorable mentions.
  • Feb 10, 2024: I’ve replaced the Kawai ES110 with the newer ES120 and added a “How I chose” section to explain the picking criteria in more detail.
  • Jan 20, 2023: I’ve updated the text for clarity and added the Kurzweil SP1 to the list.
  • Mar 11, 2022: I’ve published the original list of “Best under $1000” based on test results and personal preferences.
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