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The 8 best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos for 2024

Yamaha is one of the few manufacturers with a stellar reputation for creating excellent instruments for all levels and budgets. That reputation, whether buying a concert grand piano or a beginner keyboard, makes Yamaha one of the most popular and trusted brands by students and professionals.

With so many great options, I’m picking out the best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos available right now.

Quick recommendations

Yamaha’s CP88 is an 88-key stage piano offering everything the modern performer needs with a retro design and vintage effects. The tactile and intuitive interface makes it a joy to play.

The P-225 is a significant addition to Yamaha’s P-Series and one of the best stage pianos in its class. The 88-key P-225 is the first of its kind to feature Yamaha’s flagship piano sound, the CFX concert grand.

The stylish YDP-145 sits halfway up the popular Arius range and has much to offer beginners or advanced players. With the stunning CFX concert grand piano sound, graded hammer-action keys, and a max polyphony of 192 notes, the YDP-145 is excellent value for money.


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Why you should trust me

As a pianist and composer with over 20 years of experience in the music industry, I’ve played and owned many keyboards and digital pianos.

James Nugent, author and contributor at Higher Hz

Over the years, I’ve had several phases in my career when I’ve preferred one manufacturer above all others, and Yamaha is a name that has often topped my list.

My history with Yamaha began with 1990s PSR beginner keyboards and continued with several Yamaha Motifs in the 2000s.

Since my Motif days, I’ve been a massive fan of Yamaha’s grand piano tones, and I still consider them amongst the very best available.

What I like most about Yamaha as a manufacturer is that they take the same care in developing instruments for all levels, from beginner to professional.

Yamaha has been my go-to choice at a few important stages of my development and career, and I know how much these instruments have to offer the right player.

How I chose and tested

It would be easy to select only the most expensive models and make a convincing argument for them being the best.

However, since Yamaha manufactures keyboards and digital pianos for all budgets, I prioritized selecting instruments that covered a wide price range, ensuring something to interest buyers of all budgets.

Yamaha CP88
Image: Higher Hz

Another benefit of avoiding the “most expensive is always the best” approach is that I can highlight different elements of Yamaha’s expertise. I’ve included stage pianos, digital pianos, synths, and something for complete beginners.

I believe doing so paints a more accurate picture of the best Yamaha has to offer because it tackles different requirements, and as I always say, the best instrument is the one that best suits your specific needs.

Yamaha Arius YDP-145
Image: Higher Hz

Instead of a list of high-end instruments that all do very similar things, we have a list of keyboards and digital pianos that are all arguably the best in their class.

Best Yamaha overall: Yamaha Montage M8x

The Montage M8x is a monster in every way; it’s big, heavy, and expensive, but it is one of the most expansive workstation keyboards I’ve ever seen. I’m not mad about the price, but it’s not out of context with other high-end workstations. The difference is the Montage M8x is better than most.

Yamaha Montage M8x keyboard synthesizer
Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s Montage M8x was released as an upgraded Montage, but that doesn’t do it justice; this Montage is something entirely different.

It has three sound engines: FM-X (8-operator FM synthesis), AWM2, and AN-X (from a classic 90s synth). The AN-X engine is an interesting addition; it models classic analog sounds and behavior. Combining all three engines creates a max polyphony of up to 400 notes.

As well as having colossal sound design potential, the Montage M8x has almost 4000 presets, and the consensus opinion is that they are the best presets since the Yamaha Motif.

The GEX hammer action keyboard has polyphonic aftertouch, which is fantastic for synths, pads, and orchestral sounds.

Another excellent performance feature is Yamaha’s expanded articulations, and I must say, these don’t sound authentic on many keyboards, but they are great here.

If there was a common complaint about previous models, they weren’t the easiest workstations to navigate. However, the new model has a far more intuitive interface, including a 7-inch touchscreen and quick-edit functions.

Read my full Yamaha Montage M8x review to find out more.

What I like

  • Massive sound design potential (vast memory).
  • World-class presets.
  • Polyphonic aftertouch.
  • Overhauled interface.

What I don’t like

  • The price.
Buy Yamaha Montage M8x at: SweetwaterAmazon

Most luxurious experience: Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735

As a pianist, placing the CLP-735 anywhere but at the top is difficult; the playing experience is incredibly realistic. Despite being relatively expensive, it’s not near the top of the range, but it’s high enough to deliver the unmistakable class of a Clavinova. It looks, feels, and sounds beautiful.

Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 digital piano
Image: Yamaha

This Clavinova features 37 voices, but the two that matter most are the CFX concert grand and Bösendorfer samples. Between Yamaha’s flagship CFX and the sound of the Bösendorfer Imperial, you have the perfect classical or jazz piano voice.

Those stunning, rich, and articulate piano voices are complimented by Yamaha’s GrandTouch-S keyboard with simulated ebony/ivory keytops.

The uber-realistic keyboard allows maximum control of dynamics and expression, further enhanced by Real Grand Expression 2 and Grand Expression Modeling technology simulating the mechanical noises of an acoustic piano.

The CLP-735 has ample connectivity, various keyboard modes, and a built-in recorder, making it ideal for practice and performance. With a max polyphony of 256 notes, it will deliver every nuance of your performance.

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

What I like

  • Incredibly detailed grand piano samples.
  • Ultra-realistic keyboard action.
  • It looks fantastic.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 at: SweetwaterGuitar Center

Best stage piano: Yamaha CP88

For a few reasons, the Yamaha CP88 is one of my favorite stage pianos. It sounds excellent and has the voices to get you through any gig. But the thing that seals the deal for me is the one-to-one interface, which is fitting of its retro styling, and ideal for any working musician.

Yamaha CP88 stage keyboard piano
Image: Yamaha

Virtual Circuitry Modeling technology provides authentic vintage effects at the heart of the CP88’s retro character. The vintage effects perfectly accompany classic sounds like Yamaha’s original 1970s Combo Piano. The one-to-one interface (no menu-diving) is another nod to vintage analog instruments.

Along with the original Combo Piano and a wide selection of vintage electric pianos, the CP88 offers most sounds the modern player needs (57 total voices). Onboard sounds include organs, strings, pads, synths, and grand pianos, thanks to the AWM2 tone generator.

Modern features like seamless sound switching and a built-in audio interface keep the CP88 in line with high-end competitors.

One of my favorite features, and perhaps most surprising, is the triple-sensor, Natural Wood Graded Hammer keyboard with simulated ebony/ivory keytops. A max polyphony of 128 notes could be higher, but it’s not a big issue.

Read my full Yamaha CP88 review to find out more.

What I like

  • One-to-one interface.
  • Vintage effects.
  • Real wood keys.
  • Great range of sounds.

What I don’t like

  • Pitch/mod sticks won’t suit everyone.
Buy Yamaha CP88 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best value for money: Yamaha Arius YDP-145

I love the YDP-145 because it competes with the YDP-165 in almost every area despite being significantly cheaper. If you have the budget to reach around the $1,300 mark, the YDP-145 is one of the best digital pianos you could buy from any manufacturer.

Yamaha Arius YDP-145 digital piano (black)
Image: Yamaha

The YDP-145 is a noticeable upgrade from the entry-level to the Arius range, bringing the flagship CFX concert grand piano sound. The addition of that flagship sound is the main reason I consider it a better buy than the YDP-165.

Yamaha’s Arius YDP-145 is still well within the reach of a beginner pianist, but it’s good enough to keep most advanced players happy, especially with its max polyphony of 192 notes.

Along with the CFX concert grand, it has nine other voices, including an organ, electric piano, vibraphone, and strings.

The GHS graded hammer-action keyboard feels very good. It lacks the escapement and simulated ebony/ivory feel of the YDP-165, but the drop in price makes it the better choice.

What I like

  • CFX sound.
  • Nice-looking cabinet.
  • Value for money.

What I don’t like

  • None for the price.
Buy Yamaha Arius YDP-145 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best stage piano under $1500: Yamaha CK88

Some might see the CK88 as a watered-down CP88, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The CK88 is a more affordable way to get some of Yamaha’s premium stage piano features. I think it’s one of the best stage pianos under $1500.

Yamaha CK88 digital stage piano
Image: Yamaha

Powered by the AWM and AWM2 sound engines, the CK88 delivers impressive acoustic and electric pianos, organs, and more (363 sounds in total).

My favorite thing that the CK88 takes from the CP88 is the one-to-one interface; it really does make a huge difference.

Another favorite feature is the inclusion of physical drawbars for the tonewheel organ voices (taken from the YC keyboards). The drawbars also function as fully-assignable faders. It offers a wide range of built-in effects, including Delay, Reverb, Master EQ, Distortion, and Rotary Speaker Emulation.

Some users may prefer the CK88 over the more expensive CP88 because it has pitch/mod wheels rather than joysticks. It’s a great keyboard at a great price.

Read my full Yamaha CK88 review to find out more.

What I like

  • One-to-one interface.
  • Drawbars.
  • Lightweight.

What I don’t like

  • I love that it has drawbars, but they could be better.
Buy Yamaha CK88 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best P-Series piano: Yamaha P-225

The P-225 is the first in the range to feature Yamaha’s flagship CFX concert grand sound, making it a milestone model. It sounds exceptional, and the new compact keyboard actions is a real triumph. It’s one of the best stage pianos in its price range.

Yamaha P-225 portable electric digital piano
Image: Yamaha

The Yamaha P-225 marks the beginning of a new era for the ever-popular P series. It debuts a new sleek and slimline design and compact keyboard action. The new keyboard action still houses graded hammer-action keys, which is incredibly impressive.

The P-225 isn’t a feature-packed instrument, but it delivers the essentials at a high standard. The star of the show is undoubtedly the CFX concert grand sound, and it’s exceptional.

When paired with a max polyphony of 192 notes, the CFX voice can help you deliver the most nuanced performances. Yamaha’s Virtual Resonance Modeling adds to the realism of the piano experience.

The new slimline design looks good at home and makes the P-225 an excellent option for working musicians who want a lighter, more portable stage piano.

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 entry-level digital piano: Yamaha Arius YDP-105

The YDP-105 might be the entry-level model for the Arius range, but it’s a stylish and accomplished digital piano. It’s not quite as good as the YDP-145, but it’s ideal for beginners and good enough to last well into the intermediate years.

Yamaha Arius YDP-105 digital piano
Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s entry-level Arius digital piano is excellent value for money; while it’s not packed with high-end features, it’s all better than expected.

The YDP-105 has 88 graded hammer-action keys (GHS). The weight could be slightly better, but it’s more than good enough to develop stamina and dynamic/expressive playing.

There are 10 onboard voices from Yamaha’s AWM sampling technology, and the grand pianos are surprisingly detailed. Again, they aren’t a match for something like the CLP-735, but they are rich and convincing at the extreme high and low ends, which many entry-level pianos fail to achieve.

The YDP-105 has a max polyphony of 64 notes, which isn’t unusual for a beginner piano, but it’s still a little disappointing at around $1,000. In every other way, it’s great value for money.

Read my full Yamaha Arius YDP-105 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Solid sounds.
  • Looks great.
  • Value for money.

What I don’t like

  • Max polyphony is low.
Buy Yamaha Arius YDP-105 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best beginner keyboard: Yamaha Piaggero NP-15

It might seem odd to place the Piaggero NP-15 aside from some very high-end keyboards, but I love it. Some beginners respond better to instruments with lots of fun features; some prefer something a little more serious. For the latter, the NP-15 is Yamaha’s best beginner keyboard.

Yamaha Piaggero NP-15 portable keyboard
Image: Yamaha

I’ve scored the NP-15 higher than some of the more expensive instruments on this list, but not because it’s better than them, because it’s close to perfect in its class.

The NP-15 is a 61-key beginner keyboard aimed at students prioritizing quality over quantity. It delivers a surprisingly good grand piano sound powered by Yamaha’s AWM sampling. Other onboard sounds include organs, strings, and electric piano.

The keyboard is semi-weighted, but realistically, velocity-sensitive and very light would be more accurate, which is perfectly fine in the early stages of learning to play piano. It has a max polyphony of 64 notes, which would be low in some cases, but, again, not at this early stage.

One of the features I like most about the NP-15 is that it supports half-damper control. It might not be necessary for absolute beginners, but it will help students develop controlled pedaling. The NP-15 is portable, very lightweight, and ideal for younger students.

Read my full Yamaha Piaggero NP-15 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Great sound.
  • Half-damper control.
  • Battery-powered (optional).

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy Yamaha Piaggero NP-15 at: SweetwaterAmazon


Yamaha is one of the most prolific manufacturers in the industry, so I had a lot of keyboards and pianos to consider.

The instruments I chose highlight what Yamaha does best, covering various keyboard types across a wide price range to suit all budgets. I think many of these picks are the best in their class and well worthy of your attention.