It’s almost impossible to answer the question of how much is a keyboard or digital piano. Because there are many different types to suit different players.
As a guide, we can say $60 – $1000 will buy a keyboard for players of all skill levels. Similarly, around $400 – $1200 will buy a digital piano fit for a beginner or a pro.
That’s still quite a broad estimate, so let’s get into it in more detail.
To make things a little bit clearer, let’s break down the price range, starting with keyboards.
Keyboards for $60 – $200
At the very bottom end of your budget, you’d get a mini keyboard, like the Yamaha PSS-F30. Keyboards like that with mini keys are great starting points for young kids with small hands.
For $100 – $200, you’d get a 61-key portable keyboard with velocity-sensitive keys. This category includes budget arranger keyboards with lots of sounds and fantastic beginner keyboards with tutorial features.
Keyboards for $200 – $400
You won’t see a dramatic change in the type of features or functions in this price range. What you will see is a difference in the quality or quantity of the features and functions.
You’d expect to get 61 keys with a better quality of velocity-sensitive keys or even semi-weighted keys.
Arranger keyboards that have lots of sounds sometimes see a significant increase in quantity. For example, stepping up just one model in a range could see you go from 100 built-in voices to 200 or more.
If the keyboard has a built-in recorder, you often see a higher number of tracks available with a step up in price. Other common features that increase are the number of onboard effects and connectivity.
You will sometimes see a higher build quality, but it’s not likely.
Keyboards for $400 – $1000
The most noticeable changes you will see when you enter this price range are physical. You’ll have the option of going for 76 or 88 keys if you need more than 61.
You’ll see a massive upgrade to weighted keys, and in most cases, hammer-action weighted keys. Some will even have a simulated ebony/ivory feel for added realism.
The last physical upgrade you should see is a clear increase in build quality as you get closer to professional instruments.
Arranger keyboards are available right through this price range, along with synths and a few other styles.
But, the most common reason to go beyond $400 is to buy a keyboard piano. A keyboard piano is a portable keyboard with 88-keys that provides a realistic piano experience.
For more information, make sure to check out our article on the differences between a keyboard, a keyboard piano, and a digital piano.
How much should I pay for a keyboard?
The answer depends on your available budget and your ability level. Our suggested guide isn’t set in stone; there will be exceptions and some crossover.
Just remember spending more than you need has a downside because you end up with features or functions that a beginner doesn’t need.
- Beginners – $60 – $200
- Intermediate to advanced – $200 – $1000
Now, let’s move on to digital pianos. Digital pianos are less portable than keyboards but generally offer a more realistic piano experience.
Digital pianos for $400 – $700
Digital pianos, at the entry-level, tend to be more expensive than keyboards. For $400, you’d get something like the Alesis Virtue.
The Alesis Virtue doesn’t have weighted keys, which is unusual for a digital piano. But, it’s a perfect introduction to 88 keys and something that looks like an upright piano.
Stepping up a little in this price range will see a significant difference in how the piano feels. You should expect realistic hammer-action keys, a nice cabinet, and three pedals – just like a real piano.
Digital pianos tend to come with a small number of voices, around 10 on average. The main focus is always the grand piano tone, but typical additions include electric pianos, organs, and strings.
At the high end of this range, you’ll find instruments like the Casio Privia PX-770. An absolutely fantastic digital piano with scaled hammer-action keys.
Digital pianos for $700 – $1200
In terms of features, there won’t be too much change between a digital piano at $600 and one at $1200. You might get some extra voices, maybe around 20+, onboard effects, and maybe an extra track or two with a built-in recorder.
But, you might not see a huge difference across the board when it comes to sound quality. The one area where it really matters, the grand piano voice, is where you will likely see the biggest difference.
Many manufacturers have more than one sound engine, like Yamaha with its Pure CF and CFX engines. Both are super impressive, but the CFX engine is usually reserved for the more expensive pianos.
The other noticeable upgrade is in how the keys feel. Anything over $700 usually has scaled hammer-action keys with an ebony/ivory feel. The difference between standard hammer-action and scaled hammer-action can be quite significant.
The pedals are usually more authentic, too, allowing for half-pedaling.
One of the main differences between digital pianos and keyboards is that digital pianos are stationary, not portable. Being stationary means that you have to look at it much more often, which means looking good in your house matters.
When you spend more on a digital piano, part of that money goes into the build quality and how it looks.
More expensive digital pianos often come in sleeker, cooler looking cabinets with a choice of gorgeous color finishes. They are also made with more expensive wood and feel much more like a solid unit.
Overall, the benefit of a more expensive digital piano is an enhanced piano experience. It’s not just about sound; it’s all of the small details that make it feel authentic.
How much should I pay for a digital piano?
For beginners, especially children, you can argue that lighter keys will be easier. You can also argue that if you’re going to play with 88 keys anyway, you might as well get used to the weight early on. With that in mind, here’s our guide.
- Beginners – Unlike keyboards, you should base your decision on what you can afford rather than just ability. Spending more on a digital piano will only be a mistake if you don’t stick to it, so be sure.
- Intermediate to advanced – Around $600 upwards should get you something that you won’t outgrow. Anything under that might not have the authentic feel that advanced players need.
When choosing a keyboard or digital piano, you should be clear about what you need. More expensive doesn’t always mean it will be better for you.
On the other hand, if you have a higher budget to spare, there are worse things to do than spend it on an instrument!
So, use our guide as a rough starting point, and go from there.