The best alternative for acoustic pianos is 88-key weighted action keyboards. They’re more affordable and portable, plus they have loads of interesting functions and features.
The only problem you may think that is lacking in comparison is their sound, however, with innovative modern technology, instrument manufacturers have managed to find a solution.
Digital keyboards might not sound and feel exactly like the traditional acoustic piano, but they are amazingly close!
Moreover, they’re ideal for recording musicians and music producers as well as students.
But with so many great keyboards and digital pianos on the market, it’s not easy to choose which one to buy.
To make your buying process easier, we’ve picked the best 88-key weighted keyboards for all ability levels and requirements.
And if you’re still not sure what to look for in a keyboard, check out our 88 key keyboard buyer’s guide at the end of this article!
- 88 fully weighted piano-style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
- Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos
- Dual-mode lets you combine 2 voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience
- The ultimate beginners digital piano loaded with 12 expertly crafted voices and powerful educational features
- Universal responsive feel - 88 premium full-sized hammer-action keys with adjustable touch response to suit your preferred playing style
- Learn piano today - Includes Skoove 3 month premium subscription of online piano lessons
- Second Supernatural-based sound engine with 128-voice polyphony for electric pianos and additional sounds
- Next-generation RD stage piano with two independent sound engines and modern controller features
- Dedicated acoustic piano sound engine
- PHA-50 keyboard features hybrid wood and molded construction for premium touch and lasting durability
Table of Contents
- 15 Best 88-Key Weighted Keyboards
- 1. Yamaha P71 – Best Overall
- 2. Alesis Recital Pro – Best for Budget
- 3. Roland RD-2000 – Best for Live Performances
- 4. Yamaha DGX-660
- 5. Alesis Coda Pro Weighted Action
- 6. Kurzweil Forte SE
- 7. Korg Grandstage 88
- 8. Kawai MP11SE
- 9. Casio PX-S3000
- 10. Nord Stage 3 88
- 11. Nektar Impact LX88
- 12. Kawai ES110
- 13. ROLAND FP-30X
- 14. Artesia PA-88W
- 15. The ONE Smart Keyboard
- How To Choose The Best 88 Key Weighted Keyboard For You?
- Final Thoughts
15 Best 88-Key Weighted Keyboards
1. Yamaha P71 – Best Overall
If you’re looking for an affordable beginner-friendly keyboard from a reliable manufacturer, you should consider the Yamaha P71 and P-45.
To make things clear: the Yamaha P71and the Yamaha P45 are the same models, just differently presented on different platforms (P71 is an Amazon version.) Please note that included accessories might also differ.
Either way, it’s a very slim, compact keyboard with a solid sound.
The Yamaha P71 is convenient for beginners because it has a very simple control panel – there are only two buttons and volume control.
On the other hand, this model has only ten voices, which is good for starters, but players who want to experiment or record often opt for more.
Otherwise, you can expect great quality from this instrument. It has a Graded Hammer Standard keyboard with excellent velocity sensitivity.
It has built-in speakers and useful features such as Dual Mode, Duo Mode, and Split Mode.
All things considered, the Yamaha P71 is great for people who don’t want to deal with an abundance of knobs, features, and effects.
It’s our overall best 88-key weighted keyboard, suitable for beginners/intermediates or those that want simplicity.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to use
- Good sounds
- Doesn’t come with an LCD screen
2. Alesis Recital Pro – Best for Budget
The Alesis Recital Pro is a semi-weighted keyboard, so it doesn’t feel the same as the hammer digital action pianos on this list.
However, this is a great option for beginners since it takes some time to get used to a keyboard with a touch-sensitive action.
It’s also quite affordable – you can get it for around $300.
Moreover, the Alesis Recital Pro is lightweight so you easily carry it to practice.
It has education modes (including “split” and “lesson” mode) and 5 high-quality sounds (Electric Piano, Organ, Synth, and Bass.) The keyboard’s default piano sound is fair enough for practicing.
It also comes with a Reverb and a Chorus effect and 128 polyphony sounds (which is a lot for a budget keyboard.)
Although it doesn’t have as many features as some other models on this list, The Alesis Recital is equipped with all the essentials. It has Layer, Split, and Lesson Mode and a good selection of functions such as the metronome and adjustable touch sensitivity.
All in all, Alesis Recital Pro is one of the most affordable 88 key keyboards, ideal for piano beginners.
- 128-note polyphony
- Very affordable
- Good sounds and speakers
- Piano lessons
- Keys could be improved
- A limited selection of sounds and effects
3. Roland RD-2000 – Best for Live Performances
Another amazing stage piano ideal for live shows is the Roland RD-2000.
Roland has been one of the best instrument manufacturers since the 1970s. With time, they specialized in digital pianos and keyboards.
Their RD-series is somewhat iconic, and the Roland RD-2000 is one of the modern-day artists’ favorites.
It has a PHA-50 progressive hammer-action keyboard. Keys are made of a wooden core and a plastic shell, which gives them the feel of real acoustic piano keys.
Moreover, it features two sound engines: the SuperNatural Piano engine (which focuses on the electric piano sounds) and the V-Piano engine (for acoustic voices). These two engines make the Roland RD-2000 a rather flexible and versatile piano.
Many performers like this piano because it also works as a USB/MIDI interface so they can easily integrate it with their laptop on stage.
- Good layout
- Quality keys and solid piano sounds
- Two engines
- Excellent connectivity
4. Yamaha DGX-660
Yamaha is known for making some of the best pianos and digital keyboards in the world.
And this Yamaha 88 key weighted keyboard will definitely meet all your expectations.
This model has extensive features for both fun and learning – even too many of them if you’re just a beginner.
There are more than 554 voice options and various environment options (Concert, Stage, Room, Recital.)
But the LCD screen looks very good and it’s easy to navigate. The overall design of the keyboard is exceptional, which is to be expected from a Yamaha instrument.
Most importantly, the keys feel good, they even have a sense of quality, even though they’re made of plastic. Also, as this keyboard features graded hammer standard (GHS), the keys get lighter as you move to the higher notes.
What’s also convenient about the Yamaha DGX-660 is that is not too heavy so you can easily move it.
All in all, this is a popular 88 key keyboard ideal both for beginners and intermediate students.
- A large number of features
- Useful LCD screen
- Relatively lightweight
- A bit pricey
- Keys could be of a better quality
5. Alesis Coda Pro Weighted Action
This impressive 88-key keyboard is a great option for piano newcomers and experienced pianists.
After all, Alesis Professional is a rather famous name in the electronic music industry, and their Coda range is one of their best-selling ranges.
The Alesis Coda Pro is stylish, portable, and equipped with a variety of useful features.
It has hammer-action weighted keys that mimic the authentic touch and response of a grand piano. They have excellent velocity sensitivity.
On top of that, the Alesis Coda Pro has plenty of additional options such as record mode, sound effects, USB connectivity, and useful accessories (headphones and sustain pedal.)
Its splitting and voice layering features will make your playing experience more versatile and fun.
This digital keyboard also includes 60 preset songs which will help you to work on your piano skills. You’ll come across different genres and styles. If you’re a beginner, this is a nice addition to the songs you’ll learn in online piano lessons.
So, if you’re searching for an affordable and reliable entry-level piano, you can’t go wrong with the Alesis Coda Pro Weighted Action.
- Great quality
- Student-friendly features
- Limited range of voices
- Speakers could be improved
6. Kurzweil Forte SE
This is another high-quality 88-key keyboard you should consider buying.
For a keyboard under $2000, the Kurzweil Forte SE offers top-notch quality and features.
Its Italian hammer-action weighted keys feel great. The bass notes are a bit harder to press, just like in an acoustic piano.
The fully-weighted keys also have an advanced feature of aftertouch which allows you to add more expression to your performance.
And the sound is also incredible – it’s sampled from Japanese and German D grand pianos.
Moreover, the Kurzweil Forte SE has 128 notes of polyphony (a number of notes you can play at once.)
It also has a Dual Mode, Split Function, and MIDI input and output.
Although it has fewer effects and sounds than some other models, this keyboard is a great choice both for piano beginners and musicians who need it for live shows.
It’s a durable and reliable instrument with enhanced features that will better your performance.
- Feels and sounds great
- Good value for money
- The screen could be larger
7. Korg Grandstage 88
The Korg Grandstage 88 is undeniably one of the best 88 key keyboards on the market.
Korg’s RH3 weighted keys honestly feel like a real piano. In fact, the whole keyboard was designed with performance in mind, so this is an ideal choice for musicians who want to perform or record.
It’s a beloved stage piano among jazz pianists.
It has smooth transitions so sounds don’t cut off when you’re changing them quickly.
The Korg Grandstage 88 also has great controls such as a dedicated dynamics knob which will allow you to adjust the expressivity of your performance.
And it comes with a bunch of sounds and effects including delay, reverb, and EQ.
As the stage pianos require good connectivity, Korg took care of that as well.
So, if you’re not on a budget and seeking a reliable and versatile stage piano, this is it!
- Great piano sounds
- Feels like a real piano
- USB compatibility
- More expensive than some other options
8. Kawai MP11SE
If you’re a seasoned piano player, you’ll appreciate what the Kawai MP11SE has to offer.
It features synthetic ivory keys with hammer-action technology and it sounds truly wonderful. Its piano sounds are reminiscent of Kawai’s flagship grand pianos.
The Kawai MP11SE also includes more than 125 effects and over 40 sounds with 256-note polyphony.
It comes with a manual guide so you won’t have any problem navigating. And with its Virtual Technician, you’ll be able to customize every element.
Another benefit of this model is that it has both MIDI and USB connectivity.
The only disadvantage of the Kawai MP11SE is his weight. But although it’s a bit heavy and bulky, it’s still portable.
- Kawai grand piano sounds
- Wooden hammer-action keys
- Virtual Technician
- MIDI and USB connectivity
- It’s heavy
9. Casio PX-S3000
If you’re searching for a portable weighted keyboard for beginners, you should check out the amazing Casio PX-S3000.
It’s one of the slimmest 88-key keyboards with a surprisingly good sound.
Its well-rounded, updated AiR sound engine comes with 700 voices including organs and synths.
The keyboard has a touch-based control interface using capacitive touch, which makes it look very modern.
The Casio PX-S3000 has features that many keyboards lack. Layer mode, Split mode, and Duet Play are just some of the highlights.
It also has 200 built-in rhythms so you can use various backtracks and genre-specific beats. The special auto-accompaniment mode will allow you to play with different rhythm variations.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Casio PX-S3000 is great for beginners, but it’s obviously a good option for experienced players as well.
The Casio PX-S3000 comes with accessories such as a music rest, SP-3 damper pedal, and AC power adapter.
- Very lightweight
- Great design
- A large selection of sounds and rhythms
- Runs on 6 AA batteries
- Suitable for beginners
- Some people don’t prefer touch-based controls
- It has a glossy finish – it attracts fingerprints
10. Nord Stage 3 88
Manufactured in 2017 by Clavia, the Nord Stage 3 88 can easily stand side by side with Yamaha or Korg keyboards.
It has a distinctive, red look and solid construction.
Unlike Yamaha P-45, this keyboard has very cluttered controls – there’s a knob for everything. Experienced musicians will probably find this appealing, but it might be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
However, the layout is well-organized and divided into sections (Piano, Organ, Synth, and Effects sections.)
Two OLED displays will allow you to change parameters in the synth section rather quickly.
And as you would expect from a stage performance keyboard, the Nord Stage 3 88 offers excellent connectivity.
In essence, the Nord Stage 3 88 is packed with features, which makes it a good investment. You can find detailed specs here.
- Very customizable
- Great build quality
- Connectivity options
- Comes with accessories
- Key action could be improved
11. Nektar Impact LX88
The Nektar Impact LX88 offers great value for money. It’s portable, customizable, and well-made.
Despite the lower price, it has a MIDI keyboard loaded with features and useful DAW integration.
You have complete control of the sound with the Nektar Impact LX88. You’ll get 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads, split/layer buttons, transpose buttons, pitch bend/mod wheels, and a variety of faders.
The keys are semi-weighted, which is a good option for beginners, but the model’s quality is more than fine for stage performances as well.
So, if you’re looking for an affordable 88-key keyboard with a nice design and sufficient customization, you can definitely opt for the Nektar Impact LX88.
If you’re interested in discovering some more low-cost MIDI keyboards, check this list here.
- Good value for money
- Pads could be bigger and a bit more sensitive
- No software bundle
12. Kawai ES110
Another budget-friendly digital piano we recommend is the Kawai ES110.
It features an 88-key fully weighted keyboard with Responsive Hammer Compact (RHC) action. It also has a touch sensitivity that you can easily adjust to your liking.
It’s lightweight and easily portable, and along with the excellent connectivity, it’s a nice model for a gigging musician.
Great piano and electric piano sounds are another reason to consider the Kawai ES110. This keyboard features a Harmonic Imaging sound source with 88-key piano sampling – each key is sampled individually.
On top of that, it has 192-note polyphony, which allows you to play complex classical pieces or layer sounds properly.
You’ll also get plenty of preset songs and rhythms.
The Kawai ES110 is also suitable for students as it includes a metronome and a Piano Lesson feature.
This model is available in black and white color.
- Convenient for gigging
- 192-note polyphony
- Great sounds
- Wireless connectivity
- No display
13. ROLAND FP-30X
The Roland FP-30X is the best choice for intermediate piano players.
It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but you’ll definitely get high-quality sounds and samples with a digital piano like this.
Just like our previous Roland suggestion, this 88 key keyboard features a SuperNATURAL sound engine combining audio samples and software modeling.
Apart from acoustic piano sounds, you’ll get more than 50 tones to play with.
Importantly, the keys feel (and look) incredible. They have individually weighted hammers coupled with triple sensors for better keypress accuracy.
What makes the Roland FP-30X a better option than the FP30 is its greater polyphony (256 notes), a larger number of presets, and more Bluetooth capabilities.
All things considered, it’s an amazing digital piano offering a wide selection of sounds and excellent connectivity.
- Great sounds
- Connectivity options
- Excellent key action
- 256-notes polyphony
- Controls could be more efficient
14. Artesia PA-88W
If you’re just starting out with your piano lessons and want to get a simple, less expensive digital piano, you should check out the Artesia PA-88W.
This 88 key weighted action digital piano is aimed at beginners. And although it might not sound like a grand piano, it’s more than sufficient for student’s practice.
It offers 8 different voices and an array of effects to choose from.
Considering the price, the overall quality of the instrument is pretty good, although the key weights could be better.
But the Artesia PA-88W has great connectivity so you can use recording or learning apps without any problem.
- Good connectivity
- The keys could be improved
- It doesn’t sound as realistic as some other models
- A limited selection of voices
15. The ONE Smart Keyboard
This unique, innovative keyboard is a piano student’s dream, but it’s also a great instrument for more experienced players.
It has an integrated learning app that can help you practice in an easy and effective way.
The most unique thing about this keyboard and its app is the LED light function – the keys will simply light up to show you which one to play!
The app offers a variety of learning modes, from light-up sheet music to video lessons and fun piano games. And there are thousands of songs in its library to choose from.
To connect it to the keyboard, you can use your iPad or other mobile devices (Android and iOS devices).
However, if you take the app away, you’re left with a pretty basic keyboard.
But it’s fair to say that the ONE Smart Keyboard is a good choice for players of all levels and ages.
- Integrated learning app
- The key light feature
- Compatible with iPads, Androids, and iOS
- The keys could be improved
How To Choose The Best 88 Key Weighted Keyboard For You?
To be honest, buying a piano of any kind is not an easy task, especially for someone without any experience in playing the piano.
On the other hand, as the keyboard and digital piano market flourishes, many reliable brands offer instruments that blend quality and affordability.
In this article, we’ve picked the best 88-key weighted keyboards of different manufacturers. But to choose the best one for you, you’ll have to know what you’re looking for.
It’s always good to seek advice from someone knowledgeable, but it’s even better to be able to engage in conversation and make an informed decision.
To help you out with the latter, we’ll explain what you need to consider while buying an 88-key keyboard.
Most of the keyboards we suggested above have weighted keys.
So what exactly are the weighted keys?
In a nutshell, they give you a realistic feel when playing. When you press a key on the acoustic piano, the hammer strikes the string which then vibrates and produces the sound.
That’s the biggest challenge of keyboard manufacturers – to create an electronic instrument with the sound and nuances of a real piano.
And the keyboard’s action depends on the mechanism; it can be non-weighted (synth), semi-weighted (mostly used in music workstations), and fully weighted (hammer action.)
The best option that will ensure you a playing experience most similar to playing the grand acoustic piano is a hammer-action keyboard. This type of keyboard has little hammers mimicking the mechanism of a real piano.
What makes the playing experience even better is graded hammer action weighted keys. They add variable resistance to the keys – the keys will feel lighter as you move to higher notes, just like in an acoustic piano.
So, as you might assume, we suggest keyboards with fully weighted keys. Although semi-weighted keys are convenient for beginners as well, fully weighted keys will help you build proper finger strength and technique.
If you learn how to play the piano on an 88 key weighted keyboard, you’ll be able to switch to an acoustic piano without any problems.
Samples and Effects
As we’ve just mentioned, weighted keys will give you the closest feeling to playing the real piano. But it will never feel the same.
On the other hand, keyboards offer something that acoustic pianos don’t, and that’s a variety of samples and effects to play with.
Samples usually mimic different sounds, whether it’s some other instrument or sounds from nature. They can also be small recordings from a song.
Many keyboards have a wide selection of sounds to explore.
This is an important element for recording musicians and music producers, but if you’re simply interested in adding a little fun to your piano practice, a basic number of sounds and effects will do more than fine.
Keyboard vs Digital Piano
If you’re still a bit confused about the difference between keyboards and digital pianos, let us clear it up.
Digital pianos are usually the ones imitating classic acoustic pianos. They are built like an upright piano and they have fully weighted or semi-weighted keys. Read here about the difference between digital and acoustic pianos.
Keyboards are, on the other hand, more portable. They don’t always come with a stand, and sometimes they have 61 or 78 keys. And they have more in-built sounds and interactive features.
However, keyboard’s and digital piano’s features often intertwine, especially lately. And although there are many types of keyboards (workstations, MIDI-controllers…), it became a bit hard to categorize them.
Features and Functions
When it comes to features you should be looking for in a keyboard, it really depends on your needs.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll appreciate the chance to use learning tools. Some keyboards have integrated learning apps that can help you learn how to read notes.
To piano newcomers, functions like the metronome will also come in handy.
Some standard features on the average keyboard are Split Mode (you can play different instruments with each hand), Dual Mode (allows you to layer sounds), and Duo/Partner Mode (divides the keyboard into two halves.)
Polyphony is another thing you should pay attention to. It’s a number of notes you can play at the same time.
In other words, the polyphony function allows for the sound of a note to “stay” after you’ve played it, just like it does when you press the sustain pedal on a digital piano. Digital pianos/keyboards usually have 64, 128, 192, or 256-note polyphony.
For a piano beginner, a 64-note polyphony will be sufficient, but if you’re an experienced piano player who wants to play complex classical pieces or layer sounds, you should opt for better than that.
The 88-key keyboard’s typical price range is from $200 to $2,000.
If you buy a cheaper keyboard, you can’t expect the best quality and sounds. However, there are many affordable keyboards with good keyboard action and all the important features and functions.
Weighted keyboards are more expensive than semi-weighted or unweighted ones, but they will ensure you a more realistic playing experience.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll get a durable, reliable instrument with a variety of advanced features.
We hope this article helped you find the best 88-key weighted keyboard for you!
We know it’s not an easy choice, especially because getting a quality keyboard can be pricey, but if you’ve educated yourself and determined what type of keyboard you’re looking for, you’ll make a good choice.
After all, it all depends on your plans and abilities. If you’re planning to dedicate yourself to regular piano practice, buying a high-quality instrument is always a good decision.
But if you want to learn how to play the piano simply for fun, you should opt for less expensive beginner-friendly keyboards. The Yamaha P71 is still our overall favorite, its simplistic design and superb sound make it suitable for all levels.
Either way, we’re sure you’ll have lots of fun and creative moments with your new instrument!