The future of music

10 Best Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys

December 29, 2023
best digital pianos with weighted keys

Finding the best digital pianos with weighted keys is crucial for those seeking an authentic playing experience.

My guide simplifies your search, focusing on top-tier instruments that combine the feel of traditional pianos with modern enhancements.

You’ll uncover the ideal solution to satisfy your touch sensitivity needs without compromising on convenience and sound quality.

Quick answer: what are the best digital pianos with weighted keys? The best digital pianos with weighted keys include the SDP-2 Stage Piano, offering a balanced, authentic playing experience ideal for both practice and performance. The Yamaha P145 stands out with its responsive touch and rich, detailed acoustics. Additionally, the Casio CDP S110 is prized for its natural feel and impressive sound projection, suitable for players of all levels.

Top Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best digital pianos with weighted keys based on my hands-on analysis:

  1. SDP-2 Stage Piano – Overall best digital piano with weighted keys
  2. Yamaha P145 – Best budget-friendly Yamaha digital piano
  3. Casio CDP S110 – Best beginner-friendly digital piano
  4. Korg B2 – Best entry-level stage piano
  5. Roland FP 10 – Best for triple sensors
  6. Casio CDP S360 – Best for selection of sound library
  7. Kawai ES120 – Best for Kawai sound samples
  8. Casio PX S1100 – Best for a grand piano feel
  9. DP-10X – Best entry-level upright model
  10. Yamaha DGX 670 – Best for intermediate or advanced players

I’ve also made a video on the best weighted key digital pianos for those who prefer watching a video:

10 Best Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys Reviews

To ensure that only the best digital pianos make it into our guide, I put each instrument through rigorous tests.

  1. Playability: The primary test evaluates the piano’s playability, focusing on key action and the physical feel of the keys. The digital piano must mimic the feel of an acoustic piano, not just a keyboard. The texture of the keys is also examined, with top digital pianos replicating the feel of real ivory and ebony for an authentic experience.
  2. Sound Quality: I assess the quality of inbuilt voices and the frequency range of the speakers. Although digital pianos can’t perfectly emulate the vast tonal range of acoustic pianos, with modern technology, they should come close. I also test the sound quality through headphones since many players use them for practice.
  3. Additional Features: The evaluation doesn’t stop at playability and sound. I also test other features like pedals, audio outputs, MIDI compatibility, and any associated apps to determine how they stack up against competitors in their price range.

1. SDP-2 Stage Piano – Overall best digital piano with weighted keys

SDP-2 Stage Piano, overall Best Digital Piano With Weighted Keys.

The overall winner on my list of the best digital pianos with weighted and what I recommend to beginners is the SDP-2 Stage Piano.

It’s a terrific stage piano made with beginners in mind.

It has a weighted keyboard and thirty-two polyphonic voices.

This polyphony is a little bit low, but for beginners, anything much higher is not required.

It also has eight built-in sounds, which makes it more appealing to beginners.

Among the sounds available are two grand pianos, two electronic pianos, two organs, a vibraphone, and a harpsichord.

This makes learning more enjoyable.

Chorus and reverb are two more effects.

This gives you the freedom to try out new concepts and create your own music.

The whole set of eighty-eight weighted keys on the SDP-2 stage piano makes it sound and feel remarkably close to an acoustic piano.

It is also highly portable because of its lightweight design, which makes it simple to bring from home to the stage for performances.

The forty-total speaker wattage (four ten-watt speakers) for a digital piano of this size is rather impressive.

The stereo output connectors allow you to connect it to an external speaker or PA system for stronger sound, making it suitable for small settings.

Additionally, it has a handy headphone port so you may practice in peace if you want to.

Overall, I recommend the SDP-2 as one of the best digital pianos with weighted keys for an incredibly cost-effective piece of equipment that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

2. Yamaha P145 – Best budget-friendly Yamaha digital piano

Yamaha P145 digital piano with weighted keys.

Yamaha never misses when it comes to digital pianos for all skill levels, and this beginner-friendly novel is no exception.

It is widely regarded as one of the best entry-level digital pianos for novices.

The P145 features an impressive graded hammer compact keyboard, which is exactly what you need if you’re trying to replicate the experience of playing a real acoustic piano.

It has a polyphony of sixty-four, which is perfect for beginners who are just practicing basic piano songs and sequences.

It has ten built-in sounds – two grand pianos, two electric pianos, two organs, strings, two harpsichords, and a vibraphone – which keeps practice fun and interesting.

It also has four reverb effects, so you’ll never get bored!

They meticulously angled the P145s speakers to emulate the sound reflection of a grand piano soundboard, which results in a deep and rich tone that is comparable to certain acoustic pianos.

It also features a sound boost function that adds a little extra power and punch.

You can alter all of its settings quickly and easily, thanks to the simple and easy-to-use user interface.

This top-notch Yamaha P145 is perfect for those looking to take it anywhere you go while sounding excellent.

3. Casio CDP S110 – Best beginner-friendly digital piano

Casio CDP S110 weighted key digital piano

The Casio CDP S110 is one of the smallest and lightest graded hammer action digital pianos on the market.

With the aid of Casio’s proprietary scaled hammer action keyboard II mechanism, which is integrated into the compact CDP S110 using their high-density mounting technology, this digital piano will simulate a true acoustic instrument without the associated cost or weight.

It boasts a respectable sixty-four voices of polyphony and a variety of sounds and effects.

To spice up your studying, try one of the three grand pianos, three electric pianos, a harpsichord, a string, or two organs.

There are also four choruses and four reverb effects, making them perfect for anyone looking to record or just have fun.

It barely weighs ten and a half kilograms, making it exceptionally lightweight and perfect for carrying to lessons, performances, or jam sessions at a friend’s house!

Traveling with it is even possible in style thanks to a case that was made specifically for it.

It includes a single sustain pedal so you may add expression wherever you’d like.

All in all, the CDP S110 is a top-rate entry-level piano that is economical, ideal for transporting sound to gigs and classes, and great for beginners.

4. Korg B2 – Best entry-level stage piano

Korg B2, best piano keyboard with weighted keys.

The Korg B2 is a great choice for those who want a portable digital piano that can also fill the role of a console-style digital upright.

Weighing just over eleven kilograms, it’s essentially a beginner stage piano, but designed to look sleek and fit into any home, if you buy the specially designed stand.

With natural weighted hammer keyboard action, as well as graded keys, and a respectable polyphony of one hundred and twenty, you’ll feel like you’re playing a real acoustic piano. 

It features twelve built-in sounds; five Italian and German grand pianos, three electric pianos, a harpsichord, two organs, and strings.

This will allow you to perform in style and keep practicing fun, and each instrument was sampled to include every detail.

There are also reverb and chorus effects if you’d like to mix it up a little, as well as an extensive library of demo songs and a range of connectivity options including a USB MIDI port.

The settings are easy to access, with shortcuts and keys to press, designed to help you avoid clicking through hundreds of menus.

The Korg B2 was created taking ease of use, realism, portability, and sound quality into account, making it an impressive weighted digital piano.

5. Roland FP 10 – Best for triple sensors

Roland FP 10 digital keyboard with weighted keys.

The Roland FP 10 is one of the best digital pianos with weighted keys that uses triple sensors (see why this is important below!).

It’s easy to play quick repetitive notes thanks to this and the PHA-4 action keyboard, PHA-4 is a graded weighting, so Roland has used some of their best technology on this entry-level digital piano.

It has a decent polyphone of ninety-four, which is suitable for beginners and some intermediate players, depending on your goals and aims.

It has fifteen built-in sounds, which makes it excellent for stage performances or simply playing around with different tones.

The sounds given are four grand pianos, two electric pianos, two harpsichords, two organs, two strings, a synth pad, and a jazz scatt.

It also features a wider range of effects than some of the other weighted digital pianos on this list, including ambiance, brilliance, strings resonance, damper resonance, and key-off resonance.

The sound library and effects allow you to record and perform in style, and the FP 10 was designed with portability in mind weighing only twelve kilograms.

It also features connectivity options, such as headphone jacks, Bluetooth, and speakers, so you can practice in silence or out loud for everyone to hear!

6. Casio CDP S360 – Best for selection of sound library

Casio CDP S360 weighted keys digital keyboard.

In many ways, the Casio CDP S360 is superior to the S110 while maintaining the same portability.

It includes the same Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II found in many of Casio’s other models.

Why tamper with a winning formula?

Even though it contains one hundred and twenty-eight voices of polyphony, the sound library is what stands out.

The CDP S360S offers seven hundred high-quality sounds, including grand pianos and other instruments.

It also offers a variety of effects, such as ten reverbs, four choruses, and DSP effects (digital signal processing).

Additional functions include support for triple pedal units, accompanying features, and recording features.

With a weight of just over eleven kilograms, it is incredibly portable, allowing you to enjoy it as a stage piano without giving up portability or convenience of use in favor of the many features. 

For a beginner, this electric piano with weighted keys is a fantastic option.

7. Kawai ES120 – Best for Kawai sound samples

Kawai ES120 digital keyboard with weighted keys.

The ES120 is an introductory digital stage piano that samples a lot of Kawai’s very own respected acoustic and upright pianos.

This is what they are known for, and now it’s in a handy compact package!

Using their Responsive Hammer Compact keyboard, which is based on the Responsive Hammer Action III keyboards found in their premium models, they perfectly fit an authentic acoustic into a compact digital.

With a high polyphony of one hundred and ninety-two, this is more than suitable for intermediate, or even advanced players.

It also features twenty-five high-quality built-in sounds – nine grand pianos, four eclectic pianos, three organs, a vibraphone, a harpsichord, three bass, a pad, a choir, and two strings along with a reverb effect.

Their grand piano sounds are all of the highest realism, made that way by their top-of-the-range Harmonic Imaging Sampling technique.

Kawai, unlike other manufacturers, samples every single key on the piano to get the best sound possible. 

8. Casio PX S1100 – Best for a grand piano feel

Casio PX S1100 digital piano with weighted keys.

The PX S1100 uses a variety of smart features to ensure it simulates a triple-sensor keyboard perfectly.

It uses sensors, chips, and other technology to replicate the sound and feel of the grand pianos without compromising portability.

Casio’s Smart Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard takes inspiration from their larger scaled hammer action keyboards but fits it into a neat and compact package. 

The keys even feature synthetic ivory and ebony textures for that grand piano feel.

Plus, it has a polyphony of one hundred and ninety-two which is suitable for all skill levels!

It comes with eighteen in-built sounds, including three grand pianos, three pianos, three electric pianos, a harpsichord, a vibraphone, two strings, four organs, and a bass.

Paired with the extensive effects (acoustic simulator, four hall simulators, two surrounds, four choruses, brilliance, and DSP effects), you’ll be sure to have fun learning and performing!

Overall, the PX S1100 is a highly affordable, portable digital piano that is comparable to many higher-range models.

9. DP-10X – Best entry-level upright model

DP-10X best entry level digital piano with weighted keys.

The DP-10X by Gear4music is a cabinet design digital piano that is a great entry-level upright model.

The weighted, hammer action keyboard makes it comparable to a real upright piano, but in an affordable package.

It has a polyphony of sixty-four due to the three built-in soft, sostenuto, and sustain pedals, which is more than enough for most beginners.

It also features twenty-four built-in sounds: five pianos, an accordion, a clavinet, a harpsichord, two organs, a vibraphone, two strings, a choir, two guitars, two bass guitars, two brass, a flute, and two pads.

Additionally, it has a huge range of effects, including, nine reverbs, four choruses, feedback, three flangers, two delays, and three celestes.

This allows you to customize your piano sound and exercise your creativity.

There are handy practice features, including a metronome, a two-track recording of your playing, and a handful of demo songs as well as duet/split modes.

This is a high-functioning yet affordable digital piano.

The DP-10X by Gear4music will help you reach your potential as a pianist.

10. Yamaha DGX 670 – Best for intermediate or advanced players

Yamaha DGX 670 advanced digital piano with weighted keys.

The Yamaha DGX 670 boasts a range of functions exclusive to this model and is perfect for intermediate or advanced players.

With a Graded Hammer Standard Keyboard, it sounds and feels just like an acoustic.

It has an impressive polyphony of two hundred and fifty-six, which means there won’t be anything that you can’t learn to play.

This digital piano certainly gives you the bang for your buck when it comes to sounds and effects, too.

With six hundred and one built-in sounds, plus twenty-nine drum and SFX kits (the highest on my list) you’ll never get bored.

You can always spice up your playing using one of their many reverb, chorus, DSP, compressor, or EQ effects as well.

While this is the most expensive piano on my, it’s well worth it.

It features a Yamaha CFX concert grand piano in some of its sounds, and extensive sampling using their Virtual Resonance Modelling makes it sound just like the real one with strings and hammer sounds.

It can also simulate concert halls, cathedrals, and practice rooms so you can get the feel of any environment, no matter where you are.

If you’re practicing using headphones, Yamaha’s Stereophonic Optimiser makes it sound like it’s coming from the instrument in front of you.

There is even technology (using the Adaptive Style function) that will recognize the chords you’re playing and give you an accompaniment to supplement it.

The 4.3-inch display makes the user interface easy and simple to use, so you can switch between modes and settings with ease.

The Yamaha DGX 670 acts as a workstation but gives you all of the features and sounds that you want in a weighted digital piano.

What Are Weighted Keys?

Weighted keys effectively recreate the natural resistance that can be felt in an acoustic piano due to their internal mechanisms – this sensation is known as action.

Each key on an acoustic piano triggers a sequence of levers and a hammer to move.

When you press down on the key, you will experience this (and occasionally hear it as well).

Action is crucial because it enables you to express the music you play and establish a physical connection with the instrument1.

The majority of digital pianos lack hammers, therefore manufacturers simulate the sound and feel as if there were keys attached to hammers inside using technology and mechanics. 

Different Types of Weighted Keys

There are a few different types of weighted keys that exist for digital pianos.

Each gives you a unique piano-playing experience, so let’s run through each type and what that means.

Semi-Weighted

This is where the springs produce a little resistance when you press the keys down.

Lower-range digital pianos that cost a little less and are made for beginners or portable are more likely to be semi-weighted than fully weighted.

This can help you to transition to a weighted key if you’re used to playing a regular keyboard, but it simply doesn’t provide the realism of a more advanced, fully weighted key.

Semi-weighted keys do have some advantages!

If you need a portable piano, they’re likely to be lighter and more compact than their weighted counterparts.

A beginner might enjoy a semi-weighted keyboard.

Weighted

This is the same as semi-weighted, just with a little more weight.

This gives the keys a little more realism when compared to an acoustic piano, and is almost the next step toward an acoustic piano2.

They’re often found in digital pianos that aren’t made to be portable since the keys add quite a lot of weight.

Still, they provide realism despite being a little more expensive (generally).

The direct response from the springs can make faster and more agile passages more comfortable to play than on a hammer action keyboard.

However, it isn’t foolproof. 

With weighted (and semi-weighted) keys, the amount of resistance is consistent the entire time you’re pressing the key down.

With an acoustic, the resistance lessens when the key is moving.

Hammer Action

This is a step closer to the feel of a real acoustic piano.

Hammer action is a series of levers and mechanisms that are designed to authentically replicate this action.

You can also feel the notch sensation, which is missing with a weighted keyboard.

Because hammer action keyboards have more intricate mechanisms and hardware, they tend to be heavier than weighted and semi-weighted digital pianos.

This means they are sometimes a little less portable.

This isn’t always the case, and nowadays you can find a lot of hammer action digital pianos that are designed for portability.

Even if they’re a little heavier than their weighted counterparts, they’re made to be sleek and compact in width to make up for it.

Graded Hammer Action

This is the closest you’ll get to the feel that you’re looking for and is sometimes known as scaled hammer action weighting.

Graded Hammer action weighting is the same as hammer action, except the keys are graded.

This means that the lower notes feel heavier and the higher notes feel lighter, just as they would on an acoustic piano.

In an acoustic piano, the lower notes feel heavier since they need up to three heavier gauge strings.

The higher strings are much thinner, and thus feel lighter.

Graded Hammer action replicates this.

While subtle, the differences in weights are noticeable.

If you were to switch between practice on an acoustic and a digital piano that wasn’t weighted, you’d likely find it pretty difficult.

Usually, the keys have two sensors – one that detects when you start moving, and one that detects when the key is pressed.

However, what you should be looking for is a keyboard with three sensors.

This complex mechanism creates that feel and sound that you get when playing acoustic, which a double-sensor just can’t create.

Hammer action digital pianos tend to be console-style because they are heavier than non-weighted keyboards.

Still, there’s a lot of choice out there for relatively compact and portable hammer action keyboards.

Benefits of Weighted Keys

The main and key benefit of having weighted keys is the realism that you get from them.

The reason many people choose a digital piano is for their comparability to acoustic pianos, and that’s thanks to the weighted keys and (often) hammer action mechanism.

A lot of digital pianos have advanced sounds that mimic the subtle sound of hammers and the weighted keys when you press them down, which allows you to play with the same expression as you would on an acoustic.

It also feels more fun.

It’s nice to feel the response of the key to your touch, which you don’t get if your keys aren’t weighted and/or graded.

Another benefit is key for beginners.

A lot of people like to begin with a digital piano, intending to work their way up to an acoustic.

This is only possible if you build up the finger strength that is required to effectively play acoustic, and this is where weighted keys come in handy.

It’s essentially resistance training for your fingers!

This leads to one of the largest benefits of all – it allows you to transition from a digital piano to an acoustic with ease.

You won’t be picking up poor habits, and you’ll soon become accustomed to what it’s like to play an acoustic piano.

That’s usually the aim!

Weighted Keys vs Non-Weighted Keys

Non-weighted keys are better if you’re playing synthesizers or any other instrument that only responds to velocity, but they just don’t capture that realism that weighted keys do.

Weighted keys may produce a slightly better sound since they can improve your technique and encourage more articulation when compared to a non-weighted keyboard.

However, they don’t affect sound inherently.

Do Weighted Keys Wear Out?

There is always the chance that your keys will wear out over time, as with any mechanism.

However, new digital pianos are made for longevity, even with extensive playing, so this isn’t a concern. 

What Is Touch Sensitivity?

Digital pianos with weighted keys tend to have adjustable touch sensitivity, which essentially means you can adjust how heavy the keys feel to suit you.

This allows you to build upon finger strength without jumping in at the deep end, as you would have to do with an acoustic.

This is an advantage for beginners but must be used with care.

It’s easy to pick up bad habits what with new technology, and it’s important to push yourself if you intend to one day play a real acoustic piano without too much difficulty.

What Is Polyphony & Why Is It Important?

The quantity of notes that a digital piano can generate simultaneously is known as polyphony.

Digital pianos typically have sixty-four, one hundred and twenty-eight, one hundred and ninety-two, or two hundred and fifty-six polyphony.

There are a few different factors that are responsible for this.

Modern digital pianos use stereo samples, which frequently call for playing two notes of each key.

You can hear how a polyphony of two hundred and fifty-six may be achieved when you consider the sustain pedal, sound effects (such as reverb or chorus), dual-mode and layering, and even the metronome.

Consider how old notes continue to sound when you play new ones when the sustain pedal is depressed.

To do this, the piano uses memory.

Although a high polyphony may appear unneeded, if you intend to mix different sounds or record on many tracks, it is significant to consider.

How to Pick the Best Weighted Digital Piano For You

There are a few things to consider when you’re picking out the right digital piano.

It’s very subjective, so we’ll provide you with some information to think about.

Keys

Current acoustic pianos feature eighty-eight keys.

Eighty-eight, seventy-six, seventy-three, or sixty-one keys are typical for most digital pianos.

Most modern pieces can be played using seventy-three keys, while certain complex classical pieces call for all eighty-eight keys.

Eighty-eight keys are important for that acoustic experience if you’re aiming for authenticity.

Action

As previously mentioned, consider the kind of action you need.

Semi-weighted (and non-weighted) digital pianos will be less expensive than ones with intricate hammer action systems, thus your budget may also play a role in your decision.

Whether or if you want to graduate with an acoustic piano will determine the type of action you need, as well as how essential authenticity is to you.

Don’t strain the budget if this doesn’t worry you.

In addition, fully weighted action keyboards will have configurable touch sensitivity, making them much more customized and appropriate for your playing style.

Polyphony

As noted before, the polyphony of a particular digital piano will depend on your unique requirements.

Reaching the sixty-four or one hundred and twenty-eight note restrictions may be simpler than you think, particularly if you are recording and layering.

A sixty-four-note polyphony might be sufficient for beginners.

However, a polyphony of at least one hundred and twenty-eight will be preferred for intermediate players.

You should aim for the highest polyphony possible for experienced players.

Modes

Depending on your needs and skill level, various modes that come with digital pianos may be useful to you.

You can play two different instruments (one with each hand) when your keyboard is split into two halves in split mode.

This can be helpful if you’re recording, writing, or just having fun.

By layering two different sounds in dual mode, you can have them play simultaneously when a key is pressed.

This works well for recording as well.

Your keyboard is divided in two with two similar pitch ranges when you use Duo Mode, also known as twin mode, duet play, or partner mode.

For novices with tutors who want to play along with them so that you can follow along, this is quite useful.

MIDI & Audio Recorders

You can record and playback your performances with a MIDI recorder without the need for any other tools.

In particular, multi-track recording can help with learning how to play piano or composing.

In contrast to audio recording, MIDI records information about the note length, velocity, and other MIDI data.

You can use audio recorders to create CD-quality audio files (often in the WAV format), which can be played on most devices.

They capture the instrument’s actual audio output.

Although not all digital pianos have MIDI recorders, many of them will have built-in audio recorders.

It’s important to consider your recording goals while choosing a digital piano.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to enhancing your musical expression, nothing parallels the best digital pianos with weighted keys.

The SDP-2 Stage Piano, Yamaha P145, and Casio CDP S110 lead the market, offering a blend of authenticity, dynamic response, and sound excellence.

These models affirm that a true piano feel is attainable in digital format, promising musicians a seamless, expressive playing journey.

You may also like:

Sources:

  1. https://www.mi.edu/in-the-know/beginners-guide-buying-first-keyboard/ ↩︎
  2. https://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/music/m3s.pdf ↩︎

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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