The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Weighted Keyboard + Reviews
If you want to get the best piano keyboard with weighted keys but don’t know how to go about finding the right model, then read on. We know that it’s quite hard to find a good piano these days which has a quality sound, weighted keys, and reliable components. There are loads of models flooding the market each year so it’s understandable if you can’t decide on a particular piano. This is why we’ve done comprehensive research so you don’t have to. We’ve studied and compared both consumer and high-end models so we can recommend the best one for your needs and budget. Our top choice is the Yamaha P71. This digital piano has an 88-Key weighted keyboard, it offers superior sounds and endless tonal combinations, and it also comes with an elegant design. In case it is out of stock, you may want to have a look at the Yamaha P115.
- Comparison Table
- Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
- Best 88 Key Keyboard
- Yamaha P115 Weighted Piano Keyboard
- Kawai ES100 88-key Fully Weighted Keyboard – Best Hammer Action Keyboard
- Korg B1SP Weighted
- Casio Privia PX160BK
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about weighted keyboards
- Best weighted keyboard brands
Our Top Choice
This particular model comes in a packaging that includes a power adapter and a sustain pedal, so you won’t have to buy them separately. The program contains ten different modes, including ones that closely resemble those of acoustic grand pianos. The dual mode function allows you to combine two sounds, thus opening the gateway to a more complex musical experience and offering you the opportunity to experiment.
A few customers have complained that upon hitting the keys, a weird clicking noise is heard, which can disrupt the player.
This affordable alternative can compete with the feeling of a real piano.
The P115 resembles a piano in that it is lighter in the high end. It features eighty-eight keys, and it can offer the user a full piano accompaniment, which will enhance their experience. The sound of a concert grand piano is faithfully reproduced, resulting in a clear and full sound. If you own an iOS device, you can download the app and quickly navigate through the configuration of the device using your phone. Useful accessories are included.
Most of the control buttons are not labeled, and the customers have complained they can be hard to memorize.
The P115 is probably one of the most reliable alternatives in its price range.
An option that works in both dual and split modes, the ES100 also features a memory function that allows you to save the settings you’ve carefully personalized and use them any time you wish without having to input them again. It also features a pedal that works similarly to that of an acoustic piano. Aside from the regular piano sounds, this keyboard also plays a couple of organ or jazz sounds, which enhances the user’s experience.
The keys are significantly lighter than those of an acoustic piano, so you might find that inconvenient if you prefer the latter.
A simple design in a compact shape, the ES100 will cater to all your musical needs.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Finding the right piano is always a difficult task, and more so with so many weighted keyboard reviews to read before being able to make an informed decision. The good news is that you don’t have to spend days doing research, as we’ve created a list of the top products in terms of quality, features, and price.
Best 88 Key Keyboard
Yamaha P71 88-Key Keyboard with Weighted Keys
The Yamaha Weighted Keyboard P71 is a full-sized piano with 88 keys that sells for a more than affordable price. This instrument comes with fully-weighted keys which will give you the feel of a real acoustic piano. Since every key will feel different, you’ll also be able to learn faster and improve your playing skills.
This model lets you use from a total of 10 voices, and you also get to combine any 2 Voices for many unique combinations with different sounds. For example, you could combine piano and strings and enjoy playing even the same tune with a new sound. This model also comes with a sustain pedal for endless musical combinations.
The P71 has a slim and elegant design and is small enough to fit anywhere in your home, as it has a depth of only 12 inches. You can also move it around or even take it with you on rehearsals as it weighs just 25 pounds.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($399.99)
Yamaha P115 Weighted Piano Keyboard
The Yamaha P115 is a fully-weighted piano that benefits from the latest GHS or graded hammer standard technology available. This 88-key digital piano will simulate the feel of a grand piano, as each key action will feel different, just like an acoustic instrument.
Thanks to the Pure CF Sound Engine, you get a high-fidelity sound reproduction that is the result of meticulous sampling of the 9′ CFIIIS concert grand piano. You can use Pianist Styles to play different chords with each hand and sound like two pianists. You get to choose from 10 carefully selected styles to create new sounds and enjoy a wonderful musical experience every time.
You get to connect the P115 to your iPhone and benefit from the Digital Piano Controller app that will allow you to perform various operations. You can change modes or settings with a few swipes, and you can also save settings and profiles to use them whenever you want.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Kawai ES100 88-key Fully Weighted Keyboard – Best Hammer Action Keyboard
The Kawai ES100 is a digital piano that offers the high-quality IV-F graded hammer key action keyboard as well as amazing sounds that have been sampled from a grand piano with great care. This 88-key piano is capable of 192-note polyphony, and it comes with the Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology to deliver an impressive tonal range and crystal-clear notes.
This model has Dual and Split modes for various play styles, as well as 8 piano sounds to choose from. This model also features the Alfred Piano Lessons module which will help you improve your playing skills in no time.
The instrument has a damper pedal with half-dampening and has a built-in stereo speaker system so you can start playing without having to invest in a separate audio platform. The ES100 also offers memory functions which allow you to save various settings as well as your favorite tunes, or even those rare inspiration moments. With a weight of only 33 pounds, you can carry this piano to your favorite gigs without much effort.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($729.99)
Korg B1SP Weighted
The Korg B1SP is an 88-key digital piano that provides excellent feel and sound quality without costing an arm and a leg. This piano is perfectly suited to both beginners (although clearly is not the best piano for toddlers) and advanced pianists. With the weighted keys, you get to enjoy the feel of a traditional piano. Each key displays a specific resistance depending on the register that you’re trying to play.
Besides being able to simulate the grand piano sound, this modern piano also features the sounds of other instruments, such as two types of organs, as well as a harpsichord. This instrument is capable of 120-polyphony, which combined with the damper, soft, and sostenuto pedals, allow you to play rich music or create new tunes with unique sounds.
This model also has a built-in stereo sound system that benefits from the MFB servo technology. The B1SP comes with a furniture stand that includes three pedals, as well as a soft and comfortable piano bench.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($599.99)
Casio Privia PX160BK
The Casio Privia PX160 is the improved version of the PX150. This might just be the best cheap keyboard piano since it’s appreciated both by amateurs and veteran pianists, who wish for a quality and lightweight instrument. This model comes with a Tri-Sensor Scaled 88-key Hammer Action II keyboard that will give you the feel as well as the sound of a grand piano.
You get to choose from the sampled sounds, from stringed instruments to electric keyboard weighted keys. The AiR or Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator ensures that the PX160 has the sound of a 9-foot concert piano that’s carefully sampled at four dynamic levels. You get to play powerful tunes and benefit from realism that you rarely find in a piano of this class.
The weighted keyboard offers simulated ivory and ebony performance so you get both the speed and accuracy of an acoustic piano. This model also features modern sounds, and you can also connect it to any platform using Mac or Windows via a simple USB cable.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($499)
Roland RD-800 Digital
If you’re looking for a professional stage piano, then the Roland RD-800 is just what you need. This digital piano comes with the highly acclaimed SuperNatural engine that’s appreciated by musicians around the world. You get to choose from a wide range of sounds, from acoustic instruments to vintage keys, modern synths, and more.
The RD-800 is capable of offering an amazing performance with its Concert Grand tone that is a variation of the V-Piano Grand sound. Besides five piano types, you also get to choose from 34 sound variations to suit your playing style or particular tune. You also get to select from the five classic electric piano sounds from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as well as over 50 variations.
The weighted keys will ensure that you enjoy playing your instrument anytime, thanks to the authentic behavior of keys as well as the seamless tonal changes and impressive sound that will feel great every time.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Yamaha YPG-535 Portable
The Yamaha YPG-535 is a quality digital piano that comes with an intuitive panel, weighted keys, a myriad of sounds, as well as a portable body so you can take it with you on gigs around the country.
This model features the GST or Graded Soft Touch action which simulates the feel of an acoustic piano. What this means is that each keystroke will feel different, with the keys offering varying degrees of resistance, just like an acoustic piano. With this digital piano, you also get 361 sounds with the XGlite system with modes such as trumpet, flute, soprano, sax, and more.
This instrument allows you to connect to other devices with a USB cable. The backlit LCD panel will help you adjust settings, as well as see chords, notations, or even lyrics. If you’re just starting out, this piano also comes with the Yamaha Education Suite or YES, which can teach you to play the piano with the keyboard lessons, lessons grading, as well as chord dictionary.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($499.99)
Williams Rhapsody 2
The Williams Rhapsody 2 is an elegant piano that has an 88-key weighted keyboard, many high-definition sounds, superior controls, as well as a smooth PVC finish that will make the entire ensemble great just about anywhere. The hammer-action keys simulate the ebony and ivory feel of a grand hall piano, while the custom sounds give you enough space for experimentation.
This model comes with twelve 32 MB sample ROM which includes Grand Pianos, Organs, Electric Pianos, Nylon Guitar, and a few more realistic sounds. You also get sustain and sostenuto pedals for a wide range of sounds and effects for a rich musical experience. This model features a USB MIDI port, a 2-track recorder, a metronome, as well as audio jacks.
This digital piano also comes with a lot of modulation and FX controls to ensure you have all you need at your disposal to create beautiful music. The Williams Rhapsody 2 is stylish, and its imposing presence will surely make your home or studio more lively.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Yamaha YDP143R Arius
The Yamaha YDP143R Arius series features an 88-key graded hammer keyboard as well as synthetic ivory keytops to provide an amazing playing experience that closely resembles playing an acoustic piano. With the Pure CF Sound Engine, you get the sound of the legendary Yamaha 9′ CFIIIS Grand Piano that will allow you to obtain expressive tones every time.
This piano comes with 50 classic piano songs and a music book (check out our selection of the best piano books for beginners, by the way) that will help you learn faster. You can connect your iPhone to use the Controller App that works with iOS, obtaining a complex interface for configuring settings and performing other operations. You also get to use a 2-track recorder, as well as to use one of the 3 included pedals.
The YDP143R comes with a stylish stand with a smooth finish that will enhance your home’s decor. The furniture bench is soft and comfortable so you could play for hours on end to practice your playing skills.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Nord Piano 3
While this surely resembles a jet fighter’s cockpit rather than a piano, the Nord Piano 3 is one of the most popular digital keyboards in the professional music industry. It comes with a huge memory of 1GB for the Piano library and 256MB for the Sampling Library.
This 88-key piano features Triple Sensor key beds which detect even tiny differences in how you strike the keys, resulting in subtle differences in terms of sound. Combined with the hammer action technology, this piano gives you a rich experience that’s almost identical to that of playing a grand piano.
This model comes with all the controls, dials, and buttons you’ll ever need, giving you a huge latitude in how you approach your music. You get to enjoy layer and split functionality, as well as use the Nord triple pedal to obtain new sounds and effects. While this keyboard looks like it’s from the 70s, you get an OLED display to check parameters, notes, and controls.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($2999)
Alesis Recital Beginner
If you want to buy a good digital piano without breaking the bank, then the Alesis Recital Beginner is just what you need. This piano is perfect for learning to play this beautiful instrument, and it comes with a full-size 88-key keyboard that should be more than enough even as you become better and improve your skills.
This piano has semi-weighted keys which offer a softer response than traditional weighted keys. These are great for beginners since it will be much easier to play without having to strike the low-end keys as forceful. You can also adjust the touch response to suit your preferred playing style.
You can also customize the voices and use any combination of 2 to obtain different sounds and richer tones. This model also comes with built-in 2-Watt speakers which can save you quite a bit of money since you get all you need to get started. You also get lesson modes to help you improve your skills faster.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($199)
M-Audio Keystation 88 II
The M-Audio Keystation 88 II is a reliable digital keyboard that comes with all the features and quality sound you need to connect to a PC, Mac, or iOS device and start playing. This instrument comes with semi-weighted keys which are sensitive to velocity, so they respond to how fast or hard you hit them to play the appropriate tone.
This is a full-size version that has an 88-key keyboard which means you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon, even as you mature as a piano player. This device is powered via a USB cable that you connect to your computer. This model also features a ¼-inch sustain pedal which allows you to obtain richer sounds.
With the USB-MIDI device, you get to play different instruments while also being in control of the recording software. You can also connect the keyboard to an external audio output device with the 5-pin MIDI jack. With the directional and transport buttons, you can also control the audio station straight from the keyboard.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($179)
Roland 61 Key Weighted Keyboard
The makers of this keyboard focus a lot on how lightweight and portable it is. With this keyboard, you can be as light as a guitarist carrying his or her guitar.
Due to its ergonomic design, it’s easy to transport and set up. You won’t be missing any gigs with this keyboard. Unlike other synthesizers that force you to only make use of their factory settings, leaving little space for experimentation, this one offers you a wide-open platform for you to play on.
What’s even better is that even though this might be your first such instrument, you will find it easy to play. There are multiple modes to choose from that help the beginners and more experienced music producers too.
If you want to get more out of it simply choose the performance mode and you will be able to do a lot of things, including layering more tracks on top of each other.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($729.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
Whether you’re planning to get your first musical instrument, or you want to upgrade your basic piano with the best weighted keyboard with 88 keys, then you probably don’t know exactly what to look in order to be confident with your purchase. There are quite a few things you need to consider, from weighted keys, to sound quality, the physical size of the piano, etc.
We’ve compiled a short guide that should help you find the best weighted keyboard for sale to suit your playing style, budget, and needs.
Getting a full 88-key keyboard
There are many types of pianos on the market, with some smaller models coming with 60 keys or less. However, it is important that you get a full-size keyboard, regardless if you’re just starting out or not. The best electronic keyboard with weighted keys will have an 88-key keybed. This has the same number of keys as an acoustic piano.
Not only will a standard 88-key piano be able to reproduce more sounds than the smaller variants, but it will also come the closest to replicating the sounds as well as the feel of an acoustic piano, which is what many professionals strive for.
Why weighted keys matter
Acoustic pianos have small hammers that strike chords every time you hit a key. With digital pianos, that mechanism isn’t there, and hitting a key on an unweighted keyboard would not provide any feel or sensation regardless of whether you’re playing the low keys or high keys.
Weighted keyboards have all sorts of mechanisms and sometimes even weights to replicate that specific feel of an acoustic piano.Thanks to a weighted keyboard, you get to feel a heavier action on the low keys and experience a lighter action as you move towards the high keys.
Besides offering you the feel that’s nearly identical to that of an acoustic piano, the key action also ensures that sounds are louder when you press hard and softer when you press a key lightly. Once you improve your technique, you can blend in both speed, precision, and different techniques so you can create complex layered music.
Semi-weighted keyboards might still be an option
Although you only get the real feel of an acoustic piano with a fully-weighted keyboard, getting a semi-weighted variant can be a good choice sometimes. For example, if you’ve just started playing the piano, you may find it difficult to concentrate on hand movements and hitting the right keys, let alone finding the right rhythm or having the necessary precision.
With a semi-weighted keyboard, you still feel a difference between various keys, but you don’t have to practice finger strength at first so you can focus on basic techniques and learn how to play properly and only then move up towards a fully-weighted keyboard. You also get to practice for longer hours without demanding as much from your fingers at first.
Some people don’t even need a keyboard with full-graded action. Musicians playing various forms of jazz, fusion, or even modern music, may need to be able to use various techniques that would be hindered with a fully-weighted keyboard.
Portability is important
While this should go without saying, getting a portable digital keyboard is vital if you need to perform at various gigs. You can’t just haul a 50-pound piano with ease, especially if you’re running around town all day, which is why you should try to get a model that’s lightweight.
Depending on your play style and venue, you could also get away with a smaller and more compact model, as long as it has an 88-key keyboard. The good news is that there are quite a few quality pianos that don’t weigh much so you can transport them to gigs or even to piano lessons without much effort.
You could also get the best semi weighted midi keyboard which is lighter since it doesn’t have built-in audio systems or other components that most normal digital pianos have. You’ll also get a lot more control on the output and be able to use other devices.
Choose the right piano for your budget
If this is your first piano, then you should know that there is no reason to fork over thousands of dollars on a high-end model. Not only will you find it difficult to use it, but you might also lose interest in piano playing in a few years, making such a large investment not the most sensible choice.
You can easily get by with the best weighted keyboard under 300. There are loads of models out there that come with 88-key keybeds, built-in audio, and other features that should be more than enough for you to learn on.
If you really need a better piano, then there are quite a few options that cost less than a thousand bucks. These still come with just about any control or modulation you need, so unless you’ll be playing in a Grand Hall in the capital, you’ll probably be just fine, even if you don’t buy the most expensive digital piano on the market.
A few other considerations
In case you’re searching for the best beginner keyboard with weighted keys, you might also want to think of other features that will help you learn a lot faster. Many keyboards come with built-in lesson modules, progress tracking, and memorized songs so that you get to improve your skills with ease.
If you need a digital piano that can work with a PC that’s running a DAW or digital audio workstation, then you should probably look for the best fully weighted midi keyboard you can find. This keyboard comes with USB and MIDI ports so you can connect them to your PC or even standalone instruments.
Frequently asked questions about weighted keyboards
What is a semi weighted keyboard?
A semi-weighted keyboard combines the spring-loaded mechanism of the best synthesizer keyboards with the weighted action of acoustic pianos. So while striking a synthesizer key will feel light and offer no resistance, the semi-weighted key will offer a feel similar to that of a classical piano, if somewhat dampened.
The semi-weighted variants have a softer touch and thus you won’t need to strike the keys as hard. The rebound time will also be a bit longer compared to synthesizers but faster than an acoustic piano. These offer the best of both worlds and are a good choice for beginners.
Where can I buy a weighted keyboard?
The market is filled with weighted keyboards so you shouldn’t have a problem with finding one. However, not all are created equal, which means you’d best decide which type you want and then start shopping for one. You can choose a normal weighted keyboard or a semi-weighted model depending on your preferences and model.
For the best deals, you might want to check with major retailers. These have a large offer with plenty of models from different brands, and they also offer great discounts from time to time so you can save a lot of money to buy an extra pedal or bench.
Which are better? Weighted or unweighted keyboards?
Depending on your level, play style, and needs, one might be better than another. Weighted keys are great because they replicate the feel of an acoustic piano, which means you learn to strike those keys more powerfully, building up the strength of your fingers while also learning complex techniques.
However, an unweighted keyboard might be a good option for a beginner. This is because the rookie won’t have to concentrate on too many aspects but focus on precision and timing, which are especially important at first. However, there are both beginners and advanced pianists who prefer one over another, it just boils down to preference and style.
Best weighted keyboard brands
Yamaha is one of the most easily recognizable brands in the world. While many people associate this brand with motorcycles, few know that it has a long history of producing some of the most appreciated digital pianos on the market. Musicians and those who work in the music industry know the value of a Yamaha keyboard, and many renowned artists use one.
Perhaps a thing that made Yamaha stand out from many other companies is its focus on quality. It is known for using superior sampling techniques which result in the high-fidelity reproduction of sounds, whether they are of a Grand Piano or a Hammond organ from the 70s.
Korg is a Japanese company with a long tradition in the music industry. This company was founded more than 60 years ago by Tsutomu Katoh. Its first products were rhythm machines and various audio devices. After initial success among consumers, the brand starting focusing on keyboards.
The first Korg keyboard was a programmable version that was launched towards the end of the 1960s. In the 70s, the company released a wide range of synthesizers that were used by world-class artists in many genres, from pop to jazz to progressive rock. Korg has an international reputation and it continues to enjoy a huge popularity in the music world.
Nord is a Swedish company that specializes in synthesizers and digital pianos. Founded by Hans Nordelius and Mikael Carlsson back in 1983 in the suburbs of Stockholm, the company launched some of its most popular synthesizers in the 90s.
The real breakthrough came in 2005 when the Nord Stage series was launched. These red keyboards became an instant hit among professional musicians. This had less to do with their color, and more with the superior sampling techniques, huge sampling memories, as well as a wide range of controls with powerful features for the most pretentious musician.
Kawai is a Japanese manufacturer of both acoustic and digital pianos. The company was founded in 1927, and it began to make a name for itself soon after selling its first acoustic pianos. The company later started to produce synthesizers in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Despite the fierce competition, Kawai managed to become one of the most popular brands in the world.
The brand currently uses some of the most sophisticated sampling technologies in the industry. Its line of products ranges from affordable models for beginners to high-end digital pianos.
Williams is a company that specializes in digital pianos. Despite the fact that its line of products isn’t as varied compared to other brands, the company is well known for its fine pianos which closely mimic the look and feel of acoustic pianos.
This company produces popular models that are the top choice for beginners and accomplished musicians alike. The Rhapsody 2, Overture 2, Allegro 2 Plus, and Brioso are popular pianos that have received numerous positive reviews from customers. These are pianos that come with weighted keys, quality sounds, and loads of features for any passionate pianist.