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 Akai Professional MPK249.
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 keyboard quality is exceptional, as the model comes with semi-weighted keys that are also touch-sensitive. The MPC pads are large enough, they are responsive and look great with the RGB lighting. You also get quality knobs and sliders that are well-mapped for most DAWs. This workstation comes with its own LCD screen so that you don’t have to look at other devices when you’re producing music. It’s also very compact.
It weighs 13 pounds and that’s why you don’t want to move it too much and it also needs a sturdy stand to hold it.
This is a model that can be used by anyone, even by beginners with no piano experience.
Also To Consider
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.
13 Best Weighted Keyboards (Reviews) in 2020
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.
- 1. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal
- 2. Akai Professional MPK249
- 3. Kawai ES100 Digital Piano
- 4. Alesis Recital 61 – 61-Key Digital Piano
- 5. PX-160 BK Privia
- 6. Hamzer 88-Key Electronic
- 7. Yamaha YPG535 Portable Grand Piano
- 8. LAGRIMA 88 Weighted
- 9. Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano
- 10. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about weighted keyboards
- Best weighted keyboard brands
- How Much Does a Weighted Keyboard Cost?
1. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal
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.
The sound that this keyboard produces will be similar to the one of an acoustic piano.
It comes with many voices and effects and that allows you to make it sound like nearly any instrument.
The keyboard is so light and this will help you greatly when you want to take it with you somewhere.
This keyboard comes with keys that are fully weighted to give you the best feel, something that usually can only be done on acoustic pianos.
Coming with a sustain pedal, the device allows you to play your music with more dynamism, and it will also help you get ready for the piano.
It has a function that allows two players to play at the same time, and thus a teacher can work alongside a student on the same keyboard producing the same notes.
The clicking noise produced when the keys are pressed becomes annoying.Buy from Amazon.com for ($449.99)
2. Akai Professional MPK249
In case you’re looking for a keyboard that does far more than its initial purpose, this one is for you. This is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can have in a studio. It is ideally used for recording and production purposes, but it also does well as an instrument.
That is mainly due to the semi-weighted action keyboard that it has. Although it doesn’t come in a wide range, it still gives you the possibility to play whatever you want. Furthermore, you should consider it if you want to use it to instantly transfer the music you create on your computer.
Being loaded with ports, you can connect this thing to anything. Because it’s a MIDI device, it doesn’t come with a speaker of its own but you can couple it with any sound system. The LCD screen in the middle will help you keep track of what you’re playing and the parameters you have set up.
When looking at what this keyboard can do, we shouldn’t forget the quality of its keyboard, which comes with touch sensitivity, the Aftertouch function that offers a piano-like feeling, and the semi-weighted keys.
This unit is great to be used in live performances, as it comes with large MPC pads that are responsive and look great.
The whole build is a quality one and the knobs and sliders are proof of that.
When you want to make music using it, you don’t need another screen to look at, as the LCD small screen will tell you everything you need.
The software is easy to use and if you want to integrate this unit with other devices, it will be easy to do.
It only comes with 49 keys, so you won’t be able to play this instrument in a large range of tonalities.
It is also quite heavy.Buy from Amazon.com for ($378.76)
3. Kawai ES100 Digital Piano
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.
The 192 polyphony notes mean that every sound this keyboard produces will be a natural and beautiful-sounding one.
People that like to experiment will be pleased to find out that there are many voices that this keyboard offers and that will help you reproduce the sound of an organ, piano, bass, or a stringed instrument.
This keyboard has a full scale of 88 keys, and they are all weighted with a graded hammer action. That means the bass keys offer more resistance than high keys.
Beginners will be pleased to find out that the keyboard comes with a library of songs, all of them meant to help those who need some inspiration.
It comes with MIDI in and out ports and that will let you connect to a PC or tablet.
Some users complained that the keys are too light and don’t feel like piano keys.Buy from Amazon.com for ($729.99)
4. Alesis Recital 61 – 61-Key Digital Piano
If you want to learn how to play the piano, but getting such an instrument is difficult for you, budget-wise and not only, a weighted keyboard is just what you need. This model from Alesis is right up your alley since it was built as a response to the needs of novice pianists.
It is an electric model, and it comes with 61 semi-weighted keys that will consistently react to your touch so that you can learn how to use it in no time. Because of all the built-in effects, you will be able to get the most out of each practice.
The keyboard also comes with 20-watt speakers that will fill the room with the sounds you make. It is essential to notice that there are excellent input and output options that will cover everything from one output for headphones to those needed for extra speakers and amplifiers.
This model is as close to a professional piano as a weighted keyboard can be, which means that you can use it to practice to become a full-fledge pianist.
There are 10 premium sounds included, and you will find that the FX options are also there to help you achieve the type of sound you desire with zero headaches.
You will find an input available for a sustain pedal, as well as an output for headphones, something that comes in handy for those who prefer to practice in silence.
If you want, you can hook up your instrument with extra speakers and amplifiers, in case you need to produce a louder sound.
Another exciting aspect is that your purchase will also bring free piano lessons from TakeLessons so that you can get started right away.
This keyboard comes with many settings, and adjusting them to achieve the desired result can be a confusing and time-consuming process.Buy from Amazon.com for ($199)
5. PX-160 BK Privia
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.
The keyboard has weighted keys and that will simulate the sound of the acoustic piano.
There are many sampled sounds in this device, and you can choose between the sound of stringed instruments, drums, or different types of keyboard instruments.
When it comes to looks, this model certainly stands out, and it also has a redesigned speaker system that looks great and performs really well.
Some even say that it has the tonality of a large, professional, electric piano, and it has the same style too.
Due to how the speakers are positioned, this keyboard is great for live performances, because it delivers sound to the audience.
You can also make use of the duet mode, splitting the keyboard into two parts, especially if you’re a beginner and you need someone to show you how to play.
There aren’t many effects, and rhythms, so it lacks versatility in that regard.Buy from Amazon.com for ($449)
6. Hamzer 88-Key Electronic
One of the main features of this device is the fact that it comes with 88 keys, all of which are touch-sensitive. You can also adjust this sensitiveness in 3 grades, depending on your playing style. You will find many features packed into this keyboard, included a much-needed split keyboard, which means two people can play the same notes at the same time on it.
Furthermore, the keyboard comes with a sustain pedal, a sheet music holder that can be detached, and even USB and MP3 connectivity. You can also connect it to an amplifier or a pair of headphones, and you have the option to record everything you’re playing in real-time.
The speakers that it comes with offer great quality sounds, and the keyboard is also to project 140 voices and percussions and 16 demo songs with the help of these speakers. Coming with a lesson mode, it’s clear that this keyboard is good for beginners.
The built-in recorder, along with the playback function will allow you to capture every performance you make and then replay it whenever you want.
The touch-sensitive keys will help you get the feel of a real piano, and the keyboard also consists of 88 keys, which is the full range of a real acoustic piano.
While compact enough to carry with you, the keyboard is also sturdy and it can still give you the powerful sounds that you are looking for.
This keyboard has some features that are great for beginners. Amongst these, the possibility to play it alongside a professor, with the split mode is really great, but also the lesson mode that can be used with great effect by novices.
It offers you a wide range of voices and percussions, and several songs that you can play along with.
The keys are smaller than what you would normally find on an acoustic piano.Buy from Amazon.com for ($189.99)
7. Yamaha YPG535 Portable Grand Piano
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.
It comes with impressive speakers capable of producing 6W of power, and they put out a very precise sound.
If you want versatility in terms of sound, this truly delivers, as you get more than 500 built-in sounds, allowing you to create any kind of music you want.
Navigating the settings of this instrument is an easy task thanks to the multifunctional display.
You also get many learning features, each of them at your disposal, and they all are easy to access thanks to the intuitive display.
It works on batteries but it can also make use of its adaptor and that is why it is such a good instrument for players that are on the go most of the time.
Because it only comes with 32-note polyphony, this will limit what you can do with the keyboard, especially if you want to play more advanced pieces of music.Buy from Amazon.com for ($549.99)
8. LAGRIMA 88 Weighted
This is a digital piano that comes in a very attractive form, resembling the looks of a spinet piano. It is thus very inviting for beginners, students, and even friends visiting you to come and have a play. The digital piano is also capable of delivering a warm and natural sound, just what you want from an instrument like this.
It is a full-size model, coming with 88 keys, all of which are weighted and made to feel like the keys of an acoustic piano. The keyboard also comes with fully-operational pedals, which will help you create beautiful sounds and at the same time practice for the bigger instrument, the piano.
It has a wide range of voices and effects which can help you express yourself better. Because it is designed to help those that want to learn the piano, it has all the features needed for that purpose, and it will help with transitioning from a digital instrument to the acoustic one.
It has a flip cover, which means the keys will stay protected from dust and debris when you’re not using the instrument.
The best thing about this keyboard is the graded hammer action that the keys employ, meaning that it should feel exactly like a real piano.
It comes with a built-in pedal board and that is also something that will help you improve your technique and will get you ready to play the piano.
The keys benefit from touch sensitivity, so if you strike a key harder it will create a sound with more volume.
Coming with an impressive number of 480 standard tones and 128 MIDI tones, this device will offer you the versatility needed to play nearly anything.
The sound still doesn’t feel like the natural one you get from an acoustic piano.
Assembling it is a difficult task, as the instructions are unclear.Buy from Amazon.com for ($395.99)
9. Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano
You will get more than a weighted keyboard when you opt for this model, as the instrument is part of a great bundle that includes essential accessories that other manufacturers don’t offer with their products. For instance, you get a sustain pedal and an X-style stand you can use when playing your keyboard.
Even more, you will also get a padded piano bench so that you can create your small setup for practicing inside your home. The keys are GHS, which stands for graded hammer standard and simulates the same action as the one created by the hammers installed under the hood in an acoustic piano.
In other words, this instrument sounds as close to the real thing as possible. You will also appreciate the slim design of this keyboard that has a depth under 12 inches. There is even a system sound integrated with it so that you don’t have to connect it to extra speakers if you don’t want to.
Since it weighs only 25 pounds, it is lightweight for a digital piano, and you can safely move it around, whether you need to travel for gigs, or you just want to take it outside for a live performance.
You will get the entire setup needed for playing the keyboard, including an X-style bench, and an X-style stand.
When you touch the keys, you will notice right away that they have a heavier touch on their low ends, and a lighter one on their high ends, precisely like the ones on an acoustic piano.
Because of its slim body that doesn’t measure more than 12 inches in depth, you will find this keyboard to be easy to accommodate anywhere you want.
There are 4 levels of sensitivity, something that will help you adapt the keyboard to your playing style.
You might be happy with all the accessories included, but be aware that the stand might not look too sturdy, and you might notice a bit of wobbling.Buy from Amazon.com for ($579.99)
10. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
M-Audio has a series of USB MIDI keyboards, and this is the latest model in that series. It also has a small 32-keys brother and a bigger 61-keys workstation, but they all do basically the same things. This keyboard comes with features that would be great in a studio, including mod wheels, pitch controls, as well as directional controls.
To bring it closer to a piano, the manufacturers also added a pedal to this model. You also get improved software packages with this model, all in an easy-to-use bundle. Furthermore, the keyboard has an app that allows you to learn piano online following lessons there.
There are also 2GB of loops that you can download if you’re looking for some inspiration, and you will certainly find that in there. The keyboard doesn’t come with speakers of its own but it can be connected to any device supporting USB connectivity. That includes PC, Mac, iOS, or Android.
The 49 keys are velocity-sensitive and that will help you get the feel of a real piano while making use of innovative technology.
With the many buttons and functions at your disposal, you will be in total control of the music you are creating.
The pedal, along with the buttons controlling the octave you are playing in will let you enjoy a wide range of sounds and will help you improve your technique.
To make this work you need no driver or power supply, and you can make it work from the get-go, connecting it to any kind of equipment.
Its compact design means you will have no problems transporting it, and it also fits well on any desk, letting you create the ideal setup around it.
It is a piece of equipment made for studio purposes and not for playing, and that is why the sound quality is not the best.Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
11. 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.
Due to the fact that it comes with an intensive learning mode, it will help beginners get the information they need to progress faster.
It also has a split function, again in the benefit of new piano players, and that will allow you and another person to play the same notes at the same time on different parts of the keyboard.
You will see that the keyboard is user-friendly and that is great, especially for kids that don’t like things that are too complicated.
The keyboard supports the use of a pedal if you want to get even closer to the real feel and sound of an acoustic piano.
You also get a wide variety of connectivity options, and you can connect this device to MIDI hardware or use a pair of headphones with it.
The model only uses semi-weighted keys, not fully-weighted ones and that’s why it doesn’t feel exactly like a piano.Buy from Amazon.com for ($229.99)
12. 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.
Unlike other models, this keyboard serves as a good working station, as it comes with some pieces of software of its own that can help you compose music only using it.
It can be easily connected to most types of hardware (through MIDI and USB connections) and that is what makes it ideal for live performances where you don’t want to waste time.
If you need something in the studio to make your job easier, this is the choice for you, as you can use it both as an instrument and as a controller to get a nice recording experience.
The keys feel great, and that is because they are semi-weighted. That should give you the feel of a bigger instrument.
This is a MIDI controller at its core and that means you shouldn’t get it as an instrument, but rather as a means for you to produce and record music.Buy from Amazon.com for ($229)
13. 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.
There are so many features packed into this compact keyboard, and that will give you the liberty to experiment with many different sounds and effects.
Despite being so packed with effects, it is still easy to use and beginners will appreciate how intuitive the controls are.
It is quite compact and that will help you when you’re hurrying to get from one location to another with it.
Furthermore, the manufacturers made sure it is lightweight, so if your child has to take it to a class, it won’t be a heavy burden.
It comes with many different modes, each letting you choose how you want to use it. This will offer you the versatility needed whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced player.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a set of speakers of its own and you will need to purchase those separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($749.99)
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.
While an 88-key weighted design helps solve the problem of the piano keys not feeling as good as those of an acoustic model, there’s still the problem of sound. The biggest challenge with a digital piano is to reproduce the sound quality of an acoustic instrument.
This is difficult since the elements that produce the sound, such as strings and hammers, are not found in an electric piano. While weighted keys do have a graded hammer action to replicate the movement of an acoustic instrument, they don’t actually produce any sound.
Instead, to reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano or any other musical instrument, a digital piano uses samples. These are small audio recordings of the sound that an instrument makes when playing a certain note or any other sound. This is how all digital instruments work, not just pianos.
To ensure that you get a genuine piano experience, the manufacturer uses samples that are recorded at different velocity levels so that the sound responds accurately to the way and force with which you play the keys.
Reputable brands tend to have better-sounding pianos not necessarily because the craftsmanship is better but because they have access to higher-quality samples and technologies that allow them to create or record a more realistic and accurate sound.
Thus, it is better to go with a reputable brand since you are more likely to get a better-sounding electric piano. The price will also influence the sound quality of the instrument since cheaper models have less memory, which means that manufacturers can’t fit higher-quality samples with more velocity levels.
A low-end digital piano will likely only play the first few seconds of the real recording and then use a loop of the same sample. This can make even an 88-key weighted piano sound a bit unnatural since it will lack the complexity and dynamic of an acoustic instrument.
More expensive models won’t have this problem since the higher price of the unit will allow manufacturers to add more memory to the instrument. Thus, a high-end digital piano can fit gigabytes of sampling data. With premium models, it becomes impossible to tell the difference between a digital piano and an acoustic one.
Your experience level and purpose
When purchasing a digital piano or any other instrument, it is important to take into consideration your skill level. If you’re a beginner, but you do want to get the feeling that only the best weighted keyboards can offer, you can still get a good experience by going with a low-cost model that has built-in learning tools.
It can take a long time for you to learn the basics, and a lower-end model should suffice until you are ready to step up to a higher-quality and more expensive 88-key weighted keyboard.
If, on the other hand, you are an experienced or intermediate pianist, then you will need to be a little more selective about the product that you’ll purchase since it will have to last you for longer. In this situation, it makes more sense to invest in a premium electric piano since you’ll want to get the best piano experience.
When looking for the best weighted keyboards, another crucial step in making a decision is the purpose of your purchase since digital pianos can be used for music production, learning, teaching, stage performance, and more.
If you’re looking for a stage piano, for example, then you need to focus on portability and durability; it should also come with amplified sounds. For music production, you will need to make sure that the instrument comes with all the features you need and it is compatible with all the music production software that you use.
You can apply this logic to any conceivable purpose, and you don’t need to rush it. Take a piece of paper if it helps you focus better, and try to write everything that you need from the instrument. Make compromises where it’s possible, but focus on the key features that you need for your intended purpose and don’t settle for a sub-par piano experience.
If you plan to invest in a high-quality 88-key weighted piano, then make sure that it has hammer action since this feature will help you develop the muscle memory that great pianists have.
So what’s the difference between hammer action and weighted keys? Keyboards or pianos that have hammer action or graded hammer action replicate the exact playing feel of an acoustic piano. With hammer action keys, certain keys such as the bass keys are heavier while the treble has a lighter touch.
Weighted keys, on the other hand, have the same balance of heaviness from top to bottom. Thus, while weighted keys pianos are great, if you want to develop a real feel for acoustic piano playing, then you should invest in an option that uses graded hammer action.
Consequently, when looking at a keyboard or digital piano that has semi-weighted or fully-weighted keys, you should make sure that the product has a graded hammer action mechanism as well. Without this feature, playing your digital stage piano won’t feel as authentic, and it will be harder for you to switch to an acoustic piano.
Speakers, amplification, and recording
If you are looking to get the best weighted keyboards for home use, you will need to make sure that your product features a built-in amplifier as well as high-quality speakers that can produce a good sound at all volume levels.
For a stage piano, you should make sure that the unit comes with output options. This is because a stage piano needs to be connected to recording consoles, external amplifiers, PA systems, and other similar output devices.
Furthermore, the best weighted keyboards also come with recording capabilities so that you can record your every piano keys press and then review your performance to learn and improve. This is an excellent feature to have, especially for beginners who need every bit of help to get better.
There are also some models that can accept flash memory cards or USB memory sticks so that you can transfer the music that you’ve played to other computers or devices.
Frequently asked questions about weighted keyboards
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
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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.
How Much Does a Weighted Keyboard Cost?
Different kinds of keyboards
The low-end semi-weighted
There are 3 different kinds of weighted keyboards, and each of them represents a step-up, from the one that barely reproduces the feel of a piano to the one that feels exactly like the real deal.
The type of keyboard that is more budget-friendly and is often created for aspiring musicians, children or beginners, is the semi-weighted keyboard. Highly-portable keyboards are also those that use semi-weighted keys, for obvious reasons. This is the kind of action that you normally find on those keyboards made for those that want to learn and not necessarily play expertly.
As such, the mechanism is a simple one that relies mainly on springs that apply pressure to the keys to recreate the weighted feel. Because weighted keyboards are usually made to offer the feeling of a real piano, they most often have all the 88 keys that a piano has. And those instruments with more keys are also more expensive.
However, you can still find a decent full-size semi-weighted keyboard for about $150. Keep in mind, however, that such a keyboard is meant for a beginner, and although it may have some great features to help you learn to play the instrument, in the long run, it might be better if you invest in a better keyboard, especially if you’re looking to be playing the piano.
If you wish to get a semi-weighted keyboard, spending no more than $500 on one should get you a good, reliable instrument.
Mid-range hammer action keyboards
The hammer action keyboards are the following step-up, and they represent something closer to the feel of a real piano. The action mechanism of such keyboards is set to replicate the one found in pianos, where the resistance comes from a small hammer attached to the rear of the key.
No springs are used in this case, but manufacturers have different methods of creating hammer action on a keyboard. Depending on that system and the other features that the keyboard has the price may vary from $400 to $1000, with more renowned brands like Yamaha and Korg offering you exceptional models.
Professional graded hammer action models
The best kind of instrument to buy if you’re looking for the real feel of a piano but you can’t get that yet is the graded hammer action keyboard. On real pianos, you will find that there is more resistance in the keys when playing the low ones than when pressing the ones in the upper range. That translates to a graded weighting, meaning that the hammers behind them put a different pressure.
Professional keyboards want to replicate that feeling and that is why, using different mechanisms, they make sure that the player feels more resistance when playing the bass notes, and less when playing the high ones.
As you might expect, because the keys are weighted and the instrument needs to encase more features, such a keyboard is often larger and heavier, and can’t really be portrayed as a portable instrument. Furthermore, to make it feel more like a piano, manufacturers often put wooden keys on their keyboards, instead of plastic.
Taking all of this into account it’s clear why the keyboards using a graded hammer action are considered to be for professionals, and that is why they’re also more expensive. Generally found for prices around 700$, such a keyboard will offer you everything you need to play dynamic pieces of music.
Of course, the prices can get even higher, especially if you’re looking for a load of effects and many accessories. A premium stage keyboard that comes with a bundle, 3 pedals, and many features can cost you more than $2,000. For that money, however, you get everything you would ever need.
Now that we know there are different types of weighted keyboards, let’s see some low-end models, what they have to offer and how much they cost.
Let’s take a decent keyboard such as the Williams Legato for example. You can purchase this instrument for $199 and for that price it does its job, which is to be an affordable keyboard for beginners. However, it doesn’t come with any accessories, so you will have to invest extra in that regards.
The good thing about this keyboard is that it’s highly portable, partly because it has semi-weighted keys, so no additional weight. It’s also easy to transport and use on the go, as it can be powered using 6 D-cell batteries, but they are not included in the pack.
Because it’s made to be affordable, the manufacturers of this instrument didn’t put too much effort into creating a quality casing, and as such, the poor plastic is prone to breaking if the instrument is mishandled. Furthermore, the buttons are made of the same plastic and they don’t look great.
Although having a low-quality casing, the keyboard still has the basic features needed, and that includes a couple of effects, a metronome and a tempo mode, buttons to choose between available sounds and a split mode, which enable teachers to play alongside their students on the same keyboard.
The built-in speakers are low-quality, they don’t provide much volume, and the keyboard doesn’t have a display or a recording function. All in all, it’s a keyboard meant for those that aren’t sure whether they want to start learning this instrument for real, and the same thing can be said for most of the keyboards in this price range.
On the other end of the spectrum are the highly-professional keyboards that come with graded hammer action and bundles that will give you everything. One of these keyboards is the Yamaha P-515, considered to be a flagship of the company’s P-series, which comprises a set of keyboards designed to offer the natural touch and sound of the piano.
If you want to get an instrument that can perfectly mimic things like pianos, organs and even stringed instruments, this model from Yamaha is a great choice. The piano sounds that this keyboard puts out are actually ones sampled from original pianos. That’s why the music produced by it is very rich and it can easily fill up a large room.
Yamaha has a range of graded hammer actions that it uses, from the basic Graded Hammer Standard to more advanced ones, and this model is a digital piano which uses something called NWX. This comes from Natural Wood X, and that means it’s a keyboard with a mechanism which truly reproduces the touch and feel of an acoustic piano, in a graded manner.
Reserved for premium types of keyboards only, this action brings the best out of the instrument and is also helped by the wooden keys. In terms of voices, there are a lot of options at your disposal, with 18 drum kits, 40 voices, and 480 XG voices. So you can say you could play anything on this instrument.
This model and other professional ones often have a feature that makes them sound like more than they are. In the case of the P-515, you get something called Virtual Resonance Modeling, a feature which makes the sound more lively and adds more character to it.
Good keyboards with weighted keys will have quality built-in speakers that will be able to amplify the sound and fill large rooms with their volume. Furthermore, these speakers do better in getting out the low notes, compared to speakers found on cheap models, while still sounding great in the upper octaves.
Yamaha P115 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal
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.
The keyboard has the Grand Hammer Standard action, which gives a similar weighted feeling to a real acoustic piano.
It also comes with matte black keys that are less slippery thanks to that, allowing you to perform better.
In terms of electronic parts, it has a great sound engine that will offer you the possibility to bring out great tone clarity, with dynamism.
You get 14 different voices, including the one of a grand piano, and you also have 192-note polyphony in it, so the notes will sound great.
In terms of functions, you get to juggle with 10 pianist styles, and you can use two of them at once. You can use a style on your left hand and another on your right hand.
You also get 14 rhythms, if you’re looking for some inspiration in that area.
The buttons are not labeled and with so many functions, it’s difficult to understand what every button does.
Roland RD-800 Digital Piano
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.
If you’re looking for a concert grand piano voice that sounds like the real thing, this keyboard is going to deliver it.
Altering the sounds of this keyboard is an easy thing to do and you only need to press one button to do that.
There are many pre-programmed instruments sounds in this keyboard and switching from an acoustic piano to an electric guitar can be done immediately.
You can also adjust the tonal elements, such as pitch and levels.
The keyboard offers you the possibility to store up to 200 sets, and you can then use them again when you want.
It only weighs 47 pounds, making it a light keyboard, easy to transport.
Connecting a pair of headphones to this device you can easily shot off the world around you and focus on what you are playing.
It has so many buttons and beginners will struggle to understand what each of them does.
Williams Rhapsody 2 88-Key Console Digital Piano
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.
Coming with a dozen custom sounds, this instrument will provide you with the real tonality of instruments like a grand piano, organ, or stringed instruments.
The looks remind you of a concert piano, as the keyboard flourishes with elegance.
It’s a durable model that can withstand a lot, including water being accidentally poured on it.
Because it’s not so big, it can be easily transported, and it can also sit nearly anywhere in your home.
The interface is a straightforward, easy-to-use one, and that’s why beginners will be pleased with it.
The electric piano comes with touch sensitivity, so when striking the keys harder you will have a louder response.
You have a split mode that you can use to let a second player join you when playing the keyboard.
It doesn’t reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano as well as you would expect.
Yamaha YDP143R Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench
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.
Coming with the brand’s Graded Hammer Standard functionality, this keyboard will feel heavier on the low keys and lighter on the upper ones, mirroring the feel of an acoustic piano.
It also comes with unique pedals that will provide a damp reverb effect when pressing them.
The keyboard even has built-in recording capabilities and that means you won’t have to rely on other pieces of hardware and software to record your sessions.
It also works using the Digital Piano Controller app for iPhone, and through this app, you can access many features and effects.
As any good keyboard should, this one offers you the possibility to plug a pair of headphones into it to isolate yourself from the noisy environment.
It also comes with 50 classic songs and a book that will help you learn.
This is great for beginners, but professional players may feel it lacks in versatility.
Nord USA Nord 3 88-Key Stage Piano with 1GB of Sample Memory
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.
With this keyboard, you get to experience an ultra-realistic sound that makes you feel like you’re playing an acoustic piano.
It comes with everything needed to sound great, including a feature that gives the feel of string resonance, and one simulating pedal noise.
It is one of the better models when it comes to reproducing the sound of an organ, and it’s also got a powerful synth functionality.
There are a lot of effects and reverbs that you can choose from to fulfill all of your composing needs.
Despite having weighted keys, it’s lightweight and thus portable, if you have to take it with you somewhere.
When you plug in the headphones you really feel like the stereo sound is one coming from an acoustic piano.
It comes with no inbuilt speakers and that means you’ll have to purchase another piece of hardware just to hear it.
Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano with Stand Three Pedal Board
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.
Good keyboards will come with touch sensitivity, and this one does too, and that means the harder you strike a key, the louder the sound produced will be.
The keyboard supports a system consisting of three pedals, which will replicate the feel of a piano furthermore and will allow you to play more complex pieces of music.
If you are a beginner you will benefit greatly from the duo mode, in which you can split the keyboard in half and play alongside a teacher.
The graded hammer action that it comes with will mean the heavy keys offer more resistance, just as you need.
If you want to play it silently you can always plug in a pair of headphones and be the only one hearing what you are playing.
Because it only comes with eight voices you won’t be able to experiment with the sound of many instruments.
Korg D1 Slimline
The D1 model is made using the company’s signature RH3 (real weighted hammer action) keyboard, and that means it should feel like the real deal. You will feel more resistance in the keys placed on the lower register, and the keys producing the higher notes should be lighter.
Due to being touch-sensitive, the keyboard is very responsive to the player’s hand movements and it allows the future pianist to express his or her music in a more dynamic manner. One unique feature is the fact that his keyboard can reproduce the damper resonance produced by the strings hit inside an acoustic piano when the pedal is held down.
It is thus a device that offers the basics but it also tops them off with some subtilities that could only be felt in an acoustic piano. The keyboard comes with 30 voices, amongst which ones that replicate the sound of an organ.
Great for beginners, this keyboard will help a new player get the basics of how to play a big instrument, with the help of the graded hammer action.
Furthermore, the keys are also touch-sensitive and they reproduce the feel and the sound the keys of a real piano make when you press them and let them go.
It comes with many effects, amongst which reverb and chorus, and it has 120-note polyphony which will let beginner and intermediate players express themselves in beautiful sounds.
In the package, you also receive a pair of headphones, a stand, and a pedal, which is really important when you want to replicate the sound of a piano.
It has a slim and compact shape, and that also means it is lightweight and portable.
The fact that this model only comes with 30 voices can be limiting, especially for those that like to experiment with the sound of many instruments.