My students often ask me what digital piano is the best one and doesn’t cost a fortune. Electronic Piano under $500 is most frequently asked about. There are lots of models in the range of $300-$500, it’s really difficult to choose, so I will try to briefly describe them and help you to decide on.
So if you have no more than $500 and want to buy the best piano for your money, here is my TOP-7 list.
|Number of sounds
|Yamaha P45 (P71)
|Casio Privia PX-160
|Alesis Coda Pro
|Williams Rhapsody 2
|Alesis Recital Pro
You can download extended comparison table in PDF:
Since you are looking for a piano, I didn’t put synthesizers (electronic keyboards) in the list. Also most of the instruments (except Yamaha YPG-535) have full-sized weighted 88-key keyboard. All pianos have built-in speakers.
I will talk a little about each piano below.
This is number one in my rating. First of all because it’s Yamaha – world’s leader in creating electronic keyboards. This is the most affordable Yamaha model, but has all you need to play. P45 has full-sized weighted 88-key GHS keyboard with different levels of touch sensivity, internal speakers (though not very loud), 64 polyphony, 10 voices, usb-to-host interface. Sustain pedal, power supply and music rest is included. It also has all you need to practice: metronome, dual and layer mode, headphone jack.
You can order P45 with special L85 black keyboard stand. It looks better then X-style stand and is more stable and safe for kids.
By the way, there is a model called Yamaha P71 on Amazon. There are no differences between P45 and P71, but the latter is cheaper, because this is exclusive Amazon offer. So if you like, you can save a little money buying P71.
Alesis Coda Pro
If you don’t like P45 for some reason, then you can check out Alesis Coda Pro. This is the cheapest piano in my list, at the time of this post Coda Pro could be found even cheaper then $300 if you buy it without piano stand. The keyboard is 88-key hammer-action, 64-voice polyphony. Unlike Yamaha it has AUX input for playing along with external player, 20 built-in voices. Split and layer is also supported. It also has 60 preset songs and 50 accompaniment patterns which you can play along with. And you can record your own playing with User Record mode.
Unlike P45 it has MIDI connectors, USB-Midi and Midi-DIN output, and 2 headphone outputs.
The sustain pedal and power supply is included. An optional piano stand is available separately. Not only it looks stylish, but it will add 3-pedal functionality to your Coda.
Casio Privia PX-160
Casio doesn’t fall behind from Yamaha and introduced its model in the category of under $500 digital pianos. Privia PX-160 (or PX-160BK) is the successor of the popular PX-150. It has several enhancements in sounds and features over the previous generation model.
Whether you play through internal speakers or through headphones the piano sounds great for its price.
Unlike other pianos in my list PX-160 has 128-note polyphony.
The quality of the included sustain pedal is no good. 3-pedal system and keyboard-stand can be ordered separately, though the bundle with all that will cost you more than $600.
Williams Rhapsody 2
Williams is as aged and experienced brand as Yamaha or Casio, but recently has been trying to win its market share. Rhapsody 2 is a really good looking piano with the included furniture-like stand (with two pedals) and will look nice in any interior. For exterior I would it put on the first place. If we talk about sound and feelings – they are ok, but not great. The keyboard is 88-key weighted, but keys are a little softer then on a real piano. There are 12 sounds on-board (grand and electric pianos, organs, guitar, bass, strings, synth pad and vibes), but actually they are not very realistic and sound a bit better on headphones then on integrated speakers.
The connections on back panel are: USB-to-host (for midi-sequencer applications), pedal input, 2 output 1/8 line-out jacks.
For $500 Rhapsody 2 piano is a normal choice especially for beginners, but not perfect. If it costs more, I would recommend looking for something else.
This is the second Yamaha in my list. It is not on the top mainly for 3 reasons:
- the keyboard is Graded Soft Touch, not weighted, which is not very good for real piano fans
- overall design in my opinion is not as strict and stylish as on other pianos, but it is beautiful whatever
- the polyphony is only 32 voices, which is rather low (see how much polyphony is enough)
YPG-535 is still one of my favorite. It is full of features, in comparison to other instruments, and the sound is cool. It would be a great piano for beginners to start. The piano has even special features for learning (“Yamaha Education Suite”), though they are more like a game then real learning tools:)
The piano is very compact and portable, and takes very little space in the room.
The package includes the piano, stand, sustain pedal, power supply.
B1 is a nice piano with 8 sounds (3 acoustic pianos, 2 electric piano, harpsichord, and 2 organs). It is rather minimalistic by design and by feature set: there is no screen, and there are only 3 functional buttons. Advanced features are controlled by pressing one of these buttons and one of the keyboard keys. There are no split/layer option, no connectors except headphones and pedal output.
Of course the main thing you are looking for is the sound, and my subjective opinion is that Yamaha P71 sounds a little better and is more feature-rich.
Korg B1 comes with a sustain pedal, power supply and music book rest. The included pedal is nice. You can order a stand and a 3-pedal unit as an option.
Alesis Recital Pro
This piano has been released in September 2017 but has already earned a lot of fans all around the world. Mostly because this is an improved version of a well known Alesis Recital of the previous generation (which still is very popular affordable beginner digital piano). Recital Pro has weighted keyboard, which moves it one step upper to the leaders of the rating – Yamaha and Casio.
Recital Pro has 12 sounds, split/layering option, recording option, and all the required connectors on the back. You can also power it with batteries.
The sustain pedal is not included, and there is no furniture-like stand for this keyboard, but you can choose any universal keyboard stand you like. Overall it is a nice piano at a reasonable price of less then $400.
Can you buy a good instrument under 500 USD?
As you can see $500 is pretty enough for purchasing a good digital piano. Yamaha P45 is the leader of my rating, it’s sound and keyboard is excellent for the price and if you are not a professional musician you will hardly notice the difference between the sound of acoustic and top electronic piano in this price range. Of course there are more expensive digital pianos (see my best digital piano under $1000 article) which have better keyboard and sound, but buying an expensive one is not always necessary at the very beginning. You (or your child) can be disappointed in music and quit classes. If you really like playing then you can easily add some money later and buy a higher class device.
Tags: best digital piano