Best 88-Key Portable Electronic Piano
For beginner, amateur or professional, one of these digital keyboards with weighted action will meet all your needs. We review Casio Privia PX-160BK, Yamaha P45/P71 & P115 and Roland FP-30. When you get to the full piano range, you get a lot more features, truer acoustic piano key action and superb sound for the cost (the Casio and Yamaha are both relatively inexpensive starting under $400).
Casio Privia PX-160BK
First up is the Casio Privia PX160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano (about $399), the successor to their popular PX-150. The feel of the key action is the best so far, and one that most closely resembles that of a piano of all the digital keyboards on this list. Using their proprietary “Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II” technology, you’ll get weighted (with 3 sensitivity levels) and velocity response from the keyboard. To make it feel even more like a piano, it’s built with simulated Ebony and Ivory textured keys.
Casio has also upped the speaker system to 2 at 8 Watts each (measuring 4.7″ x 2″, give you a greater volume as well as fuller acoustic range. If you prefer to keep your playing more private (or share with a fellow musician), there are dual headphone outputs on the front of the keyboard.
On this newly redesigned Casio, the chassis provides a more elegant look, and better acoustics. The speaker system is open to the front but also ported to the back, which provides remarkable sound when the PX-160 is placed against a wall. This also allows it to easily be used in a classroom or other environment where the sound will be projected towards the audience. Far superior to brands whose speaker systems are aimed mostly downward.
There are also “line-out” 1/4-inch Left and Right jacks on the rear to connect to external speakers – great for playing at home, in a practice room or even on-stage performances.
Features include a suite of Digital Effects including: Hall Simulator/Reverb, 4 Chorus (Reverb), 4 Brilliance and +3DPS; A Scale Function with 17 Preset Temperaments; A built-in Metronome – 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 beats; tempo range: 20 to 255; And a 60 Song Music Library with 10 custom song expansion (max).
To reproduce the sounds of a piano, Casio developed a proprietary sound source recording technology, AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator). With AiR, Casio meticulously recorded the sound of a 9-foot concert grand at 4 dynamic levels. For a full range, you can shift / transpose +/- 2 octaves (-12 semitones ~ 0 ~ +12 semitones).
With AiR technology, the PX-160 gives you 18 Grand Piano tones to select from. You’ll also get other tones including various Harpsichord, Organ, Vibraphone and others.
AiR also provides the realistic piano acoustic response for when a damper pedal is used. A basic pedal is included with the keyboard, and you can purchase others with more options like the ($74.95) SP-33 3 Pedal Unit (“damper”, “soft” and “sostenuto”) with half-damper pedal operation.
As with many of the digital keyboards on this list, the Casio has a USB / MIDI port. You can record 2 Tracks / 1 song (Approximately 5,000 notes total on board memory storage), or it can be used as a controller with the Apple iPad simply with the use of Apple’s Camera Connection Kit.
One final added touch – the PX160 is available in black (PX1-60BK) or champagne gold (PX-160GD) colored finish. And it comes with a 3 year manufacturer extended warranty (2 years more than you get with most others).
At 24.5 pounds and 11.5 x 52 x 5.5 inches it’s a very compact for a full keyboard piano.
Order through Amazon, Casio Privia PX160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano ($399).
Yamaha P71 / P45
The Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano (about $399 Amazon-Exclusive, with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply) is identical to the Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano, but as an “Amazon Exclusive” offering, the P71 has a spot-price of about $50 less than the P45.
To make our list, this has a quality, realistic piano feel to the action with fully weighted piano-style keys to simulate the workings of an acoustic piano. Yamaha’s “GHS” (Graded Hammer Standard) weighted action has heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end.
Features include 10 different voices, 64 polyphonics; Reverbs (4) Metronome, and more.
We also like the “Dual Mode” setting which lets you combine two Voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience
Similar to the Casio PX-160 AiR technology, Yamaha used “AWM” (Advanced Wave Memory) to digitally sample their full- and mid-sized acoustic grand pianos to achieve a variety of authentic piano sounds. By capturing a Left and Right simultaneous sample with 2 microphones, Yamaha creates a more spacious sound with deep, rich tones.
When playing, the P71 uses AWM to play one sample per key at varying levels of volume and timbre. You also have the ability to shift / transpose +/- 1 octave (-6 to 0 semitones, 0 to +6 semitones ). On board speakers are 2 at 6 Watts (4.5 inch square); You also have the jacks to connect to external amplifier or to heaphones.
The portable piano comes with a sustain pedal, and you can upgrade to a pedal with more features (e.g., $39.00 Yamaha FC3A Piano Style Sustain Foot Pedal with Half-Pedaling ).
Weighing a little over 25 pounds and measuring 11.5 x 54.25 x 6.0 inches it’s comparable to the Casio P-160.
Order the $399 Amazon-Exclusive Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano and start playing tomorrow.
A great video on the P115 (see below) compared with the P45 (P71). If you are trying to decide between these two excellent keyboards, you should watch this:
Our second Yamaha is the Yamaha P115 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano (about $599), which like the P71 includes a Sustain Pedal and AC/DC Power Supply.
You also get Piano Cover, Key Cover and Polish Cloth. There is a lot more to this for the added $200 when compared with the P71. The P115 is an upgraded / newer version of their popular P105 model.
The action is very similar, with the “GHS” (Graded Hammer Standard) weighted 88-keys – heavier in the low end and lighter in the high end, just like an acoustic piano. Stepping up from the “AWM”, the P115 tones were created using the “Pure CF Sound Engine”. This is similar to the AWM, and the sampling is based on Yamaha’s acclaimed 9′ CFIIIS concert grand piano. The materials in the keys is also upgraded for a better finish on the white keys, and a nice matte finish on the black keys.
Like the other Yamaha’s on this list, there is a Controller App for iOS devices. This gives players a rich, graphic user interface allowing for quick and easy navigation and configuration. You also get the UBS /MIDI port for storing your own music tracks, as well as interfacing with external equipment.
The P115 features the “Pianist Styles” which can turn your simple chords into accompaniment tracks. Simply play a chord and the Pianist Style gives you a full piano accompaniment to go along with it.
Other features above and beyond what you get with the P71 include: 192-note polyphony, 4 demo songs and player recordable 50 piano songs (100 KB per song, approx. 11,000 notes).
AUX Out jacks allow audio to be sent to an external amplifier or powered speaker for powerful performances during live events, parties and a wide variety of situations. These professional 1/4″ jacks connect without disabling the built-in speakers (2 at 7 Watts each) when using the headphone output.
This comes with the same sustain pedal as the P71, and you can upgrade to a pedal with more features (e.g., $39.00 Yamaha FC3A Piano Style Sustain Foot Pedal with Half-Pedaling ).
At 43.5 pounds and 17x 57.8 x 11.8 inches it’s the heaviest and largest portable keyboard on the list; It does come with a 3-Year Parts/Labor Limited Warranty.
Our final keyboard for this category the Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano (about $699)
Three things that really stand out for the FP-30 are the “PHA-4” keys, the Bluetooth connectivity and a USB Flash Memory stick storage.
Here’s a quick bullet list of the features:
- Rich, responsive tone from Roland’s renowned SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine
- 88-note PHA-4 Standard keyboard provides authentic piano touch for maximum expression
- Powerful amplifier and stereo speakers deliver impressive sound
- Headphones output and quiet keyboard action allow you to enjoy playing at any time without disturbing others
- Weighs 43.4 pounds, measuring 17.2 x 55.2 x 12.0
- Built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity for using the piano with popular apps on your smartphone or tablet such as GarageBand, piaScore, Sheet Music Direct, and many others
- Broaden your musical experience with dual/split modes and a wide selection of non-piano sounds like organ, strings, voices, drums, and more
- Twin Piano mode is ideal for lessons, letting student and teacher play side by side in the same octave ranges
- Connect USB memory to save songs you’ve captured with the onboard SMF recorder and play along with your favorite WAV and SMF songs
- Optional KPD-70 Three-Pedal Unit ($75.95) for enhanced functionality
- Available in white or black finish
- Warranty – 10 years
You can order the the Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano ($699) through Amazon, or at your local dealership.
We hope you have found this review useful. Please read our other in-depth reviews on keyboards from silicone roll-ups to portable 54-Key, 61-Key, 76-Key and 88-Key digital pianos .
Here’s are the links again to order from Amazon:
Casio Privia PX160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano (about $399)
Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano (about $399)
Yamaha P115 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano (about $599)
Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano (about $699)
Get one today, and rock on!