Alright, so you’re in search of the best 88-key keyboard on the planet. Lucky thing you came here. Because right here, we have a vast array of some of best 88 key keyboards in the world.
But we will even do you one better, we will give you a detailed review of each one. And to top even that, we will be throwing in a comprehensive guide on 88-key keyboards.
A good keyboard can cost such a hefty sum and that’s why you’re a doing a very smart thing. Making your research first can help to avert a sorry case of buyer’s remorse.
So, in our review today, you’ll find our quick comparison table. And as we’ve just mentioned, you’ll also get detailed reviews, and a comprehensive guide.
Top 10 Best 88-Key Keyboard Reviews of 2018
|Yamaha DGX-660||58.5 x 21.5 x 12.5 inches||88.8 pounds||Weighted, hammer action||USB, iOS, earphones, connects to speakers||192|
|Yamaha P71||58.2 x 16.1 x 11.7 inches||25 pounds||Weighted||USB, ¼ inch output||64|
|Kawai ES110||51.6 x 11.3 x 5.7 inches||26.5 pounds||Weighted with hammer action||Quality speakers, portable||192|
|Yamaha P125||52.2 x 11.6 x 6.6 inches||26 pounds||Weighted||Connects to iOS, headphones, CF sound engine, USB port for MIDI and audio transfer|
|Korg B1SP||58 x 17.6 x 11.8 inches||70.8 pounds||Weighted keys with hammer action||8 sampled sounds||128|
|M-Audio||5.04 x 11..8 x 55.8 inches||38.5 pounds||Weighted keys with hammer action||USB-MIDI connection, 5-pin MIDI output, pitch bend, volume and octave controls, compatible with iOS device||Not specified|
|Nektar Impact||50.2 x 11 x 3.5 inches||18 pounds||Semi-weighted||MIDI controllers, supports almost all popular DAWs||Not specified|
|Casio PX16||11.5 x 52 x 5.5 inches||24.5 pounds||Weighted with hammer action||18 authentic piano tones, new and improved speakers, connects to external speakers||Not specified|
|Artesia PA-88W||55.5 x 14 x 7.5 inches||27.3 pounds||Semi-weighted||Compatible with music apps, DAW integration, and learning software||Not specified|
|Alesis Recital||3.6 x 11.52 x 50.52 inches||15.65 pounds||Semi-weighted||Built-in speakers, interactive online piano lessons||128|
1 Yamaha DGX-660 88 Weighted Keys Digital Piano Bundle – Weighted Keys, Excellent Action, Beautiful Sound
The big brother to the Yamaha DGX-650 is this beautiful keyboard we have here – the Yamaha DGX-660. It’s absolutely gorgeous and its weighted keys are heaven to play. Thanks to the hammer action incorporated into this keyboard, you find that these keys give the right feel and response when played. If you want something that sounds very close to a traditional piano, this is what you want to get.
The DGX-660 is also compatible with iOS devices which just expands the piano experience and takes it to a whole new level. Aside that, the keyboard also comes with a headphone jack (and headphones too). Some people might have a problem with where it is placed because it’s round the back, though.
And the speakers? They are absolutely lovely. Each of them engineered to deliver a pleasurable listening experience. It’s really immersive, the quality of sound from the speakers. You’re not just hearing notes, you’re hearing music.
There’s a microphone jack too, so singing while you play? Of course!
There’s a foot pedal as well, including a sheet holder and a bench. The foot pedal isn’t stationary, so it slips every now and then. But, generally, it does a great job. If you want to make the upgrade you can get the 3-pedal add-on but don’t forget to get a 2.0 USB cable as well.
Again, this isn’t a very portable keyboard. But then again, it is so well built and keyboards with such quality are hardly portable.
Altogether, as is the tradition of Yamaha, this is a wonderful keyboard and you can’t go wrong with it.
2 Yamaha Digital P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Affordable, And Portable
Alright, this is obviously not on the same pedestal as the DG-660, however, it is a great keyboard for the price. It comes with 88 weighted keys. It does not have the hammer action that the DG-660 has but it is weighted. So, though it might not give the same super feel that the DG-660 gives, it still feels pretty great to the fingers.
The keys are also pretty sensitive so you can hear your nuances right. With little effort you can create beautiful music and enjoy yourself while at it.
The volumes are real nice too because the speakers are high quality. It can go real loud even without connecting to a speaker. And it can also go real low too. This is actually a life saver, sort of. Why? Well, there is a headphone jack, but it does not take the average earbuds. So, in case you start to “disturb”, you can always turn the volume real low and still enjoy playing.
The pedal is really great but you have to be a bit careful when using it. At first, it’s annoying but when you figure it out, it just seems like a funny joke.
Okay, so you want to plug in your pedal before you power your keyboard not after. Now, if you do it the other way round, you’ll find that using your sustain pedal cuts short the sound. Funny, isn’t it? But, in the correct order, like we have just explained, it should do its job correctly.
Something for the travelling musician…
Also, this is a really sweet, compact keyboard. The DG-660 was practically immoveable, but if you want a gig buddy, then you could try the P71. It’s very easy to move around and it doesn’t take up a lot of space either.
Yes, you can connect this to speakers too.
It might not have all the bells and whistles of the DG-660, but for the price? This sure is overkill.
3 Kawai ES110 Portable Digital Piano – Authentic And Comapct
So, we start with the keys. The keys are really good. They are all weighted and also come with hammer action. You definitely can bank on the feel and sensitivity of the keys on this keyboard. They are very responsive and they give a feel that’s close to what you get on an authentic acoustic piano.
Furthermore, there are loads of instruments and voices to help you customize your playing while creating the ultimate piano experience.
We love the speakers of this keyboard too. They are of high quality and it shows (or sounds) when playing. Of course there’s a headphone jack as well. And when used, you can really immerse yourself in the music and play to your heart’s content. It’s quite the experience.
The pedal is great but we wish it could stay put a little more. Pedals that move around are really funny to use and it would have been a real score for Kawai if they had made this one stay put.
Sadly, this keyboard does not come with a USB port but then there’s a MIDI port. So you could go with that in its stead.
Besides that, the sound is great as well. We know it can’t possibly sound like an acoustic keyboard but hey, this thing doesn’t joke.
Finally, this is a compact keyboard, so, portability isn’t a problem. For a keyboard that’s of such excellent quality, the fact that it moves around easily is a very impressive feature.
4 Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Connects With Your Recording Software And iPhone
Now, here’s one keyboard that makes music recording a lot easier and interesting. This keyboard comes with a USB port and with this port you can transfer audio files or MIDI. It also connects to your iOS device which is pretty amazing.
This feature alone cracks your options wide open. For one, the sound library on this keyboard is pretty robust. And then when combined with compatibility to your iOS device, it just gets next level. There’s no limit to how you can manipulate your music to create that unique and personal touch you’re going for.
The keys are weighted of course. They feel so close to the real thing. And the sound is pretty beautiful too, deserving only of the best speakers. Of course, Yamaha included the most amazing speakers in this model. They are pretty high quality. And, as usual, there is a headphone jack included for times when you want a quiet rehearsal.
So, back to the sound for a bit…
This keyboard comes with a CF sound engine. We don’t know if you’ve heard the Yamaha CFIIIS concert Grand Piano. Well, if you haven’t, get ready because the CF sound engine reproduces that phenomenal sound on this keyboard.
This is another great keyboard from Yamaha and we are impressed by it as expected.
PS: This is another portable Yamaha keyboard. So, just in case you like the portability of the p71 but you need an upgrade, you could try this.
5 Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano – Great Support Keyboard For Practice And For Beginners
If what you’re in the market for is a simple, down-to-earth keyboard without so many bells and whistles, you can, as well, get a terrific one while at it. Please allow us recommend this awesome Korg B1SP keyboard. It’s totally amazing.
It comes with 88 weighted keys that feel incredible to the touch. No plunky feel like a toy. They also produce great sound too. Although one or two keys might tend to give a slight off sound sometimes while playing, the sound is generally okay.
Alright, let’s talk about the speakers. The speakers are real nice, problem is, they aren’t very loud. If you can overlook that small issue, then that’s fantastic, you’ll love the B1SP.
The included bench is quite solid which is a breath of fresh air. Most manufacturers don’t feel like we deserve a quality bench so we have to commend those that do. Big ups to Korg for that one.
Mind you, though, this keyboard comes with only one other output. It comes with its own speakers, yeah. But aside that, there’s only one other output for your headphones and that’s all.
6 M-Audio 88-Key Hammer Action Keyboard – Excellent Choice For Recording With Virtual Instruments And Sound Modules
Before we begin to talk about its awesome ability to make music recording very interesting, let’s stay with the keys for a bit.
We love the keys. First, they are weighted and come with a hammer action as well. So, for the price, you sure are getting something that’s over the top in the quality of its keys. And it’s not just the weight. They keys are also extremely sensitive. They respond to light touches super fast. It’s excellent if you love to play fast notes that require your fingers to fly swiftly over the keys.
Okay, so next, we talk about the thing we love the most about this keyboard. It is a complete joy to record with. There are virtual software already uploaded on the keyboard like the Ableton Live Lite 9. Plus, there’s also the USB-MIDI connection with which you can easily play virtual instruments and control your recording software. We told you it’s the ultimate experience.
The MIDI controls of this keyboard is off the hook. You’ve got controls for modulation, the pitch bend, volume and octave too. Pianos hardly get more expressive than this.
But then, this is a really big keyboard so it will take up some space. Plus, it’s not exactly the keyboard you’d want to move around every so often.
7 Nektar Impact LX88+ MIDI Controller – Supports Almost All Popular DAWs
This is, perhaps, our most expressive keyboard on review today. Its MIDI controllers are off the hook. There are so many options and so many ways you can customize your music to reflect the inner you seamlessly.
And to ensure that it is truly seamless, the controls are kept within reach. So, your transpose buttons, the modulation wheels and the pitch bend are close by. It makes play intuitive and takes the hard work out of making music.
Beyond that, this keyboard also supports almost all popular DAWs that you know. No need to download any driver or whatnot. It connects automatically. So, what DAWs do you favor? Name them. From the Logic ProX, to Cubase, to Reason, to Nuendo, to Studio to Garage Band and the rest. All of them will get hooked up to your keyboard instantly.
The keys are okay too. They are semi-weighted and come with a medium tension. So, they might not give the ultimate almost-acoustic-keyboard feel like fully weighted keys with hammer action. However, Nektar has more than blown our minds with the DAW support stunt they pulled, so we are not mad.
Finally, isn’t it super amazing that you can change your velocity settings as well.
8 Casio Privia PX160BK 88-Key Digital Piano – With New And Improved Internal Speakers
The Casio PX160 produces terrific sound and the new and improved speakers installed just make everything more interesting. You’d enjoy listening to yourself play this keyboard whether you’re doing so with the installed speakers or with your headphones.
There are amazing voices also included that you’d love to experiment with. They give you the freedom to add your unique touch to your music and create the sound you love.
Altogether, this keyboard does not sound cheap at all. It might not be an acoustic keyboard but for something so affordable, this is a sweet deal. And if we were you, we’d take it.
The action of the keys is really great. But then we expect nothing less from a weighted hammer action keyboard from Casio. The resistance and the feel are pretty close to what you’d find on a traditional keyboard.
This is a pretty straightforward keyboard – just plug n play. There aren’t too many functions or controls that could leave the user confused. So, yeah it is a great beginner keyboard.
It’s also got a real nice size and weight too that makes it feel really nice to move around.
9 Artesia PA-88W Digital Piano – Keyboard For Those On The Go
This keyboard is amazing and a great partner for you if you’re always on the go. The keyboard is designed with a slim build and semi-weighted keys. With these two features, the keyboard clocks in at the right size and weight for portability.
And even with its portability, this keyboard is still designed to perform at optimum capacity. The keys are semi-weighted like we mentioned earlier. So, it might not give you that excellent feel of weighted keys but it has a good feel too.
In fact, you can even adjust the sensitivity of the keys, if you prefer. So, if you are more comfortable with a harder touch or a lighter touch, the control lies in your hands.
Also, on this keyboard, you’ll find 3D stereo instruments to create the ideal practice environment for the user.
Aside that, with it USB connectivity feature, you can easily connect with your learning software, DAW, or music app. Plus, it comes with an output for headphones, amplifier, with a jack for the pedal.
10 Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Keyboard – Beginner Keyboard
This is an excellent keyboard for the beginner. The keys are semi-weighted so, they might not really be one of a kind. However, they do not feel cheap by any means.
Furthermore, this keyboard is really portable. So, moving it around isn’t a problem. It also comes with two power sources. You can plug and play or you can operate on batteries which are not included. So, you might need to get some yourself.
The speakers are really good too. At this price? Hmmm… thumbs up to Alesis.
The keys are not so sensitive even though Alesis promises that the response is adjustable. Many times you might have to plunk down a little hard for the keys to play. But then again, this is a really affordable keyboard, so we will let that slide.
Well, in addition to all these features, you’ll find an output for headphones and external speakers as well as a sustain pedal.
It also features a USB connectivity. So, you can easily upload your MIDI. You can also use this keyboard with any virtual instrument as well.
Best 88-Key Keyboard Buying Guide
We know you’re looking for an 88-key keyboard but what kind of keyboard are you looking for exactly? You see, the truth is that every standard keyboard has 88 keys – 52 white, and 36 black. But there are different types of keyboards. And each type varies a lot by different factors, from price to sound, to playability.
Well, if you don’t know what keyboard you’re looking for, relax. We are going to explain it all to you in a second. So, sit back.
Types Of 88-Key Keyboard
So, basically, there are three main categories of keyboards. All keyboards in the world can be grouped under any of these three categories. They are:
- The acoustic piano.
- The digital piano.
- The electronic keyboard.
The Acoustic Piano
An acoustic piano is the largest of all the piano types. It is also the most expensive, naturally. But if you want to develop piano skills that rival those of Ray Charles, then you want to get the acoustic keyboard.
The sound from the acoustic piano is ethereal and you can always hear the clear difference the moment it is played. The range of dynamics, responsiveness and tonal quality of an acoustic piano is unmatched across all the types of keyboards.
If you’re just learning to play the keyboard, it will do you a world of good to get an acoustic piano as soon as possible. It will help you to fine tune your skills early.
However, like we said, acoustic pianos cost more than a pretty penny. Most cost close to ten thousand dollars! And those are the everyday ones. For a baby grand, or a grand, then you should be ready to pay much more than ten thousand dollars.
The Digital Piano
If acoustic pianos are the best thing after sliced bread, then digital pianos are the next best thing after the best thing after sliced bread. Not everyone can afford an upright, a grand or a baby grand but if you can get a digital piano, then that’s fine too.
Manufacturers usually craft digital pianos to sound like the acoustic piano. Plus, they also try to make the keys weighted so they give the right feel close to that of an acoustic piano. Also, the keys of a digital piano are usually quite resistant to touch, sensitive to pressure and speed. Even more, they do give a pretty appreciable range of dynamics.
Of course, it won’t exactly give you the same experience as an acoustic piano but it’s a good start. Plus, it’s not as expensive.
The Electronic Keyboard
Okay, this is the most affordable of the bunch and of course the runt of the litter. Electronic keyboards are very varied in their price range and features.
Truth be told, it’s really hard to call these things a keyboard. They are actually mini synthesizers at best.
If you’re going for this type, then your most important consideration factors should include whether or not the keyboard comes with weighted keys. You also want something that comes with 88 keys because there are some that do not come with 88 keys. So, ensure you find out.
Now, let’s make a quick comparison among these three keyboards
Comparing The Three Keyboards – Acoustic, Digital, And Electronic
Although the acoustic piano seems like the crème of the crop (which it is, by the way), it does have its little setbacks.
You can plug in earphones to either a digital piano or an electronic keyboard. You cannot do same with an acoustic piano. So, you’re probably going to have many occasions when people will interrupt your practice sessions with the classic “can you turn that down, I’m trying to sleep!”
Aside that, you can connect most digital pianos and electronic keyboards to a computer. You can’t do that with an acoustic piano. That means that the only type of keyboard you can use with a music production software is a digital piano or electronic keyboard. Please, make it a digital keyboard.
Another fine point… digital pianos and electronic keyboards are portable, acoustic pianos are not. If you’re going to get an acoustic piano, then you must have a reasonable amount of space to put it in. Digital pianos and electronic keyboards can easily stay on a table and be removed afterwards.
Still, nothing beats the acoustic piano in terms of musical quality. If you can afford to spare the cash, then we would say, go for it!
Some Features To Look Out In An 88-Key Keyboard
The action refers to how the keys respond. There’s the weighted, the semi-weighted, the synth, and the hammer.
The weighted and the semi-weighted are the closest you can get to a traditional acoustic piano.
Hammer action uses actual hammers (mechanical ones, mind you) to make the response from weighted keys even more enhanced.
Synth offers the least resistance, so one can often glide pretty quickly through keys while playing.
All that said; your style of play should determine the kind of action you go for.
This refers to how fast the keys can sense when they are pressed and how quickly they can send the corresponding MIDI message.
As the name probably suggests, it’s the number of sounds a keyboard can play at one time. Some keyboards come with such impressive polyphonic capacities that, on their own, they can mimic a complete orchestra.
This is similar to polyphony. It’s the ability of a keyboard to play different sounds at a time. Polyphony, number. Multitimbrality, ability.
MIDI, in full, is Musical Instrument Digital Interface. They are like musical messages transmitted between computers and electronic instruments. They do not contain sounds, but they are more like a blueprint for instruments to play notes from.
So, from the MIDI, an electronic instrument, whether virtual or real can play a piece of music with the notes and velocity the MIDI message indicates.
If a keyboard is MIDI compatible, it means that it can send and receive such messages.
There are all kinds of keyboards these days with diverse kinds of interfaces for connecting with a computer. You should also look out for audio ins and outs. Ports with which you can connect to mixers, speakers, or external amplifiers. This becomes especially important if you intend to play live with your keyboard.
If you like messing with sound and cooking things up, look for something that allows you to record your samples. After recording your sample, many times, you can alter it and play it back in many different ways.
Weighted keys with hammer action and a fantastic authentic feel? Check. Amazing sound? Double check. Quality Speakers? Check.
Our choice? Definitely the Yamaha DGX-660 88 Weighted Keys Digital Piano Bundle. It’s our winning keyboard of the night!