The Best Digital Pianos Under $500 for Students

Piano lessons are expensive. And, more importantly, beginning piano lessons are expensive. There’s no way to ease into paying higher amounts as the student becomes more and more advanced. Just starting the piano requires the cost of lessons, books, and an instrument. And while I do advise students to purchase an acoustic piano when possible, a digital piano is extremely better than a keyboard. Plus there is the added benefit of never having to tune the instrument.

Digital pianos come in a variety of prices and sizes, and it’s often difficult to know which piano is best for a student. And budget limitations often limit what a family can purchase. For this post, I will discuss quality digital pianos that are available for under $500 dollars. Digital pianos under $500 are basically budget pianos, so there won’t be as many advanced features and the quality won’t be as good as something more expensive. If your budget allows, I would aim for something in the $700-$1000 range.

I will include basic facts, pros\cons, plus video samples (if I can find them). Also, to avoid confusion for this post, please keep the following things in mind:

  • I consider a digital piano to be an instrument that has 88 keys. Anything less is a keyboard.
  • I consider a digital piano to be an instrument that sits, and is securely kept in place, on a piano stand. Anything else is a full-sized a keyboard.
  • A digital pianos means when you purchase the instrument it is not just the keyboard itself a stand also.
  • The stand for a digital piano is not something that can be folded and put away.

Please review my main post about keyboards and digital pianos if you need more basic information.

Product DetailsThis is Not A Digital Piano

For example, this is a picture of the Alesis Recital 88-Key Digital Piano. This instrument is listed as a digital piano but in my opinion, it is just a full-sized keyboard because there is no stand include.

 

Product DetailsThis is A Digital Piano

For example, this would be considered a digital piano.

 

Digital Piano Recommendations

Yamaha YPG-535

The YPG-535 is made by Yamaha.

Dimensions: 58 x 22.5 x 12.5 inches

Weight: 70 pounds

Warranty: 1 year

Manual

Assembly: Is required!

Features

  • USB Support – Not only can this piano connect to a pc through a USB port, you can also use the a flash drive.
  • 6 track recorder – This gives the pianist the ability to record 6 different parts for an entire song and then play them together all at the same time. It’s basically like having a band at your finger tips.
  • Yamaha Education System – This is something that would make this piano beneficial to beginners. The Y.E.S. system helps you learn how to play  a song by letting you break down the piece into different components and even pausing until the correct note is played. The performance is even graded at the end.
  • audio jack

Pros

  • Includes music stand and foot pedal
  • Ability to download midi songs to learn.

Cons

  • No midi connection.
  • It does not come a power cord. Be sure to purchase the recommended bundle to receive this.
  • only one pedal

Williams Rhapsody 2

The Rhapsody 2 is made by Williams Pianos.

Dimensions: Width: 54 1/4 inches. Depth: 17″ inches. Height: 31″ inches.

Weight: 105 pounds

Warranty: 1 year

Manual: Available here.

Assembly is required!

Features

  • USB Midi Port – A midi device is something that is helpful when trying to record music. In the past, these devices have used different “connectors” when trying to hook the piano up to a computer. Now, for the most part, these devices use a USB connection.
  • 2 track recorder – This means a person can record a part of a song, for example the right hand of a piano piece, and then go back and record a second part (the left hand of a piano piece) without erasing the first part. When the play button is pressed, both recordings play together.
  • Metronome – A very important tool that students need. The metronome is somethings that “clicks” at a certain speed. The speed can increase or slow down, depending on the song and how the student needs to practice.
  • Headphone Jack – Students can plug headphones into the piano and practice without disturbing a neighbor or family member that needs quiet. You will need an 1/4 inch adapter so that the standard headphone output can plug into the piano.
  • Stereo Jack – This means the piano sound can be directed towards something like a speaker or computer.

Pros

  • Overall, it has a pleasing piano sound plus several other instrumental sounds that it can change too.
  • Only two pedals are included. Most pianos have three pedals, though the soft pedal and sustain pedal are used the most at these are the ones that come with the piano.
  • Weighted keys that are mimic a regular piano fairly well.
  • The keys are the same size as a regular piano, and the feel and action is similar to a regular piano.
  • Great for beginners.

Cons

  • And while pedals are included, a bench is not. Students should purchase a piano bench separately.
  • The headphone jack is a bit tricky to find. It’s on the left side of the piano.
  • No dust cover.
  • Difficult to play more advanced pieces especially pieces that are fast or use a lot of chords.

Yamaha P45B

The P45B is made by Williams Pianos.

Dimensions: Width: 52 1/4 inches. Depth: 11 1/2″ inches. Height: 6 ” inches.

Weight: 65 pounds

Warranty: 1 year

Manual: Available here.

Assembly is required!

Features

  • Yamaha GHS – GHS stands for Graded Hammer Standard. This feature attempts to mimic the touch of a real piano, having the piano keys feel heavier on the low end of the piano and feel lighter on the high end.
  • Yamaha AWM – Advanced Wave Memory is a special technique used to record the sound of a piano. This piano sound is what students hear when they press the keys. AWM gives the pianos a more authentic and please sound.
  • Simplicity – The P45B doesn’t have a lot of overwhelming buttons and functions. Like most pianos, sounds, demos, and metronome can be figured. Unlike most pianos, getting these functions to work only requires minimal button pushes.
  • Headphone Jack

Pros

  • USB to Host connectivity which allows the piano to interact with a variety of different apps and software programs.
  • A music holder, stand, and bench are included in the kit version.
  • A pedal is also included.

Cons

  • There are no midi outputs so this would not work for more technologically advanced musicians
  • There is a pedal, but it is only the sustain pedal.

Conclusion – The Best

As you can probably (maybe?) guess, the best digital piano under $500 would be the Williams Rhapsody. I feel it’s more sturdy and is more of a digital piano than the other two. All three are great digital for those on a budget, but in my opinion the Rhapsody is the best.

If you can splurge a couple hundred bucks more, then you may be happier with the quality of the piano. Otherwise, the Rhapsody should be fine. Especially for a beginner or amateur pianist.

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