Whenever someone invests in a piano, they are hoping to get something that lasts a lifetime. sometimes they lifespan of the piano can vary greatly. Much of that depends on whether the piano was bought new or was preowned. The lifespan of a digital piano is more predictable though, and generally, they last much longer than acoustic pianos.
So, how long do digital pianos last? Digital pianos last between 20 – 50 years. High-end digital pianos are built better structurally. They use better electrical parts, solid plastic, tougher metal, and piano keys that can withstand heavy wear and tear. Low-end digital pianos do not have the same lifespan, but with average care can last for many years.
While most digital pianos last for decades, they are not all created equal. There are definitely some brands that are better than others. In this article, I’ll share some facts about future repair costs, the benefits of purchasing a digital piano, and why they are better than acoustic instruments in some cases. I’ll also show you which brands offer the most reliable digital keyboards that are worth the investment.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Digital Piano
While digital pianos have a lifespan that lasts many years, they will occasionally wear down the more they are played.
Every now and then, digital pianos will need some sort of repair. This can range from broken or stuck keys, electrical or motherboard issues, or accessories going bad. Below are a few more things that can go wrong with digital pianos.
- Broken or cracked LCD screens
- Issues with speaker volume and balance
- Power supply
- Broken pedals
- Faulty inputs
- Software issues
- Modulation and pitch knobs
- Malfunctioning disk drives
- Water damage
- Unresponsive keys
Most people choose not to repair digital pianos though because it’s a hassle. Sometimes the repair costs can creep up to the cost of simply purchasing a new one instead (with the exception of a quality Yamaha or Kawai console or something similar in cost).
Most digital piano repairs cost between $25 – $300. Most of this is related to labor but can include parts. The more expensive repairs are almost always related to internal issues. This includes things like motherboard failures or need to replace the disk drive. This also includes failed inputs, cracked screens and anything internal.
If keys or knobs are getting stuck, this is simply a replacement that you could honestly do yourself with a bit of research. Power supply and pedal issues are accessories that you can easily replace.
If a keyboard experiences significant water damage, you might be better off purchasing a new digital piano.
Why You Should Buy A Digital Piano
While I’m a huge fan of acoustic pianos, especially for serious pianists, the reality is that digital pianos are definitely worth buying. A digital piano offers an opportunity to get started learning the instrument. Also if you’re in need of a solid practice instrument or want to avoid moving costs, digital pianos are worth a look.
Below are a couple of reasons why you should buy a digital piano.
Digital Pianos Are Usually More Affordable
One of the most important reasons to purchase a digital piano has to do with costs. Digital pianos are simply more affordable than their acoustic counterparts. The average piano costs between $2000 – $20,000. The more high end the acoustic instrument, the steeper the cost. Luxury pianos such as Yamaha or Steinway have prices that rival a mortgage!
Digital pianos have much lower entry price points. You can expect to pay between $200 – $700 for a good quality digital piano. High-end digital consoles cost anywhere between $600 – $5000 depending on how many features you desire.
For a beginner pianist, a digital piano between $300 – $500 should suffice. You can check out a complete list of the best digital pianos here. These pianos will have features such as:
- Weighted keys
- Hammer action
- High-quality sound samples
- Pedal and USB options
- Quality frame and build
Digital Pianos Save On Storage Space
Acoustic pianos take up a lot of space, especially if it’s a grand piano. While upright pianos are a good option, sometimes you just need that extra bit of room in the home.
Digital pianos can be placed directly on a wall if it’s a console. Also, many of them sit comfortably on music stands, and because of that you can locate it anywhere you wish. The amount of space saved is awesome because with acoustic pianos the frame and lid of The instrument an take up a ton of room.
Some digital pianos are also built specifically with size in mind. They are constructed in a way where there is not much extra added to the sides of the keys themselves. The backs of most digital pianos do not protrude out either allowing you to place it directly on a wall or corner. Height wise, digital pianos are also quite small, often not exceeding 4 or 6 inches in depth.
Because of the compact size and weight, digital pianos are easy to transport in vehicles or to various areas of the home. It’s important to note that consoles like the Yamaha Clavinova are much larger, so they weigh more and take up much room. The tradeoff, however, is in the quality of the instrument as consoles tend to mimic acoustic instruments the best.
Digital Pianos Don’t Need Tuning
Digital pianos do not need regular tunings. This can save you around $125 -$200 every six months, something acoustic piano owners have to deal with. Digital pianos are not made with the same wood parts that an acoustic piano is. Because of that, there’s no need to worry about humidity levels or the instrument losing its pitch.
If you do notice a pitch issue with your instrument, chances are it’s an issue with the software itself. In that case, take the piano into a technician or exercise the manufacturer’s warranty.
Sounds Effects And Recording Functionality
Something digital pianos offer that acoustic pianos don’t are sound effects. Even the cheapest models offer anywhere from 50 to 200 different sound samples to choose from.
This is a great motivator for young pianists especially. They get a chance to play with different sounds and really become creative in their playing. Percussion instruments and fun sound effects are also on most digital pianos.
In addition to those sound effects are recording functions. This helps a lot when a student is trying to practice music but needs to hear back their recording to fix mistakes and improve their playing. Older pianos use floppy disk drives, but the modern models take care of this with built-in storage or USB to computer functionality.
Recording functions on digital pianos open up a world of possibilities with music composition.
Built-In Self Teaching Features
Hiring a piano teacher is always the preferred method for learning the instrument. Sometimes it’s not about the cost of lessons though, but rather about convenience. Especially if your an adult pianist who is shy and wants to kind of work at their own pace.
Thankfully with today’s technology, digital pianos offer some incredible self-teaching functionality. Many digital pianos sync up with apps to provide on-demand lessons that can be taken from the comfort of your own home. The lessons are usually organized in modules and you can select what you want to work on and when.
Even for the less elaborate pianos, there is almost always a lessons function. One of the most common styles you’ll find on a digital piano are keys that light up, indicating what note to play and when. Others have a built-in metronome and musical staffs that progress as you play the correct notes.
While this is not the only way to learn, its a good way to feel engaged with the instrument. Most of the song banks are updated frequently, so there is always new music to learn. While most of these programs are free, access to more songs and features are usually available through subscription packages.
The Best Digital Piano Brands
I mentioned earlier that not all digital pianos are created equal. Furthermore, there are some piano brands that truly excel when it comes to electronic piano instruments.
Below are the top 8 digital piano brands worth looking into.
While these are some of the top brands for digital pianos, you can definitely find some quality instruments by other piano makers.
These are the most trusted brands though, and they have a reputation for producing quality instruments and testing the boundaries of technology in music. I’ve chosen to focus on four of the eight brands that I think produce the best quality digital pianos for the price.
Below is some brief information about each of those four brands along with the top piano models that each company offers.
Yamaha has produced amazing digital pianos for decades. What makes them stand out as the top producer of digital pianos is in sound quality. Honestly, whenever you play a Yamaha keyboard, it’s tough to tell the difference between it an acoustic piano. This is because Yamaha takes high-quality samples of their concert grands and implements that into their digital instruments.
Yamaha has also done extensive work on the hammer action of the keyboard itself too. This allows pianists to play and feel an authentic touch and release of sound without too much velocity. These keyboards are great overall. Of all of their keyboard models, I suggest the following:
Yamaha P71 – A lightweight keyboard built-in a console-style. The action is light but accurate making it great for beginners. There is a small selection of sounds, but the sound quality makes this keyboard worth investing in.
Yamaha Arius Series – The Arius series is a complete console offering an authentic piano playing experience. It includes the 3 pedal unit and has a sampling from their CFX concert grand. There is also a built-in smart app to customize how the piano functions. I recommend this model for the serious pianist.
Casio keyboards are pretty good but you’ll need to stick with their high-end models to be truly satisfied. I personally suggest checking out the Casio Privia series.
Casio Privia PX-870 – This is a complete console-style piano. It’s not flashy, but it works great and has excellent weighted key action to make the playing feel authentic. It only has 18 samples, but they are all high quality, especially the piano sample. There are also recording and practice functions built-in, so it’s great for an adult pianist. Most pianos sound great with headphones on, but this one has a four-speaker system that sounds great.
Roland is known for their synthesizers and music workstations, but they also make great digital practice pianos. Their F140 model is nothing flashy, but it gets the job done. Unlike some other consoles, this one actually has hundreds of sounds built-in which makes playing more interesting. Another cool feature is the app which allows for Bluetooth page-turning.
An often overlooked piano brand is Alesis. They make really good digital pianos, especially their recital series instruments. It’s a keyboard model that’s geared towards beginners, but it does offer some cool professional features such as full-size keys.
The keys are hammer weighted so the touch is perfect. There are some awesome split layer and recording functions too. This model also has lesson modes.