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Best 88 Key Keyboards Reviewed
Any musician will know the disappointment of a tinny sounding keyboard. Small keyboards often do not provide a good playing or listening experience and can create sub-optimal sound, which may be found in smaller or cheap keyboards.
While small keyboards can be handy to travel and store, they do not provide the sound quality that a bigger, 88-key keyboard brings to the table.
For a serious recording artist or audio engineer, today’s best 88 key keyboards can be a game-changer.
For musicians learning the keys without a full 88-key keyboard, you’ll likely struggle with learning how to play a piano properly. This just isn’t helpful. At best a 61-key keyboard is only good for grasping certain elements of playing the keyboard, but will limit your skill-set in the long term.
Beyond providing a truly quality sound and versatility, digital pianos also remove the frustration of tuning, which is an essential factor in every musical instrument. With an excellent digital piano you do not need to worry about tuning at all.
Smaller 88 key keyboards tend to be a little less user-friendly, as smaller keyboards won’t offer the same level of performance and features of their larger counterparts.
The sounds of a bargain basement digital piano are also often compromised by distractions like the sound of noisy keys; which means you can’t fully allow yourself to immerse in the music due to the distraction of poor quality.
88-key keyboards will provide you with a massive variety of high and low sounds, so you can play all pieces without having to change or alter keys and octaves. These tones will help you to give a better tune overall and therefore be the most realistic choice if you want to have an advantage on your keyboard with sound and style.
Check out our favorite 88-Key keyboard
While the prices of smaller keyboards can be significantly cheaper, they don’t always provide you with the quality of sound, often resulting in lackluster performances. If you aim to play professionally or publicly, then a good quality keyboard will make a world of difference to your playing quality and the enjoyability factor of the music for your listeners.
So lets dig into which of these keyboards are in fact going to offer the qualities you should be looking for!
Top 88 Key Keyboards Comparison Chart
Best 88 Key Keyboard
The Alesis digital piano also comes complete with weighted keys, with the feel of a traditional piano. It also comes complete with five built-in voices which include the acoustic piano, electric piano, organ, synth and bass and these can be customized by combining any two at a time. With an additional ‘lesson mode’ this is a keyboard that could be a perfect companion to learners. It allows the student to watch the teacher and play together. It is complete for further practice with a headphone port. It also boasts a 128-note polyphony and 20 watt speakers. It sits at around 26lbs.
It is also complete with a USB-MIDI output which allows you to connect to a computer and use any type of educational software or computer software to enhance editing and playing. It is a slim and elegant keyboard that proves beneficial for learners but it is also used by professionals and experienced players.
With a metronome and built in touch response, this keyboard is easy to navigate and provides the player with a smooth feel. With a record feature, it allows you to listen back and critique any work you have played with optimum sound quality, perfect for learners or to playback in performance. A versatile keyboard that has a simple interface and great features for beginners.
One drawback: Shorter power cord so potentially inhibits location of keyboard.
- An Electric Piano That’s Tailored to You - Feature-packed Electric keyboard with 88 premium full-sized semi weighted keys with adjustable touch response to suit your preferred playing style
- Premium Sounds - 5 voices (Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synth, and Bass), built-in FX: Chorus, Reverb, and two built in 20W speakers that deliver crystal-clear, room-filling sound
- All The Right Connections - ¼” sustain pedal input (pedal not included), ¼” stereo headphone output for private practice and stereo RCA outputs for connection to speakers / amplifiers
- Play the Keyboard Wherever You Go - Power via the included power adapter or 6 D cell batteries (not included) for professional piano performance anywhere
- Powerful Educational Features - Standard, split, layer, and lesson modes with 128-note max polyphony and Skoove 3 month premium subscription for expert interactive online piano lessons
Yamaha is a renowned brand that has been used in the professional industry for years. This keyboard not only offers the full spectrum of sound but provides you with weighted keys, a prerequisite for those wanting to pursue traditional piano. Weighted keys offer a very realistic feel of a traditional piano. It comes complete with 10 different vocals, including digitally sampled tones from Yamaha acoustic grand pianos.
It also allows you to connect it to dual mode, a way to combine two Voices together, whether that’s piano and strings or strings and percussion. It is a slim and elegant keyboard, weighing only 25lbs and a small depth which allows it to neatly sit in any space of the room.
In addition to this, it is complete with a metronome, transpose and fine-tuning with USB to Host and Sustain Pedal jack for a complete performance set up. From its predecessor, the P71 now comes complete with a 64 note polyphony, up from 32.
It is complete with a GHS action, which allows a heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end mincing a traditional piano. For a smooth-running performance, the keys are coated in a matte finish, allowing easy finger transition without slipping or sliding. Although it does not come complete with a surround, it is a professional, reliable keyboard.
One drawback: Some say the hammer keys are a little too heavy and take a little practice.
- Amazon exclusive model includes power adapter and sustain pedal
- 88 fully weighted piano style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
- Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos
- Dual mode lets you combine 2 voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience
- Slim and stylish design with a depth of less than 12 inches, the P71 requires little space and weighs only 25 pounds
The PX160GD is part of the latest version of the Privia series, housed in a classic black chassis. It is a slender and stylish piano and boasts some impressive features. The Casio prides itself on impeccable sound quality and all sounds are amplified in stereo by two eight-watt power stages. For added effect, you can easily add stereo effects like chorus and vibrato which create a more flawless performance and listening experience. It also comes complete with the weighted keys, to mimic traditional playing.
With easy to connect UBS systems, you can link up to a plethora of software applications including sequencing, notation and recording programs which will allow you to create unique pieces. For both learners and experienced players, the Casio comes with some features for all skill sets. It offers a split keyboard for learners and 128 note polyphony as well as 18 voices available. Casio also has a range of apps on Apple which make using the keyboard on the computer a pleasure and much easier to enhance.
It weighs a little lighter at 25lbs but it does come complete with a stand, bringing the weight upto 46lbs. However the Casio does pack a punch in terms of its sound quality; sounding very close to a traditional acoustic piano. A robust keyboard that is pleasurable to play and to listen to.
One drawback: Reviews state a lot of poor customer service in terms of repairs.
- The AiR engine provides highly-accurate grand piano sounds with seamless dynamics for a remarkably expressive and powerful performance
- The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard has an incredible feel and captures the dynamics of a performance with unparalleled speed and accuracy
- Features a chassis designed for an elegant look and to house a 8w x 8w speaker system that delivers the PX-160’s remarkable sounds with total richness
- Features newly developed string ensemble sounds that sound wonderful by themselves or layered with the PX-160's grand pianos, electric pianos, harpsichord and more
- Provides split and layer capability allowing you to play bass in your left hand and have two layered tones in your right
A lightweight keyboard, this makes a good travel companion, weighing in at just 16.96lbs. with weighted keys, it allows for a traditional play and comes with some nifty features for professional players. With its Eight Phrase Pads for triggering samples and audio songs can be easily stored on USB memory and transferred to the computer.
It is more tailor made towards piano players, with the piano voice being the main feature, and is great for beginners, with an easy lightweight feel. It offers easy sound manipulation also, with hands-on knobs and sliders and complete with a hammer action. An impressive keyboard that brings an element of creativity to the table with hands on editing that allows a flawless finish and performance, including layering up sounds such as strings or percussion.
It also easily connects to some of Roland’s other features, available on their website, such as the wave expansion slot which enables users to download new sound waveforms. It makes traveling easy also, with a versatile battery or AC operation which allows flexibility to play anytime and anywhere. It will require 8 AA batteries.
The editing features make the Roland a more expensive choice, it is complete with a feature that allows you to tweak patches and performances with detailed precision. A perfect solution for professional use or music making. It offers a Mic input also and a split feature. The sound quality is exceptional with pro sound features, which enhance performances.
One drawback: Not as many voice choices as some other keyboards.
- Gig-ready instrument with pro sounds, enhanced performance features, and battery-powered operation
- 88-note Ivory Feel-G Keyboard provides weighted-action feel in a lightweight design that’s easy to transport
- Includes all the sounds from the popular JUNO-Di, plus newly updated acoustic and electric pianos, additional organs, and other stage essentials
- Wave expansion slot enables users to download new sound waveforms, available for free at Roland’s Axial website
- Sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS88’s keyboard
This powerful keyboard with weighted hammer action and 30 incredible sounds is a high quality instrument. The Korg comes complete with its own cabinet in either white or black and is complete with a three-pedal design with half-damper support. With an authentic touch, it makes for a wonderful companion for a novice or professional player. It is complete with two headphone slots which is ideal for teaching. The entire cabinet weighs 81.4lbs.
With demo songs, it provides an inspiration to the player and comes with a 120 polyphony and three pedal setup. The MIDI I/O allows for controlling external peripherals which include sound modules, and for the instrument itself to act as a 16-part sound module. With an easy interface, it allows you to split or later the sounds and there are three levels of Key Touch Control allowing the keyboard response to be matched to nearly any playing style. This is important if you are wanting to play live or professionally. Playing and creating music is also made easier with the metronome feature as well as adjustable time signature, tempo, and volume.
Complete with the settings Brilliance, Reverb and Chorus and it does work only on MIDI connection which means for connection to a computer, a USB adapter will be needed. With a great sound and tone, this unassuming keyboard is elegant and slots neatly into any corner.
One drawback: It isn’t great for connectivity or travel.
- 88-key Slim and stylish design Rich, dynamic acoustic piano sounds that are enjoyable to play High-output amp section produces plenty of volume RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3) keyboard Reduced chassis, package size, and weight Three-pedal design with half-damper support Sustain pedal sold separately
- The LP-380 provides brilliant piano sound in a low-profile, slim design
- The flat-top cabinet looks stylish even when the key cover is closed
- The high-output amplifier and speakers accurately reproduce a realistic piano sound, while Korg's flagship RH3 keybed enables expressive performances
- Stylish design The LP-380 is a digital piano that's designed with a style to match your interior dcor
Top 88 Key Keyboard Features To Consider
The benefits of quality 88-key keyboards are huge and provide not only excellent quality but can assist in learning methods and performance tactics to create unique flawless pieces. Without an 88-key keyboard, you will not have the chance and ability to play every octave where as keyboards with less keys do not give you that option. It is important that you look into the benefits before making decisions on purchases, based on what you are using the keyboard for and what benefits mean the most to you. Here are some of the most important features:
This is important because it will give you the feel of the real deal. It will allow you to get to grips with how a traditional piano may feel and so weighted keys allow you to smoothly transition from keyboard to a piano without any issues. This feature means also that you can take part in more effective practicing, which can help you to develop appropriate finger strength and dexterity.
A keyboard that has a USB option, you can easily link the keyboard up to the computer which makes creating music and making your own songs easier than ever before. If you don’t have this option, then you won’t be able to edit and listen back as effectively which is something that is really important.
Good speaker systems
Some pianos come with built-in speakers and have the option to link up to amplifiers. If you are planning on performing live then you will need to ensure that you can reach the optimum volume well and ensure that you can play at ease.
Polyphony on digital pianos is the maximum number of notes that a keyboard can sound simultaneously. It aids the listener to concentrate on more than one layer of sound to create depth to the piece of music.
For a learner, having a split function is important because you can play the same notes along with your teacher which allows for them to watch you, listen to you and then assist you. If you are buying a keyboard to learn to play then this feature would be incredibly important.
Number of voices
If you want to create music, then having different voices is going to be vital. Some keyboards have limited amounts or focus mostly on the piano element however some keyboards come complete with a huge range of instruments that will allow you to create a number of pieces.
Whatever keyboard you choose to purchase, it’s important to note that depending on your budget and your needs, you can find something to suit. Playing an 88-key keyboard is a delight to a player and listener and thankfully there are plenty to choose from.