In this article, we’re looking at the best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos and providing reviews of the top options. Yamaha is a name that goes hand-in-hand with digital pianos and keyboards. Their range is huge, so there are a lot of models to compare.
Our list of the top Yamaha digital pianos and keyboards shows their current range, with products released this year as well as some older models. There are portable, stage pianos, large consoles and even portable keyboards featuring lots of different sounds. There is something for everyone, but matching up your own needs to the features is vital.
Here are the best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos 2020:
- Yamaha YDP-184
- Yamaha DGX-660
- Yamaha PSR-EW300
- Yamaha P-45/P71
- Yamaha PSR-E363
- Yamaha P-125
- Yamaha P-121
- Yamaha NP-12
- Yamaha YDP-144
- Yamaha YPG-535
Yamaha Arius YDP-184
The Arius range of digital pianos is designed to give the look and feel of an acoustic piano with the functionality of digital. If you were to just take a glance at the YDP-184 you could be forgiven for not realizing it is digital.
Arius digital pianos are also among the more expensive digital pianos in the range, but if you are looking for excellent tone and the feel of playing an acoustic, it’s tough to beat.
The sound has been modeled on the CFX concert grand, a piano that Yamaha has become known for over the years. The high-quality sampling and VRM, or “Virtual Resonance Modeling” feature allows for expression and acoustics that faithfully recreate the real thing when it comes to sound.
The Graded Hammer 3 Action is also a high-tech reproduction of the keys. They’re synthetic ivory, and it really does feel like you’re sitting down to play an acoustic model.
It has 24 different voices. Not as many as some of the keyboards that offer synthesized sounds, but these are all exceptionally sampled and high fidelity. For a console piano, 24 sounds is plenty.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha Arius YDP-184:
- Exceptional hammer action for realism.
- VRM sampling improves acoustics.
- Looks fantastic.
- Faithful to CFX concert grand piano.
- 3 inbuilt pedals.
- Big and bulky, not portable.
If you want a large Yamaha digital piano that is a faithful representation of their acoustic pianos, but aren’t worried about using it portably, the Yamaha Arius YDP-184 could be a great option with elite sound.
The Yamaha DGX-660 is a bit more portable than some of the other larger, console pianos. It doesn’t quite have the same Grand Piano sound and feel as the elite Arius models, but it makes up for this in tech features.
Taking it to and from gigs is not as easy as a stage piano, but it’s not impossible. This also comes with a sustain pedal. It’s often sold as a bundle with headphones and other accessories.
The sound engine is called “Pure CF” and uses the CFIIIS grand piano as a model for the samples. The sound is fantastic, but there are loads more voices to choose from, too.
A hammer action provides a realistic feel and dynamics of an acoustic piano. The tech features do take over though, as the LCD screen can work as a UI, but also display the score or lyrics of a song.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha DGX-660:
- Compatible with sustain pedal.
- USB Audio Recording and Playback.
- Decent inbuilt speakers.
- Multiple acoustic settings.
- Not as high fidelity sound as the Arius models.
- A bit bulky for transporting (though not impossible).
This is a wonderful middle ground for those who don’t want to go full-blown in terms of a digital piano modeled on an acoustic. It has some high tech features and an LCD display, but doesn’t lose the feel of hammer action.
There are many Yamaha keyboard models that have a full-size of 88 keys, but if you are looking for a 76-key Yamaha then the PSR-EW300 is a good option. Portability is the name of the game.
The 76 keys means that you can play most pieces of music. Classical compositions may need more keys or higher polyphony, but for most pop, rock and beginner music, this is big enough, and easy to take to practice or to a gig.
This also makes a claim for being the best Yamaha keyboard for beginners. It has the Yamaha Education Suite, which lets you learn music with the help of the “touch tutor”. This shows you how to play preset songs that are inbuilt or even MIDI files you load yourself.
USB to HOST means you can connect with a simple USB cable. This means you can use it to control virtual instruments, too. An incredible 574 voices means you won’t run out of interesting sounds.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha PSR-EW300:
- Lightweight and portable.
- 574 voices.
- Yamaha education suite.
- No hammer action.
- User interface can be complicated.
If you want to play classical compositions, you may need 88 keys. If not, most rock and pop songs can be played on less, and this 76-key keyboard gives a great portable option. The Yamaha PSR-EW300 also boasts loads of sounds.
If you are looking for a pro sound in a small package, an 88-key Yamaha keyboard or stage-style digital piano could be the answer. The P-45 and P71 are fantastic for their look, feel and sound, and all of this is packed into an affordable yet high-end piano.
Why are we talking about these two Yamaha keyboard models together? They’re basically the same thing. The P71 is simply an Amazon exclusive. The P-45 is sold elsewhere, but they are made in the same way with the same features.
These are affordable Yamaha digital pianos for beginners, but can also be used by intermediate pianists. The ability to use these on stage means it isn’t just reserved for those new to piano. It makes a great tour companion! The portable digital piano is affordable and weighs just 25 lbs, so it is easy to see why it is popular.
If you buy the P71, the Amazon exclusive model, it comes with a sustain pedal and power adapter.
There are 10 voices in total, which is not a huge number, but it does have excellently sampled Yamaha grand piano sounds. The Dual Mode is another interesting feature, you can combine any of the 10 voices together and play them on the same keys.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha P-45/P71:
- Very lightweight (25 lbs).
- Graded hammer action.
- Dual mode for layering sounds.
- Only includes 10 voices.
- Included sustain pedal is poor quality.
- Inbuilt speakers aren’t very powerful.
If you are looking for something simple and affordable, the P-45 or P71 could be your answer. These 88-key digital pianos don’t have a huge number of voices, but the sounds included are high-quality and perfect for lessons, practice and even performance.
If you are looking for modern features in a small and compact keyboard, the PSR-E363 could be worth considering. It only has 61 keys, but this means it is a space-saver, and adequately sized for beginners, whether children or teenagers. You can definitely pick up the basics of playing piano on a small keyboard like this.
This keyboard has been designed for those learning to play. It has the Y.E.S system providing onboard lessons. It can also be connected to your computer or mobile device. The Yamaha Education Suite is great for teaching the basics at a pace you can understand.
In spite of the small size, it has decent inbuilt speakers and USB to host connectivity. This means you can send MIDI data and even audio to your laptop. You can even use this to control a DAW or virtual instruments.
Like many of the modern Yamaha digital pianos, this features 574 instrument voices. These range from simple piano tones and acoustic-modeled sounds to synthesizers and more experimental sounds. There’s even percussion.
Make no mistake, this is definitely a piano designed for learners and beginners. It isn’t recommended for live performances.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha PSR-E363:
- Dual mode for playing with a partner.
- Yamaha Education Suite.
- 574 voices.
- Portable and lightweight.
- Only 61 keys.
- Mostly suited to learners.
Though not suitable for live performances or recordings, this is a smart digital keyboard designed for beginners. The Yamaha PSR-E363 is a popular choice for kids and helps them to learn the basics with the educational suite included.
The Yamaha P-125 is a very popular model of portable digital piano. It works excellently as a stage piano, meaning a portable model that still has a very professional feel. It’s good for touring. This is similar in size to the P-45, but it is a big upgrade in terms of the keys and the action of the piano.
Fully-weighted keys mean that this feels like playing an acoustic digital piano, with the springback you would expect from acoustic keys. The GHS weighted action has also been designed to have a heavier feel for the lower octaves. This mimics how an acoustic piano feels.
The CFIIIS concert grand piano has been used as the model for the samples of this piano. Pure CF sampling is the sound engine. The acoustic piano sounds are brilliant, especially when amplified through a PA system or louder speaker. There are only 10 sounds included, however. This can be a bit limiting.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha P-125:
- Split mode. Play a sound with each hand.
- Fantastic CF sampled piano sounds.
- GHS weighted keys.
- Only 10 voices included.
- Stand, pedal and power supply need to be bought separately.
For a hammer action and the feel of an acoustic piano, as well as high-quality sounds, the P-125 is a good choice. It manages to provide these features while remaining portable and relatively lightweight. A great option for intermediate and professional players.
If you need to go even more portable than the P-125, the P-121 might be the best Yamaha digital piano for you. This has 73 keys. Though it may not be the best to play Beethoven, it’s fine for most songs, and it is also even more portable than the P-125 due to the 15 keys it excludes.
Other than this smaller design, the features are exactly the same. It still has the CF samples, GHS weighted keys and split mode. It can also be used as a MIDI controller via USB.
Though this is marketed as a separate product, it is basically a “P-125 mini”.
Yamaha P-121 is ideal for those who want more portable piano than P-125, but with exactly the same features.
The NP series of Yamaha digital pianos is not their most popular. This is really designed for people with a specific need, for their keyboard to be super-lightweight.
The NP-12 weighs in at just 14.5 lbs. This is fantastically lightweight. It’s perfect for putting in a case and taking to practices, and the 61-key design makes this possible due to the small size.
As you might expect, this is an incredibly simple piano. It doesn’t have high tech features like an LCD display, and the controls are simple buttons. The keys do not offer a hammer action, but they are touch sensitive, so you can play louder or quieter depending on how hard you press them.
This is battery powered, which adds to the portable nature. You don’t even need to be somewhere with a power supply to play.
If you want more tech features, you can get a controller app which works with iOS from Apple. This helps you to configure the piano simply.
This is a limited digital piano in some ways, it has only 10 sounds and the speakers are not overly loud. It also only offers 64-note polyphony, so this can be a problem playing more complex songs.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha NP-12:
- Portable and lightweight.
- Can be battery powered.
- Simple to control.
- Low polyphony.
- Speakers don’t provide much power.
The Yamaha slogan for this range is “Sometimes Less is More”. This is a good way of putting it. This is a relatively affordable, simple and lightweight digital piano. The Yamaha NP-12 61-key portable keyboard is good if space is limited or you’re constantly having to take your piano from place to place.
If you are in the market for a digital piano that has the homely feel of an old acoustic, then the Arius series could provide what you are looking for. The YDP-144 is one of the best looking digital pianos, and it strikes a balance between looks, a classic “feel” and modern features.
Like many of the top Yamaha options, the CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice is included to give an amazing sound of a sampled concert grand, modeled on the Yamaha CFIIIS. Damper Resonance DSP is included, designed to mimic the sound of the inside of a grand piano. This gives more of a realistic sound.
The GHS action gives a realistic feel and allows you to play more expressively. Also, it is heavier in the lower keys for a realistic feel.
You can use the controller app which has been included for iOS devices. This helps you to navigate and alter the sounds from an iPad or iPhone. The Smart Pianist 2.0 also helps you to learn your favorite songs.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha YDP-144:
- DSP system to mimic the sound of the inside of a grand piano.
- High-quality CF sampled sounds.
- Compatible with controller app.
- 2-track recorder inbuilt.
- Realistic Graded Hammer System.
- Compatible app only works on iOS.
- Headphone output is unreliable.
If you don’t need to move your digital piano around, then this could be for you. It’s ideal for a studio or for having in one location within your home. This is basically as close as you can get to a grand piano without having to tune it and having the benefits of digital features. The YDP-144 even comes in multiple designs.
This is a digital piano that is modeled on a Grand Piano, but it has the added bonus of being a sequencer, too. This has made this one of the highest-rated options for use in a studio and for songwriters. You can record ideas and layer things up while you are playing around on your piano, with no need to record into a laptop.
This is a bit on the bulky side, but still just about qualifies as being portable. You could conceivably take this to concerts without too many issues. This digital piano doesn’t have a GHS or hammer action system, but it does have velocity-sensitive keys for expression.
You can also make use of split and dual voice modes. These mean playing multiple sounds at once for added layers and more impressive performing. There are 267 different keyboard setups and voices for you to choose from, so lots of sounds to help with your compositions.
What we like (and don’t like) about the Yamaha YPG-535:
- Full-sized, 88 keys.
- Multiple modes including split and dual voice.
- 6-track sequencer included.
- Comes with stand.
- No hammer action.
- Sampled sounds not as good as Arius models.
- Heavier than most portable options.
This offers something a little different to most Yamaha keyboards. Though the sounds aren’t as high-fidelity as the Arius models, the sequencer makes the Yamaha YPG-535 popular among singer-songwriters.
As you can see from the list, there is such a huge amount of variety in the Yamaha range. From portable digital pianos like the P-45, to pianos best kept in one place like the Yamaha YDP-184.
If you are a beginner, look out for something with the Yamaha Education Suite such as the Yamaha PSR-EW300. This can help you to learn the basics. Consider whether you want something lightweight and portable, or high-fidelity sounds with the feel of an old grand piano. The chances are, Yamaha offers something to suit your needs.