digital piano vs keyboard learn the difference

Digital Piano vs Keyboard: Learn The Difference

You are ready to attend a piano lesson and wants to purchase your first instrument at TMW Music Store but then when looking at the many digital piano and keyboard on display, you started feeling hesitant due to the lack of information that you have regarding these two instrument types or maybe confused on choosing the right one at your current level, especially on a first look they all look the same. Rest assured, we totally understand this and come with a guide to help you understand some key differences between a digital piano and a keyboard before deciding to purchase one.

Digital Piano vs Keyboard in a Glance

An electric piano is specifically designed to mimic the characteristic of the traditional acoustic piano; 88 weighted keys, design, and sounds; in the convenience of electronic features. While a digital keyboard, emphasizes portability, and advanced features come with a massive collection of instrument sounds, and rhythm, that can help a player to create music or play an accompaniment.

Digital Piano vs Keyboard which one is for beginners?

If you are a beginner in taking a piano lesson, our suggestion will be to start small which means choose a digital keyboard (such as Casio CT-S1 Keyboard) because the feature and other functions can help a beginner a lot. Then, once you have been in the advanced lesson, level up your game by purchasing a digital piano (such as Roland FP-30X) so you can focus more on developing your piano technique.

Digital Piano and Keyboard Differences

1. Size, Weight, and Design

A digital piano and keyboard have a wide variety of dimensions and weights. In Singapore, “size does matter” because most people that live in apartment housing don’t have too much space in their living room. That’s why when choosing an instrument has to be compact and easy to use.

In general, an electric piano with 88 keys commonly has about 130-145 cm long and weighed 10-50 kg, you probably need to prepare an extra space in your home before purchasing one. While for an electronic keyboard, the width of the instrument starts from 83 cm (61 keys) to 130 cm long (88 keys) and weighed from 5-20 kg.

In the design department, today’s digital piano and keyboard emphasize more portability with a sleek look. This means these instruments will be a great addition to your house furniture.

digital piano weight is heavier than keyboard
keyboard keys are lighter than digital piano

2. Playing Experience

Obviously, the playing experience will be very different between a digital piano and a keyboard, especially in the touch and feel departments.

With the digital piano, they are designed to imitate the acoustic piano which means all the 88 keynotes are weighted, you will feel a different level of weight from the bass to treble notes. This ensures you will be playing a piano sound expressively.

While in the digital keyboard, commonly 61 to 88 keynotes are a lightweight type which means they are not too heavy when pressed but still have some weight on each note with additional velocity sensitivity. However, some 88-key keyboard models feature weighted hammer action too.

3. The Sounds Quality

Depending on what type of lesson you are going to learn – classic piano lesson or pop piano lesson – understanding the sound quality of each instrument will be mandatory.

In a classical piano lesson, most of the time you will be playing with an acoustic piano sound which makes a digital piano a good option because they are equipped with high-quality piano sounds for orchestra or grand performances. A modern digital piano is also equipped with some other essential sounds such as electric piano, strings, brass, and some drum kits.

In a pop piano lesson, mostly you will be playing with a keyboard piano and its advanced features such as auto-accompaniment, and music arrangement. These features are also backed with a massive set of instrument sounds such as piano, strings, guitars, woodwinds, drums, and even synthesizer sounds. In an advanced workstation-type keyboard piano, you can create your own sound, music and even produce a complete song with a vocal.

digital piano and keyboard sound quality
keyboard stand is an essential accessory

4. Piano Stands and Sustain Pedals

Mostly overlooked when purchasing the instruments, stands and sustain pedals are quite essential if you understand their functionalities and they are quite different in type for each instrument.

In the upright and cabinet-type digital pianos, the piano stands and sustain pedals are united with the piano’s body and can’t be replaced. Typically the stand is made of high-quality wood and the pedals are the Tripedal Unit (Sustain Pedal, Soft Pedal, and Sostenuto Pedal) much like the one in an acoustic piano. While for the portable digital piano type, the stand and pedals are usually additional accessories that are more compact and lightweight.

In the digital keyboard, the stand and pedal are much simpler because they are additional accessories and usually come in a smaller size than the one for a digital piano. An X-stand and a single sustain pedal are commonly used for this type of instrument.

Pro tip: Never skip to purchasing a stand and a pedal for digital piano or keyboard. With a sustain pedal, playing a continuous or sustaining sound will be much better to hear, and with a stand, you don’t have to worry about where to place the instrument.

5. Budget-wise

Last but not least is budget-wise, at the end of the day, everyone has a certain limitation on how much money they are willing to spend on a musical instrument.

At TMW Store, the digital keyboard price range is starting from $199 and the digital piano price range is starting from $549. You can check all of the products at our musical instruments store.

digital piano is more expensive than keyboard


Whatever type of instrument you choose, always remember that diligence and hard work in practice make a difference in developing your piano technique. If you still need more information about these two instruments, rest assured our team is more than welcome to help you, just fill in the form below and our team will get back to you soon.

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