01 Feb Top 5 Portable Digital Pianos Under $1000 – REVIEW | LOWER PRICE
By: Professor Tim
Top 5 Best Portable Digital Pianos – Under $1000 | REVIEW for 2023 | LOWER PRICES HERE | Kawai ES120 $899 internet price, Yamaha P-125 $699 internet price, Korg XE20SP $950 internet price, Casio PX-S1100 at $699 internet price, and the Casio PX-S3100 at $879 internet price.
As an expert for many years on all digital pianos, I know from personal experience that a lot of digital piano shoppers are looking for a good portable digital piano under $1000 which they can easily transport, take with them, play at home, set it up in a small space, and even put it away if they want to store it somewhere. There are some very good portable digital pianos in the marketplace but in our experienced opinion the top 5 portable digital pianos are as I just mentioned, Casio PXS-1100, Casio PX-S3100, Kawai ES120, Korg XE20SP, and Yamaha P-125.
There are others out there under $1000 and under $500 that I would consider “off brands” that we don’t recommend like Williams, Artesia, Donner, Suzuki, Alesis, and a few more off brands that you can find on Amazon. However, we do not recommend them because they just don’t play or sound like real pianos…they are noticeably more artificial in sound and they play more like keyboards/toys with uneven touch and tone.
When it comes to choosing the top 5 digital pianos under $1000, stick with the ones I talk about here because they will be worth it in the end and you’ll be glad you got one of them.
1. Casio PX-S3100 digital piano | $879 internet price | The #1 portable digital piano under $1000 right now that we think is the best buy for what you get is the new Casio PX-S3100. The reasons for this are pretty simple: you get way more for the money than other digital pianos in its class. When you see a ball get “knock out of the park” as they say, this one certainly qualifies for that description.
To start off with…this model offers Bluetooth stereo wireless audio and MIDI connectivity, battery power on 6 AA batteries which runs it for a total of 4 hours wherever you want to take it, and a 3D surround sound internal stereo speaker system that has a stereo sound like you have never heard before in a small portable digital piano.
This model only weighs 24 lbs which makes it the lightest of all self contained digital pianos, measures 52″ wide x 9″ deep x 4″ high so it’s super slim, has a linear graded piano weighted key action that is quiet with excellent responsive piano weighted keys for each key and has very nice synthetic “ivory & ebony feel” keytops for a more inviting tactile feel when touching the keys.
The synthetic ebony & ivory also helps absorb sweat from fingers and looks very classy as well. The PX-S3100 has a 192-note stereo polyphony piano sound chip which keeps the notes going with no drop-out (as they call it), it offers 700 instrument sounds with many being especially usable and real, along with 200 interactive accompaniment backing tracks (some really sound great) for a full accompaniment band experience.
The PX-S3100 is packed with functions and features that I have not seen before in this price range including a good size built-in LCD screen to display the functions you select and the piano control panel top is completely smooth and streamlined with no visual buttons at all…until you power up the piano. Once you power it up then you see a few rows of LED lights that are virtual touch sensor buttons so you can select 100’s of sounds, features, and functions instantly for a wide range of musical enjoyment.
There’s also a brand new intuitive proprietary app from Casio called “Casio Music Space” that allows you to control the piano from the color touch screen on your tablet device which helps you to better maneuver through all the functions and features of this piano in ways that Casio has never offered before and that no other manufacturer in the price range has ever had. It’s an amazing app to use no matter what age or experience level you are and allows you to do some extra musical things that the PX-S3100 does not do on its own.
The PX-S3100 also can play full multi-track General MIDI song files that sound incredible through the piano’s superior internal sound system along with being able to record and play audio wav files and utilizing internal studio quality special effects normally found in digital pianos far above $1500. The PX-S3100 also has a professional pitch bench wheel and 2 programmable controller knobs that let you access special effects and functions in “real-time” just like pro musicians like to do…and it’s great to use at home as well.
The connectivity in this piano is also impressive with 2 pro quality 1/4″ audio outputs, a stereo audio input (which can be used for a mic), a USB/MIDI output to device, and a USB thumbdrive input for loading, recording, playing, and saving song recordings. But what makes the PX-S3000 super outstanding is how super impressive it is as a piano when you play it, hear it, experience it, and as a full orchestra, synth, organ, vintage electric piano, and one-man band with backing tracks.
When you combine the hundreds of very cool and useful features in this instrument along with its small, compact size and other capabilities including having battery power to go anywhere…in our opinion the PX-S3100 is unbeatable right now under $1000 for a self-contained portable digital piano.
By the way, just so you know, even though this is an obviously glowing review of the PX-S3100, we tell it like it is, we don’t work for any of the manufacturers and don’t get paid for our reviews. We just happen to really love this product, especially as compared to what the other brands have to offer right now with regard to the features in this model.
2. Casio PX-S1100 | $699 internet price | The #2 portable digital piano for 2023 under $1000 is the Casio PX-S1100 (not including optional stand and triple pedal unit). Casio captures the #2 spot because the new piano key action, grand piano sound, and pedaling technology in this model (like it’s big brother the PX-S3100) far surpasses the other brands and models under $1000 with regard to offering the most natural, organic piano playing experience for a portable in this price range whether you’re a more advanced piano player or just a beginner.
The PX-S1100 has made a big impact in its price range because of the very impressive features offered in this model and for the first time in any portable digital piano under $1000 other than the PX-S3100, Casio includes Bluetooth wireless audio connectivity from external devices, battery power from 6 AA batteries so you can play this piano anywhere, anytime independent from a connected power source, and a “3D surround sound speaker system” that sounds twice as full and clear as it would if the sound was only coming through its normal 16 watt, 2-speaker sound system.
The cabinet design is very unique as compared to any other portable digital piano out there by offering a smooth top control panel with a “no-button” flat surface and a lighted LED touch-sensor “virtual button” technology that only appears when the instrument is powered on and then it works great and easy to see in dark environments too. When you put all that together with an amazing 3-sensor, linear graded/piano-weighted key action and grand piano sound that has never existed under $1000 on any instrument, this piano really has a huge “WOW factor” when you see it and play it.
The PX-S1100 comes in either black, white, or custom red and weighs just 24 lbs and measures 52″ long x 9″ deep x 4″ high, so is very slim and portable and easy to carry around. Casio also makes a custom option gig bag/carry case for this model so that you can take it anywhere. This piano has all the connectivity you could want in a piano like this including dual audio outputs, stereo audio input, USB/MIDI output to device, and 2 mini stereo headphone jacks.
Casio also has a proprietary app for this model called “Casio Music Space” which allows you to more easily control all of the functions in this model and manipulate them in ways you just cannot do on any other brand or model in this price range. But what sets this piano apart from all other digital pianos around the $700 range is how this instrument sounds and feels to play when it comes to piano music.
There are other very nice instrument sounds and functions in this model, but it’s really all about piano playing and being able to get a higher quality instrument in the price range of the normally lesser realistic digital pianos that are in the market now. However, the vastly increased grand piano selections, functions, features, sounds and other upgrades on Casio’s bigger brother PX-S3100 are so numerous and compelling that for just $200 more it makes no sense to me to settle for the PX-S1100 when you could have the PX-S3100…assuming you can increase your budget to do so.
If there is any way possible for you to increase your budget and purchase the new PX-S3100 instead, you will be way ahead of the technology and piano playing curve for many, many years and it’s just a better overall long-term investment in my opinion.
However, if you are limited in funds and cannot stretch up to the PX-S3100, then the PX-S1100 is an excellent choice and well worth the difference over any model below it from any digital piano manufacturer including Casio’s lower price entry level digital pianos.
Korg XE20SP Digital Piano with stand & pedals
3. Korg XE20 & XE20SP (with stand and triple pedals) Review – $850 & $950 internet price | #3 digital piano on our list. The Korg XE20 is really an amazing portable digital piano from a very well known and respected prop keyboard and digital piano company. Korg is a Japanese music products company and has been in business for many decades,. Their products are used all over the world by pro players, studios, piano teachers, pro stage musicians, churches, schools, etc.
The new XE20 is Korg’s latest portable digital piano that combines an impressive piano playing experience with lots of innovative interactive features including one-man-band accompaniment styles that sound like the “real thing.”
No matter how you want to make music and no matter what music styles you like including classical, jazz, rock, Latin, country, swing, big band, 50’s, 60’s, 70′ all the way up to the music of today, this Korg XE20 can do it all. I was impressed by it’s massive 36 watt internal stereo sound system that puts out the biggest, richest sound of any portable digital piano under $1000. At just 26 lbs the Korg XE20 is very lightweight so that you can easily pick it up and take it anywhere or you can keep it at home and get the XE20SP which includes the proprietary furniture stand and triple pedal unit.
The hundreds of instrument sounds built into this model are the best I have ever heard in this price range and those sounds are so good because they come from Korg’s professional stage pianos that are well over $2000. There are amazing vintage electric pianos, B3 organs, church and classical pipe organs, violins, string orchestras, french horns, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, guitars of all kinds synth sounds, pads, and just about anything else you can think of.
You can mix any 3 sounds together at one time for an unbelievably full, rich layered tone as well as being able to split the keyboard sounds into 2 sections.The XE20 has special effects to add to the depth of tone along with a 12-track midi recorder and the ability to play back both MP3 and wav file audio formats.
The XE20 has a huge digital user interface display screen that is easy to see in daylight or night and the buttons are soft touch and easy to use. The cabinet itself looks great in it’s fairly compact but visually elegant case and it comes with a large music rack to hold your music.
If you just want to play piano then the XE20 does that very well with a balanced and weighted Korg piano key action that is better than many others I have played on other brands in this price range. When it comes to the piano sound Korg offers 2 main sampled sounds from the Italian Fazioli grand piano and the German Steinway piano. Beyond that there are a few other acoustic piano sounds that I like very much and it’s definitely enjoyable to mix those piano sounds together to create a more complex piano tone and even combine that with strings, choirs, synths, etc for just regular play.
There really is so much you can do on this instrument but the bottom line is that it just sounds great. Is it the best there is out there…no. That’s because there are other great portable digital pianos from other top brands, but they are in much higher price ranges over $1500 and on up and the XE20 rivals many things those other pianos can do.
So for the $899 and $999 for the SP version with full stand and triple pedal (which I recommend), it’s really hard to beat this new Korg XE20 for all that it can do and get a reliable instrument from a highly respected music products company like Korg. If you want more info or to get one for even less money, please contact us ASAP, especially because there are many product shortages right now.
4. Kawai ES120 Review – $899 internet price | The #4 portable digital piano is the Kawai ES120 which is Kawai’s lowest priced digital piano. This is a brand new model and is a very popular digital piano mainly for its impressive and quiet key action, stereo 88-key sampled piano sound, pedaling response, and cabinet design. It also comes in three very attractive cabinet colors and an optional furniture style stand and triple pedal unit are available at extra cost..
The new ES120 is focused primarily on the piano playing experience offering a very good variety of stereo sampled acoustic piano sounds and a few other instrument sounds such as strings, electric pianos, bells, etc. It has 192-note polyphony power for piano playing although the keytops don’t have the synthetic ebony & ivory material like the Casio pianos but instead have an attractive matte finish on the keys.
This piano is fairly simple to use although there is no LED or LCD user display but it does have a tablet/device controller app available called “Piano Remote” so when it comes to accessing some of the deeper functions within this instrument, it’s very intuitive in that way. However, based on my experience with players and piano students, most people will just play the Kawai ES120 as a piano. It is a very portable digital piano weighing in at about 26lbs and measuring 52″ long x 11″ deep x 6″ high.
The sound/function buttons are fairly easy to access at the top left of the control panel and the internal speakers are more than adequate with 14 watts total power going through 2 high capacity internal speakers.
The Kawai ES120 also has Bluetooth wireless connectivity which can be very useful. MIDI Bluetooth allows you to connect with MIDI apps on your iPad or Android without using connector cables plugged in, so that can be convenient. Bluetooth Audio is the the more popular Bluetooth wireless to connect your digital music library wirelessly to the piano speaker system and that’s what this new model has.
Overall I really like the ES120 for piano playing and it does have a lighter piano key action than the Casio models and Korg, but there are some people who need and want a lighter piano key action. That could be a benefit for a number of people on the ES120 while still having enough weight to feel like an acoustic piano. We highly recommend this model and it even has Bluetooth connectivity.
5. Yamaha P-125 Review – $699 internet price | The #5 portable digital piano for 2022 is the Yamaha P-125 which is their most popular portable digital piano under $1000. This one is by far the most popular due to the piano sound, features, functions, internal speaker system, and key action. Also in some ways this piano has a very convincing piano sound that is impessive, but not as natural as the new Kawai ES120, but I also much prefer the key action of the ES120 over this Yamaha P-125.
This is because Yamaha uses the same entry level key action in the P-125 for all their digital pianos under $1200 and although that key action is overall pretty good, it just has too much resistance and a springy sort of key movement for me personally, although for other people it could be just fine. But as far as “piano-like” key actions go, this P125 GHS key action is not anywhere close to the Kawai and Casio’s as far as I am concerned.
However, I do like some of the acoustic piano tones in the P-125 and the speaker system is fairly powerful and projects those sounds pretty well like the Kawai ES120. With regard to piano sound projection, the Yamaha sounds very good through its internal 4-speaker, 14 watt system. However, when you use the 3D surround sound technology in the Casio PXS series, or the outstanding internal sound system of the Korg XE20, then the Casio and Korg are out in front in terms of how the sound projects through their internal speaker systems and the added clarity and resonance that they offer.
As for other nice features in the Yamaha P-125, it has 24 instrument sounds including 4 acoustic piano tones, it can split two sounds on the keyboard, it can layer/mix any two sounds together, it has 192 notes of polyphony which is the same as the Casio and Kawai, it has reverb/echo effects, a 2-track 1-song MIDI recorder, a built-in digital metronome, and has a transpose feature.
It has stereo headphone jacks, audio outputs, USB/MIDI output to device, and you can purchase an optional stand a 3-pedalbar to make it look and work more like an actual piano. The P-125 key action does not have the synthetic ivory/ebony keytops like the Casio which I happen to like quite a bit.
Yamaha does have a very cool proprietary app called “Smart Pianist” which allows you to control some but not all the P-125 features from an iPad device. It’s very intuitive to use and helps you navigate the features and functions more easily. The P-125 also has a very nice feature called “bass & drum backing tracks” which allows you to have 20 different basic accompaniments to play along with. It’s like having a drummer and bass player playing along with you and it follows the chords you are playing so it’s always in the right key.
This is a fun feature and I like it for rhythm training and learning to play by ear. The P-125 weighs in at 26lbs and measures approx 52″ long x 12″ deep x 7″ high so it’s portable enough but not quite as compact as the Casio PXS models or as amazing as the Korg XE20, but that model is $200 more. Overall this Yamaha piano is a good choice in its price range and we do recommend it. As always and with all digital pianos, we can help you order for less money than internet and Amazon discount pricing along with free shipping, no tax, brand new, with new factory warranty.
Korg B2 portable digital piano | $599 internet price (without optional stand or triple pedal unit) | We added the Korg B2 portable digital piano as a “bonus” digital piano because it should be in this Top 5 group because of its lower price for what you get. It has piano weighted keys, a powerful internal 30 watt speaker system, and stereo grand piano sound. Its smaller and lightweight and has some impressive features. The B2SP is the version we recommend because for just $150 more at $749 you get the furniture stand & triple pedal unit which is the one we recommend. Please read my full review on this model to learn more about it at the following link: Korg B2 digital piano review
You really cannot go wrong with any of these models because they all have some nice features. But the biggest bang for the buck out of all of them in our opinion is the brand Casio PX-S3100 for $879 or the Korg XE20SP at $949. Even these though these 2 models are more money than the Kawai ES120, Roland FP30X, Yamaha P-125, and Casio PX-S1100, the Casio PX-S3100 and Korg XE20SP in our opinion are definitely worth the extra money for a variety of reasons. If you are already spending between $500 to $700 for a good portable digital piano, then going up to $879 and over $1000 for an outstanding portable digital piano makes more sense to me, especially if you plan on keeping it for a long time.
Whichever one you choose, please contact us because we are the digital piano EXPERTS. Please do not purchase any piano from anyone until you find out how we can save you even more money over what’s out there on Amazon, internet, or stores including free shipping, no tax, full factory warranty, along with discounts on factory accessories. We can also show you how to get special 6 month (no interest) financing if that may be of interest to you.
Lower price than Amazon or Internet