Buy Portable Electronic Keyboard or Digital Piano?

Learn about the various Types of Electric Keyboards, and whether you should consider buying a portable keyboard or a digital piano. Tips on how to buy digital piano or an electronic keyboard. Read this before reading reviews of the the best electronic piano keyboards.

buying piano, buying electronic keyboard When choosing digital products, you should have some basic understanding of the various jargon/specs so that you can select the right one for your needs.

Most of the time, these two terms (‘portable keyboards’ and ‘digital pianos’) are used interchangeably, and the term ‘electric keyboard’ can be used to describe both, there are some definite differences between portable keyboards and digital pianos. The more notable differences being size, number of keys, type of touch, features, and cost.

  • Portable keyboards are lightweight, have about 61 keys or lesser, can be packed in a gig bag and carried around. The cheaper ones are extremely light and plasticy, but suitable for learning.
  • Digital pianos have 76/88 keys, have weighted keys (semi-weighted options are also available). It may look portable (minus the cabinet) but its still heavy. Though musicians who play the piano don’t mind lugging around a 88-key digital piano to gigs.

You also have the option of choosing the best of all the worlds, a product with fully-weighted piano like keys, combined with a wide range of features (Voices, Song Banks, etc.)

Here are some more indicators to help you out with buying a piano or a music keyboard.

Whether a digital piano or a portable keyboard will suit your needs better would depend on various factors, most important ones being:

  • your inclination towards technology
  • your liking for a particular style of music
  • your budget
  • whether you have learnt before
  • what kind of keyboard player you are or want to become

buying piano, buying electronic keyboard

Should You Be Buying Piano?

If you are a person who likes the piano because:

  • You like its beautiful piano sounds
  • You like its great looks
  • You are just content with playing the music you like on the piano (classical, jazz, blues etc.) without being bothered if there are hundreds of effects or other instrument sounds

This gives an indication that you should be buying piano. If your interests are mostly geared towards piano, then a Digital Piano is your choice.

A digital piano can be a cost effective solution to your need, and some of the electric piano models will also give you all the arranging features which you may start using later on.

Read more on different types & looks of digital pianos here…

Should You Buy An Arranger Keyboard?

On the other hand:

  • You are a beginner who wants to take his first step towards playing
  • You are excited by the various sounds, styles, and effects which a keyboard offers
  • You want to play with a group of friends or for a band
  • You like creating your own music, and arranging it

This tells that you should be buying keyboard – a musical keyboard or a synthesizer workstation.

For onstage performances or using backing tracks, learning to play, or for songwriting, an Arranger Keyboard will be a better instrument and will serve you well.

Many Choices in Electric Piano Keyboards

Now that you have an understanding of the basic features that are available on keyboards, you have several options that you may consider, if you have decided to go for a digital piano.

  • Go for a 76 or 88 key grand keyboard, the one that comes with arranger features. You may choose semi-synth style keys if you are used to playing keyboards
  • Go for an 88 key digital piano with authentic weighted keys. You have options to choose a model with arranger features or you may choose one without all those extras
  • If you are more into computer music production, you may consider an 88 key keyboard controller with weighted keys
  • For those, who intend to perform, some cool synth pianos with cutting edge features are available.

How to Select a Digital Piano Keyboard?

There are several things that you would need to bear in mind when you look for a new keyboard instruments, depending on your budget, skills and intended use.

For most beginners it would be either a piano or a keyboard at an affordable price. For intermediate and experienced players the instrument will need specific features depending on whether the board is going to be used for performance or in the studio.

In any case, you are encouraged to get a feel of all shortlisted piano keyboards by visiting a local store.

  • Go and lay your hands on every piano keyboard that fits in your budget.
  • Play the keys and check if you are comfortable with the feel (more for the piano guys)
  • If you have never owned an arranger before, ask for a demo of all the important functions, if that’s what you’re interest in.
  • Always keep an eye for bundled packages. You may get some surprise piano accessories.

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