Keyboard Vs Digital Piano ? Which is better ?

Its borderline difficult for general audience to differentiate between Digital Piano Vs Keyboard.

As a rule of thumb for majority of peoples - "Any musical device with black and white keys is termed as Keyboard".

Somehow, The visual characterization justifies the definition, but the core functionalities and purpose of both instruments are far-flung for musicians

Well, it may differ with different flavors like the quality, design, price, brand and even your comparability.

Of course, you will find many out there.

But as you start scanning the market, you will eventually realize that it’s almost impossible to track the one which is solely made for you.

So, why not cut some slack for yourself ?

For those who are new to the musical realm or industry, it is very difficult for them to choose between Digital Piano & Keyboard.

And choosing between them can sometime be a real drag.

As both, digital piano and keyboard are more or less alike. However, sleek, but it does have some significant differences.

Technically speaking, any instruments that you play with keys are the KEYBOARD instruments.

It includes Digital pianos, Synthesizers, music Work-Stations, Arrangers & many MIDI controllers.

There's lots of further granular categorization & difference between keyboards & digital pianos based on its Core Intrinsic Function.

So, rest assured and allow us to clear your dilemma regarding the difference pertaining to the Digital Piano & Keyboards.

Also, which instrument best suits your playing and follows your style.

Accordingly, giving the right vibe, as one of your kind.

So, first its important to learn what a digital piano and a keyboard is.

Never make a mistake of using them interchangeably as they both serves the different purpose. Let’s get started.

Digital Piano

Also, you don’t require much space to fix it in your music room. It can easily be transported making it convenient for you to carry it for your live show, parties and even your practice room.

Now the question is, how will you recognize whether it a digital piano or not? So, start looking for the following characteristics, if you are out to buy one.

DP vs Acoustic




If we talk about keyboards it won’t be exaggerating to say it as a ALL PURPOSE KEYBOARD.

Unlike the vintage acoustic piano, a keyboard is known for its wide section of sound and polyphony.

Its’s sleek design and handsome look adds to its feature.

If you are out to buy a Keyboard, look for the following characteristics.

This way you can easily differentiate between a keyboard and other instruments.

The Keyboard features the 3 main characteristics,

  • *The keys on the keyboards do not possess the weighted action feature & feels lighter to your touch.
  • *A Standard portable keyboard usually comes with numerous sounds. Such as, pianos, guitars, orchestral instruments, organs, harmonicas & a variety of electronically synthesized sounds.

Advantage of keyboard over Digital Piano:

  • A keyboard is far more light-weighted than a digital piano.
  • It features more sound option when compared to a digital or traditional piano.
  • A Keyboard is pocket friendly instrument.
  • Also, it is easily portable.

Disadvantage of keyboard over Digital Piano:

  • A keyboard does not have weighted action keys on them. Whereas, a digital piano does..
  • It features no pedals, unlike the piano.
  • Some features on a keyboard may be too advanced for the beginners to understand.

Comprehensive Difference : Digital Piano Vs Keyboards

I am sure the above description might have given you the rough sketch but let’s dive deeper in the instrument and figure out which one should you go for.

We will use basis points or parameters to have a standard comparison between the Digital Piano and the Keyboard.


Piano Keys

It is said that an instrument with good keys are more durable, maximizes overall authenticity, and allows you to be more expressive and natural.

Digital Piano:

The digital piano has a highlighting appearance with great simple yet a modern look.

The clean and fine built makes it ideal for concert. 

The sleek and authentic design not only brightens up your living room but also gives you the feel of a real grand or acoustic piano.


Whereas, the Keyboard mostly comes with 61 notes of keys. But it does have few variants of 76, 88, 49, & 32 keys. 

You wont necessarily found these variants of keys on the present-day keyboards often.

Therefore, considered as an exception. Unlike a digital piano, keyboards do not have weighted or graded action keys.

Rather the keys are touch sensitive means, the more pressure you apply to them the more sound it will create.

Choosing between the two is solely your decision.

If you like the 88 note weighted action keys then go for the digital piano.

And if you are fascinated by the 61 notes touch sensitive keys then, the keyboard is the one for you.


Design of Digital Pianos
Compact Design of Keyboard

Design of the instrument may be one of the important criteria to choose between the two.

It is rightly said by David Lewis, “truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form”.

The digital piano and the Keyboard, both features some exceptionally unique design that not only looks attractive but also serves the right purpose.

Digital Piano:

The digital piano has a highlighting appearance with great simple yet a modern look.

The clean and fine built makes it ideal for concert.

The sleek and authentic design not only brightens up your living room but also gives you the feel of a real grand or acoustic piano.


The keyboards on the other hand, is designed small, compact and portable.

It has that handsome look which attracts many players to own one.

From top to bottom the keyboards are the piece of an art which you would definitely like to have it.

Sound Quality

Sound Quality is the heart and soul of these devices, but on a flat note, On the basis of sound quality/richness neither the digital piano or keyboard can resonate the sound of Acoustic counterpart. 

Digital Piano:

As mentioned earlier, a digital piano is a total replica of a traditional acoustic piano.

So, the sound produced or created by them gives you the feel of playing the real acoustic or grand piano.

However, it may not display the feature of the authentic acoustic and may fall off a bit once in a while.

But not to worry as it only gets enhanced as you go up the line with an advanced version.

They not only feature the piano sound but also has many other.

Such as, the pipe organs, electric pianos, Hammond organ and harpsichord.

The presence of these sound source makes the digital piano more versatile and performance friendly.


When we talk about the keyboards, we already know that they feature a lot more sounds as compared to the digital pianos.

This feature of the keyboard makes it more likeable as it helps the players in their practice. But you cannot expect them to sound like or even have the sound effect of an authentic acoustic piano.

Except this, the overall sound quality and effects are totally head over heels.


Piano Pedals

For those who are new, must be wondering what are these pedals for.

No, its not the bicycle pedal but you can say, that it functions likewise.

For instance: When you apply force and push the bicycle pedal, the bicycle moves forward.

Similarly, when you use the pedals in an instrument, it does not move rather changes the effect for your music and brighten, sustain or soften the tones. 

Making the piece you play, sound warm or cool accordingly.

Digital Piano:

Whereas, the Digital Piano does have this essential part and is in built.

Moreover, to make your playing more versatile they feature a group of 3 pedal stand. Namely, Sustain Pedal, Sostenuto Pedal, & Soft Pedal.

These pedals play a big role in increasing the emotions in your playing.


So, when you compare the digital piano and a keyboard on this basis, you will find that the keyboard does not have any pedals.

Thus, you cannot change the atmosphere or mood while you play the keyboard.

But it’s not like you cannot have them attached to your instrument.

That is, the keyboard exclusively provides you with a jack where you can attach the external pedals for the market.

The only difference is, they are not in built with the instrument.


Various dimension of musical keyboards

Another crucial factor to consider while picking anyone among two, is the Portability factor.

Many of you out there are seeking for this particular factor in your instrument.

So, let’s find out which one is more portable or light weighed.

Digital Piano:

When it comes to digital piano, I am sure you all will agree with me; if I say that it is heavier than the keyboard.

Given the design and features like pedals and stands, its not surprising to weigh more than the keyboard.

But its not that heavy as a boulder that you cannot move it.

You can definitely port it from one place to another.

The digital piano occupies more space in your music room.

So, if you have enough room (space) to fix a piano, then you think of having them.


On the other hand, the keyboard is designed small, compact, lighter and is therefore easily portable.

Unlike the digital piano, it does have many in built feature which makes it easy on a go.

Moreover, you require much space if are going to have a keyboard.

As it can be easily fixed anywhere without any hassle.

Therefore, the ultimate choice is totally upon you.

If you have enough room and can overlook the slight heaviness when to keyboard, then you can go for the Digital piano.

Otherwise, keyboard is the one that you must seek.


Digital Piano Vs Keyboard Prices

The factor which you are silently waiting for is here.

The price factor is undoubtedly something to look for when you are going to buy any musical instrument.

Especially, here when both the instrument has a sleek difference.

Let’s find out how the price structure follows for the digital piano and the keyboard.

Digital Piano:

When compared with a keyboard, digital piano does fall back in terms of price.

They have set their bar high and are priced more than the keyboard.

But the price is worth investing for, considering the in-built features and functions they offer.

If you want to experience the feel of a vintage acoustic piano and becoming a pro then the digital piano is economical for you.


The keyboard goes with the tag “affordable & portable”.

This means the keyboard is the most affordable and low-priced instrument when compared to the piano.

Therefore, the ultimate choice is totally upon you.

If you have enough room and can overlook the slight heaviness when to keyboard, then you can go for the Digital piano.

Otherwise, keyboard is the one that you must seek.


digital piano


Keys and Action

88 - Graded Weighted Hammer

61 - 76 Touch Sensitive


Highly Selective Sounds

Plethora of Sounds


$500+ (Expensive)

<$500 (Affordable)


Requires Decent Size Space

Slim and Compact Adjustment


Built - In


Suitable For

All levels

Few highly technical features

Various Categories and Forms of Pianos

Pianos has drastically changed its forms and mechanism since its innovation.

With each significant evolution the instrument has been modified and customized to serve different genres and purpose of the performers.

Lets look at the popular forms of Pianos :

Traditional Console Piano

Traditional Console Piano

The design of a traditional console digital piano is created to compliment both electronic organ and harpsichord. 

Unlike, the organ and harpsichord, the traditional piano does not have a closed bottom section.

Rather features a hollow bottom which makes it less heavy than the others.

The other design of traditional piano is inspired by the upright piano.

Those designs feature an enclosed lower part of the instrument and the weighted pedals as well.

Earlier, the pianos were designed in a traditional form giving them the authenticity and superiority of vintage feel.

But with the invention of new technology and advance generation, the idea of traditional piano and their design is changing for good.

Now, the manufactures are aiming to create a masterpiece with exceptional design, and the one which cannot be dragged down in a long run.

Top manufacturers like, KAWAI, YAMAHA & CASIO are striving for that particular goal.

Because of the structure, the traditional piano is difficult to move and hence, is not portable.

You can use it in a fixed place like for classroom lesson, your studio or home practice.

Upright Piano

Upright Digital Piano

The upright piano is a type of subset of a traditional piano.

That means, it originated and upgraded from the actual traditional piano.

The upright digital piano features a classical and elegant structure of the piano which is similar to an acoustic upright piano.

The lower part of these pianos is fully enclosed and are therefore not ideal for transporting.

You can fix it in a particular place in your room or studio and can give up the ides of shifting it continuously.

The upright piano is one of the most expensive pianos when compared to its other design.

Baby grand piano

Grand and Baby Grand Digital Piano

The Grand type is one of the most unusual and rare type of digital piano. It is very similar to the grand piano.

Whereas, the baby grand pianos offers same functionality but are only smaller in dimensions.

As the grand type features many characteristics such as weighted action keys, superior sound quality and system with similar arrangements to that of a real grand piano.

It is the top notch model, designed by few manufacturers and hence, has the superior price.

Console or Hybrid Piano

Hybrid Digital Piano

As the name suggests, hybrid means a blend of two.

Here, the hybrid form means that the features of this piano is a blend of two instruments.

It has the high performance of actual piano and superior sample of acoustic piano.

The idea initially started in 1980's by the Roland.

And since then, it received the momentum and today is being manufactured by many producers.

Today, you will find many manufacturers who are creating the high quality and performance-based piano.

They live up to the expectations of their customers and the final product produced are incomparable.

Some of the top, well know companies producing the digital pianos are:

  • Casio
  • Roland
  • Suzuki
  • Yamaha
  • Kawai
  • Korg
  • Dynatone
  • Dexibell
  • Clavia
  • Kurzwell

Types and Features Keyboards

keyboard piano

The small, compact, portable and affordable instrument made a big impact in the instrument market.

Its unique design and remarkable features grabbed the major area but what made it more successful is its price.

Such features within your budget is something not to be ignored.

The keyboard comes with many different components or mechanisms.

Theses mechanisms adds to its worthiness. 

So, let’s have a quick look on the mechanisms of the keyboard.

Key Features of Keyboard

common features of musical keyboards

A standard and modern keyboard commonly includes the following features.

  • Musical keyboard
  • Interface system
  • Computerized musical arranger
  • Sound system
  • MIDI In/Out
  • Speakers & amps
  • Power supply
  • Memory drive
  • External memory device
  • Music stand
  • Sustain jack

Like the digital pianos, keyboards also come in different design and types.

It can be classified in different forms based on features, design and its customers.

Types of Keyboard Pianos

  • Digital pianos
  • Stage Piano
  • Synthesizer
  • Workstation
  • MIDI Controller
  • Keytars


Differences of Digital Piano and Keyboards with Example

To make the difference between the digital piano and keyboard more sensible, let’s understand it with an example. 

In this example, Korg B2 represents our digital piano pick while the Casio CT X5000 represents the keyboard section.

The comparison is under the following heads.


Korg b2 (Digital PiANO)

Casio CT X5000 (Keyboard)


Korg B2
Casio CT X5000


4.61” x 51.65” x 13.23”

4.6” x 37.3” x 15.1”


25 Lbs - Portable

14 Lbs - Portable




Types of Keys

Weighted hammer action keys

Touch sensitive keys


12 in built song sample

Approx. 40,000 notes (1 song)


12 piano and organs

800 tones, 150 arpeggiators, 235 rhythms


Reverb & chorus

Reverb, chorus, delay, dynamics processing & master EQ


120 notes

64 notes


No LCD display

Features a bright LCD display

Speaker and Amps

2 speakers of 3.9” 2 * amp of 15W

2 speakers of 3.9” of 15 W


In built Damper pedal

Expression and assignable pedals. These are not in built


Features Software like Skoove, KORG Module Le, KORG Gadget 2 Le, metronome, 1 USB.

Features Headphone connectivity, 2 USB, WAV, flash drive, recorder.

Decision Time

which is good keyboard or piano

After reading this article I am sure you will be able to figure out what is right for you.

The decision of choosing between the digital piano and a keyboard is surely tough but not impossible.

Once you are sure what you need, what you prefer then it becomes a lot easier for you to grab onto.

The above description will definitely help to clear your doubts between the two and choose the one which you like.

This time around there is no recommendation from our side.

As we have focused on transparent and unbiased feature of both the instrument.

Its up to you, if have more space, need more authentic acoustic feel with graded keys, you can go for the digital pianos. 

Provided you don’t mind spending for money.

But if you need something compact and portable, something that’s withing your budget and features a lot more feature, then keyboard is best for you.

Provided you don’t mind comprising the graded feel and in built pedals.

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Author - Daniel Cooper

About the author

Daniel Cooper loves to make weird sounds by pressing the Black & White Buttons on the instrument and claims to be a musician.

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