7 Best Yamaha Keyboards of 2024

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There's no denying that Yamaha is king when it comes to digital pianos and keyboards — no matter if we're talking about budget models or high-end powerhouses. But how exactly do you find the right one for you?

The best Yamaha keyboard for you will allow you to take your piano skills to a whole new level, without breaking the bank and taking into account your own personal preferences.

In this article, I've done my best to pick out the seven best Yamaha keyboards on the market. You can use these recommendations as a starting point, and do further research with the help of the buyer's guide I included after the list!

Our #1 pick is the Yamaha CK88 — a versatile digital piano that blends together the world of stage pianos and at-home models. And the best part? It's surprisingly affordable, taking into account all the features it offers.

The best Yamaha keyboard for you will be a one-way ticket to leveling up your piano skills — let's find the right one for you:

Quick Summary of the Best Yamaha Keyboards

  1. Yamaha CK88 (Best Overall)
  2. Yamaha P-143 (Best for Tight Budgets)
  3. avYamaha MODX8+ (Best Workstation Keyboard)
  4. Yamaha Arius YDP-S55B (Best for At-Home Practice)
  5. Yamaha Reface CS (Best Synth)
  6. Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 (Best for Carrying Around)
  7. Yamaha AvantGrand NU1XA (Best High-End Piano)

Best Yamaha Keyboards

Best Overall

The Yamaha CK88 is the perfect mix between a top-notch stage piano and a portable practice instrument, making it a fantastic pick for pretty much everyone.
Why We Love It
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Versatile pick
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363 different voicings
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Top-notch sound

SPECS

  • Keys: 88 GHS keys
  • Voices: 363 instruments
  • Polyphony: 128 notes

The Yamaha CK88 is the result of blending together the very best of Yamaha digital pianos. Featuring the playability and expressiveness of an acoustic piano, the versatility of a synthesizer, and the I/O of a MIDI controller, I can assure you — the CK88 delivers. That said, if you need a designated controller with all the top-notch bells and whistles, go for one of the best MIDI keyboards we reviewed.

The CK88 is equipped with 88 graded hammer standard action keys, which respond just like a real instrument. As for the voices included, you'll find an outstanding 363 presets including several piano sounds, organs, brass, and strings, among others.

But that's not all! The synth sounds are entirely modifiable when it comes to envelope and filter controls, and the organ sounds allow for real-time drawbar management. And if you're still looking for some extra sweeteners, the Yamaha CK88 features several effects such as reverb, delay, and modulation.

All in all, the Yamaha CK88 is a versatile choice that can work either as a stage piano or an at-home practice keyboard. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced pianist, I can assure you the CK88 does not disappoint — and even more so when you take into account the price tag.

What Could Be Improved

  • Can be a bit expensive for beginners

Best for Tight Budgets

The Yamaha P-143 is an easy top pick for anyone who has dreamt of having the classic Yamaha sound quality at an affordable price.
Why We Love It
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Budget-friendly pick
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Surprisingly lightweight
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Great for beginners

SPECS

  • Keys: 88 GHC keys
  • Voices: 10 instruments
  • Polyphony: 64 notes

The Yamaha P-143 is nothing short of amazing. Most 88-key pianos would never even get close to going below the 500-dollar barrier, but the P-143 takes everything a step further. If you're on a tight budget, then this keyboard will be everything you've ever dreamed of.

Featuring 88 weighted graded hammer compact keys, 64-note polyphony, and 10 top-of-the-line instrument voices, the P-143 will suit every beginner's needs. But don't get me wrong — the incredibly realistic feel of the keybed also makes it a solid choice for more advanced players.

The two 7-watt built-in speakers are also fantastic for at-home practice, delivering a balanced sound that rivals that of most of its competitors. Pair that with the top-notch Yamaha CFIIIS piano sounds, and you've got yourself a delightful sonic playground at your fingertips.

The Yamaha P-143 is surprisingly lightweight too, coming in at less than 25 pounds. Similarly, the sleek interface allows it to cut down on unnecessary clutter — making it a great digital piano for live players and beginners alike. Trust me: you just can't go wrong with this one.

What Could Be Improved

  • Only 10 instruments

Best Workstation Keyboard

The Yamaha MODX8+ is a jack-of-all-trades, allowing you to enjoy the arranger experience at the price tag of an affordable digital piano.
Why We Love It
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DAW-like workflow
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Incredibly versatile
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Tons of features

SPECS

  • Keys: 88 GHS keys
  • Voices: 200+ instruments
  • Polyphony: 128 notes

Now, if you're an experienced producer, you may find most of the controls on digital pianos a bit... underwhelming, to say the least. And that's where the Yamaha MODX8+ really shines, providing a DAW-like experience that mixes together pianos, synths, sequencers, and much more.

But let's start from the basics: as far as the keybed goes, the MODX8+ has nothing to envy other keyboards thanks to the 88 GHS keys. The polyphony is one of the top on the market, letting you play 256 notes simultaneously, and the included 200+ voices are frankly mind-blowing.

Yet, all these basic specs pale in comparison to the arrangement and synthesis features. The Motion Control Synthesis blends together AWM2 and FM-X engines to provide the ultimate sound sculpting experience. At the same time, the Virtual Circuitry Modeling allows you to add an extra vintage tone to your presets.

Once you're done creating your sounds, you can jump straight to sequencing and creating live sets to add chords, melodies, and percussion to your track. And if things ever get too overwhelming, you can rely on the Super Knob to control multiple parameters at once!

What Could Be Improved

  • Can get a bit overwhelming

Best for At-Home Practice

The Yamaha Arius YDP-S55B is a perfect choice for anyone looking to upgrade their at-home practice sessions, providing a realistic experience with a modern feel.
Why We Love It
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Expressive and realistic
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Stylish stand included
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Half-damper pedal

SPECS

  • Keys: 88 GH3 keys
  • Voices: 10 instruments
  • Polyphony: 192 notes

The Yamaha Arius YDP-S55B does an outstanding job at emulating the feel of an upright acoustic piano without sacrificing all the comfort of a digital keyboard. Compact, sleek, and realistic, the YDP-S55B is a sure-proof way to upgrade your at-home practice sessions without breaking the bank.

Featuring an 88-note weighted GH3-action keybed, the YDP-S55B boasts a highly expressive experience that's sure to satisfy even the most advanced player. And thanks to the stereo samples included, the flagship Yamaha grand piano sounds are at full display here.

But maybe one of the most underrated features of the Yamaha Arius YDP-S55B is the half-damper pedal, which allows for gradual sustain for an ultra-realistic experience. What more could you ask for?

What Could Be Improved

  • Lacks a bit of versatility

Best Synth

The Yamaha Reface CS is a tiny powerhouse synth designed for pianists, making it a fantastic addition to any player's weaponry.
Why We Love It
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Top beginner synth
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Straightforward workflow
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On-board effects included

SPECS

  • Keys: 37 mini-synth keys
  • Voices: Not applicable
  • Polyphony: 8 notes

If you've been playing piano for a while now, you might find yourself a bit bored sometimes — and that's normal. That's why keyboards like the Reface CS exist, to blend the world of traditional piano and the magic soundscape of synths.

It's almost as if Yamaha created the Reface CS taking into account that the average pianist will have little to no experience with synths. The easy-to-understand interface will allow you to get sculpting right away, without having to go through endless tutorials and guides to understand how a basic oscillator works.

Featuring a powerful analog physical modeling engine that blends several synthesis and oscillator types, the Yamaha Reface CS is capable of just about anything. Add some onboard effects, 8-note polyphony, and a handy phrase looper, and you have a true Swiss Army knife in your hands!

What Could Be Improved

  • Non-weighted keyboard

Best for Carrying Around

The Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 is portable, affordable, and reliable, making it a top contender for gigging musicians who love jamming while on the road.
Why We Love It
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Extremely portable
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Can be battery-powered
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Fantastic-sounding sample

SPECS

  • Keys: 61 touch-sensitive keys
  • Voices: 10 instruments
  • Polyphony: 64 notes

The Yamaha Piaggero series wants to target those pianists who want the full experience of a top-notch keyboard with the portability of an acoustic guitar. Lightweight, affordable, and battery-powered, the Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 is the perfect example of this — and boy does it fit the bill.

Featuring the classic Yamaha top-of-the-line samples, the Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 offers the same sound as many high-end pianos but at a much more affordable price. The 61 keys are touch-sensitive, and the 64-note polyphony ensures you never run out of possibilities.

Weighing a bit less than 10 pounds, and featuring two 4" speakers, the Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 is the perfect portable keyboard for carrying around and jamming on the fly. All in all, the NP-12 is the perfect companion for any traveling musician looking for a reliable digital piano.

What Could Be Improved

  • Non-weighted keyboard

Best High-End Piano

The Yamaha AvantGrand NU1XA aims to satisfy the most demanding of pianists by including a real hammer-action mechanism that mimics the feel of an acoustic piano.
Why We Love It
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Top-of-the-line keyboard
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Incredibly realistic sound
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Real hammer action

SPECS

  • Keys: 88 true hammer-action keys
  • Voices: 28 voices
  • Polyphony: 256 notes

I get it — some people just want the best of the very best. And that's where the Yamaha AvantGrand NU1XA comes in, boasting an impressive set of features that surpass even the best acoustic pianos on the market. Honestly? You just can't go wrong with this one, but we warned: things can get expensive.

The NU1XA blends together the natural feel of the mechanical hammer-action keys and the sound of the very best of Yamaha's acoustic pianos. Mimicking the response of an authentic upright piano through complex sensors and mechanisms, the Yamaha AvantGrand NU1XA is sure to satisfy even the most advanced player.

And when I say complex mechanisms, I actually mean a full-on real hammer action included on the top of the keyboard. There's no other digital piano that can even dare to come close to this level of realism, making it the perfect choice for playing advanced classical music. However, if there are budget constraints, check out our reviews of top-notch digital pianos under $1000.

What Could Be Improved

  • A bit too... expensive

Best Yamaha Keyboards Buyer's Guide

Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos are some of the best on the market, and there's no denying that. Most beginner and intermediate players can blindly trust in most of its models — but it's better to always do some extra research just to be sure. For instance, you can consider our digital pianos reviews which include other reputable brands as well.

If it's your first time buying a digital piano, don't worry! I compiled a short, but thorough buyer's guide to get you started:

Key Weight and Action

Maybe the most important aspect to keep in mind while shopping for a new digital piano is key weight, or, in more advanced keyboards, key action.

If you've ever played an acoustic piano, you probably realized that the keys are heavy. This is because each key is connected to a hammer that strikes the corresponding string.

Now, it's not necessary for a keyboard to imitate that feel — but it's usually better if it does.

Digital pianos that don't have any weight are usually referred to as "light-weighted keys" or "touch-sensitive keys". These are more akin to the keybed of a synthesizer, which doesn't pose any resistance while playing. Of course, these can be useful in some cases, but most beginners will want to steer away from non-weighted keys.

Then you have "weighted keys," which emulate the feel of a traditional acoustic piano by adding "artificial" weight to each key. Naturally, these are better than non-weighted keys, but they're still far away from the real thing.

And, finally, the best digital pianos feature "hammer-action keys," which imitate the keybed of an actual acoustic piano through a complex set of springs. Hammer-action keybeds are as close as you can get to a real acoustic piano, but they can be a bit more expensive than usual.

For most people, hammer-action keys will undoubtedly be the way to go. If you're a bit short on budget, weighted keys can work too — but most pianists will definitely want to stay away from non-weighted or semi-weighted keys.

Instrument Voices

I know, I know — there are few things more fun than switching between hundreds of different sounds to spice up your playing. At first glance, digital keyboards with endless voicings may seem better, but the truth is that it's all about balance.

Specialized high-end pianos don't actually have a lot of voices, as manufacturers instead opt for putting all their efforts into a few top-notch sounds. If you're looking for the most realistic piano sounds, then this is definitely the way to go!

Similarly, having too many sound options may actually be detrimental if you're a beginner. You may find yourself constantly getting distracted by these sounds during your practice sessions — so it's usually better to have fewer on-board voicings.

In essence, you probably don't need anything more than these few voices:

  • Grand piano
  • Electric keyboard (such as a Rhodes or Wurlitzer emulation)
  • Organ
  • Clavichord
  • Vibraphone
  • Strings

But if you're an experienced pianist who loves jamming and gigging, then having a lot of other options can open up a whole new sonic palette for you to enjoy!

Number of Octaves

There's no getting around it when it comes to the number of octaves: having a full-sized 88-key keyboard will usually be the best choice for most people. But, as with everything in musical instruments, there are a few exceptions.

Smaller keyboards and digital pianos may be the better option for musicians who're often touring around and don't want to carry a gigantic instrument with them. Stage pianists may benefit from the portability of a, for example, four-octave keyboard — although they may have to sacrifice some playability for it.

Six-octave keyboards and digital pianos are the perfect (and literal) middle ground between 88-key pianos and four-octave keyboards. These are ideal for people looking to save a few extra bucks without sacrificing a lot for it. But for an intermediate to advanced player who loves classical music, then those missing octaves will be thoroughly missed.

Extra Features

As with all instruments, digital pianos can come with dozens of extra perks to improve your overall experience. From benches and stands to mobile apps and software goodies, the possibilities are truly endless.

When it comes to home practice, band rehearsals, and live gigs, you'll need to get a designated quality keyboard amplifier that fits your needs and your budget.

But by far the most important one is the sustain pedal. This tiny gadget will allow you to extend the sound of a key even if you lift your finger off, making it a crucial element for playing most music genres. A close second is the rhythm and metronome included, which are essential for practicing properly without having to recur to backing tracks on your phone.

The stand and bench included are also important if you don't already own them. Most budget picks will include a scissor-shaped stand and not much else, while more expensive options will feature more reliable stands. The bench isn't usually included in the bundle — so make sure you take that into account while shopping for your next piano.

And, finally, the last thing to consider (in Yamaha keyboards) is the Yamaha Education Suite — an onboard tool that will help beginners get started with basic chords and songs. Of course, the Yamaha Education Suite may not be as useful for advanced players, but it's always nice to have!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Yamaha a good brand for keyboards?

Yes! Yamaha is one of the best keyboard brands on the market, known for their quality, innovation, and reliability. Naturally, things can get a bit expensive when dealing with top brands — but Yamaha is (luckily) also famous for releasing budget models for musicians tight on money.

Many professional musicians choose to use Yamaha keyboards on stage and in the studio, such as Michael Bublé and James Blunt. And I can assure you that the pianos they use are the same quality as the one you'll receive in your home!

What is the best Yamaha keyboard for beginners?

Yamaha has released several beginner keyboards and digital pianos, so it's hard to define which one is best in all cases. Instead, you should look for one that caters to your specific budget while also satisfying your octave, key action, and voicing needs.

But if I had to pick one, I'd probably go for the Yamaha P-143 or the Yamaha Arius YDP-S55B, depending mostly on how much you're willing to spend. If you're just starting out and want even a more entry-level instrument, then the Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 should also do the trick.

Well, to be honest, a lot of it comes from the reputation of the brand itself. Yamaha has been around for decades, and over the years it has constantly made the effort to innovate with every new entry in its keyboard range.

Every Yamaha piano goes through extensive quality control and is sure to have the most cutting-edge technology to suit even the most demanding pianists. And, of course, this is also true for the most affordable models!

Are old Yamaha pianos good?

When it comes to analog musical instruments, you may often hear musicians claim that old equipment can be better than new instruments. While there's some truth to this in instruments such as synthesizers, this isn't always the case with digital pianos.

A new keyboard will usually mean better technology, circuitry, and keybed, making it a better choice overall unless you're looking for a specific vintage tone. Naturally, Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos can withstand the test of time — but you're probably better off just buying a new one.

Verdict

There are dozens of Yamaha keyboard models on the market, and picking only one can be a daunting, yet exciting experience. But if you're a beginner, you might not know exactly where to start!

The first aspect you should look into is key weight and action. If you're just starting out, I recommend getting hammer-action keys if you can afford them, or opting for fully-weighted keys if you're a bit short on money.

Similarly, you should also keep in mind the number of octaves and instrument voicings, as well as extra features such as stands and mobile apps. You honestly can't go wrong with Yamaha keyboards — but the extra research will pay off sooner or later.

If you don't want to spend much time on the topic, I recommend getting the Yamaha CK88, which blends together the very best of stage pianos with top-notch at-home models. Or, if you're a bit short on budget, check out the Yamaha P-143 instead.

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