Best 88 Key Keyboards – 2020 Reviews

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88-key keyboards are the biggest keyboard models available on the market. They are usually made with an extra effort in not just fine tuning piano sounds and providing various options for it but simulating on board the natural feel and response of the acoustic piano keybed as well.

Comparison Chart of the Best 88 Key Keyboards

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Equipped with 88 premium full-sized keys
  • Portable professional piano performance
  • Can be connected to speakers or amplifiers
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  • Manufactured with durable ABS material
  • Sound and touch-sensitive keys
  • Comes with a big carrying case
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  • Best for the Money
  • Keys are made with sensitive touch response
  • Equipped with 25W speakers and a MP3 player
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  • Best Yamaha 88 Key Keyboard
  • Equipped with 88 full-sized piano style keys
  • Split mode allows playing a different voice with each hand
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  • Best Casio 88 Key Keyboard
  • Duet mode for splitting keyboard into two equal ranges
  • Can record and playback performances
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Are All 88-Key Keyboards The Same? 

88-Key keyboards may have various features and appearance depending on the manufacturers’ target market. Some will replicate an upright acoustic piano look including a 3-pedal foot interface, while others will go for premium models with a full grand concert piano design. All these models belong to the digital (electric) piano category. 

Others can be much more portable, designed for live performance and look like synthesizers. Such models are called stage pianos

There are also models that offer more sounds than just piano and have additional physical controllers such as pad, knobs and sliders. Those are called workstation synthesizers (keyboards).

How Do I Choose an 88-Key Keyboard?

Here are some quick questions you may answer to yourself before deciding what 88 Key keyboard you actually really need.

Is Portability Important to You?

88 keys keyboards come is the tier of the keyboard that varies in weight and size the most. If you want to perform a lot, you would pick some of the stage pianos that can weigh even 22-25 pounds. But, if you're a classical pianist that plays mostly from home you should pick some digital piano model - compact, upright or full grand.

Are You Synth-Curious?

If you’re interested in other sounds, there are 88 keys models of workstation synthesizers. Modern versions pay extra attention to deliver you excellent piano sound and while it may not be as good as that premium digital piano it may be a nice trade-off for all the other sounds you get. And like digital pianos, they come in both budget and flagship budget versions.

Do You Want to Become a Music Producer?

If you’re using software virtual instruments software frequently, you can pick some of the 88-Key MIDI controllers and have the best of both worlds - you won’t be paying extra for onboard sounds while you can play that already bought piano sound library from your laptop on an excellent set of keys. And all you need is USB cable.

Review of the Best 88-Key Keyboards

Let's move on and review some of the best 88 Keys Keyboards for you.

Alesis Recital | 88 Key Beginner Digital Piano / Keyboard with Full Size Semi Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Built In Speakers and 5 Premium Voices (Amazon Exclusive)

PROS

  • Dedicated headphone and RCA output
  • Extremely portable for its size weighing 16 pounds only
  • Provides free subscription for piano learning online classes
  • Thanks to 6x D-cell batteries it can work without power supply adapter
  • Affordable, beginners’ model with decent 2 x 10W active speakers on board

CONS

  • Keys are not full weighted
  • Additional input for external devices would be nice

What Recent Buyers Report

Experiences are biased. Users got misled somehow and thought that this model is a digital piano. If we disregard such confusion, reports say that this model is an ideal choice for beginners. The sound it provides is average and lacks a bit of depth and keys are a little bit shorter than regular.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s not so often that digital pianos come with educational offers. Providing 3 months of Skoove Premium subscription can give you some decent head start in piano learning. It’s also amazing that Alesis included battery-powered operation at this price range. The same goes for surprisingly decent built-in speakers.

Who Will Use This Most

Enter-level piano players can benefit from the online lesson subscription provided. Semi-weighted keys can be an ideal choice for other musicians as the response is not so heavy. And thanks to long battery-support combined with power speakers on-board you can always accompany your acoustic guitar friend on any holiday break.

Bottom Line

This device won’t provide you with an authentic acoustic piano response. It wasn’t built for that. But it can help you understand everything you need to know about the piano before you decide to become a professional player while saving your budget.

Costzon 88-Key Portable Digital Piano,Touch Sensitive Knocking Force Key Piano with External Speaker, Bluetooth Voice Function, MIDI Keyboard, Sustain Pedal, Power Supply and a Black Handbag (Black)

PROS

  • It has an additional input for external devices
  • Comes with everything you may need, including a keyboard bag
  • The cheapest and the most portable 88-key keyboard on the market
  • Battery power allows you to play the device for 12 hours on a single charge

CONS

  • No speakers present on-board
  • Sound presets are not so professional-oriented

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers bought this device for their children. While we can discuss if such reviews have enough depth to be trustworthy, the truth is that they all are satisfied and would buy it again or recommend it to other beginners and students. No build quality complaints were found.

Why it Stands Out to Us

12 hours of battery power operation on a single charge (of 4 hours) is a feature that we liked the most. Also, it’s very nice that Costzon provided you with everything you’re going to need and even included a keyboard bag in case you want to bring your gear with you.

Who Will Use This Most

Piano player beginners or enthusiasts who are discovering if they are really interested in getting more into piano lessons. It can be a nice gift for kids thanks to built-in rhythms. Bluetooth compatibility with mobile devices will make it modern enough and thanks to USB, it can be used as a studio MIDI keyboard.

Bottom Line

This unit wasn’t designed for any professional use and should be reviewed in such a manner. And, if we look at it that way, we don’t see any real reason to not recommend it as it does a nice job in its given range.

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PROS

  • Comes with nice piano-style sustain pedal and music stand
  • Hammer action full-size keybed with 128 notes sound polyphony
  • Provides USB-thumb port and input jack for external devices playback
  • Equipped with loud stereo speakers on the top, double headphones output in front and stereo audio output

CONS

  • Sound and DSP effects aren’t so impressive
  • User interface should have more buttons in front

What Recent Buyers Report

They report this unit to be a very interesting bang-for-buck equipped with a lot of interesting features. Keybed is reported as well-made and realistic and that its design looks pretty stylish. Build quality seems to be sturdy and it also seems to support modern Windows and macOS pretty well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the cheapest model that has 128 note polyphony, a feature that improves piano playing experience much more than sample quality itself. It’s also rare to find a model that comes with a USB thumb drive port. Double headphones output, built-in rhythm sounds, and loudspeakers are always welcomed pros for practicing purposes. 

Who Will Use This Most

It is definitely oriented towards beginners while it can be used live because of dedicated audio outputs and decent sounds. The keybed is good enough for learning piano lessons and because it has a USB port, it can be used as a very nice studio controller for your virtual instrument software.

Bottom Line

This model has everything you will need for a good start and provides you with enough professional features to keep up the pace with your progress and prolong the need to look for something better but more expensive.

Best Yamaha 88 Key Keyboard:
Yamaha P125

YAMAHA P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano With Power Supply And Sustain Pedal, Black

PROS

  • Free dedicated app for iOS devices included
  • USB connectivity to the computer interface can be used for recording your performance
  • Full-weight keybed that replicates real acoustic piano experience with stunning 192-notes polyphony
  • 2 x 7W built-in speakers along with stereo audio output on the back and dual headphone outputs in front 

CONS

  • Keys are not full weighted
  • Built-in speakers could be better

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are very satisfied with this model and even advanced pianists comment on great keybed action and realistic sounds it has the most. The only complaint is about built-in speakers quality and that you should use external speakers to get most of the sounds it has inside, instead.

Why it Stands Out to Us

You don’t think about 192 notes polyphony in this price range. This feature improves sound quality a lot, especially if you use a sustain pedal frequently. Ability to record with a single USB-cable will be welcomed for non-professional users and a dedicated iOS app for full interface control is always a plus.

Who Will Use This Most

This model was made for trained piano players. With polyphony given, even some of the most demanding piano pieces could sound like it was played on an acoustic piano. And thanks to two separate headphones output it can be used for piano lessons at any time of the day or night.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering some modern and well-built professional digital piano for your home, Yamaha may have the model for you. Sound it delivers is outstanding while keybed quality will provide you with a good alternative for a home piano practicing.

Best Casio 88 Key Keyboard:
Casio Privia PX-160BK

Casio Privia PX-160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano with Power Supply, Black

PROS

  • 2-track recorder on-board 
  • Alternative white color model available
  • Half-damper option supported with additional 3-pedal foot interface purchase
  • Excellent full weight feel and response with 128 notes polyphony onboard - our favorite keybed on the market 
  • Comes with 2 x 8W speakers, USB-MIDI connectivity, stereo audio output, and two headphone outputs, all placed conveniently

CONS

  • External device input support would be welcomed
  • Included sustain pedal doesn’t support half-damper feature

What Recent Buyers Report

Users see this model as a long term investment. They praise the natural weight of its keybed. It's often called the best entry-level digital piano and that you shouldn’t be afraid of its low price. There are no serious complaints on build quality and reviews are overall very positive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Keybed was made with extraordinary detail-oriented effort. If you look closely, you can notice the unique texture printed on the surface, something that you would find on real piano keys made from ebony and ivory. Velocity curves and dynamic range of sounds onboard are very close to the acoustic piano response.

Who Will Use This Most

Thanks to the wonderful true to real piano keybed, excellent onboard sounds and the half-damper option provided, all levels of piano players will enjoy playing it. Dedicated unbalanced audio outputs make any live performance possible, but due to its form factor, it’s more suitable for home or classroom environment.

Bottom Line

You may be surprised by what Casio can offer you for price on the budget. Once you try this model you may be shocked to find out that its keybed quality surpasses what models 2 or 3 times more expensive offer.

Pros and Cons of 88-Key Keyboards

Now that you are aware of available models on the market, let’s run through some aspects that all 88-Key Keyboards have in common:

Pros

Below are the main pros.

Key Range

Keyboard with 88 key range will cover all your playing needs, either piano or keyboard related. You can play every piano piece ever composed on it.

Ideal Keys For Piano Practice

These keyboards put some special effort into providing you an authentic feel of . Some even go further and additionally weighs lower keyboard range in order to simulate acoustic piano experience. It’s the only category of keyboards that and it’s not so often to find such keys in smaller format.

The Uncompromised Piano Sound

Manufacturers invest a lot of time in creating real piano sound. They often sample every note from the real pianos and provide you with a couple of fine-tuned types. That means you can fine tune the atmosphere of the piano piece you’re about to play instantly. They also add some special algorithms in order to recreate acoustic piano sound such as harmonic resonance or half-damper pedal input. 

Cons

Below are the main cons.

Keybed Might Not be Your Type

This type of keybed is made to provide you with real piano playing experience first. Therefore, keys may feel heavy for those who aren’t trained piano players. It will require more effort to play and make your hands and wrists fatigue easier.

Conclusion

Whether you’re about to go on stage or you’re a beginner pulling together your first classical piece, 88 keys keyboard is made exactly for you. It’s the only digital instrument that has a keybed you seek and it’s only up to your budget and needs, what model you will choose.

People Also Ask

Now that we have everything covered, we’ll answer some interesting questions people asked - it appears that 88 keys have a lot of interesting history, so stay with us to find out more.

Do All Pianos Have 88 Keys?

Back in the 18th century, the first version of piano was made and it had only 49 keys. Later on composers such as Mozzart or Haydn demanded bigger range for their music so 88 keys was set as a standard. Today, there are some experimental models that have much more keys.

What's the Difference Between 61 Keys and 88?

Besides obvious differences in key range, the biggest difference is about keybed type. 61 keys have softer keybed and fast-responsive synth action type, also called semi-weight. Keyboards with 88 keys usually try to replicate the feel of real piano keys with harder touch response on the left and lighter to the right.

Is an 88-Key Keyboard Necessary?

Very few piano pieces use all 88 keys, for example, Ligeti - Automne a Varsovie. But a range of 76 keys won’t be enough either and since there are no models between the range of 76 and 88 keys and piano playing is your first call, 88 keys models are a better choice.

How Long is an 88-Key Keyboard?

Its range varies from 49 to 55 inches (approx.). Length mostly depends if there is an additional side control panel on the left because some models can totally omit such a panel, providing real piano interface experience, while others move such panel above keybed in order to be more compact in size and weight.

Why Are There Only 88 Keys on a Piano?

The 88-key piano was invented by Steinway back in the 19th century and became a standard piano key range that other manufacturers followed. The reason why they have decided to stop at this number is simple - anything above and below this register is not so audible for the human ear.

How Many Black Keys Does an 88-Key Piano Have?

Every 88-Key piano has 36 black keys. There are 7 octaves on piano and each octave has 5 black keys and there is another one (B flat) in the sub-octave part on the very left.

Where is Middle C on an 88-Key Piano?

You can use black keys to help you identify Middle C key. All black keys are grouped in the form of two and three black keys. Find the group of 2 black keys located in the very middle. The first white key on the left is middle C.

Are There Pianos With More Than 88 Keys?

Bösendorfer has made a 92-key model with additional 4 keys on the left painted in all-black and Stuart & Sons have a 102-key model. Those are rarely used for playing, but strings of those keys add harmonic resonance when other keys are pressed and enhance the general sound of the piano.