Best Weighted Keyboards of 2020 – Ultimate Round-up

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I remember the first time I recorded piano on keyboard. I was so confused that I thought I can’t play piano on keyboards properly. And when I tried a weighted keyboard, that’s when I found out how significant keybed response can be for your playing style.  

Comparison Chart of the Best Weighted Keyboards

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 8-inch LCD touch screen with drag capability
  • 1792 sounds packed in nine different sound engines
  • Brand new piano sample and improved storage and RAM memory
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  • Wonderful organ sounds
  • All controls on board - no menu diving
  • The best piano digital sound in the world
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  • Best Budget Weighted Keyboard
  • Works on batteries
  • Extremely affordable stage piano
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  • Best Weighted Keyboard With 88 Keys
  • Innovative and redesigned user interface
  • Expandable sound engine with download options
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  • Best Weighted Midi Keyboard
  • 4 programmable split or layer zones
  • 73 weighted keys with aftertouch and full color display
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  • Best Weighted Keyboard Under $300
  • FM-X engine provides
  • Innovative Super Knob controller
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  • Best Weighted Keyboard for Beginners
  • Can be used as a stage piano
  • Wonderful sounds of acoustic and electric piano
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What is a Weighted Keyboard?

A weighted keyboard is a keyboard that comes with a different type of keybed that resembles the real acoustic piano response and wheel. Such keybed is called weighted and referred sometimes as hammer-action. 

They can come in different sizes and features. It’s quite often in the keyboard workstation category to provide an optional weighted keyboard model with exactly the same features and layout like the regular. Stage pianos category weighted keyboards are made in 76 (sometimes 73) and 88-key models. On the other hand, it’s quite rare to find a MIDI keyboard controller 73/76 weighted keys size.

Korg Kronos 2 73

What Should I Look For When Buying a Weighted Keyboard

Now that you’re 100% sure you would need a weighted keyboard, here are some questions you should ask yourself first before buying a weighted keyboard:

Sound or no Sound

You should know that there are MIDI controllers that come with weighted keys so you can have the best of both worlds - the piano feel on your keys and computer software instruments. This info can save your budget a lot while you will get all the benefits of massive software libraries available for download.

Piano or More Sounds

Do you rely heavily on playing piano sounds or would you use other sounds alike? If it’s the former, you should consider digital pianos and if it’s the latter, stick around keyboard workstation models as they are swiss army knives in the keyboard universe. 

Home or Live

If you don’t have any plans of performing live and would rather practice at home, check out some upright digital (home) pianos. Stage pianos are a better choice for your live performances. But, as both of these models don’t excel with synth sounds, keyboard workstations will be your mid-choice in both occasions.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best weighted keyboards:

  1. Korg Kronos 2 73
  2. Nord USA Nord Stage 3 HP
  3. Artesia PA-88H

Review of the Best Weighted Keyboards

Now we’re going to show you what are the best weighted keyboards right now. 

Best Overall:
Korg Kronos 2 73

Korg KRONOS2 73 Key (KRONOS7)

PROS

  • 8-inch LCD touch screen with drag capability
  • 1792 sounds packed in nine different sound engines
  • 73 weighted keys with aftertouch, up to 180 notes polyphony
  • Also available in 88 (weighted keys) and 61 (synth-action keys) version 
  • 16 MIDI plus 16 audio tracks sequencer with amazing sound effect generator

CONS

  • No drum pads on board
  • Side panel could be moved above and make this even more compact 

What Recent Buyers Report

People approve of the KORG idea to include 73 instead of 76 keys and make it with weighted keys. This makes the unit slightly more portable for regular live performance but leaves out the piano feel as it is. However, while it has everything, it also has a steep learning curve, too.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s rare to see a flagship keyboard workstation model with 73 keys and to provide it with the same keybed you are using for 88 keys. Nine sound engines ensure that every sound delivered is at top quality; on top of that, you can even load your own samples.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a flagship model so it aims at top-class professional players and its features are intended for fully trained keyboard and piano players. It can fit in both studio and live situations and it can be more travel friendly because of 73 keys format.

Bottom Line

Korg made a state of an art keyboard workstation and set the bar so high that it’s going to be a while until someone creates anything better. It would need a complete article to just talk where this unit excels.

Nord Stage 3 HP 76-Key Digital Piano with Hammer Action Portable Keybed

PROS

  • Wonderful C2D organ sounds 
  • Also available in 88 keys version
  • 76 keys weighted keys stage piano
  • Synth section can load multisamples
  • Various premium piano sounds available

CONS

  • Synth section could be better organized
  • Awkward design and position of the pitch joystick

What Recent Buyers Report

They comment that everything was upgraded from the previous version and is considered as the best keyboard on the market. They especially love the supersaw waveform and moog filter available in the renewed synth section. But, for the price given, it still comes a little bit short regarding typical synth sounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We adore the layout Nord provided us with. Every part of the engine has a dedicated front panel with all controls directly available at the hand. And besides that, the sound of the piano and the organs is currently the best hardware keyboards offer at this moment.

Who Will Use This Most

Live performers will love to have such a wonderful hammer keybed coming at the smaller size of 76 keys. The sound quality is impeccable and it can be used directly for various studio recordings. And with the given sound palette, piano and organ players won’t find a better sounding model.

Bottom Line

If Nord was a smartphone, it would be named iPhone. It’s premium, unique and ultra-reliable but also not so versatile as other keyboard workstations are. But for the thing it does, it’s second to none.

Best Budget Weighted Keyboard:
Artesia PA-88H

Artesia PA-88H 88-Key Weighted Hammer Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply (Black)

PROS

  • Available in black or white color
  • 16 sounds on board and built-in metronome
  • Extremely affordable 88 weighted keys stage piano
  • Works on either power adapter or six D-cell batteries
  • Headphones and Line outputs with USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI out ports

CONS

  • No USB powered feature
  • No LED or LCD display on board

What Recent Buyers Report

Users bought this unit for their piano lessons and say that the keys are very close to the real piano feel. Sound is also commented to be quite decent. However, they wish if the sustain pedal provided was better so consider buying one for yourself.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love its portability and the fact it can also work on batteries. It’s very nice to see 5-pin MIDI support at this price, too. The same goes for piano sound. It has enough details and layers so it sounds like playing a real piano, especially when you plug it on external speakers.

Who Will Use This Most

It was designed for beginners and those who need an affordable digital piano at home for practicing. And, as it comes with both USB and 5-pin MIDI OUT ports, it can be also utilized as a MIDI controller for both computer and external devices playback.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an affordable weighted keyboard with sounds, you just can’t beat the Artesia offer. It can’t match with the build, sound or keybed quality of other keyboards from this list, but it can save you a lot of money.

Best Weighted Keyboard With 88 Keys:
Roland Fantom 8

Roland FANTOM-8 Music Workstation 88-key Semi-weighted Synthesizer Keyboard

PROS

  • 8 encoders, 9 sliders and button switches with LED steps tracker
  • 88 weighted keys with an aftertouch feature and 256 note polyphony
  • Expandable sound engine with a bunch of banks available for download
  • Innovative and redesigned user interface on a big full-color touch screen
  • Dedicated full-control synth section panel with 16 LCD drum pads and sequencer buttons

CONS

  • Quite bulky and heavy
  • Doesn’t come with multisampling option at this point

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report that they really prefer Roland piano sound especially because of keybed action. They praise the build quality and the sound bank it comes with. However, the user OS seems to need a little bit more updating before it fully shines.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Sound is just amazing, the best Roland has ever done. It has every type of physical controller on board, even two additional mod wheels. The interface is redesigned so that the learning curve is not so steep anymore and the synth sounds and the best we’ve ever heard on keyboard workstation.

Who Will Use This Most

Like other keyboard workstations it was meant for professional musicians both session and live. But, Roland put large effort into creating an intuitive songwriting stand-alone mode so this might be an interesting keyboard for composers to change their workflow and go back to compose like they did in the 1990s.

Bottom Line

This is Roland’s reply about the flagship keyboard workstation. It came last after KORG and Yamaha and it definitely has to offer you a lot more, especially regarding sound quality. But this is the clash of the titans so you just can’t go wrong.

Best Weighted Midi Keyboard:
Studiologic SL73 Studio

Studiologic SL73 Studio Midi Controller (SL-73-Studio)

PROS

  • 250 programs split into 12 groups
  • 4 programmable split or layer zones
  • 2 separate MIDI OUT and USB-MIDI ports 
  • 73 weighted keys with aftertouch and full color display
  • Magnetic rail system for holding a note stand or a laptop

CONS

  • Not so intuitive user interface control
  • No knobs, sliders or buttons on board 

What Recent Buyers Report

People are amazed how lightweight this model appears while the keys still feel awesome. It feels simple but very effective. Sticks are commented as too small, especially for a live performance. And also beware, Studiologic customer support is not very responsive if you would need a repair.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Studiologic decided to create a MIDI keyboard with weighted keys and to provide it in 73 and 88 key sizes. We like its semi-modular minimalistic design that leaves you with enough space and MIDI options on board so that it can be enhanced with additional controllers if you want.

Who Will Use This Most

Studio producers and session musicians will like the keybed it provides, but when we see what accessories it offers, we can tell that it was definitely designed for live performances. Live musicians who appreciate a weighted keybed may praise the shorter model more as it’s more compact and easy to carry around.

Bottom Line

We can’t find so many MIDI weighted keyboard controllers on the market and Studiologic seems to be the best choice available. Maybe it doesn’t have controls on board, but it has the keys that make a significant difference for your playing.

Best Yamaha Weighted Keyboard:
Yamaha Montage 8

Yamaha Montage8 88-key Synthesizer Workstation, Black

PROS

  • Innovative Super Knob controller
  • 88 weighted keys with 256 notes polyphony
  • Most advanced FM synthesis sound engine ever
  • 7-inch LCD touch screen with new user interface
  • USB port can record up to 16 stereo tracks and playback 3 stereo tracks at once

CONS

  • XLR outputs could come at this price
  • Average quality of the weighted keybed

What Recent Buyers Report

They love how the new menu is layed out. While acoustic sounds are top class, synth presets, especially for modern music could be much better. Players are also not so impressed by its keybed and say that Yamaha should consider to invest in new keys for this model.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s also amazing that Yamaha made it possible to record up to 16 stereo tracks simultaneously using only one standard USB cable. And you just can’t miss this Super Knob placed in the middle as it radiates slowly and makes this keyboard visually unique on the market.

Who Will Use This Most

Studio users will love its USB recording capabilities and how good it gets with every DAW software out there. Piano players will enjoy the Yamaha acoustic piano as they invest a lot in those samples while those retro lovers will indulge FM-X sound engine and all the sounds of the 1980s.

Bottom Line

Yamaha decided to follow up Korg and release a new flagship model. They had a leading role back in the 1980s and now you have all those retro sounds at your fingertips along with the best acoustic presets Yamaha made so far.

Best Weighted Keyboard for Beginners:
Casio Privia PX-160BK

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

PROS

  • Hybrid digital piano with 128 notes polyphony
  • Redesigned speaker system and wonderful keybed
  • Electric piano sound comes from Casio flagship model
  • Equipped with 18 sounds including renewed string ensemble
  • Additional equipment available so it can be mounted as a digital piano

CONS

  • Average sound effect generator 
  • No additional inputs or outputs on board

What Recent Buyers Report

It’s usually commented positively and often quoted as best buy. Most piano players think that this model has a sound and response capable of replacing most acoustic pianos found in practice rooms. And it seems to support not just on Mac and Windows, but iOS as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Duet mode is a nice feature that can be utilized during piano lessons. Electric piano sounds were taken from their flagship models and we’re impressed Casio thought so much about details that they even printed textures on keys in order to simulate the authentic feel of real acoustic piano keys.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an entry-level stage piano ideal for newbies. Piano players will enjoy the keybed feel and it can be easily turned from a stage piano into a digital home piano with purchasing additional accessories. It can also be used as a MIDI controller because of the USB-MIDI port.

Bottom Line

This digital piano may not be the best sounding model Casio has to offer but it’s definitely one with the best keybed on the market. It’s also very affordable so beginners can have the most important things on board while not breaking the bank.

Bottom Line

Hands down, this is also one of the most affordable 88 weighted keyboards. There is a cheaper Yamaha on the market, but if you’re a beginner, you’re going to benefit more from the keybed Casio delivers than saving that extra hundred.

Pros and Cons of Weighted Keyboards

We’re going to cover some of the most usual traits and flaws of weighted keyboards for you:

Pros

The following are some pros of this kind of weighted keyboards:

Key Range

Weighted keyboards come with a lot of keys. This makes them an ideal controller for various splits and layers that can’t be performed on other models.

Additional Controllers

Because of their physical size, there is enough space to put all the additional controllers (knobs, sliders, drum pads, etc.) on board and even provide you with enough space to put your hands on rest.

Piano Playing

Those keyboards tend to match the response you would get from the acoustic piano so they are able to give you the best playing experience for piano parts.

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Response

Weighted keys response makes them not an ideal choice for any organ or synth playing. Those parts usually require fast playing which may be more challenging because weighted keys have a much slower response compared to semi-weighted.

Portability

It’s very hard to find a keyboard model with less than 73 keys that comes with weighted keys. And even those that we know are heavier and bulkier than the usual models with synth-action keys. Thus, weighted keyboards trade their portability for weighted keys.

Conclusion

Weighted keyboards aren’t so necessary in your everyday equipment. Yes, you can use them for anything and everywhere, but, they have a quite special role that usually lays around two things - providing a nice keybed response for a trained pianist or playing piano parts with correct dynamics range.

People Also Ask

Now that you know the current models on the market, let’s cover some of the most casual questions asked among our readers. It will give you better insight into what makes a weighted keyboard so special, their price range and how you can spot a difference.

Are Weighted Keys Better?

Weighted keys are better for playing piano parts, that’s for sure. But, if you want to play synth sounds, semi-weighted (or also called synth-action) are your better choice. The same goes for playing organ sounds, but you should know that there are waterfall keybed specially designed for organ playing, too.

How Much Does a Weighted Keyboard Cost? (Provide a Range)

A brand new weighted keyboard can cost from $400 for an entry-level home digital piano model up to more than $5.000 for some Yamaha premium digital pianos. However, most models are priced somewhere between $700 and $2.000 figure. The price depends on the brand, features and build quality it comes with.

What is the Difference Between Weighted and Semi-Weighted Keys?

Weighted keys feel heavy because they have a slower rebound - the rate needed for the key to get back to a neutral position after being played. Semi-weighted, on the other hand, can have a lightning fast rebound. But, those keys don’t provide you with resistance needed to perform piano correctly and passionately.

How Do I Know if My Piano Keys Are Weighted?

Piano keys are always weighted. But, if you want to check if your keyboard keys are weighted, try hitting the same key very fast. If you feel like you can do it faster but the key doesn’t go back swiftly, you definitely have weighted keys.

Do Yamaha Keyboards Have Weighted Keys?

Yes, Yamaha keyboards have models that come with weighted keys. But, not all Yamaha keyboards come with such keys. In fact, such keys are found only with 88 key models of digital pianos, keyboard workstations, and stage pianos. There are some 73 keys stage piano models that have weighted keys, too.

Does Hammer Action Mean Weighted?

You got it right - hammer action is just another name for weighted keys. It’s called “hammer action” because it represents the feel and response of the acoustic piano keybed. Those keys create sound with small hammers on the back that hit the piano strings and thus the name hammer action.