Congratulations! You’ve taken the first, oftentimes most difficult step in your piano journey—deciding that you’re going to learn to play the piano. The second step to conquer? Finding a piano to best fit your needs so you can start playing. With countless pianos and keyboards just a Google search away, researching and identifying options can seem like a daunting task… that’s why I’ve done the hard work for you.
Keep reading below to find out how a piano makes sound across piano types, what characteristics you should look for when shopping, and my personal recommendations as an adult piano teacher for the past 25 years! Please remember recommendations are for adults who will be using the instrument as a fun new hobby and learning to play in their home.
How the piano works
The piano action described above is what takes place on an acoustic piano, or one with physical strings. Strings inside of an acoustic piano hold a lot of tension (up to 18 tons!) making the keys feel heavy. Acoustic pianos can be grand or upright. Grand pianos have a horizontal frame and strings and can range from approximately five to ten feet! Upright pianos have a more compact, vertical frame, making them a more realistic option for smaller spaces.
I recommend buying a digital piano with the full 88-key range, weighted action keys, built-in legs, and sustain pedal like the Korg B2SP Digital Piano Package so that you can keep your notes going longer once you get comfortable playing.
If you want something a little less expensive or don’t have the space for a standing piano, this Alesis Recital Pro 88-key Hammer-action Digital Piano is also a great option. It has a sustain pedal output, so you can buy one from Amazon or another retailer and start using it at your convenience! Please note that this digital piano does not have built-in legs, so you will need to plan ahead and know what you will put it on physically.
You might think that you will be able to simply plop it up on a desk, but more than likely you will want to be able to adjust the height with a stand to fit your comfort level. It’s best to purchase a keyboard stand from the same manufacturer—I love the Sweetwater brand because they make accessory recommendations right on the product webpage.
If you don’t like either of these options, I recommend browsing the entire Sweetwater Digital Piano library! They carry several different brands and make it really easy to refine your search based on what you’re looking for. Just make sure whatever you buy has 88 keys, weighted key action, and includes a sustain pedal or an output for one.