Digital Piano vs. Keyboard vs. Synthesizer: Complete Comparison (August 2022)

Staying in the field of music with a decent awareness of all sorts of musical instruments will be a great blessing to you. Many music lovers try to compose or recreate certain tune of songs or tunes and many of them depend on instruments like keyboards or pianos. Yet some others use the synthesizers. All of them look more or less the same with different keys and buttons here and there.

As far as a common man is concerned all these instruments seem to be the same and are not bothered about the differences if any. But if you are a keen music lover or listener, you must know the nuances in each of these instruments. This short guide may help you to get through the same.

Digital Pianos

Digital Piano

With the slight modifications to the traditional acoustic pianos, the digital pianos entertain the players with the fully weighted keys. Along with the 88 keys in the digital piano, one can find many other extra features, functional keys, and settings there. The users are expecting the same sound quality as that of the acoustic piano in a digital one too with the added advantages of a lightweight, affordability, and extended functionality for open stage performances. You may have heard about the electric pianos too, which is a name derived from the working method of the same digital piano.

Each of the keys produces unique sound as they are connected to a hammer. When you strike a particular key, the associated hammer will hit on the wire-like tin. The vibrations produced in the metallic reed will be very soft and hence the sound will be feeble. The inbuilt amplifiers are the greatest characteristics of digital pianos. The feeble sounds from the metallic strips will be picked up by the electromagnetic leads and sent to the amplifiers. The enhanced sound from the amplifiers will help you to relate the instrument with the acoustic pianos.

But a noteworthy point in this instrument is that it never makes use of digital software. Instead, you can connect them to an external computer through a MIDI output. This feature enables the user to create a record or edit versatile music with the interfacing of additional instruments.

Check out: Top 5 Best Digital Pianos Under $1000


Digital Keyboard

Revolving around the greatest comfort of portability, experts designed the keyboards. Keyboards are the best companions for traveling musicians or learners. The lightweight is a compromise with the key weights. All the keys in the keyboard are half weighted, compromising the sound quality. Some keyboards even cut short the number of keys to 61 instead of the normal 88 keys offering a comparable playing experience.

The keyboards are mainly considered as kid-friendly because of the three main reasons- durability, cost, and portability. When we use the instrument for learning purposes the loading and unloading issues will arise. Hence high durability is always preferred on these instruments. The initial cost of purchase and the later maintenance cost of the keyboard is very cheap compared to the digital pianos.

But on the keyboard people can’t expect realistic music. But an experienced hand can produce versatile music with the available tones and inbuilt rhythms of the keyboard. With some interesting key combinations and slight modifications in the baseline, you can bring out the uniqueness. If you are less concerned about the high-quality samples, the keyboards will be the best choice for you.

Check out: Top 7 Best Digital Pianos & Keyboards for Beginners



More than a musical instrument, you can better rate it as a controller. They are best in producing mere sounds which lie far away from conventional music. They are generating just audio signals and alter them to sounds. These sounds are set to particular frequency scales and applied musically; hence able to turn out the largest drawback into the greatest feature. They can recreate an ample assortment of sounds like human and animal voices, natural sounds like the ocean, rain, thunderstorm, and much other electronic sound music.

They show different key allocation systems ranging from 37, 49, 61, 76, 88. You can never expect a fully weighted key system here. Some of them use partially weighted key systems. The versatility of the synthesizer is in terms of the built-in functions, which make them more compatible with live shows and modern music. But they lack an inbuilt speaker and seek the help of outdoor sound coordination.
Making the wise selection

The selection criteria must be rooted in the utility of the instrument. The user only can decide on that. If you are a beginner or learner in the field, it will be better to go for the more durable and portable keyboards. One can find many varieties in the keyboard itself, like portable arranger keyboards, workstations etc in affordable ranges.

If you love to have the great sound quality as that of the original acoustic piano and ready to find out a place for that in your home, go for the digital pianos. They will offer you a wide note range offering a larger number of octaves to you. Accordingly, you may have to expect a little lengthier instrument.

As far as synthesizers are concerned they are best suited for performers or music producers. Though learning the technical features will be a cumbersome process, nothing can beat the performance effects of the synthesizer. Especially for studio operations, they constantly have an upper hand.

Summing Up

Owning a musical instrument is always a matter of pride and joy. But a meager knowledge about them will lead you to the worst buy. With the above-mentioned characteristics and features of the three musical instruments with keys, you can fix your choice according to the purpose, preference, and purse. No doubt, each of them will outshine the others with their features and sound qualities. You can figure out many varieties of instruments in the three categories. With a little more research on them will help you to find out the best one for you. A gentle reminder, never blindly follow the suggestions as the question is not the best one outright, instead, which will be best suited for you.


Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.