When should I choose a digital piano instead of acoustic piano?

Digital pianos do have advantages over acoustic pianos in a few areas:

  • A digital piano can be played silently with headphones whereas most acoustic pianos cannot. Except for a few Yamaha models, most acoustic pianos cannot be played silently. If you live in close proximity with other people such as in an apartment or you plan to practice piano late in the night or early in the morning, a digital piano will be a much better fit than an acoustic piano. Actually, a high percentage of acoustic piano owners, including ourselves, also own a digital piano because of digital piano’s ability to play silently.
  • Acoustic pianos need more space than digital pianos. You can literally place a digital piano anywhere in your house as long as it has access to electricity. Acoustic pianos, on the other hand, need careful placement for acoustic reasons. A vertical acoustic piano is usually placed against a wall, and it may be more difficulty than you think to find an empty wall in a house. A grand piano may look like it needs a lot of space but in my experience it is no more than a upright piano needs.
  • Digital pianos are generally lighter and easier to move around. Some digital pianos can be carried around in your car, which is impossible even for the smallest acoustic piano.
  • Digital pianos need no maintenance whereas acoustic pianos need regular tuning and servicing. Acoustic pianos need to be tuned at least once per year and possibly twice per year, which will cost you between $100 to $400 per year. Digital pianos are always in tune and never need tuning. Acoustic pianos are made of wood, steel, and wool. These parts will eventually break down and you will need a piano technician to replace broken strings, worn out hammers…etc. A typical acoustic piano can last about 50-60 years, and at that time, you can either spend big money to rebuild the piano or give it to your child for free and make it her problem! Digital pianos, on the other hand, are usually irreparable. Because digital pianos are made of electronic parts and companies always come up with new models year after year, replacing a digital piano is almost always cheaper than repair a broken digital pianos.

This is one of the articles in a series called “Piano Buying Guide for Parents of Young Students“. You can find other articles of the series through this link.

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