Piano Synthesizers vs Digital Keyboards vs Digital Pianos – What To Choose?

The most common confusion regarding piano synthesizers is the difference between digital pianos and keyboard types. In this guide, we will take a look at the digital piano vs keyboard confusion, so hopefully, it will give you a better idea on these two instruments. Piano synthesizer instruments are a mix between the two, which makes an even bigger confusion.

There are, of course, many common things between these instruments, there are also huge differences between them as well. Let’s take a look at the difference between a keyboard and synthesizer instruments to make decision making for you easier. 

We will also discuss the differences between keyboard vs digital piano instruments to make everything easier! The most important thing to consider is what you will use it for because it will determine what type to look for.

A Digital Piano

Digital pianos are the closest ones to an acoustic piano. These pieces are furniture style model pianos, which means they come with a cabinet and are upright. This, however, does not mean that digital pianos which do not come with a cabinet cannot be marked as digital pianos. Yes, we know, it is pretty confusing.

Digital pianos always come with a full-size 88-key keyboard, which is weighted, so it can truly copy the feel of an acoustic piano. This sets digital pianos apart from synthesizers piano instruments and keyboards.

Many beginner piano players hesitate between digital piano versus keyboard instruments. Digital pianos also come with many features, settings, songs, modes, however, sometimes not as many as digital keyboards do.

As said before, the main focus of a digital piano is the authentic feeling, and that is why it often makes it to the top of the list before synthesizer piano instruments do. Digital pianos light, affordable, portable, and produce great sound qualities.

If you want to learn to play on the piano properly, because you would want to transfer to an acoustic piano soon, digital pianos are the best options. They offer great guidance and will teach you the proper finger technique.

Actually, digital pianos are a blend of acoustic pianos and electronic keyboards. If sound quality is one of the most important features for you, stick with digital pianos. If you are looking for something else, continue the list to decide on the synthesizer vs keyboard debate.

A Keyboard

The keyboard vs synthesizer debate has grown even more in the past few years as the market developed more and more. We have discussed the difference between a digital piano and keyboard instruments, but there are some important differences piano synth instruments and keyboards as well.

The main concept of keyboards is portability. If you think you will move your keyboard around a lot, then keyboards are great options for you. Travelling musicians also like to choose keyboards over electric synthesizers as well, because of the great features.

Keyboards need to be light and portable, so the keys are semi-weighted, so they do not have that extremely realistic feeling like digital pianos. Most keyboards do not come with 88 keys, but around 61 or less so it can be compact.

It offers a similar playing experience, so it should not be a huge concern. They are also very durable, which is essential if you are going to move it around a lot.

Yes, they are not the best or the easiest to learn on, they are very good for those who move around a lot, and they are also kid friendly because of the durability. Check out this guide on the best keyboards on the market. 

If you are looking for something that will last you a long time, keyboards are good options. Also, the cost difference between the keyboard and digital piano can be drastic, so if you are on a tight budget, definitely consider these as your option.

Keyboards were mostly built for beginner learners and intermediate players. They offer great features and modes, so if you want to incorporate various sounds and musical elements to your playing, keyboards will do that for you. Keyboards are meant to create music and not to imitate realistic piano sounds.


Electric keyboard synthesizer instruments are actually more like musical controllers. They are mostly used in musical productions and stage performances, as piano synthesiser instruments create great sounds.

As a comparison in the electric piano vs keyboard battle, synthesiser pianos can have 88, 76, 61, 49, or 37 keys, and they are only semi-weighted if they are actually weighted at all. These instruments are often carried a lot as well, so they are nice and durable.

The biggest difference between synthesizers and keyboards is that synthesizers have way more functions, and it does not focus on realistic piano sound at all.

Synthesizers rarely have any speakers, because they are almost all the time connected to a sound system of some sort. Learning to play on the synthesizer can be a bit difficult, even if you are an experienced piano player. The hundreds of modes, tones, settings, and voices can be a bit hard to navigate through.

Synthesizers are also known as electrophones, and in opposition with other electronic piano instruments, these can produce their own customized sounds.

Which To Choose

Making a decision on what type of instrument to choose entirely depends on you and your preference. make sure to keep in mind what you will use it for, and what type of music you will play.

Also, do not forget about portability. If you will not move the piano around at all, a digital piano is a great option for you. If you are going to practice piano songs and want to transfer to an acoustic piano, later on, digital pianos will help you. However, if you want to move around a lot or produce music, decide between keyboards and synthesizers.