Digital Piano Reviews

The Best Digital Piano

Yamaha p85

Digital Piano - Yamaha p85

yamaha digital pianos

Yamaha p-85 digital piano


The Yamaha p-85 is the best digital piano under a grand, in my opinion.


The Yamaha p-85 digital piano is surprisingly cheap considering its quality.  Then again, Yamaha makes quality instruments period!


A couple years back, when I walked into the giant guitar center looking for a keyboard, I knew exactly what I wanted:

- piano-like touch sensitivity

- great tone (i.e. doesn’t sound like a children’s model casio)

- durability

- reasonable price


That’s it.


I didn’t want any fancy effects because I was learning to play piano and wanted to get as close to real piano sound and feel as possible.  I think that p-85 delivered quite nicely in that respect. 


I actually went around and played every single digital piano in the store and the p-85 was the only one under a thousand dollars that felt and sounded great and didn’t have a bunch of extra stuff added on.





No digital piano under a grand is going to sound as good as a real piano.  In fact, no digital piano, no matter HOW expensive, is going to sound like a real piano!  


The p-85 has 2 piano sounds.  One is bright and sounds more like a baby grand and the second one is darker and sounds more like a Yamaha upright.  This is actually a really nice option to have because one sound will get tiring to the ears after a while and then you can switch to the second one.


Overall, the tone of this keyboard is fantastic for the price.




This digital piano does have a couple extra features but it’s nothing compared to the gadgetry attached to some of the keyboards out there!


Basically, you have a few extra sounds:  2 electric pianos, a harpsichord, strings and a vibraphone.


The electric pianos sound cool and the tone is pretty decent. 


The harpsichord sounds awful.  Truly awful.


The strings sound plastic on the higher notes but the lower notes are pretty decent.


The vibraphone actually sounds really good.  If you’re doing some recording and want to add an interesting effect, this sound is really versatile. 


The p-85 has a built in metronome but you can’t see the BPM so you’re better off using a standalone metronome. 


The music stand isn’t particularly sturdy and tends to topple over if you put any kind of moderately weighty score on it.  I wound up taking a three-legged music stand and putting it behind my keyboard and that worked very well.


The damper pedal isn’t a pedal style but rather a box style pedal.  I didn’t find this to be an issue and it works very well even though it doesn’t replicate the piano damper pedal exactly.




This piano isn’t particularly portable but it’s not that heavy, either.  If you need to take it somewhere, it’ll fit across the front and back of most car seats.  The stand is an x-stand and it’s easy to carry around.  The padded bench is quite soft and also very portable. 


If you’re a gigging musician, it won’t be terribly inconvenient to carry the p85 around. 





My digital piano held out really well until about 2 years after I bought it.  Then it started playing extra notes.  No bueno.


But my Yamaha warranty was still in effect and I got it fixed for free.  Yamaha support was very friendly and I didn’t have any issues with them paying the repairman. 





I bought my p-85 yamaha digital piano for about $700 several years back and I sold it for $400 on craigslist. 


Since I’d had it repaired and it was no longer under warranty when I sold it, I only got $400 but I’m confident I could have asked for $500 if it were a little newer. 


That being said, I see several websites selling the p-85 in the $500 range new and used.  I don’t know what kind of warranties they provide but that should be something to consider because stuff breaks.  And broken electronic stuff is expensive to fix. 


In fact, the repairman quoted me something like $500 to fix my keyboard.  I could’ve bought a new keyboard for that money if I hadn’t been under warranty!





This is a loyal, sturdy workhorse of a digital piano and I really enjoyed using it. 


I mostly used it to compose, record and practice my piano skills with the help of a fantastic piano program called Rocket Piano. 

I do have a pianist friend who sat down and played some heavy duty repertoire on it without issue so it can definitely handle that. 


For the price and famous Yamaha warranty, you just can’t beat this digital piano.  It’s perfect for beginners and intermediate players alike and even pro players can appreciate this quality instrument.




Video of a yamaha p85