The Difference Between a Digital Piano and Acoustic Piano

Whether you are a seasoned musician, just getting to grips with the basics or looking for an item to add some class and sophistication to a room, buying a piano can be a confusing process.

There are many decisions to make. Few of these decisions will make more of a difference to what you end up with than picking between a digital and acoustic piano.

In this guide, we are going to walk you through the main differences between the two. We will also offer you some advice on which one might be best for you given your own unique needs and requirements.


Walk into any piano store and the first thing you will notice between digital and string pianos are their size.

Given the need to house the various parts that make a string piano work, it makes sense that they tend to be much larger than digital pianos. Grand pianos will typically be anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 meters in length. However, upright string pianos can be pushed against a wall and take up much less space.

The large size of string pianos is part of their charm. They are often used to make a statement when you enter a room, something that smaller, sleeker digital pianos cannot do.

Sound Quality

It is undeniable that acoustic pianos create an incredible organic sound that even the most expensive digital piano cannot quite match. If your primary concern is filling a space with the best sounds, then a string piano would certainly be your first choice. This is especially true if you are playing classical music.

Digital pianos do have their advantages when it comes to sound. Unlike acoustic pianos which can be sensitive to heat, humidity and need tuning after some time, digital pianos are more consistent in offering you the same sound quality every time you play them.

Although historically digital pianos could get nowhere near the sound quality of string pianos, more modern versions are creating much better sounds that are getting closer to those of the original.


Typically, a acoustic piano is going to produce a much louder sound when played whilst maintaining high quality. Although digital pianos can sometimes be plugged into further amplification, this is often at the expense of their already inferior sound quality.

Of course, in some cases, the quieter nature of digital pianos can be beneficial, especially if you have neighbours who you are keen not to disturb.

The Experience

One of the biggest differentiators between a digital and acoustic piano is the experience you have when playing them.

There is something majestic about sitting as a grand piano, lifting the fallboard and feeling the weight of the keys beneath your fingers as you play. Those who appreciate great craftmanship will also love being in the presence of a custom-made piano. This is why we offer our customers the option of a transparent lid so you can see the strings and workings of the piano underneath.

Digital pianos do not offer the same experience in terms of quality. However, they do offer some benefits in terms of their flexibility such as the ability to more easily move the piano from room to room.


A considerable amount of experience, skill and craftsmanship goes into building quality string pianos. Therefore, it is understandable that they cost more than their digital alternatives.

Digital pianos are considerably cheaper with top-end options coming at around £2000.


One aspect of digital pianos which can make them more appealing is their self-play ability. However, many high-end string pianos now come with a self-play option. In addition, our self-play pianos also offer play and record functionality.

Digital vs Acoustic

So which piano is best for you? Many factors come into play.

A digital piano may be a better option for you if:

  • You don’t have space for a string piano
  • Your budget doesn’t stretch to a string piano
  • You are just starting out and don’t want to invest in a luxury or custom piano yet

A string piano may be a better option for you if:

  • You want a statement piece that will wow people
  • You want the best possible sound when playing
  • You want to make an investment that can be handed down from generation to generation  

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