Casio vs Yamaha Keyboards: Which One is Best for You?

If you are in the market for an electric keyboard, it is most likely that Casio and Yamaha are the two top brands showing up in your search. Casio vs Yamaha keyboards, which one is best for you? In this article, we will compare head-to-head and share our honest opinions.

Before we delve into the details, let’s discuss some basics related to keyboards and digital pianos. We usually refer to keyboards with weighted keys as digital pianos because they more closely replicate the feel of playing traditional pianos. However, keyboards with spring-loaded keys are not touch-sensitive or have less than 88 keys, and we refer to them as keyboards. In this article, we broaden the discussion to cover keyboards and digital pianos of Casio vs Yamaha.

For more information about keyboards vs. pianos and weighted keys, check out our articles:

In terms of Casio vs Yamaha keyboards or digital pianos, Casio provides more options for keyboards, while Yamaha offers more digital piano models with some high-end choices. Let’s take a closer look at the details.

The Reputations of the Brands

When it comes to keyboards and digital pianos, both Casio and Yamaha are leaders in the industry. However, Yamaha may be more recognizable for its piano products, mainly since it produces some outstanding acoustic pianos that fill homes and the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

Casio, on the other hand, is the most familiar electronics brand. The Japanese International electronics manufacturing company was established in 1946. Its products range from calculators to watches and electronic musical instruments. In 1980, Casio introduced the Casiotone electric keyboard. Since then, Casio’s lightweight and affordable keyboards have reached millions of households worldwide.

By 1988, Casio produced its first hammer action digital piano CDP-3000. Over the past three decades, Casio’s digital pianos have significantly evolved and are worthy competitors of Yamaha’s digital pianos.

Both brands have a reputation for producing many excellent keyboards and digital pianos. Therefore, our discussion here focuses on a few key characteristics related to digital pianos:

  • Sound Quality
  • Key Action and Touch Response
  • Price and Affordability
  • Home or Studio Use

Since it is impossible to cover every model by both digital piano makers, we’ll have a meaningful comparison of Casio vs Yamaha keyboards by reviewing these aspects with examples.

Sound Quality


The sound is the most obvious yet important aspect of any musical instrument. While Casio and Yamaha use different technology for their sound sampling, both feature outstanding piano sounds in their digital piano models.

Casio Sounds

Casio Privia and Celviano series digital pianos feature Casio’s signature AiR sound source.

Furthermore, the AiR technology reproduces sounds using Casio’s proprietary technique of Multi-dimensional Morphing. Thus, it provides rich and resonating tones that you would expect only from an acoustic piano. AiR simulates the resonance like the sound bounces within an acoustic piano chamber.

Casio collaborates with Bechstein, a German classical piano manufacturer, to reproduce Bechstein’s most pleasing piano sounds in some of Casio’s digital piano models, such as CELVIANO AP-710BK and Grand Hybrid GP-300BK.

Yamaha Sounds

Regarding sounds, Yamaha equipped the distinguished CF concert grand sound in many models of its digital pianos. In most cases, you will find either the Pure CF Sound Engine or the CFX Sound Engine in Yamaha digital pianos.

  • The Yamaha Pure CF Sound Engine is based on the live samples of the world’s most popular CF Series concert grand piano.
  • The CFX Sound Engine is from Yamaha’s flagship CFX 9-foot concert grand piano. It’s a notch up from the Pure CF Sound Engine.

Thus, with the CF Sound samplings and powerful onboard speakers, Yamaha offers its digital piano players an expressive acoustic piano experience.

Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144

Now, let’s put Casio PX-870 and Yamaha YDP-144 side by side to see how the sounds measure up against each other.

The PX870 is part of the Casio Privia line, and the YDP-144 and YDP-145 are in the Yamaha’s Arius series. While these models are comparable, the two lines of digital pianos do not intersect much. The YDP-144 is the entry model in the Arius line, and the PX-870 is the top model of the Privia lineup.

Although the Casio Privia PX-870 and Yamaha Arius YDP-144 are in similar price ranges, the YDP-144 has been on the market longer than the PX-870. With the rapid technological evolution in the digital piano space, a couple of years can make some difference. Therefore, the PX-870 has responded to the Yamaha YDP-144 with slightly better and stronger specifications.

Sound Engine

Let’s talk about the sounds of these two instruments. As we mentioned earlier, Casio and Yamaha use different technology and sound samplings; hence, the main piano sounds are pretty different in tone characters.

The Yamaha YDP-144 has a bit of a low and rough sound feel, and it has more of an emphasis in the upper mid-range. Additionally, YDP-144 has enhanced bass and treble, but the mid-range is slightly flattened.

The PX-870, on the other hand, has the traditional equalization curve with some bass and treble enhancements.

The bottom line is that both sounds are excellent. It is hard to say which is better because it is truly a personal taste. Regardless, sound preference is the absolute most crucial part when choosing a piano, and it will always be subjective.

Then, in 2022, Yamaha rolled out the YDP-145 model with an upgraded sound engine to replace the YPD-144. The new VRM (Virtual Resonance Modeling) feature elaborately replicates the rich sympathetic resonance like that of an acoustic grand piano.


The PX-870 has four speakers with 20Wx2 output, and the YDP-144 has two speakers with 8Wx2 output. Besides the substantial output power difference, Casio PX-870 has excellent speaker placements so that you get sounds that emanate through the top as well as through the bottom.


The maximum polyphony is also different in these two models. The PX-870 has 256 notes, and the YDP-144/YDP-145 has 192 notes. In reality, both of these numbers are totally sufficient; unless you use the instruments to do some studio recording work or play some complicated pieces, then a maximum of 256 notes of polyphony will have an edge.

Here is a summary of the sound comparison between the two instruments –

Sound EngineMulti-dimensional Morphing AiRYamaha CFX
Speakers4 speakers; 20Wx2 amplifiers2 speakers; 8W x 2 amplifiers

Read our detailed reviews:

Key Action and Touch Response

yamaha keyboard

Keyboard or Digital piano key action and touch response directly affect your learning and playing experience. If you are after an authentic piano experience, you need to choose a keyboard with graded or scaled hammer action. This means the keys of a digital piano are touch-sensitive; the harder you press the key, the louder the sound.

The graded or scaled hammer action means that the low notes play heavier and the higher notes play lighter, mimicking the real piano feel.

Casio Key Actions

Most of Casio’s digital pianos are equipped with Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action keyboards. They use the hammer action just like grand pianos without springs.

The Tri-Sensor System enables the keys to respond solidly and naturally. This brings the keyboard even closer to a traditional grand piano. The Tri-Sensor additionally enhances the ability to play the same note in quick succession.

Yamaha Key Actions

Yamaha’s term for its 88-key graded weighted keyboard is the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS). This action has a dual-sensor system and is primarily available on Yamaha’s portable P-Series pianos. Thus, it is excellent for beginners and not challenging to transition to acoustic pianos.

The Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) action is found on more expensive Yamaha digital pianos, for instance, the ARIUS Series. Notably, the GH3 has a three-sensor configuration.

Key Action Comparison

The Yamaha GH3 and Casio Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action provide a similar feel. Yamaha’s GH3 action is slightly lighter than Casio’s Tri-Sensor.

One noticeable difference between Casio vs Yamaha keyboards is that Casio features digital pianos with nice textures on white and black keys that enhance the key touch. On the other hand, Yamaha digital pianos usually do not have texture on the white keys, only on the black keys.

Price and Affordability

price and affordability

Both Yamaha and Casio offer some very affordable keyboards. Besides, many 61-key or 76-key portable keyboards sell for under 300 US dollars. Few models even come with touch sensitivity, which can be a decent beginner piano. The table below lists a few keyboards from Casio and Yamaha that have less than 88 keys. Their prices are very comparable.

Keyboard Model  Price # of Keys Touch Sensitivity
Yamaha PSR-EW310
Check Price 76 No
Yamaha PSR-E373
Check Price 61 Yes
Casio CT-S200
Check Price 61 No
Casio CT-S300
Check Price 61 Yes
Casio CT-X700
Check Price 61 Yes

Casio CD-S160 vs Yamaha P45

Let’s make a side-by-side comparison of two of the most affordable digital pianos with 88-day standard keyboards: Casio CD-S160 vs. Yamaha P45.

Yamaha also offers the P71 model, an Amazon-exclusive version with no functional difference from the P45. The only difference may be the price.

The Yamaha P45 and the Casio CDP-S160 are the cheapest digital pianos you can buy. There is less than a $50 difference between these two instruments on Therefore, this clearly indicates the two Japanese digital piano giants are trying to capture the price-sensitive markets.

Differences in Key Actions

The P45 and the CDP-S160 have 88 full-size keys and a graded Hammer action. However, the response of these two keys cannot be more different.

I prefer the key action on the Yamaha P45, which has a firmer weight and is quieter. In contrast, the action on the Casio CDP-S160 has a lighter feel and is less cushioned.

On the other hand, I love the matte and textured white and black keys on the CDP-S160, which simulate natural ivory and ebony that provide a better hold for my hand. The black keys on the P45 have a matte finish, but the white keys are glossy.

So, it is boiled down to key action or texture. I prefer Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action on P45.

In addition, both digital pianos come with four touch response levels.

casio cdp-s160 vs yamaha p45


The sound engine capability on both instruments is very similar. Both feature 64-note polyphony and ten voices, but the voice selections on these pianos are very different.

The Casio CDP-S160 comes with three grand piano voices, while the Yamaha P45 has just two grand piano tones. See a complete list in the below table. It is a personal choice of what voices you prefer to have on your digital piano.

Grand Piano32
Electric Piano32
Pipe Organ12
Jazz Organ1

While both these pianos allow you to layer two voices simultaneously, the P45 allows you to balance the volume of the two voice layers, but you cannot do it on the CDP-S160. Neither instrument has the option to split the keyboard for different sounds.

If you want to tweak the sounds, the CDP-S160 gives you four reverb and four chorus effects, while the P45 has four reverb effects without chorus effects.

Although the CDP-S160 is a more compact unit, it packs in a more powerful amplification system; a pair of 8-watt amplifiers give you an output of 16 watts versus the 12 watts output on the P45.


Both brands include a basic foot switch functioning as a sustain pedal. However, you will appreciate Casio’s optional triple pedal unit for advanced players who use soft and sostenuto pedals.

Yamaha considers the P45 a beginner piano; therefore, it does not support a triple pedal system.

Casio CDP-S160 vs Yamaha P45 Summary

Key ActionScaled Hammer Action Keyboard ⅡGraded Hammer Standard (GHS)
Key TextureOn white and blackOn black only
Touch Response3 levels plus OFF3 levels plus FIXED
PedalsSustain foot switch
Optional 3-pedal system
Sustain foot switch
Headphones JackOne 3.5mm mini jackOne 1/4″ jack
Speaker 8W x 26W x 2
RecorderSingle trackNo
Bluetooth WirelessNoNo
Dimensions and Weight1,322 x 232 x 99 mm
(52″ x 9.13″ x 4″)
10.5 kg (23.15 lb)
1,326 x 295 x 154 mm
(52.25″ x 11.5″ x 6”)
11.5 kg (25.25 lb)
Battery OperatedYes, with six AA BatteriesNo
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Home or Stage Use

As mentioned, Casio and Yamaha put out many high-quality keyboards and digital pianos on the market. When deciding on a model to purchase, one of the critical questions is whether the instrument is for home or studio use or is for the stage.

You probably want a console-style digital piano for home or studio use. On the other hand, if you want the piano for stage or gig use, find a portable one. Casio and Yamaha offer both styles. Check out our Best Digital Piano Reviews for either style.

Please remember that many portable ones can also be easily converted into console-style pianos for home or studio use. Generally, the portables are cheaper than the console styles.

If portability is a high priority, you may choose Casio keyboards or digital pianos. Casio puts out the slimmest and lightest models with more output power in similar price-range instruments, such as the Casio PX-S3100.

On the other hand, size and weight are usually not as critical for home or studio use. You probably focus more on your preferred sounds and key actions.

Final Verdict

Regarding Casio vs Yamaha keyboards, it is almost impossible for us to tell you which keyboard or digital piano will meet your specific objectives. Additionally, personal preferences are also important considerations, especially when it comes to sounds and key actions.

For my home or lesson studio use, I most likely will pick Yamaha over Casio for its sounds and actions. However, for gigging or stage use, I would probably go for Casio for its portability and digital functions.

Once again, it is critical to evaluate the purpose of using the instrument and pick the best one to meet your goal. For more questions, please do not hesitate to leave comments below.

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