There are many excellent brands for electronic pianos: Casio, Korg, Roland, Yamaha and more. The least expensive electronic pianos with weighted keys (that we have found recently) are:
CASIO Privia PX-S1000
Yamaha P-45 or P-125
these are usually $650 to $850 just for the keyboard
You will also need:
* A stand for the keyboard – either an X stand($30 to $40) or a console ($100) and
* Piano bench ($45 for an adjustable, padded seat). Sometimes you can get these discounted when purchased as a bundle.
E L Music at 332 West Boylston St in Worcester
Union Music at 142 Southbridge Street in Worcester
Both have a rent to own program for electronic pianos
Guitar Center in Westborough has a large selection of digital pianos
They also have Millbury and Natick locations
Remember, it does not work to place the keyboard on a table at home: they are too high. Home chairs are also the wrong size and it is best to purchase a piano bench that is adjustable so the student has the correct height seat as they grow. The student’s posture when practicing is extremely important and having the keyboard and bench at the correct height is essential for this purpose.
I highly recommend the console stand (screws on and is solid) for a home with young children or animals to avoid accidents or injuries. For older students, especially students who may be taking the piano out to perform, the fold up or X stand is best for quick set-up and break-down. Consoles can be unscrewed and converted to an X stand when younger students get older.
Note that 3 pedals aren’t really necessary – just one sustain pedal is needed for most students and this comes with the keyboard at no extra cost.
Any Casio Privia or Yamaha piano with a higher model number will also be a good choice (although more expensive). Avoid lower model numbers, even with “touch-sensitive" or light-weighted keys. They are a waste of money.
These days, it is hard to find a weighted full-size keyboard worth buying for less than $650 and they usually run $650 to $900. The only feature 90% of buyers need is the weighted keys on a full size keyboard(88 keys).
I strongly recommend playing the keyboards for feel and sound and choosing one that feels and sounds right to you. If you can bring an experienced player with you, that’s best.
The advantage of an electric keyboard is that you do not need to tune it regularly (some come with a variable pitch which is important if you will be playing with other instruments) and it is easy to move around. The disadvantage is that if the computer crashes (very unusual), you would face a replacement cost of at least $400 and a potential long wait (two to three months) for the part to come in.