Yamaha ARIUS YDP 181 Review (2020)

Yamaha are one of the leading creators of pianos out there, and their expertise in providing good quality piano equipment has been established through their years of operation.

The Arius range provides a lot of different digital pianos that can be used at home, and offers them at a range of prices to suit even the tightest budget.

Their range provides pianos that can suit pianists of all different levels too.

We thought we’d try one out and let you know some of our thoughts on the Yamaha Arius YDP-181.

Yamaha ARIUS YDP 181 Overview

The Yamaha Arius pianos are made to be home digital pianos. They’re not designed to be portable keyboards so you’d best look elsewhere if that’s what you’re looking for.

All of these pianos will come with setups when they’re delivered and are made with a lot of heavy adornments. 

Every one of these pianos comes with a bunch of features that will help the player be able to grow with the piano so they don’t need to keep having to change piano as they become more advanced.

This goes for whether you’re a beginner or if you’re more advanced. They all come with three different pedals (a sostenuto, damper and soft, and a full 88-key keyboard.

The piano also allows you to half pedal. This Helps you to be able to increase your sustain depending on how hard you press on the pedal.

The Arius pianos also help you to be able to blend two different voices together at the same time so the sound is much fuller, and it’s possible to record anything you perform straight into the piano.

It comes with a graded hammer keyboard action, and the tops of the keys are made of plastic.

There is a lot of resistance in the bass, and not as much in the treble much like an acoustic piano would have. It also comes with an extra sensor so the keys will respond much like you’d find with an acoustic piano. 

The YDP-181 - Digital Features

One of the shining features of the Yamaha YDP-181 9 is its digital package. 

It comes with a total of 14 different voices. With that being said if you are looking for a home digital piano then the chances are what you’re looking for is essentially a replacement for an acoustic piano rather than the massive sound banks that will come with more of the portable keyboards. 

The keyboard also comes with a decent 128-note polyphony, so you can easily hear even the hardest of pieces clearly. 

It comes with a total of ten different demo songs, and it also comes with 50 play-along songs that are programmed right into this digital piano.

They also come alongside a song book that’s included with the piano so it will help you to learn to play directly from sheet music too if you aren’t already familiar with doing so.

Yamaha ARIUS YDP 181 Review

Thankfully, the Yamaha YDP-181 also comes with a built in metronome to help you keep in time with your selected song. 

This digital piano also sports a 7-segment LED screen. This will help you to easily be able to see what features you are currently using.

Many entry level pianos don’t have this, so this is already a big upgrade if you’re a beginner. 

The keyboard also comes with the capability to connect it to an ipad or computer. This will help you to access a whole range of music learning apps from Yamaha and otherwise.

When you’ve connected your device, you can then read music straight off your device screen, and you can choose from a massive range of different playing and learning options.

These apps are made to help the piano accompany you and to help you learn to play piano in a fun way that will keep you engaged. It’s also possible to use the device you’re using as a visual controller with any additional features you may want to use with it.

There are also two headphone jacks that are built into the keyboard. This is especially helpful if you’re a little self conscious starting out, as nobody will hear you!

It will also help any piano teachers to be able to listen to you play and you don’t need the whole room to be able to hear you as you play. 

Yamaha YDP-181: Pros and Cons


  • Elegant and simple cabinetry. The piano looks like an authentic acoustic piano! 
  • Graded Hammer Action - it feels like you’re playing a proper acoustic piano
  • Automatic power off - if you forget to turn your piano off after a time it will turn off on its own
  • Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Dynamic Stereo Sampling. All of the voices were made from recordings of audio samples from the instruments they’re associated with. 
  • It’s a big upgrade from traditional entry level digital pianos for home


  • The piano comes with a 128 note polyphony, whereas other models come with 192-note polyphony instead
  • A little bit expensive for beginners, especially ones on a budget

Our Final Words

This piano is an appealing option if you’re looking for a home digital piano. It’s suited to pianists of all levels and there are far more reasons to invest in this beauty than there are to stay away from it. 

It will feel wonderful to play with the graded action, and it genuinely feels authentic and expressive because of the voices included. The digital features also really enhance your musical experience, and it’s very enjoyable for a beginner to play.

Who is this piano for?

The Yamaha Arius YDP 181 is suitable for a beginner who is really serious about getting into piano properly. It’s also well suited to a student who wants an upgrade from their beginner’s portable keyboard.

It will also work well for families that have a lot of budding pianists but also more advanced players, or it’s also a good fit for any musician who wants an apartment friendly option that provides minimal maintenance. 

What kinds of people would need to consider an alternative?

If you need something portable, the Yamaha Arius YDP-181 may not be suitable for you. Also, if you want a true acoustic piano this may not be a good fit.

Besides all this, it’s a fairly affordable piano for what it provides and it well suited to beginners and advanced musicians. If you’re looking for an upgrade or for a piano that will help you to develop, this may be a good choice for you. If you're looking for a cheaper keyboard piano, maybe you should look at alternatives.