Start your purchasing effort by finding someone who reeeeally knows digitals... and acoustic pianos as well — if you're still contemplating between digital and acoustic. Replying to price-leading ads will invariably get you a bottom-of-the-barrel product that your teacher will slap your wrists with a ruler for buying!
Many digital pianos also don't qualify as a substitute for a piano due to the compromised quality in the name of lower prices — in fact, through the eyes of a musician or music teacher, very few digital pianos would qualify as a substitute for a piano. In order to gain a clear picture of quality levels, as well as to be enlightened as to the features you should know about, find a knowledgeable salesperson who you implicitly trust and a dealership who dedicates a good portion of their showroom space to digital products. Is the dealer and/or the knowledgeable staff easily accessible? Support is important — as product-specific questions often arise, especially when the inevitable PC-interfacing occurs. Additionally, some manufacturers will put the words "Digital Piano" on just about anything with keys, hoping to attract potential customers. Sometimes they have only 61 or 76 keys, which hardly resembles a piano OR a digital piano.
Buying tip #2
When doing your shopping for a digital piano, dismiss any piano stores that aren’t truly in the digital piano business. Some of these stores are obvious because the staff will say things like "we don't carry digitals because they're not ‘real' pianos”. Other stores don’t represent a good digital piano product line, so they may have a few around to give the illusion of being in the business, but really they’re interested in showing you acoustic pianos. If digital pianos aren't a significant part of their business, don't expect them to send you to the place down the street that specializes in digitals! Rather, you might hear a testimonial about acoustic pianos being the only way to go. Keep searching until you find someone who actively carries both.
Finding a dealer
with an informative web site is can also be a clue that a dealer understands
the technology they’re selling. :)