Digital pianos and electric keyboards can both be used as an alternative to an acoustic piano. They both have the advantage of being a lot cheaper than a full size acoustic and they are also not as bulky and difficult to move around. However, there are also significant differences between the two models, and this can have a real influence on the one that you decide to purchase. Some of these differences are explored in more detail below.
You will usually have 88 keys on a digital piano, which is the same amount as you would find on an acoustic piano. The amount of keys a keyboard will have will depend on its size, but it will often be between 61 and 76. The range of a digital piano tends to be eight octaves, compared with five or six from an electric keyboard.
A digital piano is more likely to have weighted keys. This is not a feature that is often found on an electric keyboard. Weighted keys mean that the key is more responsive to the force with which it is touched. Therefore you can get a louder sound when the key is struck harder. This is not a feature that is often available on an electric keyboard.
An electric keyboard is likely to have a wider range of voices and sounds than a digital piano. A digital piano will have a variety of piano sounds including a grand piano. These voices often sound a lot like the instrument that they are trying to recreate. On an electric keyboard you can get hundreds of different sounds and voices and these can be used to create something really unique. The compromise is that the quality of the sounds will not be as high as on the digital piano.
If you want something that looks like a piano, then this is something that you are more likely to find with a digital piano. You can purchase a digital piano that is encased in a wooden body. They come in a variety of finishes and so it is easy to find one that will fit the design of the room it will be kept in.
If you are looking for something that is easy to move between different locations, then it is going to be easier to do this with an electric keyboard. The fact that they have less keys and are a smaller size means they are not really designed to stay in the same place. You can also move digital pianos from place to place, but it is not as practical.
If you are looking for an experience that is as close to an acoustic piano as possible, then a digital piano is going to be the best choice. However, if you are looking for something portable that can produce a wider variety of sounds, then this is what the electric keyboard is made for. They are both very good at what they do, the choice will ultimately come down to what it is you are looking for.