The only way to become a good pianist is to practise, and that’s a whole lot easier if you have a piano in your home! You have several different options:
Acoustic Pianos. Uprights or grands, these can both look and sound amazing. To buy new, they are costly and of course these pianos take up loads of space in your home. They are also a pain to move around, and require regular tuning – about twice a year. Because they can be cumbersome, schools, WI halls etc sometimes give away upright pianos for free or very cheap. If you have a big van and some strong friends, it might be worth asking around or looking on Gumtree or Freecycle for a second-hand upright piano.
Electric/Digital Pianos. These are ideal for the serious piano student. They vary in cost and function, so there’s something to suit every budget. You idelly want a piano which is full sized (88-keys) and that has fully-weighted keys; this makes it feel like an acoustic piano when you play it. A record/playback function can be useful, as is an in-built metronome (a ticking noise that helps you play in time, or keeps you playing at a certain speed).
Keyboards. Keyboards range from £20 to £2000+. A cheap keyboard might be OK for complete beginners, but because it has fewer notes and the keys aren’t weighted, the student will struggle to practise pieces which are a little more difficult. The keys are often physically smaller too, which can pose problems when the student tries to play on a piano. There are many high spec keyboards too, which allow for a lot of creativity in composing or recording your own music.
My pianos. I use a Yamaha Clavinova for teaching lessons and my own practise. I got it second-hand in 2003, and it’s moved with me across the UK (numerous times!) and I’ve never had a single problem with it.
I also use a Yamaha P85. This is everything the Clavinova is, yet I can pick it up, put it in my car or carry it about. I bought it when I used to play in a band and needed something easily transportable.