Cheap piano keyboards can make a great instrument for a beginner who is just learning to play the piano. These affordable, portable instruments can provide a great key action and realistic piano sound, if you choose the right one.
In order to find the best portable keyboard, you will want to read through several electronic keyboard reviews and research what goes into making a great beginner keyboard. In order to aid you in your search, here is a complete buying guide for finding the best keyboard for beginners.
Our Top 3 Picks For Beginners
Our Top 3 Portable Keyboards
Tips on Choosing the Best Digital Piano for Beginners
To begin with, here are top five tips you will want to consider when searching for a good beginner keyboard:
Look at the Basics First
When purchasing any digital piano, including a good beginner keyboard, it is important to look at the instrument’s basic features first. To start, look at how many keys the instrument has. How many keys are on a standard piano is a common question beginners have, and the answer is 88.
Some keyboards, however, have fewer than this number. In order to really learn to play the piano, you will want to purchase the best 88 key keyboard you can find. From there, consider basic factors such as the piano’s size, how weighted the keys are, and how realistic the piano sounds.
One great way to learn about the basics of a digital piano and why they are important is to have a look at this buying guide.
Look into all the Extra Features of the Keyboard
While some cheap piano keyboards do not come with a whole lot of extra features, there are some that do. Check into whether the piano has features such as a headphone jack, MIDI and USB connectivity, a large number of different voices, a built-in recorder, and a host of other features.
Some digital keyboards will also come with many different settings and modes that you can explore, many of which are quite useful.
Read Electronic Keyboard Reviews
Reading digital keyboard reviews is an excellent way to learn more about the instrument you are considering. These reviews will give you an honest, unbiased look into the various pros and cons of the piano and provide you with valuable information that may not have been included in the piano’s product description.
Really, there is no better way to learn about the digital keyboard you are considering than to read feedback from those who have played it before.
Consider Your Budget
The best piano for beginners is likely one that is affordable, however, you will still want to carefully consider your budget. Whether you are looking to spend less than $500 or you are able to spend thousands of dollars, there are digital pianos out there that will fit your budget, and many of the pianos on the lower end of this price range are actually very fine instruments.
Determining how much you are able to spend is an important step in finding the best digital keyboard for you.
Buy From a Trusted Brand
Finding a cheap keyboard piano is easy. Finding a high-quality one, however is more challenging. In order to increase your odds of purchasing a keyboard that will provide you with a fun, realistic playing experience, strongly consider narrowing your search to a select few trusted brands.
These brands include Yamaha, Casio, Williams, Roland, Korg, and perhaps a few others. Again, reading a few digital keyboard reviews will really help you figure out which brands (and which pianos within those brands) are the highest quality. Limiting your search to these brands will really help you in finding the best piano keyboard.
Why it is Important to Find the Best Digital Keyboard
You do not have to look very hard to find dozens, if not hundreds, of cheap piano keyboards on the market today. Most of these keyboards are made by off-brand companies and marketed as being high-quality, realistic instruments.
The truth, however, is that most of these so-called pianos are little more than toys. The keys have zero resistance, and the sound they produce is much closer to the bleeps and squeaks of a machine than it is the full, rich sound of an acoustic piano.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality, affordable digital keyboards out there. It’s just a matter of finding them. All of the pianos listed in the top five digital pianos for beginners and top five portable keyboards are all high-quality instruments with a realistic key action and great acoustic piano sound, as well as having many various features and settings that can be incredibly useful, depending on what type of music you are playing.
Rather than resorting to purchasing a keyboard that is nothing like an actual piano and will only lead to frustration and disappointment, do your research carefully and pick out an instrument that will be sounding great for many years after you purchase it.
In order to really enjoy learning to play the piano, picking the best electric keyboard for you is absolutely essential.
Top 5 Digital Pianos for Beginners
The Yamaha P35 comes with a Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard that provides the instrument with a highly realistic key action. Along with this, the keyboard also has a very pleasant piano sound that is boosted by a 12W speaker system and dual 6W amplifiers, providing you with all the volume you might need.
Best of all, however, is all of the extra features and modes that Yamaha has built in to this keyboard. The P35 includes a large number of settings geared towards helping a beginner learn how to play the piano, making the P35 the best keyboard to learn piano that you will find.
The P35 also has quite a few settings and modes for you to employ as you increase in skill, meaning that it will still continue to serve you even after you have advanced past the point of a beginner. All of these extra settings combined with an excellent key action and realistic piano sound make the P35 the very near the best Yamaha keyboard geared towards beginners on the market today.
The Yamaha P105 is like the big brother to the P35. If you are looking for a digital piano that offers all of the realism, both in key action and sound quality, of a concert grand piano, then the P105 is just about the closest you will come. This keyboard is equipped with Yamaha’s renowned PureCF sound engines that produces some of the finest notes you’ll ever hear out of a digital keyboard, and the instrument’s 128 notes of polyphony means you’ll never have to worry about dropping a note.
Like the P35, the P105 comes with Yamaha’s fully weight Graded Hammer Standard keyboard, which provides a truly wonderful key action. Along with this, the P105 comes with dual 14W speakers, 14 different voices, and all of the various modes, settings, and programs that Yamaha is known for. All of these powerful features come available in a piano that weighs just 35.7 pounds, making the P105 near the best portable keyboard as well as the best piano keyboard for beginners.
The PX150 is one of Casio’s finest, most affordable digital pianos and is an excellent choice for beginners. The PX150 produces a highly realistic grand piano sound that is difficult to beat, especially in this price range. Part of this sound quality comes from Casio’s award-winning Acoustic and intelligent Resonator (AiR) which accurately records and duplicates the sound of a concert grand piano all the way down to the most nuanced details.
Along with a great sound quality, the PX150 also comes with a very realistic keyboard. The PX150’s Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action keyboard is one of the most realistic keyboards you will find and provides plenty of accurate resistance, with the lower keys feeling heavier than the higher ones, just like on an acoustic piano.
The PX150 also comes with a handful of features that are helpful for beginners such as a duet mode that lets you play alongside your teacher.
If you are looking for a digital piano that comes with a full-sized, attractive cabinet rather than a just the keyboard then the Williams Overture is by far one of your best choices. The Overture comes equipped with a nicely realistic weighted keyboard that has a remarkable key action.
Best of all, the responsiveness of the keys can be further adjusted to suit your own personal preferences. The sound quality of this piano is equally impressive, with the piano sound having a very full, rich quality that captures many of the subtle nuances that most digital pianos overlook.
Along with a great sound and feel, the Overture also has several features that make it well-suited for beginners such as left and right hand training modes and 58 different practice songs. Thanks to the quality of its sound and keyboard as well as these extra features, the Williams Overture is a great instrument to consider in your search for the best beginner keyboard.
The Allegro has the same great hammer action keyboard and grand piano sound as the Overture but in a lightweight, portable keyboard package. Together with the Overture, the key action of this piano is near the best weighted keyboard on the market today.
Along with being portable, the Allegro also has a few key advantages, the biggest of these being its velocity sensitive keys. The keys of the Allegro are able to detect how hard they have been pressed and produce a corresponding note that is the appropriate volume.
The Allegro also boasts a 64 note polyphony, a built-in metronome, a two-track recorder, and 8 different voices. Perhaps the best thing about the Williams Allegro, though, is its price. The Allegro is one of the most affordable keyboards available today.
Among the cheap piano keyboards on the market, the Allegro is by far one of the highest quality, making it the best digital keyboard that you will find in this price range.
Top 5 Portable Keyboards
Portable keyboards give musicians the ability to take their music with them anywhere they go, making them highly popular among serious pianists. While there are plenty of great keyboards out there, not all of them are extremely portable.
The best portable keyboard is one that has an emphasis on the instrument’s weight. In this regard, Yamaha is leading the industry in producing, great, lightweight keyboards, so much so that all of the five keyboards to make the list of the top portable keyboards are all manufactured by Yamaha.
If you are looking for an instrument that you can take with you on the go, consider one of these five keyboards:
Weighing just 37 pounds, the Yamaha YPG-535 is one of the lightest digital keyboards that you will find that is still able to capture all the beauty of a concert grand piano’s sound. The YPG-535 comes with Yamaha’s Graded Soft Touch action keyboard, which may feel a little light for some but still offers more than enough resistance to provide a realistic playing experience while keeping the weight of the keyboard down.
The YPG-535 comes equipped with high resolution sound samples, giving it one of the most vibrant and nuanced piano sounds that you will ever hear out of a portable digital keyboard.
Finally, the Yamaha YPG-535 is equipped with several highly useful features such as one-touch settings, an expandable music database, a 6-track recorder, USB connectivity, registration memory, full keyboard modes, and Performance Assistant Technology that ensures that even if you accidentally hit the wrong key, the melody still comes out sounding exactly as it should.
At just 12 pounds of weight, the Piaggero NP31 is one of the lightest keyboards that Yamaha has ever produced. Rather than requiring an AC power outlet, the Piaggero is powered off of six AA batteries, making it extraordinarily portable and one of the most popular choices for those wanting to take their piano with them everywhere they go with ease.
Despite its slim size, the Piaggero still packs plenty of power in terms of key action and sound quality. The Graded Soft Touch keyboard (the same one that’s in the YPG-535) offers plenty of resistance without adding the extra weight of a fully weighted keyboard.
The Piaggero comes with a realistic, full sound that Yamaha pianos are known for, and, in spite of its size, truly sounds like a quality acoustic piano. The Advanced Wave Memory technology plays a large role in producing this high quality sound, enabling a near exact replication of the grand piano notes that were recorded.
Along with all of this, the Piaggero comes with a nice selection of feature such as a built-in metronome and streamlined, easy-to-use design.
Many of the Yamaha keyboards on this list offer the same basic advantages, however, there are a few key features that really sets the YPG-235 apart from its competition, making it a great portable keyboard as well as a really good beginner keyboard.
The first of these is that the YPG-235 comes with Yamaha’s Propriety Education Suite. If you are just learning to play the piano, the Propriety Education Suite is a powerful tool to help you get started. The YPG-235 also offers connectivity to a computer, allowing you to save your music, edit it, and share it with whoever you choose.
Speaking of editing your music, Yamaha’s Digital Signal Processing feature lets you add digital effects to the music you create, allowing you to experiment and create your own unique sound. Thanks to all of these extra features as well as the YPG-235’s great key action and grand piano sound, music keyboard reviews often praise the YPG-235 as being the best portable piano keyboard in its price range.
A 61-key digital piano may not be ideal for learning to pay the piano on, but for taking your music on the go, it is a fine choice. And if you are looking for maximum portability, a 61-key keyboard cannot be beat. The Yamaha PSRE343 weighs just 8.8 pounds, making it light enough to take almost anywhere with no trouble at all.
In spite of the fact that it’s a featherweight, the PSRE343 is still able to put out plenty of volume thanks to the piano’s Ultra Wide stereo technology, which not only increases the volume of the PSRE343 but also enhances the richness of the sound.
Like the YPG-235, the PSRE343 also comes with Yamaha’s renowned Propriety Education Suite. The PSRE343 also comes with an astounding 550 different voices as well a host of other useful features such as Master Equalizer settings and a Melody Suppressor function.
The PSRE243 is another great 61-key keyboard offered by Yamaha. Like the PSRE343 the PSRE243 is able to produce a surprisingly high quality level of sound thanks to its Ultra Wide stereo technology.
Unlike many cheap, lightweight keyboards that are practically nothing more than overpriced toys, the Yamaha PSRE243 actually has a nice rich piano sound that beginners and advanced pianists alike can appreciate. The PSRE243 also comes with the Propriety Education Suite, meaning that you can take your piano lessons with you anywhere you go.
At just 12.2 pounds of weight, the PSRE243 can be stored anywhere you like and brought along with you with absolute ease. One excellent feature of the Yamaha PSRE243 is that you are able to connect it to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, allowing you to store, save, and send the music you create even when your computer is not readily available. Other key features of the PSRE243 include Master Equalizer settings, a Sound Controller app, and My Music Recorder.
Whether you are looking for the best keyboard for beginners or the best portable piano keyboard to take with you on the go, there are plenty of great instruments manufactured by the top digital piano brands for you to choose from.
By reading through electronic keyboard reviews and carefully considering what you are wanting to get out of the instrument, you should be able to find a high-quality, cheap piano keyboard to learn to play piano on and to take with you anywhere you go.