A list of 10 Best Digital Pianos and Keyboards for Beginners
As a beginner who’s just starting out learning, the last thing you need going wrong would be the instrument that you choose. While the correct choice will give you a machine that will stay with you through the years, while a wrong one could set you back, and not just financially. Although there are several instruments out there that can easily qualify as the best beginner keyboard, I personally feel that every musician is different. What works for one, might not work for another. A lot depends on the type of music you want to play, playing style, etc.
That being said, companies like Yamaha, Coorg, and Casio have designed digital pianos and keyboards that are perfect for beginners with little to no experience.
TOP RATED BEGINNER DIGITAL PIANOS AND KEYBOARDS
1. Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard
A brilliant addition to digital keyboards, the Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard is designed in such a manner that it’s very easy for beginners. You will also find a lot of the features that you would normally expect to see in a much more expensive instrument that’s designed for professionals. This makes the entire experience highly interactive as it’s a lot of fun to play around with the features and figure things out.
A great instrument if you want to choose between speakers and headphones depending on the kind of music session you want. It has an extended selection of percussions, rhythms, and timbres that are included within, with built-in learning functions to aid you in learning. With battery-powered functionalities, the instrument is highly portable and includes everything that you need right out of the box. From a beginner’s perspective, I found the keys a tad smaller than usual, and not weighted which can qualify as cons. Also, if you are a rough user, you might not find it very durable.
The Hamzer 61-Key portable electronic keyboard is definitely a good keyboard with weighted keys for a beginner, if you want to pick up skills from scratch.
2. Casio SA-76 44-Key Mini Personal Keyboard
Albeit smaller than your average keyboard, this mini-keyboard is perfect if you want to get a hang of things quickly. All of its functionalities, features, and options make this one of the ultimate keyboards a beginner can have. Also, its small size makes it highly portable and you can fit it literally anywhere.
The company has managed to fit a lot into a small space that includes a song bank, fifty patterns, and over a hundred unique tones. Placed quite comfortably below that are the power and volume buttons along with a brilliant digital screen that displays everything from tone, tempo, pattern, and tuning functionalities. You will also find a numbered keypad that you can use to increase and decrease the volume effortlessly. I found the large button to toggle between organ and piano tones especially useful while creating contrasting tones. Around 5 drum pads are provided which I found was sufficient to blend percussions, and create and up-down tempo.
The instrument’s pros are numerous that includes the 44-mini keys, a vintage sound creator from two 1.2W speakers, an extremely affordable cost of around US$39-US$45, and an 8-note polyphony system. These somewhat outweigh the cons such as the fact that there is no memory for the instrument, isn’t provided with a Casio power adapter, and lacks a few other features like midi-outputs that help an instrument function easily with music programs.
Overall, a great instrument for a beginner, as you will not need most of the advanced features.
3. The ONE Smart Piano Keyboard with Lighted Keys
With 61 backlit keys that light up with sheet music that’s routed through the “The ONE Smart Piano” application, this keyboard is a brilliant smart machine. Due to its light weight, the machine is highly portable and you can carry it with you anywhere. The other highlight of this instrument is the fact that it is app powered. Take that away, and I found the device to be a very basic keyboard that allows you to just change the volume with actual buttons. This is all part of the design as The ONE music company wanted to make a beginner’s keyboard that would be clean with minimalist tones. That’s why a majority of the controls have been bundled into the application.
The instrument comes with a lot of pros that include ease-of-use, portability, video tutorials, backlit keys, kid-friendly, and a good mix of music-related features like tone, patterns, etc. However, the cons include the fact that the songs included in the tutorials are limited, and you need to cough up some dough to gain full access to songs. While the app makes things really simple, the features such as pitch, tone, etc are buried way too deep in the app which might make things slightly confusing to a beginner.
Bottom line is, you can go for this keyboard if you have some basic idea about the features you can use to influence tones. On the other hand, if you are looking for a smart-app enabled keyboard like this one, you can explore a few other options that are in the market.
4. Rockjam 61 Key Electronic Keyboard
An efficient keyboard that offers an all-round experience, the Rockjam 61-key electronic keyboard is something great to have by your side if you are a beginner. Affording you with abilities to play, record, and create music, the device has everything that you might need to create some fantastic tunes and beats.
The highlight of this device would, of course, be the ability it gives to record your music and play it back to you. It also gives you the ability to sample and record a vast variety of sounds that can make all the difference to your composition.
When you want to try out demo songs, it instructs you on which chords to play. Other pros would be the hefty range of rhythms and sound it comes with. From synth, electric piano, to an organ, everything is available to you just a button click away. The final icing on the cake is, of course, the entire setup of the entire system. In addition to the keyboard itself, you will also be provided with an X-stand, padded seat, and headphones. What more could one need?
However, playing devil’s advocate, the device has a few cons as well. The seat provided is flimsy, and there is no USB connection. If you are an android user, then you can’t purchase this as it only works with an iPad. That being said, this device by Rockjam is something every piano lover should have in order to experience music in the finest way possible.
5. WOSTOO Keyboard Piano, 61 Key Portable Keyboard
Another digital keyboard that is perfect for beginners, the 61-key version by WOSTOO packs quite a punch. Not just beginners, but this device can also be used by intermediary players. Coming in with a multi-functional keyboard, charging function, playing piano function, and double speaker, it truly is a wonderful piece of technology.
With overall dimensions measuring 32.3 x 9.1 x 3.5 inches, it is a highly portable keyboard that you can carry with you to any lesson or performance. The material of the keyboard is made with environment-friendly materials that make it highly kid-friendly, and non-toxic. You will also have power outlets along with batteries that add to its portability. The record and playback function in this keyboard is great with an external microphone if you want to sing along to your tunes.
You will also find 10 kinds of functions for rhythm alone along with 16 types of timbre that make it a brilliant instrument for beginners trying to learn the ropes.
- It offers the best in music intelligence
- Very straightforward and easy to use
- Very lightweight and affordable
- The number of functionalities might seem slightly less than the usual at this price range
In a nutshell, a brilliant keyboard to buy in this price range. If you are just starting out, and want to understand the basics first, this instrument by WOSTOO is right up your alley.
6. Plixio 61-Key Digital Electric Piano Keyboard
Advertised as an affordable portable digital keyboard, the latest model by Plixio is by far one of the best instruments made by the music company. It solves one of the major drawbacks of a digital keyboard i.e. functionalities. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t there, it just means that accessing them is tough by going through the menus and/or applications.
Coming to the design of this instrument, it is available in various colors so as to appear friendly and simple to kids. However, it maintains a majestic professional polish that still makes it look mean enough to belt out some brilliant tunes and compositions. With a decent library of pre-recorded songs, you can explore and play around till you arrive at something that you are comfortable with. Along with its 61 keys, it is a delight to play on by any beginner.
- Lightweight at only nine pounds, it makes the entire thing highly portable
- It has over 100 rhythms, 60 demo songs, and bass boost speakers
- In the percussion department, it has 8 built-in ones with 61 keyboard percussions
- With 10 maximum levels of polyphony, it can be powered with an included AC cord, or if you have 6 AA batteries, they work as well
- The keyboard keys aren’t weighted
- Absence of key touch sensitivity
- You might face some inconsistent key behavior that plays notes that haven’t been inputted
- Sound quality isn’t up to the mark and can create a distracting background hum
If you are someone who’s had no experience with keyboards and need to pick up skills from scratch, then this is the keyboard for you. However, if you are slightly experienced, the sound quality can hamper the experience, but you can make do until you afford to purchase a high-end keyboard with all functionalities and features.
7. Alesis Recital 61 - 61-Key Digital Piano
Known for its groundbreaking innovations, Alesis is a company well-known in the field. One of the three digital keyboards designed and manufactured by the company, it is the cheaper version of the Coda Pro and Recital Pro. The company itself is dedicated to teaching how to play in addition to selling instruments, so they have imbibed this into this keyboard.
The piano makes for a perfect first instrument for a beginner as the device has several modes, namely, standard, split, layer, and lesson modes. These are normal on many digital pianos, but the lesson mode on this one has a new element in the form of “Alesis Recital”. This divides the recital’s keyboard area into two areas, each of which has the same pitch and voice. A big step from the norm where a teacher and student can play the same notes simultaneously that further facilitates learning.
Another additional perk that you can get if you purchase this instrument would be a three-month subscription to Skoove (a service that provides online interactive piano lessons). From the perspective of connectivity, it comes with a lot of input and output nodes. This includes a ¼ inch stereo headphone output.
However, this instrument too comes with its own set of pros and cons that are –
- With a 128 note max polyphony you can go all out with the music-making
- An extremely competitively priced keyboard that allows you to learn before investing in a high-end one
- Availability of a built-in metronome
- It does not come with a stand that makes things a bit uncomfortable for that price
- Limited to five built-in voices only
8. Yamaha DGX660 Bundle
Known worldwide as the maker of very fine musical instruments, Yamaha’s latest release, the DGX660, has almost taken over the market. If you are someone who is starting out but want to go with a reputed manufacturer, then this is the perfect one for you.
Sporting an impressive LCD screen and several controls perched atop a stylish stand, the Yamaha DGX660 also boasts of synthetic wooden grain on the stand that gives it a brilliant finish. The keys are designed to give the player the experience of playing a traditional grand old pedal piano. Although there is no battery power provided, the power adapter is the best way to power it up. Coming to sounds, there are ten piano sounds, 14 guitar tones, and five accordion sounds in addition to many more.
- Presence of a GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) that allows the user to experience the complete simulation of playing the piano
- The design makes it stand out in the crowd
- Playback capability for both MIDI and WAV files
- The size and weight make it a cumbersome carry
- The sustain pedal is very basic and can be improved a lot
Overall, a great digital piano to buy and a good beginner keyboard. Furthermore, if you are on the lookout for a keyboard with weighted keys for a beginner, this is the perfect one to go for.
9. LAGRIMA Electric Piano Keyboard
If you are on the lookout for a handsome snazzy digital keyboard with a lot of functionalities, then the LAGRIMA Digital Piano is the perfect one for you. Having all the features of a spinet piano, its warm, natural sound is very appealing and quite inviting.
Although designed to look and feel like an analog piano, it’s great for beginners and learners. With fully functional pedals, it feels just like practicing on an acoustic piano. With over 200 rhythms, 480 tones, 128 standard GM tones, and 50 preset songs, this is the best a budget can buy. Let’s look at some of the major pros and cons –
- 128MB DSP2000 sound sample for crisp clarity
Over 60 levels of polyphony
- Has transpose features including fill-in, and sync
- The instruction manual for setup isn’t very clear
- Has an open back cabinet
- Doesn’t have a great piano tone
With dual headphone jacks, it’s perfect for quiet duets and piano noobies. If you are someone who’s really into the classics, go for this instrument. It’s worth it.
10. Alesis Melody 61 MKII
With this instrument by Alesis, you will have access to everything that you will need while learning how to play the piano. Along with a bench that’s set at a configurable height, it’s easy to set up for someone who doesn’t have much experience.
The instrument is provided with a pair of headphones that can mute the speakers automatically if you need to study on your own. With the additional microphone, you can play and sing simultaneously as well. Also, even if you’re a beginner, you can take advantage of the 128 pre-packaged rhythms. Just like most Alesis products, this one comes with a three-month paid subscription to Skoove.
Definitely, an important starting point if you want to master the art of learning the piano, the Alesis Melody 61 Beginner Bundle has several user-friendly features that you can take your time with to learn. With all the extras it provides, you won’t have to worry about anything while learning.
- Has all the necessary features to begin learning
- Brilliant sound quality making it perfect for kids
- Very affordable price point for the features
- Not very portable
At the end of the day, a fantastic buy if you are on a budget, and looking to learn the piano from scratch.
Things to consider while buying DIGITAL PIANOS AND KEYBOARD
While making the decision to get a new digital keyboard, you should be wary of a few important things. What should hold most importance to you right now would be selecting the perfect instrument. The industry is so vast with hundreds of models and variants, the task can seem daunting at first. However, if you keep a few standards in mind, selecting a digital keyboard can be a lot of fun.
Also, be sure to plug it in and play a few keys or chords as that should come naturally on the selected device. If it doesn’t suit your purpose, even the best digital piano from the most popular manufacturer will not help in making great music.
So without much ado, let’s deep dive and look into what makes an excellent digital piano –
- Key sensitivity
When people in the industry talk about keys, they are discussing the weight and responsiveness. You can define responsiveness by the time delay between the sound and you hitting the keys. Ideal amount of time should be zero. The sound should emanate immediately. If not, then move on to the next model. Other things in the key department that you should keep an eye out for would be counterbalance and hammer-effect. Some modern devices have graduated ones but for a beginner an 88 weighted one should work perfectly.
- Sound quality
The other important things to keep a look out for would be the sound quality. Tone and sound should be on point, and it should sound pleasant to the ear. If you are just starting out to learn how to play then you won’t need sounds and high-end tones. Get something that has a rich sound texture and will give depth to what you play.
- Sampling features
Most of the sample sounds that you get on a digital piano are recorded from acoustic pianos. A good quality digital keyboard will have several samples of the same sound so you can select the best one. Popular manufacturers like Yamaha and Casio do this as there is a lot of texture to sounds coming from an acoustic one due to hue.
In simplest terms it means the number of sounds you can play at one go. Basic models come with about 32 notes while it ranges to 200+ on more advanced models. If you are just atrting out then go for 100+ polyphony models. A good polyphonic system will allow you to hear the variations in the bass as higher notes diminish.
What’s the first step in purchasing a digital piano?
The first thing that you should consider before buying a digital piano for learning would be whether it’s for long, or short-term purposes. If the risk of abandonment is high, then go for a digital piano as it’s cheaper and sturdier. On the other hand, if you are not going to be traveling a lot, go for a slightly higher-end digital keyboard.
Should I just buy a piano or rent a digital one?
Renting is a very reasonable option if you aren’t sure of what to buy, or you are uncertain as to whether you can continue learning in the long run. However, if you think commitment isn’t an issue, then go ahead and purchase one.
What is better? A digital piano or an acoustic one?
While a digital piano is perfect for beginners, you might want to switch to a professional one in a few years. The digital piano will teach you the basics, along with sample sounds and tones that you can mix and match to create new sounds. However, if you want to progress further and create your own compositions, an acoustic one would be the better choice.
How much should I spend on a digital piano or keyboard?
Although a lot of consumer-grade vertical pianos cost in the range of US$3,000 to US$10,000, some of the higher-end ones might cost even more than that. However, when you are starting out, you will not need a lot of features because you wouldn’t know what to do with them. A good starting point would be to select a mid-range digital piano that costs between US$500 and US$1,000. These will have a flavor of all the functionalities of a full-fledged piano, but won’t drown you with choices and confuse you.
How to tell if a digital keyboard is in good condition?
Although you will understand through the sound whether a digital keyboard is still good or not, there are other signs that tell a long story of an instrument’s health. Check for any water line inside the bottom, or check for any sawdust on the underside which are tell-tale signs of termites. Play all the keys to hear the notes, and you will know something is off if the sound is weak or out of tune.