Best Overall Beginner’s Keyboard: Yamaha YPT260 61-Key Portable Keyboard
Yamaha is an incredibly well-known and respected instrument manufacturer and is known throughout the world. This fact alone should be enough to show you how outstanding their beginner keyboard set is; putting the power of their legacy into the palm of your hands.
Best Budget Beginner’s Keyboard: Alesis Melody 61 MKII 61-Key Portable Keyboard
With an outstanding touch response feedback design, all the features you would expect in a premium electric keyboard but for a price that can’t be beaten, Alesis has gone above and beyond the call of duty with one of their most popular keyboard models.
Best Premium Beginner’s Keyboard: RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard Piano SuperKit
If you’re looking for everything you could want from your keyboard experience, but in one place and for only one price, RockJam has the solution for you. With the keyboard, stool, stands, headphones, and a ton of extra features in one, what more do you need?
Our Top Ten
Learning to play an instrument is one of the best ways you can invest your time. From guitars to digital music software on your computer, there are plenty of different instruments to suit your personal taste; one of the most interesting and most enjoyable is the keyboard.
Keyboards are fantastic instruments to play because they can be taught and learned to suit any genre that you like, and they are specifically ideal if you plan on making digital music using MIDI sounds and online programs. However, no matter what path you want to take, everybody has to start somewhere.
With this in mind, today we’re going to explore the top ten beginner’s keyboards designed to help you have the best learning experience, all in all enhancing your skills, maximizing your enjoyment of the musical skill and hobby, and giving you the best overall keyboard experience possible.
Starting off our list, we’re drawing our attention to the Casio CTK-3500. That’s right; Casio does a lot more than just producing calculators and watches for the world. This is an ideal beginner’s keyboard because it’s not just a keyboard; it’s everything you need for the most complete audio experience to help kickstart this passion.
Perfect to Start With
The Casio CTK-3500 is an incredibly lightweight keyboard, boasting a rugged design that’s durable and allows you to make music anywhere with ease. Whether you’re setting up your equipment at home or taking it to a lesson with you, you won’t have to worry about being held back or struggling to take everything with you.
As we mentioned above, this set is a complete pack that comes with a wealth of other things on top of the keyboard. This includes an adjustable stand, a book full of chords, notes, and example songs, decent-quality headphones, even the power cables and USB wires. In short, everything you need is right here and available for one price.
Built into the keyboard, you’ll find 400 unique and interesting tones to explore in addition to the 150 rhythms. This helps give you a solid foundation to learn from whether you’re emulating the sounds themselves or sparking your creativity.
From Beginner to Producer
Using this keyboard, you’ll have full control not only to learn how to play the instrument as it is but also to aid you on your digital production journey. Integrated into the keyboard itself, you’ll find drum beats, filters, low-fi samples, even synth parts, ensuring you have all the tools you’ll need to produce a full track.
You can even connect any Android or iOS device to your keyboard to start using the free Chordana app. This is an app loaded with tracks, teaching you how to play the right notes. When you’re learning the songs you love, you’re far more likely to enjoy what you’re playing and you’ll ultimately stick with the hobby longer!
Since this is a 61-key keyboard, you can learn on here quickly and then take your skills and apply them to any other form of keyboard or piano without having to make too many alterations. In short, Casio has created one of the best ways to learn, both in terms of enjoyment and efficiency.
What We Like About It
Included alongside everything else you’ll find with this keyboard pack, you’ll discover the eMedia DVD. Once you load this disk onto your computer, you’ll find over 50 expertly prepared lessons to kickstart your keyboard learning journey at your own pace; all created by keyboard professional Irma Irene Justicia M.A.
- Comes with everything you need to have a complete keyboard experience
- Can be used to make professional digital audio productions
- 61-key, full-sized keyboard
- Incredibly lightweight and can be taken anywhere
Roland is another leader when it comes to musical instruments, so choosing them right off the bat is a great choice where you can’t really go wrong. If you’re looking for a dedicated beginner experience from the world-renowned manufacturers, this education bundle is your best bet.
The Best Basics
This GO: Piano is a 61-key, full-sized piano that’s designed with full-sized keys and a reliable and authentic key touch response, which is rare with traditional starter keyboards in the same league. This is ideal because you’ll be learning how everything works effectively, rather than learning in a simple style and then basically having to learn all over again on a more traditional keyboard when you decide to move onto the next level.
Built into the keyboard, you’ll find 128-voice polyphony sounds and authentic piano sounds that are both accurate and realistic, only honing the overall experience you’ll have here. However, there’s more. You’ll even find alternative instruments, including electric pianos and organs, and that’s just to name a few.
The latest trend with modern keyboards that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere is the ability to connect to other technological devices, which only enhances your experience. This is true with the Roland keyboard, which offers both Bluetooth audio support and MIDI control.
Want to use this keyboard to power your DAW applications and producer VSTs when making digital tracks on your computer? This keyboard is designed by nature to fully support you along the way in the form of being a MIDI controller.
Speaking overall, this is a lightweight keyboard weighing in at just 8.6lbs and, although full-sized, is still compact enough that you can easily travel with and set it up anywhere. When it comes to a beginner trying to find the keyboard that’s right for them, there may not be many reasons to look further than this.
What We Like About It
Of course, being a Roland keyboard, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that come with learning and listening to the music your way. Whether this is playing out loud through the integrated speakers, listening through headphones, or connecting to your smartphone or tablet, Roland gives you the option to listen in your own way.
- Can support all types of audio output options
- Comes with 61 full-sized keys to explore
- 100% compatible with being used as a MIDI controller
- Multiple keyboard and piano-like instruments built into the device
Yamaha is a huge name in the audio, sound, and instrument industry, and there’s no denying the company prioritizes their customers through the quality and functionality each of their products provides, and the YPT260 is no exception to the rule.
Custom-Built for Beginners
The YPT260 is specially designed with beginner players in mind and follows the trend of offering a 61-key layout and full-sized keys to ensure you’re having an effective learning experience that’s enjoyable and doesn’t feel overwhelming when you first sink your teeth in.
There are a ton of helpful features built into this keyboard, including 400 unique voice sounds, 112 integrated sounds to play along with or feel inspired by, and even 130 auto accompaniments. This a huge creative library that’s sure to keep you busy and motivated to keep learning.
This library is built out further thanks to the 384 special sound effects and complete drum sound database comprising over 16 drum sounds to help you build your own beats to play along to.
There are even special effects added into the memory banks such as reverb sound effects, which is just another way to help you improve and discover your own style of play through complete freedom of experimentation.
Spec and feature-wise, this keyboard continues to excel. All the internal functions are organized and managed via the fully backlit LED screen in the center of the keyboard, and the external sound quality is impressive. Obviously it’s not ground-breaking, but as far as electric keyboards go, this keyboard is pretty decent!
Yamaha seems to have paid particular attention to making sure this keyboard is straightforward to set up and use, and you won’t have to worry about anything being too confusing technically. Just plug in the keyboard, turn it on and you’ll be ready to go!
To summarize, with this keyboard you’ll get to enjoy all the amazing benefits and qualities the Yahama music brand is known for, all in a simple and affordable beginner’s package that guarantees to help you get started in the best way possible.
What We Like About It
One of the highlights of using the Yamaha beginner’s keyboard is the amount of connectivity you get, which is far greater than most keyboards of this caliber. You can add different audio inputs, connect to a computer, or, most popularly, download a keyboard phone app with lessons to help you learn. It’s entirely up to you how you want to play.
- Comes with over 380 unique sounds to choose from and experiment with
- Can be connected to any of your devices, computers, or phones effortlessly
- Full LED backlit display to help you navigate all the keyboard features with ease
- A full-sized 61-key keyboard designed with beginner players in mind
While this keyboard is slightly smaller than most, measuring in at a 54-key size, this doesn’t mean you miss out on functionality. Instead, you have less to worry about learning, and can focus more on the skills, techniques, and just getting yourself used to playing the keyboard.
Thanks to the smaller size of this keyboard, you’ll find it to be extremely compact and portable, meaning you can easily take it with you wherever you go. This is also complemented by the fact you can operate the keyboard through an AC power supply, or by filling it with batteries.
Everything You Need
As you would expect with a professionally designed keyboard, this model features a fully-backlit LED screen that helps to give you feedback responses on the keys you’re pressing, as well as helping you quickly navigate all the menus and settings.
You’ll need this because this particular model can record your sets and play them back through the two built-in speakers. It also has eight unique demo songs to help fuel your creativity, over 100 unique sound effects, and another 100 rhythms to play along to.
It’s also worth noting that despite all these fantastic and extensive features that you’ll have access too, the RockJam is one of the most affordable keyboards on our list today, so if you’re looking for a keyboard that’s not only beginner-friendly, but also packs a punch and remains complete with everything you need; this could be the keyboard you’ve been looking for.
What We Like About It
Hand’s down, one of the reasons why people adore the RockJam keyboard so much is the fact it comes with a free mobile app to help you learn the keyboard easily. This is known as the Simply mobile application available on both iOS and Android operating systems.
- Over 200 accurately recorded sounds and tracks to listen to and use
- A free mobile app to help you learn and perfect your skills for Android and iOS devices
- Can be used wirelessly with batteries or plugged into a power supply
- 54-key compact size to make it easy for beginners to learn the basics
If you’re looking for a mid-range beginner keyboard that’s affordable and guarantees not to break the bank while still containing a range of premium features you’re going to need and love, you may want to turn your attention to the Alesis Melody.
This is the ideal 61-key keyboard that comes with all the basics you need to get started and get learning, but then also has enough to keep you going for years to come without having to invest in a bigger and better upgrade so soon.
Ultimately, this saves you a ton of money over the next few years.
What people adore about this keyboard is just how responsive the keys are and how it doesn’t matter whether you’re practicing or performing; the experience you get from this keyboard is one only typically seen in more expensive models.
Sound at Your Fingertips
Another leading feature that draws many musicians toward this keyboard is that it’s crammed with over 300 individual samples and tones, all of which are instantly at your disposal. You can layer these over your tracks however you want or split them up to use different parts of them; all directly from the keyboard itself.
Additionally, there are an extra 300 unique songs and rhythms all available within a single touch. This can help inspire your style of play or help you get your creative juices flowing, or help you learn the basic tunes.
A Complete Beginner’s Pack
In addition to the keyboard, you’ll also have everything you need for a fantastic all-around experience. This includes a very easy-to-assemble stand for mounting your keyboard anywhere, and it can even be adjusted for maximum comfort within three individual height settings.
You’ll also find decent headphones, a music rest which you can attach to your keyboard to prop up sheet music, all the power adapter cables you’ll need, and, perhaps surprisingly, an included microphone so you can sing along at the same time!
Everything you need is included in the pack and every aspect of this keyboard is designed with beginner musicians in mind, creating the best learning experience that you’re going to love. Helping you to fall in love with the art of making music, the Alesis Melody is a fantastic option to consider.
What We Like About It
One of the greatest highlights of the Melody 61 keyboard is the fact it’s one of the highest rated and most popular beginner keyboards available right now, and with dozens of satisfied and happy customers around the world, there’s never been a better time to start playing the keyboard.
- Play, record, and create all your keyboard music from one singular keyboard device
- Comes with everything in a set, including headphones, a microphone, and music sheet rest
- Over 340 built-in rhythms and songs built into the keyboard
- Three months free with Skoove premium piano courses online school
If you’re looking for an authentic music experience that sounds as realistic as a piano and ensures beautiful sounding melodies but remains simple enough for a beginner to pick up and start learning the basic techniques and skills, the Hamzer Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano is well worth your attention.
A Deluxe Experience
As a 61-key full-sized keyboard, this is the perfect middle ground between a traditional piano and an organ-feeling piano which is ideal for making things simple, but also for ensuring you’re having a full experience you can transfer to a full-sized keyboard or piano.
Specifically, this keyboard is designed to help you master your fingering technique, and thanks to its compact design, you can single finger the chords, or you can finger auto-bass chords. All the rhythms included can also be played at the same time or edited to play however you’d like.
Hazmer then takes things one step further with its advanced rhythm syncing technology and professional tempo adjusting features. These tools give you absolute control over your sounds, ensuring you have everything you need to learn the keyboard in your own way.
A Complete Beginner Set
Like most beginner keyboard sets, this one comes with added extras to help you have a more complete experience. This includes a stool to sit on, a stand for your music sheets or tablet computer, a microphone for singing, headphones for listening to your sounds in detail, and all the cables to make everything work.
As you can see comparing this to the list of the other beginner sets we have here, this is a lot more bang for your buck, and ultimately gives you one of the most complete audio experiences out there.
While a little bit more expensive than other sets, it does come with everything you need, so whether you’re thinking of starting a music hobby, or you’re just interested in trying something new and exciting, why not treat yourself to an experience you’re genuinely going to love, making it far more likely you’re going to stick with it in the long term?
What We Like About It
Thanks to the compact yet complete design of this keyboard, you’ll find that this keyboard is suitable for all generations. Whether you’re buying one for your children to introduce them to the world of music or purchasing it for yourself, whoever uses this keyboard is going to fall in love with the craft.
- Comes with everything you need, including headphones, a microphone, and a stool
- Incredibly easy to set up, assemble, and use
- A ton of pre-recorded song and sound files to explore
- A lightweight and compact design you can take anywhere
Adored by children and adults alike, the Plixio digital electric keyboard may look overwhelming and complicated, but this is far from the case. Of course, when you’re starting out learning an instrument, you need a decent one that gives you access to everything on a basic level.
This is where the Plixio excels.
Created for You
This 61-key keyboard is an excellent option for both children and adults looking to get into the world of playing the keyboard, and it makes an excellent introduction for making the whole learning process an easy and enjoyable experience.
As before, the number of buttons and dials you’ll find here may seem more than your traditional keyboard, but it’s actually welcomed after you make the learning curve because you can easily access all the features this keyboard has to offer with a literal push of a button.
These features and tools include over 100 unique rhythms, 60 full demo songs, a ton of effect filters, including chords, echoes, and vibrato effects, and a wealth of music control opportunities. This even includes both a dedicated headphone and microphone port, ultimately creating the full audio experience.
Of course, there are all the controls you’ll need for mastering your music while you play, including volume and tempo controls, and interestingly, even a transpose function you can explore. If you don’t know what this is already, don’t worry about it. Focus on practicing your skill, and then when you need the function, you know this keyboard has it.
As with most beginner keyboards, this one is designed to be as lightweight and as compact as possible, meaning you can take it with you wherever you go and play anywhere! This is even backed up by the fact this keyboard can be powered with an AC cable or just six individual AA batteries!
Finally, touching briefly on the quality of this keyboard, it comes with a full one-year warranty, which means you’ll never have to worry about it breaking or malfunctioning within the first 12 months. If something’s wrong, just get it replaced for free!
What We Like About It
Perhaps the most exciting feature of this keyboard is the fact that it comes with bass-boosted speakers. You may not think this necessary to a keyboard, but when you realize there’s a wealth of instruments available here, this feature enhances your experience in every way.
- Comes with built-in bass-boosted speakers for a better sound experience
- Holds both a microphone and a headphone port
- Over 100 unique rhythms to learn and play along with
- Easy to master and a ton of features to keep you satisfied for years to come
The problem with most modern beginner keyboards is that developers always try to make them too small, because then you won’t get overwhelmed with the size. While this does work to a certain degree, it does cause a few issues, like forming bad habits and not learning the keyboard/piano to its full potential.
This means when you move onto a larger, full-sized keyboard, you may feel unconfident, unsure of what you’re doing, and you may be using the wrong technique. Alesis Recital aims to fix this problem by offering one of the first 88-key keyboards designed specifically with beginners in mind.
The Recital comes with five expertly recorded voices including piano (electric and acoustic), organ, bass, and then synth. This is all played out on the 88 available keys that are semi-weighted to give you a realistic feel for what a real piano is like, as well as boasting a universal and authentic touch response that emulates the real thing, all while remaining suitable for beginners.
The sound quality experience this keyboard has to offer is also out of this world. Inside the keyboard itself, you’ll find an impressive 20W speaker system to fill your room with crisp and clear sound, and all the supported ports for pedals, headphones, and microphones.
You can even connect your keyboard to a mixer, recorder, or basically any other sound system you care to name or may plan on using to take your music productions to the next level.
A Professional Beginner’s Experience
Alesis doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve learned the basics, this keyboard can help you to take your craft one step further thanks to the included effects, 128-note max polyphony, and FX such as Chorus and Reverb.
You even have the opportunity to learn from a professional teacher thanks to the included three-months free with Skoove. This is a premium online subscription service for expert piano and keyboard lessons that you can start using straight away, or whenever you’re ready with professional guidance.
Alesis has really pushed the boat out when it comes to this Recital line, and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. With absolutely everything you need in one place, this is one of the most quality premium experiences you’re going to get.
What We Like About It
As we mentioned above, connectivity is one of the main priorities for Alesis, and in addition to the ports we spoke about above, you’ll also be able to enjoy fully compatible USB connections. This means you can use your keyboard completely as a MIDI controller while working with DAW applications, VSTs, and computer audio programs.
- Fully integrated and powerful 20W speaker system
- Five high-quality audio instruments to choose from
- Can be powered with AC or batteries
- Premium touch response technology
Our second and final entry from Casio is a winner if you’re looking for a keyboard that’s exceptionally lightweight and compact; the mini personal keyboard is a fantastic choice. While only sporting 44-keys, this is a slim-line option for those of you who want a tester experience with a keyboard to see if it’s right for you.
Small Yet Powerful
While the Casio Mini Keyboard lives up to its name and is much smaller than the other keyboards you’ll find on this list, that doesn’t mean that it lacks any of the premium, full-sized features.
Most notably, this keyboard packs around 100 unique sounds to play and experiment with, as well as 50 specially recorded rhythms to play along to. These sounds are incredibly easy to pick and cycle through thanks to the extensive range of buttons on the keyboard itself.
All these sounds and effects tools you have access to can all be organized via the bright and clear LCD screen that makes file management a breeze. As you would also expect from such a compact and portable keyboard, you can play this while being powered by an AC connection, or just six AA batteries if you’re on the move.
More Bang for Your Buck
Despite all the features this little Casio is boasting, this model of keyboard is also one of the most affordable on our list. If you’re looking for a budget solution that gives you a fantastic introduction to the world of keyboarding, but you don’t want to break the bank, you may not need to look further than this.
While on the subject of learning, it’s worth noting the LCD is incredibly helpful in assisting you with what you’re doing. It displays the notes you’re playing on the screen to ensure you’re choosing the right keys, as well as the sheet music symbol.
Perhaps even more interestingly, there are five dedicated drum pad buttons integrated into the dashboard of this keyboard, ultimately giving you everything you need for one of the most complete keyboard experiences at a fraction of the cost.
What We Like About It
There’s no denying the quality that Casio has poured into this keyboard. There are thousands of five-star reviews from happy customers around the world claiming how long this keyboard has lasted and how durable it is, which is especially crucial if you’re giving it to your children!
- Large, bright LCD screen to help you navigate the tools and settings
- Five dedicated drum pad buttons integrated into the device
- One of the most affordable keyboards on our list
- Compact, portable, and incredibly lightweight
To finish off our list today, we’ve chosen another RockJam electric keyboard, this time focusing on their SuperKit range. As you can imagine, this is a complete setup pack that provides you with everything for a complete and wholesome keyboard experience.
Let’s get straight into it.
Everything You Need
With the SuperKit, you’ll find a 61-key, professionally designed and beginner-friendly keyboard, a high-quality set of headphones to ensure you’re able to listen to your music in crystal-clear quality, and a comfortable, adjustable, padded stool for sitting with the best play posture.
There’s also an included stand to mount your tablet or for resting your sheet music, one-year of free premium access to the free Simply keyboard and piano learning app (available on both iOS and Android devices), two months of free face-to-face lessons with Take Lessons, and all the cables you need to connect everything up and get it working.
As you can see, this is an extensive list of products you won’t be able to get for the price of this kit. Nowhere near. With everything by your side for one great price, you know you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to learn the craft in the best way.
The Ideal Keyboard
Focusing on the keyboard itself, this is a 61-key design, which is the industry standard for beginners and a great place to start. The keyboard sports a brightly-lit LCD screen and holds a record and playback function through the speakers or included headphones.
Built into the device, you’ll find 100 unique keyboard sounds to choose from, 100 rhythms to play along to, and even 50 full demo songs to learn, inspire, and get those creative juices flowing. All in all, this is one of the most complete kits that won’t leave you disappointed.
What We Like About It
There are literally thousands of five-star reviews on this kit, with many customers from around the world claiming this is one of the best beginner keyboards out there to this day. This alone is a tell-tale sign of the sheer quality this keyboard kit holds.
- Over 100 sounds to choose from
- Backlit LCD screen for managing all settings easily
- 61-key design which is ideal for beginners
- Comes with everything you need for complete experience
The Complete Beginner’s Keyboard Buying Guide
Still a bit unsure of which keyboard is best for you? Don’t worry; the decision can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking at. For the rest of this guide, we’ll go into detail what you need to focus on to ensure you’re making the right choice.
The size of a keyboard is defined by how many keys it has. As standard, a keyboard will have 88 keys, but it’s very rare that a pianist, even a professional, will use the highest or lowest. When getting started, 88 keys can be a bit much, which is why most opt for 61 keys.
Of course, this is up to you, but the more keys you have, the harder and more overwhelming it will be to learn. Nevertheless, dedicating yourself to a larger keyboard can pay off in the long run since you won’t be developing bad habits.
If the sound quality of your keyboard isn’t excellent, you’re not going to enjoy playing it, and you’ll quickly stop practicing it. Quality is so important. For this, pay attention to the speakers installed in your keyboard, and make sure your preferred choice supports headphone playback.
When getting yourself a beginner’s keyboard, your priority is all about learning how to play right in a style that works for you while mastering the basic techniques. This is why it’s important to look for keyboards that can record and playback what you play. This is so you can analyze your style of play and then find ways to improve it.
It’s also worth noting there are many keyboards out there that offer free lessons, either online with a mentor or via a professional app with a subscription to help you get started, so it’s always worth looking out for this extra.
Frequently Asked Questions on Beginner’s Keyboards
Do You Need a Touch Sensitive Response Keyboard?
Touch sensitive is basically a feature of some keyboards where the harder you press, the louder your sound will be, like a real piano works. However, while learning the basics, this is not something you’ll need, but it will be as you improve.
Do You Need 88 Keys?
88 keys are typically a bit too much for beginners because there’s already so much to learn. This is why it’s recommended to start a bit smaller, and then you can work your way up to a full-sized model when you’re ready and
have the basics down.
Learning to play the keyboard can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can enjoy, as long as you make sure you’re doing it right. With willpower, dedication, some creative flow, and the right keyboard for the job, this could be the new passion that lasts a lifetime.