12 Best Keyboards for Beginners in 2017

Keyboards are a fun, affordable alternative to the regular acoustic piano, allowing you to create your own unique tracks and music recordings or simply practice chopsticks when an acoustic piano isn’t available.

When you’re new to this type of technology, however, choosing one gets a bit complicated. The terms, the features, the details!

In our guide below, we’ll make your initial search for a beginner keyboard much simpler than you expected it to be.

Here, you can easily choose which is the best keyboard for beginners and compare the top 12 models side by side.

Let’s head down and take a look.

Top 12 Keyboards for Beginners Ultimate Table

Design Name Number of Keys Type Rating (1-5)
   1. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply  88  Digital Piano  4.6
   2. Yamaha YPG-535 88-Key Portable Grand Piano with Stand and Power Adapter  88  Digital Piano  4.4
   3. M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller  49  MIDI Keyboard  4.4
   4. Casio CTK2400 61- Key Portable Keyboard  61  Keyboard  4.4
   5. Alesis Coda Pro | 88-Key Digital Piano with Hammer-Action Keys  88  Digital Piano  4.4
   6. Casio Inc. LK175 61-Key Lighted Key Personal Keyboard  61  Keyboard  4.3
 7. Williams Legato 88-Key Digital Piano  88  Digital Piano  4.2
   8. Yamaha Piaggero NP11 61-Key Lightweight Compact Portable Keyboard  61  Keyboard  4.2
   9. RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard SuperKit with Stand  61  Keyboard  4.1
   10. M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller  88  MIDI Keyboard  4.0
   11. Hamzer 61 Key Electronic Music Electric Keyboard Piano  61  Keyboard  4.0
   12. Huntington KB54-100 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard  54  Keyboard  3.9

How to Narrow Down the Choices

With all of the different brands, features and varied prices, it can be difficult to determine which is the best beginner keyboard.

We recommend you narrow down the choices by using the following tips to help guide you.

  • Consider the Number Of Keys – Acoustic pianos – the traditional style that we all imagine Beethoven or Chopin playing – contain 88 keys total. Keyboards, on the other hand, can have less than that.

If you are purchasing a keyboard because a regular piano is too expensive or takes up too much room in your home, yet you have the intention of focusing most of your efforts on the piano, then the best keyboard to learn piano is one with 88 keys. They actually make “digital pianos,” which is just a fancy name for keyboard if you ask us, but it is closer in style and size to a regular piano.

  • Keep It Simple – Some keyboards are quite complex while others keep it simple with just the basic features.

A common beginner mistake is to run out and purchase the most high-tech keyboard since “it can do so much!” The problem here is that these new and sometimes complicated features can be quite discouraging and frustrating to newbies if they don’t catch on right away.

Keep it simple in the beginning. You can always upgrade later by opting for a better keyboard, right?

  • Look for a Set – It can be quite cost-effective to purchase a complete set rather than individual pieces.

If you don’t already have a stand and a stool, you might consider purchasing something like the Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano Bundle (great for those of you who plan to play acoustic piano).

Basic Features

Keyboard features can get pretty complicated, so here are a few of the most important ones you should look at as you search for the best keyboard for beginners.

  • Lighted Keys are Helpful – One feature that beginners find extremely useful is when the keyboard has lighted keys. This will help you visually connect your finger with the keys as you learn, especially for those who are still learning to read music. Check out number 4 in our table if you’re looking for this feature.
  • Weighted Keys – Some keyboards have weighted keys while others do not. What are they?

Weighted keys feel more like an acoustic piano when you press them. They feel “heavier” than keyboards that do not have weighted keys. The latter are much lighter and softer when you press on them.

Those of you who intend to play the acoustic piano but learn on a keyboard must purchase a keyboard with weighted or semi-weighted keys.

MIDI Keyboard?

Musicians who want to use a keyboard for recording or composing should consider getting a MIDI keyboard.

MIDI stands for “musical instrumental digital interface” and it a type of technology that allows all electronic musical instruments, computers and similar devices to be able to communicate with one another.

These keyboards allow you to control the sounds that you are making and they also allow you to hear your music as you play and maintain complete control over the sound at the same time.

Top 4 Best Keyboard for Beginners Reviews

1. Yamaha P71 Digital Piano

Those of you with serious intentions to dedicate your musical efforts to an acoustic piano will appreciate a model like this from Yamaha.

It features 88 fully weighted keys, which give it the feel of a traditional acoustic piano thanks to the graded hammer standard keys that give it the response of an acoustic piano. The lower notes will respond to a heavier touch with the higher notes respond to a more delicate touch.

Features include 10 preset voices (such as organ, strings or harpsichord), a metronome to help assist you with your tempo and rhythm and although you’ll need to purchase a stand separately for this digital piano, it does come with the power adapter and sustain pedal.

It really is a great digital piano for a beginner in terms of price and functions. It won’t overwhelm you with complicated buttons and it feels like an acoustic piano when you play.

2. Yamaha YPG-535 Portable Grand Piano

If you’d like to step it up a notch in the digital piano category, Yamaha also has a great portable grand piano that would be very useful to beginners with more serious intentions.

This has everything you need to perfect your playing techniques: USB connectivity that allows you to record and play back MIDI files or transfer data directly to your computer; a 6-track recorder that allows you to record one or more instrument parts at a time in order to designate them to different parts of a track; a lyric, chord and notation display that will turn your music into sheet music and it also comes with Yamaha’s Education Suite which provides you with all of the tools you need in order to learn how to play.

We could go on and on. This has so many useful features! It is a bit more expensive than the previous model but again, if you’re serious about playing and learning, this is a great investment.

3. M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV

If you’re new to MIDI keyboards to help you create unique sounds and beats, this one is a good starter board.

This is a hands-on keyboard that allows you complete control over your software. You can play chords, bass or melodies on velocity-sensitive keys, it has eight assignable knobs that allow you to mix and manipulate the plug-ins or virtual instruments, nine assignable faders, transport buttons that provide you with complete DAW (digital audio workstation) control without having to use the computer mouse and it comes with a sustain pedal to provide you with even more control.

Again, this type of keyboard is best for those of you who want to record your music and create custom sounds. Those who want to play the acoustic piano won’t have much use for this one.

4. Casio CTK2400 Portable Keyboard

Looking for a decent keyboard on a tight budget? The Casio CTK2400 is a good match.

The set-up learning system and lighted keys will help you easily navigate the keyboard as you learn how to play and it’s packed with useful features that will come in handy as you improve: Sound EFX sampler, built-in microphone, 400 keyboard voices (sounds), 48 note polyphony, 150 rhythms, 110 songs and a partridge in a pear tree (ok, maybe not).

If you’re afraid of investing too much on a keyboard that won’t get used very often, get this one. It’s affordable and easy to re-sell should the person learning decide that the guitar sounds much more fun after a month of practice!