Music equipment is usually quite expensive, and this can be a problem for a lot of people. You want a good product, but don’t have the cash to spend that you would like. This guide to the best budget keyboard pianos will help you find great products that are in line with your pocketbook.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
What to Look For in a Budget Keyboard
You will find a wide range of keyboards on the market and various price ranges. You may have to make some compromises when it comes to your instrument at the lower price range. Plan to spend a little though as you won’t get much under a couple of hundred dollars. Here are a few things that you’ll want in your product before you buy it.
Make sure your keyboard has a lot of connections. This allows you to hook up your instrument to other pieces of musical equipment. For example, your budget keyboard may have poor speakers so you can hook up to a better set of speakers or an amplifier for improved sound. Another connection you may want is a microphone input so you can sing along as you play. This isn’t a necessity, but it’s good to have one if you like singing.
You will also want USB or MIDI support. This gives you the option of using musical software with your keyboard to edit tracks or get your ideas into your computer, where you can work on them at a later time. A lot of budget keyboards have USB support, but some of them don’t. In today’s world, you want the ability to hook up to your computer or smartphone to use software with your instrument.
Voices and Rhythms
Most digital pianos and keyboards come with voices for other instruments and rhythms you can play along with. This is critical to help you learn how to play the instrument. A lot of lower-priced products may not include a lot of voices or rhythms, but some of them do. As you go up in price, you’ll get more features. Some instruments will include song demo or libraries of songs that you can play. These are excellent learning tools, and you will probably want a system that gives you some ability to play built-in songs, especially if you’re a new player.
You may want a digital piano that has educational tools like a built-in metronome or access to a trial lesson subscription online. Subscription lessons can be ideal as you’ll get a chance to check out the program before you have to pay. A lot of lower-cost systems have these features. You will find many systems offer great support for the new player that is picking up the instrument for the first time.
Number of Keys
A lot of digital pianos don’t offer a full set of 88 keys. You will find a range of 54-88 keys. More keys are better as it gives you an expanded octave range, but the costs go way up when you start looking at digital pianos with 88 keys. You may want to look at a system that falls in the range of around 61 keys as there are tons of lower-cost instruments in this range on the market.
It can be a good idea to look for a bundle product to save money. This may include a keyboard, stand, adapter, microphone, and a pair of headphones in one neat package. Other extras may include a fold-out tray for your music books on the keyboard itself. Some may come with one or two extras, while others can include a full package. A bundle can be a good investment for the first-time player as you won’t have to buy individual products to go with your new system.
You will want a keyboard that is portable. This makes it easy to take to music lessons or on stage for your first gig. Look for ones that have a long battery life or are rechargeable. You will need an adapter to plug into a wall socket if yours doesn’t ship with one. An instrument with fewer keys is easier to carry around. Make sure you get a good case for your instrument or a gig bag, so it doesn’t get damaged when you take it with you.
You will ant a system that has decent sound. Some units have poor quality speakers so you may need to hook up your system to external speakers. The units tend to have built-in speakers and while they are adequate for a small room, you’ll need more amplification if you want the keyboard to be heard in a larger setting. Even if you plan to buy a cheap keyboard, you still want it to have decent sound.
A lot of digital pianos come with demo songs. Some of them will only come with a few songs While others have an extensive library of 40 or more songs. This is nice when you are a beginner because you have some songs you can learn on your piano. These songs and guide you through the process of learning how to play. Other keyboards have libraries of songs that you can access to add more content to your keyboard. If you’re looking to play songs, you might want to look for a keyboard that has plenty of demo songs that you can get started with right away.
Bluetooth or Not?
You may decide to buy a Bluetooth keyboard. A lot of the newer models offer Bluetooth support as well as USB inputs. Make sure that your other equipment can support it. Not all speaker systems, PA equipment, or other audio equipment that you might use with your keyboard has Bluetooth support. This might be fine for the home environment, but you might want a wired connection if you’re going to play on stage because this technology can sometimes be unreliable. It’s up to you to decide whether you want it or not.
How Much Do Budget Keyboards Cost?
You should expect to pay at least $100 or more for a good keyboard. If you go under this price, the quality starts going down and your in the range of something that is really only suitable for a small child. There are a few quality products under $100, but not a lot. You should expect to shell out a little bit of cash for a keyboard even if it’s going to be on the lower end of the price range. You want something that is easy to use, but has a lot of features. Plan of having a modest budget if you want a product that will be reliable so you can learn how to play and have fun at the same time.
Best Budget Keyboard Piano Reviews
1. RockJam 54-Key Portable Keyboard – Best For Low Budgets
For those looking to recreate the sounds of real pianos, you can’t go wrong with the RockJam 54 key digital piano. This has everything that the beginner needs to get started and an affordable price.
This product is compact and you can use either a power adapter or batteries to run it. It’s small enough to take with you to your music lessons yet has great versatility. The system has tow built-in speakers s it sounds great as you’re playing. You get a sheet music stand for your books to make learning how to play easier for you. It comes with the Simply Piano application for Android or iOS devices. This program helps you learn how to play even if you’re a complete beginner. There is an LCD display so you can see the various settings on the system in clear detail. It has 8 demo songs, 100 rhythms, and 100 sound effects so you have everything you need to sound great today.
- Easy to use
- Comes with music stand
- Works with smartphones
- Speakers are poor
- Some users experienced sticking keys
2. Casio CTK-3500 61-Key – Best Portable Intermediate Digital Piano
If you want a cheap and portable keyboard piano, have a look at the Casio CTK-3500. This instrument has everything that an intermediate player could need.
This digital keyboard has 6q keys which are touch-responsive and act like real piano keys. The system has a built-in speaker for clear sound as you play. It includes the Step-Up Lesson System which is Casio’s flagship program to help you learn how to play your instrument. It comes with 60 songs so you’ll sound like a pro in no time. There are 100 rhythms and 400 tones to ensure you’ll sound great no matter what you’re playing. The LCD display shows the correct hand position and you can follow along with the musical notation while you play songs. Use the Dance Music Mode with 50 rhythms to create amazing dance music. Play along privately with the include headphone jack. This system has all you need to make great music now.
- Lesson system
- 60 songs included
- Lots of tones and rhythms
- LCD screen is a bit small
- May confuse complete beginners
3. QMG 61 Key Digital Piano – Best System for Learning
Learning to play the piano can be a complex process and you often end up feeling frustrated. The QMG 61 is a system designed to make it easier for you to learn how to play.
This keyboard comes with 61 weighted keys that feel like a real piano. They respond to your touch and come with pitch blend, memory, and vibrato effects. Use the recording function along with your smartphone to play songs o your system. It includes 128 rhythms and 200 tones so you sound amazing right way.
Place the music notation stickers on the keys to display the note names. This facilitates the learning process and makes playing a lot more fun for you. Ther is an intelligent teaching function that teaches you three levels of the piano from the ground up. It comes with a dust cover and a stand for music books or papers. Learning how to play is made easy with the QMG 61.
- Ships with nice teaching tools
- Comes with cover and stand for music
- Lots of tones
- Stickers can fall off the keys
- Could use better speakers
4. Alesis Recital 88 Keys – Best Digital Piano with 88 Keys for Beginners
For beginners starting out it’s hard to find quality 88 key digital pianos as most feature fewer keys. The Alexis Recital is the perfect choice for today’s musician that is starting out and needs a superior instrument that won’t break the bank.
This product has a full 88 keys so it covers all octaves. It has five premium voices which include electric piano, acoustic piano, synth, organ, and bass. You will have a wide range of tones to draw inspiration from. The system has two 20 watt speakers so you get plenty of sound out of the built-in speakers. It comes with reverb and chorus effects to improve the sound of your playing. You get plenty of inputs and outputs for all of your other musical gear. For students, you get a three months trial of Skoove which is online musical education software. It runs on batters or an adapter and has a headphone jack for quiet listening. For those starting out, the Alexis Recital has all of the bases covered.
- Plenty of power form speakers
- Full 88 keys
- No LCD screen’
- Could use more tones and voices
- Buttons kind of small
5. Casio Casiotone, 61-Key – Best System for Total Beginners
For those that are new to digital pianos, the Casio Casiotone, 61-Key is a good choice. It has plenty of features good beginners can use to sound great right away.
This system has MIDI and USB connectivity, So you can use it with modern equipment. It’s easy to take with you as it has a built-in carrying handle. There is a dance music mode as well as a chord play app to help you learn how to play. You get 77 rhythms, and 400 tones so you always sound great. It includes 60 songs so we will have plenty of content to learn in the future. It comes with an LCD display so you can see what you’re doing as you wor with the settings on your instrument. It comes with a music rest for your papers and a power supply. It will also work with six AA batteries so you can take it with you wherever you go.
You can select Styles and then adding things such as bass lines, drum loops, effects, transitions, and synth parts, so it feels like you were playing with a full band. There is a 1/8 audio input so you can connect other equipment. The USB port is also compliant with both Mac and PC devices. This keyboard has everything that any beginner is going to need the sound amazing.
- Works with major devices
- Lots of songs and tones included
- Carrying handle
- LCD screen is small
- Sound could be better
6. Alesis Melody 61 MKII – Best System for Music Teachers and Students
For those learning how to play the keyboard and taking music lessons, you need a system that is portable so you can take it with you. The Alesis Melody 61 is the right choice for the intermediate music student.
This system features 61 responsive keys which are piano style so it plays like a real piano. It comes with a built-in speaker and the system sounds great. You have three hundred different built-in tones so you sound amazing right away. You also get 300 built-in rhythms to help you practice. For those who want to learn songs, there are 40 demo songs and you can use the system to record your own song. You get a bench that has adjustable height settings, a stand, music rest, headphones, microphone, and a power adapter. You have everything that you need to begin playing music right away.
Another feature this system comes with is 3 months of Skoove Premium. This is an online system play learning how to play the piano. You get one-on-one support from the site and there are always new lessons added each month so you have something new to learn. For those looking for an intermediate digital piano that has everything you need to get started, try the Alesis Melody 61.
- Lots of tones and demo songs
- Plenty of accessories
- Not a full keyboard
- Some accessories could be of a better quality
7. Casio Privia PX-780 – Best Professional Traditional Style Digital Piano
Portable digital pianos can be a great investment, but there is something to be said of playing a more traditional style instrument such as the Casio PX-780 Privia 88-Key piano
You will pay a little bit more for a full-size digital piano but it still costs a lot less than regular pianos. You get 88 keys and it creates accurate grand piano-style sounds. It is powerful and expressive. It has Tri sensor scaled hammer action which will capture the dynamics of regular piano playing. You get 250 instrument tones from brass to string instruments. Use the 180 drum patterns to help you practice. There is an included 17 to track recorder so you can begin to compose your own songs. There are audio outputs to connect the piano to other equipment. You get USB connectivity with the system and it works with both Windows and Mac computers. For those looking for a traditional piano sound, but don’t have thousands upon thousands of dollars for a regular piano, the Casio PX-780 Privia 88-Key digital system, is the ideal choice.
- Lots of tones
- Authentic piano feel
- A bit expensive
- Not portable
8. Lujex Travel Piano – Best for Those on the Go
For those on the go, it’s extremely difficult to practice your piano because you can’t take it with you. Even a small portable keyboard, takes up a lot of room. Thankfully, you can use products such as the Lujex Travel Piano. this system of folds up and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space.
You can take it with you anywhere that you go and then unroll it to play the piano. It can be used outdoors, at school, or on vacation. It has an external headset and built-in speakers. It runs on external power or you can use the built-in battery. It’s a fully functional 61-key digital piano. It comes with 128 rhythms, 128 tones, and 14 demo songs for practicing. You can connect it to MIDI equipment to edit the music that you create. For anyone that wants to learn how to play piano on the go, this is the perfect opportunity. The best part about this product is it’s not going to break your bank.
- Lots of tones
- Folds up
- You need a long table to unfold it
- Keys are a little sensitive
9. Yamaha PSRE360 61-Key – Best for Home Use
or those just getting started with music and are looking for a low-cost keyboard that sounds great, you might want to have a look at the Yamaha PSRE360 61-Key system
With this Yamaha for just a couple hundred dollars, you get a lot with this Yamaha for just a couple hundred dollars. The 61 keys are touch-sensitive so they act like regular keyboard keys. You get premium sound out of the system. It comes in a wide variety of colors so it will also suit your decor. It comes with on-board music lessons including timing lessons so you’ll learn how to play quickly. Included with the system are songs so you will always have something new to play along with.
You can use the inputs to connect a portable music player to play along with your own songs. One nice aspect of this keyboard system is the dual-mode. This takes the keyboard and split it into two halves. Each one will have their own middle C, so you can practice with a friend and accompany each other. When playing something on the system you can use to style button to find a suitable accompaniment for the piece. The Yamaha PSRE360 has all you need to sound great.
- Lots of tones
- Sounds great
- Dual Mode
- LCD screen is small
- Buttons could be labeled better
10. Korg EK-50 61-key – Best Professional Low Budget Arranger/Workstation
For those looking for a professional workstation or arranger keyboard, you can end up spending a lot of money. For those that don’t have a lot of cash, have a look at the Korg EK-50.
While you’re going to spend a chunk of change on this arranger, it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other products on the market. It allows you to do a lot as it has 280 accompaniment styles, 61 keys, and over 700 different sounds. It has both playback and recording features. It comes with an excellent speaker system, It is easy-to-navigate thanks to the LED buttons.
The accompaniment Styles have four variations, two intros, two fills, two endings, and other features so it’s easy to work with songs. These accompaniments give you ideas so you can create your own Arrangements. If you play a regular chord progression, the EK-50 will come up with basic backing tracks to play along with you. The sound generator gives you over 700 different sounds including drum kits. To help you learn songs, it comes with 18 demo songs. The top of the unit has a stand for your music books. For those that want to get into arranging or using a keyboard workstation, the EK-50 buy Korg is a solid bargain.
- Lots of sounds
- Music stand
- Plenty of styles
- A lot of confusing buttons
- LCD screen could use some color
This guide should help you find a quality piano or keyboard You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a good product. These instruments have excellent sound quality, ideal price tag, and loaded with the features you need to sound great right away.
Beginners may want to try the Alesis Melody 61 MKII. This has everything that the beginner keyboard student could want. It’s portable so it will go with you to your lessons or that first gig. Another solid choice is the Yamaha PSRE360 which allows you to play in dual mode with a friend.
I like the Lujex Travel Piano as it folds up for easy transportation, yet it is a fully functional keyboard. It sounds great and will not cost you a ton. Professionals that want to save cash yet need an arranger or a solid workstation might want to look at the Korg EK-50. It has 61 keys and 700 sounds, so you’ll be all set to make great music.
This guide to the best cheap keyboard gives you some solid choices to pick from. All of these products are excellent instruments that you will love to play. Have fun with your new digital keyboard.