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5 Best Keyboards for Beginners on a Budget

Keyboards are among the best musical instruments for beginners. Theory-wise and music-understanding wise, there’s no better instrument form than the piano form. Moreover, keyboards are an excellent way to introduce your child into the world of music.

Finding the perfect model on a budget is the way to go and you’ll be happy to learn that there are many options here. Here are the 5 best keyboards for beginners on a budget, but first, read through our buyer’s guide.

Buyer’s Guide

Picking the perfect beginner’s keyboard comes down to more than just price. Sure, the price tag plays a vital role here, but you need to take several other crucial factors into account. Here’s what to pay attention to.

Key Action

Key action refers to how easy it is to push the keys down. On the acoustic piano, it takes attack and punch to properly play a key. With keyboards, there are three types of action: fully weighted, semi-weighted, and non-weighted.

If you’re looking for a keyboard for your child, non-weighted keys are okay. However, if you’re the one who’s getting into the world of keyboards, go with either fully-weighted or semi-weighted models.

Key Size

Some keyboards are built with smaller keys. These are mostly children’s models. The way to go here is clear – if you’re getting a keyboard for your kid to get into music, go for one with a smaller key size. If you’re getting one for yourself, go with full-sized keys.

Learning Options

As a beginner, you don’t need to worry too much about tone and sound options. Sure, the more tones, effects, and tonal capabilities included, the more experimentation you’ll be able to do. However, this factor pales in comparison to learning assistance, when it comes to beginner’s keyboards.

Many keyboards that are listed below offer fantastic learning options to help you explore music in more depth.

Included Features

Most keyboards don’t come with a stand included; this is a purchase that you’ll have to make separately. However, you need to pay attention to other features, such as the power supply cord, notation rest, etc.

If you find a perfect keyboard, pay attention to any missing features and buy them separately, if necessary. You don’t want to come home with your brand-new keyboard to find that the power cord wasn’t included.

Take these factors into account when choosing between the following 5 best keyboards for beginners on a budget, reviewed below.

Keyboard Reviews

Casio WK-7600 PPK 76-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package with Headphones, Stand and Power Supply

BUY ON AMAZON

Casio SA-76 EDP Personal Keyboard Package with Closed-Cup Headphones, Power Supply and Instructional Software

BUY ON AMAZON

Alesis Recital | 88 Key Beginner Digital Piano / Keyboard with Full Size Semi Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Built In Speakers and 5 Premium Voices (Amazon Exclusive)

BUY ON AMAZON

RockJam 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard with Interactive LCD Screen & Includes Piano Maestro Teaching App with 30 Songs

BUY ON AMAZON

Yamaha Ypt260 61-Key Portable Keyboard With Power Adapter 

BUY ON AMAZON

Keyboard Reviews

Casio WK-7600 PPK 76-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package with Headphones, Stand and Power Supply

The Casio WK-7600 is no toy. It’s a serious keyboard for those who are serious about getting into keyboard playing. In fact, this model is more than a mere keyboard – it’s often referred to as a workstation. It has 76 keys, which is less than a regular piano, but remains quite a number for a keyboard.

The WK-7600 has more than 800 tones, as well as DSP effects. It has its own mixer and full editing facilities. A very cool thing about this keyboard is that it comes with speakers and a built-in amplifier.

Although excellent for beginners, this keyboard is very much a flagship model. When you have flagship models, you expect a lot. Fortunately, most excluded features are absent for the sake of lowering the model’s price.

Convenient in Size

The Casio WK-7600 was built to last, yet it’s lightweight and easy to carry along. At 18.3 lbs., it’s pretty light for a keyboard, and this weight is what makes the WK-7600 even more amazing.

The WK-7600 is 50” wide, 8” high, and has 18” in depth. When it comes to power options, you can operate it with batteries or on the enclosed mains lead. If you want to go wireless, you’re going to need six DD batteries.

Missing Extras

This model is marketed as “stage-ready,” and indeed, it is relatively stage-ready, but there is a downside. Two downsides, in fact – it doesn’t come with a stand or a carrying bag. Most keyboards don’t come with a stand in the first place, so this isn’t too much of a downside. However, a gig bag has become something of an expected thing with most musical instruments. And keyboards are no exception here.

Sure, these two features won’t set you back too much, but it would be nice if you got them with the model.

More Than Decent Features

Without sustain pedal connection capability, you can’t have a serious keyboard. The Casio WK-7600 is fully equipped in this department. Of course, the sustain pedal is an optional extra.

Two speakers and a built-in amp are very cool features for home and small rehearsal purposes. However, this makes for a 7-watt maximum, which will die off as soon as you start practicing with a drummer. And you can forget about them in any form of a live gig. This isn’t a surprise, really, as you’re expected to use some sort of amplification live.

When it comes to sounds and tones, the WK-7600 has quite a comprehensive range. You can edit every single sound of the 800 to find that perfect sound. This includes various pianos, orchestral and acoustic instruments, and synthesizers. Expect north of 50 organ sounds.

When it comes to rhythms, there are 260 available presets with a variety of styles and genres. Of course, you can create as many as 100 drum patterns of your own, which is ideal for practicing at home. You can even enable a full virtual band to accompany you during your practice, making it even more amazing.

A 17-track sequencer allows you to prepare your music, as well as edit sounds. Oh, and the mixer has 32 channels, which is more than decent.

Casio SA-76 EDP Personal Keyboard Package with Closed-Cup Headphones, Power Supply and Instructional Software

The Casio SA76 is far from your intermediate keyboard. If it is very much aimed at the beginners and does come with its limitations. First of all, it has 44 keys, which isn’t too much. Bear in mind, though, that we’re talking about beginner keyboards here.

First of all, the SA76 is built for kids. With that said, it doesn’t give off that vibe at first glance. It shares many settings and options with a traditional, advanced keyboard.

Very Small

The SA76 is genuinely tiny. It weighs 3.7 lbs., is 23.8” in width, 2.24” in height, and 8.3” in depth. This is very small. But, when you think about it, you don’t need a larger keyboard for 44 keys. However, they’ve managed to fit a large LED screen, as well as an impressive number of settings.

Adapter or Batteries

This keyboard comes with typical adapter connectivity. You can use it by simply connecting it directly to your wall socket. Alternatively, you can power it with 6 AA batteries, which allows for a more-than decent battery life.

Use the adapter whenever you can, as it’s a more eco- and budget-friendly option. Unfortunately, the power cord isn’t included, which is somewhat of a downside here. Make sure to stock up on batteries, just in case.

Cool Learning Options

This keyboard is particularly great for those just getting into the world of music. Yes, this includes children. The LED screen is particularly beginner-friendly. The display can be set to show every note that you play, which is excellent for making the connection between the notes and keys. When you memorize where the notes are on the keyboard, you can jam with other people more easily and learn new music. This is fantastic for kids learning the ropes around music.

Another excellent learning option is the integrated lessons section. This feature helps beginners learn how to play simple songs.

If your child (or yourself) wants to further explore the world of music, the percussion pads feature is a great place to start. It allows you to add a variety of different ranges, as a part of a partner experience.

It’s for Kids

Make no mistake, although you can use this keyboard as a grownup, it’s primarily intended for kids. This becomes very obvious when you take a look at the key size – they’re tiny. The keys aren’t weighted or sensitive to pressure, either.

Another thing that indicates the SA76’s target age group are the sound options. It’s true, there is a variety of preset mixes, voices, and cool drum beats, but they’re all electronicky and quite low in terms of quality. Don’t expect anything authentic here.

However, you can’t really expect more from a kids’ keyboard like a Casio SA76. Certainly not at the affordable price that these models come at.

A Future Keyboardist’s Trial Tool

Do you know how there’s a lot of software out there that comes with a free trial (demo) version? You give it a run, decide whether or not you like the product, and then buy it once the trial license expires.

Well, although the SA76 isn’t free, it’s certainly a cheaper alternative than buying a full-fledged $300+ keyboard. Especially when we’re talking about kids, whose attention spans tend to be short. Don’t buy your child an expensive musical instrument that will end up in the attic. Instead, get them a cheap beginner’s keyboard like the Casio SA76 and let them explore their affinity towards the world of music.

Portability

Without a doubt, portability is the ace up the SA76’s sleeve. This portability will encourage a professional player to buy it. For instance, if you’re a seasoned piano player or a career composer who’s going away for a couple of weeks, the SA76 can be a perfect fit. Instead of bringing your 60” juggernaut of an instrument, pack this 23.8” keyboard into your backpack and travel light.

The SA76 is a brilliant keyboard for kids and beginners.

Alesis Recital | 88 Key Beginner Digital Piano / Keyboard with Full Size Semi Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Built In Speakers and 5 Premium Voices (Amazon Exclusive)

Alesis is a company widely-known among music professionals. Famous for groundbreaking instruments and studio equipment, Alesis Recital has a short and simple name. You may find it weird that there are no random letters and numbers included. That’s because the Recital is one of the three digital pianos made by Alesis. Yep, they offer no more than three digital pianos.

This piano is great for amateurs and experts alike, which makes it ideal for beginners.

A Full-Sized Instrument

The regular piano has 88 keys. So does the Recital. The keys are full-sized and semi-weighted, which makes them excellent for beginners, amateurs, and intermediate pianists. It comes with five built-in voices and a 128-note polyphony.

In addition to the actual instrument, you get a music rest, a power adapter, a user guide, a manual. Although the power adapter isn’t really a huge plus, you won’t get a music rest with many keyboard models.

Educational Features

Sure, you’ll see many professionals playing this model. However, what makes the Recital so amazing for beginners is the fact that it’s packed with educational features. In addition to the standard, split, and layer modes included with most digital pianos, you get a lesson mode.

In lesson mode, the keyboard is divided into two areas, each of them featuring an identical voice and pitch. So, instead of playing an octave or two down or up when playing with your piano teacher, you can play in the same pitch, which is very convenient.

With Alesis Recital, you get a three-month subscription to an online piano lesson service, called Skoove. This service provides interactive piano lessons that are available online.

Alesis Recital encourages you to learn, which is brilliant for beginner players.

Connectivity

Alesis recital is great when it comes to connectivity options. There’s a number of included inputs and outputs. You get a ¼” input for a sustain pedal, a ¼” output for stereo headphones, as well as stereo RCA outputs. This is much more than the bulk of the product’s competition offers.

The sustain pedal output is standard – this pedal will encourage you to play this digital piano like an acoustic instrument. The headphone jack is excellent for practicing without bothering the people you live with. Finally, the RCA outputs bring a lot to the table. They allow you to connect a mixer, a recorder, an amp, and various other sound systems of choice. This feature is pretty incredible and isn’t offered with every digital keyboard out there.

The Keys

You get 88 keys here. This is the number of keys that you get with acoustic pianos. Buy a sustain pedal and you’ll have an almost identical playing experience as you would with a real piano. Almost, because the keys aren’t fully-weighted. Although they’re of the same size as those found on an acoustic piano, they don’t feel the same.

If it weren’t for the semi-weighted key nature, the Recital would likely be ideal for practicing acoustic piano without an actual acoustic piano. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

But is this really a drawback? Well, for some more advanced players, probably. However, the lightweight keys on the Alesis Recital make the instrument ideal for beginners.

RockJam 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard with Interactive LCD Screen & Includes Piano Maestro Teaching App with 30 Songs

If there was ever a beginner’s piano that was built to make your first piano experience interactive, simple, engaging, and fun, it’s the RockJam 54-key. It’s portable, convenient, and ideal for all beginners, young or old.

If you’re looking for a keyboard that will see you through your initial piano learning period, the RockJam makes for an ideal choice.

Who is it Really for?

Primarily, RockJam 54-key is intended for children of all ages. It makes learning piano fun and easy. In addition to the interactive LCD screen, this 54-key piano comes with the companion iOS app, allowing for a full-fledged modern experience. You can use this app to learn classic and more contemporary hits, which further encourages children to stick with the instrument and learn more about music.

Don’t be ashamed of using this instrument as an adult, though. It comes with full-sized keys and will make it easy for you to understand the basics. Whether you’re someone who’s learning a new instrument, or someone who’s just entering the world of music, this RockJam piano will help you stick with the instrument and improve each day.

Jamming

Yes, nothing beats jamming with other musicians. This is where you really hone your skills and learn how to think fast. It also sparks creativity. However, playing along to drum beats and recording ideas is brilliant for beginners. This instrument features a sizeable library of rhythms and sounds to experiment with.

Features

You get a music rest with this model, so you don’t have to improvise when it comes to reading sheet music. It is also built for holding your mobile device, so don’t worry. Of course, RockJam 54-key has built-in speakers, audio outputs, and stand attachments.

The 54 keys aren’t weighted, which is excellent for beginners. This may be a distraction for more seasoned players, though. The included sounds are various – it has many organ, piano, horn, synth, and string sounds.

Most beginner’s keyboards don’t come with sustain and vibrato keys. This one does. Which brings a whole new dimension to your playing. Make no mistake, these keys will stimulate your progress and growth.

Yamaha Ypt260 61-Key Portable Keyboard With Power Adapter (Amazon-Exclusive)

If you’re looking for a sound investment for your novice-to-intermediate keyboard journey, the Yamaha YPT260 is more than the right choice. It won’t take you by the hand and give you the precise path to the world of music, but it will provide you with a brilliant learning experience and more.

Whether you’re a complete newbie when it comes to the world of keyboards, or an advanced player, you’ll be satisfied with the range of musical expressions, choices, and experiences offered.

All in all, the Yamaha YPT260 is an excellent investment for honing your piano skills.

Who is it Made for?

This question is easy to answer. With 61 keys and user-friendly features, the YPT260 is easy to use even if you’re entirely new to the world of music, let alone keyboards. It’s equipped with a range of educational features that will make your learning experience both fast and fun. But this keyboard won’t treat you like a child. Instead, it will encourage you to explore.

It also packs some advanced digital piano features. These will help you achieve a more sophisticated tone and a variety of sounds, and help you create your own compositions.

You also get access to the Yamaha Education Suite. This platform will provide you with a number of exercises for one hand at a time and both hands together. While using this suite, the song playback will actually adjust to your playing tempo. If you don’t play the appropriate chord, the song playback will pause until you’ve nailed it. This is much better than having to start the piece from the beginning every time you make a mistake.

So, is the Yamaha YPT260 entry-level? Yes. Does it go beyond this? Oh, yes.

Great for Teachers

You can see many teachers use the YPT260. And for a good reason. This keyboard has the ability to transpose chords and provides a wide variety of backing tracks, making it a perfect practice instrument. It packs 112 preset songs and 12 chord study songs, which makes your job as a teacher not only easier, but more fun and interactive.

What You Get

Most keyboards will land you with a power adapter and nothing else. Unlike the majority of models, the Yamaha YPT260 also features a music stand and a downloadable songbook.

Power Options

Like most keyboards, the YPT260 is powered by the standard AC adapter. Alternatively, it can run on 6 AA batteries.

Conclusion

Every one of these 5 best keyboards for beginners on a budget makes for brilliant beginner’s options. However, Alesis Recital definitely takes the cake. First of all, it’s a full-sized instrument. It has 88, full-sized keys. It also packs a variety of educational features, including an online piano lesson service. The keys are semi-weighted, which is excellent for learners, and the instrument comes with both a music rest and a power adapter.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an ideal keyboard for your child, look into Casio SA76. It features small keys and a brilliant learning feature for children. The LED screen tells you which note you’ve played anytime you press a key.

If these two finalists don’t suit your needs, feel free to check out any other model from the list. They’re all great in different respects and work great for beginner or intermediate players.