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There are plenty of people wanting to learn piano. But there are a variety of issues that can get in the way.
Maybe you have a small room and can’t fit a grand piano. Maybe you can’t afford an upright piano. Perhaps noise is a bit of a concern with your roommates or your neighbors and you can’t play too loud.
That’s where digital pianos come in. Many are spatially efficient and low-cost, and in most cases, you can plug in a set of headphones to keep noise levels at a minimum.
So, let’s look at some of the best budget options available.
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Digital Pianos & Keyboards Under $1,000
At this price point, you should be able to find yourself a decent digital piano without breaking the bank.
Some are portable. Others are less so. Either way, we’ve compared some of the best brands and models you can find for under $1,000.
Perhaps it should go without saying – but it rarely does – that if you buy a digital piano, you won’t be getting a grand piano.
You can spend considerably more for a digital piano and find an instrument that comes infinitely close.
But as a general disclaimer, a digital piano simply cannot compare to the feel or sound of a grand piano. So, if that’s your standard, you will almost always be disappointed.
So, what is a digital piano for?
It can be great for a variety of applications depending on the unit.
If it’s compact and portable, it can be great for gigging.
Less portable pianos can still be good for practice and recording (some can even be used with virtual instruments).
And, if you want to practice along with a band, you can always put your keyboard through an amp or PA system.
How the piano sounds on its own is one thing – but within the context of a band or group, I find they sit in the right part of the mix and sound great.
So, if you’re looking for a solid but cheap keyboard piano, let’s begin by looking at the more expensive end of cheap.
Roland FP-30 88-Note Portable Digital Piano
The Roland FP-30 features a rich, responsive tone using Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, 88-note PHA-4 Standard keyboard, amplifier and stereo system, headphones output and built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity for use with your smartphone or tablet.
The compact and lightweight body make it easy to carry in and out of wherever you need to take it. That means it’s great for small homes, too.
The FP-30 is available in White or Black and the Twin Piano Mode is great for duets and lessons. It also comes with a variety of sounds like organs, strings and voices alongside various drum patterns.
Overall, customer reviews for the FP-30 are good though some have complained of less-than realistic sounds. It depends a lot on what you expect for the price.
But if a portable digital piano is what you need, the Roland is worthy of your consideration.
Casio Privia PX-770 Digital Piano
The Casio Privia PX-770 comes with 88 scaled, weighed hammer-action keys with adjustable touch sensitivity, a stunning piano sound along with 18 other tones, stereo speaker system built into the wooden cabinet, as well as recording, practice and performance tools.
This bundle comes with a furniture bench, instructional book, instructional DVD and polishing cloth to set you up with all the needed accessories upfront.
The PX-770’s AiR Sound Source is award-winning, and it offers a stereo grand piano sound with realistic damper resonance, simulating the entire body of a piano. It comes with 19 instrument tones total and you can layer and split them to your liking.
The PX-770 has no major issues and most customers are happy with the product.
The Casio is worth a look.
Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano With Power Supply And Sustain Pedal
The Yamaha P125 is a fully weighted digital piano with 88 full-sized piano-style keys, Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) weighted action, CF sound engine, split mode for playing a different voice with each hand and USB, MIDI and audio transfer.
Available in Black or White, the simple P125 features a minimalist design, a two-way speaker system for a rich, stereo sound, 20 rhythms with various drum patterns and free Smart Pianist app for controlling voices, rhythms and other settings.
For the price, this is an excellent digital piano. Reportedly, the pedals leave something to be desired, which is unfortunate, but in every other regard it’s a quality instrument.
Check out the Yamaha if a digital piano is what you need.
Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano
The Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series piano comes with GHS weighted action keys, three pedals, matte black key tops to absorb moisture, Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling, Pure CF Sound Engine and Dual Mode.
It also works with the Controller App for iOS devices, which allows you to configure a variety of settings.
The Stereophonic Optimizer improves headphone experience, the keyboard is pre-loaded with a variety of classic piano songs for learning, and the recording function gives you a way to record and listen back to your performances.
Customer reviews for the YPD103 are overwhelmingly positive. If the P125 doesn’t cut it for you, you’ll want to check out this digital console piano.
Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano
The Korg B1SP comes with 88 natural weighted hammer action keys, eight accurate digitally sampled sounds with a max polyphony of 120 voices, built-in stereo system with MFB Servo technology, three pedals (damper, sostenuto and soft), AC adapter, sheet stand and piano bench.
This can be a great keyboard for players of all levels.
Most customers agree, the Korg is a great practice piano, and while it may not sound like a grand, it does a decent job of standing in for one.
Korg is a well-known brand in the keyboard and digital piano space, so you may want to check out their other offerings as well.
Keyboards Under $500
In the under $500 range, you’ll find specialty practice instruments, beginner digital pianos and even good quality digital pianos attempting to compete with higher priced products (not always successfully).
As a consumer, the good news is that you can still get something good at this price point. So, if your budget isn’t huge, but you want something decent, you can get it.
Let’s look at a few worthy options.
Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano
The Alesis Recital Pro is a beginner digital piano with 12 voices, 88 premium full-sized hammer action keys with adjustable touch response, built-in 20W speakers, sustain pedal input, stereo headphone output, power adapter and stereo outputs.
It also comes with educational features – standard, split, layer, record and Lesson modes, 128-note max polyphony, built-in FX (chorus, reverb and modulation) and three-month premium subscription for Skoove interactive online piano lessons.
The USB-MIDI connectivity also allows you to use the keyboard alongside virtual instrument plugins, educational software or digital audio workstations.
Overall, this is a solid digital piano for practice and even for other uses.
Check out the Alesis.
LAGRIMA 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano
The LAGRIMA comes with 88 fully weighted hammer action keys, a three-pedal system (soft, sustain, sostenuto), LCD display screen, 64 polyphony, 80 demo songs, dual voice, 960 tones, 200 rhythms and built-in stereo speakers.
You will also find onboard controls for metronome, touch, transpose, split, volume, record, play and a great deal more.
USB/MIDI terminal and quiet mode (for practice) are included too.
Overall, the LAGRIMA is a great starter keyboard for the price.
Roland GO:KEYS 61-Key Music Creation Keyboard With Integrated Bluetooth Speakers
The Roland GO:KEYS comes with over 500 pro quality sounds (pianos, synths, strings, bass, brass, etc.) with Loop Mix functionality for building your own songs, intuitive one-touch control for manipulating your loops and Bluetooth audio/MIDI support for connecting your smartphone or tablet.
GO:KEYS is designed to be fun and easy and it allows you to play along with your favorite songs and you can even use it to listen to music. Since it’s battery-powered, you can take It with you just about anywhere you please.
Many purchasers have had a lot of fun with this keyboard, though some weren’t crazy about the sound. Amp use is recommended.
For something a little different, you might consider checking out the Roland.
Beginner Keyboards Under $300
For better or for worse, you won’t find many keyboards in this price range.
This is presumably because beginner models are generally under $200, and there are a limited number of improvements that could be made to make the keyboard worth more.
For more specialty keyboards and digital pianos with more options, you’re usually looking at $300 and up. Of course, you’ve already had the opportunity to browse some of those options.
Anyway, we’re still going to look at one keyboard in this price range, just so you can get a sense of what’s available.
Let’s get into it.
Artesia 88-Key Portable Keyboard Single Performer
The compact and easy to use Artesia 88-key keyboard comes with soft touch velocity-sensitive keys for responsive playability, three-layer grand piano sample, built-in speaker system, USB audio and compatibility with music apps, learning software and multitrack recording.
The four-speaker delivery system gives you great sound. You can record using the USB to Host, USB MIDI and MIDI Ports. And, the keyboard can be connected to an amp, speakers or PA systems using the Stereo Line Out and comes with reverb, chorus, metronome, practice, transpose and more functions.
Most customers are happy with the Artesia though some say the sound is a little quiet. It’s probably best used alongside an amp. But this is a good option for beginners.
Beginner Keyboards Under $200
Under $200 seems to be the sweet spot for beginner keyboards (generally 61-key but sometimes more).
You might get a lot of features and options with the keyboard, but that doesn’t mean it all works perfectly or sounds great. To be honest, that’s usually not the case.
But for those just getting started, or those who’d like to spend some time experimenting with the instrument, it’s nice to know you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to get a decent instrument.
I’ve played on – and have even recorded – a few cheaper keyboards myself and was pleasantly surprised by the results.
These days, even beginner keyboards can sound reasonably good, especially within the context of a mix of other instruments.
Anyway, here are a few standout keyboard pianos in the Under $200 range.
Alesis Melody 61 MkII – 61-Key Portable Keyboard
The Alesis Melody 61 MkII aims to be the complete beginner package and includes built-in speakers, headphones, microphone, piano stand, music rest and stool.
It comes with 61 responsive piano style keys, 300 built-in tones with layer and split modes, one touch song mode with 300 built-in rhythms, headphone jack for private practicing, and 40 demo songs to play along with (with the ability to record your own).
The bundle also comes with three-months of Skoove Premium, which offers in-depth online piano courses to help you learn.
Overall, it’s a great package for beginners who want to learn, practice and compose. Reportedly, the sounds aren’t amazing, but you can’t expect the world from a keyboard at this price point.
Alesis, however, does offer digital pianos, MIDI controllers and portable keyboards, so if you’re looking for something a little different, they might just have it.
In the under $200 price range, however, you’re not going to find much else.
Yamaha PSR-E363 Portable Keyboard With Power Adaptor
Ideal for beginners and hobbyists, the Yamaha PSR-E363 features touch sensitive keys, onboard lessons, computer and mobile device connectivity, Yamaha Education Suite to practice with preset songs and USB/MIDI for audio transfer.
This is a lightweight and compact keyboard, making it portable to boot.
In some ways, it is probably better suited to those who are interested in learning to play keyboard or synthesizer versus piano.
This is because it only has 61 keys (versus 88) and the keys are not weighted.
But it does come with a ton of features, including tuning, reverb, octaves and more.
Overall, the Yamaha is an interesting and attractive option for the price.
RockJam 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano
The RockJam is a popular and unique option for beginners.
It comes with 88 full-sized semi-weighted velocity sensitive keys, 10 voices, 2×12 W built-in speakers, inputs and outputs for sustain pedal, soft pedal, sostenuto pedal, microphone, headphones and stereo aux out.
It also comes with access to the Simply piano mobile app for Android and iOS so you can start learning how to play right away.
LED light up display, the ability to record your practice sessions using the USB socket and sheet music/iPad stand are also included.
Though not intended for intermediate to advanced players by any means, the RockJam is great for beginner players.
What Should I Look For In A Keyboard?
As someone who’s mindful of their budget, you probably aren’t looking for an instrument that comes with loads of features. “Bang for buck” likely carries a nice tune.
And, in today’s marketplace, it’s virtually guaranteed that you can find quality instruments for less.
Tech keeps advancing and more competitors enter the market, making it easier than ever to stay within your budget without lowering your expectations (too much).
Again, it should be noted that if you think you’re going to find a grand piano replacement in this price range, you’ve got another thing coming.
But if you’re a beginner to intermediate player, hobbyist or just someone that wants to step up their piano game a little, you can find plenty of great instruments (many of which were featured above).
And, even those who’ve taken it a step beyond the hobby level and are thinking of making a career out of it (or already are), you’ll find some of the above instruments highly usable in a variety of settings.
Using budget as your starting point, other criteria may not be as much of an interest, but we’ll consider several anyway.
Here are the factors you should consider as you’re looking to buy a keyboard piano:
A Keyboard At The Right Price Point
There probably isn’t a whole lot more that needs to be said about price that hasn’t already been said earlier.
Budget is almost always a good criterion to consider and narrow down your options when you’re buying an instrument, unless money isn’t an object.
In this guide, we’ve organized various keyboards and digital pianos at different price points – under $1,000, under $500, under $300 and under $200, making it easy for you to find what you’re looking for.
You can get a solid instrument for $1,000 or less, so that should help.
If you’re wondering whether to spend more, then there’s a good chance you’re not just looking at piano as a hobby anymore, and you’re probably wanting to do more with it.
It’s worth doing your research to see what’s out there, and you may even want to check out some of our other guides on keyboard products to find the right one for you.
A Keyboard That’s Portable
Portability was one of the focuses of this guide, so it’s worth revisiting again.
If you’re planning to keep your keyboard at home for practice sessions, I can’t imagine this being a major consideration.
Meanwhile, if you don’t have much space to put a keyboard, if you’re planning to take it to and from lessons, if you’re thinking about going to jam sessions, open mics and gigs, it’s nice to have a portable keyboard.
I know a few pianists/keyboardists myself and have often assisted them with carrying their instruments from their car to the venue. It’s generally a two-person job unless you don’t have far to go.
I’ve seen some keyboardists switch out bigger, heavier keyboards for lighter ones, especially for regular gigging.
I wouldn’t say there’s a right or wrong answer. It’s going to come down to what you need for the gig and if it sounds good to you.
The point is that if you’re planning to take your keyboard with you everywhere you go, you should consider buying one that isn’t too heavy.
A Piano That Sounds Great
Much has been said about speaker systems, sound engines and so on. At the end of the day, there’s only one thing that matters – how the instrument sounds to you.
I remember spending years exploring a variety of digital effects pedals for guitar and was often disappointed by the results.
It didn’t matter that they sported amazing technology and the latest breakthroughs. They didn’t work for me.
As I continued my search, I eventually came across the Zoom G3. I watched the demos on YouTube and liked what I was hearing. I went out and bought one and have owned one ever since.
So, don’t pay too much attention to the marketing jargon companies use to entice you.
Go to YouTube, listen to the keyboard you’re thinking about buying, and see how it sounds to you.
If you like how it sounds, then you’re more likely to play more. If you play more, you will improve as a pianist. It’s a strong, self-reinforcing positive cycle.
Of course, this guide is concerned with “what sounds good for the money”, so that is also a factor.
But your process of elimination will be much the same. Watch the reviews or demos online, go to the music store to try out the instruments, or if possible, borrow or rent.
A Piano Loaded With Great Sounds & Features
Sometimes the more sounds a digital piano or keyboard comes loaded with, the less the quality.
And, conversely, the fewer sounds the instrument comes with, the better the quality.
This isn’t universally true, and there’s always the chance that a product can surprise you with its versatility.
It’s important to ask yourself whether that’s something you need, because there’s a bit of an assumption about people in the market for a digital piano. They’re looking for a piano – not a synth.
There are keyboard instruments designed to produce a variety of sounds and tones and that’s what they’re known for.
The Moog Little Phatty is a good example – it’s awesome for bass lines and lead lines – but it isn’t much of a piano.
So, if you’re looking for versatility, you might be looking for something other than a digital piano.
Of course, many digital pianos can also be used with your digital audio workstation and virtual instruments, and if that’s the case, you’ve got a world of sounds right at your fingertips.
Anyway, even though there are some nice features to have (octave, transpose, metronome, etc.), I wouldn’t call these features “essential” by any means.
If it means the difference between staying within your budget and not, then maybe get the keyboard with fewer features – it will be okay.
Overall, I can’t see this being a major deciding factor, but for many keyboardists it is, so it’s worth mentioning.
Best Cheap Keyboard Pianos, Final Thoughts
So, as you’ve likely seen by now, if you want to buy a keyboard piano on a budget, you can. There are many products to choose from, many of them good enough for the average player.
If you’re serious about learning, then having your own instrument is an absolute must. It’s not a purchase you should delay unless you can’t afford it right now.
If you’re looking for an upgrade to an existing piano, don’t be afraid to stretch your budget a bit (i.e. save up). You may as well get something that’s significantly better than what you already have. You may also want to get accessories while you're at it, I actually compared the best piano lights recently on this site.
But whatever you decide, have fun with the buying process.