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If you’re looking for a touch sensitive keyboard, it’s probably because you’re looking for a keyboard that closely emulates the feel of a piano.
Or, at the very least, you’d like to be able to play more dynamically.
You don’t want your keyboard to produce a sound that’s at the same dynamic, regardless of the pressure you apply.
Good news – there are several great touch sensitive keyboards out there, and most of them are affordable and easy to use too.
So, let’s look at the best touch sensitive keyboards and what to look for in one. If you need a quick answer, here they are:
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Yamaha NP12 61-Key Lightweight Portable Keyboard
The Yamaha NP12 features 61 touch sensitive piano-style keys, USB to Host port, 64-note polyphony, song recorder function and extended battery life (up to five hours of life with six AA batteries).
It also integrates with a controller app for iOS (graphic user interface).
Note that this keyboard can be purchased in three different packages – keyboard only, keyboard and power supply and keyboard bundle.
If you buy this product specifically (keyboard only), you will not get the power supply, so beware.
What users love most about the compact keyboard is its design, compact and lightweight stature and simple operation.
Some buyers didn’t like that it was too quiet, and others noted that it doesn’t have a real piano feel.
Note that it’s unlikely you will find a keyboard that feels like a real piano, especially at this price point – consider spending more.
Joy KL-92UT-KIT 61-Key Lighted Touch Sensitive & USB-MIDI (App) Keyboard Kit With Stand, Stool, Headphone & Power Supply
The Joy KL-92UT-KIT keyboard comes with intelligent lighting function for learning songs and melodies, as well as an app function for connecting to iOS and Android or computer through USB-MIDI cable to use the free piano training apps.
It also features 61 simulation piano keys with touch function, multiple FUNCTION&EFFECT options (460 timbres, 260 rhythms, 65 demo songs), user manual, high-quality music stand, headphones, keyboard stand, stool and DC 9V/AC adapter.
What people liked most about the Joy product is that it comes with everything you need.
What some people didn’t like about it is that it doesn’t feature great tones and the fact that it isn’t the highest quality product.
Yamaha PSRE363 Keyboard With Survivalkit, Headphones, Knox Stand And Bench
The Yamaha PSRE363 keyboard was designed with beginners in mind.
It comes with a surprising 574 instrument voices, 165 accompaniment styles (real-time band backing tracks), duo mode (for those times when you want to play with a friend or teacher) and a USB to Host terminal for connecting to your computer or portable device to record high-quality audio.
The bundle comes with the keyboard, Knox adjustable Double X keyboard stand, Knox adjustable X style keyboard bench, Tascam TH-03 multi-use studio grade headphones and the Yamaha electronic keyboard survival kit 1B.
Most buyers love the sounds, quality and ease of use of the keyboard.
Negative reviews are few and far between, and there’s only passing mention of minor issues with the accessories.
Check out the Yamaha package for a quality, versatile keyboard at a reasonable price point.
Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard With Power Supply
The Casio CTK-3500 comes with 61 touch sensitive keys, dance music mode with 50 built-in dance music rhythms, Chordana Play app integration, 48 note polyphony, step-up lesson system, 400 tones, 100 rhythms and auto power off.
Casio markets this keyboard as a lightweight, portable solution for beginners and those looking to practice and play on the go.
Buyers loved the simplicity of the keyboard, but more critical reviewers noted that it doesn’t have the best sounds, nor does it have enough volume.
Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Versatile, affordable and portable, the Casio is certainly a worthy solution for those in need of a touch sensitive keyboard.
Casio LK-265 61-Key Lighted Portable Touch Sensitive Keyboard With Power Supply
The Casio LK-265 is a compact and lightweight keyboard with 400 tones, 150 rhythms, built-in speakers, headphone connectivity and Dance Music Mode for electronic dance music creation and remixing.
It also comes with variations for drumbeats, bass lines and synth parts, effects (filter, flanger, gate, roll, low-fi and other effects), intuitive Step-Up Lessons, lighted keys for learning 60 built-in songs and integration with Chordana Play app for iOS or Android.
In addition, it features 48 note polyphony and can be powered with batteries or an AC adapter.
Buyers loved the dance music function and found the learning modes helpful.
Less enthusiastic buyers said you basically get what you pay for, which shouldn’t come as any surprise.
Casio WK-245 76-Key Touch Sensitive Keyboard With Power Supply
The Casio WK-245 comes with 76 touch sensitive keys, a large backlit LCD display, performance controls for combining layers and splitting the keyboard, AUX input for connecting to an MP3 player or other device and USB MIDI port for computers and iOS devices.
It also features 600 built-in tones, 152 built-in songs, 180 preset rhythms, 48 notes of polyphony and an onboard five-song/six-track recorder for capturing your song and composition ideas on the fly.
Additionally, you get mic with volume control and audio in jacks, onboard digital effects and Virtual Hall Simulation reverb and step-up lesson system.
Optimistic buyers found it usable in practice and live and also liked the high-quality sounds.
What people didn’t like about it is that it’s not the most durable product available, and they also couldn’t find a truly quality piano sound onboard.
Yamaha YPT360 61-Key Touch-Sensitive Portable Keyboard With Power Adapter
The Yamaha YPT360 comes with a PA130 power adapter, 574 high-quality voices, 165 auto accompaniment styles, 150 arpeggio types, onboard educational tools (including “keys to success”) and USB to host for two-way MIDI and audio transfer.
This keyboard is designed specifically for beginners and intermediates.
Positive reviews note its durability, abundance of built-in features and affordability.
What some didn’t like is that it’s not better.
Again, if you’re looking for something better, your best bet is to go a notch or two up in terms of price point – one should not expect a full-blown instrument in this price range.
What Should I Look For In A Touch Sensitive Keyboard?
There aren’t necessarily a lot of products to choose from when it comes to touch sensitive keyboards and they all feature similar functionality.
There are some differences, of course, and if you’re wondering what they are, you can always refer to the above list or video demos and reviews for more information.
The fact that the products are so similar can either be a good thing or a bad thing as a consumer.
It’s good because it means no matter which keyboard you buy; you’re going to get a similar result.
It’s bad because it doesn’t necessarily make the buying decision any easier.
That’s why we’ve examined, in detail, several critical criteria below.
By the time you’ve made your way down this list, you should have a better idea of which keyboard is right for you.
Let’s look at several factors you should consider when buying a touch sensitive keyboard.
Good Tone & Voice Selection
Carefully consider what you’re buying the keyboard for.
Are you mostly buying for the piano sound?
If so, you should compare each keyboard online (video demos and reviews) to get a good sense of how each one sounds before buying.
Many people buy for the piano sound alone and end up regretting their purchase because the keyboard they bought doesn’t have a great piano sound.
And, they make a blanket decision about the keyboard without trying any of its other sounds (of which there are often hundreds) and functions.
I get that you might value the piano sound over all else, but it’s good to recognize that these keyboards are built to be versatile.
So, looking for a keyboard with some versatility, and like having a variety of sounds, any keyboard on this list should do the trick.
It’s still worth comparison shopping, however, as you’re sure to get different results based on the keyboard you purchase.
Built-In Rhythms & Beats
We would consider this a minor factor for buyers of touch sensitive keyboards, for the simple reason that first and foremost, you’re likely looking for a keyboard that responds dynamically to touch, and second, you’re looking for a keyboard with a good sound.
Built-in rhythms and beats are just bonuses, if that, because some users don’t even take advantage.
If you’d like to jam, improvise, write songs and compose, then having backing tracks is incredibly useful.
Likewise, if you want to develop your rhythmic sensibility, you’ll want to take advantage.
Otherwise, this doesn’t matter whatsoever.
So, keep that in mind when buying a touch sensitive keyboard.
Lighted keys, onboard lessons and app integration.
These are some of the educational features touch sensitive keyboards tend to come with.
Again, these are only useful if that’s what you need (e.g. you’re a complete beginner, you need to review the fundamentals, there are specific songs you want to learn, etc.).
These days, there are so many ways to learn keyboard, whether it’s through YouTube videos, blogs or books.
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot to begin your learning process.
For most buyers, this isn’t going to be a decisive factor.
Some buyers, however, will appreciate having built-in lessons.
Effects & Dance Music Functions
You can have a lot of fun with effects and dance music functions.
As you’ve already seen, not all touch sensitive keyboards come with these features.
And, we don’t think they’re essential, either – not when touch sensitivity is your main concern.
If you’re interested in experimenting, or if you’re specifically looking to get into electronic dance music, then it’s worth keeping an eye open for these features.
Record & Playback Functionality
If you’re buying the keyboard to practice, learn and become a better player, then certainly record and playback functionality will prove important.
Again, however, this probably won’t be your main concern when shopping for a touch sensitive keyboard.
Plus, if your keyboard has ins and outs, you can probably record with it (e.g. with your computer) regardless of whether it has built-in record and playback functions.
Still, it can be nice to have as a practice tool.
If you could see yourself using this function, then it’s not a bad idea to buy with it in mind.
Playability, Touch Sensitivity & Polyphony
This may be the whole reason you’re looking for a touch sensitive keyboard – because you prefer a more realistic feel in a keyboard and because you value dynamics.
But I must caution you.
Don’t expect too much in this regard.
I’ve hammered this point home throughout this guide but I’ll say it again:
If you’re looking for something with a more realistic feel that doesn’t break the bank, please consider picking up a low-cost digital piano instead.
Digital pianos typically have semi or fully weighted keys along with a real piano feel (they’re still not real pianos, but they do what they do well).
But if you’re a beginner or hobbyist and you don’t have discerning needs, then a touch sensitive keyboard will do just fine.
These keyboards are usually easy enough to play, but typically aren’t equipped with anything special in terms of keys – just so you know.
As for polyphony, these keyboards should be equipped with more than enough.
Most of the time, there’s no reason to play more than four to six notes simultaneously, and maybe eight to 12 notes if you’re playing with a friend or instructor.
If the polyphony is higher than 12, in most cases, you should be good to go!
You don’t want to pay too much for a touch sensitive keyboard, and here’s why:
These keyboards are not intended to be professional instruments.
Sure, they can sound pretty good.
I’ve recorded with low-cost keyboards in the past and was rather impressed with the results.
Some of these keyboards even feel great.
But they will never measure up to digital pianos.
Sure, you’ll pay more for a digital piano, but if you’re an intermediate to advanced player with specific needs, you’re going to enjoy these much more than touch sensitive keyboards.
Digital pianos often have semi or fully weighted keys and feature a more realistic piano feel.
Many digital pianos still can’t compete with proper uprights or grands, but they tend to be versatile and come with very usable tones.
So, don’t bother with touch sensitive keyboards if:
- You’re not a beginner or intermediate player.
- You’re not looking for a portable instrument you can take with you wherever you go.
- You’re interested in recording and performing live (you’ll probably want better quality sounds and better functionality).
Aside from that, we always suggest keeping an eye on your bank account when making any purchases.
Don’t spend more than you’ve got and don’t go into debt to get your keyboard.
At this level, there’s simply no reason to – touch sensitive keyboards are relatively affordable.
Good Touch Sensitive Keyboard Brands
So what are some brands who make touch sensitive keyboards? Surprisingly, there’s not a lot. But here are some of them:
Top Touch Sensitive Keyboards Compared, Final Thoughts
We looked at seven highly rated touch sensitive keyboard products.
We looked at the various factors you might consider when shopping for the ideal keyboard.
There isn’t much more to say, but we do recommend doing additional research if you’re not sure.
There are plenty of reviews and demos out there, and if you’re unsure about anything, you should be able to find clarity if you do a bit of digging.