There are countless digital pianos and keyboards on the market and finding the right one can be hard. That’s why we put together this guide for the best digital pianos and keyboards for beginners in 2021.
There are lots of things to consider when you’re starting out and we hope we can clear things up for you.
Let’s dive right in!
These are the best digital pianos and keyboards for beginners in 2021:
- Alesis Melody 61 MKII
- RockJam RJ761
- Yamaha PSR-EW300SA
- Casio CT-S200WE
- Alesis Recital Pro
- Yamaha YDP-S34
- Yamaha P-45
- Korg B2SP
- Casio PX-770
Let’s have a look at them one by one!
The Alesis Melody 61 MKII is a great keyboard to introduce children to the world of music. With its 61 keys, it has a good range, covering a lot of octaves.
While the Rockjam came with 200 sounds, the Alesis takes it up a notch:
There’s a selection of 300 different instruments and synths including a bunch that are popular with kids.
Additionally, it also features more than 300 rhythms.
There are also 40 demo songs that you can playback with the push of a button. You can always play along with those songs.
A cool function is the dual keyboard mode where you can layer multiple sounds and play them at the same time.
There’s also a “split keyboard” function. With “split” mode enabled, you can play one instrument on one half of the keyboard and another instrument on the other half of the keyboard. This is super fun.
Everything you play can also be recorded internally and played back. The Alesis keyboard also comes with a microphone, so you can also sing and record it.
A microphone is not the only thing in the package. It also comes with headphones, a keyboard stand, a music rest, a little bench, and a power adapter (you can also use batteries).
The stand can be adjusted in its height.
When everything is set up, it looks stylish. The keyboard alone is pretty light so you can easily carry it and put it somewhere else if you need to. The music rest will enable you to put sheet music right in front of you.
The one thing we don’t like about this beginner’s keyboard is that it does not have any USB connectivity. So you cannot directly connect it to your computer. This might not be a huge deal breaker if you don’t intend to connect it.
As an added bonus, Alesis has partnered with the piano learning software Skoove and you get three months of their premium online course for Free!
Skoove can be very helpful for you at the beginning of your piano learning adventure.
The Alesis Melody 61 MKII is a great choice for people who want to try out playing the piano. The number of keys will be enough to try out most songs.
The RockJam packs a punch with 200 sounds and another 200 rhythms. Furthermore, you can listen and play along with the 30 built-in demo songs.
The keys are full-sized which is a good thing! Cheap keyboards tend to have smaller keys sometimes that are not so easy to play. So especially if you have longer fingers, it’s good to have full-sized keys.
And with the 61 keys that this keyboard offers you will be able to play almost all songs with no worries.
For its very affordable price, The RockJam RJ761 provides you with a good sounding piano sound.
Let’s have a look here:
You can use either the included power supply or use batteries. The latter is a good option in cases where you travel with your keyboard or simply don’t have a power outlet nearby.
The buttons are built into a soft touchpad which feels nice under your fingertips.
Included in this package is also a keyboard stool, a stand, headphones, and a sustain pedal.
Additionally to your purchase, there is a voucher for the simple piano application.
In a playful way, beginners learn basic piano skills.
But also the keyboard itself has an onboard teaching function.
In conclusion, this keyboard is certainly a great option for beginners as it allows you to try out many cool things.
This Yamaha is slightly bigger than the previous two keyboards as it contains 76 keys. This enables you to play even more songs and musical pieces that sometimes have very low or very high notes. Despite being larger it still relatively light and can transport easily.
The keys are touch-sensitive which means by playing harder the sound gets louder. And the softer you hit the key the quieter the sound gets – just like with the real piano.
The material is durable and robust strong plastic.
Onboard you will have access to over 500 sounds to choose from including really great piano sounds. Additionally, you can apply various effects to the sounds like a reverb or chorus effect.
The keyboard works with a 48-note polyphony setup. This means that up to 48 keys can be played at the same time and heard. This is more than enough even for experts on the piano.
You also have a duo mode where you can split the keyboard into two different sections. This can be very helpful if you have a teacher who wants to show you the right notes at the same time.
Make sure you don’t confuse duo mode with the dual-mode.
With dual-mode, you are using two sounds together so when you hit a key you hear these two sounds at the same time. This can be a very fun experience, especially for younger people.
And then there is of course the split mode where you can have a different instrument for each hand.
The Yamaha has 154 songs on board. And, you can also play along and experiment with things like tempo and other effects.
With two 12-inch speakers, there is more than enough power to fill bigger rooms without the need for external speakers.
There is also a recording function that allows you to record your songs.
You can connect your keyboard to a computer using the USB connection. This way you can transfer your recorded files to the computer.
If you have sequencer software on your computer you can use your keyboard to record straight into the sequencer.
The Yamaha PSREW300 is an excellent choice for entry-level piano learners. Especially those at beginning of their journey who want a bigger keyboard than the Alesis or RockJam.
But, since this keyboard doesn’t have weighted keys, it’s not recommended for people who are more serious about playing.
The Casio is a very portable keyboard. In fact, it’s THE most portable one on the market.
It comes with a built-in hand grip at the top.
With its 61 full-sized keys you can play more than 400 different sounds and 77 rhythms. If you like the reverb effect, this keyboard offers you 10 different types of reverb that you can add to your sound.
In case you like EDM (electronic dance music), you will enjoy this Casio as it has a dance music mode. In this mode, the keys trigger different sounds like a bass line, drums, synths, effects and more.
But you can also playback or play along with the 60 built-in songs.
If you want to record your music you can also connect your keyboard to a computer via USB.
In the set, there is also the Samson HP30 stereo headphones included.
They’re lightweight headphones with an adjustable headband that fits any head shape.
With a frequency range from 20 Hz to 20k Hz, these headphones are good enough to play the sound of the keyboard.
Included is also a keyboard stand, the On-Stage KS7190 Single-X.
It has five positions in case you want to adjust the height. It’s very robust and won’t make your keyboard wobble when playing.
For the power supply, you can use either the included AC adapter or use six batteries. Those will last for 20 hours approximately.
Next up on our list for the best digital pianos and keyboards for beginners in 2020 is this amazing product by Alesis.
If you want to play on something where the keys don’t feel artificial or fake, this Alesis comes with so-called weighted keys. These are heavier than the lightweight and semi-weighted keys.
While the lighter ones are certainly a considerable option for anyone who does want to use the keyboard for more than just playing the piano, the heavier keys (here the fully weighted keys) are more suited for the piano player who needs a better touch and feel when playing.
Three different intensities of key pressure are included. So when you play very soft for instance, it will recognize that and give you a sound accordingly. You can also set the intensity completely off. In that case, no matter how hard you hit a key, it will have the same volume level.
There are always better keys of course the more expensive the keyboard gets but for this price point the keys in the Alesis Pro are nothing to complain about!
The sounds this keyboard is equipped with are:
- Acoustic Pianos (Classical, Bright)
- Electric Piano
- Organ / Church Organ
- Harpsichord / Clavi
- Acoustic Bass, Fingered Bass
This is the basic set of sounds that can usually be found in most keyboards for this price.
Have a look and listen to the sound in this video:
The Alesis comes with a bunch of effects, such as an Equalizer, Modulation, Chorus, and Reverb. They can be great if you want to change the way a sound sounds and also to add more realism to your play, for instance by adding reverb, which always makes piano sounds more natural.
The equalizer could become handy depending on your sound system. So depending on your headphones, if they emphasize certain frequencies more than others, with the EQ you can adjust the sound of whatever you are playing so it sounds well balanced again.
But if you listen on the onboard speakers of the Alesis, you certainly won’t be disappointed as it comes with 4 speakers in total. Most other keyboards only have a stereo setup.
This one has two 10W woofers and two 20W tweeters.
The keyboard comes with a 128 tone polyphony which is great. A lot of other keyboards only have 64 notes polyphony.
The keyboard also comes with layer and split mode functions. In the layer mode (sometimes called dual mode) you can layer your sound with another sound on top of it to make it stronger. So you will actually hear two sounds when you hit a key.
In the split mode, the keyboard gets ‘split’ while one half has one sound and the other half can have a different sound. This is a handy function if you want to play more than one sound at the same time, one with each hand. But also when teaching someone who sits next to you, this can be a very convenient function to use.
Some other functions that you will find in most keyboards as well are transposition and metronome. You can move up and down in semitone increments to play in a different key.
For practicing purposes, you have a metronome function included.
The Alesis Recital Pro has also inputs for a sustain pedal or a USB cable. Via USB you could hook it up to your laptop and record straight into a sequencer software like Garageband, etc. to record your music.
A sustain pedal is highly recommended to use as a lot of piano music won’t even sound as good as it could if a sustain pedal is not used to connect notes.
If you want to take your keyboard with you and maybe play outside be assured that you won’t need a power cable to use it:
You can use six D cell batteries if there is no power outlet nearby. This way you won’t have to rely on the power supply at the place of your venue but can always turn it on and play no matter where you are!
This Yamaha is already a proper beginner digital piano. It comes for instance with a so-called Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard. This means the keys are graded just like an acoustic piano’s keys. What it means is basically that the keys feel heavier on the left side of the keyboard and lighter on the right side. It is ‘gradually’ getting lighter.
This allows you to repeat notes very quickly just like you could on a real piano. This will enable you to play pieces or songs that are played faster and where you have notes repeating in a row. Usually, on a cheap keyboard, you wouldn’t be able to do that.
Thanks to the GH3 keyboard you can play with a greater range of dynamic expression. So you can play very soft but also very loud depending on the music and the kind of emotions you want to convey.
The Yamaha comes with 10 onboard sounds which are not the most but if you’re looking for a digital piano you will mostly be looking for piano sound anyway so this would be just fine. And the piano sound in this digital piano is quite impressive. They digitalized the sample of their own flagship grand piano, a 9′ CFX concert grand.
This is a wonderful piano that is being used by pianists all around the world and is considered to be one of the best grand pianos available. Keep in mind you won’t hear the original piano sound of that concert grand but because it’s a digital piano and will be a digital version of it. As always, Yamaha tries to get as close as possible to the original source sound. For a digital piano at this price point, the sound is very good.
Have a look at this digital piano here:
This Yamaha comes with 192-note polyphony which is a lot. Cheaper pianos only offer around 64 notes which will limit you. The number refers to how many samples can be played at the same time. So even if you play only one note, your keyboard might require to trigger multiple samples depending on if you have EQ and reverb turned on and also the velocity (how hard you hit the key).
That’s why when you play full chords with both hands repeatedly in a row, you might hit the upper limit of your keyboard’s polyphony range because that will trigger a lot of samples at once.
But with a 192 note polyphony system, as this piano provides, you would probably never have to worry about that! This is not only good for you but also for the listener who won’t experience any strange abrupt notes “dying off” because you hit the limit of the possible polyphony.
Speaking of reverb, this Yamaha comes with four different levels of it. With the reverb, you can change your piano sound and make it seem like you play in different rooms, like a concert hall. As a rule of thumb, always turn on reverb as it will make your piano sound better and more realistic/natural.
The Yamaha also comes with a stereophonic and acoustic optimizer that are built-in.
The Acoustic Optimizer will ensure to give you the best possible sound out of the piano by controlling the instrument’s resonance.
It works hand-in-hand with the so-called Intelligent Acoustic Control, that adjusts the EQ setting automatically so you hear the best possible piano sound at any volume setting. Especially at low volumes, the sound would get affected quite a lot, because certain frequencies are simply not well to hear when very low, but with these features, you won’t need to worry about it.
But you can of course also play with headphones. The problem with headphones is that the sound usually sounds a lot thinner than if the sound comes from the speakers only. That’s why Yamaha built in a stereophonic optimizer that will make it sound as if the piano sound is coming from the digital piano and not the headphones.
As a result, you get a more natural-sounding piano. So even if you play with headphones on you can be assured that there won’t be any loss in quality. It will also feel more natural to play it when you experience the sound in a more natural way than artificial.
Last but not least this digital piano also comes with 50 songs pre-installed, that can be played back or played along with – for practicing purposes or just for fun.
The Yamaha YDP-S34 comes with a beautiful lid that can cover the keys when not playing to protect it from any damage and also dust.
On our list of the best digital pianos and keyboards for beginners in 2020, the Yamaha P-45 cannot be left out. It is one of the most popular beginner’s digital piano on the market!
It comes with fully weighted 88 keys and also uses Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action for those keys. With GHS, the keys on the left side are a little heavier to press down and gradually become lighter the higher you go.
This is something that many digital pianos are implementing in order to replicate a more natural feel one is used from acoustic pianos. In the P-45 There are actually little hammers inside just like in a real piano which gives a better feel than light-weighted or semi-weighted keyboards that use springs instead of hammers.
The GHS action is also less noisy than the one implemented by other brands in their keyboard.
Of course, all the keys are touch-sensitive, Which means that playing them softer will produce a quieter sound, and hitting the keys harder produces a louder tone. If desired, this can be turned off and you can hear every note at the same level no matter how hard you hit the keys. For a natural playing experience, I would not recommend doing that.
The higher-end digital pianos Common with keytops made out of Ebony and Ivory. Since this Yamaha P-45 is a beginner digital piano it does not come with those keytops that would help to absorb moisture. The white keys have a glossy finish which is not unusual as many keyboards and even pianos have it.
But the black keys do have a matte finish which is a good thing. This helps if your fingers are a little moist because it will prevent them from slipping off.
For the sound, they sampled a real grand piano for a more authentic sound experience. For this, they used their popular AWM sampling technology.
As the Yamaha P-45’s primary use is that of the digital piano, It does not come with a huge sound set to choose from as most keyboards do but instead has focused on 10 instruments sound that you can select and play:
- Grand pianos (Concert, Bright)
- Electric pianos
- Pipe organs
If your main goal is to just play piano, the two grand piano sounds will be all you need anyway.
The piano also features four types of reverbs that you can apply to your sound: Room, Hall 1, Hall 2, and Stage. We would recommend always turn on the reverb as it makes the piano sound more authentic. It will make the piano simply better sounding and please not only your ears but also your listeners.
Take a look:
This Yamaha comes with 64 note polyphony. This is more than some entry-level digital pianos offer (usually 32 note polyphony) but less than the more expensive digital pianos come with.
One of the playing features is dual-mode. This mode allows you to play two sounds at the same time. For this, the piano is layering the two sounds so when you hit a key both instrument sounds are triggered. Don’t confuse the dual-mode with the duo mode.
This is one of the other functions of this piano. This mode splits the piano into two equal sections with each section having the same note range as the other. This would allow a teacher for example To demonstrate something on his or her side of the piano while you can play it simultaneously on your side. So you won’t have to get up and let your teacher sit on your chair to demonstrate something.
One feature, called split mode, that most high-end digital pianos offer where you can have one instrument sound on one half of the piano and another instrument sound on the other to play two different instruments simultaneously is something that this digital piano does not offer.
The Yamaha P-45 is by default tuned to 440 Hz which is the standard tuning for classical instruments. Depending on who you play with or play along with, you can fine-tune your sound in 0.2 Hz increments to balance out any differences in tune.
You can also transpose your playing in halftone steps. So you can keep playing in one key but have it sound like it’s in a different key with the press of a button.
For learning and teaching purposes, there is also a built-in metronome that you can use while playing.
The sound is coming through two 6W speakers which are good enough to play in a smaller room resp. in front of a small audience. If you play at a larger venue or in front of a lot of people we would recommend getting an external amplifier (speaker) so everyone can clearly hear you.
If you play just for yourself it’s going to be good enough. You can also always use headphones as the keyboard comes with a headphone output.
Another output it has is a USB. This enables you to connect your piano to a computer and record music into your computer software ( software like Logic Pro, Garageband, Cubase, Ableton, Reaper). So if you are into recording and composing you should definitely consider connecting your piano with your computer.
You can also plug-in a sustain pedal. If you are serious about piano playing you definitely need a sustained pedal. Some music (especially in the classical field) is virtually impossible to play properly without a sustain pedal as it is impossible sometimes to connect notes (legato).
As this digital piano is not equipped with a stand you can place it on a table or buy an extra keyboard stand.
The B2SP is available in black and white. As most digital pianos are in black, having a white one at home might be a great eye-catcher for visitors.
Control-wise, the B2SP has a very simple setup. Besides the volume knob, every function can be accessed with just a few buttons.
The damper/sustain pedal has a half-pedaling function onboard, which means half-pedaling is possible. This is a nice function to have on a piano that is meant for beginners as half-pedaling is something used mainly by advanced pianists who like to be very detailed in their pedaling. As a beginner, you will probably rarely if at all, use it.
The B2SP uses Korg’s “Natural Weighted Hammer Action” keyboard which is comparable to Yamaha’s GHS action. This also implies the graded action where keys on the left are harder to press and the more you move to the left, the lighter it gets, just like on a real acoustic piano.
As is the case with other pianos at this price range, all keys are velocity-sensitive. This means that harder keypresses will result in louder sounds and softer presses a quieter sound. To change these settings, you’ll have the option to choose from three preset levels. This is a good function to have in case you are someone who naturally has a harder or softer touch and want to balance it out on the piano.
The white keys have a glossy finish. This is quite usual as many keyboards and even pianos have it, especially the beginner ones.
The black keys have a matte finish though. This will prevent your fingers from slipping in case they are wet, so it’s a good thing that Korg uses the black finish for those. Black keys are always a bit thinner than white keys.
Let’s talk about the sound now.
Korg has implemented sympathetic and damper resonance in the B2SP. This creates a more natural sound.. Think of a real acoustic piano where not only the string vibrates that you play but it also makes the neighboring strings vibrate to a certain amount. So by implementing this function, the sound you play will sound more convincing as that is what listeners are used to hearing, subconsciously.
The piano comes equipped with 12 onboard sounds/instruments to choose from:
- 5 Grand Pianos
- Stage Electric Piano
- 60’s Electric Piano
- Digital Electric Piano
- Pipe Organ
- Electric Organ
- Orchestral Strings
By default, you hear the German Concert Piano. It is very suitable for anything classical. But so are the other piano sounds. This is really a matter of taste. If you don’t like this sound, there are four more piano sounds that will each sound slightly different. For more intimate sounding music, for example, there might be other sounds than the German Concert Piano that you might prefer.
To enhance the natural experience, you can add effects to your sound. The B2SP comes with reverb and chorus effects. If you mainly use a piano sound, then the reverb effect will be the one you’ll end up using a lot more. Depending on the amount, you can make it seem like the sound is produced in a large concert hall, or small room. Again, a matter of taste, but usually a bit of reverb always tends to add a certain realism that you don’t want to miss.
The chorus would be an effect you might want to use mostly for electronic piano sounds. It’s adding some slightly detuned delays to it which sounds great with an electronic piano.
If you like to play more sounds than the ones installed on the piano, Korg has a so-called module app for you ready, for iOS only, but it’s free. There you get access to more than 100 different sounds. For that, you will have to connect your piano via USB to the iOS device.
With 120 note polyphony, the B2SP has a good amount for its price range and you shouldn’t ever get any problems with disappearing sounds due to low polyphony. Especially as a beginner, 120 polyphony should be more than enough.
The two onboard speakers are good and loud enough to cover a larger room. In case you perform at a bigger venue on a stage, you will have to connect the piano to external speakers. This applies to most digital pianos though, regardless of their price point as the onboard speakers have a limit at some point. If you want to play late at night and don’t want to wake up your family or neighbors, you can just plug in headphones and play all night long without anyone noticing.
Korg has also implemented something called Motional Feedback (MFB) technology. This helps to reproduce the lower frequencies that tend to be problematic with most pianos to produce through speakers.
While a lot of entry-level digital pianos have layer and split modes, the B2SP only has a partner (often called dual) mode, where the key range is split in half with both having the exact same keys, so a teacher, for example, can show you something on the right side of the keybed without having to sit at your place just to play the same pitches.
Some basic functions that you can find in a lot of other digital pianos as well are the following:
- Master Tuning
- Demo songs
Demo songs are great to play along with!
The piano does not come with a recording function though. If you want to record your music, you need to connect it to a computer. If you do that, you will also have access to unlimited sounds that you can have on your computer (for instance in Logic Pro X or Cubase) and play with so you are not limited to the sounds of the piano.
As you can see in the picture above, the Korg B2SP comes with its own stand where the pedals are perfectly built-in, arranged in the way you know it from upright and grand pianos
The Casio PX-770 (also called Casio Privia PX-770) is certainly one of the best digital pianos for beginners in 2020. It’s perfect for people interested in doing it a little more seriously.
The PX-770 provides an 88 full-size keyboard with scaled weighted hammer action keys. This means that keys on the left side are a bit heavier than the ones on the left side, gradually becoming lighter the higher you get. The weight and overall reaction of the keys is comparable to those of an acoustic piano.
In its previous model, the Casio PX-760, Casio already had implemented their so-called Tri-Sensor II Scaled Hammer Action”. Each key is to a certain degree touch-sensitive. So whenever you play harder, the sound will also be louder and when you hit the keys softer, the sound will be just like that.
This is something that can be adjusted though as Casio provides you with 3 different presets based on your preference. The first one has the least amount of sensitivity, which means no matter how hard or how soft you play, the difference in dynamics will be small. The second level is already increasing the sensitivity a bit and will react more to the pressure the keys are played with. And the third preset has the biggest sensitivity. So playing very soft will produce a very soft and pianissimo sound while playing hard will make it sound fortissimo. So the dynamic range is the greatest of all three presets. Touch sensitivity can also be turned off and every note sounds the same in terms of volume.
Casio also uses “Resonance Reproduction” when producing the sound. Resonance Reproduction is a digital reproduction of the strings inside a real piano. This helps to further make the piano sound more authentic within the limits of an electronically produced sound.
Another thing Casio has implemented to achieve this is their “Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator” (AiR) processor. It helps to emulate the real-life experience even more and make it also for the listeners to sound more authentic and forget that they are actually listening to a digital piano.
To listen to this great sound, you can either use headphones or the piano’s stereo speakers (2x 8watt).
These are the sounds you can choose to play:
- 5 Grand Pianos
- 4 Electric Pianos
- 4 Organs (Jazz, Pipe, 2 Electric)
- 2 Strings
For more modern music you might want to choose a brighter sound, while for classical music you might want to go with a fuller overall sound.
Furthermore, you can add various reverbs and chorus effects to your chosen sound to make the sound come alive.
Let’s take a listen:
On the PX-770 it’s also easier to learn playing the piano due to its duet/lesson mode. This mode splits the keyboard into two halves that are identical and have the same octave range, to aid teachers during lessons where they want to show something to the student without the student having to get up from his chair as the teacher can play the same pitches from where ever the teacher sits. So it’s definitively a nice feature.
If you want to play along to songs, The Casio PX-770 provides you with a selection of 60-song. You can also slow down or speed-up any of those songs in case you are struggling with keeping up with it in its original tempo. Especially beginners oftentimes struggle to play along with the prerecorded songs. Having the option to slow them down until you are confident enough to play in a faster tempo is a great feature that not many digital pianos offer!
The Casio PX-770 comes with a two-track MIDI recorder that allows you to record your own performance without any additional gear. You can also activate the onboard metronome when playing or recording.
Casio has implemented synthetic ivory and ebony materials for their keys to give it a more natural feel. This makes the feeling even more natural and on top of that, it also feels great to play the keys.
The advantage of texturized keytops is that your fingers will not slip off easily. This is something that can happen when you sweat or are nervous.
Of course, this piano comes with a USB port to connect it to your computer or Mac. This allows you an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to recording and playing music in case you have the right software installed (e.g. Logic Pro X, Cubase, Garageband, etc..)
The piano comes in a wooden cabinet design, that is available in three different colors: brown, white, and black.
We’ve covered off the best digital pianos and keyboards for beginners in 2020….but what if you’ve got a set budget in mind? Check out our post on the Best Keyboards Under $200 For Beginners