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Best portable keyboards with 61-keys, for beginners & hobbyists
Are you a beginner keyboardist or a hobbyist looking for an inexpensive music keyboard to take music lessons or to have some fun, or someone who wants to gift a decent keyboard to your near & dear ones?
In that case, you may not want to spend a lot of money on buying a top-end music keyboard, which actually makes sense too. Nowadays, beginner music keyboards are rich in features and it makes sense to learn on them, and upgrade few years later (if you feel the need).
We are talking about beginner keyboards here, and believe me, though these are entry level keyboards, they have a lot more functionally, compared to what was available on keyboards several years back. Most of these are available for around a couple of hundred bucks.
In terms of brands, the offerings in this price range are from Casio and Yamaha, as you would have rightly guessed. Though there are a few brands that have come up in recent years that make budget keyboards (Hamzer, RockJam, Alesis), these two brands are among the more trusted ones.
But even among this bands, what should one choose?
We already have lots of informational articles on this site, so do feel free to check them out.
But if I had to choose, here would be my options. Most of these come with useful bundled accessories.
- These come with 61-full sized keys
- These have lots of features (commonly found on musical keyboards)
Keyboards with Touch Sensitive Keys
Here we take a look at entry level keyboards with Touch Sensitive Keys.
We have listed options from both Casio as well as Yamaha; these keyboards come with more or less similar specs.
Yamaha EZ-220 61 Key Lighted Keyboard
The Yamaha EZ220 has 61-keys (these are touch-sensitive), and the keys light-up (helps to learn the built-in lessons and songs, children love this feature). Comes with lots of features. Perfect for the beginner student. Read full review here…
To someone grown-up but more serious about music, the Yamaha EZ-220 61-key lighted keyboard from yamaha makes much more sense, because of the built-in lessons and the fun element because of the lighted keys. If you’re an adult, you’ll like the overall sound quality of this keyboard. This is your opportunity to own a music keyboard from Yamaha (if you prefer Yamaha) with a much better sound quality. The lighted keys add to the fun.
This lighted keyboard also makes it easy to play songs, just select one of the built-in songs and the keyboard will light up the key that you’re supposed to play. In fact, the song will actually stop and wait for you to find the correct key! It has touch responsive keys, 100 built-in songs, built-in metronome and reverb effects.
The good thing about this keyboard is that its not the lowest model in the PSR series, and it has reasonably better tonal quality. Yamaha PSR-e353 is a 61-key keyboard (touch-sensitive keys) comes with better features, good sound, and reasonable price.
This keyboard has more tones, styles, and better sound quality compared to the EZ220. It features big piano sound, USB MIDI output, and more. Read full review here…
You get touch sensitive keys, and comes with built-in keyboard lessons. 573 voices, 158 rhythms, 150 arpeggio patterns, good quality built-in speakers.
The Casio CTK-4400 is a keyboard with 61 touch-sensitive Keys, and has enhanced tools and instructional features that makes it suitable even for amateurs and the intermediate keyboard players, besides the absolute beginners.
The sound quality is slightly better, the Polyphony is more, 600 sounds, 180 rhythms, several effects. Read full review here…
This has several great features, including a sequencer, and more, but it is not really meant for gigs. If you’re looking for some pro features, then you may check it out
AXUS DIGITAL AXP25 Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard
A relatively unknown brand but offers good value for money. The Axus AXP25 has 61 touch sensitive keys. It comes with built in lessons, 300 different voices, 200 styles, 100 demo songs, and many more features.
Pitch bend wheel, headphone socket for private practice, a USB and MIDI sockets for PC/MAC connectivity and AUX outs for connecting to an Amplifier are some of the other useful features.
The AXP25 is a good starter keyboard, something that you can consider buying if you’re not that keen on a Casio or a Yamaha.
Casio LK-280 61-keys
This is another good keyboard (with lighted keys) and touch sensitive keyboard. 61 full sized keys and comes with advanced features as well! Its great to begin learning. If your little one is showing interest and if you think he/she is not going to like the smaller sized Casio, a 61-key keyboard is a good keyboard to use.
This one is fun to play as the keys light up, makes it easy to learn the built-in songs. It has a much better sound quality and comes with several voices, styles, and features, and kids (and even adults) will like it.
Music Keyboards with 76 Keys
- Now you even get keyboards with 76 keys around this price range
- These are perfect for those who fancy playing some popular piano pieces
These are some of the best keyboards to learn piano.
The Yamaha YPG-235 Portable Grand Piano features 76 soft touch keys that are perfect for the beginner to the expert. The only reason we are mentioning it here is because its a steal at this price. All the keyboard features and 76-keys (not fully-weighted though) that will allow you to play several classical piano pieces.
A USB port is also included allowing you to download new Songs and Styles for playing. The interactive lesson feature lets you set your own tempo so you can progress at your own speed. A 6-track sequencer allows you to record your own music. It’s from Yamaha and has a good sound quality.
If you think you’ll be playing a bit of classical stuff as well, then you should consider this excellent 76 key Casio wk-245 keyboard, that not only gives you 76 keys but also has all the voices and styles that you find on digital keyboards.
The Casio WK245 Electronic Keyboard offers great tones, sampling, and lessons in one great keyboard! This WK245 is amazing! Casio is showing how much they can fit in to this keyboard while offering at a price that makes it impossible to turn down. Get learning and start playing fast with the Casio WK-245’s integrated Step Up lessons, Auto Harmonize, and Music Challenge. Read more…
This is your opportunity to own a music keyboard with 76 touch keys, and that too within 200 bucks.
Without Touch Sensitive Keys
- The following keyboards do not come with touch sensitive keys
- These cost less, almost around 100 dollars
- Some have mini keys, and less than 61 keys
- These are good for exposing your kids to electronic keyboards
Eventually however, as your kids show more potential, you will have to get a music keyboard with touch sensitive keys. To begin with, to test the waters, and just for fun, these are good enough.
RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard Kit
A great value keyboard kit from RockJam. The keyboard has excellent features, several sounds, styles, effects; but the keys are not touch sensitive. The kit includes the Keyboard with Full Size Keys, adjustable Keyboard Stool, Keyboard Stand and quality headphones for silent practice. The keyboard integrates well with the Piano Maestro Joytunes app to learn songs on your tablet.
Casio CTK-2400 61 Keys Keyboard with USB
The Casio CTK-2400 lets you experience a fully featured, 61-key keyboard for cheap. This one does not come with touch-sensitive keys though. If you’re on budget, this can definitely be your first keyboard, unless your music teacher told you that you should be getting touch-keys.
The ctk-2400 comes with more features and better sampling functions (not that beginners would really need that feature, but its useful for making your own sounds). The package comes with better features, that will suits adults as well. Read full review here…
Key Features: 61 keys. 48-note polyphony. Several tones & rhythms. Built-in Step-Up learning system. USB MIDI. Voice Pad allows you to play sampled sounds; connect CD or MP3 player for practicing along with favorite songs.
The Casio SA-76 comes with 44 keys, is portable, has several tones and styles, and offers all the essentials required for playing those first tunes. 100 timbres, 50 rhythms and 10 integrated songs provide variety. The display helps with selecting and calling up the different music options. excellent keyboard for your kids.
Keep a good piano learning book for kids handy for revising important topics.
Perfect for the Initial Years
In the first couple of years when I was learning to play keyboards, I have used keyboards that were inexpensive. I was not sure at that time if I would be able to play keyboards and wanted to concentrate only on learning.
In fact, my first keyboard was a Casio mini-keyboard. It was only after a couple of years I bought a Yamaha PSR keyboard.
On this page, we discussed the top 5 portable music keyboards sold by various manufacturers, suitable for beginners, learners & hobbyists.
If you’re in the market for a budget portable keyboard, you may wish to consider these models.
- Casio SA-76 44 Key Keyboard (no touch keys)
- Casio CTK-2400 61 Keys Keyboard
- Yamaha EZ-220 61 Key Lighted Keyboard
- Casio LK-280 Lighted 61-keys
- Casio CTK-4400 61-Keys Keyboard
- Casio WK-245 76-Key Keyboard
- Yamaha YPG-235 76 Key Keyboard
Best Digital Piano for Beginners
Do you want to checkout some budget digital pianos that will suit beginners? For under 500 dollars, you can buy a nice digital piano with weighted action (88 piano like keys), if you’re serious about learning to play the piano.
However, if you’re a beginner and not sure if you want to buy a keyboard or a piano, you are better off buying a keyboard first, learn the ropes and then decide (if you want a piano).
Beginner Keyboard Lessons
Now that you have enough information on how to choose a good beginner keyboard, here are some useful links that will help you learn to play the keyboard/piano.
This link will help you learn the notes on the piano and the keyboard – what are the white and black keys called, and so on.
- Keyboard lessons vs Piano lessons: Is there any difference?
- Beginner keyboard lessons
- Easy Piano Lessons (Scales, Chords, Time)
- Top Piano Books
- Best Piano Learning Software
Resources for Young Beginners
Here are few more resources for the very young beginners.
Recommended Learning Aid/Products
Piano Note Finder Stickers: These stickers make it easy to identify the keys, especially helpful in the initial stages of learning.
Teaching Little Fingers to Play: A nice little book for the very young beginner, with lots of pictures.
Schoenhut Pianos: A poplar brand of toy pianos, particularly known for its acoustic toy pianos. They have a wide variety of good quality toy pianos, some of these are even used by top composers for their unique sounds.
Toy Pianos & Keyboards: Here are some more musical/keyboard toy pianos for those who’re not yet big enough to play on 61-key keyboards. These are great to encourage curiosity and creativity.
So which is the best electronic keyboard for beginners? Your best bet is to buy a 61-key keyboard, preferable with touch-sensitive keys from either Casio or Yamaha. These will help you get started and have plenty of sounds, rhythms and features to keep you entertained. We have listed several budget keyboard pianos here which sholdmeet your requirements.