Five Budget Friendly Beginning Keyboards

Aug 20 / Delana Green
I was sixteen when my mom made me a promise:

If you can learn to sing confidently while you play the piano, I will get you a full keyboard like ‘that one. We happened to be out of town on a Sunday, and in my family, that meant we went to church. There, center stage stood the worship leader. She had a stunning voice and her hands were gracefully moving along the keys of a shiny new 88 keys.

When I played on the worship team at my church, I had 61 keys and got good at using the “Octave Up” and “Octave Down” buttons. At home, I had a Roland electric that was already falling apart. But even that electric piano didn’t come till I was in middle school.
When my clients come to me with the need for a keyboard recommendation and a small budget, I don’t shame them. Because students can fall in love with the piano, even a cheap keyboard with 61 keys. I know this because I did. (read on below)
This blog includes amazon affiliate links and gives a small commissions for purchases made using them. This is at no additional cost to you. I made this list carefully and with purpose and hope you enjoy.
Now, of course, there will be a time when kids do need the upgrade, but I’m not the kind of teacher that is going to shame a parent for getting their, newly excited to learn, eight-year-old a $200 keyboard rather than a $500 one. I’ll help them choose.
I have helped many new piano students pick out the perfect keyboards to match their budget and I’m about to do the same for you. Now, I have made some of my favorites into affiliate links through amazon. This is no change in price to you, just simply a way for me to make a little extra change by taking the time to curate this list.
Let's start with those beginners. Here are some 61 keys that I think work well for those first few years with a young beginner.
Tiny guy, but packs a punch for a beginner. I don’t find a lot of bells and whistles are necessary, but the kids like them and will spend a lot of time at the keyboard when there are fun “voices” and “sounds” to use.
It’s easily portable but this does not come with a stand. (It’s easy to purchase as an add-on.)
This has 76 keys which is why it's such a great deal. You will typically find three options. 61, 76 and 88. I usually recommend going for greater than or equal to 76 and NEVER lower than 61. 
The nice thing about this is that has a power adapter it comes with. I highly recommend those over battery operated. Batteries don’t last long, don’t get replaced, and suddenly your kid has gone a week without practicing the Ode to Joy song they were assigned. 

Anything less than $200 is often a toy, so this is a decent bang for your buck.
If you are starting with either a slightly higher budget or kiddos aged nine and up, this”

I’m a fan of Casio. They remain very simple but they last long. The keyboard my mom ended up giving me for my graduation present (because I did learn how to sing and play with confidence) was a Casio Privia 88 keyboard. It is now over TEN years old and its still playing beautifully. It was around the price of $450 but now would probably be closer to $600.
So Casio has a pretty good track record with the workstations I’ve seen. The nice thing about 76 keys versus 61, is you have more access to octaves without having to go through the hassle of pressing buttons. Your kid can learn more concepts by leaning into the higher and lower octaves and more notes accessible on the staff. Some methods don’t dive into those higher and lower octaves in the first few years, but the ones I love using do.
Priced at $299 I can see this keyboard easily lasting a while, and possibly being re-sold for a $150 minimum if sold in three to four years.
This is a slight upgrade in cost, but will likely be useful longer than our first option.

Here is a great Roland option!

Is a great option for the $4-500 range. There are fewer keyboards that actually fit into this category. Most jump up to the $550+ with 88 keys, or go below $375.
This is a great bundle that comes with a sustain pedal and stand. It provides a lightweight portable option, without losing all the keys. Not quite the 8 octaves, but will provide a great starting point for beginners. I think this is the perfect middle ground option for wanting to get your kid started off on a better foot.
This is a great starter keyboard in the $5-600 budget options.
Yamaha has been making keyboards as one of the main name brands out there. It has a reliable brand recognition for keyboards, workstations and pianos. I see Yamaha typically as more bells and whistles than needed, but they do the job. I’ve never been hugely impressed but I use this Yamaha often in my group classes because it feels like they are durable with kids. That is a huge plus! This Yamaha 88 keys has a good action and weighted keys. Which, even though that's my bare minimum requirement for 88 keys…I have seen some without it, leaving me asking “WHY!”
Last but not least:
This recent find of mine kind of blew my mind with new technology I haven't seen before. At the price of $693 not only do you get a portable 88 keyboard but you get a stand, a bench, and headphones.
Now these alone (added to the fact that it is a Casio) is a pretty typical price for 88 keys with weight. The cool part comes with what Casio calls “scaled hammer action”. Which means the weight you feel on the keys is ADJUSTABLE.
Why is that cool?
When you see those 61, 76 and other small sizes, most of the time those keys are not touch sensitive (no dynamic changes) but they are also not weighted action. So if a young child has been practicing on that all week they are going to be thrown off at their lesson. Most can adjust promptly but in the long run , the reason I recommend upgrading to weighted 88’s is actually more about the “piano feel” than the amount of keys.
This one has peaked my interest with its great reviews, brand recognition and the super customizable specs which mean it will actually “grow” with your child.
Especially if you have a mini performer on your hands, or you expect to have them in piano lessons for years. If you are learning piano as an adult, I think this is a great 88-keys option.
Well, there you have it folks. Some solid opinions and options for your search. If you have a piano teacher already feel free to ask them their opinion of your top favorite. That’s what we are all here for. I also guarantee they will agree with me on the following statement.
Yours truly,
Delana Green
Greenhouse Music

Time to get learning!

Since these links were originally made there may have been some updates to pricing and availiability. 

The following links are also awesome and up to date as of 2023

Yamaha PA130 $219
Awesome for the $200 price range.

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