Whether you’re new to playing piano or it’s time for an upgrade, budget is often a major consideration when you start looking at an instrument.
Let’s take a look at how you can choose the best cheap keyboard piano for your budget!
First, let’s explore the biggest question most people looking for the best cheap piano keyboard ask: is it possible to get a good digital piano on a budget?
Thanks to technology, the answer is now a resounding YES!
It’s absolutely possible – and oftentimes even more cost-effective than an acoustic instrument – to get a good digital piano on nearly any budget.
Here are some main reasons to consider a digital keyboard:
- No maintance costs – no regular tunings, no temperature or humidity considerations
- Smaller in size and often portable – great for smaller spaces
- Ability to use headphones to practice without the whole house listening
- Less expensive than a traditional acoustic piano
- Choosing the Best Digital Keyboard: What to Look For
- Best Digital Piano Under $1,000
- Best Digital Piano Under $500
- Best Digital Piano Under $300
Choosing the Best Digital Keyboard: What to Look For
What are some things to look for in a digital keyboard at any price point?
Many features come down to personal preference (whether you like having a variety of instrument voices to choose from, for example), but there are a few important factors to consider to ensure sure you’re getting the most for your money:
- How many keys does the keyboard have?
- Are the keys full size?
- Are the keys weighted?
- Are the keys touch-sensitive?
- Does the keyboard have an input for a pedal?
Some musicians may also look for headphone inputs, the ability to record or plug into the computer, and other digital features, but those are also more personal preference than key features.
How many keys the keyboard has can affect the musician’s ability to play certain songs as they develop musically, so this is an important factor to consider.
A full-size piano keyboard has 88 keys, although you can often find digital keyboards with 76, 61, or even fewer keys.
I would recommend getting as many keys as you can fit into your budget, and as you’ll see from the reviews below, it’s possible to get an 88-key digital piano for under $300.
Whether the keys are full size is perhaps even more important than how many keys the keyboard has.
Many “toy” keyboards have “mini” size keys, meaning they’re not as large as keys on an acoustic piano.
This may be okay for a child just playing on a toy keyboard, but it’s very important to have full size keys once the student is serious about learning music.
This helps develop proper finger strength and movement.
If the keys are weighted they’ll have some resistance when the musician presses them – just like an acoustic piano.
This also aids in developing finger strength for performing on any piano.
It’s possible to find a digital keyboard with touch-sensitive keys that are not weighted – and this means that when the key is pressed lightly, it produces a soft tone, and when it’s pressed with more force, the key produces a louder tone.
Ideally you’ll be able to find a keyboard offering weighted AND touch-responsive keys to get the best playing experience.
Being able to play with dynamics is important as you develop your musical skills!
Finally, input for a pedal can be a bit of personal preference, but as a student learns more music, they’ll encounter songs that simply don’t sound the same (or can’t really even be properly learned) without a pedal.
It’s fine to purchase a keyboard that doesn’t include a pedal as long as it has the option to add one (usually with a ¼” input jack) when it’s time.
Whew! Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at the best cheap keyboard piano you can find at any price point!
Best Digital Piano Under $1,000
Best Digital Piano Under $500
Scaling the budget back to $500 still presents us with a variety of quality digital keyboards.
These pianos are less likely to have fancy cabinetry to look like an acoustic piano in your home, but they’ll still sound and feel great.
You’ll still want to look for the same main features as above: number and size of keys, type of action, touch response, and pedal input.
If your budget is only $500, don’t worry – here are some top picks for the best digital piano under $500.
Best Digital Piano Under $300
Whether you’re a musician on a really tight budget, just starting out and aren’t sure if your kids will stick with lessons, or you need a backup instrument, sometimes you need a quality instrument that won’t break the bank.
The criteria remain the same here, although it may be more cost-effective to find a digital piano with fewer keys in order to get the most quality bang for your buck.
Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean missing out on quality when it comes to digital pianos.
As you can see from the above list, some brands even specialize in making quality instruments at affordable prices.
I hope we helped you find the best cheap keyboard piano for your budget!