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Choosing the best keyboard for kids isn’t like choosing an instrument for an adult. It’s not just about how good the keyboard is, it’s about how your child will interact with it. Children are naturally curious and creative, the right keyboard has to encourage that. We have compiled a list of the top 5 keyboards for kids to help you get started.
Our top 5 kids keyboard reviews are aimed primarily at kids aged 5-14 years old, but there are no rules, every child is different. At the end of our list, we have added a couple of keyboards that are suitable for younger kids (toddlers).
Here are some quick links to help you navigate the article:
Here are the best keyboards for kids 2021:
1. The ONE Light
The ONE Light keyboard is something different from our other choices, it functions almost entirely through an app. The ONE Smart Piano app for Android and iOS has a vast library of educational content for kids.
The app contains over 4000 songs (sheet music) that are made easier to learn by the flashing keys. As the sheet music plays on your smartphone or tablet screen, the keys light up to show which notes to play. These songs can be viewed on-screen as a piano roll, too, which is sometimes easier for kids.
The good thing about The ONE Smart Piano app is that it doesn’t just provide songs and leave the player to it. It has lots of step by step instructional material and over 100 videos/games.
The keyboard has 61 full-size keys with built-in LED lights. It comes with 128 instrument voices, selectable via the app settings, and the keyboard is available in 4 different colors.
|Image credit: The ONE Check Price on Amazon||
We were a little hesitant to add The ONE Light Smart Piano to our list. While we love the idea of free apps that enhance learning, music should get kids away from smartphone/tablet screens for a while. The thought of a keyboard that runs entirely through an app made us think there would be more screen pressing than keys.
We are glad to say that The ONE has done a great job in merging the app and keyboard. The content is very comprehensive, and it’s a lot of fun without taking kids’ attention away from the keys. The key light system works perfectly with the app, and it’s an excellent way to give kids some early confidence.
The downsides are that you must have a smartphone or tablet, and while most households do have access to them, it’s still a negative. The other issue is that the sound quality isn’t as good as some other similarly priced keyboards. What you are paying for here is the educational content, and that’s worth it in our opinion.
2. RockJam 561
RockJam is a name that’s becoming well-known in the world of beginner keyboards. The first thing that stands out on this keyboard compared to the others is the large LCD screen. The LCD screen not only displays voice/rhythm information, but it shows things like which chords/keys to play with the 50 demo songs.
The keyboard has 61 full-size, velocity-sensitive keys and 100 built-in voices and 100 rhythms. Voices include grand pianos, organs, and strings.
The layout of the RockJam 561 will initially seem more complicated than other kids’ keyboards, but it doesn’t take long to get to grips with it.
There is a handy (free) Piano Maestro app that provides an additional 30 songs to learn, along with tutorial material. The RockJam 561 comes as a pretty cool bundle, including headphones, a branded keyboard stand, and a piano stool.
|Image credit: RockJam Check Price on Amazon||
You don’t look at this keyboard and immediately think it’s a kids’ keyboard, but it has plenty to offer. For a start, if you wanted to get a keyboard with such a useful LCD screen from one of the top manufacturers, it would cost a lot more.
The bundle is great, the padded stool is comfortable, the keyboard stand looks fantastic, and the headphones are pretty good quality.
The bundle makes it feel more like a professional setup without breaking the bank. Kids love to feel like they have the same as a grown-up would get, that’s what this keyboard does. It’s perfect for kids who are past the stage of needing it to look more like a toy.
The best thing is, it’s not just for kids, so it will last a long time as they advance and get better. It’s disappointing that the Piano Maestro app isn’t Android compatible because it does have lots of helpful content. Overall, an excellent choice for any aspiring young musician.
3. Yamaha EZ-220
The Yamaha EZ-220 is a great place to start when looking for a kid-friendly keyboard. This keyboard has 61 full-size, velocity-sensitive keys that are perfect for a brand new player. The best thing about the keys is that they light up in 3 very cool learning modes.
Listen and learn mode is where you listen to a song and watch the keys light up as the notes are played. Timing mode lets you learn one hand at a time; you play the keys as they light up for one hand, and the keyboard plays the sound for the other hand. Lastly, the waiting mode lights up the keys you should play, only after you play them will the keyboard light up the next notes.
It comes with 100 built-in songs, and almost 400 voices, including pianos, guitars, and drums. It also comes with access to Yamaha’s free Yamaha Education Suite (YES). This free app is packed with interactive tutorials, exercises, and chord guides. The Yamaha EZ-220 can be battery powered too if you want to take it on the road.
|Image credit: Yamaha Check Price on Amazon||
The reason we put this keyboard at the top of our list is that it provides longevity. Yamaha has done a fantastic job of putting together a keyboard that makes learning fun and has room for the student to grow.
The 3 learning modes are fun and functional; it gives kids some extra help to play songs, and that keeps them motivated. When they no longer need the learning modes, the massive voice-bank will keep them going for some time.
The high-quality sound is amongst the best of any keyboard that we recommend for kids. The extra cost might put parents off, but if the child sticks with it, this keyboard will take them further than the others on our list. That’s why it’s our top kids’ keyboard.
4. Casio LK-265
The Casio LK-265 comes with Casio’s Key Lighting System. The 61 full-size, velocity-sensitive keys can illuminate to show which keys to press to play any of the 60 onboard songs.
The Key Lighting System also works fantastically with Casio’s Chordana Play app for Android and iOS devices. Casio’s Chordana Play app combines the lit keys with on-screen music scores or piano rolls.
There is a Dance Music Mode that lets users create and remix awesome dance tracks. Dance Music Mode has 50 styles, including House music, Hip-Hop, and EDM. Things like Intros, breaks, fills, outros, can be triggered by pressing different keys.
As well as the great learning features, the LK-265 has 400 voices and 150 built-in rhythms.
|Image credit: Casio Check Price on Amazon||
This choice is one of our highest-rated keyboards for kids. It is another one that provides longevity as the player develops musically. The Key Lighting System is excellent and works very well with the Chordana Play app.
However, it’s probably a step closer to serious music-making than the other keyboards on our list. For that reason, we think it’s more suited to the 11 years upwards age range.
It also has plenty of room for kids to grow as a musician, thanks to the large voice-bank, and Dance Music Mode. The expense is an issue, but if you have a child who has a serious interest in music or has worked with a keyboard already, this is a great choice.
5. Casio SA-46
The Casio SA-46 is a smaller keyboard that is particularly good for younger kids. It has 32 high-quality, mini-keys, just the right size for little hands.
The top panel is very well laid out, everything is clear and easy for kids to follow. Although, the best part about the top panel is that it has 5 drum pads! The drum pads trigger different percussion sounds when hit, and they are an excellent way for kids to learn about rhythm.
It doesn’t have quite as many instrument sounds as some larger keyboards. Casio’s SA-46 comes with 100 built-in voices, including a grand piano tone, organs, and more. It also has 50 drum patterns (accompaniments) that kids can explore.
If you feel 32 keys aren’t enough, Casio offers a 44-key version in the form of the Casio SA-76.
|Image credit: Casio Check Price on Amazon||
If we start with the negatives, we should say that the SA-46 is limited in function. It doesn’t have the learning features that some other keyboards do, so that’s a definite downside. The upside is that it sounds good, and it has drum pads.
The drum pads are the main reason that we included the SA-46 on our list. It might seem like kids are just hitting something, and it makes a noise, which is right. However, the more they do it, the more they start to tap out good rhythms and keep time.
Understanding rhythm and being able to keep time is essential to any musician, that’s why we love these drum pads.
We mentioned that it doesn’t have as many sounds as the larger keyboards, but it’s not a huge issue. It still has more than enough to keep kids busy, especially younger kids.
The fact that kids can take it everywhere with them, even in their backpack, is a massive plus. We also think kids will love the colored bottom section on these keyboards too. That’s why we think it’s such a good children’s electronic keyboard.
Here are the best keyboards for younger kids (toddlers):
1. Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Piano
|Image credit: Melissa & Doug Check Price on Amazon||
This little kids piano looks like it came straight out of an arts and crafts class. Kids will love the multi-colored body and letter labeled keys.
It doesn’t sound as good as the Korg tinyPIANO, but it costs a fraction of the price.
2. VTech Record & Learn KidiStudio
|Image credit: VTech Check Price on Amazon||
This cheap musical keyboard for kids looks more like a toy than an instrument, and that’s the idea. Kids will be drawn to it and learning before they even realize it!
It has a built-in microphone, so little singer/songwriters can record and listen to themselves.
3. Korg tinyPIANO
|Image credit: Korg Check Price on Amazon||
This top-rated piano for kids looks terrific! It comes in a choice of 4 colors, and young kids will love it.
It comes with a hefty price tag, but that is reflected in the superior sound quality.
If you have very young kids and want to get them interested in music, please check out those 3 options.
How to Choose the Best Keyboard for Your Child?
Know Your Child
Ok, so just saying know your child sounds a bit obvious, but let us explain. Every child is different, and that means there are no set rules. For example, we gave an average age guide for our top 5 list, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for kids outside of that age range.
You need to know what your child needs, most from an instrument to get the best from it. Buying something that your child isn’t ready for yet is a sure way to put them off music in the long-term.
Kids Like Toys
Kids love nothing more than playing with their favorite toys, right? So, you have to use that to inspire them. For very young children, things like the VTech KidiStudio are perfect because it looks just like a toy.
For slightly older kids who don’t need the multi-colored buttons and flashing lights, interactive features are important. Interactive features like fun tutorials, challenges, make it more like playing and less like learning.
Whatever age your child is, find something that will get their attention as a toy does. The important thing is to make sure it’s not just a toy; whatever you buy must have real musical value.
You shouldn’t spend a fortune on kids’ first keyboard. The goal of a kid’s keyboard is to let them have fun exploring music. It should take them from no musical experience to wanting to learn more. As long as it does that job, it doesn’t matter if it’s the cheapest keyboard in the store.
When you can see, they have developed a genuine interest in music you can buy something that will take them further. The last thing you want is to buy an expensive keyboard that ends up gathering dust because your child didn’t love music as much as you hoped.
Kids love to take their favorite toys everywhere with them; hopefully, a keyboard will be no different. So, when you are thinking about how many keys it should have, you should consider how portable it will be. If it’s under 37 keys, they can likely carry it easily, if it’s 61 keys, then the parents will be lugging it around, so keep that in mind.
We would suggest (as a rough guide) that you never go over 61 keys. Generally speaking, kids will never need more than that. However, as we said, every child is different, and if you have a 7-year-old prodigy on your hands, then, by all means, go for 88 keys.
At this stage, the quantity of sound is probably more important than quality. You need a keyboard that keeps their imagination and creativity flowing; lots of voices will do that.
Some people do suggest that very young players must get used to high-quality piano sounds early on. In our opinion, the most important thing is to get them playing and enjoying it, don’t focus on the sound quality too much.
You will find out soon enough if your child is developing musically, at that point you can decide to get something with better sound quality.
Full-Size Keys or Mini-Keys
This choice depends entirely on the age/size of the child. It’s good for kids to get used to a realistic feeling keyboard as soon as possible, but it has to be when they are ready for it. It’s far better for a child to play happily on mini-keys than to struggle on full-size keys.
We think the main priority here should be to make music fun! If we can make music fun, then kids will take an interest in it.
Whether it’s more toy-like or more grown-up, the right keyboard should make your child want to play. Everything else should be secondary to that.
Kids take everything in, and if they enjoy it, they remember it. So, it’s the perfect time to start learning to play the keyboard. The most important thing is that they do it because they want to. A pushy parent may have the very best intentions, but a child who doesn’t enjoy music will never play like a child who does!
Choose a keyboard that fits with your child, don’t try to make your child fit with a keyboard. Make music fun, and they will love it, good luck!
If you think your child has already outgrown these keyboards then please check out our Best Keyboards and Digital Pianos for Beginners Guide.