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Here at SoundsElectric.org, we have scoured the Internet looking for the best beginner keyboards so you don't have to!
If you are a beginner piano student (or even an intermediate or more advanced learner), and you are looking for the perfect keyboards to practice on, then we are happy you stopped by as we know we can help you choose what you need!
We have extensively reviewed 10 of the very best and most affordable keyboards (all under $200!) so you don’t have to because as the saying goes, time is gold.
We want you to spend your time playing with your new keyboard, pronto!
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The 10 Best Beginner Keyboards Under $200
These models were carefully chosen based on the number of essential features it has as detailed in our comprehensive guide to buying a keyboard for beginners.
These ‘key features’ include key width, touch sensitivity, polyphony, quality of built-in speakers as well as recorder. In addition to these important features, we also considered customer feedback, price and overall quality of the keyboard.
Since prices can vary from one music store to another, instead of listing each individual price, we have instead opted to indicate the price range for each keyboard (see price guide below).
Note that prices are for the keyboard only (some models are sold in packages or bundles which include some useful accessories).
$: $50 to $100
$$: $101 to $150
$$$: $151 to $200
Yamaha Piaggero NP11
Now, here's a short review for each keyboard highlighting the main reasons they made it to our list!
#1 Yamaha EZ-220
The Yamaha EZ-220 is the number one entry-level keyboard on our list because it's a great first keyboard for the ultimate beginner.
It is portable at 10 lbs, affordable at less than $200 on Amazon, and is extremely easy to use with its light up keyboards and the Yamaha Education Suite.
This keyboard is bound to be a hit with beginners thanks to its touch sensitive light up keys which help develop your fingering techniques for both your hands!
In addition, this model includes 100 free sets of songs and 392 instrument sounds such as strings, guitars, brass, drums, and piano which will entertain and get you familiarized with a wide variety of sounds (and yeah, pretend you are playing in a band!).
This keyboard may not have a built-in recorder like some of the other keyboards on our top 10 list.
However, there are two modern features that are sure to captivate young and savvy learners: first is the USB to HOST port which connects the EZ220 to your computer or iPad; and, the built-in wireless connectivity to the free Page Turner iPad app.
This app features an audio recorder that will allow you to capture your performance and make it super easy to share your music with your friends.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the EZ 220.
# 2 Casio LK-280
Casio’s LK280 is one of the best 61 keys lighted keyboards for under $200. If you are a true beginner you will appreciate light-up keys because it makes it easier for you to learn as it practically guides you which keys to press while playing.
Unless of course, for some unknown reason, you don’t want people to know you’re a beginner then you can turn off the lighting option.
This keyboard features a host of functions that justifies the relatively expensive price tag (as compared to some of our other recommended keyboards).
For instance, it’s got 152 songs onboard including 50 practice songs, 600 tones, a recorder which can store up to 5 songs, SD card support up to 32GB which allows you to store thousands of your own music!
It’s also got a USB port that support MIDI operations. If you’ve got a microphone you can plug it in to your keyboard, play your MIDI files and you’ve got yourself instant karaoke.
Casio’s Step Up lesson system ties in quite nicely with all the features mentioned above as it expands your learning options and more importantly, it would make learning very fun for you which is definitely a great motivator for any beginner.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the LK 280.
# 3 Casio CTK-6200
Any novice learner who wants to future-proof their keyboard piano, will surely love the Casio CTK-6200. Although it is the ‘heaviest’ on the top 10 list at 12.5 pounds, it really should not stop you from considering this touch sensitive keyboard!
For one, there is a wealth of options which will give you the freedom to customize your music however you want it.
There are multiple digital effects, a 16-track song sequencer if you want to compose songs, a rhythm editor, an arpeggiator, and it’s got even more than the usual number of keyboard voices.
With 700 AHL tones (plus the ability to store up to 10 of your own tones) and 210 preset rhythms and auto accompaniment, you will never run out of playing options!
For connectivity, there’s a USB port so you can connect your CTK-6200 to your computer and process MIDI data. The SD card slot allows you to store your music and easily transfer your music files as well.
This is the only model on our list that does not have the Step Up Lesson system pre-programmed which is a bit disappointing.
However, with the additional features onboard we think this is still a great keyboard for your money especially if you want to get creative with your music!
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the CTK 6200.
# 4 Yamaha PSR-E253
The Yamaha PSRE-253 is suitable for amateurs and beginners in the keyboard piano scene. That is not to say, however, that more advanced players can simply dismiss this particular model.
It has a duo mode not found in similar models which basically ‘splits’ its 61 keys into two making it useful when teaching young kids since they can easily copy which keys you are pressing on the keyboard.
This feature will also allow you to develop your left and right hand fingering techniques much faster!
At slightly a bit over 10 pounds, this keyboard offers 385 instrument voices, 100 accompaniment styles and 102 preset songs which you can either listen to or play along using the Yamaha Education Suite.
In addition, there is even a Chord Study mode which will teach you how to play a variety of chords on its own or with the built-in song bank.
The ports at the back include an aux line input so you can connect the keyboard to your MP3 player (or a computer or mixer or even another keyboard), use the built-in speaker to play your music, and play along to it on the keyboard!
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the PSR-E253.
# 5 Casio CTK-2400
The Casio CTK-2400’s best feature for beginners is its Step-Up Lesson System which acts as a virtual teacher.
When you select this feature, the LCD screen will show you which keys to press for any of the 110 songs on the built-in song bank you wish to play.
This means that even if you have zero knowledge of music, you can learn to instantly play by simply following the notes and fingering instructions on the LCD screen!
This portable keyboard has 61 full-size keys and weighs in at 8 pounds.
It has garnered attention because of its 400 AHL keyboard voices (a lot more than other similar models) and its advanced sampling function which allows you to record (yes, it has a built-in microphone) two seconds of any sound you create (you can try clapping, snorting, laughing, etc. and save it as a sample).
You can then use your sample as your keyboard voice when playing any music you want to play. This is such a big hit with younger users because it really is such a fun feature!
If you have a budget less than $100, then this keyboard will give you good value for your cash!
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the CTK 2400.
# 6 Yamaha Piaggero NP11
The touch sensitive Yamaha Piaggero NP11 is stunning in its simplicity. Unlike all the other keyboards featured on our top 10 list with a plethora of buttons for hundreds of different options, this keyboard favors a minimalist look with only a few buttons on the left.
This keyboard is perfect for older and more serious beginners who prefer not to get distracted with light up keys or a colourful keyboard with plenty of customization choices.
This is the best keyboard for aspiring pianists who want to play on a real piano in the future but do not want to splurge on one just yet.
The Advanced Wave Form stereo sampling makes the piano sound more realistic than other keyboards at this price range.
At less than $150 in most stores, it offers great value for your money and at 10 pounds you can easily lug this around and show off your musical prowess (and your sleek and pretty keyboard) to your friends.
If, for some reason, you forget to turn off your Piaggero while on battery, then fret not, for it’s got an Auto Power Off mode which should help extend the life of your batteries.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the Piaggero NP11.
# 7 Casio LK-175
The Casio LK-175 offers 61 lighted keys plus a ton of learning features which would allow any beginner to learn how to play really quickly.
Like the CTK-2400, the LK-175 also has 400 AHL tones, 150 rhythms and 110 built-in songs which presents you with many options to play and experiment on your keyboard.
The onboard sampling feature will allow you to record your own sound using the built-in microphone or even an external microphone which you can then use as keyboard voice when playing your music.
The USB MIDI connection allows you to connect your keyboard to your computer for boundless creative possibilities!
If you would like to play along to music on your phone or MP3 player, all you have to do is connect it to the AUX input and voila! You can now play along to your favourite music!
For sound output, the stereo speakers are really quite good but beware that when it gets too loud, the keyboard starts to vibrate.
Good thing is you can just plug in a pair of headphones and turn the volume all the way up to avoid the unwanted vibration. Your roommate and your neighbors will thank you for it.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the LK 175.
# 8 Yamaha YPT-240
The Yamaha YPT-240 is an entry-level model from this well-known manufacturer which offers quite a lot for the price it’s being sold at (yes, it means it’s a great value for money at less than $200 for the keyboard and even with the standard package included).
For a beginner, the touch sensitivity is a huge bonus at this price point (and even more so for more advanced players since they can appreciate the effort of emulating a piano’s weighted keys).
The 102 songs in the song bank plus the 385 instrument voices are really quite impressive as well.
Add the Yamaha Education Suite to the mix, and you no longer wonder why this particular keyboard is very popular among keyboard newbies!
Moreover, this keyboard has got a slew of advanced connectivity features not found in other similar keyboards.
It’s got USB connectivity and even an SD card slot which means you can transfer your music easily whichever method you prefer!
For a small additional cost, you can purchase an accessory known as i-UX1 which will allow you to connect your Apple device to your keyboard which will further enhance and expand your playing experience!
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the Yamaha YPT 240.
# 9 Casio CTK-3200
The Casio CTK-3200 is an excellent-value-for-money keyboard and is perfect for any beginner who wants to learn how to play the piano quickly.
It’s a truly compact and ultra-portable 61-key keyboard (weighs just a bit over 8 pounds!) that’s packed with 400 AHL tones, 150 rhythms and 110 built-in songs which really plays well with the pre-programmed Step Up lesson system.
This keyboard has touch sensitive keys so anyone who’s played the piano for a while can certainly appreciate this feature.
The auto shut off feature is awesome for when the keyboard is powered by battery alone such as when you are outdoors.
The pitch bend wheel is a fantastic addition as well since it is not commonly found in keyboards at a similar price point.
You can also connect your music player and listen to it through the built-in speakers (or play along with it if you wish).
The USB port supports MIDI data transfer so you can connect your keyboard to your computer and create unlimited possibilities with your music!
Whilst there are some complaints about the loudness of the speakers, this can be resolved by connecting your keyboard to a pair of external, high-quality speakers. Or a headphone. Whichever you prefer.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the CTK 3200.
# 10 Yamaha YPT-255
The Yamaha YPT-255 is definitely one of the company’s most popular entry-level keyboards. It’s got full-sized keys in a portable chassis and hosts some features commonly found in more expensive models.
The ever-popular Yamaha Education Suite is of course built-in with a 9-step lesson to guide you in your learning process. A scoring function evaluates your progress and challenges you to improve.
Also, a waiting function automatically adjusts the tempo and waits for you to hit the correct note. These onboard features make learning fun and at the same pushes you to improve at your own pace.
The YPT-255 has 385 voices or tones, 100 stored songs, 100 styles, a grand piano feature, and a power saving mode.
A master EQ makes it easy for you to adjust the nuances of the keyboard sound and trains your ear to listen to a sound that’s pleasing to your ears.
While this model does not have touch sensitive keys or a USB port or MIDI support, it does have an Aux Line input at the back which allows you to connect your MP3 player so you can listen or play along with your favorite songs.
OR click here for our full and in-depth review of the YPT 255.
What are the criteria for choosing the top 10 keyboards?
We have answered this question in a 3,000-word guide which you can read here:
To summarize the quite lengthy information we have presented in the aforementioned guide, here is an infographic to give you an overview of the criteria we have used in selecting our top 10 keyboards for beginners:
Which beginner keyboard brands should you be looking at for your purchase?
It’s a well-known fact in musical circles that Yamaha and Casio are two of the most popular brands for musical instruments. If you see someone playing on a keyboard, chances are it’s either a Yamaha or a Casio.
After all, both brands are known for their sound quality and key action, what with Casio’s excellent Tri-sensor keyboard and Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard.
If you are just considering these two features, Yamaha would easily come on top. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper keyboard then Casio might the most suitable brand for you.
Great innovations do come at a higher price, so Yamaha’s relatively expensive price tag might be due to its excellent technological advancements (or probably because of their global popularity).
This doesn’t mean though that Casio is lacking because it also has many features that would help enhance your musical skills.
We provide detailed reviews for what we think are the best Yamaha and Casio keyboard pianos for beginners.
So there you have it! Ten of the best starter keyboards for you to choose from.
Let us know in the comments below which keyboard you liked best!