A lot of people looking for their first keyboard are looking for a model under $100. If you aren’t sure that you will continue with the hobby or you are looking to get a budget keyboard to see if it is the instrument for you, a $100 budget is fair.
In the modern age of affordable electronics, finding a keyboard under $100 is pretty simple and achievable. In this post, we’ve looked at some of the best piano keyboard options on a budget in this article, and some of them might surprise with the features they offer. The keyboard piano choices have come a long way in recent years and some budget manufacturers are competing with Yamaha, Casio, and the other big piano brands.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
- 2 Number of Keys
- 3 Size and Weight
- 4 Sounds and Sound Quality
- 5 Hammer Action and Touch Sensitive Keys
- 6 Other Tech Features
- 7 Stand
- 8 Best Piano Keyboard Under $100 – Reviews
- 9 Conclusion
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Number of Keys
This is an important consideration when looking for a keyboard piano that is under $100. The number of keys. It is very unlikely that you will find an option with 88 keys for this price. 88 keys is the standard size of a digital or acoustic piano, but it is much more likely that a keyboard piano at the $100 price point will have fewer keys.
61 keys or 54 key options are common at the price. These will not be too much of a restriction when learning to play the piano. You can start the learning process on a keyboard this size, and learn to play two-handed, as you can play bass notes with one hand and chords with the other, or chords on one and a melody on the other.
Though you will not get the same range as a digital piano, for a cheap keyboard it is not too much of a compromise to lose a couple of octaves.
Size and Weight
A lot of people are looking for portable keyboard options, and at the $100 price range, there are a lot of keyboard options that are lightweight and portable due to having fewer keys and not needing huge speakers or control panels.
A lot of keyboard options that are affordable can be used with a small stand, or simply put on a desk or tabletop. They offer a lot of flexibility. If you are looking for a piano or digital piano they are likely to be heavier and take up more space, so you may not be able to take them to shows and practices as easily as keyboard pianos.
Sounds and Sound Quality
Keyboards often have a lot of different sounds or “voices” as they are normally called. This means that you can play it as if it were a different instrument, with sounds like organs, strings, and even brass or synths. Many of the keyboards on the list have loads of different sounds you can switch between.
At the $100 price point, you’re not likely to find the highest quality sounds, but that isn’t a problem, especially if you want a keyboard for beginners.
A cheap keyboard piano may have a lot of sounds, but to get a great sound engine then you may need to spend a little bit more. Some of the best digital piano options have been created with incredibly detailed simulations of the audio from acoustic pianos, which have been sampled to a very high level. They are also made to be velocity-sensitive, so get louder as you hit the keys harder.
Hammer Action and Touch Sensitive Keys
One of the key differences people will notice when they are looking for a keyboard under $100, is that they don’t tend to have a hammer action. This is what is used in digital pianos to replicate the feeling of an acoustic piano. With a portable keyboard, this is far less likely to be on offer.
If you want to graduate to playing a digital piano or an acoustic piano at some point in the future, keep in mind that you will need to adapt to the feeling of the keys. Cheap keyboard piano options tend to feel lighter to the touch, however, some of them do come with touch sensitivity. This means that the harder you press the keys, the louder the sound that is triggered.
If you want the best keyboard at this cheap price point then it is very likely that a $100 option will give touch sensitivity and this means you can express yourself more and play with more dynamics.
Other Tech Features
One of the great things about buying a keyboard cheap in price in the current market is the fact that they tend to come with some extra tech features. Technology features have become cheaper to implement and more mainstream in keyboards.
You may find that there is an LCD screen. This can display information about the song, and may even be able to show info from an app, for instance.
A lot of keyboards have companion apps, these may teach you how to play music or give you lots of different sound options. A good learners piano may even have modes that are designed for learning, such as lighted keys.
You may be able to record directly on a keyboard too, this means that you can record your practice and listen back, which is a good way to spot your errors and improve playing in time. To further help with playing in time, a lot of digital keyboard options come with a metronome, this can tick along in time as you play.
Most digital pianos and keyboards now have some sort of MIDI/USB support. They let you connect via USB to a computer, or even a tablet, and use it as a controller for controlling your DAW or other music software. This can open up a world of possibilities for new sounds.
A lot of the cheap options on the list come with a stand. If you don’t already have somewhere for your keyboard this can be really helpful. If you plan to use a sustain pedal, using a stand can also be a good choice, though keyboards under $100 may not be the best choice for use with a sustain pedal, as the sound won’t be as high fidelity.
Best Piano Keyboard Under $100 – Reviews
There are plenty of people out there looking for a top keyboard and thinking they will buy a Yamaha or a Casio. These brands are fantastic for digital pianos and keyboards among other musical instruments, but under $100 there are options from other brands. The Joy keyboard with 61 keys is a great instrument available at a very affordable price.
As well as being reliably made, it has 61 keys for playing two-handed, and the inbuilt speaker system offers a fair level of projection and quality. There are also loads of tech and connectivity features, you can even plug in your own music and learn to play keyboard along with songs you love.
If you are looking for a cheap keyboard, and a bundle that can include everything you need to get started, this could be worth considering. It’s not elite in terms of sound quality but it is certainly good enough for beginners and 61 keys get you started playing two-handed, too.
2. Hamzer 61-Key Electronic Piano – Best Sounds
This is another very good option from a brand you may not have heard of. This 61 key digital piano keyboard has a lot to offer besides just being a good keyboard, including a huge amount of tech features. This also comes with a microphone, which you can plug straight in and use through the speakers of the keyboard, so it is great for the aspiring singer-songwriter.
This is another keyboard that can be bought as a bundle with a stand. Every model includes the microphone which is a very good addition. It won’t record any number one albums, but it’s a great way to sing along while you play the piano.
It has loads of added extra features such as demo songs and lots of sounds, in fact, we’ve named this the best keyboard if you are looking for loads of different tones.
Just like the Joy model above, it isn’t going to be seen at any huge gigs any time soon, but this is a good keyboard to get you started and learn the basics of how to play the keyboard. There are 28 demo songs and learning modes, but the sheer number of songs and rhythms included is very impressive.
3. Casio CTK-2550 61-Key Portable Keyboard – Best Casio Option
It wouldn’t be right to make a list like this and not have a Casio keyboard. Though a lot of the best keyboards in the Casio range are more expensive than this, there are some affordable options and the CTK-2250 is a fantastically versatile and portable keyboard that doesn’t cost too much.
If you’re looking for keyboards under $100 you will find that this only just comes in under your budget, but the sound quality is a bit higher than some of the cheaper alternatives.
Casio makes some good beginner options and the Chordata play app integration that comes with this means you can use your mobile device to quickly and easily get started with lessons. There is an inbuilt lesson option for those who don’t want to use the app.
The Dance music mode is another really smart feature that the keyboard offers. You can make music using loops and inbuilt rhythms, and sound like an EDM producer.
It’ s hard to argue with the quality Casio offer at this price range. They’re known as good keyboard manufacturers with some of the best cheap keyboards on the market.
4. Casio SA-46 -Portable Keyboard – Best Mini Keyboard under $100
If you are looking for something that is tiny and portable, and don’t mind smaller keys, the SA-46 could be your best choice. Keep in mind that it can be tough to play for adults, but a lot of people choose this option to get their kids started. It doesn’t take too much transporting and doesn’t take up a lot of space in the home either.
As keyboard pianos go, you will struggle to learn anything complex on such a small model, but if you just want to make some cool melodies or even trigger some interesting sounds from your instrument during band practice or a performance, this could be a compact option.
Generally, it’s best for children, and the small keys are good for small hands. The small price tag is good for adult bank accounts.
This is one of the keyboards under $100 that we would recommend if you are specifically in the market for a mini option. It’s not amazing for playing complex melodies on stage, for instance, but it could be a good choice to teach kids the basics.
5. aPerfectLife 61 Keys Kids Keyboard – Cheap Option
If you are just looking for the cheapest model that does a good job for a beginner then the aPerfectLife 61 key keyboard could be worth exploring. It is exceptionally affordable, and decent, though it’s not an elite instrument. You won’t see concert pianists playing it, but for kids and beginners, then this could be a cash-saving option.
This comes in well below the $100 budget. We wanted to include a cheap product for those who are just in the market for a passable keyboard to save them money. It does have its charms, though, and for a first keyboard, some of the features are good.
There is only so much that you can say about a product like this. The keys don’t have a piano feel, they are designed to be smaller and played by kids and they are not touch-sensitive. If you are looking for the best keyboard ever made then this could be easy to avoid and skip past.
If you are looking for something with a piano feel and touch-sensitive keys then this should be ignored. However, if you want a cheap keyboard piano that has some decent features, this is worth exploring.
If you are in the market for a bundle, it could be worth looking at the Joy 61-Key Standard Keyboard Kit. You can buy this with a stool, stand and other accessories. It also has a decent tone and loads of different sounds that you can use. The piano keyboard could be a little bit better, but generally, for a cheap digital piano, it is hard to argue with the bundle on offer.
A few years ago, it would have been much harder to find a digital piano or keyboard at this price with any decent features, but times have changed. We’ve included five of the top options on the market including budget picks. Consider how many keys you want, as well as what compatibility you need, before you choose the best piano keyboard for you.