The Best Keyboards for Beginners in India (2021)

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Have you just started playing piano and are wondering which keyboard to buy? Check out our selection of the best keyboards for beginners to help you decide.
best keyboards for beginners

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Introduction

Learning to play a musical instrument is a rewarding and priceless experience. For those who wish to try their hand at the piano, however, it can be more than a little intimidating. Here is our selection of the best keyboards for beginners to help you make your decision.

Before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind- who the keyboard is for (adult or child), what your budget range is, and if there are any special features you’d like your keyboard to have. If you just want to check out our selections for the best keyboards for beginners, you can head straight to those below. However, if you need more guidance to help you buy the right beginner keyboard best suited to your needs, then check out our comprehensive buying advice section at the end.

Our Selection for the best keyboards for beginners

The following keyboards are great for beginners since they’re relatively cheap, portable and lightweight. They come with a range of sound patches, onboard rhythm and backing band features, and often include a basic sequencer so that you can record a performance and jam over the top. All the keyboards listed below are some of the best keyboards for beginners since they come with a metronome to help you keep time and a music rest for your sheet music, allow you to use headphones for quiet practice and can be powered by either batteries or a wall socket. Unless mentioned otherwise, every keyboard has USB MIDI capability.

While all of them are pretty awesome for beginners, we did select a few which worked best for different use cases!

So lets get started !

1. Top Pick: Casio CT-X700

A highly competent model that you can gig with, this keyboard lies in the sweet spot when it comes to price v/s features and quality.

Features

  • 61 full-sized touch-sensitive keys
  • 600 tones including loads of various acoustic and electric pianos and a massive 195 rhythm accompaniments covering every imaginable musical genre

Pros

  • If 195 rhythms aren’t enough, you can load up to 10 additional rhythms that you can download from the internet.
  • The sound quality on the CT-X700 is noticeable more realistic than the other keyboards mentioned in this list
  • You can also record up to five of your songs on the Casio CT-X700
  • The CT-X700 lets you record up to 6 separate tracks on each of your recorded songs
  • With 20 reverbs and ten chorus effects, you can personalize the tones to your heart’s content
  • The built-in step-up lesson from Casio is incredibly useful for beginners
  • I love that at this price point, the CT-X700 allows you to use up to 32 user sound and rhythm presets for quick recall
  • Includes USB MIDI capability for connecting to learning and music production apps on your mobile devices
  • You get the ability to layer two voices or split different voices across the keyboard to get a richer timbre

Cons

  • While you can layer and split voices across this keyboard, you cannot adjust the volume mix of the different parts
  • While other keyboards at this price point offer a built-in digital-to-analogue audio interface, the CT-X700 USB port only transmits MIDI.

If these are not deal breakers for you, I would wholeheartedly recommend the Casio CT-X700 as one of the best keyboards for beginners that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

2. Budget Pick: Yamaha PSR-E273

The Yamaha PSR E-273 is the latest addition to Yamaha’s best selling PSR series that offers a lot more beginner-friendly features than most other keyboards at its price range. This keyboard is also labelled as the YPT-270 in some markets, but they are identical except for the colour.

Features

  • The PSR-E273 comes with 61 standard full-sized keys which are not touch-sensitive 
  • It has a large LCD screen and an improved user interface, making navigating and selecting voices and rhythms a lot more convenient
  • Includes 401 sounds of every imaginable real-world instrument from Yamaha’s renowned AWM sample library
  • Includes 143 accompaniment rhythm styles with which you can play along

Pros

  • The sound quality on the PSR-E273 is better than the Casiotone series due to the different reverbs and choruses on the sound chip
  • The rhythms are also better programmed and have a more contemporary arrangement when compared to the Casio tones
  • The speaker system is 25% more powerful than those found on the Casiotone series
  • Includes Yamaha’s inbuilt lesson feature for individual songs

Cons

  • There is a weight penalty for a better sound system. PSR E-273 is relatively bulkier and heavier than the Casio beginner keyboards and is not as portable
  • There is absolutely no way to save user settings. You have to set up from scratch for each song you want to play
  • The Yamaha PSR E-273 does not have any MIDI capability, and that may be a deal-breaker for those who wish to connect their keyboard to a mobile app to learn songs with

If you don’t need the ultra-portability, MIDI features, or the vibrant colours of the Casiotone keyboards the Yamaha PSR E-273 offers better value than the Casiotone series and is one of the best keyboards for beginners.    

3. Child-friendly Pick: Rockjam RJ461

The Rockjam RJ461 is one of the best keyboards for beginners who would prefer the guidance of a key lighting system.

Features

  • The RockJam RJ461 has 750 tones and 200 rhythms, as well as 150 demo songs
  • Comes with a USB interface, MIDI capability and both an auxiliary and sustain pedal input
  • Supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • The accompaniment volume as the chord volume can be independently controlled and levelled
  • You can get up to 5 different chord variations for the same rhythm and split the voices in the keyboard into two halves
  • Provides an option for a memory card, along with a headphone output jack and a microphone input

Pros

  • The CT-S100 is the cheapest keyboard on this list to include a USB midi port to connect to apps such as Casio’s own “Chordana” app on your tablet, phone or computer to learn and play along
  • Includes a pair of 2W speakers which are sufficiently loud and clear for playing at home
  • Casio designed these keys to be ultra-portable with a carry handle that doubles up as a music rest
  • At a featherweight seven pounds, the Casio Tone CT-S100 is perfect for carrying around to practice anywhere and jam along with your friends

Cons

  • The keys are not touch-sensitive
  • The sound engine is slightly dated

At its price, this keyboard offers a variety of features and is an excellent choice as your first keyboard.

4. Casiotone CT-S100

For absolute beginners who would prefer the guidance of a key lighting system, the Rockjam RJ461 is a perfect fit.

Features

  •  A slim and stylish keyboard that comes with 61 standard full-sized keys
  •  Offers122 tones ranging from pianos, electric pianos, synth and various ethnic instruments
  • The keyboard has 61 rhythms across most genres including pop, rock, jazz and world music with which you can play along.
  • The dance music mode on the Casio tones is an added performance feature that lets you imagine yourself as a DJ on a mixing console- triggering beats, adding effects and voice phrases in real-time.

Pros

  • The CT-S100 is the cheapest keyboard on this list to include a USB midi port to connect to apps such as Casio’s own “Chordana” app on your tablet, phone or computer to learn and play along
  • Includes a pair of 2W speakers which are sufficiently loud and clear for playing at home
  • Casio designed these keys to be ultra-portable with a carry handle that doubles up as a music rest
  • At a featherweight seven pounds, the Casio Tone CT-S100 is perfect for carrying around to practice anywhere and jam along with your friends

Cons

  • The keys are not touch-sensitive
  • The sound engine is slightly dated

At its price, this keyboard offers a variety of features and is an excellent choice as your first keyboard.

5. Casiotone CT-S300

For absolute beginners who would prefer the guidance of a key lighting system, the Rockjam RJ461 is a perfect fit.

Features

  • The Casiotone CT-S300 has 400 tones, 77 rhythms and features such as USB MIDI in the same ultra-portable form factor as the CT-S100 with a few helpful add-ons

Pros

  • Offers touch-sensitive keys, which means this keyboard responds to how hard or gently you hit the keys. Both the CT-S100 and the Yamaha PSR E-273 don’t have this feature
  • The CT-S300 has a pair of 2.5W speakers just like the Yamaha PSR E-273, which is 25% more powerful than the Casiotone CT-S100 speakers 
  • To top it all, the Casiotone CT-S300 has a pitch bend wheel that makes playing acoustic instruments such as saxophones, guitars and harmonicas significantly more expressive.

Cons

  • The one downside to the Casiotone CT-S300 is that it comes in a rather dull dark colour. You don’t get the vibrant red or white options like the CT-S200.

At its price, this keyboard offers a variety of features and is an excellent choice as your first keyboard.

6. Yamaha PSR E-373

Launched by Yamaha in 2020, the PSR- E373 takes an evolutionary leap forward by offering sound quality features and functions that even Yamaha’s higher price models don’t have.

Features

  • Yamaha has jam-packed a massive 622 voices into the PSR-E373, including 11 new Super Articulation Lite voices, which is technology trickled down from Yamaha’s premium PSR-1500 series.
  • You can shape these sounds with 38 user-definable digital signal processors- a feature not found in any other keyboard in this price range.
  • The sounds can also be layered and split across the keyboard with a single touch of a button.
  • The Yamaha ESR E-373 packs a whopping 205 rhythm accompaniment styles that allow you to control an entire backing band with just a single finger.

Pros

  • This keyboard is targeted at beginners. Yamaha has included their “Keys to Success” lesson system to get you started
  • One of the biggest selling points of the PSR E-373 is the USB Port that transmits both MIDI and audio data. No one else offers this feature in this price range.
  • The PSR E-373 can be coupled with Yamaha’s “Rec’N’Share” app so you can effortlessly record your playing on your mobile phone and share on social media or instant messaging with just a few clicks.
  • The PSR E-373 interface is the most user-friendly keyboard on this list

Cons

  • The PSR E-373 can only store nine user-presets compared to the cheaper Casio CTX-700, which can store 32 presets
  • The built-in song recorder on this keyboard can only record up to two tracks per song compared to the Casio CTX-700, which can record up to 6 tracks

In my opinion, Yamaha has the best-programmed rhythm styles in the industry, and the PSR E-373 doesn’t disappoint. If the pre-programmed styles are not enough, you can load an additional ten user styles downloaded from the internet.

All said, if you are a beginner, you won’t go wrong with the Yamaha PSR E-373 keyboard.

7. Casiotone LK-S250

For those who have absolutely no knowledge of where each key is and would like visual cues to help find the notes on the keyboard, the Casiotone LK-S250’s key-lighting system keyboard can do just that.

Features

  • Includes 61 full-sized touch-sensitive keys just like the Casiotone CT-S300, but the main difference is that every key on this keyboard can light up independently
  • Just like the entire Casiotone range, it offers 400 tones and 77 rhythms

Pros

  • Includes a mic input for you to plug in a dynamic microphone to sing along
  • You can turn off the guiding lights when you no longer need them

Cons

  • The LK-S250 does not come with a pitch bend wheel, as found on the CT-S300

For an extra INR 3000 more than the CT-S300, you lose the pitch bend wheel but gain a key-lighting guide system as well as a microphone input, making it one of the best keyboards for beginners.

8. Casio CT-X8000IN

This keyboard specializes in Indian classical instruments and mainstream Bollywood tones that a lot of local beginner keyboardists would enjoy using. This regional model packs in several stylish features that lend an overall premium look and feel to the keyboard.

Features

  • Includes 61 full-sized touch-sensitive keys
  • You get a pair of powerful 6W speakers on either end 
  • Comes with Casio’s trusted AIX (Acoustic Intelligent Expression) sound engine
  • You get 235 rhythm accompaniments as well as the ability to create an infinite number of user-defined rhythms using the onboard rhythm creator

Pros

  • The CT-X8000IN offers several options for hardware connectivity such as a USB flash drive and a MIDI port, which is not common to see in a keyboard at this price range
  • You can connect up to two pedals while playing: one being the regular damper pedal, and the other being an expression pedal to step up your dynamic game
  • There are 128 user-preset slots
  • The CT-X8000IN can also store 100 user-defined musical phrases to spice up your real-time performances using phrase pads

Cons

  • The CT-X8000IN user interface is not user-friendly at all. The menu diving uses a dated LCD screen design and is unnecessarily convoluted

This is the price you pay for one of the best keyboards for beginners on this list that is incredibly advanced, but at a relatively lower price. To get such features on a Yamaha, you would pay three times the price.

The Buying Guide

Purchasing the right instrument is critical to ensure that you have the best possible music learning experience. The problem is, every brand insists their keyboards are the best and music shops are inherently biased because when you walk in there they can only sell you what they have in stock. You may be tempted into buying a cheap keyboard to start with, however, more often than not your inexperience will result in you being penny wise but pound foolish. It’s prudent to look out for these 10 basic requirements when investing in a beginner keyboard:

1. At least 61 Keys

The first requirement for a beginner keyboard is that it should come with at least 61 standard keys. It ensures that you can play various repertoire pieces as well as songs arranged specifically for the piano.

2. Full-sized keys

It is important to ensure that the keyboard has full-sized keys, so you can translate your skills to other standard regular-sized pianos and keyboards. It is best to avoid mini keys as they are not suitable for playing piano repertoires, and you will face an issue adopting normal-sized piano keys.

3. Touch-sensitive keys

Expressiveness in music comes from playing softer or louder, depending on the mood of the music. All acoustic instruments respond dynamically when you play them, so it will be easier for you to adapt if your keyboard responds to how hard or how softly you hit the keys. It will also impact the timbre and volume of your playing.

4. Weighted keys

The keyboard keys should also be fully weighted, just like the keys on a real acoustic piano. It should also have graded weighting, which means keys on the lower left side of the keyboard are heavier, and they get lighter as you play the higher notes towards the left side of the piano. For those on a very tight budget, and you do not want to spend so much, a keyboard with semi-weighted keys is a better choice than one that has no weighting at all.

5. Realistic and Expressive

The next thing to ensure is that your keyboard comes with a realistic and expressive piano sound. Sampling technology has come to a space of maturity where it doesn’t cost a lot for the manufacturer to use high-quality piano samples in your entry-level keyboards. The rest of the keyboard voices may not be the most top-notch, but there is no excuse for the default piano voices not to be realistic and expressive.

6. Pedal input

Traditional acoustic pianos have three pedals, but most piano players mainly use the sustain pedal 95% of the time. Most piano pieces also require the use of a sustained pedal, so a beginner keyboard should come with a sustained damper input.

7. Built-in metronome

You also want to make sure that your keyboard comes with an easy-to-use built-in metronome. It will help you to keep time as well as a rhythmic discipline when you are practicing.

8. Headphone output jack

As a beginner keyboard student, you are most likely not going to be playing your pieces very well, and you have to keep repeating the same music piece many times over. You would want to make sure that you can practice quietly without disturbing your family or the roommates in your house. Therefore, having an output jack for your headphones is of critical importance.

9. Rhythm variety

Rhythms such as the bossa nova beats, the Latin beats, the waltz, the swing, etcetera will help you understand, appreciate and learn the grooves across different world cultures.

10. User-friendly interface

The keyboard should be adequately user-friendly and intuitive to access its various features and functions. It’s advisable not to get an advanced keyboard right away because you’ll end up drowning in features and functions you’re not familiar with, and the technical jargon may demotivate you from learning.

These are the essential requirements to look out for when considering a beginner keyboard. Choosing the correct beginner’s keyboard plays a significant role in making or breaking the learning process, passion and interest in that beginner’s journey. 

Ananya Roy
Ananya Roy
Music junkie with an engineering degree from Manipal Institute of Technology currently living in Pune, India. Enjoys playing the piano, petting dogs and eating sushi.

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