Top 5 Best Piano Keyboards in 2020 Reviews

Piano keyboard buying guideNo matter what kind of keyboard you are looking for, you will get a good overview of the instrument here. I want to show you the top five keyboards on this site but, first, I want to give you some more knowledge about the instrument.

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My name is Mads and I have played and taught piano and keyboard for many years. In addition, I also tutor in electronic music. I’ve collected a lot of knowledge and experience over the years, which I would like to share with you on this page. I want to give you an overview of all the types of keyboards that exist. In addition, I will tell you what you should pay attention to when buying a keyboard. Last, but not least, I have found some of the market’s best keyboards to introduce to you.

Top 5 Best Piano Keyboards

To make the choice of keyboard even easier for you, I have found the best keyboard for every purpose (arranger, work station etc.). Common to them all is that they are among the best in the market at the time of writing. You will find them below:

Overall Winner: Best Piano Keyboard Right Now


Best Portable Keyboard Piano


Best Keyboard Piano for Kids


Best Keyboard to Learn Piano


Best Keyboard Workstation


Best Arranger Keyboard


Best Synthesizer


Best MIDI Keyboard


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Standard keyboard features

Before I move on to the explanations about the individual types of keyboards, we’ll review the keyboard’s most common functions. I would recommend that you check out the functions first, then you can read more about the different types. Once you have an understanding of the features, you will find it easier to understand what makes each type of keyboard unique.

Number of keys: There is a big difference in how many keys keyboards are equipped with, with the number of keys usually ranging from 25 up to 88. When choosing how many keys your keyboard should contain, you need to consider what music you are playing, as well as what level you are playing at. If you play electronic music, you probably don’t need as many keys but, if want to play classical music, you should at least have 76 keys.

Keyboard Resistance/Action: When you start looking at keyboards, you will find that some instruments’ keys have a different resistance to others. Weighted, semi-weighted and hammer keys are very similar to those you find on a traditional piano. There are also synth keys that have no resistance. Synth keys are often used for electronic music. If you are used to playing on a regular piano, you should choose a keyboard with weighted or semi-weighted keys – possibly with hammer keys if you want that true “piano feel”. However, if you play fast leads parts or solos, you should probably choose synth keys.

Impact Sensitivity/Velocity Sensitivity: An excellent feature that has been built into newer keyboards. It is the capability that allows the keyboard to identify how gentle or hard you press the key. Depending on how hard or soft you press, the keyboard will emit a sound that matches that pressure.

Polyphony/Polyphony: This tells you how many sounds the keyboard can produce at the same time. Keyboards with large polyphony capabilties can deliver so many sounds that you can easily imitate an entire orchestra.

Multitimbrality: This tells how many different sounds a keyboard can produce at the same time. For example, drum sounds, string sounds and piano sounds can all be layered together, with each key of the instrument producing the sound of two or more instruments. Multitimbrality should not be confused with polyphony.

MIDI Compatibility: This refers to how the keyboard can be connected to a computer, thereby transmitting the sounds played on the keyboard to the computer. Almost all keyboards are MIDI compatible.

Sequencer: In short, it is a software that can record MIDI music data and transfer it to a sequence that can be used on the computer.

Arpeggiator: A function that creates a pattern of notes. It works, firstly, with you playing a chord on the keyboard. From the notes that this chords contain, the arpeggiator will make a pattern, often playing the notes like, as the name suggests, an arpeggio. This feature is mostly available only on synthesizers.

Sampler: A recording device that allows you to record small pieces of sound. After this the sound is stored in the instrument and you can play with the sound, altering the tempo, pitch and tone using the other functions of the keyboard. This often used in the production of electronic music.

Input/Output: This function allows you to connect the keyboard to external mixers and speakers It’s not something everyone needs, but I still recommend choosing this feature. First, because you then have it if you suddenly need to use the feature in the future. If you already know you require this function to connect to a mixer and speakers (perhaps, for playing live) then it is, of course,  necessary.

Storage: Here we’re talking about both internal and external storage. Internal storage makes it possible to record music on the keyboard and external storage makes it possible to transfer music, for example, to a USB connector.

Metronome: A feature that helps you keep in time with the music you play. If you need to buy an external metronome, you often have to spend a couple of hundred dollars. For this reason, it is handy if this feature is found in the keyboard.

Transposition: This helps you move the music you play to a different, maybe more appropriate key. Imagine you are sitting, singing a song that just doesn’t fit your voice. With this feature you can change the key so that what you are playing matches your voice better – you can sing the song lower without changing the way you have learnt to play the song.

Now we’ve checked all of the usual functions found on keyboards. As you can see, there is a whole lot that you need to control. You can always use this list of features for help. It’s also important to remember that, often, the more features you choose, the more expensive the keyboard becomes.

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Different types of keyboards

You might think that there is only one kind of keyboard – I have to tell you that it is not true. There are keyboards that are used to produce electronic music, there are keyboards that are used for actual recording, and then there are traditional keyboards that are used to play more tradidional forms of music.

Synthesizer

The synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument. Overall, the instrument is made to make unique sounds that cannot be developed in other ways. The synthesizer contains some sound filters and effects that you can “play” with; these are the ones with which you create sounds and music. It is also possible to program sounds using waveforms.

The synthesizer is equipped with a keyboard, but also contains many other functions. As you will hear, the synthesizer is mostly used to produce electronic mouse, techno and house. But the synthesizer has become a well-known musical instrument, which, today, is used in many different music genres. If you are going to buy a synthesizer, I’d recommend that you define your needs first. Make sure you know what kind of music you want to produce. That way, you will have a much easier time choosing audio filters and effects. There is a big difference between these sound filters and effects. Some are suitable for hip hop, other rock and some techno. I have tested and found the best synthesizer and it is shown at the top of the page.

Keyboard workstation

If you have plans to compose, record and produce your music yourself, you should consider a workstation. A workstation merges all three of the above scenarios. A workstation usually gives you many different recording functions. For example, recording sound, recording internal hard drive, recording multiple channels and built-in CD burner. Of course, the number of functions depends on which keyboard you choose. If you take your music very seriously and need to make, edit, record and complete songs, then a workstation will be an obvious choice. I recommend a workstation for: experienced songwriters and experienced producers I do not recommend a workstation for: novice and experienced musicians who do not need the keyboard’s capabilities. When you look at workstations, I think there are a number of factors that you need to weigh up. First of all, it is important that your keyboard offers polyphony enough that you can effortlessly produce and play the number of passes you want. So, in other words, your keyboard should be able to handle many audio tracks at the same time. If the keyboard has this capability, you will be able to produce really good and advanced music. The next important part of choosing a workstation is the sound effects. A workstation should be used to produce all genres of music. Producers also know this well and so they usually fill up the keyboard with a huge selection of sound effects. Therefore, when you buy your workstation, make sure the keyboard has the sound effects you need. Your workstation must also be compatible with your computer. This way you can quickly synchronize your keyboard with your computer programs. If you buy a new workstation, it will certainly offer some kind of compatibility, either in the form of USB or MIDI connection. There are also more advanced workstations that can be connected via the Internet. Last but not least, you should consider whether your keyboard needs be capable of recording other instruments. For example, if you want to record some music on your guitar, then you should buy a workstation that has the correct inputs. I have tested and found the best keyboard workstation and it is shown at the top of the page.

Arranger keyboard

Now we come to a keyboard which, in many ways, is similar to a workstation. It has its differences, however. It’s helpful to see a workstation as a “study” and an arranger keyboard as a “helper”. An arranger keyboard is a portable keyboard that contains a range of sound effects. In addition, the keyboard also has some functions intended for the songwriter. Therefore, using the keyboard for arranging is mostly used by soloists, as the instrument can act as a “band” during performances or recording. The keyboard has many different sound effects, but the number is a little more limited compared to that of a workstation. However, the keyboard has the most common and useful sounds such as. piano, drums, strings, horns and guitar. So, to make it clear: an arranger keyboard works primarily as a “band” that the songwriter can use during concerts. One of the most useful features is that whem you play your chords on the keyboard, then the keyboard repeats it – this is called looping.  You can then decide which sound effect to use to play the loop. I have tested and found the best arranger keyboard and it is shown at the top of the page.

Traditional/Portable keyboard

This is probably the best known type of keyboard. Why is this? Yes, it is often the first keyboard you buy when you start playing the piano / keyboard. The portable keyboard has a fine selection of features and includes the most important sounds. In addition, the keyboard often has many help functions. For example, the keys may be labelled with note names. Many of these keyboards can also be connected to the computer. This way, you can transfer sounds to and from your computer and save your music. If you are a beginner or have played keyboard / piano for a few years then a portable keyboard is the best choice. I have tested and found the best portable keyboard. It is shown at the top of the page.

MIDI keyboard

A MIDI keyboard is an instrument that is primarily used to produce electronic music. The keyboard itself has no sounds. The keyboard therefore only functions as a keyboard. It is, therefore, necessary to connect a computer or sound box (also called a sound module) before it can emit sounds. The MIDI keyboard is available in two different variants. One has keys and the other has drum pads. The number of keys varies from 25 up to 88. However, it is most common that a MIDI keyboard has about 40-60 keys. I have tested and found the best MIDI keyboard and it’s shown at the top of the page.

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Piano Keyboard Buying Guide

Now that we have been through all types of keyboards, I will tell you a little more about what you should be aware of when choosing a keyboard. That way, you will avoid being cheated or buying a poor quality keyboard.

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Features

We’ve already discussed the keyboard’s functions, and for that reason I won’t go into more detail. You just need to know that the number of features you should choose depends on your level, what goals you have, and how much you are willing to pay for the keyboard. If you’ve never played the piano before, and just want to learn how to play the piano then you should probably just forget about all the features. Buy an affordable keyboard and forget about all the details. Further down the page you can upgrade to one of the keyboards I have recommended.

Display

Personally, the display is important. The display shows, among other things, which sound effects you use, which keys you press (including the names of the keys) and which tempo the metronome is set to. There is a difference in how large the display is and how many buttons there are for each function. Cheap keyboards will often have a smaller display, or no display at all. In addition, cheap keyboards will not have buttons for each function. Instead, it will be the case that you have to press and hold two keys at the same time to enable or disable the feature. It is somewhat easier with the slightly more expensive keyboards that have buttons for each function and which have large displays.

Sound

If you are a beginner, you probably won’t care too much about the sound quality at the beginning. However, believe me, after a few months you can get very annoyed by the sound quality if it is not satisfactory. I will therefore provide some more information about this. First of all, it can be said that it is th power of the speaker that determines how lound the keyboard can play. Below you can see how many watts your keyboards speakers need:

  • 2 X 6W suitable for smaller rooms
  • 2 X 12W is suitable for a small living room or room
  • The 2 X 20W is suitable for a regular living room
  • 2 X 40W is suitable for smaller concerts

If you want to make sure that the sound quality is okay then you can look further down the page – see the keyboards that I recommend. The sound quality of these keyboards is better.

Price

The price is probably of most concern and, therefore, I will review what determines the price of a keyboard:

  • Sound quality: When you buy an expensive keyboard, it will almost always have a better sound quality compared to a cheap keyboard. The higher the price, the more time has been spent on the technique of sound quality. However, it is important to mention that the sound quality of keyboards does not vary as much as on an electric piano or ordinary piano.
  • Features: As already mentioned, the number of functions will increase the price. However, there are some features that mean more for the price than others do. The recording function, the metronome, the display and the polyphony are some features that influence the price a lot. You should therefore consider exactly what it is you need.
  • Keys: Weighting and Touch Sensitivity are also something that has a decisive influence on the price.

Brands

Below I have selected 3 brands, which in my opinion produce the best keyboards on the market.

Casio: Casio is a Japanese company that has existed since 1946. Casio has, for many years, sold keyboards and I will always recommend a Casio keyboard. The quality is really good while the price is acceptable. I especially think that their transportable keyboards and electric pianos are worth considering.

Korg: Korg is also a Japanese company and has been around since 1963. The company specializes in developing electronic musical instruments, including keyboards. Korg’s arranger keyboards and workstations are among the best in the world.

Yamaha: Yamaha has produced musical instruments since 1887 and, today, the company is among the world’s leading manufacturers within the industry. Yamaha produces a wealth of instruments, but their keyboards and pianos are the best known.

Questions and comments

If you have any questions or comments, you are more than welcome to contact me. You can write a comment below or you also have the opportunity to contact us via email and live chat. Finally, I wish you all the best of luck with purchasing your keyboard!

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