The ULTIMATE Piano Keyboard Buyer’s Guide

I get a lot of people asking me two simple questions:

1. Can I learn piano on a electric keyboard?

2. What’s the best keyboard to get?

Here’s the answers:

1. Yes, absolutely! BUT you have to make sure you get the RIGHT type of keyboard. More about that below…

2. That’s a little more in depth. It really depends on your budget and your goals. But I’ve created a complete buyers guide here. And in this post I’ll go over the short nuts-and-bolts version of what keyboard is right for you.

The MOST Important Thing When Choosing a Keyboard

Get “Weighted Keys”. This is HUGE.

Weighted Keys simply means when you push down the key there’s some resistance. As opposed to the “washboard keys” that don’t take any force to push down.

Basically, huge part of technique is building finger strength. Let’s say you practice a year without weighted keys. You’ll be missing out on a YEAR’S worth of finger strength! So get a good one right off the bat.

Ok, enough of the theory, here are my exact recommendations based on your budget.

Budget: Less Than $500 – Acoustic Upright

If you’re budget is under $500, you can’t really get a nice keyboard, so I’d highly suggest looking on Craigslist for an acoustic upright piano. You’d be surprised how many people are giving them away cheap, or even Free! Especially if they’re moving and just want to get rid of it.

Budget: $500 – Casio Privia 160BK


This keyboard is an absolute legend when it comes to quality for the price. Weighted keys, and a pretty good piano sound for the price. It’s perfect for a beginner practice piano.

They also market it with “extra features” like pre-recorded songs, splitting the keyboard. Honestly, these are pretty lame… so don’t buy it because of the features and sounds. But in terms of using it as a piano, I’d highly recommend it.

Here’s the link if you’re interested!

Budget: $1,000 – Yamaha YDP142R


This one’s basically an upgrade of the Casio Privia. The piano sounds are a bit more realistic, and they keys are weighted so that the lower ones are heavier and the high notes are lighter, just like a real piano.

If you have the money, I like it better than the Casio, but if money’s tight, you’ll honestly be fine just getting the Casio Privia.

Here’s the link if you’re interested!

Budget: $2,200 – Roland RD-800


I’ve played this and the Nord series (which is like $4,000) and I like the feel of the Roland a lot better, and it can do everything the Nord can IMO.

One of the big things with this keyboard is you can get a TON of different sounds, synths, reverbs, tone-adjustments, ext. So it’s GREAT if you’re playing in a band that needs all that stuff. But if you’re just playing piano at home, I wouldn’t spend the extra $1,200, I’d just get that Yamaha above.

But if you have the money, this is the last keyboard you’ll ever need.

Here’s the link!

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Oh and one last thing… I HIGHLY suggest you get a metronome if you don’t already have one. Just get a basic one. Here’s the link to the one I use.

Are there other good keyboards out there? Of course. But I’ve tested a lot of them out, and IMO these are the best for the price.

Hope that helps, and happy practicing!

-Zach

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