Russell is a sound producer and songwriter. He deals with digital pianos and MIDI controllers on a regular basis so no wonder he knows everything about them.
Last updated: April 10, 2021
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Are you on a budget and willing to shop around for a digital piano that gives you the best value for your money? What are you supposed to consider when buying such a keyboard? Is it the looks, the keyboard’s design, the number of keys or should you just find out whether the keys are weighted or not? These are a few of the questions that many piano buyers ask themselves.
To find the best digital piano under 500, you should first find out what your needs are. There are those that are best suited for beginners, others for pros, while some can be used by both learners and pros. To get the best value for your money, it is imperative that you check out the number of keys the keyboard has. You should also consider its dimensions, weight, key types, warranty, number of rhythms, and even voices. Continue reading and find more about these features and the best digital keyboards under $500.
The YAMAHA P71 boasts 88 fully weighted keys and offers the player 10 great voices. It is certainly the best 88 key digital piano under $500 given the myriad features it affords the player. With this keyboard which gives you the feel of an acoustic piano, you get to control every sound that it produces. In other words, it is a great instrument to own, especially if you are a pro or intend to be one.
With the 64 polyphony notes and the sustain pedal that the P71 boasts of, you can always feel like the one-man-band that you’ve always wanted to become. The Dual mode feature allows you to combine 2 voices. It means that you can put piano and strings sounds together to achieve an impeccable melody.
The P71 digital keyboard offers you an excellent opportunity to play whenever you feel like it. Its 25 pounds of weight and 58.2 x 16.1 x 11.7 inches of dimensions makes this possible. Its slim and stylish design further serves to make this not only a practical keyboard but one that adds to the décor of your studio, church or house.
What we liked: The keyboard is pretty practical and functional. Besides affording you great sounds and fully weighted keys, you’ll also have an easy time carrying it and storing it. It is also very comfortable to work with.
What could be better: The jack port located at the back can be hard to access, and there is no Bluetooth.
Alesis has done it yet again. The manufacturer has presented a great piano to the market that is also a strong contender for the best 88 key digital piano under $500. This keyboard boasts of having velocity-sensitive non-weighted keys. This puts the keyboard in a special category as it is rare to find a keyboard with such features while going for such a low price. The black and white keyboard offers 3-pedals, an easy-to-assemble wooden stand, and an adjustable piano bench.
It is the best digital piano with non-weighted keys given that it offers you 360 realistic built-in premium voices with the ability to split or layer 2 voices. For a person who wishes to take their music prowess to the next level, the 128 polyphony notes and the compose, create, record song mode features of the product should certainly serve as an incentive. The built-in metronome with a 30-280 BPM range and the backlit LCD screen serves to enhance the Alesis Virtue place in the competitive world of digital pianos.
The Alesi Virtue digital keyboard measures 55.9 x 18.9 x 10.6 inches while its weight is slightly less than 65 pounds. Even though not highly portable like the competition, this keyboard comes armed with 30W speakers, a cool LCD screen, USB connection and Learn Piano Today feature, ensuring you get the best as a beginner or a pro.
What we liked: The timbre and depth of the piano sound are amazingly realistic. It also boasts of a great design and has a lot of features to offer. It comes with stand and is easy to set up. The screen is very convenient to have around, and this piano has learning feature for students to study their first tones.
What could be better: it I not tunes to play right out of the box, manual is the first thing you’d have to get familiar.
The Roland GO:KEYS GO-61K is an ideal keyboard that any budget-conscious buyer should consider investing in. This keyboard comes loaded with 61 ivory feel box-shape unweighted keys. It is a musical instrument that will prove critical in you becoming an accomplished keyboard player. The manufacturer has included the Loop Mix feature which allows you to build songs by simply playing cool notes on it. You also get to manipulate the sounds of the loops using the intuitive one-touch control feature.
With this digital keyboard under 500, you get to enjoy 128 polyphony notes as well as 554 preset tones. The touch sensitivity of the keyboard affords you three options, among them the fixed touch. To make this keyboard deliver even greater quality sounds, the manufacturer has used Reverb, Pitch Bend/ Modulation, Roll? Filter effects. The 500 built-in sounds and the Octave Shift, Transpose, master Tuning features enhance the keyboard’s superiority.
Measuring 34.6 x 10.7 x 3.25 inches and weighing 8.1 pounds, the GO-61k keyboard is simply the best portable digital keyboard under $500. It comes armed with 22.5W speakers and Bluetooth connectivity that supports audio and MIDI. The alkaline batteries you insert should last at least 4 hours but can serve you for 6 hours.
What we liked: We loved the keyboard’s portability, USB connectivity and the ease to connect with 1/8″ AUX IN jack and ¼” headphone jack. Great number of tones and voices gives space for creativity and customization.
What could be better: While the keyboard as a whole is an amazing music instrument that every beginner should consider buying, we were not overly happy with the speakers’ quality.
There is no denying the Casio Casiotone CT-S300 is a phenomenal modern digital piano that comes armed with cool versatility and functionality features. As a beginner, this music instrument affords you 61 semi-weighted keys, making it possible to control the type of music you produce fully. With this keyboard, flexibility is easily achieved as it can be used both as a digital piano with touch response and as a MIDI controller. This makes the instrument compatible with studio applications.
The pitch bend wheel allows you to add extra expression to your playing. With 400 tones and 77 rhythms, you get to enjoy plentiful sonic options. Don’t forget there are 10 reverb settings and a cool Dance Music Mode that comes loaded with 500 extra rhythms. The lesson function and the 48 polyphony notes included in this two types touch sensitivity gadget make it even more appealing.
You will certainly not be disappointed when you invest in this cheap digital piano that weighs 10.9 pounds with batteries. It uses batteries and measures 10.8 x 36.6 x 2.8 inches hence making it easy to carry around. The LCD display, the AC adapter, its 5W amplifier and Micro-B USB serve to make this keyboard one of the best investments a beginner can make.
What we liked: We definitely loved the keyboard’s touch sensitivity, transpose, 400 sounds and the cool dance music mode. It is easy to connect, use, and the price is attractive too.
What could be better: There is little not to like about this keyboard other than the keys’ grippy feel.
With 61 touch-sensitive piano-style keys and a great sleek design, the Yamaha NP12 may easily strike you as one of the top electric pianos under $500 today. The 61 unweighted keys afford the player great musical experience given that the instrument also comes with three types of touch sensitivity feature. One of the features that make this keyboard score big is the dual/ layer feature that allows you to be taught or teach using the same piano.
The NP12 keyboard is a cheap digital piano that boasts of 64 polyphony notes and four types of Reverb effects. Though the polyphony notes are not as high as those in some competition keyboards, it makes up for this by the 1-track MIDI recorder feature. The keyboard goes further to afford you AWM stereo sampling and 10 preset tones. The manufacturer has included 20 preset songs, 10 of them being demo songs and a song recorder function to make this one of the best digital keyboards under $500.
To make sure this keyboard remains a favourite to music lovers, Yamaha has included 2, 2.5W speakers. There is a ¼” headphone jack and a sustain pedal jack. As for the instrument’s connectivity, Yamaha has included a USB port. Weighing 12 pounds and measuring 49 x 4.2 x 10.4 inches, the NP12 is one of the most portable digital keyboards out there.
What we liked: We loved the white color and the overall layout of the keyboard. Key response is wonderful and the tones and voices provided are more than enough to create and play. This device is also very lasting, 7 hours of constant work on one charge is just mind blowing.
What could be better: The sampling algorithms often interfere with the sound.
The Les Ailes de la Voix keyboard has been designed by one of the best brands in the market. This affordable black and white digital keyboard boasts of 88 semi-weighted keys. The piano also embraces digitization sampling which offers the player and the audience spectacular vivid acoustic experience. With three metal pedals; soft pedal, sustain pedal, rear sustain pedal the player is able to deliver sustained notes and gain a partial damper effect.
This keyboard comes with 480 tones and 64 polyphony notes and consequently making it one of the best in the market. Also included in the keyboard are 200 rhythms, and preset 80 songs. The multi-tone selection mode, sound adjustment feature and the metronome function accentuate the keyboard’s appeal.
The manufacturer of this digital keyboard has invested in it to ensure that you get the best value for your money. For great connectivity, there is the USB/MIDI port , headphone jack and a cool pair of headphones. At a weight of 96 pounds and measuring 52.5 x 12.2 x 30.1 inches, it is not the lightest nor the smallest keyboard out there. However, this makes it an ideal instrument to have in your studio or home.
What we liked: The manufacturer of this keyboard has gone an extra mile to include a plethora of accessories such as headphones, score clip, piano paste, learning night light, polishing cloth and a power adapter. Variety of sounds and tones allows you to create new music from old melodies all the time.
What could be better: Sound amplification is very inconvenient.
The best digital keyboard for beginners is arguably the LAGRIMA LG-8830. With the purchase of this keyboard, you stand to get 88 weighted keys. It is a keyboard that will upgrade your skills from those of a newbie to those of a pro in no time. This black and white keyboard boasts of 80 demo songs and 200 preset rhythms. The 480 tones and the 128 GM standard tones will undoubtedly help you know how to upscale our skill to reach a grand piano player. The manufacturer has included 64 polyphony notes and 50 preset songs to make this one of the best 88 key digital pianos under $500.
Besides the keyboard boasting of having fully GHS weighted keys, it also affords you pedal protection which ensures the pedal is more durable and prevents any damage or breakage in the long-run. The multi-functional volume sound adjustment feature and the multi-selection and sound recording control further ensure that the player gets the best value for their money. The metronome and the teaching functions help you learn how to play the keyboard with ease.
The keyboard measures 52.7 x 18.8 x 32.9 inches, and this makes it one of the largest. Its 96.3 pounds further serve to make the piano grand and not easily movable.
What we liked: We love the LCD screen that the keyboard has and the USB connectivity. We also like the on/off touch sensitivity feature and the quality in-built speakers. The key response is magnificent, and variety of tones is breathtaking.
What could be better: The pedals don’t seem to work perfectly.
The Donner DeP-20 digital keyboard is designed to transform your piano experience. The keyboard has 88 full-sized hammer action keys that make your experience very similar to a grand piano player. The weighted keys are designed to give you the best keyboard experience where the instrument’s sound is totally dependent on your level of expertise. Indeed, it is the keyboard for those who wish to graduate to become grand piano players.
This keyboard boasts of having 238 voices and 128 polyphony notes. These features help make the keyboard produce vivid sounds and tunes of different instruments such as guitars and drums. The Reverb feature will further ensure that your music prowess improves with every lesson. To ensure you get the very best as far as your piano experience goes, the manufacturer has included 100 demo songs, a double keyboard and a sustain pedal.
With a weight of 25.5 pounds and overall dimensions of 56.7 x 13.8 x 9.45 inches, this keyboard is easy to carry around and won’t take up all the available space. As for the keyboard’s connectivity, the manufacturer has included a USB A and B ports, and MIDI option. You will also get to enjoy the ¼ jack output and the high-quality inbuilt speakers.
What we liked: The fully-weighted keys are a big plus for the keyboard. We also liked the keyboard’s lightness and the LCD screen. Plethora of voices and tons make this device rather helpful for any music activity.
What could be better: While a lot is going for the keyboard, we noticed that the inbuilt speakers were not the best.
The Les Ailes de la Voix keyboard has been designed by the best. The black and white cheap digital keyboard boasts of 88 semi-weighted keys. The piano embraces digitization sampling, which offers the player and the audience spectacular vivid acoustic experience. With three metal pedals; soft pedal, sustain pedal, rear sustain pedal the player can deliver sustained notes and gain a partial damper effect.
This keyboard comes with 480 tones and 64 polyphony notes, making it one of the best in the market. Also included in the keyboard are 200 rhythms, and preset 80 songs. The multi-tone selection mode, sound adjustment feature and the metronome function accentuate the keyboard’s appeal.
The manufacturer of this digital keyboard has invested in it to ensure that you get the best value for your money. There is the USB/MIDI port, headphone jack, and a cool pair of headphones for excellent connectivity. It is not the lightest nor the smallest keyboard out there at a weight of 96 pounds and measuring 52.5 x 12.2 x 30.1 inches. However, this makes it an ideal instrument to have in your studio or home.
What we liked: The manufacturer of this keyboard has gone an extra mile to include a plethora of accessories such as headphones, score clip, piano paste, learning night light, polishing cloth and a power adapter. The number of tones and voice included is of big convenience too.
What could be better: There is nothing not to like about this keyboard. But we can point out that the stand might not be ideal for tall guys.
Things to Consider
When it comes to buying a digital keyboard that costs less than 500 bucks, you should be a little bit more attentive to what features such a keyboard has to offer. In our guide, we have described the different leading digital keyboards. We are now going to explore the numerous features that you must consider as a buyer. We have further looked at a few FAQs that tend to bother many keyboard enthusiasts.
What to expect from a cheap digital piano?
Things might be tight, and your ability to afford plush stuff is dwindling. This may force you to consider buying a cheap digital piano. While there is nothing wrong with buying a cheap piano, it is essential that you first note that it is not a great idea to go for the cheapest option. We suggest that you first establish your musical needs before venturing out to shop for this instrument. Once you know what features are more important to you, you will be better positioned to trade some features for others in a keyboard. This way, you will end up with a cheap keyboard that works for you.
A cheap digital keyboard should offer you some basics, though. For starters, your keyboard should have at least 61 keys. It doesn’t matter whether the keys are weighted or not, the quality of the sound that such a keyboard produces is directly dependent on the number of keys present. There numerous pianos with 88 fully weighted keys, though. A cheap piano should afford you USB connectivity, but a good number of them come with MIDI connectivity too. You should expect the piano to have polyphony notes, metronome, and have layer and split mode. Portability should also be a factor to consider.
Tips for electric piano beginner players
You simply can’t buy a keyboard and expect to be a master in a day. For this reason, you must be ready to learn the basics and then do a lot of practice to perfect your performance. When you invest in a digital piano, some of the basic things to do are learning the equipment, understanding the pattern, learning the chords, and practicing the hand dynamics. In short, there is a lot that you should do before you can reach the pro stage. However, you can shorten the route to becoming an accomplished pianist by following some of the following tips. These tips include;
Believe that you can succeed
Be patient and avoid becoming frustrated
Practice, practice, and practice again
Learn from your mistakes
Go for piano lessons
Let us take a random song and try to play it. Let us pick ‘All of Me’ by John Legend. This song involves some fundamental steps yet the melody is captivating. All you need to do is to play each line twice. You will need both your right and left hands. Your right hand should press two keys while the left will press a single key.
Simultaneously, press F flat with your left hand and with the right-hand press F, C.
Secondly, use your left hand to press C sharp and the right-hand press C sharp and F
Continue by pressing G sharp with the left and with the right go for C and D sharp
Finally, with the left press D sharp and with the right press A sharp and D sharp.
How to pick the best digital piano under $500
When picking the right digital piano that will help you achieve your musical goals, it is imperative that you first determine vital features that your keyboard must come adorned with. Some factors, such as your level of expertise and our budget, must also be considered to get the best digital piano that money can buy. Here are some key factors to consider;
Number of keys
Usually, a digital piano will come with 88 keys. However, you will find pianos with lesser keys such as the Casio Casiotone CT-S300 and the Roland GO:KEYS GO-61K which come with 61 keys. The lower the number of keys on your piano, the fewer the octaves you get to enjoy. However, the 61 key piano is ideal for a beginner.
When buying a digital piano, you should consider the type of keys it comes with. The acoustic pianos are equipped with hammer action keys. This means a hammer will strike the strings in the piano hence making the intended sound or note. For the weighted keys, there is some weight placed underneath the keys hence making it well regulated. The keys tend to spring back quickly and fast, making such a piano ideal when you are playing keys fast. Professional pianists prefer weighted pianos. Semi-weighted keys use weights and springs. Though they may be a lot easier to press, the keys tend to be sluggish when returning to the default position. While weighted keys are beneficial for building finger strength, the non-weighted pianos offer precision and are suitable for rhythmic playing.
Your best digital piano dimensions are important because they determine the amount of space you should have for the instrument. Unlike the acoustic pianos, digital pianos are generally smaller and are easily portable. You will find the featured pianos come with a length of between 34 and 60 inches. Yamaha P71 boasts of a 58-inch length while Roland GO:KEYS GO-61K has a length of 34 inches.
When it comes to the piano’s sound quality, you must pay close attention because this is where your music is made or broken. When you play your tunes, the speakers will let you know how well or poorly you are doing. If the speakers are of low quality, it might be difficult to know whether you are doing fine or bad. The sound amplification should also be impeccable to allow you to produce crisp music. Some of the pianos come with 1/8″ and 1/4 “jack ports for headphone connection.
Your piano can come with a layer or split mode. These features allow you to teach or be taught using the same keyboard. These features also make it possible for two people to play a song using the same keyboard. The other control features to consider include metronome, octave shifting and reverb feature which can be found in the Alesis Virtue piano.
Piano pedals are usually foot-operated levers that are located at the base of a piano. They are designed so that they alter the piano’s sound in several ways. In the featured pianos above, you will find that three pedals are the standard number. These pedals that usually start from the left end are soft pedal, sostenuto pedal and the sustaining pedal, also called damper pedal. You will find some of the featured pianos don’t have a sostenuto pedal but a muting or silent pedal instead.
As for connectivity, the most common is the USB port. Sending your MIDI data to your computer should easily be done using a USB cable. As you may have noticed, there are two types of USB connectors; Type A and B. The Type A USB which is also called USB to device directly connects your piano to external memory storage devices. The Type B USB, also known as the USB to Host connector, is meant to link the piano to computers. Some pianos such as the Roland GO:KEYS GO-61K affords the user Bluetooth connectivity.
The guarantee offered by the seller or the manufacturer of a piano goes a long way at reassuring you of the product’s eligibility or genuineness. Of course, the more extended the warranty, the better it is for the buyer. Therefore, you will find both Yamaha pianos boast of a 3-year warranty as is the case with the Korg EK-50. You may be forced to become skeptical about the LAGRIMA LG-8830, as the warranty information is not readily available.
Accessories and extra features
The accessories or the extra features that a certain piano comes bearing might very well influence your buying decision. In this review, you will find pianos with extras such as headphones, piano paste, polishing cloth and power adapters. The Les Ailes de la Voix offers you a cool pair of headphones among other accessories.
When it comes to worship, good worship tunes that will make your soul reverberate, the Yamaha P71 is definitely the digital piano to go for. Though the Alesis Virtue and the LAGRIMA LG-8830 will certainly not disappoint, the P71 stands out with its cool features. This piano comes with a sustain pedal and uses the mains power is designed to produce the greatest tunes you can think of. Besides having high-quality speakers, the piano boasts of 88 weighted keys and contains 10 different sounds. It is slim and can be connected to a computer using the type B USB.
Even though different digital pianos offer you different experiences, the LAGRIMA LG-8830 keyboard is best suited for beginners. With its 88 weighted keys, this instrument affords you USB connection, 200 rhythms and 80 demo songs to help you learn the ropes. Though a bit heavy, it is an excellent investment as you can quickly graduate from playing it on to the acoustic piano.
Yes, they are suitable for use in schools. Many of the featured pianos come with layer and or split modes which allow a teacher to teach a student. The electric pianos are easier to learn, and a student will have an easier time when they want to start playing the grand piano.
Our editor’s choice is the Yamaha P71 piano. This piano distinguishes itself from the rest by having 88 fully weighted keys. The piano boasts of dual-mode, sustain pedal, sheet holder and 64 different polyphony notes. Its light and this makes it an easy instrument that you can carry wherever you are going.
The Alesis Virtue piano takes second place. This piano affords you 61 semi-weighted keys. It will become your best digital piano under 5000 simply because it comes with 60 built-in songs, 400 tones, an LCD screen and a whole array of cool features. It is lightweight, and this makes it an even easier piano to carry than the P71.
For the best value digital piano, the Casio Casionote CT-S300 definitely captures the crown. This piano will give you 88 non-weighted keys. Besides going for a very competitive price, the piano comes loaded with a plethora of extra features, including an LCD screen. The 30W speakers will help you produce the most realistic sounds.