Is it possible to find a high-quality MIDI keyboard for under $100? If asked that question some years ago, we would have said ‘NO’. However, competition, better technology, and the influx of cheap Chinese keyboards have made it possible and easier to find MIDI keyboards that are very affordable. There are now so many models on the market, and this poses its own challenges. For one, it can be harder knowing the right model to buy.
Well, in this post, we have reviewed the best MIDI keyboard under $100. They come from different brands and have different features. However, they all offer excellent overall performance. When creating this list, we considered features like the type of keys (which is often a personal preference), controls, connectivity, as well as dimension and weight adding to portability of the device. We also discuss these factors in detail later in the buying guide. In the meantime, we have provided a detailed review of each of the best MIDI keyboards under $100. Among these options, the AKAI Professional LPK25 became the Editor's Choice.
|1||AKAI Professional LPK25||
|2||M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3||
|3||Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller||
|4||Midiplus AKM320 with Keyboard Controller||
|5||ammoon Worlde Panda mini||
Other features: 4 programmable memory banks; MPC Beats Software included
This is an excellent model that is small and portable. It is great for beginners and starters who will enjoy the synth action of the keys. It comes in a wired and wireless version.
This compact unit is simple to use. However, the small size means that it isn’t the best for jamming. It is not a full keyboard for expert users.
The Akai brand is one of the most popular in this industry and manufactures some of the best MIDI controllers and keyboards. We have chosen the LPK25 as our number one pick for several reasons. Apart from coming from a highly reputable brand, the product itself is excellent.
If you are looking to use your MIDI keyboard on the go, you will find the compact and lightweight design of this model very useful. Another thing that aids the portability is that the unit comes in a wireless option. Therefore, you will find it possible to make music wherever you might desire.
The model comes with up to 24 velocity sensitive keys that are compact and easy to use. It also comes with an arpeggiator.
Editing the sounds is pretty easy on this model as it comes with the Ignite software. The LPK25 is a straightforward and lovely little model.
Other features: selectable velocity curves; Pro Tools, First M Audio Edition recording software / DAW and AIR Music Tech Xpand 2 included
This model is a compact unit with excellent features and offers the best value for money. It comes in a simple design and boasts of assignable controls.
The model lacks drum pads and the compact nature means that keys feel cramped.
Next up is the affordable M Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 that is a real option and contender as our top choice. Just like the top pick, it is a unit from a band that is known for the impressive quality of its MIDI keyboards.
It comes with excellent features and is a model for anyone who wants a MIDI keyboard that doesn’t break the bank. It comes with more keys than our top choice as it is a 32-key model. However, it is a key-only model and does not come with any drum pads. This isn’t too surprising considering the low price.
Nevertheless, it is a great model that does the job of manipulating the created sounds. It might be portable and compact, but it surely works effectively.
The unit also is packaged with Pro Tool software. Another thing that we liked about the model is that it comes with a relatively large library of content. The software will help you achieve great sounds.
Another reason why this is so highly rated is that the manufacturer has included buttons that are customizable and assignable.
Other features: works with IOS, Android, PC, MAC and Linux; ultra-portable design
This model is a compact, stylish option with an aftertouch feature. Its keys are pressure sensitive, and the overall design is excellent.
This model is cool, but the buttons are quite tricky to use correctly.
With a 0.62-inch-thick profile, the Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller is an excellent, compact, 25-key MIDI keyboard. This portable design is great for those that are often on the move. However, despite being so compact, this keyboard is very easy to play. In fact, the playability is one of the best features of this model.
All of the keys offered are velocity sensitive and even boast of polyphonic aftertouch. This feature makes it stand out from the rest of the competition. As if that weren’t enough, the unit also features pressure sensitive pitch bend. You also get useful controls and buttons like the sustain, modulation, and octave buttons.
At first glance, it is quite clear that is an excellent keyboard. It comes with a stylish design and looks even more expensive than it actually is. It looks really great and will fit into your studio well.
The only downside here is that it has limited functionality. Apart from that though, the aftertouch feature and playability makes this one of the best MIDI keyboard at this price. It looks great and is a cool option to have.
Other features: AmazonBasics 4 Port USB 3.0 Hub power adapter can be included to purchase
This model is clean and compact, but it still manages to squeeze in useful features like buttons, sliders, and other controls.
Although this largely accomplishes its mission, it does not come with enough functions that indicate quality.
We have reviewed one model from the MIDIplus brand, and it isn’t too surprising to find that there is yet another model from the brand on this list. The Midiplus AKM320 is a 32-key controller and comes with good features that make it a cool pick. For one, the 32-key design makes this one of the more compact options that we have reviewed. However, despite this smaller size, it comes with some features that make it very functional.
For example, this compact model is fitted with pitch bend and modulation wheels. When you consider the compact nature of this product, this is quite impressive to have.
Apart from these, the model is also designed with other buttons and sliders.
Overall, this is an excellent pick in our opinion. It comes with a straightforward design and will accomplish what it is designed to do.
Other features: 4 assignable control knobs and 4 assignable control sliders
This unit is built as a portable and compact model. It is easy to use and comes with plenty of useful functions.
The key action is rather poor. Also, many users have reported that the software failed to install on their computers.
The next model we review is not from a brand that is popular. Nevertheless, it comes with enough features to make it to our list. It is a compact keyboard that comes with assignable knobs and control sliders, among other nice features.
It comes with 25 velocity sensitive keys and good transport buttons. With this model, you get a good number of customization options. For example, it has a nice pitch bend and wheels that come in really handy.
The design is excellent, which makes this model one of the best lightweight and compact options. If you are looking for a keyboard to take along with you and use on the go, then this is a nice option.
Other features: 4 backlit sensitive drum pads; 4 backlit assignable knobs; xpand 2 virtual instrument software included
This model is compact and features assignable buttons. It also features a sustain pedal input, and keys that are easy to play.
We observed that this model’s drum pads are awkwardly placed.
Last but not least is the Alesis V25. This model is undoubtedly one of the best of its kind on the market today and comes from one of the most reliable manufacturers of MIDI keyboards on the market. It comes with several nice features, including 25 mini-keys and drum pads that are velocity-sensitive. In addition, the manufacturer has added some useful software in the package.
You get up to four assignable buttons and knobs, as well as modulation wheels. It is easy to use on the go and even in low light conditions as the buttons are illuminated.
Other features: 2x MIDI out; USB bus-powered; optional sustain pedal can be connected
This model is a large, 61-key model that gives you more playing options. It is affordable, easy to play and great for beginners.
This is a basic model that does not come with a large number of features; it also does not offer you plenty of control options.
If you have been following so far, you will discover that most of the models that we have reviewed that come at this cheap price come at smaller sizes. The number of keys ranges from 25 to 32. Well, the Midiplus is an exception and is one of the biggest sub-$100 MIDI keyboards that we have considered. This model comes with up to 61 keys, which makes it larger than your average model that we have reviewed.
Large means that it is only a pair of octaves from the traditional piano. Since it comes at such a large size, there are some compromises. For example, it does not have any drum pads and controls like faders or knobs. It only has a few buttons.
However, it makes up for this by the number of keys. These come with a synth action and will be very nice to play. While they aren’t the most responsive models, they are excellent and will do the things you want them to do.
Fortunately, you get some wheels as well as good connectivity options. At this price, the features are just too good to ignore, and it deserves a place on our list.
The review section above had us considering seven of the best MIDI keyboards under $100. These seven are the best ones that you can buy right now and are a way for you to narrow down your options. You might be looking to buy your MIDI keyboard which might not be any of the options that we discussed. To make the correct buying decision, there are some important things that you need to know. In this section, we consider all of the important factors to consider. This will assist you to make the correct buying decision.
In the past, choosing the best cheap MIDI keyboard used to be hard and was limited to very few products. But due to the increase in technology, more competition, and other factors, you can have more options to select from that ever before. Therefore, you might be confused about which of the models to buy.
When you are buying a budget MIDI keyboard, you have to keep in mind that you will not get the same level of performance as what you’d get from more expensive models. The smaller budget means that compromises need to be reached. Some of the things that the lower price will have to do away with might be:
If you are looking for a cheap MIDI keyboard, you are likely one of the following:
We have indicated that you have to compromise on some features when choosing a budget MIDI keyboard. However, it is still possible to have a good quality keyboard even if it comes at a very low price. All of the models that we have discussed in our review fall in that category.
In this section, we have a detailed consideration of the features to look at when you are making your buying decision.
There are three main types of MIDI keyboard on the market and your choice will fall into either of the categories.
Your choice will largely depend on what you plan to create with the keyboard.
When choosing your keyboard, the keys and their quality are important considerations. There are some important things that you should consider in this regard.
The number of keys that the model has will determine the size of the model. There are different models on the market and you have a wide variety of key options. Some of these are 25, 49, 61, and 88 key options. Examples of these include Midiplus 61-Key MIDI Keyboard and Alesis VMini Portable 25-Key USB MIDI. Aside from these, there are some more obscure numbers. An example is Midiplus AKM320 with its 32 keys.
Due to the number of keys, you have MIDI keyboards available in different sizes. Therefore, consider important questions like:
These questions will determine the model of keyboard that you buy.
The key action is another very important consideration. This will further determine the type of model that you buy. There are three main types of key action. We will discuss them in detail in this section.
The first type of synth action is a popular one, especially in budget MIDI keyboards. This type of action uses a spring mechanism to ensure that the keys return to their initial position after you have pressed them. The feeling varies from player to player, and many have remarked about how quick it feels to the touch and the linearity. An example is the AKAI Professional LPK25.
If you have never used a real piano, this is great for you. If you have ever played on an acoustic version, though, you might not like the cheap, unauthentic feeling that you might get with it.
This next type of action feels more authentic than the synth action. It is a combination of springs and light weights at the end of each key. The result is that the keys do not immediately bounce back to their initial position. Some of the models that we have reviewed and that are loved by many users come with a springy action that you get from synth action. It combines this with a heaviness that is similar to what you get from a real piano.
This type of action is great for all users regardless of their experience level.
The last type of action is the most similar to the action on an actual traditional piano. It is not for beginners but for folks that have been playing the acoustic guitar for a while. It feels heavier and the lower keys have a certain heft over the higher keys. It is often found on high-end MIDI keyboards.
Regardless of the model that you buy, you will have to use it with plugins and software. The models that we have reviewed are all simple to play. But you should note that some are better at integrations than others. One of the best in this regard is the Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller.
Every good studio setup needs the right keyboard. If you are looking for a keyboard to buy without breaking the bank, the options that we have reviewed are great for you. The AKAI Professional LPK25 is our top choice and is great for getting your feet wet in the world of MIDI keyboards. It is compact and easy to use. The M Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 is a compact unit with excellent features and offers the best value for money. It comes in a simple design and boasts of assignable controls. For those that want a mini model, the Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller is the best bet. This model is a stylish 25-key product that’s perfect when portability is a deciding factor.