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RS Recommends: The Best Keyboard Pianos Under $500

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
 2022-08-09

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From the stage to the studio, nothing really feels like playing an acoustic piano — that is, until now. Today, no matter if you’re just starting out or a touring pro, some of the best keyboards under $500 come pretty damn close.

Built for the road, these new digital instruments from well-known audio brands come with everything a pianist could need to practice scales, chord progressions, and perform shows (or just learn your favorite song riffs and tabs online). That includes high-tech audio hookups for speakers, essential accessories, and, most importantly, an improved, more realistic sound quality that keyboards of the past simply couldn’t produce.

Here, we’ve found the best keyboards under $500 that do it all.

Buying Guide: Best Keyboards Under $500

When you’re thinking about how to pick the best keyboard for your situation, there are a few, ahem, key features you might want to add to your checklist, from its portability to accessories like a carrying case.

Keyboard Size: You can find a variety of keyboards with any number of keys, from 61 keys to the complete 88-key design. For students just starting out, a smaller amount of keys can work, but you may want to upgrade to an 88-key digital piano later on down the line.

Weighted and Semi-Weighted Keys: In this guide, we picked keyboard pianos designed with weighted or semi-weighted action keys, meaning that the playing experience feels closer to that of pressing down on an acoustic piano’s keys. In our playing experience, weighted keys not only replicate the real thing, but helped improve our playing (which you may also find to be true, especially if you’re used to a standard piano setup).

Portability: The size and weight of the best keyboards under $500 vary from brand to brand, but overall it’s not hard to find highly portable models in that price range. Depending on the amount of keys, most professional keyboards can fit in, say, a car, and feel lightweight enough to carry on a commute. The best keyboards under $500, on their own, clock in around 15 to 30 pounds.

Essential Accessories: Do you need a sustain pedal (you do), or even a music rest to hold lesson books or a set list (it’s nice to have)? A cover or a protective carrying case with a handle?

You can find most of these accessories online, but some of our favorite keyboards under $500 also come with these additional pieces of equipment. In our experience, a cover or carrying case is essential, especially if you plan to take your new keyboard on the road or even plan to transport it at all.

The Best Keyboards Under $500

From Yamaha to Donner and more of the top instrument brands in the game, here are the best keyboards any new pianist or pro can buy for under $500.

Yamaha P71 Keyboard Piano

BEST OVERALL
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Amazon

You’ll need a power outlet, but once you plug in, this Yamaha keyboard checks all the boxes for a reliable digital piano-playing experience. With completely weighted keys, playing your favorite songs, from Bach to Beyoncé, not only feels more like playing the real thing, but also doesn’t sacrifice on sound quality. You can choose to play from 10 different sound tones, and it’s possible to play two different voices at once, with a strings section on your left and keys on your right. It even comes with a sustain pedal, plus a built-in stand if you need to read through sheet music or your own written tunes. It weighs a travel-friendly 25 pounds. For a reliable keyboard, this Yamaha gets the musical job done.

Buy: Yamaha Keyboard $499.99

Alesis Recital Keyboard Piano

EDITOR’S CHOICE
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0jg2Q8_0hB076i700

Amazon

Want to get recital-ready this year? Take the budget-friendly Alesis Recital for a spin. You’re looking at proof that a great-sounding, well-made keyboard piano doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. This pick has a full set of 88 keys, which are semi-weighted for all your lesson needs. It produces a realistic playing feel and offers up to five different voices, or playing tones, plus RCA outputs for connecting speakers. You don’t have to take our word for it either — this keyboard has earned over 10,800 reviews on Amazon, plus a 4.6 (out of 5) star rating. We won’t argue with that. You can choose among a few different options, but we prefer the bundle that comes with a sustain pedal and the headphones for practice sessions.

Buy: Alesis Recital Keyboard $293.00

Donner Digital Keyboard Piano

BEST FULL-SIZED KEYBOARD
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4EaCTY_0hB076i700

Amazon

For teachers and students alike, this Donner keyboard is nearly as close as you’ll get to the real thing, with a standalone design that’s fit for any practice or performance space. Though it doesn’t look as travel-friendly as other picks, it’s still portable enough to move around the house or studio. Eight tones come standard, so you can play everything from strings to organ with the press of a button. Unlike other keyboard pianos, it also gives musicians three pedals, a pair of speakers fit for performances, plus recording settings for writing your next hit.

Buy: Donner Keyboard Piano $439.99

Roland Go Digital Piano Keyboard

HONORABLE MENTION
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1YPX0o_0hB076i700

Amazon

For pianists who want a full-sized, lightweight keyboard, this battery-powered Roland is a serious crowdpleaser. The brand’s 15-pound Go digital piano has a full range of keys, but it’s also one of the most high-tech picks we found, thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity for pairing your devices or speakers. That means you can play to a track from the piano’s built-in speakers — something you can’t always do with other modern keyboard pianos. Even cooler, it comes with access to the Pianote service, so you can work on your playing technique, music theory, and take lessons from expert teachers in real life with your purchase.

Buy: Roland Go Keyboard Piano $449.99

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