Whether you are heading out on your first playing gig, leaving for college, or learning to play for the first time, you may want to invest in a portable piano keyboard. But, with so many options for keyboards out there, how do you ever know what to get? The possibilities seem endless and overwhelming, from popular name brands to inexpensive knock-offs. But don't worry, we're here to help you choose the best portable keyboard piano for your needs. We're recommending these six portable keyboard pianos for your music.
In this article, we'll take a look at the top 6 portable keyboards. We'll tell you why we think they're the best and we'll go over what to look for when you're shopping for a new keyboard.
Quick glance at the best portable keyboard pianos:
Related: Best Weighted Keyboard Piano
If you're looking for a quality gig keyboard, you'll want to take notice of the Roland RD-20000 Premium. You don’t have to compromise on sound, feel, or potential with this keyboard.
This keyboard comes with all kinds of bells and whistles, but you’ll have to use your own sound system or headphones to hear it. However, this is pretty standard for professional keyboards. This keyboard can double as a recording studio keyboard or workstation as well as a portable gig keyboard.
Roland is known for its realistic sounds and touch sensitivity, and the Roland RD-2000 fits this mold. The Roland RD-2000 is a great portable keyboard for the beginning professional musician. It isn't off-the-charts expensive, but it is packed with features.
Not only do you get a grand performance piano, but you also get a beginner workstation, giving you the capabilities to create and edit the onboard sounds. You'll need to supply your own speakers, though, so this will add to the cost of the equipment.
This particular keyboard is a little bit extreme for this list of portable digital keyboards. However, we included it so you can get a better idea of the options that are available to you. And if a professional portable keyboard is what you are after, Roland is a natural choice with its expressive voices and amazing feel.
If you are in need of an exceptionally sounding, realistic feeling and affordable instrument, you might just love the Kawai ES110. Kawai used harmonic imaging sound technology to create sound samples of their world-class acoustic concert grand and used Responsive Hammer Compact Action to simulate the feel of a grand, creating an all-around acoustic-feel experience in an affordable package.
We love this portable keyboard because it closely mimics the feel and sound of an acoustic grand piano, making it a solid choice for intermediate classical pianists who don't have access to an acoustic grand. However, due to its moderate weight, it's a little less 'portable' than some of the others on this list if you are planning on 'gigging' with it or moving it frequently, although it is possible and lighter than some performance keyboards.
The Yamaha P125 sets the bar high for portable digital pianos. This keyboard is modeled after the action of an acoustic piano with GHS – Graded Hammer Standard. Graded Hammer Standard is a fancy term that means the action of the high notes is lighter and easier than the action of the low notes, which is heavier. GHS helps you transition more easily between acoustic pianos and digital pianos.
The Yamaha P125 is surprisingly portable for its 88 keys, weighing in at only 26 pounds. However, its minimalist design really sets this keyboard apart from the rest. It has enough features to make it fun, but the streamlined package and small footprint make it super easy to use, too. It won’t take up too much space in your living room, but you’ll be able to easily take it from place to place, too.
There are 2 ¼ inch ports on this keyboard to give you the option of adding external speakers.
The P125 is an easy-to-use keyboard that is great for anyone looking for a minimalist design for their home or for a pianist just beginning their gigging journey. This keyboard is very accessible to established pianists and beginners alike at an affordable price point.
Take a look at our top picks for best Yamaha digital piano
If you're looking for the ultimate in portability, this keyboard might be the answer. The Go: Piano is a full-size, 88 key keyboard with 128-voice polyphony. This keyboard is genuinely playable in all sorts of places because of its lightweight, built-in speakers and choice between using battery power or a power adapter.
This keyboard includes Bluetooth capability so you can stream music and background tracks from your tablet or phone to the keyboard, making it an excellent tool for both performances and practice. In addition, the keyboard is semi-weighted, so while it does not have the full feel of an acoustic piano, it does have the ability to create rich musical expression.
If you desire, you can stream beginner lessons to this keyboard and plug-in headphones.
When purchasing this keyboard, you'll want to take note that it does not have fully weighted keys. This type of key action helps keep the weight low, making the keyboard more portable. However, it won't have that acoustic-piano feel to it, so you are basically trading 'feel' for portability. Regardless, you'll still be able to create rich nuance because although the keys aren't weighted, they are touch-responsive, so you'll still be able to create expressive music.
This keyboard was truly designed for portability; it’s in the name: Go:Piano.
If you're ready to start your piano-playing journey but need the ultimate in portability, you'll want to check out the Alesis Recital Pro. This portable keyboard offers 88 full-sized keys with hammer action and adjustable touch response.
The Alesis Recital Pro is a great starter keyboard that is highly portable, but the sound quality and feel of the keys are a long way from pro-level. However, the educational perks certainly outweigh the drawbacks for a beginner, so this keyboard could give a budding pianist a nice start on their musical journey. (Here’s why digital pianos and keyboards are great for beginners).
If you are looking for an inexpensive upgrade from a beginner portable keyboard, you'll want to consider the Alesis Prestige Artist. Everything about this keyboard is a step up but at a budget price, so you don’t have to let cost prevent you from going to the next level.
The Alesis Prestige Artist is an excellent instrument for the price point and would be well-suited for any beginner or any more advanced student who is on a strict budget. This digital keyboard piano's sound quality and feel are very advanced for the cost.
You could use this keyboard with an external set of speakers for the beginning gig pianist and have relatively good sound quality, especially if you layer the sounds. If sound quality is critical, you might want to consider a keyboard that is much more high-end.
When you start looking for a portable digital piano, the possibilities seem endless. And while it is tempting to jump on the cheapest deal you can find, you might want to look into the features and characteristics that will meet your playing needs. Here's how we chose the digital piano keyboards that made our list.
It can be challenging to find keyboards that have 88 keys and our still portable. To be on our list, the keyboard had to be full size (88 keys) to accommodate typical classical piano music. But it also had to be pretty portable, so we only chose keyboards under 50 pounds.
Keyboards on the higher end of this range might seem less portable, but their weight usually comes from the weighted action keys. Most lighter-weight keyboards have either spring action or semi-weighted keys, which saves on weight but doesn't have that 'real' piano feel.
Typically, a piano under 50 pounds can be managed by one person, keeping it in the portable range.
Another factor in portable digital pianos is the key action. You'll need a keyboard with weighted keys and graded hammer action for the most realistic acoustic feel, and we have several on this list. However, if weight is an issue and you need something under 30 pounds, you'll want to look at semi-weighted or spring action keys. Just keep in mind that they don't have as realistic as a feel. You'll have to weigh the options and choose which best fits your needs.
All of the keyboards on this list have touch sensitivity so that you can develop and use musical expression. Typically, the weighted action keyboards have better touch sensitivity, but all of these keyboards do have some level of quality musical expression.
Every keyboard needed to have a quality acoustic piano sound to make this list. Keep in mind that the more expensive keyboards on this list have richer, higher quality sounds, but all of them have the capacity for expression and sustain. So if you are looking for a performance keyboard, gravitate towards the higher-end keyboards, but if you are just looking for a practice keyboard for your beginner student, the less expensive options will work just fine.
Polyphony refers to how many sounds the keyboard can make simultaneously. The notes will cut off unnaturally if the polyphony is too small and leave your music sounding choppy and flat. Higher polyphony will allow the overtones to continue ringing as the note gently fades away, like in an acoustic piano.
In this case, the higher the number, the better. All of the keyboards here come standard with a minimum of 128 voice polyphony; however, the better quality keyboards will have up to 256. In the case of the Roland RD-2000, the dedicated piano sound engine means it can technically voice more notes simultaneously.
In our digital world, connectivity is an important feature. Most of the keyboards on this list include Bluetooth connectivity for speakers and devices, allowing you to stream music or use controller apps with your system. There are a couple of exceptions on this list requiring the use of USB cables.
The Roland Go: Piano makes exceptional use of Bluetooth by enabling streaming to its onboard speakers so you can use accompaniment tracks with your playing.
One of the main differences between a beginner keyboard and a professional keyboard is the speaker system. Beginner and intermediate keyboards come with built-in speaker systems. However, these are not loud enough for professional gigs, so most also have a line out (or Bluetooth capability) for additional speakers. For example, the Roland RD-2000 does not have any onboard speakers. Instead, you must use headphones or a line out to external speakers.
There is a wide range of costs when it comes to portable digital keyboards, from just a couple hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Ultimately, you have to decide what keyboard budget you are comfortable with and find a keyboard that suits your needs and falls in your budget parameters.
A lot of portable keyboards come with limited accessories. And while this isn't a critical component, you need to consider whether or not you'll be purchasing additional accessories. Most of these keyboards come with a built-in music desk and basic sustain pedal. However, you will probably need to buy a stand for the keyboard or use it on a table or desk. You may also need to purchase a bench or stool and a music stand.
In most cases, the included pedals are somewhat inferior, and you'll want to purchase a better one.
There are a lot of good portable digital pianos on this list that cover a variety of needs and uses. However, our favorite for portable digital piano keyboards is the Roland Go: Piano. Its only real weakness is the piano feel, which is a necessary compromise if you want to save weight to make it more portable.
We love this piano for its extreme portability. It's very lightweight for its full 88 key size. We also love that it can run on just batteries, which means anywhere you can go, you can play it with no power outlet needed.
Considering this is a Roland keyboard, the sound banks and touch sensitivity will be exceptionally good for the price. But the best feature of this portable keyboard is its Bluetooth capabilities. So not only can you stream the keyboard's music to external speakers, but you can also stream accompaniment tracks to the keyboard itself, giving you the ability to add soundtracks, drum tracks, or whatever sound effects you can dream up.
In short, this portable keyboard is packed with potential and ready to be enjoyed by pianists of all ability levels.
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