Best Portable Keyboards: MIDI, Speakers, Battery Powered

The Highest Rated Portable Keyboards Under $500

Disclosure

We recommend all products independently of 3rd parties including advertisers. We earn advertising fees from:
• • • • •
Sweetwater
• • • • •

Amazon

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
• • • • •

Here we present you with the best portable keyboards in the sub $500 price range, updated for 2021, featuring top-rated beginner to intermediate friendly keyboards that you can play virtually anywhere, from practice to stage, and even for recording.

What started out as electronic pianos are now staple instruments that can reproduce virtually any sound, used by everyone from beginners to professionals, covering all musical styles. And thanks to batteries and built-in speaker/amp systems, these keyboard instruments have become genuinely portable, ideal tools for musicians who are always on the go.

While these keyboards don't have the complexity and articulation offered by more premium options, they have sufficient versatility and features to make for a fun and inspiring instrument that can be used for practice and even for performance.

The Best Portable Keyboards Under $500

Portable Arranger Keyboards Under $500

Not arranger keyboards have additional built-in auto-accompaniment functions and/or backing tracks to play along with.

Yamaha PSR-E373

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha PSRE373 61-Key Portable Keyboard

Yamaha continues to be the go to brand when it comes to student friendly instruments, and the PSR-E373 exemplifies this with its beginner-friendly features.

For the price, this keyboard gives you a 61-key velocity sensitive keybed, over 600 instrument voice options, USB connectivity and built-in lessons.

Speaking of lessons, this one comes with Yamaha's Education Suite, which teaches various piano standards and essentials. It also has "Touch Tutor lesson mode" which analyzes keystroke velocity in order to teach dynamics, quite nifty especially for younger players.

And it does all this while keeping a lightweight profile, and can be powered by 6 x AA batteries.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 61 Synth Style Velocity-Sensitive Keys
  • 48-note Polyphony
  • 622 Voices,
  • 12 Reverb and 5 Chorus Effects
  • 2 x 4.7" Speakers, 2.5W Amp per side
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • 12V DC Power Supply (Sold Separately) / 6 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 10.1 lbs.

Pros

Most users describe the PSRE373 as a great-value instrument for learning to play keyboards. It gets a lot of kudos for being easy to play, and for having built-in lessons that are easy to follow, in keeping with Yamaha's student-friendly reputation. Sound quality gets a lot of thumbs up from beginners, and sometimes even impressing teachers. Many also appreciate its portability, and the convenience of being able to power the PSRE373 with just 6 AA batteries.

Cons

There are some who aren't too pleased to find out that you have to buy the power supply separately.

Overall

If you're looking for an inexpensive and student-friendly portable arranger keyboard, then this is for you.

Yamaha PSR-EW410

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$430
Yamaha PSR-EW410 76-key Portable Keyboard

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Portable Arranger Keyboard Under $500.

The Yamaha PSR-EW410 is a portable keyboard that threads the line between being a piano keyboard instrument and an electronic music sampler. While at its core, it is a keyboard with 76 keys, it crosses over into the EDM/DJ realms with its groove creator and sampling features.

In addition to sampling features and realtime track triggering controls, the PSR-EW410 has assignable knobs for realtime manipulation of parameters and effects, much like a MIDI controller would.

Being a sampler, this keyboard does not have that many voices by default (237 Voices and 24 Drum/SFX kits) but this is expandable via Yamaha's XGlite voices.

Other standout features include having a pitchbend wheel, arpeggios, USB MIDI connectivity and support for USB flash drives.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 76 Synth Style Touch Response Keys
  • 48-note Polyphony
  • 237 Panel Voices, 24 Drum/SFX kits, 40 Arpeggio, 35 grooves, 457 XGlite voices
  • 59 Effects
  • 2 x 4.7" Speakers, 12W Amp per side
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • Included 16V DC Power Supply / 6 x D batteries
  • Weight: 18.52 lbs.

Pros

Users are simply impressed with the PSR-EW410's sonic versatility, for the price, there's so many things that can be done, above and beyond what's usually expected from a conventional electronic keyboard. Fans of EDM and modern dance music love its sampling features, from making beats to completing tracks using samples. Build and sound quality also get a lot of kudos in reviews, be it played through the built-in speakers or when plugged to a PA system.

Cons

There are a few complaints about the need to buy a power adapter separately. Some also say that you need a bit more patience to figure out all its features.

Overall

If you want nothing less than the highest rated option in the sub $500 price range, then get the Yamaha PSR-EW410.

Korg EK-50

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Korg EK-50 61-Key Arranger Keyboard

For a 61-key portable keyboard, the Korg EK-50 offers a big step up in terms of control, voicings and recording features.

At its price point, it is no longer targeting beginners, but is designed to be a portable instrument for more experienced keyboardists.

At the onset, it has a very expressive keybed, with 61 full-size keys that feature adjustable touch control and velocity sensitivity.

It allow you to trigger a wide variety of voicings, rhythms and auto-accompaniment styles that are built into the unit.

Speaking of voicing, there are 700 sounds, 280 styles, 34 effect types (with 148 variations), and many other sonic options to play with, all of which should be more than enough to keep anyone busy tweaking.

Other notable features include an onboard sequencer for advanced recording and playback, multiple input/output options, MIDI connectivity, and it can run on 8 x AA batteries

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 61 Full Size Keys with Touch Control and Velocity Sensitivity
  • 64-note Polyphony
  • 700 voices, 280 Styles, 41 Drum Kits, 18 Demo Songs
  • 34 Effects Types (148 variations)
  • 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • 2 x 1/4" (L & R Output), 1 x 1/8" (Headphones)
  • 1 x Type A USB, 1 x Type B USB
  • 2 x 4.7" Speakers, 10W Amp per side
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • Included 12V DC Adapter, Runs on 8 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 16.5 lbs.

Pros

The Korg EK-50 continues to wow musicians world over with its versatility and sound quality. Sonic versatility gets the bulk of commendations, and it's not just because it has a lot of sounds, but also pertaining to the quality of the voicings. Even experienced pianists appreciate the quality of its piano voicings. Its connectivity and recording/arranging capabilities also inspire many to rate the EK-50 highly.

Cons

With its many voicings, it's expected that some of the presets sound cheesy, and that's reflected in a few reviews.

Overall

If you're looking for a versatile all-around portable arranger keyboard, then this is for you.

Regular Portable Keyboards Under $500

All of these have MIDI to let you record on, or play sounds from, your computer or tablet.

Casio Casiotone CT-S200

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$119
Casio Casiotone CT-S200 61-Key Portable Digital Keyboard

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Portable Keyboard Under $500.

The Casiotone CT-S200 is as portable as it gets while still retaining a 61-key piano style keybed. As such it can serve as a compact digital piano, but with expanded sound options: 400 voices and 77 rhythms.

It comes with different digital reverb effects and has a dance music mode which expands your rhythm options.

For the size it also comes with a lesson function that can assist students in playing popular Piano pieces.

Other features include MIDI connectivity, can run on 6 x AA batteries and it comes with a carry handle for portability.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 61 Piano Style Keys with Touch Response
  • 48-note Polyphony
  • 400 Tones, 77 Rhythms
  • 10 Reverb Effects
  • 2 x 5.1" Speakers
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • AC Adapter (Included) / 6 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs.

Pros

Portability is the main strength of the Casiotone CT-S200, many appreciate how easy it is to carry around, and being a capable all-in one keyboard, digital piano and MIDI controller. It also helps that it looks stylish, appealing even to experienced musicians with its classic appeal. There are also plenty of positive remarks regarding its many voicings and rhythms.

Cons

There are a few who aren't as impressed with some of the voicings/sounds. Limited control options is also a minor setback for some users.

Overall

If you're looking for a super affordable portable keyboard with good quality, then definitely check this one out.

Casio Casiotone CT-S300

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Casio Casiotone CT-S300 61-Key Digital Piano

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Portable Keyboard Under $500.

The Casiotone CT-S300 combines digital piano like playability with expanded voicings and rhythm options all packed in a compact and portable profile.

It offers the same functionality and features as the CT-S200, the main difference being the addition of a Pitch Bend wheel for more expressive note control.

While some portable keyboards go for mini-keys to make room for buttons and other controls, this one houses a piano style 61-key touch response keybed that takes most of the space.

Still, it doesn't mean that features are compromised, because even with its streamlined interface, you can choose between 400 tones and 77 rhythms.

Other features include built-in lesson function, MIDI connectivity and it also has a carry handle to make it even more easier to carry around.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 61 Piano Style Keys with Touch Response and Pitch Bend Wheel
  • 48-note Polyphony
  • 400 Tones, 77 Rhythms
  • 10 Reverb Effects
  • 2 x 5.1" Speakers
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • AC Adapter (Included) / 6 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs.

Pros

Most users are pleased at how this portable keyboard is able to incorporate piano style keys with pitch bend wheel, into a compact form factor. Even experienced pianists are satisfied with its performance, especially when considering its portability. It is often touted as a great keyboard for beginner to intermediate level players, but even experienced musicians find it to be a great addition as a portable alternative to their main digital piano or keyboard.

Cons

Not everyone is pleased with the sound of built-in speakers, while others are not too impressed with some of the extra voicings.

Overall

The Casiotone CT-S300 is a great way to test the waters of piano playing, and it can also be a good portable alternative to bulky digital pianos and keyboards.

Yamaha Piaggero NP-12

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 61-Key Digital Piano w/ Speakers

The Piaggero NP-12 is a portable digital piano keyboard with 61 full-size touch sensitive keys.

It features Yamaha's Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling which gives this compact instrument quality voicings based on expensive pianos, the downside though is that the voicings are limited.

Having fewer voicing options is a design feature because this keyboard is meant to provide good plug-and-play sounds and be easy to use.

Speaking of sampling, the NP-12 comes with record and play functionality, along with a nifty metronome.

Finally, you can play this keyboard anywhere for up to 5 hours on just six AA batteries, and even longer with alkaline batteries.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 61 Piano Style Touch Sensitive Keys
  • 64-note Polyphony
  • 10 Voices, 10 Demo Songs, 10 Piano Preset Songs
  • 4 Reverb Effects
  • 2 x 4.72" Speakers, 2.5W Amp per side
  • Sustain Pedal (Sold Separately)
  • AC Adaptor Supply (Sold Separately) / 6 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 9.9375 lbs.

Pros

The NP-12 is considered by many as great starter instrument, with its full size touch sensitive keys and quality voicings that even experienced musicians appreciate. Even those who gave it slightly lower points describe its piano sounds as realistic. Portability also gets kudos from students who need to travel to their teacher's house, and vice versa.

Cons

The need to buy a power supply separately is a bummer for some, and is a common issue for manufacturers that don't include power supplies in their packages. Those who are looking to play with different instrument voicings will have to look elsewhere given the limited sounds that this one has.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable, easy to use, and good sounding portable keyboard, then this is for you.

Yamaha Piaggero NP-32

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Yamaha Piagerro NP-32

The NP-32 is part of Yamaha's Piaggero line of portable digital piano keyboards, with a wider 76-key full size keybed, and Graded Soft Touch (semi-weighted) keys.

It is essentially a wider and upgraded version of its smaller sibling, the Piaggero NP-12.

This one also features Yamaha's Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling which means improved voices, all of which are sampled from existing instruments.

And it does all this while keeping a reasonably portable profile, that can run on six AA alkaline batteries for up to 7 hours.

Other features include 64-note polyphony, four reverbs, built-in recording and playback.

Features:

  • USB MIDI
  • 76 Piano Style Graded Soft Touch (Semi-Weighted) with Touch Response Keys
  • 64-note Polyphony
  • 10 Voices, 10 Demo Songs, 10 Piano Preset Songs
  • 4 Reverb Effects
  • 2 x 4.72" Speakers, 6W Amp per side
  • Sustain Pedal (Sold Separately)
  • AC Adaptor Supply (Sold Separately) / 6 x AA batteries
  • Weight: 12.5625 lbs.

Pros

Simple and elegant, is a statement that summarizes market response to the Piaggero NP-32. Owners are pleased with how good it sounds right out of the box, especially the piano and electric piano samples, and it sounds great with virtually no tweaking needed. Being reasonably portable is also well appreciated, especially when considering that it has semi-weighted full-size keys. Having been made by Yamaha, there are also plenty of kudos for its overall build quality and performance.

Cons

While many are pleased with its 76-key configuration, the overall length is quite wide and can be awkward to carry around. You also need to buy a power supply separately. Finally, this is not ideal for those who want to more voicing options and want to play with auto-accompaniment.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable 76-key instrument with good piano sounds that you can carry around, then definitely check out the Yamaha Piaggero NP-32.

Roland GO:KEYS

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$340
Roland GO:KEYS

The Roland GO:KEYS is a true modern portable keyboard, with built-in loop/sequencer functionality, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.

The Loop Mix function lets you record and trigger phrases intuitively, making this instrument a viable tool for songwriting and for learning music production.

Add to that the convenience of wirelessly streaming tracks that you want to play along with and wirelessly controlling your favorite software instruments via MIDI.

These two features are in addition to its Roland quality keyboards function, which include having over 500 sounds

Features:

  • USB & Bluetooth MIDI
  • 61 Synth Style Full Size Keys
  • 128-note Polyphony
  • Built-in Microphone
  • 99 Songs (MIDI), 500+ Voices
  • 2-way Stereo Speakers
  • Bluetooth Connectivity, USB MIDI
  • Optional Sustain Pedal
  • Runs on 6 x AA batteries
  • Power adapter Included
  • Weight: 8.625 lbs.

Pros

The Roland GO:KEYS balances versatility and portability really well, as attested to by its many positive reviews. It continues to get rave reviews, be it from students who appreciate its playability, to parents and teachers who feel that it is worth more than the small investment. Even experienced keyboardists appreciate its light and portable profile, which when combined with Roland's brand of quality, makes for a quality portable instrument. There are also plenty of reviewers who are happy with its overall sound, which some even compare to more expensive Roland keyboards.

Cons

There are a few users who are not happy with the plastic feel of the chassis, but they do appreciate its synth style playability and lightweight profile.

Overall

If you're looking for a portable keyboard with modern functionality, then the Roland GO:KEYS is your best bet.

Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Keyboard

  • Portability

    Portable keyboards are born out of necessity in this era where mobility and space saving are of high importance. And so it would be wise for beginners to start with something portable, even experienced musicians can also benefit from having a portable alternative to their main instrument. Portable keyboards come with built-in speakers, amplifiers, and the ability to run on batteries, allowing them to be used virtually anywhere. They also come in compact profiles to limit size and weight to more manageable levels.

  • Student Friendly Features

    Many of the keyboards sold in this price range are aimed at students, so expect them to have features that help hasten learning and more importantly, make playing fun and enjoyable. Student friendly features to look for include a metronome, auto accompaniment, headphones out, and built in virtual "lessons". While these built-in lessons won't take the place of an expert mentor, they are valuable for someone who wants to play popular piano pieces and to hone their playing skills.

  • Difference between an Arranger Keyboard and Regular Keyboard

    Arranger keyboards are those that let you arrange notes and rhythms to create music. They usually have auto-accompaniment functions, or backing tracks that you can play with or even personalize. While most modern keyboards already have some accompaniment features, arranger keyboards give you more control over the accompaniment, and some even allow you to edit or create yourself.

  • Key Size, Action and Sensitivity

    Most portable keyboards come with semi-weighted synth action keys that balance dynamics and playability nicely. If you prefer the feel of an acoustic piano, then having a full-size, weighted keyboard is ideal for spacing and finger tension consistency. But be warned that keyboards with this feature are heavier and usually more expensive so you won't find many priced under $500. As such, most of the keyboards in this price range have softer synth style keys, which are easier on the hands. Touch response and sensitivity are features that separate toys from a real instrument, so they should be considered. These features allow for volume changes based on how you press the keys, which can be used to better express your music, much like an acoustic piano would.

  • Number of Keys

    Most portable keyboards come with 61 keys, since that allows for two-handed piano-style chords and arpeggios, with a length that's still easy to carry around. Those with more keys allow for even more notes to play with, but expect them to be heavier, bulkier and not to mention more expensive. On the flipside, there are those with fewer keys, making them cheaper and easier to carry, at the expense of having limited notes to play with. The 61-Key configuration sits nicely in between the big and small keyboards, allowing for good access to notes while keeping the instrument reasonably portable.

  • Voice, Style and Rhythm

    Portable keyboards usually come with as many sounds that the manufacturer can put on them without jacking up the price too much. As such, some of the voices or styles may not sound great to professionals, but they can be useful and fun to play with for beginners. Some even come with effects so you can personalize the sound better, or mimic the sounds used on your favorite songs. Many also come with drum and percussion sounds, along with pre-made rhythms that can be used to accompany you as you play, again a nice little feature for fun use, and more importantly, for training to improve your timing. Note that there are keyboards in this price range that go the digital piano route, focusing more on sound quality and playability, but with more streamlined features given the price constraint.

  • Recording and MIDI

    Some of the latest models allow for quick recording, either direct to the keyboard itself via a memory card, or on to a computer via MIDI. While not necessary, recording can be a useful tool for practice and for songwriting. MIDI connectivity will let you use the keyboard as a controller for your MIDI device or virtual instrument software. The most common MIDI connection these days is USB which allows you to connect to a computer or tablet, there are very few that still have 5-Pin MIDI sockets for directly plugging into hardware sound modules or synthesizers.

  • Mod Wheels and Other Controls

    The more control options there are, the more use and variation you can get out of the instrument. However, the drawback to having more control for a beginner is that you may end up wasting time tweaking than instead of actually practicing or making music. Most students will usually just need to play traditional piano parts on the keys, but if you are into modern electronic music, you'll want mod wheels and other extras which are uncommon in this price range.

Best Portable Keyboard Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 written by Alexander Briones who also wrote the latest edition which was published on

To be eligible for this guide and to meet the portability requirement, each keyboard had to have the option of running on batteries and have built-in speakers so you don't have to use them with an amplifier. Like we normally do, we limited our scope to keyboards that are widely available from US retailers, to make sure that you can readily get the keyboards that we recommend.

We retained the two section format of this guide's previous iteration, a section for arranger keyboards, and another for regular keyboards with MIDI functionality. Following the updated scope of the guide, we ended up with a short list of 18 keyboards, which entailed the analysis of over 23,000 relevant ratings and reviews, which more than triples the data for this April 2021 edition. All these data were analyzed and fed into the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us rating scores out of 100 that represent what the market actually feels about each instrument in real life. We then used the scores to narrow down the list further to those that are worthy of your consideration. Finally, we divided our list to two sets, first of which feature the best arranger keyboards and the second one showcases the best regular portable keyboards . For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

I am looking to connect two

I am looking to connect two key boards together for organ practising performances. Would these make a good combinations through midi connections?

The keyboards listed in this

The keyboards listed in this guide have the wrong kind of MIDI for connecting directly to other keyboards.

What you need is a MIDI Controller Keyboard that has 5-Pin MIDI connectors - you'll find those in the following guides:

Love the roland Go Keys but

Love the roland Go Keys but looking for something with 88 keys and better weighting. Any recommendations?

Have you ever considered the

Have you ever considered the new CT X-3000 from Casio and the EK-50 from Korg? Those are very promissing keyboards within the price range too.

Both of those are on our

Both of those are on our short-list to be considered for recommendation when we next update this guide.

Good point. They are

Good point. They are considered portable when compared to upright digital pianos like this. Also, because they have their own speakers, you don't need to carry around an amplifier to play or practice.

Post a Comment or Question

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.