After testing 10 beginner models, we think the Casio CTK-2550 is the best keyboard for beginners. It has lots of features that make learning easy and fun (including some neat dance music beats), at an unbeatable price.
In this comprehensive guide, we look at three of our favorite Casio keyboards, including the CTK-2550, LK-280, and CTK-3500. We cover their most important features and their pros & cons, so you have all of the details you need to make an informed decision about your beginner keyboard purchase.
The CTK-2550 is a 61-key, portable keyboard that, like the CTK-3500, offers the fun Dance Music Mode with 50 built-in dance rhythms. This is a 48-note polyphony keyboard, so you can play faster and more detailed pieces without worrying about dropping notes, which is often the case with an inexpensive digital piano.
This keyboard also incorporate the Step-Up Lesson System, which can help you to learn, or be used alongside your regular piano lessons.
Best Casio Keyboard with Visual Aids
The LK280 is great for beginners, thanks to the awesome visual aids. This is a lighted USB digital piano that has a step-teaching tool to help beginners to start playing the piano right away, without having to go through all of the boring stuff that can turn a lot of younger students off.
This keyboard has two sensitivity levels of touch response, and the keys are standard size. The best part is, the keys light up, making it easier than ever to use interactive learning apps.
Best Casio Keyboard for Dance Music
The CTK-3500 is a 61-key, touch sensitive, portable digital piano that comes with its own power supply, and it can also be used with battery power.
This is a great keyboard for anyone who is into dance music, and it even has a Dance Music Mode with 50 built-in dance rhythms. It has a 48-note polyphony keyboard, so even when you are playing fast or intricate pieces, you are not going to end up dropping notes. It is also an excellent choice for beginners, with the Step-Up Lesson System.
History of Casio
Casio may not be one of the oldest names in keyboards, but it is one of the most well-known, and one of the most popular.
The first Casio keyboard, the Casiotone 201, was introduced to the world in 1980, and even though it didn’t have a lot of features, it quickly became popular all over the world. From there, Casio began developing keyboards that had a multitude of cool feature that can only be created through digital instrument technology.
Some of these features include one-touch auto-accompaniment, memory capacity for recording and playback, auto-play, lighted keys, and awesome sampling technology. Today, Casio makes more than just keyboards. They also create digital drum kits, digital guitars, and digital wind instruments.
Best Casio Keyboards (Summary Table)
Tips for Buying a Keyboard for Beginners
Not every keyboard is ideal for beginners and you also don't have to spend thousands of dollars on an acoustic piano when just starting out. While it is best to go with a keyboard that has a full 88 keys, it is not always necessary. There is plenty of learning that can be done on a smaller keyboard. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying a digital piano for beginners.
> Weighted Keys
If you are able to find an inexpensive model with weighted keys, it is ideal, because the student can learn with the same feel that they would with a traditional acoustic piano.
> Touch-Sensitive Keys
It is also a good idea to buy a keyboard that has touch-sensitive keys, to ensure that no notes are going to be missed, played too loudly or too softly, etc. This is usually on 88-key keyboards, but it can also be found on the smaller models.
> Learning Tools
Look for a digital piano that has interactive learning tools. Not only can these come in handy if the learner is not taking actual lessons, but these tools can also be great to use alongside lessons.
Best Casio Keyboards Reviews
CTK-2550 : Best Overall
The CTK-2550 is a 61-key, portable keyboard that has app integration and even a Dance Music Mode. This keyboard has the Chordata Play app, along with 48-note polyphony so you won’t be dropping notes, even if you are playing fast pieces.
The CTK-550 offers up 400 high quality sounding tones, as well as 100 rhythms that are loads of fun to play along with, and really give you a lot of depth for whatever songs you are playing. You will have loads of fun exploring your musical creativity when you are using this affordable digital piano from Casio.
If you don’t like to be stuck in one place all the time while you are playing, you are going to love the CTK-2550, because not only does it use an AC adapter (included with your purchase), it also runs on battery power. You can take it anywhere, and always be able to play for several hours at a time without having to change the batteries.
While this may not be the keyboard you want to use for professional gigs, it is an ideal model for younger people, and for anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano. The CTK-2550 is loaded with features that make learning fun and easy, including all kinds of cool electronic dance music styles and beats.
If you have a young person in your home who has expressed an interest in learning how to play the piano, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money just yet, you really should consider the CTK-2550.
CTK-3500 : Best Beginner Casio Keyboard for Dance Music
The CTK-3500 is a great option for youngsters because it has the cool and all-new Dance Music Mode, so kids can have the latest dance rhythms backing up their music. This feature lets anyone easily create and remix electronic dance music.
It has 61 full-size, touch-sensitive keys that will respond to the player’s particular playing dynamics, so you can really express yourself musically. Whether you are inside or on the road, you can play this keyboard anywhere, because it doesn’t just rely on an adapter, but also uses battery power.
One of the features we like the most about the CTK-3500 is the free Chordata Play app. This uses the keyboard’s display to help you learn how to play all of your favorite tunes.
It has a 48-polyphony keyboard, so you don’t have to worry about dropping notes while playing fast, and the lesson function includes Lesson Lite, the Scoring System, and a Voice Fingering Guide.
Overall, if you're looking for a keyboard that's going to be ideal for learners, but isn’t going to cost a fortune, the CTK-3500 is definitely one to keep in mind when you start shopping.
This is an affordable instrument that has a lot of the same effects as some of its more expensive counterparts, and it even has some things that the costlier models do not have, including the Dance Music feature. In fact, when it comes to creating dance music for beginners, this is our top pick out of the Casio keyboards.
LK280 : Best Beginner Casio Keyboard with Visual Aids
The LK280 has 61, full-size keys that light up, making this the ideal instrument for beginners to learn on. It has step-by-step lessons that are broken up into smaller units, making learning fast and easy. It is the next best thing to having a human teacher right beside you while you're learning. The lighted keys show you which notes to play next, and they will even let you know which finger you need to use for each key, so you learn a lot about the dynamics as you play.
There are so many features on the LK280 that you are going to absolutely love. For instance, the keys are touch responsive, which is a great learning aid. There are 152 songs built in, with 50 of these songs being for practice and easy learning. There are 600 different tones, as well as a five-song recorder.
The Casio LK280 has plenty of features that make it easier to learn on than other more expensive keyboards, and the Step Lessons break up each song into smaller parts, so you don’t end up frustrated when you are trying to learn a complete song. It may not have a full keyboard, but it offers so many other great features that it is perfect for playing around and starting to learn how to play the piano.
Alternative Products to Consider
Casio Privia PX-160
If you have your heart set on getting an 88-key keyboard, the Casio Privia PX-160 is a great option. This is an affordable digital keyboard (for a keyboard that has a full 88 keys), with weighted hammer action. The keys are made from simulated ebony and ivory, and it also has a powerful speaker system with dual headphone jacks.
You can also connect this keyboard to other music gear, including amplifiers. This is a bundle package that also comes with a stand and a bench.
Casiotone CT-S200 RD Keyboard
The CT-S200RD is a stylish 60 tunes digital piano that is well designed to fit a 61-key portable keyboard. The slim and ecstatic feel allows for the best portability. The keyboard can play up to 16 hours on a fully charged battery. That provides you with a lot of uninterrupted practice time, without worrying about running out of power.
The keyboard design aims to make it easy to recall where the different sound keys are located. That enables you to practice at home without needing a tutor present for guidance.
While the keyboard may be slim and light, it produces high quality sound. This is unusual of such a compact keyboard. Its oval speakers are strengthened using powerful magnets that integrate smoothly with the equalizer, allowing for the best mix of highs and lows of music. Moreover, this digital piano has a dance music mode and voice expand feature. This unique feature enables seamless integration of the bass, the drum and the synthesizer.
Most people are attached to their mobile phones and tablets. Casio saw this as an opportunity to further leverage on technology to make the keyboard more infused into our daily lives. The company developed an application called Chordana that you can download on your mobile devices and connect to the keyboard using a USB cable. The application provides tutorials to enable you keep practicing on the keyboard. It is available on both iOS and Android stores.
Further, the keyboard comes with a soft and stylish backpack that makes it fun to carry around.
The stylish well-curved digital piano is best suited for beginners exploring their new interest. Students who enjoy playing and dancing to a nice tune or rhythm can also carry it to school to play it during their breaks. The long battery life and light weight makes it easy to carry around and use without having to worry about it going off because of lack of power.
The Casio SA-46 is a unique 32-key children keyboard that contains 100 different tones and rhythms. Built with 8 polyphony, 10 tunes and a drum pad (five), the keyboard can play sounds upon tapping any of the pads. The design and interface have attained the goal of Casio; attracting the interest of children in learning how to play.
This digital piano comprises of light material with a nice grip at the edges. That allows for efficient portability by both the child and the guardian. The keyboard uses both a battery charging system and a power cord charging system. A solar charging system option is not yet available in the market. The light weight and portability options targeted the comfort of children as they like moving around a lot. This adaptation would assist them carry the keyboard around easily and play at their convenience.
The keyboard is also fitted with a changeover button. That allows for quick change-over from a piano sound to the organ sound. Furthermore, the keyboard comes preloaded with 50 tracks that you can play while practicing playing. Most suppliers do not sell it with a stand, but a songbook is often available as an added accessory.
The model also boasts of an idle-switching system that immediately activates after 5 minutes of idleness. This system helps the keyboard save on energy use, especially when powered by the battery. In addition, this digital piano has a headphone connectivity feature. This helps in reducing noise to others while also allowing you to concentrate when practicing.
The sturdy and simple keyboard is best suited for children and beginners in the journey to discover their liking for music. Music students can also carry it to school for practice. Young children will also enjoy catching up with the keyboard. Its design and features make it well adapted for use by children, without requiring any adult supervision.
Beginners and more experienced keyboard players have come to love the Casio WK-245. This model is specially designed to meet your touring needs. This digital piano is conveniently light and portable, enabling you to carry it easily along as you tour the world.
The model is popular for its versatility. The specially built Casio keyboard consists of a compilation of 600 built-in sounds. It also comes preloaded with 180 rhythms, 76 touch keys and a 48-note polyphony. This makes it ideal for playing a variety of musical genres and styles.
Its playback feature stands out among many rival keyboards of its class. This digital piano also has recording and memory capabilities. This provides the capability of storing some of the good music you played, ensuring they are not lost. You can comfortably compose and play new music knowing that you will be able to retrieve and replay it later.
The model also has advanced aux and USB features that allow for connectivity with your best gadgets. The aux input is placed conveniently to enable connection with your MP3 player, allowing you to play your music of choice. It is also fitted with a MIDI port USB, which allows for additional input options like your iOS device or computer.
The Casio PX-770 stands out as a unique 88-key triple sensor hammer keyboard, containing 19 different tones and rhythms. It has been pre-loaded with a 128 polyphony, 10 concert play songs and 60 practice library songs. The Casio piano enjoys an AiR Sound Source system that relays the songs in great quality.
The model also boasts of an idle-switching system that immediately activates after four minutes of idleness. This system helps the digital piano save on energy. It saves the highest amount of energy when the battery is in use rather than when on electrical power.
The excellence of the sound structure is something to boast about in this model. It uses a 3-sensor system that sequentially reacts to key touches. This innovative feature reduces the time lapse between when the instrument is played and when the sound can be heard. This greatly improves the quality of sound.
The ecstatic keyboard features black, well-finished keys, portraying a great feeling of luxury and uniqueness. The surface of the keys is well designed to prevent the fingers from sliding off while playing.
The keyboard also incorporates a great orchestra recording system. That allows for up to 10 orchestra recordings or performances that you can exploit.
The model adopted a damper pedal method where a resonance simulator was installed in all the 88 keyboard keys. This new model, deemed superior to conventional models, has an amazing resonance generated directly whenever the damper is lifted and the pedal pressed.
How to Play your Casio Keyboard
Casio has come a long way since its beginnings in 1980, and there are many different Casio keyboard models that are ideal for musicians of all levels. The ones we have discussed today are all ideal for beginners, and they also have many features that more advanced players will enjoy using.
The Casio CTK-2550, CTK-3500, and LK280 and are quality keyboards that are built with the latest in digital instrument technology. We think you'll love these beginner models so much that your next keyboard will also be Casio!