When it comes to making music, I have always loved portable keyboards for their convenience. There’s something nice about having an instrument that I can use for when I’m traveling and need something light.
It is my opinion that a portable keyboard is great for musicians who are looking for a second or third keyboard for traveling or just for writing convenience. Portable keyboards are typically light-weight, have built-in speakers, and a good number of different sounds for the pianist.
All of these options below are meant to be keyboards that are great for traveling are light-weight.
These are all going to be smaller keyboards as well. If you are looking for something a little bit more serious, I would recommend checking out my guide to Digital Pianos.
- 1 What To Look For In Portable Keyboard Pianos
- 2 Best Portable Keyboards
- 2.1 Casio CTK-6250 61-Key
- 2.2 Casio SA76 44 mini Sized Keys
- 2.3 Yamaha NP12
- 2.4 Roland Go:61
- 2.5 Yamaha PSR-E-363
- 2.6 Alesis Melody 61 MKII
- 3 Conclusion
What To Look For In Portable Keyboard Pianos
Size: I suggest staying under 61 keys so you can increase the portability. Having anything bigger means it’s typically going to be a bit heavier. You can find some great options that are smaller, you just have to know what to look for.
Sounds: Depending on how much song-writing you are doing, you will want something that has some decent sounds and a good variety. For some people, this will be more important than for others.
Speakers/Headphone Jack: Make sure the speakers are loud enough and get the job done. If they’re not great; you will want a headphone jack, so you can plug headphones in.
Price: It is important to know just what you need so that you can determine what you want to spend. The great thing here is that these types of keyboards are actually quite inexpensive.
Weight: The lighter, the better for portable keyboards. The whole point of these is so that they’re easy to travel with.
Recording: Some of these will come with the ability to record and this is a neat feature.
Power Supply: I love a keyboard that can be powered by just batteries and doesn’t always need a power supply. It’s just way more convenient.
Best Portable Keyboards
I am often asked, can you learn to play the piano on a keyboard? Before I get into this list, I would like to answer it by saying, yes, you can.
Casio CTK-6250 61-Key
The Casio CTK-6250 is a 61 key keyboard that is a little bit heavier than some options. However, it still only weighs 19 pounds, so it still fits the definition of a portable keyboard in my eyes.
Casio keeps surprising me with their entry-level options as they’re getting some pretty nice sounds on them.
If you would like to see my favorite Casio entry-level keyboards you can do so here.
I like the sounds a lot on the CTK-6250. I am surprised by all of the features on this keyboard and I think this makes a great portable option. Beginners are going to be happy with this and I think even advanced players will love this for its light-weight
The CTK-6250 61 key is a great pick for beginners. I would recommend this as it has great sounds, speakers, and a headphone jack.
Casio SA76 44 mini Sized Keys
The Casio SA76 is a go-to since it is so light and portable. I like this because it is so small and easy to take with me when I travel. It makes as a perfect gift for kids and also a perfect instrument to take with you on the road.
The sounds are surprisingly good for the price range. Don’t expect this to blow you away though. It has some nice and warm pad sounds with a couple of decent sounding pianos with an overall total of 100 sounds.
The keys are mini, so this is good for portability, but bad if you’re looking for something that you can still shred with.
I recently did a review on the Casio SA 77, which is very similar and you might enjoy the read.
My overall thoughts are that this makes sense if you are on a budget or just simply want something to play with when you’re not on your main keyboard.
I also really like the headphone jack on this. Lastly, it’s power by batteries, making it ultraportable.
The Yamaha NP12 is a great option because it has some cool new-school technology features. You can use this with your iPhone or iPad to access some great learning apps.
You’re getting 61 keys with this keyboard and the overall feel is decent. I say decent, only because sometimes people set their hopes way too high for the price they’re paying for instruments. It’s a good key-bed if you look at the price range.
It has a power supply, but it can also be powered by 6 AA batteries for about 5 hours of use.
When I played the Yamaha NP12, I was really surprised with the sounds and that’s why I put it on this list. For this price, it’s a great option.
The selling point with the NP12 is definitely the ability to have USB and be able to connect to a computer, iPad or iPhone with ease. To do this, all you need is a USB cable. To read more about how to do this, check out my guide on connecting keyboards with USB cables.
I’m not crazy about the key-bed, however, you’re really not going to be crazy about any of the key-beds with portable keyboards. Portability is king with these and the weight of the NP-12 is 14 pounds. For 61 keys, I would consider this a win and I think this is a smart pick for musicians.
The Roland Go61 has some great features. It comes with Bluetooth audio support, which is a new feature for keyboards. Since Roland came out with this; more and more companies have started to introduce Bluetooth technology to their products.
The key-bed on this isn’t the standard Roland key-bed, but it’s not bad. For a portable keyboard, this one has a ton of features that songwriters can take advantage of.
Roland has really marketed this towards traveling songwriters who are on the go frequently.
The Go61 only weighs 8 pounds and that is something I find to be unique for a keyboard with 61 keys.
It is loaded with over 500 different sounds that have Roland’s technology for sound. I personally think most of the songs are of quality.
If you are a fan of Roland, I recommend checking my article on the best Roland keyboards.
The samples are probably the best you can find currently for the price. This is a cheaper keyboard that is extremely portable and it also has high-quality samples. That is what makes me like this keyboard so much.
The Yamaha PSR-E-363 is a keyboard I would recommend for beginners and people looking for a second instrument.
It comes with USB so it can be run as a MIDI controller as well. This means that if you aren’t liking the sounds it has, you can get external sounds instead. I love having keyboards that have USB connectivity.
The keys aren’t my favorite on the PSSR-E-363 as they just feel very plasticky and cheap.
As far as the sounds, the speakers are not very good. I would recommend using headphones with this keyboard as I’ve had a lot of problems with the onboard speakers. The sounds themselves aren’t bad, it’s just the speakers.
I would recommend this more to beginners as it has a lot of features geared toward beginners. If you’re not a beginner, maybe go for another option.
Alesis Melody 61 MKII
The Alesis Melody 61 MKII is a nice look at another keyboard I would recommend more towards beginners. It’s not going to blow you away with what it can do, but it’s got some nice features for beginners.
If you would like to check out my favorite Alesis keyboards, you can do so here.
If you have any musical knowledge, you may not like the sounds of this keyboard. It sounds rather cheap and the speakers aren’t very good either. I personally understand that it’s meant for beginners and to me that just automatically says that the sounds are going to be cheap.
If you are looking for a back-up keyboard and aren’t a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend this. I don’t personally believe you will be happy with it unless you are a beginner.
For beginners, I would recommend checking out my guide on digital pianos for beginners. These are some great options for people trying to get started.
There are a ton of great options for portable keyboards. Make sure that you keep an open mind when looking at these types of keyboards as I don’t suggest them for advanced players unless you’re looking for simply something portable.
A lot of portable keyboards are typically meant for beginners, however, as I said, I love having one with me at all times in my car. You never know when creativity is going to strike, so it’s always good to have something for those occasions.
Do you have any favorite portable go-to’s that you like to use or can recommend? Please let me know in the comment section below and we can discuss.