Updated 17th September 2018

When you are looking for starter keyboards; whether it is for you, your child, a family member or a friend, you are struck with a huge variety of different instruments. All the instruments providing different features that you may or may not need. We receive lots of enquiries every day to help people find the best keyboard for them.

In this article, I will be describing the best starter keyboards. I have selected 5 slightly contrasting instruments with the most common features you may be looking for. Please leave a comment or contact me directly if you would like some further advice.

In no particular order, the top 5 starter keyboards in my opinion are:

1. Axus Digital AXP25 Touch Sensitive Electronic Keyboard
2. Casio CTK-1500 Portable Keyboard
3. Yamaha PSRE363 Portable Keyboard
4.  Axus Digital AXP2 Electronic Keyboard
5. Yamaha Piaggero NP12 Electronic Keyboard

1. Axus Digital AXP25 Touch Sensitive Electronic Keyboard

Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
Main features – 61 touch sensitive keys, 32 note polyphony, 300 voices and 200 styles, 100 songs and 10 demo songs. Includes a lesson and dictionary function, record/playback and an inbuilt metronome.
Accessories – supplied with a DV12V power adaptor and a music rest. Other accessories sold separately (or as part of the upgraded package). Features sustain pedal, headphone and USB port connectivity.
Best suited for – beginner on a budget, self-teaching, recording, small spaces, silent practice and the mobile musician

Axus AXP25 Starter Keyboards Axus AXP25 Starter Keyboard 2


Firstly, the Axus AXP25 is a great value keyboard, that has been really popular among beginners. It features a touch sensitive 61 note keyboard that simulates the natural response to touch similar to a piano. The keyboard is great looking and features a wide range of voices and accompaniment styles. It is ideal for exploring the creative opportunities of a keyboard. To top this off, it features a lesson function and a chord dictionary to enable self-teaching.

2. Casio CTK-1500 Portable Keyboard

Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
Main features – 61 full size keys, 120 orchestral and synth tones, 70 built-in rhythms, 100 built-in songs, LCD Screen, built in effects for ‘Dance Music Mode’, headphone socket for silent practice
AccessoriesAD-E95100 power adapter sold separately.
Best suited for – the younger player, self-teaching, music therapy, silent practice, portability, first introduction to music.

Casio CTK Starter Keyboard

Another fantastic value keyboard, perfect for a beginner. Step up lesson function on this keyboard is what makes it stand out to younger players and children. Self-teaching has never been so easy! The CTK-1500 has 120 orchestral and synth tones and 70 rhythms built-in. The teaching library offers 100 lesson songs, which means you will not get bored. All this is shown on an LCD screen to make the lessons even easier.  This would be the ultimate choice for the younger player to teach your child the basics of playing the keyboard.

3. Yamaha PSRE363 Electronic Keyboard

Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
Main features – 61 full sized piano style touch sensitive keys,  574 voices and 165 accompaniment styles, inbuilt 9 step lesson function, powerful speaker system, USB connectivity and a headphone input

Accessories – power adaptor and music rest included.
Best suited for – beginners, younger players, anyone who enjoys the different creative features of an electronic keyboard, perfect for self teaching, small spaces and portability.

Yamaha PSRE363 Starter Keyboards






The PSRE363 has a whole lot of opportunities to offer at any budget and any level of ability. With 61 touch sensitive, piano style keys this will be perfect for a beginner. Featuring a Yamaha 9 step lesson function for self teaching. Offering 574 voices and 165 accompaniment styles, this keyboard will also impress a more experienced player. It will definitely go the distance, allowing your playing style to constantly grow and develop. No matter what sort of different creative sounds you wish to explore, you can always instantly return to the Portable Grand feature for that expressive and pure classical piano sound.

4. Axus Digital AXP2 Electronic Keyboard


Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
Main features – With touch sensitive keys as standard, they are also finished in a “box style” to create a piano feel you expect on much higher spec. 200 voices and 128 rhythms, give you a big selection of sounds, as well as vibrato and pitch bend to twist that sound further.
Accessories – Includes mains adaptor, music stand and pair of headphones
Best suited for – The AXP2 entry 61-note keyboard is made to give budding enthusiasts the ideal start to take them up to Grade 3.

5.Yamaha Piaggero NP12 Electronic Keyboard

Price range (rated from £ to £££) – ££
Main features – authentic piano tone, slim design, 61 note graded soft touch keyboard, built-in stereo speaker system, 64 note polyphony, 10 voices, built-in metronome, works both with an adaptor or battery power, USB to Host, headphone socket, power adaptor connection and sustain pedal connectivity.
Accessories – music rest and power adaptor available. 2 different colours – black or white available as a pack with a double braced stand and headphones
Best suited for – for a potential pianist on a budget or in need of a portable keyboard and beginners looking for a more classical style keyboard


Finally… For those of you who would like yourself or your child to potentially undertake piano, but don’t want to spend too much just yet or want to save some space in your home, NP12 is the perfect choice for you. It is almost half way between a keyboard and a stage piano with 61 graded, soft touch keys which offers you a slightly weighted feel. The very classic look and the authentic piano sound will impress everyone and create that light and pure tone wherever you are. With an included power adaptor, this piano-style keyboard also operates on just 6 AA batteries, which means you can take it anywhere! And yet, it still features 10 different voices, 10 piano demos, USB connectivity and a transpose function for when you want your creativity to shine.

In summary…

I hope that you have found something you were looking for in this article about starter keyboards. In my opinion, all of these starter keyboards are great beginner instruments that can really go the distance. The questions; what you are looking for? how much money you are looking to spend? and do you need all the different voices and styles? or are simply looking for something a bit more traditional? Another relevant thing is how important the inbuilt lessons are to you.

I would say, for a complete beginner, the likes of Axus AXP25, Casio CTK-1500Yamaha PSRE363  would all be perfect as the in-built lesson functions will help you learn by yourself, especially if you feel like you want to build up your confidence before seeking a keyboard teacher. Also, the AXP25 and PSRE363 keyboards will have touch responsive keys, allowing more expression while playing.

If a piano-style feel is what you are looking for, Yamaha PSRE363 or Yamaha NP12 would all be perfect as they will have a very pure and natural piano sound, with a touch responsive keyboard and, NP12 will even have slightly weighted keys – as far as starter keyboards go, they really do have a great feel.

If the creative features, different sounds and rhythms are what really excite you, I would recommend the Yamaha PSRE363. The PSRE363 even has an in-built lesson function. To top that off, both of these keyboards will have a world of options to offer that will even impress a more experienced player.

Click here for:

Digital Piano – A Buying Guide for Beginners

Musical Terms Glossary – Digital Pianos and Keyboards

About the author

Diana was Normans Piano & Strings specialist for a number of years. She is a singer songwriter, plays piano and speaks 3 languages. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling as well as blogging about anything.




  • Buying A Keyboard: A Complete Guide | Normans News 10/06/2014 at 9:06 am

    […] Top 5 Starter Keyboards of 2014 […]

  • Peter Blades 26/01/2015 at 1:05 pm

    Axp2 sounds good – shame nobody has stock or knows when they will have any.

    • Diana Stone 28/01/2015 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. We are now due to receive the Axus AXP2 Keyboards in mid to late February. You are welcome to pre-order them on our website and we will keep you informed of the delivery progress.

      Many thanks,


  • firstladyonline 25/10/2015 at 8:18 am

    online shopping

  • Hank 22/01/2016 at 5:29 pm

    Well could you please confirm if the key width of the Yamaha PSR E353 is the same as that of CASIO CTK 6200, especially that of the black keys…

    • Diana Stone 25/01/2016 at 9:23 am

      Hi Hank,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, the key width of black and white keys would be the same on Yamaha PSRE353 and Casio CTK-6200 as both of these keyboards feature full-size keys. The only difference is that the CTK-6200 has box-style keys which look similar to piano keys and the PSRE353 has organ-style keys.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,


  • Maisha 24/09/2016 at 7:57 pm

    Is the 1st one portable?.I am thinking of buying a keyboard,I am 14 and I am COMPLETELY new to music.So is the 1st one suitable for a person of my age?Other than that I found everything that i wanted on my keyboard in the 1st one.

    • Diana Stone 27/09/2016 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Maisha,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the Axus AXP25 Keyboard is portable, in fact it weighs only 3.75 kg (just over 8 pounds). It is also an ideal keyboard for any beginner, so it would be suited for someone your age.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,


  • Wes 09/11/2017 at 6:50 am

    I am a seasoned singer songwriter guitar player now wanting to learn to play keyboard. Two very important areas i am looking for when purchasing my first keyboard
    1 good size screen with chord display

    2 any online free tutorials you could recommend with learning to play by ear, etc
    Thank you for any help


  • Melissa 20/11/2017 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Diana,
    I want to learn how to play piano, and Im looking for a keyboard with a more of piano-feel, which one do you recommend from this ones?
    -Casio Portable Mod.ctk-1550 C/eli
    -Portable Casio Ctk4400
    -Casio Portbale Mod.ctk-2550 C/eli


    • Shona Callow 28/11/2017 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for your comment – I would recommend the CTK-4400 as it has lots of functions which is great for learning!

      If you’d like to order, browse the keyboard on our website or contact our sales team sales@normans.co.uk (01283 535333).

      Kind regards,

      Web Administrator

  • Ashikur Rahman 07/01/2018 at 10:35 am

    This is a great review. I got my best idea. Thank you so much for write this review and thanks again for sharing. I am going to recommend it to my friend.

  • Wendy 24/02/2018 at 7:56 am

    Hey Diana, I just purchased Yamaha PSRE363 and I gotta said it is one of my best purchase ever! Thanks a lot for this recommendation list 🙂

    • Shona Callow 26/02/2018 at 9:15 am

      Hi Wendy,

      I am so pleased you’re happy with your keyboard. We are a fan too!