If you’re eager for the best lighted keyboard piano, it’s the Yamaha EZ-220. Keep reading for all other options.
Lighted keyboards are fantastic for beginners who want to see the notes easier when playing. They’re also great for playing in clubs where you want to put on a visual as well as an audible show.
Whatever your reason, there are plenty of fantastic lighted keyboard pianos on the market, with features that far transcend their simple lighting abilities.
The best lighted keyboard pianos are:
- Yamaha EZ-220
- Best Choice Products 61-Key Beginners’ Electronic Keyboard
- RockJam 61-Key Keyboard
- The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard
Reviews of the Best Lighted Keyboard Pianos in 2021
The EX-220 holds-up Yamaha’s outstanding reputation as customers, experienced and new, adore the three modes the piano offers as well as the touch sensitivity of the lighted keys.
Some customers expressed disappointment that the lighted keys aren’t weighted, but they feel the modes make up for that.
The three modes are:
Customers found these perfect for kids and older beginners, and experienced players found them a nice add-on. More advanced players were more interested in the sound quality, dubbing it as excellent. They also feel it’s one of the more touch-sensitive keyboards on the market.
However, some players expressed concern that the lighted keyboard feels cheap, raising some durability concerns. They say the same about the stand, finding the quality questionable, too. It’s sturdy but doesn’t have a great grip on the piano.
All in all, customers have no complaints about the function, adore the sound quality through the headphones, and they found playing with the voices fun. If someone’s only concern is the quality of the add-ons and how the product “feels,” then that’s a win in our book.
Best Choice Products 61-Key Beginners’ Electronic Keyboard
Best Beginner Bundle
Our top pick is pretty decent for beginners and advanced players alike, but some new keyboardists might prefer something more cost-effective like this option. That way, if you give up, it’s slightly less of a loss.
Plus, you get more in this bundle:
Despite the comprehensive list, some customers wish that there was sheet music for the included songs. Also, there’s no list stating what songs the piano teaches. Customers were annoyed that you have to figure that out for yourself. Still, younger players didn’t seem to mind, and some have used it daily since.
One standout is the touch-sensitive lighted keys, which new players liked, but just be aware that some found them a bit too sensitive. They also found the music stand not sturdy and prone to falling over.
Thankfully, the software is better, the sound is loud and clear, and the meaning mode easy.
Even so, the lighted keyboard doesn’t let you turn off the accompaniment music when following along to the built-in songs.
On the plus side, beginners and even kids found the songs easy to follow and the lessons simple. Later, they had no issues transferring their skills to a real upright piano.
RockJam 61-Key Keyboard
Best for Kids
This RockJam keyboard is ideal for kids due to the app and visuals, which entice the player to learn. In addition, it comes as a bundle, so has everything needed to get started.
Included items are:
The sustain pedal is incredible, whereas some of the other keyboards on this list lack one. It gives kids the ability to play all types of music and leads to less editing in-post through the supplied DAW.
RockJam’s lighted keyboard also comes with a MIDI connection and digital audio workstation so kids can start composing and mixing their favorite song.
The kids will need to be quite tech-savvy to navigate the learning app, DAW and large touch screen display on the keyboard, though. Even so, customers did find that their kids could handle the learning curve.
Though you can’t apply the same praise to other parts of the setup. For example, neither the bench nor the stand are adjustable, so they might not suit all kids—younger ones will need to sit on a cushion. Kids are also advised to be careful with touching the stand as it’s slightly wobbly.
Honestly, the build quality of some of the software and hardware isn’t great. Parents say the piano keyboard feels more like a toy than a real keyboard. Plus, they note that the speakers can’t handle high volumes, so it’s best to use the headphones.
It’s not supposed to be perfect, though. It’s a child-friendly beginner board that you’re supposed to upgrade from along your musical journey. For what it is, parents and kids alike say that it does the job for now. They also feel it’s great value with decent features.
The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard
Best Professional Keyboard
Finally, we come to the only professional keyboard on our list. It’s an 88-key lighted keyboard with full-size hammer-action, touch-sensitive light-up keys. It’s also durable, made to last and is ready for advanced players to use.
However, it’s great if you’re a beginner who likes to go premium before learning to play. This is mainly due to the app that teaches you to play, but the recording function can also help you as you listen back to how much you’ve improved over time.
Unfortunately, you can’t save these recordings for long—but the MIDI-connectivity will let you hook this up to a DAW, record there and save those.
Note that players found the keyboard’s features, the app and MIDI connectivity incredibly easy to use. They also found the sound quality highly realistic, rich and just plain beautiful.
More advanced players enjoy that there aren’t too many fancy features—they have their DAW for that. Beginners like the simplicity, too, as it doesn’t distract from their learning experience. No bells and whistles; just a quick cable connection to their phone, and they were playing music within 10 minutes.
Players then learned to layer and split music, creating custom songs through the ONE Smart Piano app. They found it good practice for future endeavors into professional music.
Don’t get us wrong; it’s not all good. You need the app to use it has a lighted keyboard piano, which some people found annoying. They also disliked that you have to pay for the sheet music in the app.
Some players recommend looking for different apps to help you learn, though you won’t be able to use the piano’s light function with them.
Picking a Piano Keyboard: Top Tips
Of course, these keyboards all have the lighting factor in common, but there’s more that goes into picking a piano than that.
Professionals will have different needs than beginners, and piano players transitioning to electronic keyboards will have some preferences, too.
Let’s examine the aspects that can make or break a keyboard for you.
Pianos have hammer action keys, which you may also hear called “fully weighted.” They’re soft and bouncy and take little effort to push down. They bounce or wobble when they slowly rise back up, and they feel fantastic.
The harder or sharper you press the light-up keys, the louder the sound, which is great for a dynamic and dramatic performance—the lighted keys are touch-sensitive, causing this response.
If you want hammer action, go for The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard.
Unfortunately, not all keyboards have the best keys. Some unweighted ones are basic, on springs, and bounce back up as soon as you release them. Sometimes this makes a slight plastic-snapping noise so ensure you have your volume turned up if you have lighted keys like this.
Thankfully these keys are rarer, usually found on kids’ or beginner keyboards. They’re not touch-sensitive keys and are made for keyboardists, not pianists. They’re by no means bad, but they’re not the most desirable if you want to replicate an upright piano.
Unweighted keys won’t usually be called “unweighted,” though, so if you don’t see fully or semi-weighted in the description, you can theorize these lighted keys are what you’re getting. They’re not great for a realistic piano sound but can play music well.
The Yamaha EZ-220 is an example of a better keyboard with unweighted keys.
Semi-weighted keys aren’t quite providing that piano-feel but may be touch-sensitive. Unfortunately, users often find that most semi-weighted keyboards aren’t actually touch-sensitive.
If you find one with touch–sensitive keys, you’ll have no worries sound-wise, and the other difference is just the feel.
The keys will spring back up more than rise, and they won’t be quite as bouncy as piano keys. You can’t exactly “tickle” the ivories, but you can give them a good poke.
You’ll also find that they’re more cost-effective and lighter than hammer-action keyboards. They’re also far better for traveling performers who don’t have roadies to do the heavy lifting.
For semi-weighted lighted keys, consider the RockJam 61-Key Keyboard.
A piano has 88 keys, but many keyboards only use 61 keys. The additional 17 keys are often unused in regular rock, pop and country music unless it’s to add harmonies or play a four-hand song. Sometimes, you’ll need them if you play classical music, but you probably won’t miss them most of the time.
If you’re absolutely bent on getting a keyboard piano that’s as piano-like as possible, go for the 88 lighted keys for sure—The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard is great.
If budget is more your concern, stay with a 61-key keyboard, such as the Yamaha EZ-220.
Keyboard pianos often have two powering abilities; plugged and batteries. The batteries don’t often last long but are highly convenient for portability, street performance and stages without nearby outlets or power extenders.
Only one keyboard piano on our list offers both options, and that’s the Best Choice Products 61-Key Beginners’ Electronic Keyboard.
Keyboards come with the standard “grand piano” voice, but they may have electric piano, organ, harpsichord and more voices.
If your keyboard lacks voices, don’t fret. Serious musicians can use their DAW to craft different instrument sounds post-production; the RockJam 61-Key Keyboard comes with a DAW software for this.
Consider a keyboard piano that allows for a MIDI connection. There are many cabling options to allow for this, but we recommend getting one that allows for MIDI to USB—you’ll need no extra gear to connect the keyboard to the PC.
Both the RockJam 61-Key Keyboard and The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard offer this.
App connectivity is also cool to have on a piano like this, via Bluetooth or cable. It helps you sync to a teaching app to self-teach some piano. The Best Choice Products 61-Key Beginners’ Electronic Keyboard has an app for connecting your lighted keyboard piano to your phone via Bluetooth.
Polyphony means how many keys you can press down at once. While not a huge concern for keyboard players, if you ever plan on playing with a friend or two or you just like the best of the best, high polyphony is something to consider.
As a minimum, look at around 30 notes. Most keyboard players will never need so many notes played at once, but it’s nice to know your lighted keyboard piano can handle it.
The lighted keyboard piano with the most polyphony is The ONE Music Group Smart Stage Keyboard at 128.
Are Lighted Keyboards Good For Learning?
Lighted keyboards are great for learning. They help you find and memorize the keys’ positions on your board and keep you from getting confused between the keys as you maneuver quickly between them.
The Best Lighted Keyboard Piano
The best lighted keyboard piano is the Yamaha EZ-220 61. It’s a big brand name, great for beginners and advanced players alike, and it has top-notch learning features for the former.
Users say its sound quality is excellent, similar to a professional level, so you’ll have no problems rocking out on stage, in a studio or your living room. It’s definitely the best piano keyboard with light-up keys for all ages and player types.