You’re salivating over gear, but you don’t have a budget to buy any of it. You also recently started making music, so who knows what you’ll want a year from now (trust me, the wants get worse the more you know). That’s why we put together this quick guide to the top-rated MIDI keyboards under $100 to get you started.

Why Get a MIDI Keyboard First

I knew I needed a keyboard as soon as I wanted to make music. I relate to producing through piano and reading music, because I played instruments growing up. So, a MIDI keyboard was a natural place for me to start. These often affordable pieces of equipment are perfect for beginners because you’ll pick up on some music theory basics just by jamming. (Actually, my parents gave me a MIDI keyboard for my 15th birthday, but I quickly gave up when I couldn’t get it to work. The lesson: have perseverance in the face of technology.) Anyways, these days a DAW like Ableton and a USB powered MIDI keyboard go together like PB&J. They’ll take no more than five seconds to work together.

Once you learn more about synthesizers, filters, and get a good handle on your DAW, you can look into buying gear that enhances your music productions. For now though, a MIDI keyboard works great to get your hands off your laptop and onto some equipment.

Your Best MIDI Keyboard Options Under $100

Akai MIDI Keyboards Under $100

I love Akai products. They’re affordable, well-made, and play very well with DAWs. You have quite a few options under $100 with Akai models, many of which come with additional controls like arpeggiation, drum pads, and knobs that you can map to automation settings or filters in your DAW.

  • Akai Professional APC Key 25
    • Price: Just under $100
    • Number of Keys: 25
    • Additional features: Integrates seamlessly with Ableton which makes it a good live controller in this price range. Like Akai’s larger, more expensive APC 40 model, you can use the mini pads to launch clips and the adjustable knobs to control automation or filters. The keys give you extra flexibility to improvise live or create in the studio.
  • Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII
    • Price: Just under $100
    • Number of Keys: 25
    • Additional features: Unlike the APC Key 25, the MPK features larger, velocity-sensitive drum pads with two banks. It also has the eight programable knobs and 25 key keyboard. If you’re choosing between this and the APC Key 25, consider what you’ll use the keyboard for and what DAW you use. The APC Key 25 is geared more towards Ableton users who want a live controller.
  • Akai Professional LPK25
    • Price: Around $65 (although sometimes you can find them used at places like Guitar Center for even cheaper)
    • Number of Keys: 25
    • Additional features: This is a pretty straightforward small, portable midi keyboard. This lovely little thing is perfect if you’re on the move often or you’re just getting started and want to mess around with some chords. Because it’s so small, it’s not ideal for jamming, but great for getting your toes wet. It also comes with a built in arpeggiator, tempo control, and octave control. This version is USB powered, but Akai also offers a wireless, battery-powered version for about the same price.

Novation MIDI Keyboards Under $100

The Novation Launchkey Mini is an alternative to the Akai APC Key 25. It’s built to run seamlessly with Ableton Live and is essentially a light version of their Novation Launchpad series with a small, attached keyboard.

  • Price: Just under $100
  • Number of Keys: 25
  • Additional features: 8 programmable knobs, 16 velocity-sensitive pads, built to work with Ableton Live.
    • The Novation also comes in 41 key and 69 key versions. They’re slightly more expensive, but you’ll get a fuller keyboard which gives you more flexibility to jam and learn.

Casio MIDI Keyboards Under $100

Casio is famous for its keyboards, especially their fun, early ’80s models. While higher end models can run in the hundreds of dollars, they have a couple cheaper models that are perfectly reasonable for a beginner. Try the Casio CTK2400. It enables sampling and recording, which is fun to experiment with as a new music producer. 

  • Price: Just under $100
  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Additional features: Sampling function with built-in microphone, 400 different voices, 150 rhythms, in-product learning feature
  • NoteUnlike other products mentioned here which act only as a controller, this is a true electronic keyboard with USB/MIDI capabilities. (e.g. it does tons of fun stuff outside of acting as a controller)

What MIDI Keyboards to you like the best? Do you use more expensive models? Cheaper models? Let me know in the comments!