Casio has been at the forefront of keyboard innovation ever since the Casiotone CT-201 burst onto the scene in 1980, bringing affordable polyphonic keyboarding to the masses. While the Japanese manufacturer doesn’t have the market all to itself in 2022 – the likes of Yamaha and Roland also shift a fair few units worldwide – the best Casio keyboards offer everything that a modern melody-maker could want, combining cutting-edge technology with exceptional performance and comfort.
To help you choose the best Casio keyboard for your needs - and budget - we’ve put together this handy guide containing our top choices from the company’s range. We have options that include everything from fun-sized kids’ keyboards to portable arranger keyboards and even pro-level portable pianos.
So whether you’re an aspiring musician or a fully-fledged virtuoso, you’re sure to find this best Casio keyboards guide helpful.
Best Casio keyboards: Our top picks
There are a lot of great instruments on this list, but for sheer freshness and uniqueness, the Casio CT-S1000V is a pretty exciting choice. Its vocal synthesis technology holds great promise, and even without that feature it’s an extremely capable and entertaining machine. If you’re not bothered about the vocal synthesis, you could always opt for the CT-S500, which will give you everything found on the CT-S1000V minus the vocal features, for $70/£50/€60 less.
If portable pianos are more your thing, then we recommend the PX-S1100 (opens in new tab). Though it’s not the cheapest instrument around, this updated model ticks all the right boxes, featuring a solid set of unparalleled acoustic piano tones, great keyboard action, excellent speakers and a slim profile.
Or if you want a great beginner keyboard for your child to mess around on and get inspired to pursue music as a hobby, then the diminutive, bargain-priced SA-76 (opens in new tab) is a no-brainer as a fun and entertaining gateway to learning the keyboard.
Best Casio keyboards: Product guide
Launched in January 2022, Casio’s latest offering features a pretty unique selling point in the shape of vocal synthesis. In a feature not found on any other keyboard at this price – or indeed any other keyboard full stop – the CT-S1000V will ‘sing’ lyrics typed into it via an app on your mobile device in one of 20 different voices.
Even without the vocal trickery, this is an extremely capable arranger keyboard, with 800 AIX instrument tones, a great-feeling 61-key velocity-sensitive keyboard, and some slick-sounding auto-accompaniment grooves.
Three controller knobs will enable you to tweak sounds as they’re playing, and there’s also a pitch bend wheel, a rudimentary built-in sampler, plus Bluetooth audio streaming and wireless MIDI support with the included WU-BT10 Bluetooth dongle. Phew!
Read the full Casio CT-S1000V review
Almost identical in spec to the CT-S300, the LK-S250 features 61 full-size, velocity-sensitive, light-up keys. This means that when you’re playing along to an onboard Step Up lesson or one of the 60 built-in songs, the correct keys will light up to tell you which notes to play.
The LK-S250 can be hooked up to a smart device via its micro-USB port, and used with Casio’s Chordana Play app, which makes full use of those light-up keys to further broaden the keyboard’s educational potential. Plus you can plug an external music source into the keyboard’s minijack audio input to play along with MP3s of your favourite tracks.
Hugely portable thanks to its lightweight, slim profile and carrying handle, the LK-S250 can be powered by batteries, making it easy to take your practice sessions anywhere. Four-hundred tones and a Dance Music mode with 50 extra rhythms add to the entertainment, making this a great all-rounder.
In 2019, Casio revived the Casiotone brand from the 1980s by launching three new 61-key portable keyboards bearing the CT model prefix – the CT-S100, the CT-S200 and the CT-S300. In 2021, the trio became a quartet with the arrival of the flagship CT-S400.
You still get a 61-key, full-size, velocity-sensitive keyboard, a pitch-bend wheel and the AIX sound engine, but the CT-S400 improves on the CT-S300 on a number of fronts, offering more than 600 tones, 200 accompaniment styles and an improved yet still simple interface that employs five user-configurable soft buttons beneath a new backlit screen.
Casio’s philosophy is to help people make music any time, anywhere, and the CT range perfectly embodies that principle. The CT-S400 is a worthy range-topper, but if illuminated keys are your thing, there’s an equivalent light-up model called the LK-S450.
Casio’s CDP model designation stands for Compact Digital Piano, and that’s the perfect way to describe the CDP-S350. Yet this 88-key, professional-sounding instrument has a few tricks up its sleeve. Nestling beneath that unassuming, piano-like exterior are 700 instrument tones and 200 auto-accompaniment styles taken from the CT-X arranger keyboard models.
The CDP-S350 features Casio’s latest Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard, which, together with the simulated ebony and ivory textured keys, provides the authentic playing feel of an acoustic piano. A fantastic 8W speaker system delivers those 700 tones very effectively, and the acoustic piano sounds themselves are second to none.
Blurring the lines between the digital piano and its cousin the portable arranger keyboard, the CDP-S350 is a super-slim and truly versatile hybrid instrument that would be just as comfortable in a professional setting as it would in a learning situation at home.
Launched in April 2021, the Casio CT-S1 is the spiritual successor to the original Casiotone CT-201 that started it all. Available in black, white or red, it comes with 61 tones that are powered by the excellent AIX sound engine and accessed by a simple interface, with no screen or menu diving. It works on six AA batteries, and also has strap buttons and a class-compliant USB port, so can take on keytar or MIDI controller duties, too.
The CT-S1’s sounds are fantastic, and the onboard speakers go loud enough to do them justice. The acoustic piano is particularly rich and dynamic, programmed to take full advantage of the responsive keybed.
You do get some drum sounds, but there’s no auto-accompaniment features, so the CT-S1 is really aimed at keyboard players who are after a decent range of truly excellent, usable sounds in a portable, affordable package.
Read the full Casio CT-S1 review
Launched in 2018, the CT-X range was the first line of keyboards to feature Casio’s now- renowned AIX (Artistic Intelligent Expression) sound engine, with the CT-X700 being the entry-level model.
Sixty-one full-size, velocity-sensitive keys, a solid-sounding pair of 2.5W speakers, a generous 600 tones, 100 arpeggios and 195 rhythms, a six-track song recorder and Casio’s Step Up onboard lesson system are just a few of the features squeezed into this keyboard. Casio has even thoughtfully provided a dedicated pad to rest your smartphone on when using it as a sound source via the audio-input jack on the back of the instrument.
The realistic piano sounds, along with the broad range of high-quality voices and accompaniment styles, make the CT-X700 a tempting proposition for anyone in the market for an affordable, well-built and versatile portable arranger keyboard.
Read the full Casio CT-X700 review
At the opposite end of the scale from the CT-X700, we have the CT-X5000, the flagship model of the CT-X range. This model seems more geared up for live performance than the other models in the line-up, due to the line outputs and microphone inputs found on the back panel, along with the powerful, room-filling twin-15W speaker system.
With a sharp, modern geometric design and crimson accents, the CT-X5000 both looks and sounds the part, with over 800 preset AIX voices, 235 rhythm tracks, 100 DSP effects, a USB port, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and much more besides.
What sets this model apart is that you can store 100 user rhythms in the keyboard’s memory, and get direct access to instrument categories via dedicated buttons. It also has a modulation button above the pitch wheel. Due to that impressive speaker array, though, the CT-X5000 is the only model in the range that’s not capable of running on battery power.
An upgraded version of the Privia PX-S1000 – which Casio claims to be the world’s slimmest digital piano – the PX-S1100 builds upon an already impressive list of features by adding Bluetooth audio and MIDI connectivity, an enhanced AIR (Acoustic intelligent Resonator) grand piano tone for even more musical expression, a tweaked speaker system, plus a USB audio record and playback function.
Though it’s still a relatively portable unit, the PX-S1100 is a serious instrument, with an active touch-panel display, Casio’s great-feeling Smart Scaled Hammer Action weighted keyboard and a whopping 192-note polyphony to ensure you won’t have any sustained notes dropping out.
It only comes with 18 instrument voices but, as you’d expect from a professional-grade digital piano, string resonance, damper resonance, key action noise and damper noise are all present and correct in the rich, detailed grand piano tone. The PX-S1100 has two headphone outputs for duets or lessons, and is available in three colours – black, white or red.
Read the full Casio PX-S1100 review
The tiny but mighty SA-76 is a colourful and fun way to start your kids off on the path to exploring the world of music. It’s affordable enough to help determine whether or not you have a budding Mozart in the house, without breaking the bank.
The three model designations in the SA range relate to the case colour – the SA-76 has an orange casing, the SA-77 is grey and the SA-78’s undercarriage is bright pink. Aside from that, the spec is the same, this mini marvel squeezing in 100 instrument tones, 50 rhythms and 10 basic integrated songs, an LCD display, five drum pads for tapping out your own rhythms, twin speakers and, perhaps most importantly, a headphone jack!
Changing between piano, organ and harmonium sounds is achieved by pressing the big orange button on the front panel. The 44 mini keys aren’t velocity-sensitive, but that’s not really a deal-breaker at this level – as a fun way for kids to get into picking out simple melodies over fun backing tracks, there aren’t many better options out there.
When Casio took the opportunity to relaunch the iconic Casiotone brand in 2019, it essentially repackaged its CTK range of beginner keyboards into three new Casiotone models – the CT-S100, the CT-S200 and the CT-S300 – designed to be the world’s most portable 61-note keyboards.
Of the three, it’s the CT-S200 that makes it onto our list, the reason being that it offers substantially more in the way of sounds, features and value than the entry-level CT-S100 for only slightly more dosh, comes in three different colours and is also compatible with the new Casio Music Space app.
There’s a simple control panel with a rotary dial and an LCD display, 400 tones, 77 accompaniment styles and a Dance Music mode with 50 patterns of its own. If you want velocity-sensitive keys and pitch bend, then the CT-S300 is the model to shoot for; otherwise, the CT-S200 has a tremendous amount to offer for those just starting out.
We have already featured its big brother, the PX-S1100, but we feel it’s essential to showcase the entry-level Casio CDP-S110. Despite its tiny price tag, the S110 still manages to feature a fully-weighted, hammer-action 88-note keyboard, ten unique voices and can even be run on batteries for extreme portability.
This brand new Casio keyboard builds on the legacy of its predecessor - the CDP-S100 - but employs a few valuable upgrades. Despite keeping many of the features the same, there have been a few tweaks to the velocity and decay time on the core piano tones, which results in a very natural and satisfying piano tone.
For our money, the Casio CDP-S110 is easily one of the most impressive beginner pianos on the market, combining quality sounds, a fantastic feeling keyboard, and stellar build quality.
Read our full Casio CDP-S110 review
Best Casio keyboards: Buying advice
What’s an arranger keyboard?
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By definition, an arranger keyboard is one that features built-in rhythms, along with ‘virtual band’ accompaniments. With the latter, you need only play a chord with your left hand (this can usually be done with a single finger if you don’t feel like playing the complete chord), and your virtual band will play along while you pick out the melody with your right hand.
Because the accompaniment styles are pre-programmed at the factory, they’re pretty much dependent on the in-house composers’ music tastes. As a result, auto-accompaniment features tend to be a bit ‘Marmite’ – you either love them or hate them. To be fair, keyboard manufacturers have been working hard to ensure that the styles included in their latest models are elevated above the cheese level normally associated with this kind of thing. Casio is no exception, and the Japanese firm currently offers some of the most articulate backing-band styles on the market. Sophistication levels will naturally rise in tandem with price, but most of the keyboards on this list feature a good mix of traditional and current styles.
What to look out for when buying a Casio keyboard
Arranger keyboards often ship with hundreds of different instrument presets, representing practically every instrument that exists and probably quite a few that don’t. Bear in mind that quantity isn’t always a measure of quality, though – it’s far better to have fewer usable voices than hundreds you’ll never bother with, especially if you’re more in the market for a digital piano than a portable keyboard. For more information on the differences between the two types of instrument, see our digital piano vs keyboard article here.
The term ‘style’ refers to a set of backing instruments that play along with you as you hold down a chord with your left hand. Styles are usually categorised by genre, with all of the keyboards on this list offering a broad selection from across the globe. These are always going to be divisive, and somebody else’s idea of a cool drum rhythm and accompaniment won’t always be to your taste. That said, Casio seems to have really done its homework in this area of late, and some of the pre-programmed styles on its more recent launches are very sophisticated and usable.
The average portable electronic keyboard will have 61 keys – a span of five octaves that comfortably allows for two-handed playing – while digital pianos normally have the full set of 88 keys (eight octaves). The majority of the keyboards and pianos shown here conform to these numbers, the exception being the SA-76, which sports 44 mini keys for a more child-friendly alternative. Nearly all the products are velocity-sensitive, allowing for dynamic expression according to how hard or softly you play the keys, while the digital pianos on the list come with fully weighted, hammer-action keyboards.
Every product on this list has built-in stereo speakers, so you won’t have to connect up to an amp or portable PA system in order to hear what you’re playing. To keep other family members and neighbours sweet, they also all come with at least one headphone socket for silent practising!
All of the products on this list can be powered via a standard power supply or USB, and some enable you to use batteries – a handy option for those who need some portability.
Want to stream audio from your smartphone or tablet to your keyboard so that you can play along? Although Bluetooth isn’t featured as standard on a lot of the keyboards on our list, newer models like the CT-S1 and the CT-S400 are compatible with Casio’s optional WU-BT10 Bluetooth adapter. Retailing at $80/£59/€70, this device plugs into a USB port on the rear of compatible keyboards, adding the ability to receive and play audio using your keyboard’s built-in speaker system. Though it’s not usually included in the box, if you shop around it’s possible to find deals that include the WU-BT10 in the purchase price.
There’s a good chance that you’re looking at keyboards because you want to learn how to play. Happily, almost all Casio keyboards offer educational features, from onboard lessons to compatibility with downloadable apps and services, some of which are outlined below.
Step Up lessons
Casio’s onboard lesson system can teach you how to play a selection of pre-programmed popular songs (these will vary depending on which model of keyboard you have). It’ll let you practise certain phrases of your chosen song, enabling you to learn the left-hand and right-hand parts separately or together – and you can even speed up or slow down the tempo according to your prowess. Overall, it’s quite a useful feature for beginners wanting to learn their favourite songs, though the process can be quite involved.
Compatible with all of Casio’s current keyboard and piano line-up, Chordana Play and Chordana Play Piano are free educational apps (Android or iOS) that’ll help you learn how to play songs using a simple interface. Once connected via USB or Casio’s optional WU-BT10 Bluetooth dongle, you can browse the 50 or so traditional songs in the online library, or import any MIDI file you choose. The notes of the song will then drop down in a videogame style (and light up the keys if you have an LK-S250), enabling you to play the song while the app scores your performance. There’s even a mode where Chordana will wait for you to find the right key before continuing with the song, meaning you can learn at your own pace.
Casio Music Space
When connected to your Casio piano or keyboard, Casio Music Space can act as a digital music score, a teacher, a live-performance simulator and an all-round app with which to enjoy learning and playing music. Based around the functionality of Chordana Play but with an expanded array of features, it’s aimed at complete beginners, people taking up an instrument again, or intermediate to advanced players who want to experience a new way of playing.
Casio Music Academy
Buy any of the best Casio keyboards or digital pianos and you’ll be granted free access to the Casio Music Academy. Designed by music teachers, this online portal combines video tutorials with an app that connects to your keyboard via a USB cable or the optional WU-BT10 Bluetooth dongle. While you play, it’ll analyse your performance and show you how to improve, step by step.
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