The 9 Best Keyboards for Worship & Church in 2023

  • Written By 
  • Keith Duell

The best keyboards for worship & church

Finding the perfect keyboard for worship music can be a challenge. You’ll need to look at features, quality of sound, and budget all at once – but it’s worth it! The right keyboard will help you bring your worship tunes to life and create immersive, breathtaking experiences.

In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the best keyboards for worship music, from portable options to full-size models with countless bells and whistles. We’ll outline what parameters you should consider when shopping for a keyboard, as well as what software and accessories might be necessary for your setup.

This post is going to save you the hassle of tons of trial and error that our team has gone through over the past 10+ years. We have a lot of experience with the keyboards mentioned here and we stand behind each one. Especially when it comes to the functionality that is used specifically in a worship setting. 

Because of all of the sounds used in modern worship music these days like pads, strings, pulsing synths, etc. this list is exclusively keyboards that have MIDI capabilities.

MIDI gives you the capability to run your keyboard direct into your computer to create virtually any sound imaginable. So you’re not just limited to the built-in sounds from your keyboard.

Before you read on…

To go along with this post we’ve created a FREE Video Series On Creating Worship Keyboard Sounds From Scratch that will walk you step by step on how to create some of the most powerful keyboard sounds that you’ll use over and over again. Even if you’ve never created a keyboard sound before!

If you’ve ever wanted to get started building keyboard sounds like the pros, or already know how but want to learn some new helpful tips and tricks, this is the video series for you. (Check out the video at the bottom of this post for more information)

What Makes The Best Keyboards For Worship?

Here’s a list of the top 5 qualities you should consider when searching for your perfect keyboard for worship and your church.

1. Just a MIDI controller or built-in keyboard sounds?

Most keyboards these days come with a USB output for midi capability, but if you’re primarily playing piano or organ sounds, you may want to opt for a keyboard with great built-in sounds (Options 5-9 below).

Especially if the style you are playing is more traditional, you may not be too concerned about MIDI and using software.

However, if the style you are playing is geared more towards synths, pads, and creative sounds, you might consider saving some $$$ and getting a midi controller that allows you to run your sounds from a computer.

2. The Weight Of The Keyboard

When deciding the best keyboard for worship, you definitely want to take the weight of the keyboard into consideration. If you’re going to be setting up and tearing down or hauling your keyboard back in forth in your car, you’ll definitely want to take the actual weight of the keyboard into consideration. A full-size keyboard with 88 full-weighted keys can weigh up to 40-50lbs.

This is a lesson I learned the hard way!

3. The Weight Of The Keys

As a rule of thumb, we don’t like to go below semi-weighted keys. You’ll see all of the options below are at-least semi-weighted. This is a personal preference but consider what you’re used to playing, the style of music, and the sounds you’ll be using.

If you’re playing primarily auxillary keys parts like synths, you may like the semi-weighted keys. But if you’re playing primarily piano or organ, you’ll probably prefer the feel of fully-weighted keys. Especially if you learned piano on an actual piano and not a keyboard.

4. The Number Of Keys

Again, this goes into your preference and the style of music you’re playing. A full set of 88 keys would be your preference if you are playing primarily piano and organ parts.

But if you’re playing those aux keys parts, you can definitely get by without the full set of keys. There is also always a transpose button should you want to change octaves.

5. Faders, Knobs, and Buttons

If you’re going to be using midi and controlling your sounds via your computer, you’re not going to want to have to keep reaching over and adjusting sounds on your small mousepad. And many modern worship sounds are dynamic where you are changing the sound as you are playing.

The more faders, knobs, & buttons you have, gives you more in-set control of different things like cutoff, reverb, delay, which patch you’re playing, track triggering, tap tempo, lighting control, etc.

You can also opt for an external controller with knobs and buttons as well. But we’ll talk about that another time.

If you’d like to learn more about all of those different sound options and how to use them in your playing, check out our free series on creating keyboard sounds from scratch here.

The Best MIDI Controller Keyboards For Worship

These first 4 options are MIDI-only keyboards (or MIDI controllers). They are much cheaper than traditional keyboards with built-in sounds, but can ONLY be used with a computer and software like MainStage or a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to create your sounds.

FREE Video Series On Creating Worship Keyboard Sounds From Scratch

Click here to check out the FREE video series on building keyboard sounds from scratch!


1. Akai Professional MPK261 – $499

 

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • 8 faders
  • 8 knobs
  • 8 buttons
  • 16 pressure & velocity-sensitive pads
  • Semi-weighted 
  • Full-size keys
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output
  • USB Output

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • The durability and the sheer amount of assignable faders, knobs, and buttons.

2. Novation Impulse 61 USB Midi Controller Keyboard – $399

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • 9 faders
  • 8 knobs
  • 9 buttons
  • 8 pressure & velocity-sensitive pads
  • Semi-weighted 
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output
  • USB Output

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • Almost the same features as the MPK261, but at a cheaper price (especially if you can snag a used one in good condition).

3. Novation Launchkey 61 [MK3] – $259

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • 9 faders
  • 8 knobs
  • 9 buttons
  • 16 pressure & velocity-sensitive pads
  • Semi-weighted 
  • Full-size keys
  • Ableton Integration
  • 5-pin MIDI Output
  • USB Output

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • The Ableton integration makes using this device so clean in live performance. Bonus, the feel is unreal!

4. M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 – $199

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • 1 fader
  • Semi-weighted 
  • Full-size keys
  • 5-pin MIDI Output
  • USB Output

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • If all you need to do is play without worrying about in-set controls, this is the cheapest and most reliable option.

The Best Keyboards For Worship With Built-In Sounds

The following 5 options are a bit more expensive, but allow you to produce sound with both MIDI and with built-in keyboard sounds.

5. Nord Stage 3 88-key – $4,499

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • Fully-size Fully-weighted Hammer-Action 
  • On-board Pianos, Synths, & Pads
  • 4 Outputs & 1 Phones
  • USB Out
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output/Thru

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • Why we love this keyboard is simply because its onboard sound library is great and the amount of incredible importable patches that are out there make this a super reliable device. (Plus you can put it in lock mode to protect your patches from being saved over. AKA volunteer proof)

6. Yamaha Montage8 88-key – $3,999

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • Fully-size Fully-weighted Hammer-Action 
  • On-board Pianos, Synths, & Pads
  • 4 Outputs & 1 Phones
  • USB Out
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output/Thru

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • The Yamaha sound library is truly unmatched and at $500 less than the Nord, for some, it’s all you need.

7. Yamaha MODX88 – $1,999

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • Graded Hammer Standard-Action 
  • On-board Pianos, Synths, & Pads
  • 4 Outputs & 1 Phones
  • USB Out
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output/Thru

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • Very light and almost identical to the Montage for $2K less.

8. Kawai MP7SE, 88 Keys Stage Piano – $1,799

The best keyboards for worship

Features

  • Weighted Hammer-Action 
  • On-board Pianos, Synths, & Pads
  • 4 Outputs & 1 Phones
  • USB Out
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output/Thru

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • Simple, reliable, & sounds good.

9. Yamaha MX88 – $1,099

The best keyboards for worshipFeatures

  • Fully-size Weighted  
  • On-board Pianos, Synths, & Pads
  • 2 Outputs & 1 Phones
  • USB Out
  • 5-pin MIDI Input/Output

Our Team’s Favorite Thing About this Keyboard

  • Similar to the MODX with more limited features.
    i.e. amount of sounds you can layer on top of one another.

FREE Video Series On Creating Worship Keyboard Sounds From Scratch


Click here to check out the FREE video series on building keyboard sounds from scratch!

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