Best 5 Mini Midi Keyboards You Must Consider Before Buying [Ranked]

The 5 best selling and top rated mini MIDI keyboards to boost your music production skills to the next level.

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Mini midi keyboards are an awesome way to take your music production gear on the road with you. They’re affordable and pack a ton of features – many from their full-sized versions.

A question we often see though, is “What is the best mini MIDI keyboard?

In this article you’ll see the best 5 mini midi keyboards that you need to consider before buying. There are a TON of mini midi keyboards on the market right now, each with their own pros, cons and uniqueness.

It’ll be difficult for me to say this is the best one for you exactly – it depends on your technical experience with your DAW (your Digital Audio Workstation like Logic Pro, Ableton or Cubasis that’s on your computer) and your experience playing keyboards/piano.

Before we get into the top 5 mini MIDI keyboards, lets take a moment to look at the factors you have to consider and how you’ll determine if the suggestions you’ll see will work for you.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Mini MIDI Keyboard

Key Size

So you’ll be expecting mini keys on the keyboard, but if you’re new to keyboards, you might get taken aback a bit at how mini those keys really are. If you have any piano playing experience, you might find the tiny keys a bit too tiny, on the other hand, if you’re sitting in front of your DAW and occasionally plugging in notes, it might be ok.

Mini MIDI keyboards don’t all have the same sized keys. You can even find Mini MIDI keyboards with one full sized octave.

Just make sure the mini keyboard you buy has a good return policy incase you don’t like them. Amazon has an amazing return policy (30 days), as does Guitar Center (45 days).

Knobs & Pads

The majority of mini MIDI keyboards come with assignable knobs and pads that you can use to create music and adjust different parameters within your DAW. These can be really useful when you’re recording automations or making a drum track and you need to press the pads to the beat.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need knobs and pads every day, they’re a useful thing to have on hand when you need them. If you can setup your DAW to map the knobs and pads to specific controls, it’ll make your workflow much smoother and fluid.

Transport Controls

For me it’s essential that a mini MIDI keyboard has transport controls onboard. Transport controls enable you to play, stop, record, loop and even undo and redo. Once you get into making music, you’ll start to lay down a keyboard part and mess up. Now you have to take your hands off the mini MIDI keyboard, select the midi region you just created (and messed up), delete it, rewind back to the start of the track, hit record and play again.

If your keyboard had transport controls, you can just tap stop to reset the play head, undo) and then record and try it again. This is without taking your hands away from the mini MIDI keyboard.

It’s one of those things that is really useful once you have it. I’d recommend this feature is near the top of your list of must-haves.

Pitch And Modulation Wheels

Pitch and modulation wheels are quickly becoming a standard feature on most MIDI keyboards. You’ll find them usually on the left side of the keyboard next to each other. You probably won’t use the pitch wheel much unless you’re jamming out, but the modulation wheel is handy when you want to add effects to the instrument you’re playing. The effects could be a simple vibrato to wild filters – it depends on how the instrument you’re playing is setup and which controller mapping has been done.

Sustain Pedal Input

A sustain pedal keeps notes from stopping until you release the foot switch. Even though these mini MIDI keyboards are compact, some can still accept a MIDI sustain pedal. A sustain pedal can really up the sound of your music and especially so if you’re making piano based tracks.

Key Size And Feel

Almost all mini MIDI keyboards have synth action keys, this means they’re not weighted and don’t have aftertouch. They DO however have velocity control. This means you can play on the keyboard lightly and the notes will sound soft, or play harder for maximum volume.

The keys can feel a bit un-premium if you’re used to full sized piano style keyboards, but that’s the trade you’ll have to make for ultra portability and an affordable price.

Scroll through this list and check out the best 5 mini MIDI keyboards.

Best 5 Mini MIDI Keyboards

Here are the top 5 mini MIDI keyboards you should have on your radar for your home studio – or studio on the road.

1. AKAI Professional MPK Mini Mk3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini Mk3

$99
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AKAI Professional MPK Mini Mk3

The best choice for a mini MIDI keyboard. Good quality, solid features and priced right. This ticks all the boxes.

Price: $99 @ Guitar Center / Sweetwater. Check price on Amazon here.

The latest mini MIDI keyboard from Akai is the Akai Professional MPK Mini Mk3. It’s a best seller that has crazy high review ratings thanks to it’s well thought out design, performance and overall good looks.

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 packs a ton of features into a compact size.

  • 25 velocity sensitive keys
  • 8 velocity sensitive back lit drum pads
  • 8 assignable rotary knobs
  • X-Y joystick (thumb stick)
  • Mini LCD display
  • Choice of black, grey or standard designs
  • Comes with MPC Beats music production software

It’s difficult not to recommend Akai’s MPK Mini Mk3 mini MIDI keyboard as the #1 choice. It ticks almost all the boxes you’d need from an ultra portable mini MIDI keyboard and has an asking price that’s reasonable.

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 now features an upgraded and improved Gen 2 key bed over the MPK Mini Mk2 so the notes you play are accurate and satisfying.

You can assign the pads to banks, effectively giving you 16 pads to play drums, fire off samples or play notes. The high resolution OLED display shows immediate feedback when any of the controls are manipulated.

The knobs are endless, meaning that they never actually stop turning to a “maximum”. You might think this isn’t a good feature, but since you can assign a huge array of controls to the knobs, you’ll get precise adjustment every time. Plus it’s one less thing to break!

On the top left hand corner of the MPK Mini Mk3 sits the joystick control. With this you can control pitch, modulation and even more things if you assign it in your DAW. You could choose the joystick to control an LFO that mangles an audio file, or assign it to a filter and create some wild sounds.

The built in arpeggiator is a nice feature – arpeggios are a series of notes played one after the other in some sort of rhythm or sequence. While there are a lot of midi software options for arpeggios, having an arpeggiator built right into the MPK Mini Mk3 will make your workflow smoother.

This mini Akai MPK Mini Mk3 MIDI keyboard does have a sustain pedal input too – something that the #1 pick MUST have in my opinion. If you’re just getting started with learning to play keyboards/piano, you probably won’t need the pedal for a bit because it’s another thing you’ll have to learn how to use. Eventually it comes naturally, though, and you won’t even realize you’re using it.

Finally, the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 mini MIDI keyboard comes with MPC Beats – a music sequencing app (DAW) that features 6 virtual instruments and 1500+ sounds for you to dig in and start making music.

If you’ve already done some research you’ll notice that almost everywhere that sells the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 has high reviews – it’s top rated and best selling for a reason. If not, just know that you’re getting one of the best mini MIDI keyboards available right now when you pick up the Akai MPK Mini Mk3.

Buy The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 Mini MIDI Keyboard

Guitar Center – $99

Amazon – Check today’s price

BH Photo Video – $99

2. Arturia MINILAB MKII Mini MIDI Keyboard

Arturia MINILAB MKII Mini MIDI Keyboard

$79
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Arturia MINILAB MKII

A best selling mini MIDI keyboard with velocity sensitive drum pads and a bank of faders to tweak your sounds.

Price: $79 @ Sweetwater and Guitar Center / Check Today’s Price On Amazon

Arturia has a strong reputation for producing high quality, innovative music production equipment and their MiniLab MKII mini MIDI keyboard is no different.

The attractive pure white finish highlights the 16 assignable endless knobs that you can map to your favorite controls like LFOs, filters, effects and more. There are eight RGB backlit pads that are velocity sensitive – they are also ‘bankable’, meaning you can actually get 16 pads to work with in a single button press.

A unique advantage of picking up this Arturia mini MIDI keyboard is the bundled software it comes with and how well it interfaces with it. Arturia makes some of the most respected software instruments in the industry right now and 500 of their V-Collection presets are included.

Right out of the box, the Arturia MiniLab MKII is assigned and mapped to the V-Collection software. This means all you have to do is unbox the keyboard, plug it into your computer, install V-Collection and then you’ll be able to control the sounds and manipulate them with the built in knobs on the MiniLab MKII mini MIDI keyboard.

To help you start making awesome music, Arturia has included Ableton Live Lite. This works great with the V-Collection plugin and you’ll be able to start digging in and messing around with your mini MIDI keyboard as soon as you get it out of the box and the software installed.

You might notice that the pitch and modulation wheels have been replaced with a touch sensitive slider (top left of the keyboard). Instead of physically turning a wheel, the touch of your finger sliding along the surface controls the pitch and modulation.

The benefit of this is that you’ll have much finer and more precise control over the effects on the audio.

Like the Akai MPK Mini, all of the keys are velocity sensitive, so when you play softly, the sound will be soft. This makes adding emotion and human feel to your music a lot easier – much like a real piano.

Update: Arturia has released the next version of their MiniLab mini MIDI keyboards see the Atruria Minilab MKIII on Amazon here.

Buy The Arturia MiniLab MKII Mini MIDI Keyboard

Guitar Center – $79

Amazon – Check today’s price

BH Photo Video – $79

3. Novation FLkey Mini MIDI Keyboard

Novation FLkey Mini MIDI Keyboard

$109.99
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Novation FL Key

Seamlessly integrates with FL Studio with velocity sensitive pads and assignable knobs

Price: $109.99 At Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Check today’s price at Amazon here.

Something a bit different for you to consider when you’re shopping for a mini MIDI keyboard, the Novation FLKey Mini is made to work seamlessly with music sequencing program and DAW Fruity Loops.

With the Novation FLKey Mini, you have hands-on control over Fruity Loops, like instant access to the channel rack, mixer and sequencer. It also features two creative modes – scale and chord – to make coming up with new songs and melodies easier.

Another example of why this Novation mini MIDI keyboard is great for FL Studio (sometimes called Fruity Loops) – the 16 back lit pads are able to be integrated with Fruity Loop’s step sequencer making beat creation super fast. No clicking with the mouse, just tap the pads and build your beat.

Small other features that are at first not particularly notable can be really useful. Like the note repeat feature, making punching in percussion loops easy.

This mini MIDI keyboard from Novation will help you stay focused on the music and not behind a monitor with a mouse. You’ll be able to get stuck in straight away after getting the Novation FLKey Mini home, it ships with a 6-month trial of FL Studio Producer.

Buy The Novation FLKey Mini

Guitar Center – $109.99

Amazon – Check today’s price

BH Photo Video – $109

4. M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

$119
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M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

Semi-weighted keys are rare with mini MIDI controllers and it sets this mini midi keyboard apart from it’s peers.

Price: $119 at Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Check today’s price on Amazon here.

The M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is unique amongst its peers. You’ll get 32 “best in class” velocity sensitive semi-weighted mini keys.

Having semi-weighted keys on a mini MIDI controller isn’t common, typically you’ll find them being cheap and a bit plasticy. Even though it’s just over 1 foot in length, you’re going to find a feature packed mini MIDI keyboard.

The eight RGB backlit velocity sensitive pads work perfectly for beat production and sample launching. Four assignable faders and knobs give you room to explore your sounds and assign them to anything from LFO’s, filters, effects and more.

There are some nice features like built-in note repeat. This means you can hold down one of the pads and the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini will repeat the note in whichever division you choose. Need to lay down some hi-hats that are 1/16th time? Press the note repeat button and hold down the pad. The hi-hat samples will be played perfectly in time in exact 1/16 timing.

Similar to the Arturia MiniLab, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini comes with music making software and the M-Audio Oxygen Pro is instantly mapped right out of the box.

You’ll get these virtual instruments:

  • Velvet
  • Mini Grand
  • Vacuum
  • Boom
  • DB33
  • Xpand!2

There’s a lot more to this mini MIDI keyboard from M-Audio, like smart controls, arpeggiator, latch mode and more.

Buy M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

Guitar Center – $119

Amazon – Check today’s price

BH Photo Video – $119

5. Nectar Impact LX25+ Mini

Nectar Impact LX25+ Mini

$99
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Nectar Impact LX25+ Mini MIDI Keyboard

Top rated mini MIDI keyboard with extensive DAW integrations

Price: $99 at Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Check today’s price at Amazon here.

The final best selling and top rated mini MIDI keyboard you need to check out is the Nectar Impact LX25+.

Nectar has only been producing MIDI keyboards for a short while compared to huge companies like Akai, Novation, M-Audio and Arturia. This doesn’t take anything away from them though, the reviews and top ratings speak for themselves.

This feature packed mini MIDI keyboard has everything you’d expect from a premium device. 25 velocity sensitive keys have classic synth action with just enough resistance for satisfying playing. The keys aren’t semi-weighted like the M-Audio Oxygen above, but this isn’t the norm – the M-Audio Oxygen is fairly alone in this feature.

You have two traditional pitch and mod wheels on the left, track selection and transport buttons for controlling your DAW in the middle, 8 endless knobs for controlling LFOs, filters and effects. Eight back lit velocity sensitive pads fill out the right side of the Nectar impact LX25+ mini MIDI keyboard.

Nectar makes a point to let people know that their MIDI controllers work really well in terms of DAW integration. Their MIDI controllers are custom designed for the top music production software:

  • Logic
  • FL Studio
  • Cubase
  • Bitwig
  • Digital Performer
  • Nuendo
  • Reaper
  • Reason
  • Sonar
  • Studio One

Note that it’s not really setup to be an Ableton live controller – it will work as a MIDI keyboard, but you might have to manually map the controls to your specific DAW functions.

You’ll get a copy of Bitwig 8-Track DAW to get you going incase you don’t already have a music production program picked out.

Nectar didn’t really think it was a benefit of having more than one fader – typically if you’re adjusting effects, LFO’s or other parameters, you won’t be moving more than one fader at a time anyway. It’s a full size 30mm fader, perfect for tweaking your sounds when you’re deep into music making.

The MIDI parameter assignments are stored onboard the Nectar Impact LX25+ and it can even store up to 5 different assignment sets incase you like to work with a few different DAWs.

Just like the fader and knobs, the pads can be assigned to any MIDI parameter, too. Another unique feature of the Nectar mini MIDI keyboard is “Pad Learn”. Say you want a pad to play the sound of a kick drum. All you have to do is select any pad, play the drum sound on the keyboard and you’re done.

One feature I was surprised wasn’t included in the Nectar Impact LX25+ is a sustain pedal input. Sustain pedals aren’t really something a beginner needs to be concerned with, but as you progress in playing, a sustain pedal is really handy.

The Impact LX25+ is easy to use and with it’s auto-config for almost all of the top music making programs, features and affordability, it’s a great choice for mini MIDI keyboard.

Buy Nectar Impact LX25+

Guitar Center – $99.99 (Sale)

Amazon – Check today’s price

BH Photo Video – $119

Roundup

So there you have it. Right now these are the top rated and best selling mini MIDI keyboards that you can buy. You’ve a range to choose from and they’re all individually very good, but you’ll have to figure out which features you’ll use the most.

The best option for most people is the AKAI Professional MPK Mini Mk3. It’s got all the features you’d need from a mini MIDI keyboard – velocity sensitive keys, assignable pads and knobs, transport controls for controlling your DAW, a thumb joystick and a sustain pedal input. The software it comes (MPC Beats) with is adequate for getting your feet wet, but you might find yourself wanting to upgrade to a more common DAW like FL Studio, Ableton, Logic or Cubase.

The Arturia MPK Mini Mk3 mini MIDI keyboard is another excellent option. This does actually come with a fully functioning version of Ableton Lite and a collection of instruments from Arturia’s V-Collection. It doesn’t have the joystick or transport controls, though. I’m not sure why Arturia didn’t include simple play, stop,record and undo buttons?

If you know Fruity Loops will be your DAW of choice, the Novation FLKey Mini is worth a second look. It’s built specifically for Fruity Loops so you’ll spend less time clicking and more time playing.

Maybe you’re coming from a piano background? Then check out the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini. It’s one of the few mini MIDI keyboards that comes with semi-weighted keys – mini keys that is. You won’t have a piano like experience, but it’ll make the typically plasticy keys feel a bit better when you play. The mini MIDI keyboard from M-Audio is packed with controls – faders, buttons, pads and more – plenty to custom assign and map to your DAW of choice.

For a jack-of-all trades mini MIDI keyboard, the Nectar Impact LX25+ could be a good fit. Its biggest selling feature is its ability to be custom mapped to a TON of different DAWS right out of the box. It’s got knobs, pads and a fader for controlling your sounds and a large transport control right in the middle for stopping, playing and recording your music.

Nectar make some great value for money MIDI keyboards and you won’t find much else out there that packs so much into such a small keyboard. They aren’t top quality – much of it is plastic – but what you miss out on premium materials, you get back in functionality and capability.

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