When it comes to guitar amps, you will have a lot of choices these days—from the classic best all-tube amps to solid-sate amps to solid-state amp models that come in modern features-heavy models that offer a lot of flexibility in terms of best guitar effects and other things. However, if price is a factor, you need to set your priorities straight. Do you want great, pure guitar sound of the tube amps? Or do you prefer for hybrid models that offers you a bit of both worlds? Or you want to go for a features-heavy digital amplifier with a lot of amp modeling and loads of pre-built guitar effects?
- Our Best Guitar Amplifier Under 300 Recommendations
- Marshall Code 50 (Best Guitar Amp For Metal Under 300)
- Monoprice 611815 Guitar Amp (Best Tube Amp Under 300)
- Vox AV15
- Boss KATANA-50 MkII (Best Modeling Guitar Amp Under 300)
- Orange Crush 35RT
- Fender Mustang GT 40
- Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo
- Bugera G5 5W (Best Amp Head Under 300)
- VHT Special 6
- Marshall DSL1HR
- Top Guitar Amps Under 300 Conclusion
In the present list, we have carefully chosen some of the best combo amps and amp heads that belong to all three categories and all of which fall in the sub 300 guitar amplifier category.
Our Best Guitar Amplifier Under 300 Recommendations
Marshall Code 50 (Best Guitar Amp For Metal Under 300)
If you want a best perfect balance of versatility and affordability and that combined with a big-brand backing, you’ll be hard put to find a better choice than this Marshall solid-state digital guitar amp combo. Marshall broke into the digital amp market with their CODE series and the Code 50, the 50 watt combo version, has proved to be a big hit in the entry level digital amp category.
SPECS: When it comes to virtual amplifier elements, there is no shortage of them for you to mix and match (4 power amps, 14 preamp models, 24 effects, 5 of which can be used simultaneously, and 8 cabinets). The front panel features standard Gain, Volume, Master and 3-band EQ controls. The 50 watt amplifier is clubbed with a custom 12″speaker and the model weighs 28.6 lbs. Bluetooth connectivity via free Marshall Gateway App. Aux input, headphones output and able to store up to 100 presets.
While there are lots of guitar amplifier bells and whistles attached to this one (as you would normally expect from a digital combo amp), the reason we prefer this one is that the product particularly concentrates on what has been the brand’s greatest strength since its inception—unique and signature Marshall guitar tones. Famous amplifier tones from some of the iconic Marshall designs such as Silver Jubilee, Bluesbreaker, JTM45, JVM and DSL models, and of course, Plexi are what you get from the virtual power and preamp models. So, whether you want an acoustic simulator, crunchy overdrives, or the pure American Marshall clean, you are free to choose from all those best varieties when you use the Code 50 amp.
Monoprice 611815 Guitar Amp (Best Tube Amp Under 300)
If, however, you are a fan of rich and authentic best guitar sound of all-tube circuit amps, the Monoprice 611815 guitar amp is one of the best all-tube amps you will find in the sub-300 category. This 15-watt model really belongs to the small tube amp category and it is really the guitar tone which is the biggest strength of this model. The guitar tone works particularly great in the low to mid-gain levels and add to it the dynamics and the warmth and you have an amp in your hand that will suit a variety of musical styles, especially rock, R&B and the likes.
SPECS: This best 15-w combo uses 3 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes and 2 EL84 power tubes for the head and a one 12″speaker. The guitar amplifier weight is about 32 lbs. and you have one input and an effects loop and a speaker output. Finally, the amplifier also features an on-board reverb and the great thing is that the last is not just an extra throw in. on the contrary, the quality of the spring reverb on this model has actually received appreciation from more than a few users and critics.
So, overall, this is a great buy if you want to have a feel of the pure tone of tube amps without however needing to fork out a $1,000 for that. Just one thing to add, which is some users claim that you get best tones if you replace the in-built tubes with higher quality ones. So, that’s an option you may want to look into.
After the digital and the all-tube model, here’s our pick of the hybrid models—VoxAV15 guitar amp. The model features a 12AX7 preamp tube which is actually responsible for the clean, natural tones and all the great distortions you can extract from this amp. And the next great news? The amp models on this Vox are all analog circuits. Simply put, that is as good and best as it can get with a model priced under $300.
As for the best guitar tones, the amp modelings let you achieve guitar tone simulations of iconic Vox amps including AC30 and AC15, but also covers a range of other emulations of both British and American voicings.
SPECS: This 15-watt model is combined with a custom Vox 8″ speaker and includes as many as eight pre-amp circuits for you to choose from. As for controls, you have the standard Volume, Gain, Power and 3-band EQ as well as Valve Stage controls which consist of Bias and Reactor switches for power amps and Fat and Bright switches for the preamp section. As for built-in effects, you have Reverb, Delay and Modulation. All three are digital effects but the guitar sounds are pretty good. There is also an adjustable power switch, just in case you want ‘apartment-friendly’ crunches at a lower volume. Finally, the amplifier features 2 aux inputs and a headphones output.
Overall, this is a great buy if you want the best of both worlds (tube warmth and digital variety) in an affordable variety. The only thing lacking is an external speaker output which would have made the combo amp even better for live performing scenarios.
Boss KATANA-50 MkII (Best Modeling Guitar Amp Under 300)
Well, if you want a ultra-versatile combo at $300 price range, Boss Katana 50 watt solid state guitar amp combo would be our straightaway recommendation. To begin with, thanks to its power attenuator, the amp is perfect and may be best for live gigging as well as quiet bedroom practice. You can set the output at 25W or, if you want to go really low, you can go all the way down to 0.5W (pretty rare for a 50 Watt amp).
SPECS: This 50W amplifier with a 12″ speaker is what you’d call a truly features-heavy model. There are three inputs (aux, poweramp and instrument) and 2 outputs (headphones and USB recording port). Built-in effects include 60 digital special Boss effects in addition to Modulation and Delay. The product weighs 25.6 lbs.
As you can expect from built-in amp modeling, you can choose from a wide variety of different voicings. The clean amplifier tones on this amp receive high praise, but you get decent best guitar sounds also on mid to high gain range. There is also a separate acoustic-electric setting. We have already mentioned the 60 different Boss effects that you can use via the amp’s Tone Studio software editor. Finally, the model, thanks to its expression pedals/external footswitch and USB recording output, also works great for recording and stage use. An incredibly versatile amp at a really affordable price!
Orange Crush 35RT
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Orange Crush 35RT guitar amp and if you prefer simplicity over versatility, this best amp is for you. This 35 W amp combines with a 10″speaker and uses the old-style straightforward 20channel design: clean and dirty. The 4-stage pre-amp analog circuit (with no amp modeling) keeps things straight and simple. As for features, don’t expect too many from this one. All the same, it does include some useful extras such as a footswitch input and a FX Loop; a headphone output that emulates four 12″ cabinets; aux-in; and a built-in tuner.
The controls include Clean, Gain, Dirty, Reverb and a 3-band EQ. As for the guitar sound, the reason why many prefer this combo amp over other features-heavy models guitar sound quality that is a mix of classic and modern Orange guitar tones. The clean channel especially guitar sounds best for rock, blues and other similar styles of music.
Fender Mustang GT 40
However, if you are all for flexibility and want an amplifier with a load of the best modern features, you may choose to settle for Fender Mustang GT 40 guitar amp. This 40W amp with two 6.5″ speakers contains 5 control knobs on the front of the amp head—Volume, Gain, Master, Bass and Treble. As far as the amp modeling is concerned, there are twenty-one different voicings to choose from. In addition, you can use the 47 built-in effects of the amp.
However, this one really stands out thanks to the fact that it is really the first combo amp model which offered a Wi-Fi feature. With this feature and with the help of Fender Tone app, you can download a ton of new presets. What is more, with the help of Bluetooth, you can even control the amp’s sound using your phone. The amp is also suitable for recording purposes and for editing presets—things you can perform through the USB port connectivity feature. And if that were not enough, this Mustang model also comes equipped with an built-in metronome and a tuner.
So, if we’re talking of flexibility, there is no dearth of that with this model. However, the reason we still don’t recommend the model high enough is its average to low sound quality. Although it’s a Fender amp, don’t expect any of those signature Fender Cleans with this model. However, if you’re a beginner or someone who would like to experiment and tinker with a lot of different sound effects, this best combo is worth a try.
Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo
Since we keep see-sawing between classic and modern, feature-heavy styles, here’s another simple but great-sounding all-tube amp that will please the guitar tone purists. We’ll come to the best guitar sound quality in a minute, but one thing we cannot but mention is the great looks of this model. In fact, as far as the looks go, we like this model the best of all the 10 in this list. The tweed grill, the open-back design, and the stylishly fashioned knobs, joints and handles-everything contributes to the vintage look of the model. And for all that, the amp is a quite sturdy built as well.
However, it is the sound quality that sets this 5W tube amp (with a 10-inch speaker) apart from all the rest in this price category. The overdrives are good enough, but it is really the cleans that are too good for anything so affordable. You don’t quite get the Fender Clean, all the same the cleans are shiny and shimmering enough and you’ll love them. On the downside, the low end isn’t as good what you would expect, but then again, you cannot expect the best of everything at this price. And the low end issue can always be solved either by combining a new speaker or adding extra speakers through the output channels. And yes, the guitar amp does come with two extension cabinet ports, which again is great news if you plan to play live.
Bugera G5 5W (Best Amp Head Under 300)
This one is pretty similar to the previous model. However, this is an amp head and not a combo. Another important point of best distinction is that while the Sawtooth model is great in producing some shiny cleans, it is really the high-gain crunch and distortion guitar tones that is the prime selling factor of the present all-tube 5w Bugera guitar amp head.
The head uses one 12BH7 tube for the power section and one 12AX7 tube for the preamp. The two-channel control head also includes a high number of control knobs on the front panel control layout and this makes the task easier for the guitarists when it comes to hitting the good sweet spot with their preferred guitar tone. The EQ cluster, for example, includes a Morph control in addition to standard bass, middle and treble.
As for other amplifier best features, you have a power attenuator, amp-out, headphones. Emulated out, footswitch port, switchable level FX loop and a line input.
VHT Special 6
The VHT Special 6 head is another all-tube amp that comes with an exceptional sound quality. The 5 watts amp, just like the above Sawtooth model, includes a 6V6 for power tube and a 12AX7 for the preamp function. The control cluster is simple enough—practical and useful and free of all unnecessary complications. Apart from the standard control knobs, you have a high power (6W)/ low power (3W)/standby cluster as well as two inputs—High and Low.
The outstanding features of this amp include its extraordinary build quality, great gain flexibility and not the least of it, its loudness. It is actually the loudest and most powerful amp on the present list. On the back of the model, you’ll find a footswitch model, so you can change the gain as you please and all of that on the go.
More importantly, the amp contains 3 speaker or cabinet outputs (16 ohm, 8 ohm, 4 ohm) which means you can use it for all purposes—live performance, jamming with friends, gigging, or simply home practice. As for the build quality, this 20 lbs head features a hand-wired board and everything else is sturdily-built with a neat and compact design, all of which make this amp head ideal for on-the-road use.
The last on our list is another extremely affordable all-tube amp head which we especially recommend for great gain and overdrive tones. The head contains 1 ECC82 and 2 ECC83 tubes. TAKE NOTE however, that if you are after Cleans, this 1-watt head is not for you.
The front control layout keeps things simple. There are two channels. The Classic Gain and the Ultra Gain and you can switch between the channels using the ‘Tone Shift’ push-button. Apart from the 3-band EQ controls, there is only the Volume control for the Classic Gain channel, and Volume and Gain for the channel Ultra Gain. So, as you can see, everything is pretty neat and simple and if you prefer simplicity in an amp head, you’ll like this product.
And yes, the front layout also includes a Reverb control knob. However, this is a digital reverb and not a built-in one. All the same, you still get a pretty decent sound out of it. On the back panel, you’ll find a Softube Emulated Out, an adjustable power switch, a (16-0hm) speaker output, FX Loop ports, a footswitch port and an aux-in. Finally, the model also features a ‘silent recording mode’.
Overall, this is a great amp head for use in many different practice and performance scenarios. Just take note that some people find the tones too bright or the noise floor high even with gain and volume turned to naught (this last must be due to a defective product). So, make sure you try this one out at the store to see if it suits your good taste.
Top Guitar Amps Under 300 Conclusion
As we mentioned right at the beginning, we have included some of the best under $300 amps in this list and as you’ve already seen, we’ve included a pretty good variety of all types of amp models. So, before you choose the one that is right for you, ask yourself what thing is the most important for you: the sound quality, the variety of on-board effects, or the different voicings available from amp modeling? Also, take into account your playing style and settle for an amp that will best suit your style as well as your other best amp requirements (recording, live performance, gigging, practice, etc.).