Need a new guitar amp but don’t want to spend more than $300? You can get a great amplifier for this price range.
Quick Links To Our Under $300 Guitar Amplifier Recommendations
- Marshall Code 50 – OUR TOP CHOICE! Awesome range of quality sound and tones. Built in effects, amp models and other features. Plenty of power! Great for metal guitarists too!
- Monoprice 611815 – our runner up choice. These tube amps has a ton of tone for the price range!
- Vox AV15
- Boss KATANA-50 MkII
- Orange Crush 35RT
- Fender Mustang GT 40
- Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo
- Bugera G5 5W
- VHT Special 6
- Marshall DSL1HR
- 1 Quick Links To Our Under $300 Guitar Amplifier Recommendations
- 2 Our Best Electric Guitar Amplifier Under 300 Reviews
- 2.1 Marshall Code 50 (Our Top Under $300 Guitar Amplifier Pick)
- 2.2 Monoprice 611815 Guitar Combo Amp (Runner Up Under $300)
- 2.3 Vox AV15 Guitar Tube Amp
- 2.4 Boss KATANA-50 MkII Modeling Guitar Amp
- 2.5 Orange Crush 35RT
- 2.6 Fender Mustang GT 40 Guitar Practice Amp
- 2.7 Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo Amp
- 2.8 Bugera G5 5W Amp Head
- 2.9 VHT Special 6
- 2.10 Marshall DSL1HR Guitar Amplifier – Nice Metal Guitar Amp
- 3 What To Expect With An Under $300 Guitar Amp
- 4 Top Guitar Amps Under 300 Conclusion
Our Best Electric Guitar Amplifier Under 300 Reviews
Marshall Code 50 (Our Top Under $300 Guitar Amplifier Pick)
If you want a 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 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 electric 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 tones. Famous amplifier tones from some of the iconic Marshall guitar amps 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 guitar simulator, crunchy overdrives, or the pure American Marshall clean, you are free to choose from all those varieties when you use the Code 50 amp.
This is an excellent budget guitar metal amp.
- Sturdy and high quality.
- clean sound.
- not too much feedback.
- affordable Marshall product.
- not enough power for some guitarists.
- tone might be a bit too clean for some tastes.
Monoprice 611815 Guitar Combo Amp (Runner Up Under $300)
If, however, you are a fan of rich and authentic sound of all-tube circuit amps, the Monoprice 611815 is one of the top all-tube amps you will find in the sub-300 category. This 15-watt model really belongs to the small tube category and it is really the 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 budget option 15 watts of power guitar combo amplifier 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 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 good 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.
- Adequately loud for practice.
- Fairly priced.
- Tends to be noisy.
Vox AV15 Guitar Tube Amp
After the digital and the all-tube model, here’s our pick of the hybrid models—VoxAV15. The model features a 12AX7 preamp tube which is actually responsible for the clean, natural tones and all the distortions you can extract from this amp. The amp models on this Vox are all analog circuits. Simply put, that is as good as it can get with a model priced under $300.
As for the 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.
- Good price
- Ease of use
- Splits in sound unless amp is placed near wall. Leads to feedback.
Boss KATANA-50 MkII Modeling Guitar Amp
Well, if you want a ultra-versatile combo at $300 price range, Boss Katana 50 watt solid state 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 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 modeling amps with a range on tones at a really affordable price!
- The sound is incredible.
- It has a massive range of power and options.
- The overdrive features are fantastic.
- It comes with a built in tuner, which is an awesome feature for Gigging guitarists.
- The amp includes so many built in effects. Like the Flange, Delay, Chorus. All the classic ones that sound great on guitar.
- The amp can be too powerful for small venues if you have it turned up to maximum volume.
Orange Crush 35RT
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Orange Crush 35RT and if you prefer simplicity over versatility, this 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 sound, the reason why many prefer this combo amp over other features-heavy models sound quality that is a mix of classic and modern Orange tones. The clean channel especially guitar sounds nice for rock, blues and other similar styles of music.
- A good value for the price
- Sleek and tough design
- Comes with a good warranty
- May not be powerful enough for some musicians, especially those playing in venues with high stages or large crowds.
Fender Mustang GT 40 Guitar Practice Amp
However, if you are all for flexibility and want an amplifier with a load of modern features, you may choose to settle for Fender Mustang GT 40. 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 reliable amp for beginner combo is worth a try.
- Decent sound quality
- Easy to operate
- suffers from a lack of versatility in the tone controls, multiple distortion channels, and EQs; “pedalboard friendly” amp model.
- weak in high volume and low frequencies.
Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo Amp
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 sound quality in a minute, but one thing we cannot but mention is the 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, it does come with two extension cabinet ports, which again is great news if you plan to play live.
- Great sturdy amp with vintage feel.
- Very affordable for what you get.
- The inbuilt tremolo effect is a nice touch.
- Expertly crafted and perfect for all levels of guitarist (beginner, intermediate, pro).
- Will be too quiet if used on a large stage (as it lacks volume knob).
Bugera G5 5W Amp Head
This one is pretty similar to the previous model. However, this is an amp head and not a combo. Another important point of 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 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 tone. The EQ cluster, for example, includes a Morph control in addition to standard bass, middle and treble.
As for other amplifier features, you have a power attenuator, amp-out, headphones. Emulated out, footswitch port, switchable level FX loop and a line input.
- Good packaging.
- Compact design.
- Easily transportable.
- High quality sound output.
- Economical price.
- Volume knob slightly stiff. The resistor in the volume knob is not as high quality as other guitar amps.
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, 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 controls on the amp are very simple and easy to use
- This amp has many different sounds that can be achieved
- The highs and lows on this amp are perfect for most people, they aren’t too high or too low.
- Not super loud.
Marshall DSL1HR Guitar Amplifier – Nice Metal Guitar Amp
The last on our list is another extremely affordable all tube amp heads which we especially recommend for 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.
What To Expect With An Under $300 Guitar Amp
When looking at budget guitar amps with a $300 budget, there are some specs that you will always want to take into consideration. These days, there are actually some very good quality amps in this price range.
Features To Expect
At this price point, the main features you can expect to see are:
- 2 Channels
- Effects Loop
- Headphone Jack and/or 1/8″
- Auxiliary Input for playing along with your iPod or other MP3 player.
These features are pretty standard even in the cheapest amps you will look at. They are nice because they give you more versatility. A lot of the good $300 amps also offer a footswitch for easy switching between channels and effects loop. This is definitely a bonus that you should be looking out for.
At $300, you can usually find amp wattage to be 30-100 watts. If you are not sure about what wattage is the best for you, then I would start with 50 Watts.
With that said, you definitely get what you pay for. It is hard to find amps that offer enough power for the price. If your amp offers 100 Watts and it sounds too weak, then go ahead and search for one that offers more power.
You should expect amps in this price range to sound pretty good. A lot of the time, young people just want a cheap amp to play around with. They are not expecting the best tone out of it, because really they don’t know what is good tone and what is bad tone yet. Most people start sounding pretty good right away with these amps.
What If You Increased Your Budget?
If you want to spend more than $300, you will probably find amps with more features. But there is no excuse for spending more than $300 on an amp, because you can get some good sounding amps for around $300. But, it is true that the more you spend, the better options you have.
If you want to get the nicest sounding amp possible, then I would recommend that you try and find an amp with tube preamps and tube outputs. You will probably have to look at amps that cost $500-800 or more.
Some more quick picks:
- Fender Rumble 40
- Fender Super Champ x2
Here are some electric guitars in the same price range too.
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 suit your style as well as your other amp requirements (recording, live performance, gigging, practice, etc.).