So you’re getting serious about playing electric guitars. You are ready to invest a bit more money for better sound and greater control. Consider getting a best new amplifier. Your old amp might have been good enough for solo sessions but now you’ll need something that can crush band gigs and recording studios. It needs more power to keep up with other instruments. Otherwise, your guitar will get drowned out. Don’t worry because you can find brilliant amp options from known brands at reasonable prices for this best budget guitar amp.
Quick Links To Our Best Guitar Amp Under $500 Recommendations
- Boss Katana-100 MkII Guitar Amp – OUR TOP CHOICE! Best bang for a guitarist’s buck!
- Fender Champion 100 – our runner up and favorite Fender option in this price range.
- VOX AC4 Combo – our favorite blues amp under $500
- Line 6 Spider V 240 HC – our favorite amp head in this price range.
- Orange CR60C – a great tube amp for this price!
- Marshall Code 100C – excellent 2×12 configuration option.
- Yamaha THR10 – a great practice amp.
- Roland JC-22 – jazz guitar players, this is perfect for you.
- Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 – for metal guitarists.
- Fishman Loudbox Mini – for acoustic guitar players.
Below are some of the best guitar amp under 500 dollars:
- 1 Quick Links To Our Best Guitar Amp Under $500 Recommendations
- 2 Our Top Guitar Amp Under 500 Reviews
- 2.1 Boss Katana-100 MkII Amplifier
- 2.2 Fender Champion 100 Amplifier
- 2.3 For Blues – VOX AC4 Combo
- 2.4 Amplifier Head – Line 6 Spider V 240 HC
- 2.5 Tube / Valve Amplifier – Orange CR60C
- 2.6 2×12 Combo Amplifier – Marshall Code 100C
- 2.7 Yamaha THR10 Amplifier
- 2.8 For Jazz – Roland JC-22 Combo Amp
- 2.9 For Metal – Peavey Vypyr VIP 3
- 2.10 For Acoustics – Fishman Loudbox Mini
- 3 What To Expect With An Amp Under $500
- 4 Good Amplifiers Under 500 Conclusion
Our Top Guitar Amp Under 500 Reviews
Boss Katana-100 MkII Amplifier
BOSS has been making music instruments for a while. Its Katana line of guitar amplifiers has an army of loyal fans because of their proven performance. You can’t go wrong with the Boss Katana-100 MkII amp. This 100W amp is ready for the big stage when you are. The design allows it to achieve above average volume while maintaining its impressive sound. Users can choose among five amp characters including Clean, Acoustic, Crush, Lead, and Brown. There are also voiced variations for each of these.
If you are thinking of using guitar effects, then this is the right amp purchase. It has independent controls for reverb, delay, mod, booster, and FX. You will find the effect loop send and return jacks at the back. You can also adjust the equalizer settings for bass, mid, and treble. You can adjust the tone and the power coming out of the 12-inch speaker. It can even be connected to another amp to go on stereo mode. It is possible to save up to eight custom settings for one-touch recall. The MKII amp is compatible with the GA-FC foot controller for on-the-fly adjustments on the stage.
- Incredible control to shape the best guitar sound
- One-touch recall for custom settings
- Can act as powered cabinet for preamp
- Stereo expand feature for dual connections
- No tuner
- No built-in display
- Lacks cords for connections
Fender Champion 100 Amplifier
Any discussion of guitar amps will not be complete without an entry from Fender. If you love their electric guitars, then you will probably be just as enamored with their amplifiers. The Champion 100 amp is their entry into this segment. The biggest difference with the Boss Katana 100 is the presence of two 12-inch speakers instead of one. If you love performing guitar solos or if you simply want to make sure that you are heard above the drums, then this is the amp for you.
All of the amp controls are at the front. They provide the ability to play with the audio without being overwhelming for beginners. You can choose different effects including reverb, chorus, echo, tremolo, Vibratone, and more. You can switch between the clean and mean channels. You could also select various types of distortions and voicings. The versatility of this amp makes it a best choice for different genres from jazz to metal guitar. Despite the size, it is still relatively portable. Musicians can take it to several gigs on busy weekends with confidence.
- Excellent built-in guitar effects
- Two 12-inch speakers for loud guitar sound
- Great clean tones
- Ample controls but some have more amp features
- Gain channel could be improved
For Blues – VOX AC4 Combo
VOX is known for its cool tone, retro styling, and tube technology. It does not disappoint with its own entry in this sub-500 category. The new AC4 amp looks elegant with the faux leather cover, diamond pattern stitching, and classic logo at the front. It doesn’t have the same amount of controls as the other amps on this list but the simplicity should appeal to novices. You only have gain, volume, bass, and treble dials — no effects. Just plug in your guitar and enjoy a rich sound thanks to the analog circuitry inside.
This features two 12AX7 preamp tubes and an EL84 power tube for excellent response even when you turn up the volume. You can sound great while squeezing every bit of power from the 12-inch Celestion speaker. This is an upgrade as previous best models only had a 10-inch speaker. Expect loud and stable sound for practice or performance. If this still isn’t enough for you, then you can put in your preferred speaker to get better bass. All in all, this is a solid option for a portable high quality guitar amp.
- Portable despite big speaker
- Legendary VOX amp tone
- All-tube mini amp
- No built-in guitar effects
- Speaker lacks bass
Amplifier Head – Line 6 Spider V 240 HC
This is a serious piece of equipment from Line 6. The Spider V 240 HC is a 240W stereo modeling guitar amp head with a 50W stereo combo amplifier. It can provide an awesome level of volume for outdoor live gigs. It can also be used for practice, recording, or jamming with bandmates. This is an incredible guitar tool for with over 200 effects models which provide users with the power to choose the exact tone that fits their preferred guitar playing style.
Line 6’s Spider V 240 HC amp even has its own metronome, tuner, and drummer loops. There is a ton of extra that other amps can only dream of. If you have tried basic amps and are ready to grow, then this is the next level of progression for you. Enjoy shaping your guitar sound and getting the best precision. You won’t just sound good with this amp model. You will also improve your timing and musical knowledge. If you fancy going wireless, then you will be happy to know that this is compatible with a Relay G10T transmitter which is sold separately.
- Incredible amount of control for shaping guitar sound
- More than 200 effects, cabs, and amps to choose from
- Over 100 presets for tones and rigs by guitar professionals
- Wireless ready with optional transmitter
- Built-in metronome, tuner, and drummer loops
- Top end lacks power and volume
Tube / Valve Amplifier – Orange CR60C
The iconic Orange brand is back with its own candidate for the category. The CR60C amp features two channels. The clean channel provides controls for volume, treble, and bass. The dirty channel offer all those along with gain and middle. There is also a dial for reverb which a lot of musicians will be pleased about. Orange is known for its smaller offerings which has a dedicated following. This foray into high power amps is a welcome development for its fans.
It may be a bigger amp than what people are used to but it is still characteristically Orange with the screaming color, surface treatments, corner protections, and classic logo. The controls are all at the top to provide the top with a clean look. It gets quite loud while maintaining a great tone. Some compare this favorably to older tube amps which is indeed high praise. If you want a best, clear and versatile guitar amp, then this is an awesome amp purchase at this price point.
- Legendary Orange amp tone
- Built-in reverb and effects loop
- Rivals tube amps with sound
- Limited EQ controls
- Looks can be divisive
2×12 Combo Amplifier – Marshall Code 100C
This Marshall digital modeling combo amp is sleek and stylish. The professional looks is to be expected from the brand since it truly is one of the more popular names for high-end users. It features 100W of solid state power. Inside the black box are two 12-inch speakers delivering sweet sounds. The amp controls at the top feature gold trims, just like the smaller amps in its lineup. You get the usual dials for volume, gain, and EQ. You can also shape the reverb, delay, power, and so on.
This one has a built-in digital amp models, cabinet simulations, effects, and power amps to vary the tone to your liking. For example, you can use a chorus, an auto wah, a pitch shifter, a phaser, a flanger, a tremolo, a distortion, and many more. It is truly a powerful machine that can be controlled remotely through Bluetooth connectivity or USB. If you want to play it safe with your money, then this is a sure buy. You will definitely feel that you go more than your money’s worth. These are excellent solidstate amps.
- Great value amp for money
- Rich deep guitar sound
- Wide variety of amp tones and among the best effects
- Cab modeling could be improved
Yamaha THR10 Amplifier
Yamaha is a brand that is familiar to everyone. With the THR10 guitar amp, it offers a desktop guitar amp and a powerful recording software in one package. It is probably the 1950s retro styling that will turn heads right away. It is a beautiful piece of gear that with an all-metal case and intuitive controls. This may be small and portable but it is packed with features that far exceed many of the bigger guitar amps under $500.
This is not for live shows. Yamaha is marketing his for off-stage use including practice and recording. Now you don’t have to get studio equipment to get the sound you want as you can do it all with this unit. It has Virtual Circuitry technology that mimics tube amps, realistic effects, and sound quality stereo playback. If you find other amps lacking once you try to crank them up, then try this one to satisfy all of your amp cravings for gain and distortion.
- Excellent digital modeling amp
- Full and deep at lower volumes
- Beautiful retro styling
- No option to remap the channels
- Strictly for off-stage use
For Jazz – Roland JC-22 Combo Amp
Roland is another name that you will often see on stage. They are mostly known for their keyboards but they can make excellent guitar amps for jazz as well. Their products are rather expensive so you can’t expect to reach or exceed 100W while staying under $500. However, their 30W amp model of the JC-22 guitar amp line should prove to be compelling enough for practice and small gigs. Inside are two 6.5 inch speakers in a compact package for awesome stereo sound.
You can hook up your left and right channel inputs from the front. Adjust the volume, reverb, and EQ settings from here as well. This has built-in chorus effects which is great if you are trying to get a more textured sound while playing a guitar solo. At the back are input and output ports for effects and a footswitch. This is one of the best options if you are looking for a nice clean tone that you can pair with your preferred pedals to get the precise guitar sound that you want. I consider this one of the best clean guitar amplifiers.
- Solid build to last
- Excellent pure clean guitar sound
- Good for running stereo tones
- Not very loud amp for gigs
- Bright sound must be balanced by high bass and treble
For Metal – Peavey Vypyr VIP 3
Now we’re back into the 100W level with the Peavey Vypyr. The VIP3 line is also available in 20W and 40W variants. This modeling amp features Variable Instrument Performance technology that include electric, acoustic, and bass guitar models. This means that you can switch among these different instruments and get the best amplification with just one device. It saves money while improving simplicity. Just master this piece of equipment and you are golden for all of your practice and recording sessions. You can even switch guitars mid-performance without worries.
Peavey is also known for its TransTube technology that uses analog circuits and advanced processors to create awesome guitar amp sounds. This is a standalone device with no need to connect to a computer to produce the desired effects. It has its own display for easy monitoring and adjustment. You will get precise tweaks instead of having to play a guessing game. Of course, you can still connect this to a PC if you want to record music and store presets.
- Great for metal guitar music
- Warm sounds mimic tubes
- Large set of features
- Included speakers could be better
- Not for those wanting a clean guitar sound
For Acoustics – Fishman Loudbox Mini
If you are playing with an acoustic guitar, then consider the Fishman Loudbox Mini amp. It is light and portable while producing big sound thanks to 60W of pure power. You can get a very clean tone with this model which is perfect for the instrument. Inside is a 6.5 inch woofer with classic Fishman amp tone. Outside is the traditional styling that makes Fishman products easy to spot.
You will find the controls on the slanted part at the top. It has the basics like dials for gain, volume, and EQ. There are some extras for phase, reverb, and chorus for those looking to add some effects on their output. At the rear are ports for AC power, auxiliary aux input, and more. This Loudbox amp does a lot without weighing you down. Fishman managed to keep it under 20 lbs so it’s pretty handy for traveling to shows. It may be a mini but it is a performance monster.
- Incredible and reliable amp performance
- Clean sound that shows off every guitar note
- Portable amp package
- Limited features
What To Expect With An Amp Under $500
If you are planning on shopping for a guitar amp for less than $500, there are some features that you may or may not get. Let’s look into what to expect in an amp in the $500 price range as far as available features.
How Many Channels Are Available?
It’s perfectly acceptable to buy an amp that only has one channel or even no channels. If you are a guitarist who just wants the bare essentials, then stick with this option. It’s also perfectly acceptable to buy an amp in this price range that has two channels. It’s more common to have two channels, but you can still feasibly find an amp in this category with one channel.
What Is The Maximum Wattage?
The maximum wattage for an amp in this price range is typically 100 watts of power. However, there are plenty of amps available in this price range that offer 50 watts or less. The number of watts determines the loudness of the amp. Also, remember that there are some cheaper tube amps that offer 40 to 50 watts and also cost less than $500.
What Is The Speaker Size?
The typical speaker size for amp in the $500 price range is a 12 inch speaker. You can also find an amp with a 10 inch speaker, and this can save you some money. If you are just looking for something that is very basic, then stick with the single 12 inch speaker.
What Are The Effects?
A lot of guitarists want to know if they will be able to use various effects with an amp in the $500 price range. You will be able to, but you won’t have as many effects available as you would with an amp that costs more than $500. Also, the effects available will be less powerful and not as good quality.
What Is The Design Of The Amp?
Just because an amp costs less than $500 doesn’t mean it isn’t good looking. There are plenty of gorgeous best tube amps available within this price range. You don’t need to spend more money on an amp for it to be both useful and stylish. However, this doesn’t mean that the more stylish amp is necessarily better than a plain and simple profile.
Some other quick picks:
- Roland Blues Cube Hot 30W
- Fender Super Champ
- Yamahas Thr10II
- Blackstar Fly 3
- Vox AC10C1
- Fender Mustang LT25
- Fender Champion 100
- Marshall Origin
- Fender Bassbreaker
- Positive Grid Spark 40
- Orange Crush pro
Good Amplifiers Under 500 Conclusion
Buyers have a wealth of options if they have $500 to spend on a guitar amp. Make every dollar worth the purchase by getting branded models with proven performance. This list features 10 of the best guitar amp under 500 dollars. Some are small while others are massive. Some are good for clean sounds while others are made for distortion. Pick the one of these best options that suits your style. Click the buttons above to check price.