Both amateur and serious musicians often pay more attention to their guitar amps than their guitars in the age of electronic wizardry. Amps can shape your sound in ways that draw attention by providing three essential benefits: power, tone and special auditory features for home practice and live performance.
- How to Choose the Right Guitar Amp for Your Needs
- Our Guitar Amplifier Recommendations
- Best All Around Guitar Amp – Fender Mustang LT25
- Best Guitar Amplifier Under 1000 – PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti
- Best Guitar Amp Under 500 – Boss Katana-100 MkII
- Best Guitar Amplifier Under 200 – Orange Crush 20RT
- Best Cheap Budget Guitar Amp Under 100 – VOX Pathfinder 10
- Best Small Guitar Practice Amp For Home Use – Fender Champion 20
- Best Modeling Amps For Guitar – VOX Valvetronix VT20X
- Best Beginner Guitar Amp – Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20
- Best Guitar Amp For Metal – Mesa Boogie Mark V 35 Combo
- Best Tube Guitar Amp – Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee
- Best Solid State Guitar Amp – Roland JC-120
- Best Battery Powered Guitar Amp – Blackstar Fly3
- Best 30 Watt Tube Guitar Amp – Fender Bassbreaker 30R
- Some Concluding Thoughts on Guitar Amplifiers
How to Choose the Right Guitar Amp for Your Needs
Choosing the best guitar amps involves both music theory and distinctly personal preferences. The combination of these two critical factors determines your signature sound. However, the process can be extremely confusing for beginners who are punching above their weight class, and even experienced musicians often need guidance, given the extraordinary variety of guitar amps on the market.
Looking for the best electric guitar to go along with your amp? Look here!
That’s why we have reviewed some of the best guitar amps to help you choose an amp that optimizes how your music flows electronically and conceptually. Our recommendations satisfy a variety of musical needs and include the following guitar amps:
Our Guitar Amplifier Recommendations
Best All Around Guitar Amp – Fender Mustang LT25
The Fender Mustang LT25 packs a lot of sound into a small amplifier and our choice for best all around guitar amp. It’s ideal for reproducing the sound of other amps and custom sounds from the effects pedals, and you can generate some of the classic sounds of rock, the blues and country music from the 1950s until the present. This amp is an excellent choice for musicians who want to explore different sounds without buying a lot of extra equipment like pedal effects and humbuckers.
The price of the amp is very affordable, and its size makes it easy to transport to gigs and musical venues anywhere. The features of the Fender Mustang LT25 include:
- Wood cabinet
- 20 watts of power amp
- 8-inch custom speaker
- User interface with a 1.8-inch display
- USB port for recording and connected to a PC
- Stereo headphone output for practicing quietly
You can download free audio-editing software to make recordings of your music so that you can fine-tune your playing and learn more about how to generate specific musical flourishes and signature sounds with great sound quality.
All around, the Fender Mustang LT25 is a great choice for beginners, students and amateurs looking to improve their skills. The simple user interface includes a selection of 30 presets, and these special features cover the musical landscape. This solid-state amp produces amazing tones for practice, informal concerts and small gigs.
Best Guitar Amplifier Under 1000 – PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti
The PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti amp is about the size of a Scooby Doo lunch box, with a 1 X 12 cabinet for organizing pedals and other audio equipment. It is also our top choice for best guitar amp under 1000 dollars. Mark Tremonti is known for signature PRS guitars, and his partnership with Paul Reed Smith is a great match that pairs an amp fanatic with a quality-control fanatic. The result is an amp that’s affordable and versatile enough to appeal to the vast majority of guitarists, which include professional musicians, students and beginners. These tube guitar amps are awesome!
The amp features two channels, clean and lead. The clean channel offers front-panel controls for volume, treble, middle and bass. The controls for the lead channel include master, treble, gain, middle and bass. The amp glows bright blue when the clean channel is activated, and bright red lighting appears when you switch to the lead channel. The color-coded operation is a big benefit for musicians by informing them which channel is active. Other features of the PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti amp include:
- Two channels, six JJ EC83S preamp tubes and 6L6 power
- 15-watt and 7-watt operating options
- Cabinet that’s rated for 60 watts to accommodate effects pedals
- 1 X 12 Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker
- Effects loop
- Toggle switch and foot switch to change channels
This under $1000 amp generates nearly as much sound when operated at 7 watts as it does at the full power setting of 15 watts. The amp provides excellent power, and its tonal capabilities include clean high gain, saturated high gain, lean and crunch effects. As far as tube amps go, this is one of the best guitar amps for sound quality!
Best Guitar Amp Under 500 – Boss Katana-100 MkII
The Boss Katana 100 MkII amp, our choice for best guitar amp under 500 is a mid-range amp that’s just right for many guitarists with 50 watts of power. The 1 X 12 design is easier to transport and use in tight places than the 2 X 12 combo, and the power tone capabilities and special features position the amp as an affordable choice for serious musicians and a high-end product for amateurs, beginners and hobbyists.
The features of the Boss Katana-100 MkII amp include:
- Ability to switch between 5 different amp types with variations for a total of 10 tones
- Option to run 5 effects at the same time, instead of just 3
- Adjustable presets
- Free download of Boss Tone Studio software using USB input and a computer
- Compatible with the highly regarded Boss GA-FC six-way footswitch
You can handle many professional editing tasks and create custom special effects with the five-effect pedal board. You can load your custom effects into one of the presets and immediately create another using a virtual amp and the five virtual pedals. All for under $500!
Here’s another great option for professional musicians: You can use two Boss Katana 100 MkII guitar amps to generate a massive stereo effect. The second amp increases output, but when you activate the spring reverb, the output tone comes through like an immersive stereo concert.
Best Guitar Amplifier Under 200 – Orange Crush 20RT
Looking for the best guitar amp under 200 dollars? The Orange Crush 20RT amp is a classic, and the orange color of its design indicates “loud” in the boldest of terms. The tones of the amp are mind-blowing because of the overdrive and saturation features. The amp has two channels and a four-stage preamp that generate a range of tones that hearken back to the 1960s and the days when analog amps played music at high decibels to wow crowds at outdoor venues like Woodstock. Orange is a respected audio manufacturer, and its technology combines the best of old-school music with modern technology, such as Orange’s CabSim circuit that mimics the power of an Orange 4 X 12 cabinet.
The top features of the Orange Crush 20RT amp include:
- Headphone and line output
- Affordable price for a go-to amp used by many accomplished musicians
- Onboard tuner and reverb control
- Bragging rights for using one of the world’s most iconic and identifiable amps
- 20-watt solid state amp
- Separate volume control for each channel, clean and dirty
- Bass, middle and treble controls and gain on the dirty channel
- Reverb dial and chromatic tuner
- More portable than most Orange amps
Although most musicians use the Orange Crush 20RT as a practice under $200 amp because of its portability and versatility, it’s capable of generating enough power, unique tones and special effects to delight concert goers at venues with medium-sized stages.
Best Cheap Budget Guitar Amp Under 100 – VOX Pathfinder 10
The VOX name is a legend, and the VOX Pathfinder 10 provides a great practice amp and choice for best cheap budget guitar amp under $100 that recalls some of the greatest musical performances in history. The VOX AC30 was used by legends like Queen, Radiohead, Tom Petty, Nirvana and Blink 182. The Pathfinder 10 has the same design in miniature, and it’s perfect for generating the famous VOX overdrive sound. The 10 watt amp generates more sound than other 10-watt amps, and the VOX design of a sleek, cloth-covered cabinet hasn’t changed in 60 years.
The controls are simple and ideal for rehearsals and practice when you want to focus on the music instead of the electronics. The amp has a Gain, Volume, Treble and Bass knobs and controls to switch easily between overdrive and clean.
- Classic styling with an incredibly appealing VOX Bulldog speaker
- Compact design for portability
- VOX Overdrive sound that’s highlighted performances for decades
- Impressive sound volume for a 10-watt amp
- Style that mimics the VOX AC30, a mini version for practice
- Clean-cut chimney tones
- Built in digital effects.
Although the amp has few special effects, it compensates by doing the basics superbly. The VOX Pathfinder 10 is primarily a practice amp for under $100, so there’s little need for onboard effects when most live musicians use custom pedal digital effects during performances.
Best Small Guitar Practice Amp For Home Use – Fender Champion 20
The Fender Champion 20 amp is a great amplifier for guitar players who want to shape sound in signature ways like the iconic musicians Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Marr, Robert Johnson and B.B. King. It is also our choice for best small guitar practice amp for home use!
The amp’s equalizer function has treble and bass control, and the special effects include vibratone, reverb, chorus and delay. You can customize the gain to create an identifiable signature sound for your home practice.
The voicing control allows musicians to dial-in special effects that range from clean tones to the most distorted effects that are common in heavy metal, punk rock, acid rock and even blues and country music. This precise degree of control enables you to generate your own sound with hints of British, metal, blackface and tweed influence.
The top features of the Fender Champion 20 amp include:
- Classic Fender styling
- Built-in effects that include Flanger, Wah, Chorus, Vibratone, Delay, Reverb and Tremolo.
- Multiple amp-modeling settings
- Ideal amp for practice
Best Modeling Amps For Guitar – VOX Valvetronix VT20X
The amp’s Virtual Element Technology, or VET, analyzes amp circuits and audio components to reproduce the most accurate and realistic amplifier sounds. The amp also features the Valvetronix tube preamp, which integrates analog circuitry in its design to provide more highly nuanced sound and tonal adjustments that some musicians consider to be better than digital sound.
The sealed cabinet, coupled with a proprietary bass-reflex effect, delivers better resonance than other modeling amps. Using VOX Tone Room audio-editing software enables you to customize the existing virtual amps and special effects with your own creations.
The top features of the VOX Valvetronix VT20X amp include the following:
- 20 Watt tube amp and a 1 X 8″ speaker
- Proprietary vacuum tube multistage amplification circuit
- 11 virtual amp models
- 33 preset programs
- 13 top-quality onboard effects
- Built-in tuner
- USB connectivity
- Designed for use on the stage and in the studio
Best Beginner Guitar Amp – Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20
The Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 amp is one of the best guitar amps in the starter category for beginners (we think it’s the best beginner guitar amp!), students and hobbyists. The affordable amp features a surprisingly wide range of tones and comprehensive features that are usually only available in more advanced and expensive amplifiers. The unique design features include two four-inch, 10-watt speakers behind the cabinet grill cloth, and these connect seamlessly for stereo output.
The amp is also a great choice for practice sessions because its advanced features make it an affordable and highly functional choice. Some of the features of the features of the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 amp include:
- Six-position voicing control that accesses two clean sound effects, separate crunch and super crunch effects, and two lead channel effects, OD1 and OD2
- Programmable Core models that produce saveable patches for each voice
- Controls for gain and volume
- Tap/tempo control for setting delay times
- Built-in tuner accessible by pressing the manual and tap buttons simultaneously
The crunch and super crunch effects give you more flexibility to mimic the snarls and bites of your rock and blues favorite tunes. The bright and warm clean channel options complement traditional and natural chords, and the stereo effect exceeds expectations by sounding like the speakers are located to the left and right of the listener, instead of side-by-side in the cabinet. Great for home practice too!
Best Guitar Amp For Metal – Mesa Boogie Mark V 35 Combo
The Mesa Boogie Mark V 35 Combo amp evolved from an amp for small musical groups, who often played in the back of a van, into a highly functional and practical choice among the best guitar amp for medal available. The current version is more portable than other versions, and the amp, which was created in the late 1960s by Randall Smith, is now designed by CAD technology instead of by hand.
The Mesa Boogie Mark V 35 Combo has the same dimensions as other Mesa Boogie amps, but the cabinet houses a fan-cooled chassis and components that sit atop high-quality circuit boards. Other features of the Mark V 35 Combo include:
- CabClone technology that makes direct output connections simple
- Two separate channels with controls for gain, treble, middle and master volume
- Clean, Crunch and Fat effects on the upper channel
- Lower deck effects that include high gain effects that sound live and MK IV, IIC+ and Xtreme effects, which refer to the lead channel sounds of most modern Boogie amps
- Extended range choices of output stages because of the four 25-watt EL84-powered heads
- The Mesa proprietary Boogie five-band graphic equalizer that you can can pre-set to your preferences
This heavy metal guitar amp model is the product of four decades of research, so it’s one of the more expensive amp models that’s specifically designed for Boogie bands, but the quality and attention to detail make it worth the price for professional musicians. These combo amps also come in a head form that you can match with a speaker cab.
Best Tube Guitar Amp – Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee
The Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee amp evolved after the single year of production for its predecessor, the Silver Jubilee Amp immortalized by its use by Slash. We picked this for best tube guitar amp today!
Joe Bonamassa also chooses the brand, and he can afford any amp. The Marshall Mini Silver Jubilee is priced on the high side for hobbyists and production but on the low side as tube amps for professional musicians who consider it a boutique amp choice that’s great for practice, use as an arena amp and informal gigs or small venues.
The features of this iconic brand include:
- 1 X 12 cabinet size for the mini version
- Three ECC83 preamp tubes and two EL34 power tubes
- Design that features signature grey and silver vinyl and chrome
- 20 watts of power
- 12-inch Celestion G12M-25 Greenback speaker
- Straightforward controls that include input gain, rhythm gain, lead master, treble, middle, bass, output master and presence
- Footswitch for changing to the clean or dirty channel
The Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee amp delivers surprising sound volume, and you can choose between 20-watt and 5-watt settings. Even setting the volume at 1 or 2 is perfect for flooding a room with sound. The amp generates big but clear tones at all settings, and it works well in most musical venues.
The gain effect can provide many tones that include grind, sustain and screaming electric guitar solos. At high volume, this tube guitar amp can generate detailed chords, heavy tones and grinding, nasty sounds for boogie-fueled riffs. The amp delivers incredible tones, a range of special effects and enough power for most performances.
Best Solid State Guitar Amp – Roland JC-120
The Roland JC-120 amp would never be described as pretty or streamlined, but its solid state design generates what is arguably the best clean channel in the highly competitive amp industry – making it our choice for best solid state guitar amp. The amp provides lots of power, stereo output and living testimonials from respected musicians that include Police guitarist Andy Summers, James Hetfield of Metallica fame, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and Johnny Marr of The Smiths. these are great solid-state amps.
Okay, we have to admit that the dirty channel probably won’t titillate you, but the clean channel makes up for it. The amp has achieved legendary status since its debut in 1975. As one of the rare solid state amps, it provides an onboard chorus, and it’s not limited to jazz. The stereo effects loop is one of the latest features to be added to the classic design. Other features of the Roland JC-120 include:
- Two 60-watt power amps that run in stereo
- Two 12-inch speakers
- Onboard effects that include distortion, reverb, vibrato and stereo chorus
- Speed and depth controls for each channel
- Retro look that some musicians prefer
- Three-band equalizer for both the Clean and Dirty channels
The solid state guitar amp design and features haven’t changed much since 1975, but the company sees little need to mess with success. This is one of the most iconic amps available, and the price, though high, is reasonable when you consider the famous musicians who choose the amp for professional performances.
Best Battery Powered Guitar Amp – Blackstar Fly3
The Blackstar Fly3 amp is a micro amp that’s highly portable and functional for various musical scenarios – making it a great choice for best battery powered guitar amp. The amp offers full channel-switching capability between clean and distorted tones that allows you to craft a signature sound. Built-in effects further allow you to express your musical personality, and the amp delivers plenty of raw power for studio work and stage performances. The unique tones come through astonishingly clear over the 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker.
The EL84 tubes deliver extra power and heavily nuanced clean tones, but you can also produce midrange distortion from middle to high gain. The channel-switching ability allows you great control over your clean and distorted tones with the option of using built-in effects. Additionally, top features of the Blackstar Fly3 amp include:
- Highly portable micro tuamp suitable for practice, playing in clubs, etc.
- Two-button footswitch for changing channels
- Superior selection of tones for the size and price
- Built-in delay function
- Uses only 3 watts of powe
- Delivers rich bass sound that matches the output of amps 4 four times as large
- Two stereo mini jacks
Ranking among the cheapest battery powered guitar amps in the industry, this amp is the perfect solution for practice sessions and providing backup for other equipment. It’s also a stand-alone amp for many musical venues and informal gigs.
Best 30 Watt Tube Guitar Amp – Fender Bassbreaker 30R
The Fender Bassbreaker 30R amp ranks clearly in our review of the best 30 watt tube guitar amps, based on the respected manufacturer and the special features that make the amp one of the most versatile amplifiers Bassbreaker has released in years. The 30-watt amp delivers plenty of power, great tones in the clean and overdrive channels and better mid-range acoustics for guitar solos without special effects. Tube amps are my favorite way to get my tone out!
Some of the features of the Fender Bassbreaker 30R include:
- EL84 power tubes for a power boost
- Incredible overdrive and distortion tones
- 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker
- Classic Bassbreaker chime and sparkle tones on the clean channel
- Direct recording option from the XLR output
- Ability to send recordings to a sound card, mixer or PA system
The Drive channel offers some of the most complex tones ever featured on a Fender Bass Fender amplifier. This tube amp stands out from the amps released by Bassbender in recent years, and it delivers more punch on the top end because of the sound boost provided by the EL84 tubes. The amp has enough power for any musical venue except large festivals, but these venues usually provide their own microphones and sound systems, so you don’t need more power.
Some Concluding Thoughts on Guitar Amplifiers
Inexperienced musicians and students don’t need to worry about the complexities of choosing an amplifier guitar players want – tube amp or solid-state amps. The amps we reviewed provide a functional and affordable cross-section of some of the best guitar amps available. Although we disagree with the premise that guitar amps are more important than your choice of guitar, we endorse the importance of choosing the right amp for your musical style. A poor choice can turn great skill into a marginal performance, but the right amp models, power, tones and special effects can turn a routine performance into a magical event.