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Amps don’t always need to go on full blast. Sometimes all you require is a guitar amplifier with enough volume to fill your room with sound. This would allow you to practice to your heart’s content without getting into fights with your neighbor or the rest of the household. It would also save you money since tiny amps are generally cheaper than bigger ones. Most of all, these guitar amps for beginners would be easier to carry around so you can take them wherever you need to go.
Quick Links To Our Best Guitar Amp Under $100 Recommendations
- Boss Katana Mini – OUR TOP CHOICE!
- Vox Pathfinder 10
- Blackstar Fly 3 Amp
- Fender Frontman 10G
- Pignose 7-100
- Ibanez IBZ10G
- Orange Crush 12
- Marshall MG Gold Series MG10
- Peavey Backstage II
- Hotone Nano Legacy Mojo Diamond
Below are some of the best guitar amplifier under 100 dollars for your consideration:
- 1 Quick Links To Our Best Guitar Amp Under $100 Recommendations
- 2 Our Under $100 Guitar Amp Reviews:
- 2.1 Boss Katana Mini Guitar Amplifier
- 2.2 Vox Pathfinder 10 Small Guitar Amplifier
- 2.3 Blackstar Fly 3 Practice Amp
- 2.4 Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier
- 2.5 Pignose 7-100
- 2.6 Ibanez IBZ10G Beginner Guitar Amplifier
- 2.7 Orange Crush 12
- 2.8 Marshall MG Gold Series MG10
- 2.9 Peavey Backstage II
- 2.10 Hotone Nano Legacy Mojo Diamond
- 3 What To Expect With A Guitar Amp Under $100
- 4 Best Guitar Amplifier Under 100 Conclusion
Our Under $100 Guitar Amp Reviews:
Boss Katana Mini Guitar Amplifier
The BOSS Katana amp series enjoy a great reputation in the industry. Many of their guitar amps are big enough large gigs. They provide excellent sound quality and cool effects without breaking the bank. The Katana Mini combo amp brings this impressive audio to a smaller platform. The secret lies in the multi-stage analog gain circuitry that creates massive sound with remarkable dynamics. It also has an analog equalizer with dials for bass, middle, and treble.
The 7W Mini beginner amp draws so little power that it can run on batteries which last for a long time. It is the perfect companion for musicians who are always on the road. Of course, you can still plug it into a socket if you’re going to stay put your practice area. There is no power cord included in the package so will have to shell out for that. There are a few flaws like the plastic chassis and the early clean channel distortion but the Mini is still an incredible deal given the sub-$100 price tag.
- Can run on batteries
- Small and portable amp
- Big sound with nice tone
- Distortion can be heard early in the clean channel
- Plastic chassis creates less than optimal sound quality
- Does not come with a power supply
Vox Pathfinder 10 Small Guitar Amplifier
Beginners may not have the best budget to buy the most sophisticated amps but they certainly don’t want to deal with trashy products. They expect to get a reasonable return for their money, and that is exactly what the Vox Pathfinder 10 provides. This 10W amp was made with practice sessions in mind. It has the stylish looks of a retro amplifier with the modern features of a modern device. The top handle makes this a breeze to carry around while the bumps underneath shield it from scratches.
Open up the Pathfinder 10 amp and you will see solid-state circuitry for clean sound. It has a 6.5-inch speaker that is good enough for most bedrooms or even small venues. The guitar controls include a volume knob, a gain knob, bass and treble controls, clean to overdrive switch, and line output. You could plug in headphones if you want to mute the speakers and rock out by yourself.
- Legendary Vox tone
- Good volume for the beginner amp size
- Cool retro styling adds appeal
- No EQ control for mid frequencies
- Clean mode is lacking in power
Blackstar Fly 3 Practice Amp
The Vox Pathfinder 10 guitar amp can be considered best for this class whereas the Blackstar Fly 3 amp is on the lower end in terms of sizing. With just a 3W speaker, the manufacturer was able to reduce the dimensions to truly diminutive levels. It doesn’t even have a top handle because you can pick it up by hand. It measures around 7.6 x 5.6 x 4.3 inches and weighs less than 2 lbs. It runs on 6 AA batteries through the latch at the back.
This is a practice amp that you won’t mind carrying around when traveling. The reinforced rounded corners are ready for bumps and bruises. At the top are the controls including dials for guitar gain, volume, EQ, and delay. It is capable of providing a digital tape delay effect. It also has an infinite shape feature or ISF. You will find an overdrive button between the gain and volume dials. At the back is a provision for an external speaker. You can also plug in MP3 players to listen to music.
- Super portable guitar amp at only 2lbs
- Battery operation with standard AA size
- MP3 line in for music
- Surprisingly good tone and decent acoustic guitar choice.
- Sound distorts at higher gain
- Low max volume due to 3W speaker
Check out our full review of the Blackstar Fly3 as well.
Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier
If you are looking for a best 10W amp model that can compete with the Vox Pathfinder, then check out the Fender Frontman 10G guitar amp. The brand is highly respected in music circles for a reason. It has consistently created outstanding products throughout the years and this sub-$100 amp is no exception. The 6-inch speaker delivers brilliant sound quality in a compact body. It is heavier than most options in this class with 10lbs of mass but it makes up for this with big Fender performance.
The Fender amp controls are fairly basic with dials for gain, volume, treble, and bass. There is a clean to overdrive switch within easy reach. You can plug in your favorite headphones to practice without waking up the whole household. You can also use the AUX IN jack to listen to your kind of music. If you enjoy the Fender tone and the classic styling, then this is a good buy. It is the preferred practice amp of blues and metal players.
- Classic Fender clean guitar tone
- Understated yet sleek styling
- Ample loudness for practice
- Solid construction
- Bulky and heavy for this class of guitar amp
- Overdrive channel sounds too compressed
Don’t let the brand name fool you. The Pignose 7-100 amp is a serious piece of gear in a portable package – one of the best here. It was one of the first practice amps on the market and it continues to be a favored gear among guitarists. It has a rather quirky design with a faux leather case that you can open from the side to reveal to whole interior. Six AA batteries will fit underneath the 5-inch speaker. It can be plugged to a wall socket but the AC adapter is not included in the package.
The amp case measures 5 x 6.25 x 9.5 inches and weighs 5lbs. All the corners are reinforced by a metal plate to prevent damage. The on/off button at the front features the iconic Pignose amp design. An audio jack is located under it. This is not the loudest practice amp in the market but it gets the job done in a fun way. It doesn’t provide a clean and smooth sound so you might want to look elsewhere if that’s your goal. Others who like distortion will love it, especially when running through a mixer for more power.
- Fun distinctive amp design
- Battery power for on-the-go use
- Small and lightweight amp for portability
- Some distortions on the guitar output
- No AC adapter in the package
Ibanez IBZ10G Beginner Guitar Amplifier
Ibanez might sound like a best Spanish brand but it’s actually a Japanese company that is known for producing impressive guitars. It was a natural progression for them to get involved in the creation of accessories, effects, and amplifiers. The Ibanez IBZ10G amp is its entry in the 10W subcategory of practice guitar amps. This is a solid contender that emphasizes performance over styling. The 6-inch speaker is able to reach higher decibels than its rivals. There is even a switchable boost for added spice.
The controls feature four dials including volume, gain, bass, and treble. There is also a distortion button near the input jack. At the right along with the power button are the AUX IN and HEADPHONE jacks. If you are looking for a battery-powered amp, then you probably have to look into smaller models because this one needs to be plugged in. It’s a short cord so get an extension if this will be an issue. There isn’t much on terms of controls or effects but that might be an attraction for beginners who shun complexity at this stage of their development.
- Ideal setup for guitar beginners
- Adequate volume for personal use
- Perfectly good sound for practice
- Larger than other amps in this class
- Few controls and effects
- Very short cord
- AC power only
Orange Crush 12
Most amps have traditional best styling and coloring. If you go to a store, it can be hard to distinguish the models by sight because they look so alike. That’s probably because classic black appeals to the vast majority of buyers. However, not everyone likes such a plain amp design. If you want more life in your amps, then check out the Orange Crush12 amp. It seems like a remnant of a groovy past but the features will convince you that this is a genuinely impressive piece of equipment.
It is one of the most powerful amps on this list with 12W of output. The 6-inch speaker blows huge air across the front. At the top are controls for volume, treble, middle, bass, overdrive, and gain. The input and output jacks are at the extreme ends. You might mistake this for a toy but it is a high quality item. The Orange Crush 12 amp can last a lifetime while supporting your solo or group sessions day after day. It may not be the lightest of the bunch but it may well be the loudest.
- The burst of color will add life to your practice room
- The sound is among the loudest in the category
- There are plenty of controls to fine-tune the audio
- No auxiliary input for music players
Marshall MG Gold Series MG10
Adding gold trims is a nice way to provide a touch of sophistication to an otherwise plain black box. With the MG10, Marshall is serving notice to its competitors that the category has a new king. It certainly has the biggest speaker of the bunch so far with a 6.5-incher inside the package. This provides a clear and loud sound that is hard to come by among portable amps. You can also listen via headphones or use the amp speakers for your MP3 player.
This amp is quite hefty at almost 12 pounds and the 13-inch height makes it a giant among dwarves. Somehow this trusted brand was able to keep the price under $100 without making too many sacrifices where it matters. Guitar players can switch between the clean and overdrive channels with ease. The clean channel has a dedicated volume control while the overdrive channel has its own gain and volume controls. There is even a contour dial for the gain.
- Line in for music and headphone output
- Elegant gold trims around the amp controls
- Impressive guitar tone quality and loudness
- No equalizer amp controls
- No battery mode
Peavey Backstage II
Peavey may not be the biggest and best name in the world of amps (actually it may be one of the biggest and best!) but it punches above its weight with the Backstage II amp. The 6-inch speaker is loud and dependable. The controls include overdrive level and volume, as well as high and low frequency adjustments. A lead switch can be turned on and off at will. Aside from the input jack for the guitar, there is an output jack for headphones and an input jack for tape or CD players.
The most interesting thing about this amp is the TransTube technology that powers it. It is able to mimic the warm sound of tube amplifiers without having to deal with the problems usually associated with it. The amp manages the gain to emulate the response of 12AX7 tubes for even harmonic distortions, dynamics, and chime. This also makes the sound better despite pushing higher volumes. It makes the amp usable in small gigs which adds to the versatility.
- Mimics tube response for warmth and volume
- Great for clean and mildly distorted sounds
- Good quality and longevity
- Not possible to use battery for power
Hotone Nano Legacy Mojo Diamond
The 1950s produced some legendary best amps. Hotone tips its hat to these classic devices with the Mojo Diamond Mini amp. This small electric guitar amplifier might only be capable of 5W of power it does its job well. It’s also quite a head turner with the throwback design that is unlike anything you’ll see from modern releases. The circuit lies at the base with controls for gain, volume, treble, bass, and middle. You will also see the input jack and the power switch at the flanks.
At the back are the 18V DC port, the line output for headphones, the auxiliary input for MP3 players, return and send jacks for the FX loop, and a 4-16 ohm speaker output. If you love using external effects with pedals, then this is a great buy. The amp is only 440 grams and is less than 13 cm at its longest side. Consider this if you like practicing mostly with headphones on, or if you already have a cabinet to pair it with.
- Extremely small size
- Beautiful 1950s amp design
- Works well with guitar pedals
- Sound rivals small tube amps
- Produces hum in proportion to the gain
- Some manufacturing inconsistencies
What To Expect With A Guitar Amp Under $100
If you need an electric guitar amp but only have around $100 to spend, there are certain things that you should know. Especially what features to expect at this price range (and what you probably cannot get at that price).
The Problem With Cheap Guitar Amps
You may have heard that sometimes you get exactly what you pay for. In other words, with inexpensive items, what you get is very little and you usually have to make a lot of sacrifices. There are even some people who say that there is no such thing as a good bargain at this price range. There may be some truth to this, but I believe there are still very good deals to be found when searching for the best under $100. They are also not the best for gigging but still good for home use.
What To Expect With This Budget
It is safe to say that some features of higher-end models are simply not available in this price range. If you want a 100 watts amp or a tube amp you are probably out of luck. Most of the time you will have to get by with an amp that has a maximum of ten watts or so (and even less in some cases). Even if you want a solid state amp, it probably will not be much more powerful than 10 watts.
Expect any kind of effects that are included with a higher-end amp, but don’t expect them to be as good and you probably won’t get them for the price. Don’t expect to get a speaker cabinet either (without spending more money).
Features You Can Expect
The main features of any guitar amp are: power output (watts), an effect slot for the unit’s internal effects, a headphone jack, and volume control. Most of these are standard features and you should expect them to be present in the best amps under $100, even if they didn’t cost a lot. Some of the more advanced features such as a limiter and other sound options may be left out, but you can still enjoy good sound quality.
What you should expect is a good, versatile amp with solid sound quality. It might lack some modern effects and the speaker cabinet might be a little basic, but it will definitely have enough power at lower volumes to satisfy you.
Some other quick picks:
- Blackstar Ltecho
- Peavey Solo 12w Transtube
- Marshall MG10CF MG Series
- Fender Mustang
- Fender Champion
Best Guitar Amplifier Under 100 Conclusion
It’s amazing how good a sub-$100 amp can sound. There is no need to spend a fortune just to make your guitar practice a sonic treat. This list of top options under 100 dollars features outstanding options from top to bottom. Some are positively tiny while others are a bit bulky yet still portable. Most adhere to the black box aesthetic while a few dare to break the guitar mold. They are not ranked according to any metric so just give each one a look to see which of them best suits your needs.
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