Whether you are a newbie learning to play or a pro guitarist, you will need amps for practice, recording, and gigs. Amps help to produce your sound by boosting the signal to speakers and projecting your music to the world. However, different models have different characteristics and expertise in delivering the highest quality outcome.
So, how to choose among the various types currently present on the market?
For your convenience, the best guitar amp reviews are put into sections below. Here each of the models you see is best in their own category. Moreover, the buying guide can nudge you in the right direction. Trust me, you will know what to look for the next time you are buying your amp.
Best Electric Guitar Amps
Electric guitars are the most popular and sophisticated of all other guitar types. And guitar players want their electric guitars to have that rich distortion which comes from the amp itself. Reverb and controls are also other ways to shape your tone. If you are looking for something suitable for your guitar, check out these models listed below.
Fender Champion 20 Electric Guitar Amplifier
One of the most popular and highest rated electric guitar amps, the Fender Champion 20 is a 20-watt solid-state amp with an 8” speaker. It is a single channel amp, with standard volume and gains controls, as well as 2 bands EQs – bass and treble. One of the unique features this amp offers is the 12 amp voices. There are 3 voice models each for 4 categories such as – Tweed, Blackface, British and Metal. Along with that, you can experiment with different tones with built-in effects like Reverb, Delay, Echo, Chorus, Tremolo, Vibratone, and Wah.
With the 1/8″ headphone output you can easily and silently practice at home or night. Also, the 1/8″ AUX input lets you connect an external media device to the amp which will help your recording or jam sessions. Perfect as a practice partner, the Fender Champion 20 provides beginners an exceptional way to experiment with their sound at a low cost.
Pros and Cons
- Classic Fender Tone
- Wide Range of Built-In Effects
- Versatile Amp Voicing
- Best for Practice and Small Gigs
- Value for Money
- Open Back Cabinet for Storage
- Not Great for Large Gigs
- Difficult Power Switch
Fender Frontman 10G Guitar Amplifier
One of the smallest and cheapest models from Fender, the Fender Frontman 10G is truly a reliable starter amp for guitarists everywhere. Powered with 10 watts into a 6″ Special Design speaker, the amp has a closed-back design for heavier bass response. There is a single channel amp with an over-drive switch and gain control that can get you a clean tone to ultra-saturated distortion.
Other controls include volume, gain, 2 band EQs (bass and treble) which are straightforward and very convenient to use. Another benefit is that you can use other instruments like bass guitar, keyboards, violins, and vocals with the Fender 10G even though it is an electric guitar amp. Especially catered to beginners, the amp comes with Fender’s Digital Guitar Lessons. Similar to other models, it also includes 1/8″ AUX input to plug in external media player and a headphone jack for silent practicing. The powerhouse in a small package, the Fender Frontman 10G amp is revered by newbies and pros alike.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and Portable
- Responsive Controls
- Dynamic Tonal Range
- Great With Blues and Rock
- True Fender Blackface Treatment
- Very Reasonable Price
- Less Powerful
- Not Ideal for Live Gigs
Marshall MG30CFX MG Series 30 Watt Guitar Combo Amplifier
A fine mixture of digital convenience with modern Marshall tone, the Marshall MG30CFX is a 10″ speaker 30 watts guitar combo amp. The amp offers 4 channels to play with – Clean, Crunch, and 2 Overdrive channels. Marshall’s innovative FDD (Frequency Dependent Damping) circuitry provides you the way to customize, store and access your music.
There are 4 built-in digital effects – Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, and Delay and along with Reverb, you can play one of the effects simultaneously. Preset modes allow you to store and recall your settings whereas 3 band EQ lets you fine-tune your sound. As some additional features, you also have the combination line out/headphone out features and an MP3 / Line input for an external audio source.
With its versatile range of features, this amp has more to offer than just using it for practice. Marshall is popular for enhancing the clarity and character of a distorted guitar. So if you are looking for performing heavy metal and rock, this small solid-state amp will be perfect.
Pros and Cons
- Superb Sound Quality
- Digitally Controlled Analog Features
- Great Crunch Tone Emulation
- Versatile Range of Features
- 4 Programmable Channels
- Loud Enough for All Use
- Footswitch Not Included
- Limited Configuration
Best Acoustic Guitar Amps
Acoustic guitar sounds best while playing through a reliable acoustic amplifier. Acoustic amps are designed to offer transparency and a wider frequency range. The goal is to faithfully recreate the tone of the acoustic guitar’s natural sound. Moreover, the acoustic amp works well with vocals and other acoustic instruments as well. Whether you are a newbie or a pro player, you can definitely find one from the acoustic amp models listed below, suited to your taste and requirements.
Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
The most portable and lightweight model from Fishman, the Fishman Loudbox Mini packs a powerful sound with quality features. This acoustic amp is a 60 watt 2-channel combo featuring preamp and tone control designs. One channel for instrument input and the other for vocals with XLR input for dynamic mics.
It also features 3-band instrument EQ (including low, mid, and high tone controls) and 2-band microphone EQ (including low and high tone controls). The built-in digital reverb and chorus effects can be both used on the instrument channel but only the reverb effect is available on the microphone channel. The compact and elegant model has the controls and inputs located on the front panel.
On the other hand, Aux Input, power cable receptacle, and power switch are situated on the back panel. The feedback-fighting phase switch helps prevent getting any feedback during the live performance, which makes it suitable for small and medium gigs and solo performances.
If you are a struggling musician on a limited budget, this Fishman Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amp is a smart choice and it will be easier to carry around to different gigs.
Pros and Cons
- Portable and Lightweight
- Great Sound Quality
- Built-In Digital Effects
- Separate Channel for Mic
- Excellent Connectivity
- No Sound Distortion
- Fragile Build
- No Headphone Jack
Yamaha THR5A Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
The Yamaha THR5A Mini is a portable acoustic guitar combo amplifier that is ideal for desktop use. This 10-watt 3″ speaker amp is also best for off-stage playing, practicing and recording. Yamaha’s VCM (Virtual Circuit Modeling) technology allows this compact amp to emulate four different mic types like condenser, dynamic, tube, and nylon preset and also features a wide selection of voices.
Yamaha THR5A Mini comes with 5 other different guitar models, so just dial Clean, Crunch, Lead, Modern and Brit Hi. It also includes Steinberg’s Cubase Al recording software that you can record and edit your guitar playing sessions with. The amp utilizes Yamaha’s acclaimed Virtual Circuitry Technology to deliver authentic tube amp sound and incredibly realistic effects.
The Yamaha THR5 Acoustic Amp runs on eight AA batteries for up to 6 hours of portable use and can also be connected to the computer via USB port. For acoustic players as well as electric guitar players, the THR5A offers extremely natural sound out of a purely digital amp.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely Portable and Mobile
- Wide Range of Realistic Effects
- High-Quality Stereo Playback
- Perfect for Practice and Jamming
- Record and Edit Music with THR
- Less Durable Construction
- Buzzing with Plugged-In Guitar
Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS50D 50 Watt Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
Designed for acoustic instruments, the Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS50D Guitar Amplifier is a 50-watt power solid-state amp which is perfect for small and medium-sized gigs and solo live performances. The elegant and vintage-styled amp features 2 specially designed 8” speakers and two channels with input for multiple instruments or a guitar and a microphone.
The first channel is for the acoustic guitar and the second channel is for a microphone with phantom-powered XLR connection. Besides, there is RCA input for connecting MP3 players, drum machines and ideal for playing backing tracks. Each channel has its own two-band EQ. The amp comes with an anti-feedback notch filter, channel assignable chorus, digital reverb, an internal effects loop, and D.I. output.
The built-in reverb and chorus effects have unified controls that can be assigned to both channels, making the amp very flexible. One of the best control is intuitive anti-feedback control. With a Phase switch and a frequency controllable Notch filter, you can remove unwanted frequencies which cause feedback and noise.
If you are looking for a mid-priced amp with versatile features and reliable performance, then the Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS50D is a great choice for you.
Pros and Cons
- Compact and Versatile
- Variety of Sounds and Features
- Realistic Clean Tones
- Excellent Response to the Pick-Ups
- User-Friendly Easy Configuration
- Perfect for Small and Solo Gigs
- No AUX Input for Smartphones
- Fragile Construction
Best Guitar Amps Under $200
Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean less quality. Small amps are more of practice amps, better for home rehearsals, band practices, and small gigs. Beginner musicians hardly need huge raw power for their sets and it takes a long time to save up the money for a giant expensive model. If a budget-friendly amp can be powerful and versatile enough to meet your requirements, why spend money on expensive models? You can easily find great features with better quality amps and these are even under $200!
Sawtooth ST-AMP-10 Guitar Amplifier
With its compact design, reinforced handle and lightweight, the Sawtooth ST-AMP-10 is the ultimate portable amp. This 10-watt amp model with a 6.5″ speaker suits keyboard, vocal, any instrument with a pickup as well as electric, acoustic and bass guitars. There is adjustable volume, gain and drive controls and you can alter gain and an overdrive function to get distortion. The overdrive switch allows you to go between clean and overdriven sounds and you get clear sound without buzzing.
Additionally, the Master EQ control system has 3 bands setting for treble, middle, and bass. The amp has both input and output jacks available for a jamming session, which also allows for the use of headphones. Because the open weave fabric grill provides more sound projection and reduces the overall weight of the amp, it is loud enough for small venues and live gigs despite being small.
As an added bonus, the Sawtooth ST-AMP-10 comes with accessories like pro series instrument cable and ChromaCast picks. It is actually a great starter amp and the perfect practice tool for the newbie musicians.
Pros and Cons
- Durable and Portable Design
- Powerful Sound for the Size
- Very Good Value for the Money
- A Cable and Picks Included
- Great Starter Amp for Beginners
- Easy to Set Up and Use
- No AUX Input
- Harder to Control Med Volume
Fender Mustang I V2 20 Watt 1×8-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier
Integrating modeling technologies with software, Fender has introduced a new generation of amps and the Fender Mustang I V2 is among them. The Mustang I V2 is a 20 watts combo amp with an 8″ Fender Special Design speaker. Additionally, you can get Fender’s classic clean tones along with 18 amplifier models, 24 presets a chromatic onboard tuner and a whole range of effects.
The amp models light up individual LED for each model type. The control panel features a Treble knob to control the high frequencies and a bass knob to control the lows, but there is no Middle knob to control over the mid-range. Because of its easy USB connectivity to interface Fender Fuse Software, you can easily record, edit, save and customize your music. Also, you can access a great deal more effects and tones available online.
The AUX input is there to use the amp as a speaker, perfect for jamming sessions and the headphone output helps to silently practice at home. Despite being a budget amp, the amp with solid-state power delivers a volume level louder than expected. The software compatibility adding with variety and high-quality tones make the Mustang I V2 perfect for its price range.
Pros and Cons
- Versatile and Flexible Design
- Satisfying Fender Tones
- Better for Practice and Small Gigs
- Great Built-In Presets and Models
- Big Choice of Effects
- Great Value for Money
- Limited Warranty
- Difficult to Access Functions
Blackstar Guitar Combo Amplifier
One of the most lightweight and smallest amps, the Blackstar FLY3 Mini Guitar amp comes with 3-watt-watt power and a 3″ tiny speaker. Being battery powered, it is very portable and easy to carry around. And just using 6 AA batteries or DC adapter is enough to power it. The amp provides 2 channels with clean and overdrive tones. Blackstar’s patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) allows you to change the sound between American-style clarity at one end and a darker, more British voice at the other. For a more American sounding overdrive keep it at 0 and turn it to 10 for a classic British sound, or find a spot you like somewhere in between.
It also features a built-in digital “tape” delay effect which adds distinct resonance and more dimension to your guitar playing. You can use the amp as a speaker by connecting your MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, tablet, etc. through the MP3 / LINE IN jack and the Emulated Output jack helps to plug your headphones for silent practicing at home.
The Blackstar FLY3 produces loud tones even at the lowest volume despite its size. With this amp, you are getting innovative features and great sounding tones and you don’t even need to pay much for it.
Pros and Cons
- Small and Lightweight Design
- Patented ISF Technology
- Innovative Sonic Performance
- Evolved Micro Amp Concept
- Excellent Tones for the Price
- Convenient and Easy to Use
- Not Best for Live Performances
- Extra Power Supply Not Included
Best Guitar Amps Under $500
Most people think if you want to buy the best of the best model, you have to spend thousands of dollars on it. But that’s not always true. For one thing, not everyone can afford to buy expensive models and it can take years for you to save up the money. Then what are you going to do without your amp in the meantime? Besides, most of the amps nowadays have state of the art functions and have everything you need for solo sessions, home practice, and local gigs. Why spend thousands when you can do better with less than $500 even? The more expensive amps certainly have additional perks, but the amps under $500 listed below will give you versatility and quality performance, getting your money’s worth and more.
Fender Champion 100 Electric Guitar Amplifier
One of the best solid-state amps on the market, the Fender Champion 100 is a 100 watts amp with two 12″ Fender Special Design speakers designed for power and precise tone. It has two switchable channels with a range of diverse effects for both, including Delay/Echo, Chorus, Tremolo and Vibratone, Reverb, Flanger and Wah.
The first channel is based on classic Fender Blackface clean and sounds like a Fender Twin Reverb. Whereas the second channel offers you the versatility to choose from 16 different amp voices. This amp comes with a footswitch which enables you to easily change the channels and turn the effects on and off. The effects loop helps you to use with your favorite outboard effects or pedals.
There is an aux input for plugging in your media player for practicing with backing tracks and a headphone jack for silent practice. With its straight forward use, clear tones and powerful presence, the Fender Champion 100 is a great stage amp.
Pros and Cons
- Highly Durable Construction
- No-Nonsense Easy to Use
- Affordable Price
- Simple Effects with Direct Controls
- Clean and Distortion Channels
- Convenient Footswitch
- No Extension Speaker
- Artificial Sounding Amp Models
Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 – 100 Watt Amplifier
The world’s first Variable Instrument Performance amplifier, the Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 is a 100-watt innovative amp that contains bass, acoustic and electric guitar amp models. With 12″ custom speakers, it is one of the most versatile modeling amps on the market, with over 400 presets. The patented TransTube digital technology offers realistic-sounding models of 24 guitar amps, 6 acoustic amps, 6 bass amps, 25 effects, 12 stompboxes, and 10 instruments. Besides you can use up to five effects simultaneously.
The amp has LED controls for pre and post gain, EQ (low, mid and high) and master volume on its front panel. The control panel has a USB output, an AUX input and a headphone output for recording and storing presets along with practicing backing tracks.
You can use the LCD display and Peavey’s clever WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface for quick preset, model and effect selection. Also, the Power Sponge feature helps you dial down the amp power from 100W to 1W, which comes handy with a home session, band practice and live gigs.
If you want a flexible amp suitable for playing different styles and instruments but on a strict budget, then you should go for Peavey Vypyr VIP 3.
Pros and Cons
- Genuinely Innovative Design
- Great Sound Quality and Flexibility
- LCD Display and Chromatic Tuner
- Perfect for Rehearsal, Live, Practice
- Effective and Easy to Use
- Excellent Overall Value
- Low Recording Level
- Looper Not Available on All
BOSS Katana 100 Watt Guitar Amplifier
The BOSS Katana 100 Combo is a 100-watt solid-state combo amp loaded with a 12″ Custom speaker. One of the best features is its innovative Power Control, which allows you to lower the power volume to half (50W) and can even go as low as 0.5W. This cool trick is ideal for practice and recording. There are 58 effects and 5 amp characters available – Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic, especially for acoustic-electric guitar players.
You can load up to 15 effects on the amp but can use up to only 3 of them simultaneously. You can access the wide selection of customizable effects and amp models using the free BOSS Tone Studio editor software. The amp’s powerful Tone Setting memories can store your favorite amp channel setups and effects combinations for instant recall. The EQ section has three controls: Bass, Middle, and Treble.
Additionally, it features an effects loop, aux input and line output, speaker-emulated phones/recording output, USB recording, and a built-in tilt stand. With reasonably good sounding tones, the Katana 100 offers a perfect combination of power, flexibility, and overall quality.
Pros and Cons
- Hugely Versatile Built-In Effects
- Excellent High-Gain Tones
- Tone Setting Memories for Storing
- Built-In Tilt Stand
- Full-Time Channel and EQs
- Perfect for Stage and Home Practice
- Too Modern Tone
- More Suited for Metalheads
There are plenty of affordable entry-level amps with reliable and versatile features on the market. You will be a proud owner of the best guitar amp in no time if you know where and what to look for. Here consider the factors before purchase so that you don’t waste your money buying an amp you don’t even need.
You need to consider your purpose first. Figure out what you are using your amp for and the style of music you are going to pursue. Most amps are used for home practice, studio recording, and live performance. If you are a beginner, you need something you can practice with, for that cheap and simple one channel amps are suitable enough.
However, amps with high wattage and power are best for live performances, for you need to cover larger venues. Also, high powered amps come more expensive than simple ones. Therefore, if you are on a budget it is better to choose a practice amp.
Another thing, it is smart to choose the amp which suits your style and taste of music. Because some amps are compatible with jazz or country music, while some are more compatible with metal or rock sound. You should choose a versatile amp that you can still use even if your music style changes later.
Search for which type of amp is most fitting to your needs. Normally you can find 4 different types of guitar amplifiers: tube, solid-state (analog), hybrids, and modeling (digital). Tube amps use the oldest technology to create unique types of organic distortion and offer warm textured sound. Comparatively, solid-state amps are more of modern creation and use transistors for their preamp and power sections.
Hybrid amps are the mesh between these two technologies, with vacuum tubes in the preamp and solid-state circuitry in the power amp. Modeling amps use digital processors to simulate the sound of old-fashioned tube technology offering built-in effects.
Tube amps are more treasured, sought after and significantly louder than solid-state amps. However solid-state amps are cheaper, lighter, more reliable, and portable and require less maintenance. That’s why these are more popular with beginners to intermediate players, even to some pro musicians as well.
Generally, amps come in two configurations: combos and separate. Combos contain the amplifier head and the speaker in a single cabinet. Amps also come in separate head and speaker cabinets which are called stack. Full stacks refer to an amp head connected to two speaker cabinets. But the half stacks have an amp head connected to a single speaker cabinet. You can break the stacks into two units and they are easier and lighter to carry around compared to combos.
Typically, stacks are heavily used for large venue performances, as they produce louder sounds. But combo amps are also capable of producing loud enough sound for small gigs. With their added portability and lower price, combos are pretty popular with guitarists everywhere.
As a general rule for amps, the higher the power, the more the volume. Combo amps can be available in anything from 5 watts to 100 watts. Most practice amps offer not more than 10 watts and it is enough to power for beginners. For instance, if you want an amp for rehearsal or playing gigs in small venues, then amps with 15-50 watts will do. For larger gigs or performing on outdoor festivals, you need power at 100 watts and up.
However, the measurement of an amp’s power output differs for different amp types. A 5-watt tube amp can be louder than a 20-watt solid-state. With tube amps, the lower the wattage, the better the saturation and distortion sound quality. Also, 100 watts doesn’t necessarily mean it will sound 5 times louder than 20 watts amp. It will only sound 2 times louder at most.
Some overlook speaker quality but they are the most crucial factor and can affect tone, sound and the quality of music. Even though the most common sizes are 8, 10 and 12 inches, different sized speakers suit different tonal characteristics and styles. Larger speakers produce low tones where smaller speakers are better at handling the higher frequencies.
If you want one for practice, one small 8″ or 10” speakers are standard and preferable. For rehearsal and playing in smaller venues, consider one or two 10” or 12” speakers. Louder performances on larger venues require a twin or combo amps with a pair of 12” speakers. Just for recording, you can use any combination to suit the tone you prefer.
Your amp should be straightforward and easily controlled. Test the amp before purchasing by dialing and adjusting its tone controls. If the controls turn out to be too confusing or too complicated to play your preferred sound, better leave that model and find a new one. Wasting time and effort for an amp you can’t even control, that’s not a smart choice.
Reverb, Chorus, and Tremolo are the most common built-in effects on analog amps. Whereas hybrid and digital amps are equipped with multiple built-in digital effects. However onboard effects may not sound so good or be as flexible as external effects pedals and processors. Effect loop or FX loop is useful for effects like digital reverb and delay and it allows you to insert effects between the preamp and power stage.
Most amps have multichannel nowadays, while there are some with one channel. If you want to try out a lot of different tones or find the perfect mix of tone and distortion, then go for multichannel amps. But if you feel content with only a simple clear and crisp sound, one channel amp is a better option for you, it will be cheaper and smaller too.
Input and Output
Normally most amps come with multiple inputs and output jacks of all sizes. Some are there to connect with other devices. Such as a footswitch to control the onboard effects, external speakers for more volume and sound, and pedals for the effects loop. Moreover, line outputs with speaker emulation let you record at home and headphone jack comes handy with silent late night practicing.
The quality and capabilities of your amp should match your guitar. Surely, you wouldn’t want to ruin your instrument’s sound with an under-performing amp. However, it doesn’t mean only expensive amps are of good quality. With new technologies, even basic amps provide quality sound and innovative features in budget-friendly rates. Buying an amp is more of an investment for musicians. The best guitar amp is the one that essentially combines your needs and preferences. So, take your time, read user reviews, try out the functions and then decide on one.