Orange Crush 20RT Combo Guitar Amp
Boss KTN-50-Mk2 Katana Guitar Amp
Fender Champion 20 Electric Guitar Amp
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Not every guitarist has the budget for a full-size Marshall stack. If your bank account won’t stretch to accommodate a premium amp, not to worry. There are more amazing cheap amps to choose from than ever before.
The Orange Crush 20RT is our pick for the best budget guitar amp. Not only does it suit players in any genre, it has a simple, streamlined interface, outstanding crunch tones and a lightweight profile.
We’ve also highlighted eight other outstanding budget guitar amps. So, no matter your budget or musical style, you’re sure to find a great cheap amp for you.
The 9 Best Cheap Guitar Amps
|Image||Guitar Amps||Summary||Check Price|
|Orange Crush 20RT Combo Guitar Amp|
Best Choice: Powerful Orange crunch with a simple interface and lightweight cabinet
|Fender Champion 20 Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier|
Best Value: Outstanding models and effects for a very affordable price
|Boss KTN-50-Mk2 Katana Combo Guitar Amp|
Premium Pick: Loaded with features for practice, plus a powerful speaker for jam sessions and gigs
|Roland Micro Cube GX Portable 3-Watt Guitar Amplifier|
Ultra Portable and Feature Packed: Perfect amp for practice and busking on-the-go
|Blackstar FLY3 Electric Guitar Mini Combo Amplifier|
Ultra Small and Affordable: Blackstar crunch and great tonal control in a mini portable amp
|Fender Mustang LT-25 Digital Guitar Combo Amplifier|
Superb Practice Amp: Packed with amp and effect models placing virtually any tone at your fingertips
|Yamaha THR10II Desktop Combo Amp|
Premium Tones In A Small Package: High-quality amp emulations for recording and practicing in a desktop package
|Vox Pathfinder 10 Combo Guitar Amplifier|
High Quality On The Cheap: Classic Vox chime and saturation at a price that won’t break the bank
|Bugera V5 Infinium Tube/Valve Combo Amp|
Awesome Entry Level Tube Amp: Vintage tube tone and response at a reasonable price point
Orange Crush 20RT Combo Guitar Amp
Orange amps are famous for their stadium-filling crunch and dirty saturation. But, if you want a smaller and cheaper version of the classic Orange amps sound, the Orange Crush 20RT is the perfect combo guitar amp for you.
This solid-state power amp pumps out 20 watts of power through an eight-inch speaker. It’s loud enough for practicing and jamming with friends, although it does break up at more reasonable volumes than a full Orange stack. There’s also a dedicated drive channel for pushing the amp into gain at low volumes.
The amp’s top panel contains master volume controls for the two channels. The dirty channel includes a three-band EQ and gain control, so you can adjust your sound more effectively.
With the midrange boosted and the gain cranked, it provides vintage Orange saturation with plenty of grit.
Along with the controls themselves, there’s also an built-in tuner and a built-in digital reverb knob. Overall, the wattage and tone of the Orange Crush 20RT make it a great cheap amp for practice and jamming. While it’s not powerful enough to gig with, it’s got everything you need to get started.
Fender Champion 20 Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier
The Fender Champion series is a time-tested favorite among cheap amps. The newest version of the Fender Champion 20 provides thoughtful updates to older models without destroying what made the originals so great.
Like the Orange Crush, the Fender Champion 20 runs with a single eight-inch speaker. It captures a broad spectrum well for the price, although it can sound a bit spiky and struggles to provide a fluid response at all times.
The upper panel mimics classic Fender blackface designs, with knobs for volume and tone control. You also get dedicated knobs for gain, trebles and bass along with a couple of unique features.
One knob switches between the amp’s 12 voicings, ranging from smooth Fender-style cleans to heavy metal shred tones. Another selects between effects like reverb and delay, chorus and phaser. Finally, a separate dial adjusts the level of your effects, so you can dial in sweet tones without them overpowering your base sound.
For quiet practice and jamming with other tracks, the Fender Champion 20 includes an auxiliary input and headphone output. Its rugged looks and tough detailing, hide modern technology in a vintage package.
Boss KTN-50-Mk2 Katana Combo Guitar Amp
The Boss Katana has amassed a legendary following among guitarists as one of the best cheap guitar amps anywhere.
The improved Mk2 version lives up to the reputation while making it even more versatile for modern players.
The Boss Katana Mk2 includes the same five core amp models as the original, with a new set of variations on each model. These take you from pristine cleans to metal chugging.
For more variety between each model, you can harness the three-band EQ section and gain knob.
Beyond your base tone, the Boss Katana includes 60 effects ranging from modulation and time-based effects to classic reverb, delay and drives.
The amp includes three knobs to control drives, modulations and reverbs, but you can also access more via the Boss Tone Central app.
Unlike a lot of the best cheap guitar amps, the Boss Katana provides a full 12-inch speaker. Compared to the eight- and 10-inch speakers on other models, a 12-inch design sounds richer and deeper. It offers great bass response, with a more powerful midrange and smoother trebles. It doesn’t have the spiky, compressed tone that a lot of cheap amps do.
Roland Micro Cube GX Portable 3-Watt Guitar Amplifier
Roland sets the bar for portable amps, and the Micro Cube GX is no exception.
This tiny powerhouse pumps out three watts from a battery-powered frame. That makes the Cube GX easy to use and play while out and about — and you don’t have to worry about a power supply.
Just because it’s designed for portable use doesn’t mean this micro amp is shallow. Onboard, you’ll find eight COSM amp models replicating classic sounds from American-style cleans to extreme metal crunch.
There are also two effects knobs: one specifically controls delay and reverb, while the other handles modulation effects like phaser, tremolo and chorus.
To control all of these features, the Micro Cube GX offers dials for volume, tone, gain and master volume. You can also tune on board, or plug in with the aux input to play songs through the amp.
The micro amp runs up to 20 hours on AA batteries and you can record to iOS to save your best parts from a specific session. While the sound isn’t as expansive as some larger amps, it’s a great sounding model for players who want to practice on-the-go.
Blackstar FLY3 Electric Guitar Mini Combo Amplifier
Another portable amp on our list, the Blackstar FLY 3 is a tiny combo that packs a serious punch. If you want rock and metal tones in a small package, this is one of the best models on the market for you.
The mini amp offers one channel, with an overdrive switch to power up the gain levels.
While the clean tones are certainly good for an amp with a three-inch speaker, the crunch and distortion are where this amp shines.
The FLY 3 uses Blackstar’s Infinite Shape Feature for tone control. The ISF knob shifts your overall voicing between an “American” scooped-mid sound and a “British,” mid-forward tone. The one knob also adjusts trebles and bass, so you sound good no matter how you set the amp.
Along with the basic controls, Blackstar also included a digital tape delay effect. Tape delay offers some of the warmth of analog delay, with a unique feel and presence. It’s the perfect way to add character to your tracks and it’s a rare find for an amp at this price point.
Fender Mustang LT-25 Digital Guitar Combo Amplifier
For a feature-packed modeling amp that’s got great tone for practice, it’s hard to top the Fender Mustang LT-25.
This is Fender’s latest digital amp and it harnesses cutting-edge modelling technology to bring you more tones and effects than competitors.
There are 20 core amp models onboard, with 25 effects to make every sound you can think of.
To help you get started, the Mustang includes 30 presets loaded onto the amp and 20 more online. These replicate famous tones throughout guitar history, so you can spend more time playing and less time adjusting dials.
To switch between these presets, the Mustang LT25 offers a master control knob with a LCD display.
This knob comes along with volume, gain, tone and master volume controls so you can adjust every preset to your liking.
There’s also an onboard tap tempo function for time-based effects and a tuner to keep you playing smoothly.
For silent practice, the amp includes a MP3 line input and a headphone output. The wraparound wood cabinet is another plus; it gives the Mustang LT25 an upscale feel that’s rare in a practice amp at this price range.
Yamaha THR10II Desktop Combo Amp
Yamaha’s THR series is one of the best budget guitar amps on the market for practice and small recording jobs.
They’re versatile and sound great, yet fit on your desk and can run on battery power. The THR10II is an updated version of the classic 20-watt combo amps.
This amp is packed with great models for whatever tone you can think of. There are 15 base models ranging from American and British cleans to hardcore metal. Then, you can adjust those parameters with the built-in effects bank and detailed EQ controls.
You’ll find everything from classic reverbs and delays to echoes, modulation, and compression.
For bassists and acoustic guitar players, the THR10II includes onboard models optimized specifically for those instruments. This is perfect for players who like to switch instruments, because you can save money and hassle with just one amp.
The THR10II stands out from other cheap guitar amps with its genuine stereo speakers. These give you a rich, luscious sound and add more space to the tonal signature. Modulation effects like chorus and flanger sound particularly great with these speakers.
Vox Pathfinder 10 Combo Guitar Amplifier
There’s nothing like the chime of a clean Vox AC15, or the creamy saturation of a cranked AC30.
For players on a tighter budget, however, the Vox Pathfinder 10 offers a great approximation.
With 10 watts of power through a speaker measuring 6.5 inches, it’s the perfect practice amp for rock, blues and hard rock.
The top panel offers controls for gain and volume along with a two-band EQ section. The amp splits into clean and drive channels, so you can adjust the perfect amount of distortion at all times.
For practice and recording, the Vox Pathfinder is much more convenient than single-channel designs.
The clean tones are bright and chiming, with Vox’s classic British voicing. Add a bit of overdrive, and you get lovely crunch and saturation. The driven tones are perfect for classic rock and hard rock, although there’s not enough gain for metal. For rocking out in quiet situations, you can also run the amp through your headphones.
Bugera V5 Infinium Tube/Valve Combo Amp
While modeling guitar amplifiers can replicate hundreds of different sounds and digital amps offer built-in effects, there’s nothing like the classic tone of a tube combo amp.
For players who want that legendary tone and response at an affordable price range, the Bugera V5 Infinium is one amp to check out.
This combo amp runs with five watts of power through one eight-inch speaker. The EL84 power tube gives it a slightly British voicing, with more midrange presence and treble cut than American-style guitar amplifiers.
The clean tones are crisp and smooth, with a bit more depth than some other British-style amplifiers. With some overdrive applied, it offers a rich crunch that’s perfect for classic rock.
If you love metal, there might not be enough gain available for you but, for most other styles, the V5 Infinium gets the job done.
The control panel is simple and easy to use, with master knobs for gain, tone and volume. While the one tone knob doesn’t offer very precise control, you can make broader shifts in your sound by using it with the volume knob to affect your clarity. There’s also a digital reverb onboard, which gives your electric guitar extra warmth and smoothness.
Amp Heads and Amp Pedals
If you want a cheap model but don’t have the space for a full combo amp, there’s no need to worry. Modern manufacturers are making more fantastic practice amps in smaller packages than ever before.
Amp heads and amp pedals are two great alternatives to traditional budget guitar amps. Amp heads preserve the preamp section of a traditional combo, while cutting out the speaker to save space and weight.
Amp heads are perfect for recording into a console without a speaker cabinet, or for taking to gigs in your backpack.
Amp pedals, meanwhile, are traditional electric guitar amps condensed into pedalboard formats. They require an external speaker, just like amp heads. However, they’re even smaller and more portable than heads.
If you need an ultra-small option or a backup amp to carry on your pedalboard, these amp pedals will get the job done.
The Best Cheap Guitar Amp Heads
One of the best cheap amp heads is the Orange Micro Terror 20W Amplifier. This 20-watt Orange head fits in a backpack, yet can pump out enough power for practice and jams. We also love it because it’s got all of the punch and saturation that you expect from an Orange amp, without the size of a full stack.
The controls are extremely simple, with three dials for volume, EQ and gain. Despite the streamlined layout, the Orange Micro Terror delivers one of the best cheap distortion sounds out of any amp on the market. There’s also a headphone input, so you can play on your own without a speaker cabinet.
For more gain and grit, you can also check out the Orange Micro Dark. This 20-watt Orange head provides a similar voicing to the Orange Micro Terror, but with more power for hard rock and metal.
The Micro Dark offers the same three-knob setup as the standard Micro Terror. You can control volume, shape and gain as well as play through the headphone output. The shape knob functions like a comprehensive EQ control, adjusting the midrange content of your guitar as well as the low-end punch.
The different voicing sacrifices some clarity and depth on the clean tones; if you’re looking for a jazz or blues amp other options might be better. However, if you enjoy metal and extreme distortion the Micro Dark will provide the thick, searing gain that’s perfect for you.
The Best Cheap Guitar Amp Pedals
The Orange Terror Stamp 20W Valve Hybrid Guitar Amp Pedal is perfect for rock and metal players looking for a portable design. With a tube preamp and solid-state power section, it packs vicious crunch into a package the size of an overdrive pedal.
To control it, you can use the volume knob, master volume, shape EQ control and gain knob. The first volume knob functions like a responsive gain control, so you can make fine adjustments to your drive and tone.
The Quilter MicroBlock 45 45W Guitar Amp Head is another versatile amp pedal that’s one of the best options for taking on-the-go. With just three knobs and multiple inputs and outputs, it’s easy to dial in wherever you are.
On the front of the pedal, you’ll find controls for volume, gain and tone. The tone knob functions like a comprehensive voice shift, so you can adjust treble, bass and mids at once.
The clean tones are smooth and resonant, with good harmonic content for such a small amp. At 33 watts of power, the MicroBlock can hang through small jam sessions and even quiet gigs.
How Much Does A Decent Guitar Amp Cost?
Getting a decent guitar amp depends on your needs: practice amps for jamming and recording are much less expensive than big amps for playing large gigs.
In general, tube amps also tend to be much more expensive than a solid-state amp or digital amps. Tube models offer outstanding pick attack and feel, so they’re still the gold standard for professional players.
If you want a great solid-state or digital amp for playing around the house, a budget of $250-$400 should be plenty. You can find some cheaper combo amp models, and spending a bit more money will still provide returns, but amps in that range hit a great mark for quality and affordability.
For full-size tube and digital combos, look for something in the $300-$500 range. Some small tube amps are below this price. But, in general most combo amps with good speakers and a nice preamp stage will cost at least $300. For a similar price, you might be able to find a dynamic solid-state combo that you can practice and gig with.
Can a Good Amp Make A Cheap Guitar Sound Good?
If you want to stretch your budget as far as possible, you might wonder whether you can play a cheap guitar through a good amp.
A high-quality amp will make your guitar sound as high-fidelity as possible. You’ll avoid problems common with cheap amps, like buzzing, boxy overdrive, or unwanted compression and electronic dampening.
However, even one of the best amps won’t fix any unwanted noises coming out of your guitar, or make your pickups magically sound fantastic. If your guitar has issues like fret buzz, 60-cycle hum, or finicky pickups, a good amp will highlight these issues in extreme fidelity.
While very cheap guitars might sound tinny and feel physically difficult to play, the best budget guitar amps offer fantastic quality. So, running a high-end guitar through a cheaper amp can still sound very good.
With that being said, if you spend a bit more money on an amp you’ll often get a fantastic result. Tube amps are a great example. While they’re more expensive, they’re renowned for their dynamic sound and response. We’ve compiled an article on some of the best low-watt tube amps, which you should also check out for outstanding amps at a cheaper price.
What is the Best Guitar Amp for Home Use?
For a practice amp at home, it’s important to find budget guitar amps with a variety of tones on offer. Digital modeling amps can produce more sounds than competing tube amps, which makes them great for practicing and quick recording sessions.
These amps also include plenty of built-in effects, which are great for recording and toying around with new tones. Oftentimes, discovering a new vibe can be a great inspiration for songwriting and jamming, so it’s helpful to have them right at your fingertips.
For the house, I love amps like the Yamaha THR10II and the Fender Mustang LT25. These provide outstanding digital models, with simple interfaces and great effects banks. If you want a more powerful model, the Bugera V5 Infinium and Boss Katana 50 are also great options.
However, sometimes it’s also helpful to find an amp that you can use at home and on-the-go. If you want great tones that don’t sacrifice portability, make sure to check out our article on the best battery-powered amps.
What is the Best Cheap Guitar Amp?
Overall, there are plenty of great guitar amps available for players on a budget. If you want an amp for home practice, look at small models like the Fender Champion 20 or Vox Pathfinder 10. These lightweight combos offer classic tones in affordable, small packages.
For playing with other musicians, you might need a bit more power. Amps like the Boss Katana 50 have enough wattage to play over a drummer without sounding boxy, thin or compressed. With its plethora of onboard amp and effect models, the Katana also stands out from its competitors with its tones.
After evaluating all of the top cheap guitar amps, we picked the Orange Crush 20RT for the No. 1 spot. It’s one of the best amps on the market, both as a practice amp and an entry level model for jamming.
If you want more powerful amps for jamming or recording, look at the Boss Katana 50 and Yamaha THR10II. If you need to find the best guitar amp for beginners, the Fender Mustang LT25 and Bugera V5 Infinium should also be on your radar.
How much would you spend on an amp? Do you prefer tube or cheaper digital amps? Let us know in the comments below.