Best Cheap Amps for Guitar (2021 List)

best ultra cheap
 

Fender Frontman

Best for rock

Marshall MG30

Finding the best cheap amps for guitar is a difficult task.  At the low end of the price range there is a lot of garbage.  Things that no one should ever use.  

Luckily for the modern guitar player, we can find adequate information on almost any amp we want to now a days.  Everything has review written about it.  Telling you the strong suits, and the weaknesses of every piece of gear.  

These are a great step up from the ways of the past.  Before the internet you had no way to know if the amp had a terrible reputation for breaking, or for malfunctioning soon after purchase.  

Also amps have simply gotten a lot better in the past 35 years.  The "bad amps" of today pale in comparison to the "bad amps" of the 1980's.  You could barely even tell what was coming out of those abominations. 

Today we are going to be categorizing the best cheap amps for guitar by what they are best suited for.  So you know the strengths and weaknesses of each cheap guitar amp.  Also this way you can know which is best for you, and the sound you want to create.

You can also find many of the Best Cheap Amps for Guitar on our Best Beginner Amp for You list

Fender Tele Best cheap amps for guitar

Best Cheap Guitar Amps List

Most Versatile Amps
best cheap amps for guitar
Fender Mustang - Best guitar amp under $150

The Fender Mustang is a great affordable guitar amp.  It comes stock with over 100 presets.  Not only that, but you can create your own, or download other's using an app.  It is pretty cool to want to have a specific tone.  To then look it up, and have it downloaded on your amp in seconds.  Tone presets are released by both Fender and community members.  

Because of the ability to download tones and create your own.  This amp is extremely versatile.  It really can do whatever you ask of it.  I have used this amp for gigs that I need to switch to completely different tones very quickly.  One tune I would need a jazz sound, and the next a rock tone.  It is as easy as turning the dial on the amp.  

As much as I love this amp for its versatility, it does have a few downsides as well.  I think that although modeling amps are a great tool, they just don't sound as good as a real tube amp with the analog pedals, but that's just my opinion.  

Many people love the sounds from a modeling amp, and honestly no one besides guitar players will be able to hear the difference.  It all sounds pretty much the same to non guitar players.  

Another small downside of this amp is that It cannot pump out too much volume, but that is true of all cheap amps.  There are not many lower priced amps that can pump out the volume needed for some small to medium sized gigs.

The last thing I would like to mention about this amp is that many cheap guitar amps can't do a good clean tone as well as a good dirty tone, but this amp can do both.  If you are looking for a super versatile amp, but don't want to spend a lot, this could be one of the best cheap amps for guitar to you.

P.S. it is a great value, certainly one of the best guitar amps for the money.

Boss Katana - Best Guitar amp Under $300

This is an amp that has been hyped up a lot over the past few years, and for good reason too.  This amp is the king of tone for under $300.  There are tons of side by side comparisons to amps that cost thousands of dollars more than this one, and highly skilled guitarists cannot tell the difference.  

This amp does a pretty good job when it is played cleanly, but where it really shines is once there is a little overdrive on the signal.  It is extremely difficult to tell the difference between an amp like this and something like a Marshall DSL 40.  To put it simply, I don't think there is an amp with tone this good until you pay three to four times as much.  This amp is truly incredible.  

This amp also comes with a few effects preloaded on it.  These include flanger, chorus, reverb, and boosts.  Also through the Boss Tone Studio, you can edit the effects you are using, to get more effects, or just get the right type of effect.

Best amps for Rock/Metal
best cheap amps for guitar
Marshall MG30

It just all depends on what you are looking for.  If you are looking for an amp for rock or metal this could certainly be it for you.  This thing is killer when it's overdriven a little.  Amazing rock tones for a great price.

It comes with four channels. Clean, crunch, overdrive 1, and overdrive 2.  Each increase the amount the amp is overdriven.  Because of that overdrive 2 is your highest gain channel.  This channel is perfect for hard rock and metal.  

Something cool about these channels is that you can save one preset on each channel, so if you really like how something sounds, you can save it.  Even if the dials get all messed up, the setting will still be saved, and will sound exactly the same.  

This amp also comes with some built in effects.  Not nearly as many as the Fender Mustang however.  This amp comes with a few different options for a chorus, flanger, phaser, and delay.  Along with that, the amp also comes with two reverb options, studio and spring.  Spring reverb is exactly like all other spring reverbs, but the studio reverb is more like a large room reverb.  

For someone who likes high gain guitar playing this amp could be phenomenal.  It is at an amazing price point as well.  Great for a beginner looking to get into higher gain genres, or anyone that just wants a cheap, portable, and low priced amp.

Orange Crush 20RT

The Orange Crush 20RT is the main competitor of the Marshall MG30 on this list.  They both specialize in the same thing.  They both specialize in high gain playing.  Because of this these amps are great for both metal and rock music.  The Orange Crush 20RT leaves a little to be desired on its clean channel, but that isn't what we are here for.  

This amp is equipped with a simple switch with one end labeled "Clean" and the other "Dirty".  Not exactly difficult to understand.  This amp was built to be on the dirty setting.  The dirty setting is awesome.  It has really killer tones for classic rock to heavy metal.  

This amp is great for bedroom practice and not much else.  It is loud enough for a venue like a coffee shop, but I haven't been to many coffee shops that have live metal performances.  If that's your hustle though, who am I to knock it?  

For the price, this amp is killer.  The biggest downside is that it can't get loud enough to play somewhere like a bar, but no amp on this list gets loud enough for that. 

One more detail is that the RT in the name stands for reverb and tuner because the amp comes with digital reverb and a built in tuner.

Best Acoustic Guitar Amp
best cheap amps for guitar
Fender Acoustasonic

The Fender Acoustasonic 40 is an acoustic guitar amp.  Something that is really cool about this amp is that vocals and guitar can come out of the amp at the same time.  This makes it perfect for things like a solo coffee shop performance, and just practicing at home.  I have used this amp many times for small performances.  I play through it, the singer sings through it, and it works perfectly fine.  

Something that is really difficult to figure out with this amp at first is how to eliminate feedback.  Feedback is a big issue with acoustic electric guitars.  Feedback happens when the amplified signal gets back into the original sound source, and then gets amplified again.

 I have found the two best ways to eliminate or lessen feedback is to simply face the amp away from the guitar, or block the sound hole.  Sound hole blockers can be bought online for a few bucks, or you can simply tape a CD over the sound hole.  Both with work just fine.  

Since acoustic music is so often what is played in coffee shops and other small venues, this amp is perfect for those types of gigs. 

Most Portable Amp
Best Cheap amps for guitar
Yamaha THR10

This is a super cool and unique amp.  It is the most portable amp on this list, and it can also be used as a bluetooth speaker.  Similar to other amps on this list it comes with a few built in effects.  These include flanger, delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, and tremolo.  Along with all of those effects it also has 5 different channels with increasing levels of gain.  This amp produces great clean tones, and great high gain tones.  

With all that being said, this amp is not much more than a practice amp.  It cannot quite put out the volume needed for most performances, but that is okay because that is clearly its intent.  A practice amp should be small and super easy to carry around.  This amp is only about six pounds and its dimensions are about 14" by 7" by 6".  This is great because if I don't need the volume, I would much rather carry around this amp than my 55lbs Hot Rod DeVille.

For how small this amp is, it seems a little overpriced to me, but I suppose you are paying for both the quality and the unique features it offers.  

Best Ultra Cheap Amp
best cheap amps for guitar
Fender Frontman - Best Guitar amp Under $100

This is THE beginner amp.  If I am ever at a buddy's house and they just picked up the electric guitar, or they had tried at some point, this is the amp they have.  For a good reason too.  This amp is exactly what a beginner asks for.  Priced super low, sounds good, and is nice and compact.

This amp would be able to perform in super small quieter venues, like a coffee shop.  I have used amps that are just as loud as this one in coffee shops before, and they've worked just fine.  

For those of you who are not beginners, this amp also makes for a good practice amp.  Because of its light weight and compact design, this amp is super easy to move from place to place.  

This amp is really just a fastball right down the middle.  There is not much fancy about it, but it absolutely gets the job done.

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