The Best Cheap Guitar Amps Under $200

Budget Guitar Amps

Originally published on August 25, 2016 and updated on October 26, 2017.

This guide is designed to help you get good quality yet inexpensive guitar amplifiers, with recommendations based on current market sentiment. Featured here are combo amps that give you the most return for your money in terms of sound quality, reliability and versatility.

To keep this guide in-tune with current trends, we have updated our recommendations to incorporate the latest review and ratings data. This resulted in a new list of top 10 amps, with popular brands like Fender and Roland still capturing multiple spots, thanks to their top rated entry-level amps. Since these amps cover a wide range of musical genres, there should be one here to match your preferred playing style.

Contents

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

Gearank Sources Street Price
Fender Champion 20 92 450+ $100
Fender Mustang I v2 91 950+ $120
Roland CUBE-10GX 91 60+ $130
Roland Micro Cube GX 93 250+ $150
Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2 92 20+ $150
Roland Mobile Cube 90 300+ $180
Fender Champion 40 90 475+ $180
Orange Crush 20RT 93 80+ $189
Marshall MG30CFX 91 400+ $200
Bugera V5 Infinium 90 150+ $200

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

Fender Champion 20

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Fender Champion 20

The Fender Champion 20 is a true champion when it comes to entry-level amps, combining classic looks, with intuitive controls and built-in digital processing. For the price, you're getting quite a lot of goodies that are packed in a compact package that's easy on the eyes and to carry around. As expected, it starts off with Fender's brand of clean tone, but it branches off into other territories with its voicing knob (12 Amp Models) and built-in effects. Together with the amp's basic EQ and gain controls, you can go from clean to crunch to high-gain, while employing effects like Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Tremolo, Vibratone and more.

Features:

  • 20W Amp
  • 8" Speaker
  • 12 Amp Models
  • 13 Effects
  • Aux Input
  • Headphones Output
  • Weight: 19 lbs.

Value for money is easily its strongest trait, impressing even experienced guitar players with its balance of quality, versatility, portability and affordability. It gets most of its thumbs up from fans of the Fender clean tone, but there are some who are just as impressed with its various overdrive flavors. Many also appreciate its intuitive control design, which makes it easier to access the various tones are hidden inside its compact form factor.

There were a few users who complained about the amp's lack of bottom end, but it should be expected given its smaller 8" speaker and compact profile. There were also a few who were not too happy with some of the effects and amp models, but they still find the amp's overall performance to be exemplary.

With its incredible value, versatility and quality, the Fender Champion 20 is an easy recommendation.

Fender Mustang I v2

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$120
Fender Mustang I v2

The Fender Mustang I v.2 joins our list with its sound quality and versatility. It starts off with Fender's great sounding clean tone which legendary artists like Kurt Cobain, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, George Harrison and many more used to make their chart topping music. But it doesn't end there because it adds multiple amp models, a huge library of effects and other useful features - making it easily standout as the best value guitar amplifier in the market today. From quiet practice to jamming, to direct recording, this amplifier can do it all and it doesn't even get close to the $200 ceiling price for this guide.

Features:

  • 20W Modeling Amp
  • 1x8" Speaker
  • 18 Amp Models and 37 Effects
  • Onboard Chromatic Tuner
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input
  • USB connectivity
  • Bundled with Ableton Live 8 Fender Edition
  • Weight: 17 lbs.

Users and experts alike love everything about this amp, from its genuine sounding Fender clean tone, to the quality of its digitally processed effects and amp models, to its direct USB recording capability. A lot of users were floored by the Mustang I v2's quality, especially when considering its ridiculously low price, and many allude to it as the best amp out there for the price.

Editor's Note: This has been the most popular budget guitar amp with Gearank readers throughout 2017

There were some complaints about the amp producing unwanted "hum", but it may very well be a setting issue (gain or effects set improperly like all the way up). There were also some who did not quite like the high-gain metal tones, but this can be a matter of taste and experience.

This is a great budget friendly amp that even experienced players found to be inspiring and useful.

Roland CUBE-10GX

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$130
Roland CUBE-10GX

Roland's Cube series amplifiers helped establish the brand in the amplifier market, and the Cube-10GX is among the best rated ones in the lineup. It is meant to provide beginners and students with a portable practice amp, with its 10W amplifier, 8" speaker and compact profile. And to make practice more inspiring, Roland equipped this amp with three COSM loaded amp channels, which can be swapped with other amp models by using its complementary app controller and cable adapter. There are also 3 COSM effects that include chorus, delay and reverb.

Features:

  • 10W Amp
  • 8" Speaker
  • COSM Amp Models (Swappable)
  • COSM 3 x Effects
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input / iCube Link
  • Mobile App control via Cable Adapter (iCube Link)
  • Weight: 10.37 lbs.

Amazing and fun are two words that aptly describe how many feel about this amp. It's portability helped it get many of its thumbs up, while others appreciate its sound quality. The ability to swap out amp models via iOS/Android devices also got the approval of many users.

There were a few who cautioned that you can't really drive the amp too loud, but this is to be expected with its 10W design. So it's not a good amp for those who want a portable amp for jamming with other players.

If you're looking for a reliable and versatile plug-and-play amp for your bedroom or living room, then check out the Roland Cube-10GX

Roland Micro Cube GX

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Roland Micro Cube GX 3 Portable Guitar Modeling Amplifier

To better cater to guitarist needs, Roland has spread the Cube series into many variants, the Micro Cube GX being one that prioritizes portability. This small and lightweight amp features a 2W amplifier section that drives a 5" speaker, so don't expect it to be loud, but it does have enough volume for solo practice. And since it can run on batteries, you can use it virtually anywhere, making it a great mobile amplifier for guitarists who are always on the go. It also helps that it comes packed with DSP features which include 8 COSM amp models, and 8 COSM effects, which allow for a wide variety tones.

Features:

  • 2W Amp
  • 5" Speaker
  • 8 COSM Amp Models
  • 8 COSM Effects
  • Built-in Tuner
  • Aux Input / iCube Link
  • Mobile App control via Cable Adapter (iCube Link)
  • Can run on 6 x AA Batteries
  • Weight: 6 lbs.

In this price range, it's hard to top this amp's combination of reliability and portability, especially with its battery power design and carry strap. But it's not just about being portable because many users are just as impressed with its versatility, with some describing it as a tiny powerhouse amp.

There aren't that many complaints with this amp, but being small imposes natural limitations, don't expect it to have full tones, especially in the low end department.

Get the Roland Micro Cube GX if you're looking for a portable companion for your electric or acoustic-electric guitar.

Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2 Guitar Modeling Amplifier

Blackstar continues to compete toe to toe with established guitar amp builders, popular for their high-gain tones which are used by the likes of Gus G and Fredrick Akesson, Richie Sambora and more. With the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2, you get the same high gain tones in a more compact and affordable unit, with the added bonus of having multiple overdrive voicings and ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) technology. ISF is a single knob that lets you shape the resulting sound to either British or American amp voicings. While it's not meant for the big stage, it can get quite loud with its 20W amplifier and stereo 5" speakers. Other handy features include onboard tuner, headphones out, aux in and USB direct recording.

Features:

  • 20W (2 x 10W) Amp
  • 2 x 5" Speaker
  • Amp Models and Effects
  • Onboard Chromatic Tuner
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input
  • USB Connectivity
  • Bundled with PreSonus Studio One Blackstar Edition
  • Weight: 11.4 lbs.

It gets most of its accolades from guitarists who love its gain and overdriven tones, high-gain being the most commended. But the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2 is not just about dirty tones, because there are many who found the clarity of its clean tone to be really good. Many are also impressed by its intuitive control and versatility.

Since there aren't any major complaints about the amp, there are a few who recommend getting a bigger model since the pricing is not too far off.

Get the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 V2 if you mostly play modern rock and metal music.

Roland Mobile Cube

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
Roland Mobile Cube

The Roland Mobile Cube is the amp of choice for multi-instrumentalists, with inputs and features that are specially dedicated for mic, guitar and even keyboard. These features include dedicated acoustic amp voicing, clean, overdrive and distortion settings for electric guitar, and two voicings for keyboards - fat and normal. It also comes with built-in stereo effects that include Chorus, Delay and Reverb. With its 5W amp configuration and dual 4" speakers, this mobile cube is not meant to be loud, but it has enough power for practice both indoor and outdoor.

Features:

  • 5W Amp
  • 2 x 4" Speaker
  • Compatible with Acoustic and Electric Guitars
  • Also Compatible with Keyboards (Stereo Input) and Mics
  • Built-in Distortion, Chorus, Delay and Reverb
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux and RCA Input
  • Can Run on 6 x AA Batteries
  • Weight: 5.51 lbs.

Multi-instrument compatibility is what makes this compact amp special, and this is reflected in the many positive reviews that continues to pour in. While most of the positive remarks point to its electric guitar sounds, there are a good number of users who found the acoustic voicing to be quite pleasing as well.

The need to buy an AC adapter (Amazon link) separately irked a few users who insist that it should be included in the package. Also note that the Roland Mobile Cube is now out in the market for almost a decade, so it won't have modern features. On the flip side, its longevity is a good testament to its quality and good market reception.

If you are a multi-instrumentalist, or if you're looking for an amp that handles keyboards and mic, then check out the Roland Mobile Cube.

Fender Champion 40

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amplifier 40W

Even with the alluring promise of different tones and various levels of distortion, the transparency and articulation of Fender's clean sound continues to be in demand. And this demand applies to the entry level market as well, as evidenced by the popularity of the Champion 40, which takes the old school Fender look and sound, while adding a bit of modern digital amp modeling into the mix without overcomplicating the controls. It also sports the classic Fender amp look with an intuitive interface that makes it easy on the eyes, and easy to use. At 40W, this amplifier is more than capable of providing ample volume for practice, jams and small venue events, as long as other musicians keep their volumes at reasonable levels.

Features:

  • 40W Modeling Amp
  • 2 Channels (Blackface Clean and Multi-voice channel)
  • Rotary Voicing Knob to select from 12 amp voices
  • 1x12" Speaker
  • Rotary FX Selector (12 effects options) with FX Level
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input

Fender is not really known for amp modeling, but the high ratings of their entry level amps prove that at least in the entry-level market, their amp modeling has exceeded the expectations of many. There are mostly good words being said about this amp, citing its great tone, good headroom, versatility and light weight as laudable features. From quiet practice to small/medium venue gigs, users have found that this amplifier can do the job of an entire rig, and do so without the bulk and expense.

The aux input came up a few times, with reports of it adding unwanted hiss sound when used with a phone or tablet, but others had no problems with it. Other minor complaints were directed at the quality of some of its overdrive voicings, specifically in the higher gain settings, and its limited number of effects.

If you're not into Fender Mustang Amps with their fancy versatility, and you prefer old school streamlined Fender amp design, then go get the Champion 40.

Orange Crush 20RT

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$189
Orange Crush 20RT

In this era where amp modeling has become the norm, it is quite a feat for a traditional amplifier to not only survive, but thrive. Even with its old school design, the Crush 20RT's distinct picture frame aesthetics and in-your-face overdriven tones were more than enough to get the thumbs up and recommendations of many players. This stylish rock guitar amplifier makes for a simple yet inspiring practice amp, a compact amp that brings about the Orange sound that inspired iconic artists including Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Slip Knot's Jim Root, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Oasis' Noel Gallagher and many more.

Features:

  • 20W Amp
  • 1x8" Speaker
  • 4-stage preamp and 2 Channels
  • 3-Band EQ
  • Built-in Reverb and Tuner
  • Cabinet Simulator Output
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input
  • Weight: 15.9 lbs.

The Crush 20RT's combination of killer looks and tone have endeared this amp to so many players. Almost all users love its overdriven tone, and how it can be cranked to get great tones at lower volume levels. And it's not just about the dirt channel because I found that there were some who were impressed with the sound quality of the clean channel.

There were a few that found the built-in reverb to be lacking, but this could be a preference issue, also one reviewer found that setting the reverb higher makes it sound better.

If you're looking for a plug-and-play no-frills amplifier that's easy on the eyes, ears and on your wallet, check this one out.

Marshall MG30CFX

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Amp

Marshall is easily one of the most recognizable amplifier brands today, used by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Randy Rhodes and many other iconic guitarists. So it's not surprising at all to find them ranking in the entry level, and they did so by embracing digital sound processing while retaining their analog tonality. It may not have as many extras as other amps in this list, but it carries enough to make practice and even small venue gigging interesting.

Features:

  • 30W Amp
  • 1x10" Speaker
  • 4 Programmable Channels
  • Built-in Effects (Phaser, Chorus, Delay, Flanger, Reverb)
  • Speaker emulated Line out
  • 3-Band EQ
  • Headphones Output
  • Aux Input
  • Weight: 23.8 lbs.

The crowd favorite feature of the MG30CFX is its great emulation of the revered Marshall crunch tone. But it doesn't just stop there because many also liked the OD2 high-gain metal sound, as well as the clean tones, stating that it has a lot of low-end punch. And it also gained a lot of commendations for its ease of use, which is interesting considering that this amp is quite versatile. Simply put, the general consensus is that this amp is a great buy.

Editor's Note: This has been the 2nd most popular budget guitar amp with Gearank readers throughout 2017

The limited number of effects, and limited ways of configuring them were brought up by some users. Some also complained about the lack of volume, but since this is meant to be a practice amplifier, this is to be expected more or less.

If you're looking for a semi-versatile practice amp that has the classic Marshall rock guitar crunch, then you can't go wrong with the MG30CFX.

Bugera V5 Infinium

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Bugera V5 Infinium

Bugera is a sub-brand of the company Music Group, and as such, it is the sister company of Behringer. With that connection in mind, it's easy to connect the dots and understand what Bugera really is about, they produce premium spec amplifiers at much lower price points. Thanks to them, you can enjoy a genuine all-tube amplifier at the sub $200 price range, complete with a 12AX7 preamp tube and EL84 output tube.

Features:

  • 5W Tube Amp
  • 1x8" Speaker
  • Preamp Tube: 1 x 12AX7
  • Power Tube: 1 x EL84
  • Built-in power attenuator
  • Infinium Tube Life Multiplier
  • Headphones Output
  • Weight: 24.7 lbs.

Many agree that this affordable and compact tube amplifier produces nice and natural sounding clean to dirty-crunch tones. Even experienced players who have acquired more expensive tube amps found the Bugera V5 Infinium to be surprisingly good, to the point that they even recommend it as a great entry way into the world of tube amps. Another important feature of this amp that gets a lot of praise is its built-in attenuator, which allows you to lower the power to as low as 1/10th of a Watt, for sweet cranked tones at bedroom levels.

There are some who complained about the lack of EQ and tone shaping, but this is to be expected given the price and features. Some also complained of buzzing and muddy tone, this however maybe due to the tube needing replacement. There are also others who reported getting improved tone after swapping out the default preamp tubes with ones from reputable brands.

There's just no substitute for the organic sound of tube amps, and the Bugera V5 Infinium lets you experience this in bedroom/living room friendly volume levels, without going beyond your budget.

Final Thoughts

If you're interested you can view all the guitar amps we currently have in our Music Gear Database.

If you have any questions or observations please let us know in the comments below.

Things to Consider When Buying a Budget Electric Guitar Amp

  • Power Rating

    The power rating gives you a good idea of how loud an amp can go. If you'll be using the amp mostly for practice, sticking to low wattage amps like 20W combos will suffice, especially since these amps can produce good sounding cranked tones at lower volumes. Louder and more powerful amps on the other hand are a bit pricier but they have enough power for performing in small to medium sized venues. They are ideal if you are planning/starting to gig.

  • Speaker Size

    The difference will usually be subtle to a beginner's ear, but generally speaking, the bigger the speaker, the more low-end it can reproduce. And this added low-end is ideal for modern musical styles. Smaller speakers have more articulation and emphasis in the middle frequencies, making them ideal for intimate practice, or for those who prefer the style of blues and classic rock.

  • Amp Modeling/Channels

    Most guitar amplifiers in the sub $200 price range are packed with multiple "amp models" (some manufacturers call these "channels" but they are the same in principle) that let you switch between different sounds. The more the amp models, the more tone options you can choose from, which can be good if you prefer deep tone customization, or bad if you just want minimal tweaking and don't want to be distracted by tone chasing.

  • Built-in Effects

    Many of the amps included in this list come with built-in effects, the most common of which is reverb, while others offer a whole host of effects from modulation, to delay to distortion and many more. If you are the type who can benefit from tonal variety then you should consider these features highly, just be careful not to be too distracted by them. Note that although some of these amps have a quite a few effects available most of them limit you to using a few at once and only in certain combinations. So be sure to check whether any particular effect combinations you need are available.

  • Solid State vs Tube

    For beginners and students of the instrument, solid state amplifiers with digital amp modelling and built in effects are usually the most versatile and practical option at this price range. They can give you a chance to experience a wider range of amp tones so you can find what works for you.

    There was a time when all tube amps were recognized as the only real option for a truly great tone for some styles and many still see them as the pinnacle for their organic and detailed sound. But in the lower price bracket the 'all tube' options are limited (there is only one in this list) and the modelling amps are now recognized as producing some pretty convincing versions of the classics.

    There are a few amps which incorporate a tube along with solid state amplification and digital modelling. This option may not impress the tube purists but at least you can say you've (kind of) got a tube amp. One thing to be aware of is that tube amps have traditionally been a bit less reliable than solid state ones, sometimes requiring tubes to be replaced.

  • Direct Recording, Tuning and Other Features

    USB connectivity is now becoming standard to amps, even in this price range. This lets your amp double as an audio-interface, allowing you to capture your guitar playing for practice, evaluation, and even for producing your own songs. Other notable features that you want to look for include looping, tuning and modern preset management with sharing. If you are not into tweaking and recording, then you can go for more streamlined plug-and-play amps.

Methodology

We started our search with combo amps designed primarily for electric guitars in the sub $200 price range, and we limited our search to ones that are available from major online music gear retailers in the USA. We then gathered reviews, ratings and recommendations from both users and experts - which we have recently updated with the latest data - and processed them via the Gearank Algorithm to provide scores out of 100 for each amp. This allowed us to narrow down the list above to the best currently available. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Comments

Hey I just want to mention

Hey I just want to mention that BOSS KATANA 50 is one of the best solid state for the money right now
Its 1x12, practicable, gigable and recordable tone amp
So, I think it is going to beat all of this list
Thx

Our data supports this

Our data supports this comment - the Boss Katana-50 currently has a Gearank score of 90 - read more about it at Amazon.com.

The only reason its not currently in our recommended list above is because it was released the month after we published this guide - there's a very good chance the Katana-50 will be included when we update this guide.

An update to the above

An update to the above comment - the Boss Katana-50 now has a street price above $200 so it's no longer eligible for this guide.

Thank you very much for

Thank you very much for pointing that out - I've corrected the mistake above.

Post a Comment or Question

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.