Best Guitar Amps Under $200 - Combo/Head/Pedal

The Highest Rated Guitar Amps Between $100 & $200

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The $100 to $200 price range has quite the collection of highly rated guitar amps. Here we feature the best guitar amps in this affordable price range, and for this August 2020 update, we expanded our guide into three categories: Combo, Amp Heads and Pedal Amps.

Interestingly, 2020 hasn't changed much for Orange amps, who continue to dominate in this price range. They are followed by other big names like Fender and Roland. The selection of amps in this guide should be enough to cover a wide range of functional and musical preferences and genres, which means should make it easier for you to find one that fits your need and playing style.

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

Best Guitar Combo Amps Under $200

Fender Champion 20

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 1350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$130
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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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 many of them still find the amp's overall performance to be exemplary.

Overall:

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

Orange Crush 20

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$139
Orange Crush 20 - 20 Watt 8" Solid State Combo Amp

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amp between $100 and $200 along with the Orange Crush 20RT.

While most big name brands have gone the modeling route, Orange continues to stick with a traditional 2-channel design - and they do so with a great deal of success. Case in point is the Orange Crush 20, which continues to enjoy very high ratings despite its straightforward functionality.

What makes it standout is its 4-stage preamp that adds realism to its tone, giving it a sound that almost everyone appreciates.

It also visually stands out with its distinctly Orange profile. Also, if you want to practice quietly via headphones, this amp comes with a built-in cabinet simulator.

Features:

  • 20W Amp
  • 8" Speaker
  • Aux Input
  • Cabinet Simulator Headphones Out
  • Weight: 15.8 lbs.

Pros:

Earning the top Gearank Rating in this price range is quite a feat, especially when considering that other amps offer more features. Interestingly, the simplicity of this amp is what helped it gather more high scores, not just because it is easy to play - but because there aren't that many things to be unhappy about, only the default Orange overdrive voicing that almost everyone loves. It also helps that it looks good, which is reflected by the many kudos for its distinct visual appeal. Build quality is also often praised.

Cons:

There haven't been many complaints about this amp, aside from a few who wish that it had some extra features.

Overall:

For those who want nothing less than a top rated sub $200 guitar amp, the Orange Crush 20 is for you.

Fender Mustang LT25

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Fender Mustang LT 25 1x8" 25-watt Guitar Combo Modeling Amp

The Mustang LT25 is a 25-Watt combo amp with 8" speaker, part of Fender's popular Mustang line of entry level modeling amps which is well loved for their good overall quality and portability. The LT25 in particular features 20 amp models, 25 effects and 50 presets - which cover a wide range tones, from Fender's classic clean tones to mid crunch and high gain.

Fender designed this amp to be more intuitive compared to other modelers, while still having good enough presets and parameter options.

Other beginner friendly features include headphones out for quiet practice, USB recording and software control, and it has a built-in tuner.

Features:

  • 20W Amp
  • 8" Speaker
  • Aux Input
  • Cabinet Simulator Headphones Out
  • Weight: 15.8 lbs.

Pros:

The Fender Mustang LT25 is often praised for its sonic versatility, and this gives users more bang for their buck, which many appreciate. Many of the positive comments point to its Fender clean tones, but there are also those who are happy with its overdriven presets. Music Radar had similar sentiments in their review stating, "We loved the classic Fender cleans, but likewise the thick distortion you can find if you dial it in. Allied to a thoughtful complement of effects that includes modulation, filters, pitch-shifting, delay, reverb and more, the sky is the limit." The amp's sleek design also helps, giving it an appearance that easily stands out over the usual entry level amp design.

Cons:

There are a few who feel that the volume control behaves oddly (too much volume increase as you up turn the knob). There are also some who feel that some of the amp models and presets are not as good as the clean ones.

Overall:

Get the Fender LT25 if you want nothing less than the top rated modeling guitar combo amp in the sub $100 to $200.

Roland Micro Cube GX

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$160
Roland Micro Cube GX Portable Guitar Modeling Amplifier 3W

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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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.

Overall:

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

Orange Crush 20RT

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$189
Orange Crush 20RT

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amp between $100 and $200 along with the Orange Crush 20.

This is similar to the Orange Crush 20 but has the additional features of built-in Reverb and a Tuner.

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 be recommended by 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.

Pros:

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 those who were impressed with the sound quality of the clean channel.

Cons:

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.

Overall:

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

Best Guitar Amp Heads Under $200

Orange Micro Terror MT20

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1050+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Orange Micro Terror MT20

The Orange Micro Terror is a guitar amp head that features a combination of tube and solid state design. This 20-Watt hybrid amp sports a 12AX7 preamp tube paired with a solid state poweramp, reproducing classic Orange tones at a more reasonable price point.

As expected from Orange, this is no modeling amp, it focusing on reproducing the iconic British Orange sound with minimal complication.

With its compact profile, this amp head has limited tone shaping options which include volume, tone and gain knobs. Speaking of compact, the Micro Terror MT20 is packed inside Orange' distinct lunchbox style all-metal amp head design.

Features:

  • 20 Watt
  • 12AX7 Preamp Tube
  • Compact Lunch Box Style Profile
  • With 1 x 1/8" (Aux In)
  • Weight: 1.87 lbs.

Pros:

Many are impressed with the MT20's tone, which is as classic rock friendly as one would expect from an Orange amp. The tone is described as organic and lively, and sounds much more expensive than it actually is. There are also plenty of users who were surprised at how loud this 20-Watt amp head can go, especially when considering its portable and lightweight design.

Cons:

This is not an ideal amp for those who want more tone shaping options. While this amp is well loved for its overdriven tones, its clean tone is not as desirable to some reviewers.

Overall:

If you're a fan of the classic Orange tone, then this amp is a great portable solution for your needs.

Joyo BanTamP Zombie

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$170
Joyo BanTamP Zombie 20-Watt Guitar Amp Head

Known for their affordable guitar pedals, Joyo is gaining quite the reputation when it comes to portable amp heads. The BanTamP Zombie is a great example, with its combination of old school 12AX7 preamp tube, a solid state poweramp section and modern Bluetooth compatibility.

Compared to others in this category, this amp lets you switch between clean and distortion channel. The distortion channel is tweaked for high gain metal tones, and as the name and color scheme suggests, it is meant to appeal to rock and metal style guitarists.

Other features include effects loop and as mentioned above, it has Bluetooth compatibility as its aux input.

Features:

  • 20 Watt
  • 12AX7 Preamp
  • 2-Channel: Clean and Distortion (High-Gain)
  • Effects Loop
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Headphones Out
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs.

Pros:

Owners are impressed with how big and full sounding this amp is, especially in its area of expertise - high-gain direct-to-amp tones. There are owners who recommend adding Tube Screamer type pedals to improve its distortion channel further. Being loud for its size is another common sentiment in reviews. It also helps that it does not look as cheap as it actually costs, even more so when considering the extra features like Bluetooth and effects loop.

Cons:

Not many complaints about its features, the high-gain voicing of this amp may not be suitable for low to mid-gain style tones.

Overall:

If you're into high-gain style tones and want an affordable and portable amp head, then this is for you.

Orange Micro Dark

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$189
Orange Micro Dark

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Guitar Amp Head between $100 and $200.

The Orange Micro amp series helped establish a distinct category for lunchbox style lightweight amp heads, and the Micro Dark is currently leading the pack in terms of user feedback.

As the name implies, this particular iteration of the Micro Amp is meant to cater to the darker high-gain side of rock guitar tones. They achieve this by utilizing a 12AX7 preamp tube and pairing it with a solid state power amp, tweaked to have a voicing that sounds good at high distortion levels.

Like its siblings, the Orange Micro Dark has limited control options, just enough for essential volume, gain and tone tweaking.

Features:

  • 20 Watt
  • 12AX7 Preamp
  • Single Channel
  • Effects Loop
  • Headphones Out
  • Weight: 1.72 lbs.

Pros

The Orange Micro Dark is currently the top rated guitar amp in the $100 to $200 price range, beating out other amp heads and combo amps. This is a great feat considering the feature limitation it has compared to other amps in this price range, meaning that owners who rate this amp highly do so because they love its tone. The amp's build quality and portability are also well received, making it a convenient yet great sounding alternative to big amp heads. Chris Gill of Guitar World is just as surprised with its tone, stating in his review: "When you plug into the Micro Dark and behold its absolutely mammoth bass thump and harmonically rich grind, it’s nearly impossible to believe your eyes and ears".

Cons

This amp is not meant for those who are not into high-gain tones, and those who want more voicing options.

Overall

If you're into high-gain tones and want nothing less than the best rated sub $200 guitar amp head, then get the Orange Micro Dark.

Best Guitar Amp Pedals Under $200

Quilter Labs MicroBlock 45

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$169
Quilter Labs MicroBlock 45 45-Watt Guitar Amp Head Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Guitar Amp Pedal between $100 and $200 along with the Orange Terror Stamp.

The Quilter Labs MicroBlock 45 is a 45 Watt guitar amp head in compact stompbox form factor. Ironically, there's nothing to stomp on, as it only has three knobs that let you adjust Gain, Master and Tri-Q (a one-knob EQ tone control). The Tri-Q tone is designed to allow for a wide range of voicing, from scooped clean to mid focused lead.

Unlike preamp pedals that need to connect to a power amp, the MicroBlock 45 is a preamp and poweramp all to itself, complete with a speaker out and a headphones out.

Speaking of headphones out, you can also use this as line level output for those who want to plug into a PA system, or for connecting to another pedal.

Features:

  • 45 Watt
  • Guitar Amp Head in Pedal Form Factor
  • Speaker and Headphone Out
  • Gain, Tri-Q (1-knob EQ) and Master Controls
  • Weight: 0.45 lbs.

Pros:

Those who rate the Quilter Lab MicroBlock 45 highly describe it as fun compact amp that gets the job done. Many appreciate how it simplifies their setup, while others get it as a portable alternative or a back up amp. Tone quality is also highly regarded, along with the versatility afforded by its seemingly limited 3-knob interface.

Cons:

There are a few who aren't that impressed with its sound quality. Obviously, this will not appeal to those who need modern tone shaping on the amp itself.

Overall:

If you're looking for a quality yet compact amp head that'll sit nicely on your pedalboard, then check this pedal out.

Orange Terror Stamp

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$199
Orange Terror Stamp

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Guitar Amp Pedal between $100 and $200 along with the Quilter Labs MicroBlock 45.

Orange expands their Terror line of amps with the Stamp - a pedalboard friendly version of their popular micro amp. It sports the same hybrid design with a 12AX7 preamp tube paired with a 20-Watt solid state poweramp, featuring an all-analog design that reproduces the distinct overdriven tone of Orange amps.

Aside from its floor-based form factor, the Terror Stamp differs from its amp head counterparts with its Volume footswitch, which lets you switch between two volume levels that you can set yourself. It is meant to behave like a boost but without any coloration and relying on just the volume setting.

Tone shaping is done with just one knob, which lets you go from copped to mid-emphasized voicing.

Other features include buffered effects loop, headphones out with 4x12" cabinet simulation, and a speaker output.

Features:

  • 20 Watt
  • 12AX7 Preamp Tube
  • Stompbox Form Factor Guitar Amp Head
  • Volume Footswitch
  • Single Shape Knob for EQ/Voicing Control
  • Buffered Effects Loop
  • Headphones Out with Cab Sim
  • Speaker Out
  • Weight: 0.84 lbs.

Pros:

Incredible, unbelievable, amazing are just a few of the many positive adjectives used to describe the Orange Terror Stamp. Users are pleased with how the amp sounds much like its lunchbox style sibling. Even experts are impressed, like Rob Laing of Total Guitar who concludes his review by stating: "The Orange Terror Stamp has some very persuasive drive tones and makes an excellent pedalboard-friendly rig on the fly or backup amp option. It's a lot of amp for the size and price." The volume switch functionality is also well received as a practical addition to the amp.

Cons:

Orange amps are not well known for clean tones, and this applies to the Terror Stamp. Also, not everyone is impressed with its volume, some report that it does not have enough projection for use with loud bands.

Overall:

This is a no brainer for fans of Orange, but for those who are not, this is a great alternative compact amp if you are into low to mid-gain overdriven tone.

Things to Consider When Buying a Guitar Amp

  • Amp Head / Pedal Amps vs Combo

    The main difference between them is this: combo amps are guitar amplifiers packaged with speakers, while amp heads and pedal amps do not come with speakers. Combo amps are more common because they can be used immediately without the need for an extra purchase - making them more practical and easy to acquire. Amp pedals and heads on the other hand require a separate speaker purchase to work, which adds to your cost, and you also have to understand a bit more about speakers and compatibility before you even think of getting one. The main advantage though is its portability and the ability to mix and match amps with your preferred speakers - a decision which usually is reserved for more experienced guitarists.

  • Power Rating

    Power rating gives you a good idea of how loud an amp can go, and in the sub $200 bracket, the power ratings are usually around the 20-Watt range. For this reason, most of the amps in this price range are meant for practice or for small venue jamming. Note that amps with lower power rating allow you to get good cranked tones at lower volumes, ideal for bedroom or apartment use.

  • 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, great for intimate practice, or for those who prefer the styles of blues and classic rock.

  • Amp Modeling/Channels

    Many guitar amplifiers in this 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. These effects helps simplify your practice rig, especially if you don't really need high quality effects for your practice routine.

  • Solid State vs Tube

    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 and the modelling amps are now recognized as producing some pretty convincing versions of the classics. As such, the more practical choice would be to get a solid state amp with digital sound processing, especially for those who want to play with different tones and effects.

    There are a few amps which incorporate a preamp tube along with solid state amplification and digital modelling. This option may not impress some tube purists but they do impress many players, so much so that many of them rate highly.

  • Direct Recording, Tuning and Other Features

    USB connectivity is now becoming standard feature on many 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 and Bluetooth connectivity. If you are not into tweaking and recording, then you can go for more streamlined plug-and-play amps.

Best $100 to $200 Guitar Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published during August 2016 written by Alexander Briones who also wrote the latest edition which was published on August 25, 2020.

To be considered in this guide, our criteria was simple, it has to be a guitar amplifier priced between $100 and $200, and be available from a US based retailer. For this 2020 update, we've expanded the guide to include amp heads and pedal amps. We ended up with a short list of 41 amps, which then entailed the gathering and analyzing of over 14,300 reviews, ratings and forum discussions, including the most recent ones up to the third week of August of 2020. All these data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us the rating scores out of 100 for each amp. This allowed us to zero in on what the market truly considers as the best amps in this price range, divided into three categories: Combo Amps, Amp Heads and Pedal Amps. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

"Smaller speakers have more

"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."

Is it correct, or you mean bigger speaker instead of smaller? Thanks

Yes it is correct.

Yes it is correct.

Smaller speakers generally lack low frequency response (think laptop speakers), which result in more pronounced middle frequencies. This mid frequency bump is appealing to guitarists, as it emphasizes picking attack and dynamics.

Bigger speakers are fuller sounding because they can handle lower frequencies better, but this same bass tends to drown some of the middle frequencies.

Today we removed the

Today we removed the following amp from our recommended list above due to a price increase, but you can still read our analysis of it: Marshall MG30CFX.

Thank you very much for

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

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.

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