The Best Cheap Guitar Amps Under $200

Budget Guitar Amps

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Cheap doesn't always have to mean low quality, in fact, there are plenty of amps that rate highly in the entry level market. This guide is meant to show you these hidden gems, with recommendations based on feedback from experts and actual users, including the most recent reviews and ratings up to June of 2019.

While price range is still dominated by big brands like Fender, Roland and Yamaha, this update sees Orange and Blackstar capture multiple slots with their market favorite entry level amps. The selection of amps in this guide should be enough to cover a wide range of musical genres, which means that you should be able to find one to match your preferred playing style.

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

Blackstar Fly3

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$65
Blackstar Fly3 Battery Powered Guitar Combo Amplifier 3W

The Blackstar Fly 3 is a combo amp designed for portable use, rated at 3W and equipped with a 3" speaker. Weighing in at just less than 2 lbs, you can literally take this amp anywhere, and since it can run on 6 x AA batteries or on an optional 6.5V DC power supply, you can play with it wherever you want to take it. More importantly it's not just any generic amp, because it carries with it Blackstar's IFS (Infinite Shape Feature), which lets you change the voicing of the amp via a single knob. Other features include having an MP3/line-in jack and headphones out with speaker emulation.

Features:

  • 3W Amp
  • 3" Speaker
  • 2 Channels
  • Tape Delay Effect
  • Aux Input
  • Headphones Output
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs.

Pros:

Portability is obviously the Blackstar Fly3's strong suit, and this is reflected in reviews, many of which describe the amp with superlatives like super, great, awesome and more. It is also well commended for its overdriven tone, which continues to impress even experienced players. Finally, many are surprised at how loud this amp is, given its miniature size.

Cons:

There are a few users who are not too happy with its clean tone, while others feel that the bottom end is lacking, these are inherent issues though due to the amp's small speaker setup.

Overall:

If you're looking for a battery-powered amp, the Blackstar Fly 3 won't disappoint.

Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$95
Blackstar FLY 3 Bluetooth 3W Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Blackstar Fly3 Bluetooth is a step above its sibling, the Fly3, the main difference being the addition of Bluetooth connectivity. This allows the amp to double as a multimedia speaker for streaming audio from Bluetooth compatible devices. Very convenient for jamming and other than that, it has the same 3W 2-channel amplifier and 3" speaker, along with Blackstar's patented IFS (Infinite Shape Feature) knob, which lets you conveniently shape your tone to mimic various amp voicings. All of these are packed in a lightweight cabinet, designed to run on 6 x AA batteries or through an optional 6.5V DC power supply.

Features:

  • 3W Amp
  • 3" Speaker
  • 2 Channels
  • Tape Delay Effect
  • Aux Input, Headphones Output
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs.

Pros:

Comments about the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth are generally positive, with many describing the amp as a convenient all-around tool for guitar and for simply enjoying music. The ability to run on batteries is also well appreciated, especially since it complements its Bluetooth feature nicely, making it a truly untethered multi-media player. Guitar players also appreciate its tone, which many affirm as a good representation of Blackstar tones, only this one is lighter and smaller.

Cons:

While it is appreciated for its dirt tones and high gain, some users feel that the amp's clean tone is lacking. There are also a few who wish that the AC adapter was bundled with the amp, so take their advice and buy the optional power supply.

Overall:

Versatile in terms of facility and tone, the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth is the portable amp for the modern era.

Fender Champion 20

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ 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 they 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.

Boss Katana Mini

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$100
Boss Katana Mini 7W Combo Amp

Boss is known for their stompboxes, but thanks to the Katana series, they have been making waves in the amp market. The Katana Mini is the smallest and most portable amp in this family, with a 7W amp section and 4" speaker. More importantly, it carries with it the same well-received multi-stage analog gain circuit that helps give life to its three voicings that includes clean, crunch and brown (high-gain). Also packed in this amp is a 3-band EQ and delay effect. Finally, the Boss Katana Mini runs on 6 x AA batteries, and can work with an optional power supply.

Features:

  • 7W Amp
  • 4" Speaker
  • 3 Amp Models
  • Delay Effect
  • Aux Input
  • Headphones Output
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.

Pros:

This amp gets a lot of thumbs up for its clean tone, so much so that even acoustic guitar players are enjoying the amp. Its mid-gain sounds are also well appreciated, along with its delay, which some have tweaked to sound like room reverb. It also rates highly due to its portability and the convenience that come with having a small amp that runs on batteries. Many are also pleased about the size of the speaker, which is a bit larger than most portable amps.

Cons:

Some users are not convinced with its brown (high-gain) voicing, describing the sound as a bit too scooped. There are also a few who report humming noise especially when the amp is cranked.

Overall:

If you are looking for a versatile, durable and affordable mobile amplifier, then check out the Boss Katana Mini.

Fender Mustang I v2

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$140
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 one of the best value-for-money guitar amps 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.

Pros:

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 are 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.

Cons:

There are 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 are also some who did not quite like the high-gain metal tones, but this can be a matter of taste and experience.

Overall:

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

Orange Crush 20

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

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

At the time of publication, this was the Highest Rated Guitar Amp Under $200.

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. Finally, 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 score 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 the best-rated sub $200 guitar amp, the Orange Crush 20 is for you.

Roland Micro Cube GX

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$160
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.

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

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$189
Orange Crush 20RT

This is similar to the Orange Crush 20 but has additional features such as 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 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.

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 some 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 plug-and-play no-frills amplifier that's easy on the eyes, ears and on your wallet, check this one out.

Yamaha THR5

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha THR5

Small guitar amps are no longer designed to just be practice amps, rather some of them are designed with home recording in mind, as exemplified by the THR5. From its desktop friendly profile to its 2-channel USB recording, this amp is a perfect fit for small home studios where traditional combo amps would either be too bulky or awkwardly positioned. Its sonic versatility is also recording friendly, with 5 amp models , 4 modulation effects, and 4 delay/reverb effects. But it's not just about recording because this 10W amp drives two 3.15" speakers that is ideal for small rooms. It can also run on 8 x AA batteries, which allows it to double as a portable amplifier.

Features:

  • 10W Amp
  • 2 x 3.15" Speaker
  • 4 Amp Models
  • 8 Effects
  • Aux Input
  • Headphones Output
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs.

Pros:

The Yamaha THR5 continues to impress guitar players, often described as a fun amplifier to play with. Many are surprised with its organic sounding clean and overdriven tones, especially when considering that it is a compact battery powered amp. It also gets commendations for its versatile functionality and overall build quality. It is worth mentioning that many users are surprised at how loud this amp is.

Cons:

Some users wish for extra features, but these are addressed by the more expensive THR models.

Overall:

The Yamaha THR5 will make a great addition to a guitarists home studio setup, and it can also be a nice fun tool for practice or for playing while on the go.

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 styles 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 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.

Best Cheap Guitar Amp Selection Methodology

First published on August 25, 2016 with the last major revision published on June 19, 2019.

To be considered in this guide, our criteria was simple, it has to be priced below $200, it has to be a combo amplifier for electric guitars, and it has to be readily available from major US music gear retailers. For this update, we analyzed relevant reviews, ratings, discussions and recommendations for our initial list of 45 amps. The data we gathered tallied to over 14,000 sources, including the most recent user feedback up to June of 2019. All these data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us the scores out of 100 for each amp. This allowed us to zero in on what the market truly considers as the best in the sub $200 price range, all of which are featured above. 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.

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.

"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.

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