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

The Highest Rated Guitar Amps Under $200

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While it's not reasonable to expect premium quality from entry-level guitar amps, there are some gems that can give you way more than what you pay for. Here we present you with the best of these guitar amps in the $100 to $200 price range, divided into three categories: Combo, Amp Heads and Pedal Board Amps.

As always, our recommendations are based on reviews and ratings from end users and experts, to ensure that they reflect current market sentiment. Orange continues to be a major player in this 2021 edition of the guide, followed by familiar entries in the entry-level tier from Roland and Fender. Other brands that made it to our recommended list includes Line 6, Blackstar, Yamaha, and Quilter Labs.

The selection of amps in this guide cover a wide range of functional and musical preferences and genres, so you can find one that fits your musical tastes and needs.

The Best Guitar Amps Under $200

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Best Guitar Combo Amps Under $200

Orange Crush 20

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Orange Crush 20 - 20 Watt 8" Solid State Combo Amp

While most big name brands have gone the modeling route, Orange maintains their traditional 2-channel design - and they do so with continued acclaim. Case in point is the Orange Crush 20, which enjoys 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 easily stands out visually, with its distinctly Orange profile. 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 high ratings in this price range is quite a feat, especially when faced with other amps offer more features. Interestingly, the simplicity of this amp is what helped it gather high scores. And it's 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:

The Orange Crush 20 is a true to form plug-and-play amplifier for rock guitar styles, hard to go wrong with its tried and tested simplicity and killer tone.

Fender Mustang LT25

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 2300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
Fender Mustang LT 25 1x8" 25-watt Guitar Combo Modeling Amp

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

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, which in turn results in getting more bang for the buck. 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 is one step above conventional 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 are not too happy with some of the amp models and presets, especially when compared to its clean tone settings which most users love.

Overall:

Get the Fender LT25 if you want nothing less than the top rated modeling combo amp under $200.

Orange Crush 20RT

96
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$199
Orange Crush 20RT

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amp Under $200 along with the Fender Mustang LT25.

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 are 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, thanks to its reverb effect.

Cons:

On the flip side, there were a few that found the built-in reverb to be lacking, but this could be a preference issue. One reviewer recommend setting the reverb higher to make 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 1250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$159
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, instead it's focused 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 right on the amp. While it is well loved for its overdriven tones, 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

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ 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 gives you a bit more features, and 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 an 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 its 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

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 850+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$199
Orange Micro Dark

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Guitar Amp Head Under $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 heads, combo and pedal board amps. This is a great feat considering the feature limitations 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, or 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, then get the Orange Micro Dark.

Best Pedal Board Amp Under $200

Orange Terror Stamp

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$199
Orange Terror Stamp

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Pedal Board Guitar Amp Under $200.

Orange expanded 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

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 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. Thankfully, loud is not always better, amps with lower power rating allow you to get good cranked tones at lower volumes, ideal for bedroom or apartment use, and for home recording.

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. Some manufacturers utilize dual speakers in their combo amp design, resulting in a stereo sound that's closer to how you hear guitars in music tracks, as opposed to how guitars sound and feel on stage.

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 most common configuration is still the 2-channel setup with one for clean and the other for overdriven sounds. The more 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.

Guitar Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published during August 2016 an the current edition was published on July 8, 2021.

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. This includes the three major types of guitar amplifiers, combo, amp head and pedal amps. For this 2021 edition, we ended up with a short list of 39 amps, which then entailed the gathering and analyzing of over 17,000 reviews, ratings and forum discussions, including the most recent ones up to the first week of July of 2021. 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.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the Fender Mustang LT25, Orange Crush 20, Orange Crush 20RT, Orange Micro Dark, Quilter Labs MicroBlock 45 and Orange Terror Stamp.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

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.