The Best Cheap Guitar Amps Under $100 - Combo

The Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amps Under $100

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Getting whatever cheap guitar amp is available is a common mistake among those who are just starting out. They end up getting frustrated by the resulting sound which in turn adversely affects the overall experience of learning the instrument. Here we look at the top rated guitar amps in the sub $100 price range, for those who can't justify spending over one hundred dollars for an amp.

Since guitar amps affect your guitar tone tremendously, it's never a good idea to skimp or blindly shop for an amp. So we made sure that we feature those that the market deem as the best, based on the most recent reviews and ratings data up to August of 2020.

The Best Guitar Amps Under $100

Rogue G10

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$45
Rogue G10 10W Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Rogue G10 is a guitar combo amp aimed at meeting the needs of beginners at a very affordable price.

It's as straightforward as it gets with three knobs that let you adjust volume, treble and bass along with a button for engaging overdrive.

This amp is rated at 10 Watts, and comes with a 5" speaker, both of which fit inside a compact combo profile.

Features:

  • Power Rating: 10-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 5”
  • Effects: Overdrive
  • Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone
  • Weight: 6.95 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 10.2" x 9" x 6.1"

Pros
Given the price, owners of this amp are pleased with its overall performance. Note that most of the reviews are from beginners or their supportive parents, which means that it may not equally appeal to experienced players, but it is good enough for its intended market. Reliability and portability is also mentioned positively in reviews.

Cons
The controls and features of this amp are a bit limited, which can be good if you just want to plug in and play, or bad if you're looking for sonic versatility.

Overall
The Rogue G10 is the cheapest good quality combo guitar that you can get, great for testing the waters of guitar playing.

Blackstar Fly 3

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 1200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$65
Blackstar Fly3 Battery Powered Guitar Combo Amplifier 3W

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amp Under $100 along with the Orange Crush 12.

Blackstar’s Fly 3 is a compact, battery powered 3-watt amplifier. Aside from the Fly 3’s portability, a huge feature that works in this amps favor is that it has a really impressive sound considering the size of its speaker.

Coupled with the amps portability, the Blackstar Fly 3 is a great amp to take along when you travel, especially when taking private lessons.

An interesting feature of this amp is Blackstar’s ISF control, which can best be thought of as the combination of a tone control and a voicing switch. The amp also comes with “tape” delay, which models the more “organic” tone of vintage delay devices.

Features

  • Power Rating: 3-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 3”
  • Effects: Overdrive, Delay
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Overdrive Switch, EQ, Delay Level, Delay Time
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 6.6” x 5” x 4”

Pros
The Fly3 is commended mostly for its portability, especially with its battery power capability. There are also plenty of users who are satisfied with the flexibility provided by Blackstar's ISF control. For a small amp, owners are quite pleased with the overall sound, especially when cranking up the gain.

Cons
Be aware of that if you plan on using it without batteries, you'll have to purchase a power supply separately. There are also some who feel that the volume is a bit lacking, but this is to be expected, given its size.

Overall
There's no more reason for you to skip practice or jams anywhere, with this portable and versatile amp.

Vox Pathfinder 10

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 1750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$90
Vox Pathfinder 10

The Vox Pathfinder is arguably the cheapest way to get that trademark Vox chime in a portable package.

A cool thing about this amplifier is that it’s pretty minimalistic, which depending on what you’re looking for can actually work in an amp’s favor.

There are times where you just want an amp for a particular tone or purpose, and that is exactly what the Pathfinder 10 gives you, a plug-and-play compact alternative to big Vox amps.

Features

  • Power Rating: 10-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 6.5”
  • Effects: Overdrive
  • Controls: Gain, Treble, Bass, Volume, Overdrive Switch
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, Headphones
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 10.24” x 14.96” x 6.69”

Pros
Many smaller amps don’t retain the tone of their namesakes, instead they sound weak and uninspired overall, thankfully, this isn’t the case for the Vox Pathfinder 10. Reviews after reviews appreciate its authentic Vox tone, and aside from getting the Vox chime right, this amp is well loved for its portability and simplicity. It also helps that it looks more like a classic Vox amp, which many appreciate.

Cons
Some feel that the volume is a bit lacking for a 10W amp, but that maybe more of a preference issue. Being a one-trick-pony, this amp is not for those who like to play with amp models and effects.

Overall
If you're a fan of Vox, or you're into UK style tones, then this is the perfect portable amp for you.

Marshall MG10G

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$90
Marshall MG10G 1x10" 10-Watt Combo Guitar Amp

Marshall is easily one of the most prominent amp brands, seen on stages and music videos world over. And thanks to the MG10G, the brand is doing just as great for students just as they are for the pros.

The MG10G is a 10-Watt combo amp with 2 channels, Clean and Overdrive.

It sports a compact profile with a single 6.5" speaker, and as such has limited control options. Controls include two volume knobs for each channel, gain knob for the overdrive channel, and a contour knob for adjusting tone/EQ.

Other features include aux input, headphones/line out.

Features:

  • Power Rating: 10-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 6.5”
  • Effects: Overdrive
  • Controls: 2 x Volume, Gain, Contour, Overdrive Switch
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone/Line Out
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 12.3” x 11.65” x 6.8”

Pros
For a small and cheap guitar amp, many are impressed with how good the Marshall MG10G sounds. And while many of those who commend this guitar amp are beginners, there are also experienced players who chimed in with their kudos. Ease of operation and good portability are also often mentioned.

Cons
There are a few who report that the amp is a bit noisy with "hiss" sounds.

Overall
For rock music and overdriven tone - it's hard to go wrong with Marshall amplification, even in the sub $100 price range.

Orange Crush 12

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$99
Orange Crush 12 - 12W 1x6" Guitar Combo Amplifier

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Combo Guitar Amp Under $100 along with the Blackstar Fly 3.

The Orange Crush 12 is an affordable solid-state combo amp that is based on the popular Rockerverb, reproducing Orange's brand of overdriven tone at a more beginner friendly price point.

It doesn't stray far from traditional combo amps, with intuitive controls and a more focused voicing that goes against the usual multiple voiced amps that are available in this price range.

It seems to be reproducing the Orange tone nicely because at the time of this writing the Orange Crush 12 is tied with the Blackstar Fly 3 as one of the two top rated sub $100 amps.

Features:

  • Power Rating: 12-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 6”
  • Effects: Overdrive
  • Controls: Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Overdrive, Gain
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone
  • Weight: 10.4 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 11.42” x 12.01” x 6.88”

Pros
Tone is the strong suit of this amp, and this is reflected in many reviews. Users love how easy it is to get great sounding overdriven tones that are ideal for those who are into rock and similar musical styles. Reliability is also another plus for many.

Cons
Orange is not as well known for clean tones or sonic versatility, so if overdriven tone is important to you, then check out the Orange Crush 12.

Overall
If you're a fan or Orange' brand of overdriven tones, then getting this portable student friendly amp is an easy decision.

NUX Mighty Lite BT

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$99
NUX Mighty Lite BT

The NUX Mighty Lite BT is as feature packed as it gets for an affordable and portable guitar amp.

To start off, it lets you switch between 3 channels - clean, overdrive and distortion. It also comes with two of the most commonly used effects - delay and reverb.

But what makes it stand out is its built-in drum patterns which also includes a metronome - making the Mighty Lite BT a true student friendly piece of gear.

For real-time control over the timing of delay effect and drums, the amp comes with a tap tempo control.

You can also wirelessly play your favorite tracks on the amp via Bluetooth.

Finally, the amp can run on a 9V power supply or via USB connection. It can also run on 6 x AA batteries for true mobility.

Features

  • Power Rating: 3-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 3”
  • Effects: Overdrive, Delay
  • Controls: Knobs: Gain, Volume, Tone, Delay/Reverb | OD/DIST, Drums, Play/Pause, Tap
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone, USB
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 6.5” x 3.9” x 4.9”

Pros:
The NUX Mighty Lite BT continues to meet, if not exceed the expectations of those who bought the amp. Feature and spec-wise, you'll be hard pressed to find one that can match it in this price range - so value for money is its main strength. It gets a lot of complements pertaining to its overdriven tone, while others are impressed with its practice friendly features. The ability to be powered via USB or via batteries also make this amp incredibly mobile.

Cons
There are some who have minor beef with the Mighty Lite BT's dirt channel. There are a few who report that the amp restarts itself, indicating a software issue, but they are few and far in between.

Overall
If you're looking for a student-friendly mobile guitar amplifier, then check this one out!

Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth

92
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$100
Blackstar FLY 3 Bluetooth 3W Guitar Combo Amplifier

Blackstar’s Fly 3 Bluetooth is a step up from its Fly 3 brother, carrying over the same compact profile and battery powered design, only this one has bluetooth compatibility. This addition allows it to double as a wireless multimedia speaker, where you can connect your phones, tablets and computers.

Its main tone shaping control is Blackstar's ISF control which lets you adjust the voicing of the amp from American to UK style via a single knob.

It also comes with delay effects, aux input and speaker emulated output.

Features

  • Power Rating: 3-Watts
  • Speaker Size: 3”
  • Effects: Overdrive, Delay
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Overdrive Switch, EQ, Delay Level, Delay Time
  • Inputs/Outputs: ¼”, AUX-In, Headphone
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 6.7” x 5” x 4”

Pros
The addition of Bluetooth connectivity adds to it's overall usability, which in turn ups the value that you are getting for the money. This is reflected in a number of reviews where users are simply happy to find this very convenient and truly mobile guitar amplifier. Many are also impressed with its tone, which many consider as really close to how bigger Blackstar amps sound.

Cons
The need to buy a power supply separately is a nuisance for some people, while others feel that the projection is lacking.

Overall
With its Bluetooth connectivity, the already versatile Fly 3 is now even more versatile and functional.

Things to Consider When Buying a Cheap Guitar Amp

If you’re not sure where to start when buying a guitar amp, or you just want to brush up on your background knowledge before throwing any money down, check out the sections below!

  • Power Rating

    The power rating of an amp, also known as its wattage, is a good indicator of the amount of volume an amp will have. However, it’s important to know how wattage and volume relate to each other.

    A 10-watt amplifier is going to be (roughly) twice as loud as a 1-watt amplifier, and half as loud as a 100-watt amplifier. Wattage is a better indicator of “headroom”, which is how loud an amplifier can be turned up before it starts to distort. Most of the amps in the sub $100 price range will be around 10-watts or lower, making them ideal for home practice use.

  • Speaker Size

    Speakers come in all shapes and sizes, with the most common (and tonally balanced) being 12” speakers. The bigger the speaker the warmer and more bass focused its tone is going to be, while smaller speakers generally have a thinner and brighter tone. Given the price limitation of $100, amps in this price range usually utilize smaller speakers. But since these amps are intended for practice, the lack of bottom end may not be as noticeable.

  • Tone Shaping Controls (EQ)

    Almost every amp comes with tone shaping controls, otherwise known as an EQ section (generally labeled on an amplifier as bass, middle, and treble). These controls change the tone of your instrument. Tone is best defined as the combination of harmonics, sustain, and frequency response (which is controlled by the EQ sections mentioned above) produced by your guitar and amplifier.

  • Built-In Effects

    Many amps come with built-in effects, with the most commonly found ones being reverb and distortion. Distortion is what gives rock, blues, and metal their trademark tone. Reverb makes your guitar sound like it’s being played in a large room.

    The cool thing about built-in effects is that they give you more options when you’re dialing in your tone, and they make it possible to play different genres. However, they do increase the price of the amp. If you’re on a budget it’s better to find an amp that only features the effects you can reasonably see yourself using, rather than trying to find an amp with as many effects as possible.

  • Outputs

    Many amps come with extra outputs, with the most common being a headphone jack and a line out jack. A headphone jack allows you to plug in your headphones for silent practicing, while line out lets you go straight to a PA system or recording console. More modern amps allow for USB connectivity, for direct computer recording. Some amps also come with software that lets you edit various parameters of your amp.

    Some amps also come with output jacks that allow you to plug your amp into extension speaker, a different speaker that either works with or separate from the speaker already in your amp.

Best Guitar Amps Under $100 Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in February of 2018 written by Mason Hoberg and the latest edition was published on August 28, 2020 written by Alexander Briones.

The goal of this guide is to feature the best electric guitar combo amps that you can buy for under $100, so we looked at the best rated and popular models in this price range and ended up with a short list of 27. Aside from ratings and popularity, we also considered accessibility, they had to be readily available from major American online retailers. With these filters set, we ended up with a short list of 27 sub-$100 combo guitar amps. This entailed gathering and analyzing various reviews and ratings, including the most recent ones up to August of 2020. The data, which tallied to over 14,600 sources, were then processed via the Gearank Algorithm which gave us the scores out of 100 that you see above. Finally we selected the highest rated options to recommend. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

A combo amp has been

A combo amp has been redefined since modelling and effects have become pretty much standard. Having Overdrive is no longer considered a combo amp by anyone's definition/interpretation. Even adding reverb is more old school combo category. And the battery operated amps, essentially a park bench practice amp, those are a different category altogether. That said, the Fender Champion 20 is the only one of this bunch that anyone would classify as a combo amp. The rest of them are basic relics from an era long past. Doesn't mean they aren't any good, they're just practice amps either way. Saying that clean mode/tones are an amps strongest, commended/revered feature is just laughable in 2019, any amp should play clean tones, a Donner DEA-1 10W saves you a few bucks. easily as good as a Frontman 10g and has a 3 EQ vs the Fenders 2 EQ controls.

A combo amp isn't defined by

A combo amp isn't defined by effects or signal processing but simply by the fact that they have the amp and speaker combined into a single cabinet.

The other type is an Amp Head which typically doesn't include speakers - like these.

What you're talking about sounds more like a description of Solid State Amps, and I would agree that modeling/effects are changing the definition of those.

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