Best Cheap Guitar Amps – 2020 Complete Buyer’s Guide

Thalia
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

Finding the best guitar amp for a reasonable price can be tricky -- it’s not always as simple as knowing which brands can be trusted, and the famous ones tend to be quite expensive.

Fortunately, you can find a handful of superb, affordable guitar amps here, along with reviews  and pertinent information.

Read on to discover the best budget guitar amps on the market!

Comparison Chart of the Best Cheap Guitar Amps

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best cheap guitar amp overall
  • It offers many useful controls for the best results
  • The Fender Champion 20 is very versatile and not limited to one playing style
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Has power control for dynamic response at low volumes
  • You get 5 unique amp features: acoustic, crunch, lead, brown and clean
  • The Boss Katana 100 is our runner-up when it comes to affordable quality
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best cheap guitar amp for the Money
  • Anyone looking for the best bang for their buck will love this amp
  • It features a headphone output so you can practice without disturbing others
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Cheap Guitar Tube Amp
  • The 12-watt power of this amp makes it as good as bigger amps
  • The Peavey Backstage Transtube is considered the best cheap tube amp there is
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Cheap Bass Guitar Amp
  • 3-band EQ for better fine-tuning of your sound
  • When looking for the best cheap bass guitar amp, this is the guy for you
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Can You Really Find a Quality Guitar Amp That’s Affordable?

It is often the general belief that a cheap item is good enough for use once, and then it should be discarded. But that’s not always the case. You can find guitar amps that perform just as well as the high-end, popular products but won’t drive your wallet into depression. 

Musicians know that they can’t compromise quality, but that does not mean they have to pay an arm and a leg to make the best possible music. If you know what to look for, you’ll be able to save a lot of money and still make really awesome music.

What Makes a Great Guitar Amp?

There are many reasons to buy a guitar amp -- the most obvious one is that it boosts the sound of your guitar, letting you rip and enjoy your instrument even more. There are some key features to look for though, so keep the following in mind when shopping for your guitar amp:

Wattage

The power of your amp will depend on your needs, but in most cases, a 10-watt amp won’t cut it. On the other hand, a 100-watt amp would be way more than most guitar players need. Try to go for a 30-watt amp; it should be enough. That said, some amps with lower wattage do still manage to offer exceptional sound and power; it just depends on the manufacturer’s quality.

Speakers

This is just as important as the wattage of a guitar amp. It is the thing that makes the music reach your ears. Keep an eye on the speakers included in your amp.

Fender Champion 20 

Distortion

Many guitar players may overlook this feature. But you can get a nice and crisp sound with the distortion from a good guitar amp.

Price

If you’re on a budget, this is, of course, something to look out for. You will easily find guitar amps for hundreds of dollars, but by shopping around and doing some research, you will be able to find a guitar amp that will last for years without breaking the bank.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best cheap guitar amps:

  1. Fender Champion 20
  2. Boss Katana 100
  3. Orange Crush 12

Review of the Best Cheap Guitar Amps

Here we will be looking at the best guitar amps available on the market that are affordable and worth every penny spent on them. If you’re trying to find an amp that you won’t regret later and still have some money to spare, consider one of these guys.

Best Overall:
Fender Champion 20

Fender Champion 20 - 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

PROS

  • Amazing value for the price
  • Great mobility for moving around with
  • Loud and great for home and studio practice
  • Sturdy and durable amp with good sound quality
  • Many controls like volume, gain, FX level, treble, bass, etc.
  • Very versatile; great for different styles, from jazz to metal

CONS

  • Slight pop when powering off
  • Effect controls can limit combos
  • A few users reported hearing static sounds while playing

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers were really impressed with how loud this amp is and the quality it offers. The versatility is also often praised as one of its greatest features. Rock players who like to play a little jazz or country can do so with the Fender Champion 20.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Fender Champion 20 is one of the best guitar amps that you will find that is both excellent quality and affordable. It is very popular with guitar players and comes from a trusted manufacturer. This is a durable amp that can be carried around to practice or jam sessions with ease.

Who Will Use This Most

This amp is great for beginners who are still learning how guitar amps work and the ways they make your music sound better. If you’re new to guitar amps, you will benefit from using this one. Seasoned players who know Fender products will also enjoy using this amp -- it’s not limited to one style of guitar playing.

Bottom Line

When it comes to overall sound quality, the number of features, ease of use, and affordability, the Fender Champion 20 really is an all-arounder. You’d be hard-pressed to find another guitar amp that meets all these standards. It’s ideal for anyone and is great for any style of guitar playing.

Runner-up:
Boss Katana 100

BOSS Katana 100 Watt Guitar Amplifier (Black)

PROS

  • Custom 12” speaker
  • Very strong wattage: 100-watt
  • Tone settings can be stored and recalled
  • Reverb section includes delay and delay-plus-reverb
  • Has built-in tilt stand that offers better sound projection and monitoring

CONS

  • Software updates are slow
  • Only a handful of effects are accessible from the top panel
  • A PC or Mac is necessary to access other effects or tweak the tone to taste

What Recent Buyers Report

The sound and ease-of-use of the Boss Katana really stood out to guitar amp users. The foot pedal is also greatly appreciated, and when the volume is turned down, the amp keeps the same tone.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This guitar amp has many fans, and for a good reason. It can go as quiet or loud as you need without losing any of its tone. It remains crystal clear! The effects loop is very effective and impressive. This product lives up to expectations and often exceeds them too.

Who Will Use This Most

The Boss Katana is great for most guitar players, whether you’re a regular player or someone who is just starting. It should be noted, though, that the software problems that users noted can make it an inconvenient choice for musicians who need these changes.

Bottom Line

With this amp, you will have amazing quality sound at volumes that you desire, and for its price, it is undoubtedly one of the best on the market. It has a straightforward interface that makes it popular with everyone.

Best for the Money:
Orange Crush 12

Orange Amplifiers Crush12 12W 1x6 Guitar Combo Amp Black

PROS

  • Portable and easy to transport
  • Great amp for beginners as well as professionals
  • Headphone option makes it ideal for hours of practice
  • You get a wide range of tones with the Orange Crush 12
  • Strong 12-watt combo amp with impressive gain controls
  • Quality of sound sets this apart from thousands of others

CONS

  • Features can feel quite limited
  • No aux input
  • Wattage can put off those looking for a beast of an amp

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a great amp for its size and is very useful, especially for practice, thanks to the headphone option. It has a clean sound, and you can carry it around with no problems at all. The timbre produced in the tones of this amp is also impressive at this price point, which many buyers love.

Why it Stands Out to Us

You get a nifty 6” speaker with this product and a single channel that does not mess up the sound at all. It really is easy to jump right in and start using the amp because it is so straightforward to use.

Who Will Use This Most

The Orange Crush 12 is a pleasing and suitable choice for anyone who needs a unique-looking and great-sounding amp that won’t cost a fortune but still do what you need it to do. So whether you are a beginner or a more experienced guitarist looking for a portable amp to take along wherever you go, this is the amp for you.

Bottom Line

For a 12-watt amp, you will be surprised at the great quality sound you will get from it. As hard as it can be to find a decent amp that is worth your money, this amp will satisfy even the pickiest guitar player. The onboard effects may be limited, but you can still get a lot out of the amp that will keep you satisfied.

Best Cheap Guitar Tube Amp:
Peavey Backstage 10W Transtube

Peavey Backstage Guitar Combo Amp

PROS

  • You can achieve a wide range of tones
  • Lightweight but very impressive sound
  • You get 2 channels with this neat little amp
  • Includes a headphone jack for private practice sessions
  • 3-band passive EQ that allows more control over tone
  • Transtube functionality

CONS

  • Distortion’s the only available effect
  • Gain is considered lacking
  • Doesn’t have the range of features most other amps have

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have found that for its price and size, the Peavey Backstage Transtube is a great purchase -- it’s perfect for practicing as well as performing in small areas. Plus, the tonal quality of this little amp is fairly impressive, especially considering its price point.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a durable amp that is compact but powerful. It will last for years and still produce fantastic sound. The controls are nice and easy to use. The Peavey has a distinct sound that most guitar amp users appreciate.

Who Will Use This Most

The Peavey Backstage Transtube is highly recommended for beginners who need to practice a lot and often. It’s not really suited to big gigs but will do well for small performances. It is also great for those who are looking for a little amp to take along to bonfires, or camping, or on holiday for practicing.

Bottom Line

Although it doesn’t have all the many features you will find on other bigger amps, it is still a great little amp. It may only offer 12 watts, but it makes the most of it and can hold its own. You only get the distortion effect, but it does that superbly.

Best Cheap Bass Guitar Amp:
Roland Cube-20XL

Roland CUBE-20XL 20-Watt 1x8-Inch Bass Combo Amp

PROS

  • Very loud -- seriously
  • Distortion tone is impressive
  • You get 7 effects with this bass amp
  • Large array of foot pedals
  • Compact size makes it perfect for practice at home
  • 20-watt amp that has a cool custom-designed 8” speaker

CONS

  • No effects loop
  • Not ideal for big performances
  • Clean sounds can get distorted past 5 or 6 on the volume knob

What Recent Buyers Report

Although this amp isn’t very big, buyers have felt that it does the job quite well and is well worth the money they spent on it. On the other hand, some have found that the sound can be hollow, and some effects don’t work as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Roland Cube is very portable, which means you can take it to band practice or carry it around wherever you go quite effortlessly. It is well-manufactured and has a great and sturdy build.

Who Will Use This Most

The Roland Cube is really good enough for anyone who wants a compact, portable, and strong amp with great sound and nifty features. Rock players will find this amp great for jamming with, whether they are practicing or performing.

Bottom Line

This is a good amp with a good range of features to pick and choose from without you needing to fork out a ton of money. It is reliable and very durable - you can use it for years with no loss of quality to stress about.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

When choosing a guitar amp, there are a few things you need to work out first. Here are a few consideration points to keep in mind:

What’s Your Goal?

When investing your hard-earned money in a guitar amp, it’s important to remember what it is that you want to do with an amp. How a tool will be used should always be taken into consideration before making a purchase.

Effects and Wattage

The effects that you will want to create as well as the wattage power of the amp is very important and will be unique to your aspirations for your music. 

Mobility

You will also need to keep in mind that if you are going to move around a lot or travel to sets and locations often, you will need an amp that will be easy to carry around and that can endure all the back-and-forth. Try to find a durable and sturdy guitar amp if you know you will be moving it around a lot.

Speaker Size

The size of the speakers in your amp is more important than many people tend to realize. Different sizes will produce different sounds; do keep this in mind.

Features

The configurations on an amp will often make or break the decision to buy it. Be sure you know what an amp can do before making the purchase. You don’t want to end up with a product that doesn’t fully meet your specific needs.

Conclusion

Just because a guitar amp is affordable and fits right into your budget, that does not mean it’s going to suck and not give you a great boost in the quality of music you make. If you just remember everything you’ve learned from this guide and the reviews we provided, you just might find the perfect amp for less than you expected.

People Also Ask

There are many questions often asked about guitar amps and how they work. We’ll take a brief look at some of the most common questions asked and give answers here:

How Many Watts Do You Need in a Guitar Amp?

Ideally, you need about 30 watts when it comes to a guitar amp with a solid sound. Of course, if you are going to be playing in clubs and on stages with huge crowds, you might want more wattage, but for the most part, you will do just fine with 30 watts.

Do Guitar Amps Use a Lot of Electricity?

In general, guitar amps really do not use a lot of electricity. Tube amps tend to use more electricity than some other amps. The use of electricity isn't really a big issue when it comes to guitar amps. Most people looking for a reason to complain will likely do so about the loudness or player’s skill.

Is it Bad to Plug a Bass Into a Guitar ​Amp?

Not really, but you will not get the smooth sound expected from a bass guitar. But yes, you could connect a bass into any guitar amp, and it will work just fine at low volumes. Bass guitars weren’t meant to be used with amps, though.

Thalia

Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.