House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Playing music is one of the most amazing experiences for some people, but it can be a costly hobby. By the time you get all the gear, equipment, software, and supplies, you could be talking about a few thousand dollars of investment to partake in music. Because of this high barrier to entry, many people are on the lookout for affordable, reasonably-priced equipment. That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide to help you find the best guitar amp under $300.
Though there are some more affordable options out there for musical equipment, you want to make sure that you buy something that is functional. The cheapest options may sometimes come without all the features that you need. In our extensive analysis of these amplifiers, we made sure to consider quality, type, configuration, power, value, and available effects to provide you with the information that you need to decide.
Because we know how important your equipment is to you, we take extreme care and attention when making our recommendations. We have spent several dozen hours researching guitar amps of all kinds and capabilities to deliver the best that the market has to offer in an easy-to-read, well-organized table for you to browse. Scroll down for in-detail reviews of each amp with their advantages and drawbacks, and the buying guide for you to make sure you’ll get what you need.
This simple yet versatile amp is great for someone who’s just starting out and learning the ropes. It’s a perfect, affordable amplifier to practice on. One of the main draws to this amp is that it has excellent tonal versatility features that allow you to achieve almost any sound that you are looking for. It has various effects, like reverberation, delay, and much more. The controls of this amp are simple and straightforward, which is perfect for someone looking for a great starter amp.
The auxiliary input allows you to play along to your favorite songs or put your new twists on old favorites. Either way, it’s quite easy. You can also use the jack to practice in private by plugging in headphones to the output. This mutes the speaker output and allows you to play along quietly so that only you can hear.
This amplifier isn’t only functional as a piece of musical equipment; you can also store extra cables and accessories in the back cabinet. It’s available in three options: 20 Watt, 40 Watt, or 100 Watt, and comes with a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer. The Fender Champion 40 is a simple but elegant solution for anyone looking for something to reliably get the job done and learn about amps.
The Marshall Code 50 is a combination amp that will work with acoustic or electric guitar. Marshall is a well-known brand that boasts state-of-the-art technology with this small amplifier. The range of this amp offers a choice of digital amplifier models, power amps, cabinet simulations, and more. This allows you to dial in every tonal combination that you might need. You can choose between glistening cleans, vintage crunches, or more modern, high-gain options and you can add from a selection of 24 FX to achieve almost any sound you desire. This amplifier is extremely versatile and complex.
The Marshall Code can be controlled via Bluetooth by your iOS or Android device to further capitalize on convenience. From your phone, you can stream music or control some of the sound options. This amplifier may be a better option for those musicians that have some experience with amplifiers and know how to use all the features. Though the Marshall Code 50 has a plethora of features, a new musician may find those overwhelming and want to opt for a simpler option with a basic layout instead.
In addition to the number of features that this amp has to offer, it’s also manufactured by one of the most reputable companies in the business: Marshall. People have long enjoyed using Marshall products for their classic look and quality composition. A Marshall is not just an amp, it is sometimes a status symbol. In our opinion, this model lives up to the Marshall name and has some really cool stuff to offer!
The Super Champ X2 Head offers a superior low-power tube sound in a compact design that has the same great features and versatility as its 15-watt, dual-channel combo cousin. It’s designed to be used with the new SC112 Enclosure or other 8-ohm speaker enclosure.
The Super-Champ X2 Head has a voicing knob for a selection of 16 different amplifier types (Including Tweed, Blackface, British, Hot Rod, metal, and many more), 15 effects and level control, dual-channel switching (the footswitch is optional), tap-tempo control for a precise delay time adjustment, 1/4” line output and USB output for speaker-emulated digital recording. The Fender FUSE software that comes included allows even more tonal versatility. You can also customize amp voicing and effects defaults, deep edit effects parameters, and gain online access to free Fender community content.
Since it’s a tube amp, it can give you the nice, unique, vintage sound that you seek for some classic jamming as well as the functionality and versatility to accommodate any other music you want to make. This amp head is very light, which makes it easy to carry around to each show or just for practice. For all these reasons combined, we’ve nominated it for the Best Guitar Amp Head Under $300.
We all know Mustang amplifiers to be one of the best in the industry. Since they’ve set the bar so high in the past, you’d think it’d be difficult to deliver an amplifier that impresses us. But they do it here with the Fender Mustang GT 40. Fender takes 70 years of experience crafting musical accessories and uses it to feature a new and better amplifier. They’ve done all of this while making it easier to use and without sacrificing even a little bit of power.
Fender is known for making it easy to control a studio quality amplifier. This model can be controlled via Bluetooth and the new Fender tone app. This app is easy to use and you can even add more power and presets right inside the app. The amp is also Wi-Fi enabled, so you can download updates, collaborate with others, and get access to a large community of other musicians. At the same time, you can connect the amplifier directly to the computer via USB and do all of your editing and simulations quickly and easily.
The Mustang GT 40 also has some extendibility, with an optional foot pedal that you can purchase separately. Using the artist presets that come with the amplifier is a great way to jam along with your favorite artists of all time.
This amplifier by Monoprice offers great guitar tone and flexibility. It uses a Celestion brand speaker and can produce full output from a small signal. This enables the amp to make unique sounds that will remind you of the British Invasion bands of the 1960s.
Monoprice maintains that tube amplifiers are still king, and that the sound produced is superior to those that don’t utilize tubes for amplification. This model also features genuine spring reverberation that can be switched on or off by using a foot pedal. The FX loop will allow you to create endlessly unique sounds and makes the amplifier more versatile than some others. The only complaint we do have regarding the effects is that the reverb sounded somewhat subtle. This amp also features a late-night practice mode, where you can set the output to 1 watt. This is a great feature that allows you to practice always without disturbing others.
Using this amplifier won’t just make you sound vintage; the classic styling transports you to a time of true, raw music. It features a cream colored, textured synthetic leather exterior and chrome corner guards.
Monoprice offers a one-year replacement warranty on every product, so you can buy with confidence from this company. If you do have problems with the product, Monoprice is well known for their excellent and attentive customer service that will be able to sort out any issues with the product.
There is a saying that goes: “Good things come in small packages.” While that saying is not always consistently true, it certainly applies to the Roland Micro Cube GX Ultra Compact Combo Guitar Amplifier. This small, but powerful amp is a very popular battery-powered model and can pack a big sound. It comes with 8 COSM amplifier tones and 8 DSP effects. This includes heavy octane effects for thick, ultra-low tones. If you want, you can pair this combo amp with the Free Cube Jam app. With that app, you can play songs, playback music, and record Micro Cube GX’s COSM amp tones.
One of the best features is that this amplifier does not require an external power source and runs on a battery. This amp provides the big time sound that you need in a compact size that allows for easy storage and transportation. This is a big deal for those musicians that perform a lot of gigs and want a real quality amp that they can easily bring from gig to gig. The amp also features a memory function so that you can save all your settings for easy start and stop. This is sure to save you from wasting time resetting the amp each time you need to use it.
What makes it special?
Small and compact for easy storage and transportation
This amp is deservedly our Budget Pick. It’s one of the cheapest options and has very simple controls and features. For any professional musician, this should really only be thought of as a practice amp or something that is cost-effective for small gigs. Though it is limited in its capabilities and sound output, it serves its purpose quite well. For minimalists, this is a great pick.
Because of its simplicity, it is very robust and sturdy. Though it likely shouldn’t be used for large shows, it actually does give a pretty strong sound output for its price and size. Featuring two switchable channels, this amp provides you with big, wide-ranging tones that will take you back in time to the days of no-nonsense, old school guitar amps. On top of that, you get Orange’s innovative CabSim circuit that, through the Crush 20’s headphone/line output, beautifully emulates the sound of an Orange 4-by-12-inch cabinet.
In addition to all this, you also get a unique-looking amp that is more fun to look at than a tiny black box! The Orange Crush 20 is fun, unique, simple, and effective. Whether you are a beginner looking for something to start with or an experienced musician looking for an amp for practice or small gigs, what you see is what you get with the Orange Crush 20. The Orange Crush 20 delivers functionality, sturdiness, and value as our Budget Pick.
What makes it stand out?
Simple and easy to use
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Things to Consider
You may think that you can’t get a great amp for under $300, but as we’ve shown with our guide, you absolutely can! There are many amps out there that are cheap, but the trick is finding amplifiers that provide good value. In this guide, we’ll show you what to look for.
What to expect from a guitar amp for under $300?
Though it’s possible to get a great guitar amplifier for under $300, you should temper your expectations. Your satisfaction is really going to depend on what purpose you want your amp to serve. If you are looking for an amp to host a concert of 5,000 people, you’re going to want to invest more than $300 in a quality amp. However, if you are a musician that needs an amp for practice, small gigs, or medium-sized performances, you’re in the right place. In our guide, we have listed some great options for those needs, and you should be able to find multiple types of amps from tube amps, combo amps, head amps, acoustic amps, and more.
Features to consider while choosing a guitar amplifier
When you are starting the search for guitar amps, you should know ahead what features you are looking for in an amplifier. If you don’t know what you need from your amp, you run the risk of purchasing an amp that doesn’t serve your purposes. In that case, you’ll either be compromising the quality of your music or you’ll be forced to go through the hassle of returning the amp and finding one that does work for you. Keep all this in mind while you search for a guitar amp under $300.
Type and configuration
One of the first things you’ll have to identify when you start shopping for amplifiers is what amp type you need. Generally speaking, there are head amps and combo amps. A head amp, like the Fender Super Champ X2 on our list, is an amplifier itself, coming without a speaker, so you’ll need a cabinet to use it. A combo amp, as the name suggests, combines an amp and a cabinet hosting one or two speakers.
Most people prefer getting a combo amp, since it saves them a hassle to get a cabinet.
Guitar amps are also distinguished in whether they are tube or solid.
Tube amps, or valve amps, like the Monoprice 611815, use vacuum tubes in their construction and have been a choice of many serious musicians for many years. They give you this gorgeous old-school sounding. They are, however, costlier to maintain, as you’ll probably need to replace tubes from time to time. You’ll also need more time to get used to them.
Solid-state amps started taking over in the 1970s. They are usually more affordable and are much easier to maintain. They are also much lighter than tube amps, as well as less fragile. Most amplifiers on our list are solid-state.
There are also modeling amps, which can be programmed with simulated tones of different amplifier models. These amps are also light and easy to move around, since they are based on chips rather than tubes. But the major advantage of these amps is that they are versatile, offering you the opportunity to modify models and effects and get almost limitless sounding options. A good example of a modeling amp is our top pick Fender Champion 40.
Power and speakers
After you’ve identified the basic type of amplifier that you’re looking for, the next step is to look at the specific features of different amps. One of those features is going to be the power level and speaker quality of the amplifier. There’s a reason that they call them amplifiers – they are designed to amplify your sound and project it to an audience and allow you to customize your sound. Without quality speakers and plenty of power, this is going to be a little hard to achieve.
First, you want to determine the amount of power you want the amplifier to give out. You can get amps in a wide variety of watts, but the most common seems to be anywhere from 10 to 50 watts. How much power your amp has will contribute to how loud you’ll be able to broadcast your music. Loud music is great, but if it’s not coming out with high quality, the volume becomes useless. Therefore, you should pay attention to the quality of speakers on the amps that you are looking at. If you have a lot of power but low-quality speakers, the sound will come out fuzzy and bad. You can usually find out how good the speakers are by looking at past reviews for the amp.
Everyone needs to have the right type, power, and speakers for their amp, but the built-in effects are really what distinguishes one amplifier from another. It also separates musicians when shopping because each artist will have different needs. Built-in effects are things like audio settings, editing capabilities, and other technology that is included in the amp. Generally, more expensive and higher quality amps will have more of these features included while less expensive amps will be more straightforward. Basically, what these effects enable you to do is customize your sound to the exact point that you’d like it to be at. When using an amp with fewer options, you’ll be less able to achieve your exact sound, or you will have to spend much time trying to get what you need. You should always consider the built-in features of an amp and understand what exactly you’ll be getting.
The warranty of the products you buy isn’t often the centerpiece of your decision-making process, but it is an important thing to consider. Warranties are kind of insurance for your amplifiers and other products. If something does go wrong, you are guaranteed to receive assistance from the company in obtaining a new one to replace it or fix it. One thing that you do want to be careful of is some warranties only cover certain parts. For example, if you were buying an amplifier with a warranty, that company may only offer a warranty to cover the knobs on the amp and not anything else. You may be encouraged to see a warranty listed for the product, but you should always do a bit more reading and find out what the warranty covers.
It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you need to play for a larger crowd, 40 or 50 watts will usually do the job. If you just need the amp for practice, you can definitely get by with just a 10 or 20-watt amp. The average listening level for regular speakers is just 1 watt, so that’s something to keep in mind. Basically, the more people you’re going to be playing for, the more power you’ll want to have.
An effects loop is a series of sounds that occurs in a loop during the music that you are playing. Once the loop ends, it will automatically restart. Many people use loops to enhance their music or simulate a band in the background.
Power supplies in guitar amps are extremely important. If you have a bad power supply, your amp will produce unwanted noise or low quality noise. You should always make the power supply a priority when browsing for amps.
The Fender Champion 40 got the highest score here, as we believe that it offers all the best possible features for the price. This reliable modeling amp comes with tons of onboard effects and a good-sounding 12-inch speaker.
The second was the Marshall Code 50, a more powerful and sophisticated amp for more advanced players. Marshall is known for making some of the world’s most revered amplifiers, and this one is no exception. With it, you’ll get almost limitless editing possibilities and incredible tone.
Third, comes the Fender Super Champ X2, the only amp head we’ve included in our list. This amp is highly valued by its fans for being easily portable and versatile effects it offers. This amp can be used both on gigs and for practice.
Now, you have it! Each of the best guitar amps under $300 we reviewed is a great bang for your buck, so go ahead and get the best one for you! If you feel like this price range doesn’t fit your budget, consider choosing guitar amps for under 200 dollars.