12 Best Guitar Amps Under $500

If you are just getting started and need a guitar amp, you may not want to spend a ton of money. The good news is, there are lots that offer great sound, robust control, and even effects built in. And they won’t break the bank!

Maybe you are not a beginner and need a practice model at home. Here are the best guitar amps under $500 that will give you a great experience. No matter the reason. The quality of some of this technology will amaze you!

Best Guitar Amps Under 500 Dollars

They easily rival some of the more expensive amplifiers on the market. Our list features models that do many things and fit lots of genres of music. Now it is up to you to choose the one that will fit you best.

Boss Katana 100 MK2

Boss Katana MK2 Amplifier.

Five different amp voicings from clean to high gain. Also, an acoustic mode, the Katana can handle whatever you throw at it! The Katana MK2 is 100 watts of digital perfection in a well-built combo or head design.

The tone and built-in effects are some of the best sounds in a digital platform. The amplifier also supports acoustic-electric guitars.

It provides custom effects via the tone studio editor. There are many options and output volume settings that give the Katana real bang for the buck!


  • Boss Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output Power: 100 Watts.
  • Five Amp Voicings.
  • 60 Built-in effects.
  • FX Loop.
  • Cab emulation.
  • Direct Output.

Sound Performance

This is probably the best in class DSP amplifier. The Boss Katana is capable of 5 different amp models plus variations. This includes clean, crunch, brown, and lead plus an acoustic setting. Then you can use the variations to get the sound you prefer.

I used a couple of guitars to test this amp. The Squier Stratocaster for all clean and edge of breakup tones. And the ESP EC-256 for all high-gain sounds. I must say that I am very impressed with what Boss has done with the amp.

Being a fan of tube amps, I can tell when something is close. The Katana is one of those amps. Now don’t get me wrong, it comes close, but isn’t tube. But for the price, this is an amazing purchase. For clean and crunch tones, it does a great job.

The sound of the metal tones is also good, but it doesn’t have the low end that tubes amps provide. But that might be my tube snob showing! Here is a video that takes you through some of the sounds possible.


The weight is one of the most crucial factors. I am using the combo model of the amplifier.

Although I haven’t tried it, they do have a head version also. I do know that the Katana combo is lightweight. It weighs roughly 25 pounds and is easy to carry around.

You will be happy with the weight if you perform frequently or travel with your amplifier. A speaker with a smaller magnet is present here. This aids in weight reduction, but also results in a loss in bass response. Thus, there is a small trade-off.

Ease of Use

I do appreciate how Boss has designed the Katana. The knobs all have different settings, which means there are fewer controls. This alone makes it easy to use. There are different sections for amps, effects and other functions that are all neat and tidy.

You may need to consult the instruction manual at first, at least I did. This will give you a great start guide to help understand how it works. Once I had the basic idea, I was good to go!


  • Good build quality and hardware.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Acoustic mode option.
  • Customizable effects.
  • Many options onboard.


  • A foot switch is not included.

Fender Champion 100

Fender Champion 100 Amplifier.

The Fender Champion 100 is a 2-channel solid-state combo amplifier. It’s loaded with different options and voicing.

This is a very popular DSP based model that also has some great functions. Each of the channels has some great tones and effects. There are also two quality speakers that add to the great tone.

With an output of 100 watts, it’s easily stage-worthy and a great choice for many types of music. An aux input and headphone output give this amplifier some major versatility.


  • Fender Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output Power: 100 Watts.
  • Two channel modeling amp.
  • Combo with two 12″ speakers.
  • Built-In effects.
  • Effects loop.
  • Foot switch included.

Sound Performance

Using my Squier Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, I had the chance to test out the Champion 100.

Both of which suit the style I was striving for quite well.
As the amp isn’t really designed for any aggressive music types, I was going for lower gain vibes.

Personally, I feel this amp is best for clean low gain sounds. If you like edge of break up sounds, you will enjoy it. I felt the higher-gain or distortion models were not quite on the mark.

But it takes pedals well and can be used for it’s power. Check out the video below to hear how it sounds!


The Fender Champion is a 40 pound combo amplifier. This isn’t the lightest option out there and needs to be considered.

It has two speakers on board, which makes up a bulk of the weight. I took out the speakers to see what they weigh. I found that each speaker was nearly ten pounds!

A 40 pound amp isn’t terrible, especially with two speakers built in, but if you are gigging every night, it’s something to consider. Especially when an amp like the Boss Katana only weighs 25 pounds.

Ease of Use

The nice thing about the Champion is that it’s designed to be simple. Each channel is different, but they are basic.

Channel one has a two control EQ and some effects that can be added. Channel two is similar, but expands on the EQ and effects. If you like simplicity like I do, this doesn’t get simpler!


  • Build and design.
  • Great clean sound.
  • Good distortion sounds.
  • Built-In effects plus loop.
  • Included foot switch.


  • Some patches are louder than others.

Peavey Vypyr X2

Peavey vypry x2  Amplifier.

The X2 is a modeling amplifier that models both tone and effects. The USB interface allows for recording and is a great unit to fill many needs from live to the studio!

The Vypyr X2 will provide many instrument models as well as amps and effects. Turn your instrument into a 12-string or baritone on the fly while playing through one of 36 presets!

26 onboard effects lets you add final touches to your sound. 40 Watts of power provides the ability to play live yet is perfect for recording and practice. There are some serious options on it that will meet all your needs and more.


  • Peavey Warranty: 2 Years.
  • Output Power: 40 Watts.
  • 36 amp models.
  • 26 built-in effects.
  • One 12″ speaker.
  • Single Channel.
  • Aux and headphone outputs.

Sound Performance

I was really impressed by the range of sounds and options offered by the Peavey Vypyr X2. The amp has an extensive collection of 36 models plus effects! They allowed me to produce a wide variety of sounds. From clean and warm tones to aggressive, high-gain distortion.

One of the things I really liked about the amp was the clean models. They had a warm, rich sound with plenty of headroom. These clean tones were perfect for a variety of musical genres! And I found them to be particularly expressive and dynamic.

When it came to the overdrive and distortion amp models, I was equally impressed. The higher gain settings produced thick, saturated tones.

All that you would expect for hard rock and metal. But the mid-gain settings offered a more classic sound. So many tones on tap here! Check out this video to hear the clips!


Another great thing about the Vypyr X2 is the fact that it’s only 26 pounds! This is a nice, light combo that most players will have no issues lifting.

This also makes it a great gig companion. I had no issues moving it around when it arrived. It was evident that it was super light before I even took it out of the box!

Ease of Use

The Peavey Vypyr looks more complex than it really is. The controls are quite busy. When I first began using it, the controls seemed a bit hard to understand. I think the fact that the knobs are surrounded by LEDs threw me off for a minute.

But once you start playing with it, the intuitive layout comes into play. Everything is simple once you realize how the knobs set your amp model effects and more.


  • Build quality and hardware.
  • Sounds are good.
  • Instrument simulation.
  • Guitar, bass and acoustic capable.
  • Great effects and features.


  • Some have complained that it is not user-friendly.

Line 6 Spider V30 MK2

Line 6 Spider V30 Amplifier.

The Spider provides over 200 presets designed with help from high-profile artists. This alone will ensure you find good sounds in an amplifier with versatility!

The Line 6 Spider MK2 is 30 watts of power. Throw in many effects, a drum loop, a metronome, and a tuner, and you have one killer modeling amp.

The controls are intuitive, making this amp very easy to use. This includes integration with the spider app for iOS and Android. Another home run by Line 6 for a great price!


  • Line 6 Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output power: 30 Watts.
  • 200 amp presets.
  • Built-in effects.
  • Cab emulation.
  • Built in tuner and looper.
  • One 8″ speaker.

Sound Performance

I found the clean sounds of the amplifier to be impressive. The crunch and high-gain tones were equally enjoyable. The addition of effects enhanced the experience further. Using the Spider V remote app made it effortless to achieve good sounds.

However, the bass output left me feeling somewhat unimpressed. Those accustomed to higher-end amplifiers may find the bass content to be insufficient.

Additionally, the amp has a more digital sound than other modelers I’ve reviewed. Some presets sound less digital than others. But the overall digital quality is more noticeable than I anticipated.

On the other hand, the onboard effects are excellent for an amplifier in this price range. With a vast array of effects and options, they undoubtedly add to the amp’s enjoyment factor. Here is a great video to demonstrate the tones.


When it comes to being portable, the Line 6 Spider goes above and beyond! The amp weighs 17 pounds, making it one of the lightest combo options.

Now, it only has an 8-inch speaker on board with a minuscule magnet. This is one of my issues with the amp. Because of this, the bass content is lacking. But it’s still super light as a result!

Ease of Use

One of the strengths of this amplifier is the use of use. The amp is very basic, with a few knobs and an LCD screen.

The knobs are color coded to help distinguish them and their functions. Each control has more than one purpose, which keep it looking less intimidating.

Simply select the option you want to change and verify it on the screen. Then proceed to save and modify as you desire. One of the things that I liked most about it was the intuitive control scheme and ease of use!


  • Build quality and hardware.
  • 200 Pro-Crafted presets.
  • Onboard tuner, metronome and drum loops.
  • Headphone output, aux input jacks.
  • Mac/PC, iOS, and Android connectivity.


  • Complaints that the speaker sounds bad at high volumes.

Vox VT40X

Vox VT40X Amplifier.

The VT40X is a hybrid tube and DSP modeling combo. It’s designed with Vox’s own VE Technology for the most realistic tone. Not only that, but add 13 amazing effects and the ability to customize using the Vox Tone Lounge software. You have one awesome amp!

The unit comes with 11 realistic amp models and 33 preset programs run by an amazingly fast DSP. This provides you with incredible bang for your buck!


  • Vox Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output Power: 40 Watts.
  • 11 Tube amp emulation settings.
  • 10 inch speaker.
  • 13 built-in effects.
  • 60 presets.
  • Aux and Headphone outputs.

Sound Performance

My testing was done with a Stratocaster and the PRS Custom 24 guitars. Because this amp has vacuum tube technology in it, you get a vintage feel. Even though it also does use some DSP. The tones are very much Vox like. Especially with the Stratocaster.

With the PRS, I was able to get some pretty decent high-gain tones as well. But I did prefer only to get slightly over the edge of break up. I wasn’t going for any metal tones, maybe just some light rock. It does deliver!

The treble had a nice bite to it, and the bass was very round. It’s not tight, but not over bearing either. It’s a great amp for sounds. Check out this vide to hear the clips for yourself!

Ease of Use

This amp has a lot more knobs and buttons than you might be used to from Vox. It’s a very option rich amplifier. With DSP, there are a lot more things that are possible. And so you will find them here! But don’t be scared off, the amp is pretty easy to use.

When I first looked at the controls, I had option paralysis. But after a few minutes of tweaking, I soon became familiar with the features. You will too.


  • Build quality and hardware.
  • Tube and DSP hybrid.
  • Awesome sound.
  • Excellent effects.
  • 40 Watt output power.


  • Speaker quality could be better.

Vox Adio Air GT

Vox Adio Air GT Amplifier.

Small, portable, and powerful! The Vox Adio Air GT is a well-rounded modeling amplifier. It’s designed to provide great sound in a practice-sized design. The beautiful part is that it is a combo that runs on batteries and can essentially go anywhere!

50 watts of power, well-designed effects, and Bluetooth control. This is one powerful little unit that every player should own. Especially with the small price tag!


  • Vox Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output Power: 50 Watts.
  • 33 amp models.
  • Two 3″ speakers.
  • Battery capable.
  • Bluetooth compatible.

Sound Performance

For the size of this unit, the sound is pretty good. Now it only has 8″ speakers on board, so the bass is limited. But it has good clarity and provides great guitar tones.

The clean sound is quite nice. Add in some effects and it becomes very lush and enjoyable. I particularly liked the clean sounds quite a bit.

A Fender Stratocaster into the amp provides some great clean tones. Some good Jazz tones were obtained without much effort. It also takes pedals well, so an overdrive spiced things up for me quite well.

The distortion tones built into the amp are also great on their own. I find that Vox does a real good job with their DSP gain sounds. They do sound and feel very good. Check out this video to see what I mean!


  • Build and hardware.
  • Sounds great.
  • Super portable.
  • Lush effects.
  • Bluetooth control.


  • Seems lower than 50 watts.

Marshall Code 50

Marshall Code 50 Amplifier.

The Marshall Code 50 is a modeling guitar combo. It’s designed to recreate classic Marshall amp sounds and speaker cab combinations.

Mix and Match 14 preamps, 4 power, and 8 speaker cab emulations to craft the perfect Marshall tone! Now add 24 killer effects, and you have one powerful platform!

The Marshall amplifier modeling is a great way to build your own dream Stack. The amp can be controlled via Bluetooth using its own mobile app. This allows you to change your sound from anywhere! This is one seriously wicked piece of gear for under $500!


  • Marshall Warranty: 2 Years.
  • Output Power: 50 Watts.
  • 14 digital Marshall amps.
  • One 12″ speaker.
  • 24 built-in effects.
  • Speaker cabinet emulation.
  • Bluetooth.

Sound Performance

This amp has been made using popular Marshall sounds. It’s DSP based, but was created to use tube tones. You will find amps like the JTM45 and JCM 800 which in my opinion sound pretty good. Now I have some of these amps and compared the Code 50 to them.

They aren’t exactly the same, but they come close. The Code 50 lacks bass content that the tube amps provide.

It has a similar brightness, but the voice is slightly different. One thing I can say for sure, it does have the Marshall voice. Check out this video to hear the sounds it can provide to you.


  • Build quality and hardware.
  • Classic Marshall tone.
  • USB and Bluetooth control capable.
  • Headphone jack.
  • 50 watt output power.


  • The app has connectivity issues occasionally.

Yamaha THR10

Yamaha THR10 Amplifier.


  • Five tube amp emulated settings.
  • Combo with two 3.15″ speakers.
  • Built-In effects.
  • Battery powered as well.

Sound Performance

Yamaha incorporates virtual circuitry modelling into some of its models. The goal is to attempt to mimic what occurs in a tube amplifier. They did a really nice job using digital signal processing, too!

The clean tones are excellent and somewhat chimey. Add an effect, and the tone will envelop you.

With the right guitar, the crunch will sound somewhat like a Vox tone. You enter the high-gain metal as soon as you move your settings up the scale.

It then becomes Boogie or Marshall-like in terms of tone and feel. The video below is a great way to see how the amp sounds and performs. Have a listen!


The THR10 is a unique looking amplifier. Yamaha is known to have a certain way of designing products, this one is no different. It has the flair and appeal that most of their products do. They sort of have a vintage look to them and are soft on the eyes.

The amp also lights up to emulate that of a tube driven device. There are no tubes in the unit, but it’s a nice addition. The amp also has a nice chrome handle and the knobs are not a funky color. Overall, the amp looks quite nice.

Ease of Use

The amp is very easy to use. All controls are located on the top of the unit. They are well-marked and do what they say.

There is nothing confusing about the way it is designed. All the extra add-ons are easy to use as well. You can quickly find a great sounding amp model and add effects without having to jump through any hoops.


  • Build and design.
  • Great sounds over all.
  • Small and compact.
  • Built-In effects.
  • Sufficient volume for Its size.
  • Good recorded sound from the amp.


  • No external speaker out option.
  • Battery life might be lower than estimated.

Positive Grid Spark

Positive Grid Spark Amplifier.

The spark is a digital guitar amplifier that comes with many built-in presets and effects. This little unit can be connected to an included app and configured to your taste and needs. It is quite powerful and intuitive!

The Positive grid Spark is a Digital amplifier. It allows you to save your favorite presets and jam them at 40 watts. The Spark is a good-sounding and powerful little unit. It has many amplifier and effect presets built in.

There are some customization options not found in many other amps. As a result, you get some great functionality. The Bluetooth connectivity and included app allow you to construct your own signal. And at 40 watts, you will have all the power you will need!


  • Positive Grid Warranty: 1 Year.
  • Output Power: 40 Watts.

Build Quality

The spark is built to be rigid and looks quite nice. This is one you can leave in the living room and not worry about how it looks. It is very light and can be transported with ease.

Although most players will leave it on a desktop. The unit comes with 2 built in 4″ speakers. These speakers are quite nice and sound full in bass and mid-range frequency.


The spark is controlled like most amplifiers. It has a range of knobs and buttons that allow you to adjust your sound.

Simply turning the potentiometers allows you to select sounds and toggle the functions. But on top of all that is an app that allows you to configure your signal chain and much more.

With this powerful option, your presets are tailored to exactly what you need and or want. Tweaking these settings is rather easy on most devices via Bluetooth.


For the price of this amplifier, you are getting some awesome classic and modern amp sounds. The range of effects is quite good, allowing you to craft some great guitar sounds from any genre or era.

The 4″ speakers do a great job for their size and provide a well-rounded sound. The spark can also act as a stereo system when you are not playing guitar. Thanks to the external audio source connectivity.


  • Solid construction.
  • Good sounding presets.
  • Fully programmable.
  • Built-In effects and more.
  • 40 Watt output.
  • Bluetooth capable.


  • The App may be hard to set up at first.

Best Value Options

There are a few amplifiers that didn’t quite make the top pick list. But are great units to consider as they are even more affordable. And for the price, you really can’t go wrong! So if your budget doesn’t quite meet the top picks, take a look at these offerings.

Flamma FA05

Flamma FA05 Amplifier.

The Flamma FA05 is a 5-watt digital amplifier made in China. This is quite impressive! It features Bluetooth connectivity and good sound and functionality for the price. It is actually a great little unit to consider, especially for practice.


For a small box like this, weighting 2.5 pounds, it’s built very well. While the idea is to primarily keep it at home to practice, the amp is robust enough to take with you. If you travel, this is great to take along as it is battery-powered as well as uses an adapter.

The built-in 3″ speaker is a pretty decent sound for the price. It’s full enough to get some good tone for practice and audio playback.


The controls are pretty standard, allowing you to select from the presets and effects. Tone controls and jacks allow you to connect and adjust the sound to taste and offer a wide range.

The amp is also Bluetooth controllable. Which is also a really great feature to help sculpt your sounds.


When removing it from the box, I was skeptical of what this little amp would sound like. But for the price point, I was quite impressed. Now, you won’t get a roaring tube sound from it, but that isn’t the idea here.

Thanks to the presets and built-in effects, this little guy is a great buy. Especially for anyone looking to be inspired to practice. And as a result, the amp has made our value pick list.

Fender Frontman 10G

Fender frontman 10g Amplifier.

Leave it to Fender to provide all players an offering to meet their needs. This price point really opens up players to some great units, and the Frontman 10G is one of them. This 10-watt amplifier is loud enough for practice and features great tone.


This little unit weighs 8.5 pounds, features a 6″ speaker and has the classic Fender look. It is well-built, very rugged and has a small footprint making it easy to take with you if traveling.


The amplifier features a clean and a drive channel. Both of these can be adjusted with the front-mounted controls. There is a simple EQ as well as gain and volume control to adjust your sound to taste and the guitar being used.

Other features are an aux input and headphones out for silent practicing. Both of these work great and are necessary features. Thanks to Fender for including them at this price!


The Frontman 10G is a great-sounding amplifier at this price point. Even when turned up nearly to maximum volume, it still holds its own.

Normally, practice models like this sound bad when turned up loud. But the Frontman keeps it together.  Overall, for the price, you are getting a great unit with some good sound.

Best Bundle Options

There are some great bundle packs that we could not keep from our amplifier selections. These are perfect for people who are getting started, are just needing a bundle that works.

Sometimes when getting started, it’s tough to know how to build a rig. Especially with electric guitars. These great amp bundles get you started and fast.

Fender Frontman 10G

Fender Frontman 10g.

Because we have already looked at the Fender Frontman 10G, it was a no-brainer to include this bundle pick.

If you are considering picking up the 10G, then you may want to consider the bundle. You get a new instrument cable plus an assortment of picks for a few dollars more. It’s a great value!


There are many questions that come along with a new purchase. We have collected a number of them that we felt would help you find the best model for your needs.

What Should You Look for When Selecting A Guitar Amp?

Are you a beginner looking for your first guitar amp? The first thing to consider is the amount of volume you need. If you live in an apartment, then you want to be careful not to get something you cannot use because of neighbors.

Many people get excited and grab the one with the most power and options, only to find out they can’t crank it up without a noise complaint.

Last thing you need is to get evicted because of it! So make sure the unit has the ability to use headphones. Or at least has a lower power output in this case.

Next, you want to make sure you are getting the right amplifier for the type of music you play. If you need an acoustic model, the last thing you want is a high gain unit. You want to make sure that it will fit the type of music you play and have the options you need for a great experience.

This can be a crucial part of your selection, and most beginners get this wrong. This usually means they will need to replace it soon after. Whether it has built-in effects is also another important consideration that should not be overlooked.

Lastly, you will want to make sure the amplifier is the right size and weight. If you are going to be traveling or gigging with it, the size and weight will be very important.

Some of the combos that include a speaker in the cabinet will be a bit larger and heavier. They might be hard for some people to move around.

There are also models that use tubes, which will require transformers that can increase the weight as well. We cover most of this, but it’s important to be aware of this before pulling the trigger.

What’s The Best Guitar Amp For Metal?

This question comes up a lot, and so we thought we would just get right to it! Most of these are digital, which makes sense for the price. In the past, digital distortion has not been the greatest, let’s be honest.

Some of the digital units that tried to do a good high-gain tone fell short. And so this question gets asked a great deal because of this very reason.

But technology is getting closer. And we finally have some good high-gain tones from many digital models! From all the ones on our list, we were the most impressed with the Boss Katana MK2.

This amp gets mighty close to a good high-gain tube sound. With all the added options to the MK2 version, this would probably be the one to go to for a metal sound.

Not only does it sound wonderful and will saturate well, it also feels excellent too. There is a particular sag in its voicing that would almost make you feel like you were playing a tube amp. And because it can do so much more than just metal, it’s great bang for your buck!

The Best Guitar Amp For Home Use

Our list of the best guitar amps under 500 are not just units that are made for home use. Many of them can do more than that, so this is a great question. If you don’t need one with lots of power, the right rig is crucial.

The nice thing about these digital models is that they are designed with DSP technology. This allows the manufacturer to add many more features to them and help with lower volume modes. It also allows for more connectivity options. And because they are light and small, they are all virtually great for home use.

But if you are looking for small and light, these are the ones that are probably the best for home use:

  • Vox Adio Air.
  • Fender Acoustasonic.
  • Boss Katana MK2.
  • Marshall Code 50.

How Many Watts Do You Need?

If you are just getting started, this is probably one of the biggest questions you might have. How much power is too little? Or even too much? The range of output power is huge! Plus, how is digital different from tube power?

Well, let’s see if we can shed some light on this for you. The first thing to keep in mind is that this rating is the most power the unit can put out.

It doesn’t mean it will always be blaring loud! Each of the models on the list has a volume control. So rest assured, you can control the volume!

When selecting an amplifier, you want to make sure it will provide for your needs. If you do not gig or jam in a band, then you probably don’t need 100 watts of power. You may consider 50 or fewer.

If you live in an apartment and are worried about your neighbors, 100 watts of power can still work! You see, most of these amps have headphone jacks and silent options.

But we have created a chart to help you gauge output power:

  • 1 to 30 watts: considered low power.
  • 30 to 60 watts: average.
  • 60 and higher: high power output.

Final Thoughts

The sound and build quality are most important when selecting the best guitar amp. Choosing one of these units is quite difficult. They pretty much offer a lot of the same options and functions.

The choice will come down to what you are looking for in an amplifier. There are many kinds made for different applications.

Buying a new guitar amp is a very exciting experience, especially if it’s your first one! So make sure you are getting the one that best fits you and your style.