It’s easy to get overwhelmed when shopping for guitar amps as there’s just so many out there varying in shapes, sizes and colors. What you need to do is find one that’s right for your individual needs; one that’ll serve you best. Not everyone needs a huge amp setup that costs thousands of bucks. A simple, low-cost practice amp can do the trick for those just needing something to get by with.
Technology has improved massively in recent years, and now you can find some awesome guitar amps for less than $100 – great for those on a budget! Who wouldn’t love that?
There are tons of options to choose from when considering an amp. Some are real bargains, while others can definitely be classified as cheap. KGR prefers the term ‘cost-effective’, but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. You’ll often find low-quality stuff and bad tone, so ‘cheap’ is a fitting description in these cases.
There are plenty of guitar amps out there, in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Finding the one that fits your needs perfectly can be hard but don’t worry – here are reviews of some of the best cheap guitar amps under $100 so you can make an informed decision.
Top Picks for Best Amp Under $100
1. Blackstar Fly3 – Best Guitar Amp Under $100 for Metal
When you think of metal music, images of Dual Rectifiers or 5150’s come to mind. Good news – we’ve got a great option for you! The Blackstar Fly3 is incredibly powerful yet portable and budget-friendly.
Yeah, you can achieve some awesome steel sounds with the right metal amp – we were surprised by just how powerful the Blackstar Mini was! If metal’s your thing, then this 3-watt monster should be worth checking out.
2. Orange Crush 12 – Best Guitar Amp Under $100 for Rock
Don’t underestimate the Orange Crush 12 – it’s small but packs a mean punch. You can create some awesome sounds with this amp. Many think small amps can’t bring out good rock and roll, but you’d be surprised what this amp is capable of! Orange has been quite trendy recently, and they made sure to put all that classic citrusy goodness into this 12w mini-beast.
3. Fender Acoustasonic 15 – Best Guitar Amp Under $100 for Clean Tones
Clean sounds are usually a piece of cake, but sometimes they can be tricky to produce – especially when you’re rocking a practice amp that has never ever seen a tube.
Fender is definitely one of the top brands when it comes to delivering a clean tone, and they’ve put all that experience into their Acoustasonic 15. It’s great for getting that clear sound without any extra dirt or grunge. The Acoustasonic 15 is designed with some amazing tone circuitry and effects, making it super easy to get perfect clean sounds.
Top Cheap Guitar Amps Under $100 Review
1. Blackstar Fly3 Mini
Get steel-like sound in a lightweight device.
This tiny Blackstar 3 watt amp is powered by a battery and can really get loud if you want it to. With the right guitar, you can even use it for some chugging sounds!
The Blackstar Fly3 is an incredibly powerful combo amp – with just 3 Watts, it produces sound that you have to hear to believe. Mini-amplifiers usually don’t get the hype they deserve, but Blackstar has done something special with this mini model – by giving it the same ISF feature as the rest of their amplifiers. Pretty impressive!
Don’t expect the decibels to be too loud but it is a great piece of equipment that can easily fit on any bookshelf. The sound is really good and you can give it your own twist using the tone knob. The overdrive is really great and you can even emulate a digitally reproduced tape-delay. Plus, with the ISF feature of the amp, you have a ton of soundscapes to choose from at your fingertips.
This amp comes with one full-size jack and an auxiliary mini-jack to plug in your MP3 player. There’s also a mini-jack for headphones so you can practice quietly. You can even connect two of these amps with the special extension port at the back. The Mini-amp works with an AC power adaptor or 6 AA batteries, so you can use it when there’s no outlet nearby.
Tape-delay style effect
Battery or DC operation
Verdict: If you’re looking for a mini-amp, the Fly 3 from Blackstar won’t disappoint. Its EQ and tape delay feature the company’s patented ISF that allows you to adjust the tone from American twang to British crunch. This device is extremely portable – if needed, you can even use a battery to take it anywhere you want! Easily our choice for best guitar amp under $100 for metal players.
2. Vox AmPlug 2 AC30 Headphone Amp
A tiny amp with huge sound – it’s a total game-changer!
Check out this mini headphone amp – it’s basically a replica of the classic Vox AC30! You can enjoy silent practice with good battery life, that classic Vox chime and it takes up hardly any space.
If you’re mostly gonna be using headphones when you wanna jam, then the Vox G2AC30 will be a great pick. Instead of an amp taking up space in the home, you can get this super small and portable headphone amplifier to rock out on.
G2 got a revamp in terms of its circuitry to amp up signal reproduction and amplification. The pathways are still analog though. The TRS connection got a makeover – it now features a foldable design that can hinge around 180 degrees. This improvement gives you easier access to tough-to-reach jacks and makes it compatible with loads of guitar models.
This little amp packs a punch – it comes with volume, tone and gain dials, plus an effects button that can give you access to 9 settings, 3 chorus modes, 3 reverbs and 3 delays. You can plug in any device via the mini-jack auxiliary input and start playing/practicing your track right away.
You’ll love the sound you get from an AC30 – there’s no overdrive but Vox have released various versions depending on your needs – it can even be tweaked for bass and comes with five guitar tone packages that cover blues, lead, clean, classic rock and metal.
Tone dial, chorus, reverb, and delay settings
180-degree fold-out connector
Verdict: The Vox G2 range has a neat little amp made for private practice. The AP2AC Amplug G2 AC30 comes with varying levels of reverb, delay and chorus effects plus an adjustable tone knob that can turn mellow or bright tones. This connector’s neat feature is its folding, rotating design which allows you to plug it into hard-to-reach areas. It’s also crafted with great care and attention to detail.
3. Fender Frontman 10g
This amp packs a real punch yet it’s super portable and has an awesome tone.
If you love the vintage Blackface Fender amps, the Frontman 10g would make a great addition to your collection. Despite its small 6″ speaker and only 10 watts, it has plenty of power and retains clarity.
Fender Frontman 10G is an entry-level amp in the series and touted as a beginner’s model. But we believe it makes for a great cheap practice amplifier, regardless of your experience with playing music. Fender put a lot of work into making this amp look like the classic Blackface amps. It features a silver thread grille cloth and skirted dials for that iconic style. Definitely pays homage to those early Fenders!
You can adjust the gain, volume, treble and bass as well as kick it up a notch with an overdrive switch. It’s equipped with a 6-inch speaker set in a closed-back enclosure that produces punchy, impressive bass tones. This tube-emulation is top notch, it gives you the ability to create a ton of cool retro sounds. It’s amazing how well they replicated the warmth with such a small and low-powered digital device.
The volume level on this gear is perfect for practicing in your bedroom. Plus, there’s a headphone auxiliary port so you can practice late at night without disturbing anyone. There’s also an 1/8 inch auxiliary-in to hook up contemporary audio equipment.
Verdict: The Fender Frontman 10G makes it easy to get a wide range of tube-drive sounds. This isn’t your typical beginner’s amplifier! The perfect sized amp for bedroom practicing, the 10-watt speaker with an awesome price-tag is fit to bring those crunchier tones, giving you unbeatable value. If you’re looking for the Fender sound, this is the best guitar amp under $100 that will get you to that tone.
4. Orange Crush 12
Timeless style and a whole lotta sound.
This amazing Orange amp is seriously a deal you can’t pass up – its sound and looks have been part of the rock legacy since forever! Plus, it gives you crunchy, beefy tone at an unreal price.
It could be the analog circuitry that this manufacturer is all about, or possibly the 6-inch custom speaker, but whatever it is, this 12-watt practice amp provides some really unique sounds to mess around with. The whole Orange Crush range has got some great classic rock-era sounds. From cranked-up wails, funky rhythm chunks to heavy overdrive – whatever kind of tone you’re after, they have something for everyone.
With your regular 3-band EQ, you can also adjust the levels of overdrive and gain. Overdrive adds more headroom which causes your sound to start breaking up, while gain brings in tons of grittiness and noise to make it really edgy.
In addition, the volume dial lets you hit a good level for practice and you can use headphones too. It features ¼ inch single-channel input and output so if you have an awesome pair of headphones, then it’s perfect. The port sounds great and is a replica of the modeled cabs.
On the surface, it might seem expensive compared to other options, but you can rest assured that the quality is unbeatable. Really, it’s worth every penny! We’re talking about top-notch, domestically produced manufacturing here. So you can rest assured knowing that no cheap soldering will be involved. Plus, it comes in a closed-back cabinet finished with the iconic orange basket weave Tolex and woven speaker grille– both of which make it stand out from the crowd and look great!
6-inch custom speaker
Distinct Orange tone
Verdict: The Orange Crush 12 is a great-looking, powerful amp for a hundred bucks. You get a 3-band EQ, gain control, an overdrive boost and an in-built custom speaker. Plus, it also has an emulated full-size cab headphone port – perfect for personal practice sessions! Easily our choice for best guitar amp under $100 for rock players.
5. Donner DEA1
A no-fuss, dependable practice amp.
Donner’s starter amp gives you everything you need and more – it borrows design from classic Fender amps, has a reasonable volume and great tones. Plus, the build quality is really solid! The DEA-1 is a great beginner amp in the Donner collection with one input, two channels and a closed-box construction giving it a punchy bass. You can also boost the second channel by pressing the button.
Donner sure knows how to make quality amplifiers on a budget. This one has an impressive build with a strong shell and woven grille that features the Donner logo. It also has corner bumpers for extra reinforcement and feet for it to stand off the floor. The dials on the device are positioned at the front so you can use the handle to easily carry it around.
The DEA-1 has a 6.5-inch speaker and uses only 10 watts of energy – that’s why it can get surprisingly loud. But when you switch up the boost, some buzziness kicks in if you go too high with the volume. The gain dial on the front lets you adjust your input levels so you can easily find the best spot. The 3-band EQ gives you lots of room to experiment with your tone and bass is particularly strong while treble is lovely and warm. All this in a digital amp!
The amp has a 1/8-inch aux-in and aux-out, so you can plug in headphones to jam along with the song. It comes with an input lead and two 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch adapters.
Verdict: The Donner AMP DEA-1 is perfect for those on a budget. It’s got all the features you’d expect from an entry level amp – 3-band EQ, boosted channel and more – so that you can shape your sound exactly how you want it. The construction is quite good and it packs a bigger speaker for decent sound levels while you practice.
6. Fender Acoustasonic 15
Crazy good Fender sound but without the steep price tag – get it in this affordable practice amp!
This Fender amp is mainly made to amplify acoustics, but it can even make electric guitars sound more musical and mellow. Perfect for taming hot pickups and getting that bell-like tone. The Fender amp has two inputs – XLR and ¼ TRS. This gives you a really clean sound. Plus, you can plug in a semi-acoustic/electro-acoustic and use the mic-line for singing on top.
The knobs and ports are all at the front, leaving room for a handle that makes the amp light enough to carry around. It looks pretty cool too with its tan vinyl exterior and a black cloth grille. All this comes together to create an awesome portable practice amp!
This cab has a closed unit set-up, and the speaker array is arranged in such a way that the sound quality is really good. It comes with a 6-inch regular speaker as well as a small ‘Whizzer’ cone that makes the higher frequencies come alive. This makes the higher end notes sparkle and gives the clean sounds more vibrancy.
This amp is packed with features – you have the option of adjusting each input channel’s volume as well as 3-band EQ and a chorus attenuator. It has 15W of power, meaning it can handle some intense sounds without distorting too quickly. Perfect for those shimmering chords and jazzier tones!
XLR and TRS inputs
3-band EQ and Chorus
Verdict: The Fender Acoustasonic 15 is an awesome practice amp, plus it has an extra XLR input that’d be great for buskers. The 6-inch speaker also has a Whizzer cone that adds more clarity and makes the already clean tones even better. The chorus dial brings out the sparkle and shine. No brainer as the best guitar amp under $100 for acoustic players.
7. Boss Katana Mini
Unbelievable price for legit modelling amp features!
You can get a lot of features like 3 voicings, delay FX and even 3 band EQ in this small, portable amp that costs only $100. Plus, it’s powered by battery or DC power so you can take it with you whenever needed. Alright, we exceeded our $100 limit on this one – but for an extra $20 you’re getting twice the power of your amp and it’s worth having. So if you don’t mind spending a bit more money, it’ll be a great purchase.
The Katana Mini is a compact 7-watt amp featuring a 4-inch speaker that can really get your music bumping. It’s lightweight and portable, yet durable due to its reliable construction. The input channel has an analog gain circuit that you can adjust in stages, plus it has 3 settings to choose from. For high-gain vibes, you’ve got ‘Brown’ – for something edgier, ‘Crunch’, and for a clear sound, there’s ‘Clean’ which is very diverse and dynamic.
Following that, you have the EQ feature to get the sound you want with your style already picked out. Plus, you have tape-delay options too. We mentioned this earlier on when we talked about the Blackstar amp which also had auto attenuated delay capabilities controlled with one knob (0-10). The awesome Katana Mini amp offers you more customization options like separate time and level dials, so you can get the exact sound you’re looking for.
At the back of this Mini amp, there’s two aux input/outputs. You can either power it up with batteries or use a DC adapter. Plus, when you get it now, you get an additional set of goodies from Austin Bazaar – like 24 Fender picks and a 10ft GearLux pro instrument cable.
3 cab emulations
A little over budget
Verdict: The Boss Katana Mini-Amp is the top mini amp out there. It has loads of controls to help you shape your sound and the 4-inch speaker performs great even at only 7 watts. You get 3 channel styles to choose from and you can switch between EQ and Tape-Delay to explore your sound. If you’ve got the money, it’s definitely worth it to get this one.
8. Vox Pathfinder 10
Get the British Invasion’s iconic sound in a convenient and affordable package.
The Pathfinder looks and feels like a true Vox, from the tartan grille cloth to the gold lettering. It may not be as powerful as an AC30 but it sure does have the same classic chime and charm. For those with a bit more to spend, the Vox Pathfinder is a great option. It packs 10 watts of power and gives you that classic vintage sound everyone loves. Plus it’s a modern solid-state amp, so lots of features for your money!
The knobs are located on top for quick access and you have the basic 3-band EQ, input gain and an overdrive switch. And Vox goes the extra mile by offering a sturdy handle to lift and carry it around with ease.
You’ll be surprised by the decibels coming out of the 10-watt power output, especially when you turn up the overdrive channel. On the flip side, the clean is much quieter but it’s all surprisingly loud. This closed-back model has a heavyweight 6.5-inch speaker that offers clear mids and striking highs, giving you top-notch sound quality.
This amp looks the part, with Vox’s signature diamond patterns on the front grille cloth in a mix of red, gold and green. For the price you’re paying, you get top-notch craftsmanship – it’s definitely worth every penny. The 1/4-inch line-out has been filtered, so you can connect it to an audio interface and send out a clean signal or listen to it clearly with good headphones.
10watt practice amp
3-band EQ and Overdrive
5-inch custom heavy-duty speaker
Verdict: The Vox Pathfinder is a real jack-of-all trades – with an outstanding 6.5-inch custom speaker and lots of options for creating the perfect tone, it’s really well made and worth every penny. This 10-watt amp’s got 2 channels (clean/overdrive) and a 3-band EQ that all work together to give great sound at an affordable price. It definitely tops the list of amps that are priced under $100.
What Should You Look For in the $100 Amp Market
Most guitarists would invest in an amp that costs less than $100 to use as a perfect practice buddy, whether they’re just starting out or are experienced and have limited space. Most of the models in this price range aren’t built for smaller gigs, but there are exceptions.
What do you need to look for if you’re getting an amp under $100? Of course, it’s not gonna be as good as a more expensive amp, but you can still get some really cool tones for low volumes. Yeah, if you want a new amp in this price range, they’re all solid-state – no tubes in sight! You may get lucky and come across a used one though.
Modern solid-state models come with a number of tone-shaping options, like advanced EQ controls and built-in effects like delay, tremolo and phaser – so you can really customize your sound. The type of tone and versatility you get will depend on the brand you go for. Each one has something unique to offer.
Should I Bother with a Sub-$100 Amp
Yeah, definitely! Spending a grand on a nice amp head and then getting a 4×12 cab just to use it in your bedroom probably isn’t worth it – you won’t make full use of their potential. If you’re a beginner, practice amps are really cost-effective and much more suitable for home usage or low volume gigs. So when it comes to saving your money, these should be your go-to option.
If you’re able to spend a bit more and have ambitions of performing with a band, or doing smaller shows – then it’s worth looking at amps under $200. They come with more power & options and can really make a difference.
It’s awesome that you don’t have to spend a ton to get a good amp nowadays. These amps are all under 100 bucks and provide amazing sound without draining your wallet.
Bottom line – if you’re on the lookout for an affordable amp that’s good at playing rock music, go with the Orange Crush 12. If you’re looking for some heavy metal distortion, definitely check out the Blackstar Fly 3. If it’s a clear sound that you need, the Fender Acoustasonic 15 really can’t be beaten considering its price.
FAQ for Best Cheap Guitar Amps Under $100
Are there any good guitar amps under $100 with built-in effects?
If you’re looking for a good guitar amp that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of options available in the market. With so many models to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. Fortunately, there are some great guitar amps under $100 that come with built-in effects. These amps provide great sound quality and features at an affordable price, making them perfect for beginners or experienced players on a budget.
What’s the difference between solid state and tube amps for guitar?
Guitarists have long debated the merits of solid state versus tube amps for producing their desired sound. Solid state amplifiers use transistors to create the sound, while tube amplifiers use vacuum tubes. While both styles of amp provide a unique tone and feel, there are distinct differences between the two that can make one better suited for certain types of music than the other. Understanding these differences can help guitarists determine which type of amp is best suited to their style and needs.
How do I know if a cheap guitar amp is worth buying?
When it comes to buying a cheap guitar amp, it can be difficult to know if you are making the right choice. It’s important to consider factors such as sound quality, durability, and price. With the right research and knowledge, you can find an amp that will provide great sound at an affordable price.