10 Best Guitar Amps Under $500

Best Guitar Amps Under $500

Finding an amp that delivers outstanding performance without breaking the bank can seem impossible. Yet, there’s no need to fret because many well-known brands can offer you just that; you only have to do some digging!

To save you the hassle of browsing the web for hours, let me share the 10 best guitar amps under $500.

The best guitar amps under $500 include the Fender Mustang LT-25, Orange Crush 35RT, and Boss Katana-50 MkII. You may also like the Yamaha THR10II, Marshall CODE 50, or Roland Cube Street EX.

So, let’s dive into each amp’s coolest features, pros and cons, and what makes them special. I’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you choose the most suitable guitar amp.

The Best Guitar Amps Under $500 

Fender Mustang LT-25 – Best Budget Option

Fender Mustang LT25
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07/19/2024 05:25 am GMT


  • Wattage: 25 watts
  • Speakers: 1 x 8″ Fender® Special Design
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ instrument jack
  • Weight: 12.75 lbs

Product Summary

Available with a stylish wooden cabin and multiple controls to up your guitar-playing game, the Mustang LT-25 can be perfect if you’re looking to buy an amp for the first time.

Features and Benefits

Fender’s Mustang LT-25 has 20 amp models, 50 presets, and 25 effects to experiment with different sounds. You can use it to reproduce your favorite vintage tones as well as many other sounds without the need for pedals.

Think along the lines of Pink Floyd, Slipknot, and similar vibes!

Plus, the onboard effects allow you to explore new regions of your music to make each recording unique. Everything from distortion, reverb, overdrive, and delay to octave effects will be within your reach using a few knob turns.

Back when I was a newbie guitarist, I would’ve appreciated this amp’s chromatic tuner, which could save you hours of tuning. Use it with the stereo headphone output to get your guitar ready before showtime!

You can also benefit from USB connectivity (perfect for working with DAWs), an intuitive interface, and the high-quality Fender Special Design speaker.

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

The Fender Mustang LT-25 delivers amazing sound quality and gives you a nice degree of control for a guitar under $500. 

In addition, it’s backed by Fender’s years of experience manufacturing guitars and amplifiers.

Who This Amp Is Good for

Novices will love this amp because it gives you so much versatility without spending a fortune. 

It’s also a good option for guitar learners, casual players, and those looking for a budget-friendly amp that they intend to replace with a high-end one once they master playing.

However, it may not be suitable for experienced guitarists with established bands or live performances.


  • User-friendly interface with 1.8″ color display
  • Works seamlessly with the Fender Tone Desktop App
  • Produces a clean sound even at high volumes


  • Doesn’t sound good with metal
  • The Fender customer support could be better

Orange Crush 35RT – Best for Classic Rock

Orange Crush 35RT
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07/19/2024 05:25 am GMT


  • Wattage: 35 watts
  • Speakers: Custom 10″ Voice of the World
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/8″
  • Weight: 25 lbs

Product Summary

There’s not a better amp that replicates the sounds of the 60s, 70s, and 80s than Orange’s all-analog Orange Crush 35RT.

Features and Benefits

The Crush 35RT is a solid-state amp that’s almost double the price of the Mustang LT-25, but you’ll soon understand why I think this is justified.

First, its sound quality is impressive judging by how well it accepts gain without facing much trouble with decay. You’ll also notice that it plays dirt almost as fantastically as it does clean, if not better!

Its clean channel is decent-sounding and articulate, with a separate knob from its dirt channel to offer you maximum control. You can even tinker with both knobs to reach that seamless blend between the two effects.

Second of all, the 10” Voice of the World speaker is exceptionally loud, and you can even make it work for home settings as well as small venues.

Third, I couldn’t help but admire the built-in effects on this amp, such as the digital reverb and tuner. They let you venture into classic rock territory without breaking a sweat!

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I admire how this amp focuses on a certain area instead of giving its users a bunch of normal features that any other low-quality amp can deliver.

In all fairness, the Crush 35RT has the best dirt out of all the other picks on this list!

Who This Amp Is Good for

This amp should be your go-to option if you want to experiment with analog amps and the dirt-style sound they excel at.

On the other hand, you may not like it if you want more versatility in terms of sound effects or musical genres or if you need a compact amp just for practice.


  • Comes in eye-catching, classic orange or elegant black
  • Has a fully buffered effects loop
  • Available with a headphone output for silent playing


  • Doesn’t feature a USB port

Boss Katana-50 MkII – Best Versatility

Boss Katana-50 MkII
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07/19/2024 05:25 am GMT


  • Wattage: 50 watts
  • Speakers: 1 x 12″ speaker
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ instrument, 1 x 1/4″ stereo footswitch, 1 x 1/8″ aux, 1 x 1/4″ power amp
  • Weight: 25 lbs 10 oz

Product Summary

For a fresh modern-classic vibe, the Boss Katana-50 MkII gives you more versatility for a guitar amp under $500.

Features and Benefits

I don’t know where to start with this guy, but let me tell you that it comes with five roaring categories of onboard effects that are bound to suit your musical style. You’ll feel like there’s a pedalboard in your amp!

These effects are Delay, FX, Independent Booster, Mod, and Reverb—each available with three factory-set variations for hours of experimenting. Better yet, if you connect to BOSS Tone Studio, you can up your modification game further.

I also fell in love with the five amp characters that range from Brown, Lead, and Crunch all the way to Clear and Acoustic. You can play with those and the effects simultaneously to reach a sweet spot that’s uniquely yours!

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I was hoping to find a guitar amp that appealed to the majority of guitarists by featuring numerous controls and plenty of room for customization. 

Better still, this amp doesn’t compromise on the sound quality and a loud volume, which makes it an incredible all-rounder.

It arguably has the best level of control out of all amps in this guide.

Who This Amp Is Good for

This amp works best for people who want plenty of amplification options and effects at their fingertips, namely guitarists with years of experience aiming to reach certain sounds.

However, beginners will likely find it difficult to use and control.


  • Works with various sorts of external gear
  • Allows you to save four amp/effect settings for later use
  • Features the Tube Logic technology, which promises genuine tube amp distorted sounds
  • Includes USB and phone outputs


  • Takes a while until you can set it up to your liking

Blackstar ID:Core 40 V3 – Best for Home Studios

Blackstar ID:Core V3 Stereo 40
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  • Wattage: 40 watts
  • Speakers: 2 x Blackstar 6.5″
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ instrument, 1 x 1/4″ footswitch
  • Weight: 17.01 lbs

Product Summary

Bringing innovation, cool connectivity features, and a clean sound to your home studio, the Blackstar ID:Core 40 V3 is the ultimate amp for both pros and beginners.

Features and Benefits

This amp packs a lot of power in a comparatively small frame, which only makes sense because it’s backed up by the same technology that Blackstar uses for its professional amp lines.

It gives you everything you’d expect from a reliable amp—user-friendly controls, different sound effects, and six voices ranging from clean to crunch and so much in between!

Yet, the ID:Core 40 V3 shines best in the connectivity area, as it lets you connect to your smartphone for streaming. It also supports USB connectivity so that you can take your music-playing experience to your laptop, which allows so much room for refining.

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I like how this guitar amp has several useful features in one place, and its connectivity options can help you put together a home studio quite easily!

Plus, the ID:Core 40 V3 excels in terms of innovation. It offers a seamless out-of-the-box experience with amazing programmability.

Who This Amp Is Good for

The amp is suitable for entry-level guitarists hoping for a straightforward interface and a more refined sound than what they’d get from a basic amp.

While many pros like it, the majority of them will probably prefer cleaner sound effects.


  • Allows more room for editing and tone management using the Architect software
  • Comes with a TRRS cable and built-in USB
  • Super Wide Stereo sound is just right for a home studio setting


  • The sound effects can be muffled

Vox Valvetronix VT20X – Best Vintage Tones

VOX Valvetronix VT20X
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07/19/2024 05:25 am GMT


  • Wattage: 20 watts RMS
  • Speakers: 1 x 8″ Standard Speaker
  • Inputs: 1 x instrument input, 1 x aux, 1 x footswitch
  • Weight: 16.09 lbs

Product Summary

With its box-style, briefcase-like appearance, authentic analog circuitry, and compact size, the Valvetronix VT20X screams vintage from the first time you play it!

Features and Benefits

Do you want to add a vacuum tube amp to your growing collection of guitar amps? Well, the Valvetronix VT20X allows you to reach those classic tones to go back to the golden days.

The amp also features Virtual Element Technology, which focuses on delivering accurate amplifier sounds. 

Plus, just because it has analog circuitry doesn’t mean it doesn’t work with modern technology. With this amp, you get a USB port to take your music to your Apple or Android device or your PC to use VOX Tone Room.

With this software, I can only imagine the huge editing power you’ll have over your recordings since you get access to more sound effects and presets.

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

While its built-in features are enough to compel me to buy this amplifier, I like how it perfectly mixes in the raw, vintage look and sound with futuristic options.

Who This Amp Is Good for

Hardcore audiophiles who are all about the desire to replicate genuine vintage vibes are the best candidates for this amp.

Alternatively, I don’t think it fares well as an entry-level guitar amp, as it’ll require some degree of customization skill to bring out the best in it.


  • 11 built-in amp models, 33 preset programs, and 13 effects
  • Great for at-home practice, band rehearsals, or jamming with friends
  • Very lightweight, making transportation easy
  • Decent out-of-the-box sound quality for occasional guitar players


  • Too small for gigs
  • No official Vox support in the U.S.

Yamaha THR10II – Best Portability

Yamaha THR10II Desktop Amp
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  • Wattage: 20 watt
  • Speakers: 2 x 3″ speaker
  • Inputs: 1 x normal input, 1 x aux
  • Weight: 6.61 lbs

Product Summary

With a compact footprint that’s perfect for desktop placement and the lightest weight for an amp on this list, the Yamaha THR10II offers you all amplifier essentials while doubling as a Bluetooth speaker!

Features and Benefits

When I first gave this amplifier a shot, I was surprised at the numerous things I could do with it despite its portability-friendly design. 

My delight started with this amp’s wide stereo ambiance, which will immediately take you back a few decades to how boomboxes in the 70s sounded like. With integrated tube-amp tones and up to 15 guitar amp controls, this Yamaha beauty is capable of delivering some of the best jazz, blues, and rock tones I’ve heard at this price range.

Plus, you get three bass amps and three mic models for when you need to take the acoustic-electric route. It also allows you to playback audio via Bluetooth connectivity and use the USB port for recording. Talk about versatility!

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

Weighing only a little over six pounds, this amplifier is a breeze to pick up from the handle on the top and take anywhere. 

This level of portability allows you to switch rehearsals from your place to your friends’ home studios without having to haul heavy equipment.

Who This Amp Is Good for

This amp is good for people who are always working on new music projects in various places. If you’re always on the move, the transportation of this amp should be the least of your concerns.

It’s also a great option if you live in a small apartment and don’t have much space for a complete setup.

However, it may not be a suitable choice for those looking for a reliable amp for live gigs.


  • Incredible versatility compared to the mini size
  • Sounds impressive at low volumes
  • Amazing clean and distorted tones, giving you a lot to play with


  • The high gain setting has a digital feel to it
  • The bass and acoustic settings aren’t as good as guitar tones

Line 6 Spider V 30 MkII – Best for Metal

Line 6 Spider V 30 MKII
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07/19/2024 05:26 am GMT


  • Wattage: 30 watt
  • Speakers: 1 x 8″ custom full-range & tweeter
  • Inputs: 1 x instrument, 1 x headphone, 1 x aux
  • Weight: 18.08 lbs

Product Summary

Looking for a solid amp that’ll help you find that accurate balance of high gain and bass, mid-low mids, and mid-high treble?

The Spider V is ready to go wild all night with controls that let you achieve that sweet spot for heavy metal!

Features and Benefits

This amp sounds as great if you plug and play it as when you take some time to really get familiar with its settings to achieve your desired tones. This makes it an amazing choice for practice.

It features more than 200 amplifier settings, speaker cabinets, and effects. You get a juicy collection of song presets by several artists, including Bill Kelliher, Josh Smith, Dustin Kensrue, Jeff Loomis, and more!

You can adjust the speaker to Classic Mode, giving you the natural, organic feel that many metal guitar players aim for. Or, you may switch to the full-range mode if you want to play your acoustic guitar or jam with playback audio.

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I admire this amplifier’s clear tones and the impressive collection of sounds you can experiment with at such a budget-friendly price.

With the numerous effects you can tinker with, it helps you produce metal tones much quicker and more accurately than other options on this list!

Who This Amp Is Good for

This amp can be ideal if you want something to help you effectively practice metal music at home—think Iron Maiden’s 2 Minutes to Midnight or Hallowed be thy Name.

It’s also a wonderful choice for rehearsals with friends, preparing you for other higher-end amps, especially those expensive vacuum tube ones!

Unfortunately, it’s not fit for people who need amps for gigging.


  • Comes with built-in drum loops, a metronome, and a tuner
  • Stylish and compact design
  • You can transform it into a recording hub using the downloadable free Cubase software and Asio driver


  • The Spider app hasn’t been updated for a while

 Marshall CODE 50 – Best for Live Gigs

Marshall Code 50
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07/19/2024 05:31 am GMT


  • Wattage: 50 watt
  • Speakers: 1 x 12″ custom speaker
  • Inputs: 1 instrument input, 1 stereo aux input
  • Weight: 29 lbs

Product Summary

In your search for a powerful beast to keep up with your heavy-duty use for live performances, you must take a look at the Marshall CODE 50. Weighing almost 30 pounds and packed with premium features, it’s worth hauling to each one of your gigs!

Features and Benefits

The CODE 50 has many controls, making it one of the best professional-grade guitar amps under $500. 

I was thrilled at the wealth of effects that it has to offer to elevate my playing experience on the stage. It comes with 24 effects, some of my favorites being the Compressor, Auto Wah, Chorus, Tremolo, Delay, and Reverb.

Plus, you’re bound to be fascinated by the existence of 14 MST preamps, eight MST speaker cabinets, and four MST power amps.

Once you put all these options to work and add your personal touch, you’d be surprised at the sound richness that uniquely blends Marshall’s trademark classic and contemporary tones!

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I’m a big fan of how CODE 50 provides a tasty combo of pre-amp/amp/cabinet without breaking the bank.

Compared to other amps on the list, it gives you more power and volume without skimping on mind-blowing effects, which is a recipe for success when playing live.

Who This Amp Is Good for

This amplifier should work beautifully for those who want a versatile pick for live gigs with plenty of connectivity and editing options.

On the other hand, it may not be a good fit if you want a genuinely vintage product.


  • More controls using the Marshall Gateway app on iOS or Android devices
  • 100 tweakable presets
  • MyMarshall features a global library where users share their presets for you to try out
  • Creates a satisfying mix of simple and groovy


  • Only good for small or medium-sized venues

Roland Cube Street EX – Best for Busking

Best for Busking
Roland CUBE Street EX
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07/19/2024 05:26 am GMT


  • Wattage: 2.5 watt + 2.5 watt
  • Speakers: 2 x 8” woofer, 2 x 2” tweeter
  • Inputs: 1 instrument input, 1 stereo aux input, 1 mic input, 1 line input, 1 audio input
  • Weight: 16 lbs 6 oz

Product Summary

As a street performer, you’ll need an amp that’s lightweight, produces desirable tones, and is equipped with a long-lasting battery. Roland’s Cube Street EX may be just the one!

Features and Benefits

To stop passersby in their tracks in the subway or on the sidewalk, you must have all the amp controls that allow you to do that by turning a few knobs. Well, that’s what you get with Cube Street EX!

You have all the basics—volume control, equalizer, delay, reverb, and gain to recreate the same tones you’ve practiced for hours at home. 

Plus, the amplifier’s high-performance dual woofers and tweeters speakers ensure your song reaches a wider radius. Get ready to hear the applause from everywhere around you!

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

I admire how this portable amp gives you everything you need for busking for under $500. 

Along with the small footprint, you get a durable carrying case, batteries that can last for 16 hours of continuous use, and an admirable sound that’s just right for a busy street.

Who This Amp Is Good for

Out of the other options on my list, this one is the most street-performer-friendly!

You can also give it a shot if you’re always traveling for rehearsals or taking guitar lessons far from home.

Naturally, it won’t be good enough for professional settings because it lacks the level of accuracy and customization necessary for such scenarios.


  • Available with i-CUBE LINK and CUBE JAM that let you connect your iPhone or iPad to the amplifier
  • Simultaneous multi-channel use thanks to the guitar/mic inputs
  • Amazing guitar sounds and effects using COSM tones, Acoustic Simulator, and more


  • No Bluetooth or USB connectivity

 Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 – Best for Multi-Instrumentalists

Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 Guitar Modeling Amp
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07/19/2024 04:51 am GMT


  • Wattage: 20 watt
  • Speakers: 1 x 8″ custom-voiced speaker
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ (guitar/bass/acoustic), 1 x 1/8″ (aux in)
  • Weight: 17.5 lbs

Product Summary

You don’t need a separate amplifier for your guitar, bass, and acoustic guitar; the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 lets you bring out the best in each one of your instruments all in one nifty device!

Features and Benefits

You won’t believe that this somewhat small amp delivers an impressive punch and satisfyingly deep bass sounds at loud volume levels. 

After spending several hours tinkering with its controls and switching between my instruments, I was surprised at how the Vypyr captured each type of guitar’s sound profile accurately!

However, while it gets definitely loud, its sound quality tends to diminish as you go higher than 30% of the volume. But again, it’s only what you’d expect at this price, which is still pretty decent.

With a three-band equalizer, USB and headphone connectivity, and the 30-second Looper with Sanpera, I highly recommend the Vypyr for home studios and practice.

Why I Chose This Amp and What Makes It Unique

The Vypyr shines in terms of versatility as well as portability. 

This amplifier offers a convenient middle ground for a multi-instrumentalist who can’t afford three amps for each type of guitar they own.

Who This Amp Is Good for

People who need to practice guitar at home or jam in a friend’s garage can benefit greatly from this multi-use amplifier.

On the contrary, I think a more expensive amp with higher quality and premium features would be more suitable for live gigs.


  • Offers you 12 Stompbox effects, five of which you can use at the same time
  • Comes with 26 guitar amps, six acoustic amps, and six bass amps
  • Lightweight and compact profile to easily place in your car
  • Amazing value for the price


  • You’ll need some time to figure out how to get to some presets

How to Choose the Best Guitar Amp Under $500 (Buyer’s Guide)

Now with ten awesome guitar amps to pick from, you need to keep a few factors in mind to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

Types of Guitar Amp

Settling on a guitar amp type is the first step to capture the exact sounds you have in mind because the inner workings and circuitry are the major determiners of what your guitar will sound like.

Tube Amps

Vacuum tube amps are your go-to option if you want your performance to be more dynamic, expressive, and natural. They give you maximum control so that you can achieve that distorted sound that makes you go all goosebump-y!

However, working with tube amps requires plenty of experience. Not only are they sensitive and more expensive than solid-state and digital amps, but they also need you to have some setup knowledge to reach that sweet spot.

Solid-State Amps

A solid-state amplifier will be your best friend if you’re still learning the basics. It mainly produces clean sounds that don’t come out as genuine as tube amps, but they’ll do the trick in helping you master guitar playing.

They’re also much more user-friendly and straightforward to control thanks to their simple interfaces. Jazz and rock guitar players usually favor solid-state amps over tube amplifiers.

Modeling/Digital Amps

Lastly, modeling or digital amps are those equipped with modern features to let you replicate vintage or signature amplifier sounds. 

Instead of spending a fortune to get the unique tone of a Fender and another hefty sum of money to obtain a Vox, you’ll only need to invest in a good modeling amp to reproduce the sounds of these two plus many more!

Digital amps also work seamlessly with DAWs and computer editing software, giving you plenty of tweaking capabilities from the comfort of your bedroom or home studio. 

While they’ll never replace the original sounds of traditional amps, they do a great job of giving startup musicians and amateurs access to industry-grade controls at a reasonable price.

Factors to Consider

Next, think about factors like budget, purpose, music style, and more to make your choice easier.


Start by determining your budget, and remember that the more you spend on an amplifier, the better its quality. 

Of course, many other variables come into play to dictate the quality of an amplifier, but a higher price almost always means top-tier physical components, good workmanship, and additional features.

To get a decent guitar amplifier, a suitable range for beginners is around $160-$500. Professionals and touring guitarists will need to go higher, say $1,000-$2,000 or even $3,000 if you’re ready to purchase an amp from a famous brand.

Read: How Much Does a Guitar Amp Cost?: Full Guitar Amp Price Guide


After setting your budget, consider what you’ll be using an amplifier for. As you’ve noticed from my list, some amps are only fit for home practice, as they won’t have enough punch or power for a full-on live performance.

Also, travel amps tend to be lightweight and compact, while those for recording at the studio include more premium features and controls.

Music Genre and Style

Do extensive research on your music genre and the amp tones you hope to match.

This will help you understand the effects and features to look for in an amplifier to give you the exact sounds you’re aiming for.

Power and Wattage

Don’t forget to think about the amp’s wattage, as it’ll influence the amount of power you’ll get out of it. Also, if you’ll be using an external speaker, make sure that the amp’s wattage matches its own.

It’ll also affect the volume, which you should determine based on the available headroom. For instance, you won’t require much power for home practice, but you can’t say the same for live gigs.

In addition, think about the size of the venue and the audience you’ll be playing for.

Speaker Size and Configuration

Next, the speaker size and configuration have a significant impact on tone. That’s why you need to consider combo amps vs. separate head and cabinet.

Combo amps are more convenient, while separate units give you more control over the sound output.

Additional Features

Lastly, consider the following features when shopping for a guitar amp, as they can take your experience to a whole new level!

  • Built-in effects
  • Looping and recording
  • Connectivity options (USB, remote software, Bluetooth, etc.)


What brand of guitar amplifier is the best?

While the answer is surely subjective, the majority of professional guitar players will agree that the best guitar amp brands are:

  • Fender
  • Vox
  • Orange
  • Blackstar
  • Victory
  • Marshall
  • Laney

What’s a good price for a guitar amp for recording or gigging?

Mid-range amps can be a decent choice for your recording demands or small gigs.

Anything from $300 to $500 should work out for these settings.

Can I play electric guitar without an amp?

Well, you definitely can, but it’ll be much quieter, not to mention that it’ll only be fit for practicing at home. 

Even if you’re a complete guitar newbie, I recommend you buy an affordable amp because it’ll allow you to experiment with different effects and controls.


The world of guitar amps is a crazily huge one, so I hope my article was a beam of light in the dark, guiding you to the correct path. After reading my reviews of the best guitar amps under $500 and the accompanying buying guide, you should be several steps closer to finding the perfect match!

You can’t go wrong with a Fender, and that’s why the Mustang LT-25 is my top pick, offering you fantastic value for the price. The Orange Crush 35RT is a close second with its vintage appearance and classic roots.

With all of this in mind, are you ready to finally purchase your guitar amp?

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