Top 8 Best Guitar Amplifiers Under $300 – Stepping Into More Serious Waters
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Last Updated: Apr-26-2019
In our most recent revisit to this chart, we removed the Peavey Vypyr VIP 3, which had seen a price increase, and added three new models instead. First was the Sawtooth Tube Series 5W amp, as well as the cool Marshall DSL1HR amp head and the beefy Fender Champion 50XL.
Good guitar amps aren’t cheap – but they’re not ridiculously expensive either, as the models on this page prove! With $300 in your pocket you can now pick up a solid amplifier that will sound great, offer stage-worthy power, and will last you a long time.While we are still quite a way off the quality of amps in the under $1000 category, you’ll still find hefty power that can span into the 100-watt range from both combos and heads, as well as versatile modelling, effects and features that you just don’t see in the lower price brackets. You can also find some pretty good all-tube amplifiers at this price.
If you are in the market for a great amp that offers ample power but still doesn’t break the bank, you’re in the right place. In our chart below, we have highlighted a handful of the best guitar amps under $300. Let’s take a look!
Top 8 Best Guitar Amplifiers Under $300:
|Image||Guitar Amplifier / Rating||Summary||Check Price|
|+ -|| Vox AV15 |
Total of 4.83/5
A rare type of hybrid that brings the valve tone and versatility.
|+ -|| Fender Mustang GT 40 |
Total of 4.82/5
A modern amp with an infinite supply of effects, models and presets.
|+ -|| Orange Amplifiers Crush35RT |
Total of 4.70/5
A modern take on a classic configuration with a killer dirty channel.
|+ -|| Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo |
Total of 4.05/5
A no-frills tube combo offering crunchy, biting saturation.
|+ -|| Marshall Code 50W |
Total of 4.80/5
One of Marshall's most well-rounded modeling combo amps on the market.
|+ -|| Marshall DSL1HR |
Total of 4.75/5
True Marshall tube tone that’s perfect for the home studio.
|+ -|| Bugera G5 5W |
Total of 4.65/5
One of the best balanced all-tube head amps available on the market.
|+ -|| Line 6 Spider V 60 |
Total of 4.85/5
A powerful amp with unrivalled versatility at this price.
|+ -|| Fender Champion 50XL |
Total of 4.77/5
A sleek upgrade on Fender’s stalwart Champion series.
|+ -|| VHT Special 6 |
Total of 4.65/5
Affordable, hand-wired and packing a punch. It's a perfect affordable tube rig.
In the world full of pretty similar digital modeling amps, Vox has decided to spice things up by going fully analog. Their AV15 is a hybrid that brings you the versatility of a modeling amp, all done by using a single tube.
Tone wise, you can expect that classic valve sound in a variety of colors. Thanks to its flexible nature, you can custom tailor the tone so it fits your needs no matter what they are.
The only thing that is digital on the AV15 are its effects, but even they are voiced to sound analog. With 15 Watts of power and a single 8 Inch speaker, you are looking at one rather unusual, but ultimately pretty decent setup.
Fender Mustang GT 40
If you love to experiment with tones and effects, the Mustang GT 40 from Fender is a model well worth considering. This versatile solid-state combo amp offers 21 classic amp models and 46 different stackable effects, along with Wifi connectivity to download an almost infinite supply of artist and user-designed presets.
This is one you could happily spend days experimenting with. The amp itself looks great and is very user friendly, with solid controls and a good LCD screen displaying the presets, effects and options. Under the hood you’ll find two 6.5” Fender-designed speakers offering 40 watts, making it great for smaller gigs.
Make sure to check out more on the Mustang GT40 in the full review.
Orange Amplifiers Crush35RT
Orange Amplifiers Crush 35RT is a perfect example of a solid state amp done right. Instead of trying to cash in on the versatile nature of this technology, Orange pretty much kept it on the low with a conservative selection of features.
However, the tone this cab offers is pretty impressive. They've spiced things up with several significant features, making Crush 35RT relatively unique. Even so, this thing still brings the bread and butter of Orange Amplifiers. In other words, the killer dirty channel.
With 35 Watts of power, there is enough juice for both home use and limited gigging, which only adds to the already decent versatility. While there are no outrageous presets, Crush 35RT packs just enough heat.
Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo
Tube amps are consistently revered in the community for their prized responsiveness and historic appeal. However, the higher-end prices make them unreasonable for a large segment of players. The Sawtooth Tube Series 5-Watt Combo is designed to bring those vintage tones to guitarists on a tighter budget.
This no-frills combo has simple controls for volume and gain along with a three-band EQ. The two speaker output jacks allow you to project your tones from the stock 10” speaker into a larger cabinet if needed.
While the cleans can sound a bit shrill, this amp offers great response and articulation – with some gain, the creamy tube saturation is perfect for overdriven classic and hard rock. For a more in-depth look, check out our full review.
Marshall Code 50W
Marshall's Code 50W hits the market as one of the most well-rounded packages you can find in this price range. With 50 Watts of power available through its single 12 Inch speaker, volume saturation is not going to be a problem even for smaller gigs.
On the other hand, you a true modeling configuration with a multitude of presets to choose from. These include both amps, pre-amps, and cabs. Marshall did a great job at modeling some of their best tubes into this combo, so you also get a portion of that traditional Marshall tone.
Whether you are a beginner looking to 'future-proof' their rig, or a performing musician on a budget, Marshall Code 50W is a great choice.
Lunchbox-sized amps are all the rage these days, and with good reason. They sound great, are very portable, and are easy on the wallet when compared to most full-size tube heads.
With models like the DSL1HR, Marshall has entered this space with a very impressive unit that can certainly compete with other models costing much more. It doesn’t take much effort to dial in close to any iconic Marshall tone that you’ve ever heard, thanks to a simplified control design that’s about as intuitive as it could be.
For the price, the Marshall DSL1HR is highly recommended for guitarists of any level – slide on over to our full review to find out more.
Bugera G5 5W
Bugera has been known to deliver some pretty spicy all-tube designs lately. One of their heads that made quite some noise on the market is the Bugera G5 5W. It’s pretty conservative, packs a decent amount of heat, and is capable of delivering 5 Watts of power.
Bugera did a thorough job with this one, adding all of the features a good tube head should have. It’s a great choice for a stack to use at your home or in a studio, as it comes with power attenuation.
While it’s not exactly the type of head you would want to gig with, G5 might just surprise you given the right circumstances. At this price, it is an absolute favorite.
Line 6 Spider V 60
Line 6’s famous Spider series of amps has enjoyed a recent upgrade in both the visual and feature departments, making the affordable Spider V 60 one of the best amps on this list.
As we highlight in the full review, this amp sports an all-black design with sophisticated new matte black color-coded controls that all feel intuitive and robust. Under the hood you’ll find a single 10” speaker, offering 60 watts of power, making it a great stage partner.
But it’s the sheer amount of amp models and effects on offer that make this solid-state combo amp such a great buy, with huge versatility. The included drum loops, built in tuner and metronome don’t harm its value either!
Fender Champion 50XL
Fender’s Champion series is one of the most popular amp lineups in the budget market, and for good reason. The upgraded 50XL takes the best features of that collection and enhances them with a range of key tweaks.
This amp’s custom 12” Celestion speaker and enlarged cabinet give it a broader, more open sound – this thing moves noticeably more air than traditional Champions, especially for clean tones. The sleek, all-black styling is another distinctive touch.
The two-channel setup also offers incredible flexibility. Unlike other models, this amp includes effects like distortion and compression mixed into the overdriven amp voicings, making it easier than ever to get your perfect sound. Check out our full review of the Fender Champion 50XL for a more in-depth look.
VHT Special 6
VHT is one of the rare companies who offer a full blooded tube amp head in this price range. Their Super 6 brings a great balance of performance, versatility, and power to its users.
Its strongest selling point is by far its tone. However, the fact that it is manually wired and that the circuitry was designed to be modded, adds a lot to its value. Great for home use, this is the type of amp you would want to have in your budget recording setup.
VHT included 4/8/16 Ohm speaker jacks, making it easy to attach this head to a wide variety of speaker cabs out there. Overall, it's an interesting amp that comes at a great price.
Why Buy a $300 Amp?
Buying an amp in this price range is a smart move for several reasons and well worth doing if your budget allows it.
Firstly, and most importantly for some, is the power on offer. Compared to those models in the sub-$200 range, the power increase is huge with some amps crossing into the magical stage-worthy 100-watt mark – some even more powerful than that. This is ample power for sizable performances, while still being reasonable enough to use as practice rigs at home.
While it’s easy to disregard power for a cheaper price, if you have any aspirations of gigging to more than a small roomful of people, an investment in decent power now can save you money in the long run.
Power aside, this range is where you start to see more all-tube combos and heads, which offer a great tone that some guitarists just cannot live without.
This price range also sees an increase in versatility, with some great modeling amps on offer delivering many different classic amp tones in one unit – not to mention greater variation in EQ controls and built-in effects.
Should You Go for Tube or Modeling Amps?
A good question because the answer will result in a completely different tone. As we’ve established, at this price range you can find some very decent tube amps that offer excellent tone. If an organic, warm tone with great responsiveness is your main ask from an amp, then tube is something you should consider.
If you prefer versatility and the ability to go from, say, warm jazz tones to severely distorted djent sounds at the flick of a switch – with no pedals – then a modelling amp will probably benefit you. While solid-state modelling amps lack the natural character tube amps tend to offer, the fun you can have – and the potential for sound shaping – is fantastic.
One thing to keep in mind is that tube amps in this price range are less capable of serving you on stage, while their modeling counterparts are.
The Final Word
There’s plenty to consider at this price range and, even though it’s not a lifechanging amount, $300 is a considerable chunk for many people – so you don’t want to waste your money.
Thankfully, if you use the models on our chart as inspiration, you should end up with a great piece of kit that will last you years of practice and performance. Good luck with your hunt for the perfect amp!