The Top 7 Best Guitar Amps under $200 – A Review and Buyer’s Guide

Updated: February 16, 2021 by Bobbie Hanson

Affordable guitar amplifiers are plenty on the market, so choosing your pick of the best guitar amps under $200 can be difficult. There are so many considerations to take into account before buying an amplifier, and these include but are not limited to, clarity of sound, power, weight, effects, controls, and overall special features.

Different amplifiers suit different players, and naturally, different players have different needs. Guitar players particularly value the power and clarity a good amp can give, but then again lugging one to practice daily can be a chore if your amp is too heavy. You need to find that sweet spot that will make practicing a pleasurable and beneficial experience. In this review, we shall look at all these factors to ensure that you get the best amplifier for you.

Our Top Pick – Fender Champion40

Why We Love It

  • Loud and powerful for its compact size.
  • Intuitive and easy to use.
  • Excellent tonal versatility.
  • Decent inbuilt special effects including reverb and delay.



Best Guitar Amps Under $200 Reviews

Best Overall Amp: Fender Champion40

Fender Champion 40 - 40-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

Fender amps have quite a name on the markets for guitars and all things related. It’s no wonder that their amp stood at the top choice on our review. This model has clean gain volume, channel volume, and voice selection, primary distortion and EQ features, and comes with 40-watt power and a single 12-inch speaker. The Fender champion 40 also has a more massive tone, with lots of versatility built-in.


Key Features

  • 40-watt solid-state amp
  • Controls like Voice and FX to help dial in a sound with ease
  • Clean tonal versatility, from including British and modern voice amp voicing
  • In-built special effects like reverb and delay
  • Auxiliary input to plug in your MP3


What We Like

  • It has a powerful, loud and classic tone for its size
  • Extremely easy to use, especially for beginners
  • Flexible controls enable you to produce a variety of sounds
  • Generous 5-year transferable warranty


What We Don’t Like

  • The open-back design can produce inferior bass sounds



Our Rating: 5/5

Bottom Line: If you’re wondering where to start with guitar amps, you can’t go wrong with the Fender Champion 40. It has everything going for it –powerful sound, flexible controls, excellent compact build, and decent in-built effects; the ultimate plug-n-play guitar amp!



Best Beginner Amp: Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amp

Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier

This 10-amp guitar amp gives adequate power, especially if all you’re doing is practicing alone. It has controls for treble, bass, and volume, and also features an overdrive switch. This map also allows you to hook up your MP3 player quickly, and even silence your practice by plugging in headphones.


Key Features

  • 10-watt solid-state amp
  • 6-inch design speaker
  • Decent controls with gain, over-drive, volume, treble, and bass
  • Headphone out and auxiliary in feature for plugins
  • One channel


What We Like

  • Great sound with a good over-drive and loads of volume
  • Great tonal variety with a vast range of stylistic sounds
  • Compact build
  • Closed-back design for more massive bass sounds


What We Don’t Like

  • It has no reverb


Our Rating: 4.9/5

Bottom Line: A great beginner that offers decent power, tonal variety, and a closed-back design for more massive bass. Although it doesn’t come with reverb, it has the option to plug in speakers for silent practice.



Best Digital Amp: BlackStar ID: Core 10-V2

Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 10 V2 Guitar Amplifier Bundle with Instrument Cable, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth

BlackStar is renowned for its sturdy and affordable amps. This digital stereo amp has 6-voicings, 12-special effects, and 3-volume controls while possessing digital recording ability. The versatility and intuitive controls stand out with this amp.


Key Features

  • 10-watt stereo combo app
  • Blackstar Edition DAW software included
  • Enhanced voice controls with six channels
  • MP3/Line input with Dynamic EQ for more vibrant playback
  • USB audio for pro-recording ability


What We Like

  • High-quality stereo sound
  • Great versatility and simple and variable tonal controls
  • 12 special effects including reverb, delay, and modulation
  • USB-jack for direct digital recording


What We Don’t Like

  • That you must plug into a PC via USB to change the settings


Our Rating: 4.8/5

Bottom Line: This well-built and great-sounding amp goes excellent with electric guitars, and if digital recording is your thing, then this is the right choice for you.



Best Modeling Amp: Fender Mustang I V2

Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt 1x8-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

This modeling amp from Fender is affordable yet gives excellent sound quality. It has 17 amp models with a wide variety of sound and can be customized in both manual and computerized modes. This amp provides decent power at 20 watts and also features an auxiliary input to enable you to plug in your favorite music via MP3.


Key Features

  • 20-watt modeling combo amp
  • Includes one 8-inch speaker
  • 17 amp models
  • Comes with a chromatic tuner
  • USB connectivity with MAC and PC compatible recording software


What We Like

  • Very affordable amp
  • Decent power with excellent sound quality
  • Comes with a vinyl covering and grille cloth
  • Includes a 5-year limited warranty


What We Don’t Like

  • Does not include presets or effects


Our Rating: 4.7/5

Bottom Line: This may be a budget amp, uniquely suited to beginner guitarists, but it comes with that classic Fender sound that’s hard to beat. It has decent power and excellent amp model variety.



Best Tube Amp: California Tone Research Set 5

CALIFORNIA TONE RESEARCH SET5 Single End Tube Guitar Amplifier

This all-tube amp certainly packs a punch with 5 watts that pump out that high volume. It also gives excellent tone, with a built-in EL84 power tube and 12AX7 preamp. It also comes with a single-end tripod design that’s compact and sturdy that offers the purest sound.


Key Features

  • 5-watt all-tube amplifier
  • One 8-inch speaker
  • High-quality fiberglass PCB
  • Durable ceramic tube sockets


What We Like

  • Reliable and well-built amp that’s sure to last
  • Simply built and easy to use
  • Gives the purest tone with excellent volume and break up


What We Don’t Like

  • Can sound congested and ‘boxy.’


Our Rating: 4.8/5

Bottom Line: This well-built and durable amp gives the purest tone and perfect sound suitable for intimate jazz or rock performance or for practicing alone at home. What’s more, you can also upgrade the supplied tubes to your preference with this amp.



Best Easy-To-Use Amp: Orange Crush 20RT Guitar Amp

Orange Amps Electric Guitar Power Amplifier, (Crush20RT)

This amp comes with 20 watts of clean power and two switchable channels, clean and dirty, accessed via a toggle switch. It has a built-in tuner with auxiliary plugins for headphones and your favorite MP3 player. Sturdily built, it produces excellent sound and is easy to use.


Key Features

  • 20-watt solid-state amp
  • One 8-inch speaker
  • Seven control knobs, including volume, 3-band EQ, reverb, and gain
  • Two foot-switchable channels
  • Auxiliary in and headphones out


What We Like

  • Highly responsive over-drive
  • Wide-ranging and variable tones
  • Sturdily built; will certainly last
  • Has an in-built tuner


What We Don’t Like

  • It takes a few minutes to get the sound right, especially the dirty sound



Our Rating: 4.6/5

Bottom Line: Amazingly easy to use, this amp has intuitive controls that won’t frustrate even amateur guitarists. It gives a great sound with a sweet and clean distortion tone.



Best Acoustic Amp: Fender Acoustanic 40

Fender Acoustasonic 40 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

The Fender Acoustanic is specially designed for acoustic guitars, and with Fender’s expertise, they have not disappointed with this model. What sets this model apart is its dual quarter-inch inputs with their controls and volume, which allow you to plug in a microphone and extra instruments.


Key Features

  • 40-watt acoustic combo amp
  • Two 6.5-inch speakers
  • Inputs for both microphone and extra instruments
  • Line out for audio recording or PA monitoring


What We Like

  • Dual inputs to add a microphone and additional guitars
  • Incredible clean tones and reliable sound
  • Reasonably portable for transportation
  • Works with other brand guitars increasing its adaptability


What We Don’t Like

  • The limited 1-year warranty


Our Rating: 4.8/5

Bottom Line: This is a great multi-purpose acoustic amp that is powerful, light, and reasonably portable. It has incredible tone, warm sounds, and adapts to any brand of guitar, not just Fender guitars.



Buyer’s Guide – Guitar Amps Under $200

Before investing in the best guitar amps under $200, there are several factors that you must consider to ensure you pick the right amp for you. You can’t merely look at how loud it will be when tuned up, you must also consider controls, speaker size, and durability, amongst many other features.

In this guide, we take a look at all these features and break it down for you, to enable you to match your practice needs and make a value purchase. We’ve also written a roundup post of all the best guitar learning software for newbies.


Key Guitar Amp Features


A guitar amp’s power is illustrated in its wattage. The higher the wattage, the bigger the power, which generally means the volume at which your amp can play at without the sound seeming overly distorted. Most amplifiers under $200 exhibit a power of up to 20 watts, although popular acoustic models like Fender can produce up to 40 watts of power.

It all depends on your practice needs. If all you’re doing is practicing at home, anything in the 10-20 watt range will do nicely. If you want an amp that’ll serve you well at amateur band practice, then you’ll need an amp with over 20 watts power in order for your instrument to be heard over the band ensemble. Professional guitar players though, typically require between 50 – 100 watts of power for the ultimate stage sound.



Guitar amps get their tone from the speaker. They range from 2-inches to 15-inches in size, which matters when you’re looking for a quality amp.

Speakers for guitar amps in this price range, tend to be smaller, around 8 inches. Most affordable amplifiers come with a single speaker, but again some acoustic models like Fender are constructed with two smaller 6.5-inch speakers. If you wish to record songs, you’ll need at least a 12-inch speaker to get the required tone.



Amplifiers vary in construction and type. The most common type of amplifiers in this price range is a solid-state amplifier, which has a clean sound with distortion modes. Guitarists widely use them because they are reliable and affordable.

Tube amplifiers are known for their warm tones and natural-sounding distortion. They put out more volume and sound per watt than solid-state amps, and will eventually cost you more, as they need to be replaced after a while.

The other type of amp is the modeling amp. These amps use computers to replicate the warm tones of tube amps and are typically programmable with different sound models.


Special Effects

A great many effects and extra features can be built into an amplifier, and their quality varies greatly. If you’re looking for a natural bass sound look for an amp with spring reverbs. On the other hand, effect loops allow you to avoid unwanted amplification by enabling you to add rack units or stompboxes.

Gain is another significant special effect that allows the amp to increase the power of amplitude of a signal. Channel switching will enable you to switch from a clean to a distorted sound quickly. These effects usually come built into the amp, which consequently ups the price. But if you want a higher range of effects, you may need to invest in a separate effects pedal to truly unlock your creative style.



A basic amplifier comes with volume control as standard. More advanced features like treble, bass, reverb, and drive will be found in amps with more advanced built-in controls. These determine the levels of play creativity you can ascend to, and govern certain limiting factors. For instance, you cannot create distortion without drive. Amps in the $200 range will not have all the controls, but they do come with enough to allow you to play flexibly.



Key Buying Considerations


You’ll want to buy an amp that’s well constructed and durable, to save money in the long run. The thinner the amplifier, the more prone it is to damage, necessitating frequent replacement. Thinner amps also create more distortion when playing, a key point to bear in mind.

Backing on your amplifier also protects it further from damage, and crucially produces a better bass sound than amps with open backing.



From a practical point of view, weight is an important consideration to save you from the inconvenience of lugging about a large amp. If you are moving around a lot, there are several portable amps on the market with decent power. That’ll make the experience of transporting your amp from one practice venue to the other that much easier.



An amplifier is a significant investment, so naturally, the warranty you get with it matters. Most manufacturers offer warranties that protect your amp against defects, but these can vary widely, typically from 2 – 5 years. Look out for the warranty period when purchasing your amplifier.


Final Thoughts

Guitar amps are plenty on the market, and we are confident that armed with the information in this review, you’ll be able to make the correct choice. For the best guitar amps under $200, look for power first and foremost. Secondly look for an amp that has a good range of tone, which can always be supplemented with the right foot pedal.

The Fender Champion40 exhibits these basic features perfectly and more. It’s got good power, the right tone, decent distortion, and EQ features that are easy to use and great for individuals and beginner bands to use. It’s also compactly built, so easy to move around should you need to. Fender is an excellent brand, which further adds confidence to this top choice that we’re sure guitarists will enjoy.

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