Whether you’re looking for an amp to use at home or for gigs, whether it's for a classical, electric or bass guitar, choosing one can be stressful. After all, how do you know that the one you’re picking is the best one for your needs? Especially when there are so many to pick from. You don’t want to waste time finding a new one if your first pick turns out to not be the right one for you.
Luckily, this handy guide will break down the best amps to take gigging or for staying at home so whether this is your first amp or your hundredth you’ll know you’ve gone for the right option. You’ll also find a useful FAQ section that answers all your questions and maybe a few you hadn’t thought of.
It’s important to remember that apart from your actual guitar, the amp you choose is probably the most important purchase to make when it comes to your music. If you play the electric guitar than the amp is even more important than usual because without one no one will hear a single note you play.
Don’t worry if acoustic is more your style because there are several options just waiting for you, whatever music you play. Amps come in many shapes and sizes so the right one is out there, and it’s worth making sure you’ve gone for the right one.
The Top 5 Best Guitar Amp
Now let’s get down to business and review some of the best guitar amps. Please know we only considered the highest rated guitar amps for this list:
- Fender Champion 20 Guitar Amp
- Fender Mustang LT-25 Guitar Amp
- Orange Amps, (Crush12) Guitar Amp
- Fender Acoustasonic 40 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
- Fishman PRO-LBT-600 Loudbox Artist Bluetooth 120W
We used consumer reviews and our own research to compile this list. These are unbiased reviews designed to help you pick the best possible guitar amp.
1. Fender Champion 20
Our first amp is the Fender Champion 20 and it’s the perfect amp for someone just starting and looking to practice a lot! It’s small enough to practice with at home by yourself, or at a practice session with bandmates. It’s not going to be the amp to use at a large gig, but it could be used at a small gig like a café or coffee house making it an excellent amp to transition with as your playing improves and you’re more comfortable sharing your music in front of a crowd.
There are plenty of things that make this a great amp but top of the list is its robustness- perfect for a beginner. It comes with built-in effects which make it perfect for experimentation, so you find your unique sound. You can also use headphones with this model if you’re worried about noise, or you can use the auxiliary jack to practice with your favorite songs.
Plenty of built-in effects such as reverb, delay, chorus, and more. All effects are easily accessible by a dial making them easy to find and get to grips with
Perfect for practice sessions
Built-in auxiliary jack compatible with headphones
Small but puts out an amazing sound considering its size
17 different amp models to choose from so most genres are covered
This amp will not be suited for larger gigs, so if you’re looking to take it up a notch than this isn’t the amp for you
- Shape your sound with the EQ section (Bass + Treble) as well as dial in lush effects such as digital reverbs, chorus, vibratone and delay.
- Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
- With a turn of a knob, choose from clean to mean tones from the 17 various amp models that will to accommodate almost any genre of music.
- Store extra cables or other small accessories with the open back cabinet. Voltage: 230 Volts EUR
- Enjoy the peace of mind that this amp is backed by Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty.
2. Fender Mustang LT-25
Another practice amp, the Fender Mustang LT-25 is compact and easy to use, and it has a USB connector which makes it incredibly easy to record your playing on an iPad or computer. This also means you can incorporate the Mustang LT25s sounds into your recordings without having to worry about auxiliary outputs.
It will only capture your playing and not any backing tracks you have coming through the aux, but it’s a small price to pay for the sound you want If you’re a guitarist whose not quite ready to take their playing out of their bedroom than this is the amp for you.
The amp is deceptively small but puts out a sound loud enough to annoy the neighbors if you crank it up, though its auxiliary jack is compatible with headphones if you’re looking to practice quietly and not sacrifice on sound. Its LCD display is easy to use, so all it takes is a glance to check your tuning and to see what you’re doing.
Comes with 30 presets ranging from jazz to punk so there’s almost definitely something to suit you
The sound is amazing, especially considering the model's size
Simple and easy to use- perfect for the beginner
USB makes it easy to record your practice to help improve your playing
Perfect in a domestic setting where size may be an issue
No Bluetooth so no wireless streaming
- 25-watt combo amplifier
- Single 8” Fender Special Design guitar speaker
- Wooden cabinet
- Simple user interface with 1. 8" color display
- Simple user interface with 1. 8" color display
3. Orange Amps, (Crush12)
If you’re looking for an amp for the first time than you might be interested to know that everyone from Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga’s backing band has used these amps. Their sound is known far and wide to be incredible, but if you’re not quite at Zeppelin or Gaga’s level yet then you probably don’t want a 120-watt full-stack.
This amp is the answer. Standing at just over a foot tall, you won’t break your back carting this one around, but the Crush 12 will still deliver a wicked tone while you are still at a level that doesn’t require roadies. The cabinet material is solid, so you don’t have to worry about kicking it over and the amp will withstand years of wear and tear (which will only make it look cooler)
Built to last-this is the amp is built durability in mind, you’ll be able to use it for years without worrying about breakage
Great for beginners but an amp that you’d be able to use if you started gigging as long as you mic’d it up first
Great clean tone with good note definition even with high distortion. The amp’s simplicity makes dialing a tone quick and easy, so if focusing on your music is a priority this is the amp for you
A headphone jack if practicing quietly is an issue
Only analog component on every section, giving you the most authentic tone possible without digital intervention
No auxiliary input, so you won’t be able to play along to songs
4. Fender Acoustasonic 40 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
If the acoustic guitar is more your style than don’t worry there are plenty of options for you, and this is one of the best ones. With 40 watts of power coming from two 6.5” special design speakers with high-frequency whizzer cones, this amp could be used by the bedroom guitarist and for smaller gigs like churches, bars, or restaurants.
There’s plenty of power there making this a great option for someone looking to start gigging without worrying about new equipment.
The inputs will let you plug in guitars or mics, with one of each probably suiting most performers. There’s even a handy carrying strap on the top to help you go from gig to gig without any hassle. There’s also a balanced line out the connection at the back of the amp if you need a bit more power for slightly larger gigs.
Output means the amp can be used for gigs up to the size of a small hall
Clean and organic tone perfect for most acoustic styles
Simple controls make it easy to adjust while playing
Very portable making this the perfect amp to take with you wherever you need
Can be used with a mic and a guitar for an easy performance
If you start playing bigger venues you’ll need something with more juice
- 40 Watt amplifier specifically designed for Acoustic Guitar
- 6" speaker with "Whizzer" cone for added clarity
- Built-in Chorus effect for added shimmer and depth
- Convenient dual front-panel inputs for both microphone and instrument
- 1- year Warranty Included
5. Fishman PRO-LBT-600 Loudbox Artist Bluetooth 120W
Our second acoustic option is the Fishman PRO-LBT-600 Loudbox. This model has a few more bells and whistles than the Fender which makes it a great option for someone who has already got to grips with standard controls. Extremely light, this amp is very portable making it perfect for the open mic circuit, it's loud enough for most venues and easy to maneuver on public transport. There are two channels, one for a mic and one for your guitar again proving the LBT-600 as the amp for the gigging acoustic guitarist.
The amp delivers a clear organic tone that won’t cloud your unique sound. As the amp now comes equipped with Bluetooth wireless connectivity you can easily use a backing track whether you’re performing or practicing. If you have roommates then this probably isn’t an amp you could use all the time at home as there’s no headphone jack. This is a great amp for taking out and about, and the retro look is sure to get you loads of compliments.
Will provide suitable sound for most venues
Easily portable on public transport- particularly useful for the open mic scene
Durable- this amp will keep going for a long time and stand up to a fair amount of wear and tear
Two channels, one for suitable for a mic, for easy performing
A clean sound that’ll accurately reproduce the sound of your instrument
No headphone jack. If you’re looking for a practice amp other models might be better
- Faithfully reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments and a diverse assortment of vocal or recorded accompaniments
- With Bluetooth wireless connectivity, easily and neatly add backing tracks or other accompaniment to your playing
- 120 watts of ultra-clean, bi-amplified acoustic power deliver all the tonal qualities that have made Fishman Loudbox amps a standard for great acoustic sound
- Tone and feedback-fighting controls, a dual-effects section, phantom power, and balanced XLR outputs make the Loudbox Artist a great choice for the active musician
- Use the Foot Switch input to enable remote muting of the input channels or Chorus, Flanger, and Slap Echo effects
It’s important you think clearly about what you want your amp for. If you’re just looking for a practice amp than make sure you’re looking at the features that are suited for home playing. Things like a headphone jack might seem a small thing, but it could be the difference between being able to practice when you want or having to build practice around roommates or neighbors.
If you’re playing gigs you need to consider what sort of venue you’re playing at. Some amps will work better in smaller environments because they’re not powerful enough to be used outside or in a larger venue. If you’re busking, then thinking about where you’re setting up and what sort of noise levels to expect is also something to think about. There’s no right or wrong answer when buying an amp, but making sure its right for you and what you want to play is important, so it worth taking your time and working out what you want.
The best things to judge an amp on is its tone, power, and features. A great amp will take your playing to a new level because it can make even a modest guitar sound amazing. Of course, the reverse is also true, a bad amp can make a great guitar sound awful, which is why considering what you want from an amp is important. If you have roommates or aren’t ready to play outside of your bedroom that anything between 5-20 watts should work. But there are options for everyone. If you’re at college or a kid learning to play or have only got a small amount of space than there are desktop amps the size of a Bluetooth speaker might be more your speed. Shopping around can seem like a waste of time, but you’d be surprised what’s out there.
Do I need a combo amp?
One of the biggest questions that anyone purchasing an amp should be thinking about, is ‘do I need a combo amp or a standalone?’ Don’t panic if you don’t know what they are. The difference is simply that a combo amp also has a speaker in the same cabinet and the standalone doesn’t have a speaker and will need to be connected to an external unit. Most of the time a combo amp is probably the option that will suit most people.
Different sized speakers will have different characteristics, and you should consider their size the same way you need to think about the amp’s power. Size can change the way a speaker puts out bass, for example. So, thinking about what you’re playing and how you want it to sound through the speaker on your amp is an important thing to consider.
The other easily important feature on your amp you might not have even thought about is the controls themselves. You should be able to dial into a tone you like easily, after all, if you can’t dial into a sound you like quickly at home you probably won’t be able to on stage. So, it worth thinking about what you need in terms of control and how quickly you’ll be able to pick them up. Keeping it simple might mean you get better faster.
What is a combo amp?
A combo amp is an amplifier that includes at least one speaker in a single model. An ‘amp head’ is an amplifier that needs at least one ‘external speaker’ to amplify your music. If you’re playing gigs than a combo amp is probably the best option.
How many watts do I need for my guitar amp?
If you’re looking to start gigging but don’t have the room to store another amp then you’re probably looking at a 15 to 40 watt. Expect the speaker to be 8-12 inches which should result in suitable sound for a bar to a small hall without compromising on space. If you’re expecting to stick to your bedroom for a while then you could go slightly lower and upgrade when you’re ready. If you’re playing anything larger than a church for example, then you’ll need something with a bit more power for great sound everyone can hear.
How much is a guitar amp?
A guitar amp can be anywhere from $40 all the way to $5000. There are all sorts of amps and finding the right one for the right price is completely possible.
Can you play an electric guitar without an amp?
No. Well, you can literally play the guitar and you will hear some noise. But you won’t be able to be able to let loose your guitar’s potential without an amplifier. Things like a delay pedal are less important, but an amp is a real must if you're playing for a crowd or anyone for that matter...even yourself. That’s why you have to pick the right one because to play your electric guitar properly until you’ve played with an amp.
Hopefully this guide will have answered your questions on what amp is right for you and give you more of an idea of what you’re looking for. After all the sooner you find the right amp, the sooner you can find your sound!