If you’re interested in learning to play the electric or electro-acoustic guitar, or want to upgrade your current rig, then you’re probably wondering how much you need to spend in order to get a good amplifier. In this article, I’ll go through the average price of guitar amps, why some cost more than others, and help you decide what price bracket you should be looking at.
The Quick Answer
Guitar amplifiers usually cost between $50-200 for beginners, and can cost several thousands for professionals. Tube amps usually cost between $500-3000, whilst good quality solid state amps cost between $100-1000. High wattage amps (over 75W) often cost over $500.
I’ve split this article down into the main amp types: combo and stack. For beginners, a combo amp is best, but intermediate and advanced players may be interested in both. Combo amps are the most popular option and have an all-in-one design. Combo amps are usually cheaper to purchase, whilst stack amps give you more flexibility to pair different choices of cabinet and head units together to get different sounds. Stack amps are made up of two components: head unit (processes the sound) and the cabinet (speaker).
Here’s an image to show the difference.
Combo Amp Prices and Features Compared
Combo amps do what they say on the tin, and combine the technical part of the amp that processes the sound, and the speaker unit into one “combo” amp. Combo amps are popular with beginners but can also be used in professional settings as they are easier to transport than stack amplifiers.
I’ve compared the prices and specifications of over 30 popular amps that cater for beginners, intermediate players and professionals in the tables below so you can see what you get for your money at the different price points.
Starter Electric Guitar Amps
Beginner guitar amps usually cost between $40-200. Low wattage amps produced by lesser-known brands typically will cost under $100. For well-known brands, or wattage in the 15-30W range, amps will usually cost between $100-200. All amps in this price range will very likely be solid-state models.
|Rogue G10||$40||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Rogue V15G||$65||15W||Solid State||Combo|
|Fender Frontman 10G 10W||$80||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Orange Crush12||$100||12W||Solid State||Combo|
|Marshall MG10G||$100||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Peavey Backstage 10W||$100||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Marshall MG15||$120||15W||Solid State||Combo|
|Fender Champion 20||$130||20W||Solid State||Combo|
|Blackstar ID: Core 10||$130||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Line 6 Spider V 20||$150||20W||Solid State||Combo|
|Roland CUBE-10GX||$150||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Orange Crush 20RT||$190||10W||Solid State||Combo|
|Blackstar ID: Core 40||$200||40W||Solid State||Combo|
Mid-Range Combo Amps
Mid-range combo amps in the $250 to $750 price range usually will either be solid-state amps with at least 30W, or tube amps with low wattage. If you are looking for a high wattage tube amp, then you may need to spend more than this.
|Fender Mustang 50XL||$250||50W||Solid State||Combo|
|Laney LX35R||$290||35W||Solid State||Combo|
|Peavey Vypyr X3 100W||$350||100W||Solid State||Combo|
|Line 6 Spider Jam 75W||$400||75W||Solid State||Combo|
|Orange Crush Pro CR60C||$500||60W||Solid State||Combo|
|Fender Blues Junior 20W||$600||20W||Tube||Combo|
High-End Combo Amps
High-end combo amplifiers aimed at professionals usually cost around $1000-2000. Amps in this price range will either be exclusively tube (valve) amps, or have very high wattage for gigging. Professional amplifiers from well-known brands can upwards $3000.
|Orange Rocker 15||$800||15W||Tube||Combo|
|Roland Blues Cube Artist||$980||80W||Solid State||Combo|
|Fender Bassbreaker 45W||$1000||45W||Tube||Combo|
|Fender 68 Custom Pro Reverb||$1300||40W||Tube||Combo|
Stack Amp Prices and Features Compared
Stack amps are made up of two pieces of equipment: the head, and the cabinet. The head-unit processes the sound of the guitar but does not produce the sound on its own. You also need a cabinet (also known as a speaker) which allows the sound to be heard at volume. Stacks amps are popular amongst professionals because it allows you to use different combinations of speakers for different venues.
Stack amplifiers usually cost more than combo amps because they include separate head and cabinet unit. Head units start at around $200 and cabinets start at around $100, making the combined entry-level cost of stack amplifiers at least $300. However, it can cost several thousands for high-end amps.
I’ve compared some of the most popular guitar amp heads and cabinets in terms of their prices and specifications in the table below so you can see the differences as the prices increase.
Guitar Amplifier Heads
|Boss Katana KTN||$350||100W||Solid State||Head|
|Orange Crush Pro CR120H||$450||120W||Solid State||Head|
|Randall RX120RH||$550||120W||Solid State||Head|
Guitar Amplifier Cabinets (Speakers)
|Blackstar Super Fly Act||$120||12W||Cabinet|
|Marshall CODE 412||$300||200W||Cabinet|
|Orange PPC21OB 2×12||$600||120W||Cabinet|
|Marshall JMVC212 2X12||$900||150W||Cabinet|
Mini, or micro, guitar amps are often used for bedroom practice, or when you’re on the go. They often have very low-wattage so are much quieter than standard amplifiers. Here are some of the most popular mini guitar amps, their price and wattage compared.
Mini guitar amps usually cost between $40-150. The price is dictated primarily by the wattage, however is also affected by the brand and model of amp it is based on. Miniature versions of very well-known amplifiers will typically cost slightly more.
Mini Guitar Amps
|Fender Mini Deluxe||$38||1W|
|Fender Mini ’65 Twin||$50||1W|
|Marshall Micro Stack||$55||1W|
|Orange Crush Mini||$70||3W|
|Blackstar Fly Mini||$70||3W|
|Boss KTN-MINI Katana||$100||7W|
|Roland Micro Cube GX||$165||3W|
Acoustic Amp Cost
As a general rule, acoustic amps cost between $100-500 for a combo setup. Acoustic guitar amplifiers cost upwards of $80 for an entry-level amp aimed at beginners. Some combo amps designed specifically for acoustic-electric guitars can cost up to $3000.
Here is a table to show what specifications you can expect to get for your money if you are looking for a combo acoustic amp.
|Fender Acoustasonic 15||$100||15W|
|Fender Acoustasonic 40||$200||40W|
|Orange Crush Acoustic 30||$400||30W|
|Blackstar Sonnet 120||$580||120W|
|Fishman Loudbox Performer||$850||180W|
What Affects the Cost of a Guitar Amp?
The main factors that affect the cost of a guitar amp are: wattage, technology, brand, the number of effects included, and whether it is a combo or stack type amp. Tube (valve) amps with high wattage are the most expensive, whilst solid-state amps are often much cheaper for high power models.
- Tube (valve) vs Solid State: solid-state amps are cheaper and use electronic transistors to amplify the sound. Tube amps use vacuum tubes (valves) instead. Tube amps are usually more expensive
- Wattage: the louder the amp, the most expensive it usually is.
- Combo vs Stack: combo amps typically work out cheaper than stack amplifiers as you only need to purchase one piece of equipment, but with stack amps you’ll need both a head unit and cabinet.
- Effects: usually, the more built-in effects e.g. reverb, chorus, delay, tremolo etc., the more expensive the amp will be.
- Brand: lesser-known brands may produce amps of a similar specification to popular brands for much cheaper.
How Much Should I Spend on a Guitar Amp?
If you are a complete beginner, spending around $100-150 on a guitar amp will get you a good model to practice with. If you are looking to use your amp for gigging or recording, you will likely need to spend between $300-600 for a better amplifier.
It’s all down to preference and budget though. Think about what type of amp you want (combo or stack), the technology (tube or solid-state) and how many watts you’ll need and go from there.
Check out my guide to guitar amp wattage if you’re unsure how loud your amp needs to be.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some questions you might still have about the cost of guitar amplifiers.
Are amps more expensive than electric guitars?
Beginner-level amplifiers are usually around $50 cheaper than entry-level guitars. As the specifications of the guitar and amps increase, the price points become more similar. It is not uncommon to see professional amplifiers costing significantly more than the guitar being used.
Should I spend more on an amp or guitar?
I’ve written a full article on this topic to help address this question and decide the answer based on the skill-level and budget available.
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