The Top 12 Best Guitar Amps on the Market Today

Guitar Amps playing guitar amplifiers

I have spent a lot of time and money searching for the best guitar amps. Over the years, I’ve bought and eventually sold many guitar amps I’ve accumulated. So far, these are the best guitar amps I’ve either bought, been given, or used as a guitarist.

What’s the Criteria for Including These Amps as the Best Guitar Amps?

As a musician, my primary reason for choosing an amp is sound quality. As a gigging musician, versatility and portability are my top priorities. And because I’m also a recording artist, I need an amp that performs well in the studio.

Can I get all three in one amp? Definitely not. That could only happen in a perfect world. I might find a versatile amp for less than $500 but sacrifice a bit on sound quality. And that’s fine.

Needless to say, this is a subjective list that you can use as a guide for buying the best guitar amps available on the market today.

1. Boss Katana-100 MkII

Best Multipurpose Amp under $400

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Boss Katana-100 MkII
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The Evolution of a Modern Classic

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I'm kicking off this list of the best guitar amps on the market today with the Boss Katana-100 MkII because it is an amazing bargain at its current price point of $380. With all of the features you get south of $500, it's an excellent amp for practice, gigging, and recording. 100 watts is usually enough to fill a small venue and despite it sporting only one 12-inch speaker, this is no lightweight.

You get over 60 Boss-quality built-in effects and the versatility to access a wide variety of tones. It’s versatile enough for any genre and can easily be connected to a computer for deep editing. And, if 100 watts is too loud for you, you have the option to switch it down to 50W or 0.5W. You can also choose up to five amp characteristics (Acoustic, Brown, Clean, Crunch, Lead) for different playing scenarios.

Let’s just say that the Boss Katana-100 MkII is one of the best purchases I’ve made this year.

2. Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb

Best Amp under $2k for Professionals

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Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb
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Iconic Fender Sound and Style

As a musician, I’ve always lusted after Fender’s iconic sound. And the ideal sound I identify as the quintessential Fender sound is that of the Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb. But this is not an amp for beginners. At $1,600, this amp is for those who are committed to making music their lifelong passion.

Why do guitarists go all out to buy this amplifier? Well, basing on the specs, the Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb is worth the price tag attached to it. First, there’s the iconic sound, and then the built-in reverb and tremolo. At 22 watts, it’s powerful enough especially since it comes equipped with a 1x12” Jensen speaker. Did I mention it’s also a 2-channel tube amp?

Now you know where my last Christmas bonus went.

Oh, and just in case you really want one but are a little short on cash, there’s the Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb which is priced around $900. It’s almost the same as the ’65 Deluxe Reverb.


But, had I known this was available, I would’ve thought twice about spending so much on an amp. Still, the Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb is worth the extra $700 dollars for its classic sound alone.

Ah.. shoulda, coulda, woulda.

3. Yamaha THR30II

Best Desktop Amp for Practice and Recording

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Yamaha THR30II
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An Amp That's Making Waves

The Yamaha THR10II is a compact, desktop amp that's perfect for home practice and recording. It's part of Yamaha's "Third Amp" concept - not your main gigging amp or your practice amp, but a third amp that's always on and ready to play. That’s what sold me on the product.

I needed an amp that wasn’t really for gigging. And the aforementioned Boss Katana-100 MkII was a bit too big to sit on my desk for recording purposes. And sometimes, just a bit too loud for quiet practice time.

You get me right?

It also comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery so you can take it anywhere you want around the house and play for 4 to 5 hours before needing to recharge again. You don’t even need cables to plug in. You can connect your guitar wirelessly to this device. That's some amazing portability!

It's a solid buy at less than $500. And that blonde exterior really brightens up my desktop.

4. Positive Grid Spark

Best Amp for Solo Jamming

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There are times when you just want to jam but can’t deal with your bandmates. Maybe you just want to play with an idea or just have fun making a song without distractions from others. If you’re like me, you’d get the Positive Grid Spark as a creative buddy too.

On paper, the Positive Grid Spark ticks off all the good things you’d want in an amp:

  • 40 watts of room-filling sound? ✔
  • Onboard effects? You get 33 amp models and 43 effects. ✔
  • Distortion, noise gate, reverb, and delay... All included! ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
  • Wireless connectivity? It’s got Bluetooth! ✔
  • Can you use it for recording? Yes, you can! ✔

But the ultimate kicker, and the reason why I had to have it was the jam feature. You can start playing a basic idea and Spark learns how to play along with you. There’s also voice command if you want a more hands-free approach. This amp may be all you need to become a solo performer.

5. Fender Mustang LT25

Best Amp for Beginners and Students

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Fender Mustang LT25
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The Fender Mustang LT25 is a compact digital modeling amp designed for practice and home use. It's priced at around $150, making it an affordable option for beginners and hobbyists.

Here’s what it says on paper:

  • 20 amp models (simulating different types of amps)
  • 25 effects (like reverb, delay, chorus, etc.)
  • 25 watts of power
  • Built-in tuner
  • Headphone output for silent practice
  • One 8-inch speaker
  • USB connection for recording to a computer

Despite its small size and low price, the Fender Mustang LT25 can produce a wide range of sounds. You can easily switch between different amp models to get tones suitable for blues, rock, metal, and more. The built-in effects add even more variety to your sound.

This amp is very user-friendly and has a simple control panel with a small screen that makes it easy to select and adjust your sounds. There's also a free app called Fender Tone that lets you create and download new presets for the amp.

I got one for my nephew and he seems to love it so much. Maybe I’ll borrow it one of these days to see what all the fuss is about.

6. Orange Super Crush 100

Best Amp Head for Gigging

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The Sound of Sound – The Orange Sound

I was heartbroken when I lost my Marshall head in a plane cargo mix-up a few decades ago and I was convinced I’d never buy another one that could match what I’d lost. It’s a good thing a buddy of mine turned me on to Orange. And I’d have to say this is one of the best guitar amps in the market today!

For gigging, the Orange Super Crush 100 is my go-to head. It always gives me great pleasure to reveal to those who don’t know that what I’m using is solid state and not a tube amp. I try to stay away from tube amps these days because of the maintenance involved. I guess the Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb is the only one I can tolerate maintaining.

But here’s more about the Orange Super Crush 100 that makes it one of the best guitar amps:

  • 100 watts of pure rocking power
  • Separate clean and dirty channel
  • Built-in digital reverb that you can operate via footswitch
  • FX Loop for pedals
  • XLR output for connecting directly to a mixing board or recording equipment

To be honest, the real reason why I bought an orange amp in the first place was for is color. I was sick and tired of the old plain black and white amps. I only went back to Marshall when they released the red MG100HFX Amp and Speaker cab combo.

7. Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV

Best Combo Amp for Gigging

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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV
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Clean, Drive, and More Drive!

I’ve been lucky enough to play a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV a few times. And every time I see one onstage, I immediately lock on and plug in my guitar directly into it. I guess you could say I’ve only had good memories with the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV which is the reason why it made my list of the best guitar amps on the market today.

I don’t even need to plug in any effects pedal when I use a Fender Hotrod Deluxe IV. Everything’s already there.

  • Want a clean sound?  ✔
  • Want some overdrive?  ✔
  • Reverb? ✔
  • Heck, it has even More Drive if you’re into a harder rocking sound.  ✔

What more could you ask for? At a buck under $1k, this guitar is at an excellent price point for any guitarist who wants the best gigging amp Fender could produce.

8. Blackstar St James EL34 Combo

Best Tube Amp

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Blackstar St James EL34 Combo
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We Create Amplifiers That Make Your Tonal Dreams Come True

I couldn’t believe that what I was carrying was a tube amp when I was first handed a Blackstar St James EL34 Combo to try out. I’d heard of it but I just had to see, feel, and hear it, to believe it. And Blackstar, as always, did not disappoint.

The Blackstar St James EL34 combo is a high-quality guitar amplifier that combines modern features with a classic tube sound. It's designed to be lightweight and easy to use, making it great for gigging musicians. Here are its key features:

  • 50 watts of power
  • Two channels: Clean and Overdrive
  • Built-in reverb effect
  • Effects loop for connecting pedals
  • One 12-inch Celestion speaker
  • Weighs only 29 pounds, which is light for a tube amp

If you’re ever in the market for a tube amp that you can easily bring along to your gigs, this is the one for you.

9. VOX AC30

Best Amp for Smaller Venues

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There's Nothing Like a VOX

I was fortunate to have had access to a VOX AC30 while I was still just starting out in my career as a guitarist. That helped shape my ears’ preference to the classic sound of a VOX.

Many will agree when I say that the VOX AC30 is a versatile and powerful guitar amplifier perfect for both practice and performance. It’s suitable for various music genres, from rock and blues to pop and jazz. And it’s built to last with its high-quality construction and usage of durable materials and components.

Now it may only come with 30 watts but that’s more than enough for small to medium venues. Plus, the two 12-inch Celestion G12M Greenback speakers provide a rich, warm sound. There’s reverb and tremolo which you can operate via footswitch.

Now I still haven’t bought one despite my numerous promises every year to get one because of the maintenance involved. And another thing, the venue I play in has 2 VOX AC30s made available to whoever is scheduled to go up onstage. But one of these days, I’ll buy one. After all, it is one of the best guitar amps out there in the market today.

10. EVH 5150III 50W 6L6

Best Amp for Rock and Metal

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EVH 5150III 50W 6L6
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The Atomic Punk Amp

I’ve always loved the 5150 series. I've played most of the amps on this list out of necessity on different projects or for research, however the EVH 5150III 50-watt 6L6 is one I actually plan to purchase for my own personal use.


It's great for high-gain rock and metal tones but also capable of nice clean sounds. And I think this is the one that’ll help me nail that clean sound the great Eddie Van Halen produced in their Balance album.

11. Friedman BE-100 Deluxe

Best High-end Guitar Amp

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Friedman BE-100 Deluxe
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The Epitome of British Sound

At nearly $4000, the Friedman BE-100 Deluxe is unfortunately out of the price range of most independent artists. But I’ve still included it's definitely one of the best guitar amps on the market today, if you can afford the high price tag.

A friend had one and allowed me to try it out to research for this article, and I must admit, that led to countless nights dreaming about this great amp. To be honest, I’d only heard of Friedman guitars from a few sources and it’s not readily available where I live. But here’s what I know: It's a favorite among professional rock and metal players.


This high-end amp delivers exceptional high-gain tones inspired by modded British amps. It’s hand-wired and also features top-quality components. I would expect it to have that level of workmanship to justify the price point.

12. Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier

Best High-end Amp for Rock and Metal

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Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier
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Mesa Boogie or Nothing

A list of best guitar amps just isn't complete without a Mesa/Boogie on it. And with many to choose from, I went with the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier as the best Mesa/Boogie amp to have.

A friend of mine just purchased one, and I can't lie... I'm EXTREMELY envious of his purchase. Unfortunately, $2,500 may be a little bit steep for many independent musicians. But if you can afford it, the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier is a high-end amp that's known for its powerful, high-gain sound, and a favorite among metal and hard rock guitarists, but versatile enough for other styles as well.

It has three channels: Clean, Raw, and Modern, and two rectifier modes: tube (sag) and solid state (tight). Being a 100-watt tube amp, this thing can get LOUD. It's designed for stage use and can easily keep up with a hard-hitting drummer. However, it also sounds great at lower volumes, especially if you use an attenuator.

The Dual Rectifier is built like a tank and designed to withstand the rigors of touring. However, like all tube amps, it will need some maintenance over time, including tube replacements.

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