A great amp is just as important to your music as a great guitar. So how do you make sure you’re choosing one that will give you the results you need?
That’s where we come in! We’ve taken a look at seven of the best guitar amps out there right now. And we’re going to share their pros and cons, so you can decide which one is right for you. We’ll also examine the questions to ask yourself before you make that all-important purchase.
So if you’re ready, let’s see what’s out there!
The Best Guitar Amps on the Market 2021
1. Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier (Our Top Pick)
Fender’s Frontman 10G is a great choice for any guitarist looking for something powerful yet intuitive. It’s compact, and can be used by either beginner or more advanced musicians. And it’s competitively priced for an offering from such a well-known brand.
There’s a single channel with controls that are responsive and simple to use. You can adjust the treble, bass and volume. And there’s also a “gain” dial, which allows you to control how hard your guitar drives the amp.
You can also achieve thick overdrive distortion with ease. There’s a simple button that allows you to switch between clean and overdrive.
But note that there’s no reverb here. It can, however, be used with pedals. If you keep it on the “clean” setting a reverb pedal will work very well.
It offers 10 watts of output power and a 6-inch specially designed speaker. The back is closed, so you’ll get a heavier response on the bass. It produces a surprising level of sound for a compact amp. And if you want to practice without disturbing anyone else, there’s a 1/8-inch output jack for headphones.
There’s also a 1/8-inch auxiliary input jack. That will allow you to plug in an MP3 or CD player to play alongside a track.
All this, and it’s a good-looking amp too. There’s a silver grille cloth and skirted amp knobs. And the classic Fender logo splashed in silver across the top left-hand corner lets everyone know you’ve got quality kit.
It won’t take up too much room either. It measures just 5.25 inches by 10.25 inches by 11 inches, and weighs 8.5 pounds.
If you want lots of features and effects, this won’t be the amp for you. But if you want something simple and compact, with good tone and that gets pretty loud, this fits the bill. Beginners will find it easy to use with good results. And it’s a very decent practice amp for more proficient guitarists too.
- Compact and well-constructed
- Simple and responsive controls
- Can deliver surprisingly loud volume for such a small amp
- The features are basic and there’s no reverb
- No control to adjust mid-tones.
2. Fender Mustang LT-25 – Digital Guitar Amplifier
If you love Fender amps but want something with more features than the Frontman, check out the Mustang L-25.
This is a digital modeling amp, meaning it’s able to emulate a whole range of different effects pedals and amps. It offers no fewer than 30 different presets for a wide range of guitar tones. You can get 20 replacement presets too, giving you a wealth of choice for any style of music.
All the presets can be adjusted and saved. There’s a simple user interface with a 1.8-inch color display to make it easy to control. You’ll get all the scope you could possibly need for customization. It sounds great with external pedals too. And there’s a USB interface for recording or firmware updates.
This isn’t the amp for gigging in large venues, but it’s a brilliant option for practice. You’ll get plenty of volume from the single 8-inch Special Design Fender speaker. And there’s the option of plugging in headphones for silent practice too.
The wooden speaker cabinet and classic silver Fender logo look great. It’s a nice, compact size that doesn’t require a lot of floorspace. It is, though, bigger than the Frontman, measuring 14.5 inches high, 12.75 inches wide and 8.25 inches deep. And it’s significantly heavier too, weighing in at 15 pounds.
So is there anything not to like about this amp?
The short answer is “no” – but it does have limitations, all the same. The digital modeling is very clever, but it won’t reproduce the warm tones of real tubes. And the sound quality isn’t top notch, particularly when the volume is turned up to the max.
But for this price, this is a great practice amp. And there’s lots of room for experimentation with presets and features.
- Comes with 30 adjustable presets, and the option to replace 20 of them
- Simple user interface with 1.8-inch color display
- USB interface for recording or firmware updates
- You won’t get the warm tones of real tubes on a digital amp
- The sound quality is fine for practice, but not top notch – especially when it’s turned up loud.
3. Sawtooth 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp
This amp from Sawtooth offers 10 watts of output power and is very keenly priced. Included in the package are a couple of extras too – a 10-foot instrument cable and a pick sampler.
There’s a 6.5-inch speaker and controls for volume, gain and drive. And a master EQ allows you to adjust the bass, mid-notes and treble for a customized sound.
You can switch between clean tones and overdrive at the touch of a switch. Both work well. Just note that if you’re using active pickups, you may get some overdrive on the clean channel.
There’s no reverb here, and no presets either. If you’re looking to play around with lots of different effects and add-ons, it won’t be the right choice.
There’s just one input, a 6.35 mono jack, so you won’t be able to share the speaker with another instrument. But if you want to practice quietly, you can. There’s a 6.35 stereo jack to allow you to plug in a pair of headphones.
It’s perhaps not the most attractive amp out there. The design is simple, not flashy. But a real plus point is just how compact it is. It’s only 4.1 inches deep, and stands 9.7 inches high and 10.1 inches wide.
You’ll be able to fit it into a decent sized backpack, together with cords and a footstool. That’s great for anyone needing to take their kit on public transport.
The open weave grill reduces the overall weight, and the reinforced handle on top means it’s easily portable. The speaker sits in a reinforced wooden frame, which is nice and sturdy. It won’t break if you accidentally kick it over during practice!
And this is very much a practice amp. It doesn’t have the power you’d need for gigging, particularly in anything other than the smallest venues. But use it for practice, and you’ll benefit from simple controls, good sound and excellent value for money.
- Robust construction, yet very compact and lightweight
- Simple controls, with the ability to adjust bass, mid-tones and treble
- Push-button switch between clean and overdrive
- This is a practice amp, and it’s not loud enough for gigs
- Not the right choice if you want to play around with effects and add-ons.
4. LyxPro Electric Guitar Amp 20-Watt
This 20-watt amp from LyxPro offers lots of great features for a very humble price.
It stands out from the crowd with a brightly colored frame in a range of different shades. Choose from classic black or more unusual options like red, blue, sunburst (orange) or pink.
Hard rubber corners help to keep it stable as you’re playing. It measures 12 inches by 12 inches, and is 6 inches deep, and there’s a handy carrying strap on top.
There’s an input for one instrument, plus a headphone jack to allow quiet practice. If you share your space with others, that will come in very useful!
There’s also an AUX input that will allow you to connect up your phone or MP3 player. That means you’ll be able to jam along to your favorite tracks.
There are a range of on-board controls that are very easy to use. You can adjust the volume, bass, treble, and gain. There’s also a drive button to switch between clean and overdrive.
This is another amp best suited to practice sessions, where it’s portability and ease of use allow it to shine. You’ll get a decent level of volume, but it won’t be enough for gigs in anything other than intimate spaces.
Generally speaking, the sound quality here is pretty good – indeed, it’s impressive for a smaller amp. We have, though, heard of some issues with the sound being muffled when used with a bass guitar. And note that the power cord is a bit shorter than we’d like.
That aside, this is a solid amp at a very reasonable price. Choose one of the brighter colors and you’ll cut a dash in the studio too!
- Easy to use controls for bass, treble, drive and volume
- Available in a range of different colors to stand out from the crowd
- AUX input allows connection to a smartphone or MP3 player
- Not loud enough for gigging
- The power cord is a bit on the short side.
5. Orange Crush 20 Twin-Channel 20-Watt Guitar Amplifier
This 20-watt amp from Orange is another with a distinctive appearance. It has a smart orange frame, contrasting black corners and hardware, and a basketweave vinyl grille.
It’s a significant jump in price from the other amps reviewed so far, costing well over twice as much as the LyxPro. But you do get a lot of features for your money.
You’ll get a wide range of analog controls here. Moving from right to left along the control panel, they are: clean volume, dirty gain, bass, middle, treble and dirty volume. You can switch between clean and dirty channels at the press of a button.
There’s still only a single input for an instrument, though. The AUX input jack allows you to connect up a smartphone or MP3 player to play along to tracks.
Check out the back panel and you’ll also find a footswitch jack. The use of a footswitch is entirely optional, and you’ll need to buy it separately if you want one. It does, though, provide another option to switch between clean and dirty channels.
There’s also a CabSim loaded headphones output for those times when you want to practice without being overheard. Alternatively, you can use it to connect up to a recording console or mixing desk.
The sound is delivered through a custom 8-inch Voice of the World speaker. It’s designed to have the quality and presence of Orange’s classic amps in a practice model. That means full, warm tones with plenty of character.
It measures 14.7 inches by 12.8 inches, is just under 8 inches deep, and weighs 15.8 pounds.
Despite being more expensive than many other practice amps, you won’t, though get presets here. There’s a decent equalizer, but it won’t suit looking those for lots of different effects.
- Attractive and distinctive design
- Great sound through the custom 8-inch Voice of the World speaker
- Simple controls and jack for optional footswitch
- It won’t suit those looking for presets and effects
- Although pricier than other practice amps, there’s still only one instrument input.
6. Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier 10-Watt DEA-1
At first glance, Donner’s DEA-1 amp looks a lot like the Fender Frontman 10G. And like the Fender, it has a power output of 10 watts. Donner’s version, however, costs about 20 percent less than the Fender. So is there any compromise on performance?
Well, the controls here are simple and responsive. The set-up is similar to the Fender, with dials for bass, and treble, plus volume and gain. But unlike the Fender, here you’ll also get a control to adjust mid-tones.
There’s also a push-button boost switch that allows you to switch between “clean” and “booster”. The booster mode provides more explosive volume, which Donner says is comparable to a 15-watt amp.
That volume comes through a 6.5-inch Special Design speaker. And as with the Fender, there’s a closed back to produce a heavier bass response.
There’s a combination line out/headphone out. This emulates the sound of the cabinet speaker, giving the full Donner sound when you’re recording or during silent practice. As soon as a jack is inserted, the cabinet speaker is muted.
There’s also a 3.5-millimeter line in socket. Use this to connect your amp to an MP3 player or smartphone when you want to play along to a track.
The construction is nice and sturdy. There are tough edges to protect the amp from damage, and rubber feet to keep it steady. But it’s still light enough to be easily portable, weighing less than 10 pounds. The dimensions are 15 inches by 14.5 inches by 10.5 inches.
The sound quality here is pretty good, and the amp can go louder than you might expect for the price. It’s definitely still for practice, rather than gigging, but it’s more than sufficient for that.
We have, however, heard of some issues with slight distortion when the volume is turned up high. On sound quality, the Fender Frontman probably has the edge.
All in all, though, this is a great little amp at a very decent price.
- Controls to adjust bass, middle, treble, volume and gain
- Push-button switch between clean and booster
- Can connect to headphones plus MP3 player or smartphone
- You may get some distortion when the volume is up high
- No presets.
7. NUX Mighty Lite Portable Modeling Guitar Amplifier (Upgrade Pick)
If you’re looking for a portable desktop amp, check out the Mighty Lite from NUX.
The first thing to note is that there’s only 3 watts of power output here. That means it won’t get as loud as the other amps on our list. If you’re playing with a band, you’re likely to find yourself drowned out by the drums. But the sound is still crisp and clear.
And it’s just as crisp on each of the three channels – clean, overdrive and distortion. They allow you to create pretty much any musical style, from pop to blues to heavy metal.
It’s a great option for guitarists who like features and effects. There’s a built-in delay and digital reverb. And there’s also an integrated drum machine with nine drum patterns. And you’ll get a metronome too.
The tempo of the drums and metronome, and the delay time, are controlled by tapping a button. That means you’ll have to work up and down to get to your chosen speed.
It’s marginally more time consuming than selecting a number on a dial. But the button takes up less space in the compact control panel. Switch between delay speed and drum tempo by holding the tap tempo button for 1.5 seconds.
Another space-saving feature is the tone knob. This takes the place of separate controls for bass, mids and treble.
There are a range of options for powering this amp, so it’s truly portable. You can plug it in with the 9-volt adapter included in the pack. Alternatively, it can be powered through a USB connection and power bank, or with six AA batteries. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to make music.
It also has Bluetooth, so you can connect it up to your smartphone. Alternatively, use the 3.5-millimeter AUX input jack to connect to your phone or MP3 player.
The Mighty Lite app will allow you to control the noise gate, all three channels and modulation. There are lots of other clever features too.
It’s compatible with both Android and Apple’s iOS 9 and above. It is, however, sometimes a little flaky. If you’re having problems, update the firmware from the NUX website, and that should sort them out.
- Ultra-light and portable, with a range of power options
- Bluetooth connectivity and lots of features via the Mighty Lite app
- Built-in reverb, delay, drum machines and metronome
- The sound isn’t big enough for playing with a band
- The app can be a bit flaky – check your firmware is up to date if you encounter problems.
That brings us to the end of our list of seven of the best guitar amps out there! We hope we’ve given you some good ideas for your purchase. But if you need a little more help deciding, here are some questions to consider.
How much power do you need?
A good place to start is to consider how much power you need from your amp. The measurement to look for is the output power, measured in watts. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the louder your amp will be.
The amps on our list are suited for practice, rather than gigs. Some, though, will generate enough volume for performances in more intimate settings.
Is your priority features or simplicity?
Do you want to experiment with creating new sounds and effects? Or do you find features a distraction? The answer to that will determine what kind of amp you need.
If you like experimenting, a modeling amp is a great choice. These kinds of amps can emulate the sounds of a range of different specific amps and effects pedals.
But this versatility does go hand in hand with some compromises in terms of sound quality. A digital modeling amp can sound great – but it won’t give the same warm tones as real tubes.
Simpler amps will allow you to adjust your sound in more limited ways. All those on our list allow you to adjust bass and trebles, and most allow you to vary the mid-tones too.
There are often different channels too – two or more of clean, dirty, distortion, booster or overdrive. A good way to decide what you need is to check out online videos to hear them in action.
Where will you be using your amp?
Finally, consider the environment in which you’ll be using your amp. Will you be able to plug it in, or do you need a model that can be run on batteries or via a USB connection?
It’s also worth considering how much space you’ll have. There’s a lot of variation in the size of amps, so check the dimensions before you make your choice.
And if you’re going to be using your amp on the go, look for options that are robust and portable. Carrying straps will help maneuver heavier amps, while rubber feet will help them stand steady on uneven surfaces.
Ready to Make Some Noise?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to seven of the best guitar amps available right now. There are lots of great options that don’t require you to spend a fortune.
Our top pick is Fender’s Frontman 10G. It packs a lot of punch into its modest size, and the controls are simple and intuitive.
But if you’re looking for a feature-packed amp, check out the NUX Mighty Lite. It’s small, portable and offers a wealth of effects.
Whichever amp is right for you, we hope you’re soon enjoying rocking out with your latest purchase!