The Best Guitar Amps Under $250 (Ultimate Guide)

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Looking for the best guitar amps under $250? We’ve got you covered! This ultimate guide reviews the top 6 amps on the market, based on sound quality, features, and value. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we’ve got the perfect amp for you.

 

1. Fender Champion 50XL Guitar Amplifier

SOLID BEGINNER AMP

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2. Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 Guitar Amplifier

CUSTOMIZABLE TONAL BEAST

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3. Line 6 Catalyst,Black,60-Watt, 1×12

VERSATILE EFFECTS POWERHOUSE

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4. Marshall Amps (M-MG15GFX-U)

CLASSIC ROCK MACHINE

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5. Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amp

PORTABLE VERSATILITY

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6. Coolmusic BP80 Acoustic Guitar Amp

COMPACT POWERHOUSE

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1. Fender Champion 50XL Guitar Amplifier

SOLID BEGINNER AMP

Rich 12-inch speaker sound.100+ effects and amp models.
USB connectivity for recording/playback.Portable and lightweight guitar amplifier.
Picture by Fender

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • 1. 12-inch speaker delivers rich, full sound. The Champion 50XL has a 12-inch Celestion speaker that produces a rich, full sound that is perfect for a variety of genres. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, or jazz, the Champion 50XL will have you covered. This high-quality speaker is known for its ability to produce a wide range of tones, making it suitable for any style of music.

    2. 100+ built-in effects and amp models. One of the standout features of the Champion 50XL is its extensive range of built-in effects and amp models. With over 100 options to choose from, you’ll have endless possibilities when it comes to creating your desired sound. Whether you want a classic vintage tone or a modern, high-gain sound, this amp has it all.

    3. USB connectivity for recording and playback. The Champion 50XL comes equipped with a convenient USB port that allows for easy connection to your computer. This feature is perfect for home recording enthusiasts, as it allows you to capture your guitar playing directly into your favorite recording software. Additionally, you can use the USB connection to play along with backing tracks, enhancing your practice sessions.

    4. Compact and lightweight design for easy portability. For guitarists on the go, the Champion 50XL’s compact and lightweight design is a game-changer. Weighing in at just under 20 pounds, this amp is incredibly portable and easy to transport. Whether you’re heading to a rehearsal or gig, the Champion 50XL won’t weigh you down.

    In summary, the Fender Champion 50XL is an excellent option for guitarists looking for an amp under $250. Its 12-inch speaker delivers a full and versatile sound, while the extensive range of built-in effects and amp models allow for endless experimentation. The USB connectivity feature adds convenience for recording and playback purposes. Finally, the amp’s compact and lightweight design makes it a breeze to take on the go. With the Champion 50XL, you won’t have to compromise on sound or functionality.

CONS

  • 1. Sound quality is lacking compared to other amps in this price range. Some users find the Champion 50XL’s sound to be muddy and lacking clarity, especially when compared to amps like the Boss Katana 50 or the Blackstar Core V3.

    2. The effects are limited in versatility. With only 12 built-in effects, some users consider them to be basic. Moreover, there is no effects loop, preventing the addition of external pedals to the signal chain.

    Overall, the Fender Champion 50XL is a decent amp for the price, despite its limitations. For better sound quality and versatility, consider the Boss Katana 50 or the Blackstar ID:Core V3.

2. Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 Guitar Amplifier

CUSTOMIZABLE TONAL BEAST

12 built-in amp models!40 built-in effects with EQ.
USB connectivity for recording and editing.Portable and lightweight amplifier option.
Picture by Blackstar

PROS

    • 1. 12 built-in amp models with 4×4 speaker cab emulation. This amp has a wide variety of amp models to choose from, including clean, crunch, overdrive, and distortion tones. The speaker cab emulation gives you a great sound, even if you’re not using an external speaker cabinet.

      2. 40 built-in effects with 3 band EQ. The ID Core 40 v3 also has 40 built-in effects, including reverb, delay, modulation, and more. The 3-band EQ gives you precise control over your tone.

      3. USB connectivity for recording and editing. You can connect the ID Core 40 v3 to your computer via USB for recording and editing your music. This is a great feature for guitarists who want to record their own songs or practice with backing tracks.

      4. Compact and lightweight design. The ID Core 40 v3 is a very portable amp, making it easy to take with you to gigs or rehearsals. It’s also relatively lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about carrying it around too much.

      In addition to these 4 pros, the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 also has a number of other features that make it a great value for the price. These include a headphone output for silent practice, a built-in tuner, and a loop function for creating layered effects.

      Overall, the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 is a great choice for guitarists who are looking for a versatile and affordable amp. It has a wide range of features and sounds, and it’s easy to use and portable. If you’re on a budget, the ID Core 40 v3 is definitely worth considering.

      It’s worth noting that the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 is highly regarded in the under $250 category. It consistently ranks as one of the best amps in its class and is suitable for a variety of genres. Despite its affordable price, it offers features usually found in more expensive amps, like built-in effects, USB connectivity, and a headphone output.

      The amp’s versatility is exceptional, catering to clean and blues tones as well as rock and metal genres. It’s also well-suited for practicing and recording purposes. With its impressive sound quality and feature-packed design, the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 is truly an outstanding choice for anyone seeking a quality guitar amp at an affordable price.

      So if you’re in the market for a top-notch guitar amp under $250, the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 is an incredibly attractive option. Its versatility, exceptional sound, and array of features would make it a valuable addition to any guitarist’s gear collection.

CONS

  • 1. The sound quality is not as good as some of the more expensive amps. While the ID Core 40 v3 is a great amp for its price, it doesn’t quite compare to some of the pricier models in terms of sound quality. The overdrive and distortion channels can be a bit harsh, and the overall tone can be thin.                                                                                             
    2. The effects are not as versatile as some other amps in this price range. The ID Core 40 v3 includes built-in effects, but they lack the versatility found in other amps at this price point. The delay and reverb effects are not highly adjustable, and there are no amp models or wah effects.

    Overall, the Blackstar ID Core 40 v3 is a good amp for beginners and intermediate players. However, those seeking the best sound quality and versatility may want to consider a more expensive model.

    Ultimately, the best amp for you depends on your preferences and needs. Consider the sound you desire, essential features, and budget.

3. Line 6 Catalyst,Black,60-Watt, 1×12

VERSATILE EFFECTS POWERHOUSE

40 amp models, 10 effects

Easy-to-use, intuitive interface.

Portable and affordable option.Expandable with effects loop, USB.
Picture by Line

PROS

  • 1. Versatile sound. The Catalyst 60 has 40 built-in amp models and 10 effects, giving you a wide range of tones to choose from. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, jazz, or anything in between, you’ll be able to find a sound that you like.

    2. Easy to use. The Catalyst 60 has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy to dial in your sound. You can even save your favorite presets for later use.

    3. Portable and affordable. The Catalyst 60 is lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport. It’s also very affordable, making it a great option for budget-minded guitarists.

    4. Expandable. The Catalyst 60 has a built-in effects loop and a USB port, so you can expand its capabilities with additional pedals or effects.

    Here are some additional details about each of these pros:

    The Catalyst 60’s 40 amp models include a wide variety of classic and modern tones, from clean and bluesy to distorted and aggressive. The 10 effects let you add even more variety to your sound, with options like reverb, delay, chorus, and overdrive.

    The Catalyst 60’s interface is divided into two main sections: the amp section and the effects section. The amp section has controls for gain, volume, and tone, as well as a choice of 40 amp models. The effects section has controls for each of the 10 effects, as well as a master volume control.

    The Catalyst 60 weighs just 31 pounds and measures 20 x 20 x 12 inches. It’s also very affordable, currently retailing for around $250.

    The Catalyst 60 has a built-in effects loop that lets you connect external pedals. It also has a USB port that you can use to connect to your computer for recording or editing.

    Overall, the Line 6 Catalyst 60 is a great choice for guitarists on a budget who are looking for a versatile, easy-to-use, and portable amp with a wide range of tones. It’s also a good option for beginners who are just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money on an amp.

CONS

  • 1. The Catalyst 60 only has 6 amp models while competitors like the Boss Katana 50 MKII (10 amp models) and the Blackstar ID:Core 10 (12 amp models) offer more variety. This may limit players who desire a wider range of sounds.

    2. The Catalyst 60’s effects are not as versatile as other amps in its price range. Although it has 18 built-in effects, some are basic. The delay and reverb effects are not as lush and complex as those found on other amps. Furthermore, it lacks an expression pedal input, which is disadvantageous for players who use wah-wah or volume pedals.

    Overall, the Line 6 Catalyst 60 is a great amp for its price, with a wide range of sounds, user-friendly interface, and sturdy built. However, the limited amp models and somewhat basic effects might deter certain players.

4. Marshall Amps (M-MG15GFX-U)

CLASSIC ROCK MACHINE

15 watts of power.12-inch Celestion speaker for great tone.
3-band EQ customizes sound.Built-in effects for added versatility.
Picture by Marshall

PROS

  • 1. 15 watts of power for bedroom or small gigs. This amp is perfect for practice at home or playing small gigs. It has enough power to be heard over drums and bass, but it’s not so loud that it will disturb the neighbors. This power level strikes a good balance for musicians seeking versatility in different settings.

    2. 12-inch Celestion speaker for great tone. The Celestion speaker in this amp produces a rich, full sound that is perfect for rock, blues, and other genres. This high-quality speaker enhances your guitar playing experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the nuances of your music.

    3. 3-band EQ for shaping your sound. The 3-band EQ allows you to customize the sound of the amp to your liking. You can boost or cut the bass, mids, and highs to get the perfect tone for your guitar and playing style. This versatility allows you to fine-tune your sound and cater to your personal preferences.

    4. Built-in effects for added versatility. The M-MG15GFX-U has a variety of built-in effects, including chorus, reverb, and delay. This gives you even more options to create your own unique sound. These effects can enhance your playing and add depth to your music without the need for external pedals, making it convenient and cost-effective.

    In addition to these pros, Marshall amps are also known for their durability and build quality. They are made to last, so you can be confident that your amp will be able to withstand the rigors of gigging and touring. This reliability is important for musicians who rely on their equipment for consistent performance.

    Overall, the Marshall M-MG15GFX-U is a great choice for guitarists who are looking for an affordable amp with great sound and features. It is perfect for practice, small gigs, and even recording. Its power, tone, versatility, and durability make it a standout option in the under $250 price range.

CONS

  • 1. The build quality is lacking compared to other amps in this price range. Users have reported that the backplate of the amp is made of cheap materials that can be easily damaged. Additionally, the plastic knobs and switches feel flimsy.

    2. The sound quality is inferior to some other amps in this price range. While the MG15GFX-U is known for its “Marshall sound,” some users find that the amp’s overdrive and distortion channels can be muddy and lack clarity.

    Overall, the Marshall MG15GFX-U is a decent amp for the price but does have weaknesses in terms of build and sound quality. 

5. Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amp

PORTABLE VERSATILITY

Portable!Built-in effects for sound enhancement.
Versatile for acoustic and electric.Built-in tuner for easy tuning.
Picture by Yamaha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

PROS

  • 1. Portability and lightweight. The THR5 is a very portable and lightweight amp, weighing in at just 2.6 pounds. This makes it easy to carry around with you wherever you go, whether you’re practicing at home or playing a gig. The compact size also makes it ideal for musicians who need to travel with their amp.

    2. Variety of built-in effects. The THR5 has a variety of built-in effects that can be used to enhance the sound of your guitar, such as reverb, delay, chorus, and overdrive. This gives you a lot of flexibility in shaping your sound and experimenting with different tones. The amp also includes a headphone output, allowing you to practice quietly without disturbing others.

    3. Can be used for both acoustic and electric guitars. The THR5 is versatile and can be used for both acoustic and electric guitars. It features dedicated acoustic and electric amp models, allowing you to achieve the desired tone for your instrument. This makes it a great option for musicians who play both types of guitars and don’t want to invest in separate amps.

    4. Built-in tuner. The THR5 has a built-in tuner that can be used to quickly and easily tune your guitar. This eliminates the need for an external tuner and simplifies the tuning process during rehearsals or live performances. The accurate tuning capabilities of the amp ensure that your instrument sounds its best at all times.

    In addition to these pros, the Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amp offers other features that make it a standout choice for under $250. It boasts 12 amp models, including classic tube amps and modern high-gain amps, allowing you to achieve a wide range of sounds. The amp also features 5 speaker modes, allowing you to choose between different virtual speaker configurations to suit your preferences. With a 15-watt output, the THR5 delivers sufficient power for practicing and small gigs, while maintaining its compact size.

    Overall, the Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amp is a highly recommended option for guitarists seeking a portable, versatile, and high-quality amp under $250. With its lightweight design, built-in effects, compatibility with both acoustic and electric guitars, and handy tuner, it fulfills the needs of a wide range of musicians. Whether you’re a beginner practicing at home or a gigging musician on the go, the THR5 is sure to meet your expectations for a reliable and feature-rich guitar amp.

CONS

  • 1. It’s not as loud as some other amps in its price range. The THR5 has a maximum output of 15 watts, which may not be loud enough for playing with a band or in a larger venue.                                                                                                                           
    2. It doesn’t have a built-in tuner. You’ll need to use a clip-on tuner or a tuner app on your phone.

    Overall, the Yamaha THR5 is a great amp for the price. It has built-in effects, is portable, but if you need a louder amp or a built-in tuner, consider other options.

    Choose the amp that suits your needs best.

6. Coolmusic BP80 Acoustic Guitar Amp

COMPACT POWERHOUSE

1. Customizable 3-band EQ for sound shaping.Depth and ambience added.
Headphone output for silent practice.Aux input for playing along.
Picture by Coolmusic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

PROS

  • 1. The Coolmusic BP80 features a 3-band EQ with bass, middle, and treble controls for shaping your sound. This allows you to customize the tone of your acoustic guitar according to your preferences. Whether you want a brighter, warmer, or more bass-heavy sound, the EQ can help you achieve it.

    2. This amp also has a built-in reverb effect that adds depth and ambience to your playing. It recreates the sound of playing in a larger space, providing a more spacious and atmospheric feel to your sound. This feature can be particularly useful for solo performances or recordings.

    3. With a headphone output, the Coolmusic BP80 allows you to practice silently. This is perfect for late-night or early-morning practice sessions when you don’t want to disturb others. Simply plug in your headphones and enjoy playing without limitations.

    4. The aux input is another great feature of this amp. It allows you to connect your guitar to external devices such as smartphones or music players, enabling you to play along with backing tracks or other instruments. This is an excellent tool for improving your playing and expanding your musical skills.

    In addition to these pro features, the Coolmusic BP80 is lightweight and portable. You can easily take it with you to gigs, rehearsals, or wherever you want to play. Plus, it is relatively affordable, making it a fantastic option for budget-minded musicians.

    To summarize, the Coolmusic BP80 Acoustic Guitar Amp offers customization with its 3-band EQ, adds depth with the built-in reverb effect, enables silent practice through the headphone output, and facilitates playing along with backing tracks or other instruments via the aux input. Its portability and affordability make it a valuable option for acoustic guitarists in search of a versatile amp. Enjoy your music! Let me know if you have any other questions.

CONS

  • First, the sound quality may not be as impressive as some pricier amps. Although the BP80 has a 100-watt output and a 3-band EQ, some users claim the sound can lack clarity and become muddy. This becomes particularly noticeable when comparing it to higher-end amps like the Fishman Loudbox Mini or Fender Acoustasonic 40.
  • Second, portability is an issue as the BP80 weighs a hefty 22 pounds, making it less convenient to transport to gigs or rehearsals. Despite these drawbacks, the Coolmusic BP80 Acoustic Guitar Amp remains a respectable choice for budget-conscious musicians seeking decent sound quality and portability.

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