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Best beginner guitar amps 2022: top guitar amplifiers for beginners

Best beginner guitar amps 2022: top guitar amplifiers for beginners
(Image credit: Future)

Treating yourself to one of the best beginner guitar amps may be the first step on the road to realizing your dream of becoming a bonafide electric guitar god. There’s nothing better than plugging your electric guitar into a great-sounding guitar amp - and with the right combination, you’ll never want to stop playing. 

We still have a lot of love for the acoustic guitar, but there's something exhilarating about the fusion of electric guitars and amps, that you just can’t beat. If you're still weighing up what to buy, do check out our guide on acoustic vs electric guitar: which is better for beginner guitarists

We know you’ve heard it before, but honestly - the quality of beginner guitar amps has never been better, with many of the best budget guitar amps doing everything you may need. Want stadium rock sounds at home without blowing the windows out? You’ve got them - and so much more - at your fingertips. If you're new to the world of beginner guitar amps, then you have come to the right place.

Be sure to also take a look at our round-up of the best beginner electric guitars and beginner guitar essentials.

We’ve included some buying advice from our team of experts at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to read it, click the ‘buying advice’ tab above. If you’d rather just take a look at the products, then keep scrolling.

Best beginner guitar amps: Guitar World's choice

For us, there is one clear winner for the best beginner guitar amp - the Boss Katana 50 (opens in new tab). Boss took the guitar world by storm with the release of their latest modeling amp, and for good reason. This guitar amp perfectly balances cost, versatility, and portability, making it an obvious choice for the beginner guitar player. 

The Katana comes fully loaded with an array of amp models and access to the effects that made Boss a household name.  We would say it's pretty much impossible to get a bad sound out of this amplifier. Crucially, the Katana has various power modes, from 0.5W to 50W, meaning it's got enough power to hold its own at your first rehearsals or even your first gigs. So, if you're serious about putting yourself out there, this versatile combo covers all the bases.

If you’re after a smaller amp - something potentially battery powered - then we’d absolutely recommend the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth (opens in new tab). It’s one of the best small practice amps, and provides a surprising amount of power through such a small speaker. You could even grab a pair of the best headphones for guitar amps and practice silently.

Bluetooth inclusion turns the Fly 3 into a great practice tool, allowing you to stream backing tracks to jam along to. With a clean and overdrive channel onboard, as well as a delay effect, the Fly 3 has everything you need to get started on your electric guitar playing journey.

Best beginner guitar amps: Product guide

Best beginner guitar amps: Boss Katana 50 MKII

(Image credit: Boss)

1. Boss Katana 50 MKII

The best beginner guitar amp overall

Specifications

Output: 50W
Number of channels: 5
Speaker: 1x12”
Effects: 60 I
Weight: 11.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sounds
+
PC interface
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
So many amp models and PC use can be confusing

Boss is one of the guitar industry’s best-known brands, largely due to its incredible history in the world of effects pedals. The Boss Katana 50 MKII takes this heritage and translates it into one of the best value beginners’ guitar modeling amps on the planet. 

For a shade over $/£200 you get five different amp voicings, along with 60 different effects, so there is something tonally here for anybody. Add extra features like a USB PC interface, so you can record onto your computer, and you have a pretty compelling package.

Plus, with 50 watts of power and a 1x12 speaker, you've got a combo that can carry you through from the bedroom to the rehearsal room and on to the stage.

Read the full Boss Katana 50 MKII review

Best beginner guitar amps: Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth

(Image credit: Blackstar)

2. Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth

The best beginner guitar amp in a small package

Specifications

Output: 3W
Number of channels: 2
Speaker: 1x3”
Effects: Delay
Weight: 898g

Reasons to buy

+
Portable
+
Bluetooth is reliable
+
Alternates between sounds

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited in use outside of practice

The Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth is the perfect beginners’ amp for anybody short on space. Weighing in at under 1kg, this tiny amp delivers a surprising amount of volume through its 3-inch speaker, while the two channels ensure you can alternate between a rich clean sound and something a touch hairier. The inclusion of a delay effect will help round out your sound too. 

We like the way you can connect two Fly 3 amps in stereo, while adding Bluetooth inside for jamming to backing tracks or music streaming offers an extra element of usefulness.

It's a killer purchase for guitarists on the move – whatever your ability – and especially ideal for university students and anyone who needs to keep the volume down.

Best beginner guitar amps: Fender Mustang LT 50

(Image credit: Fender)

3. Fender Mustang LT50

Best beginner guitar amp if you want plenty of amp models

Specifications

Output: 50W
Number of channels: 1
Speaker: 1x12”
Effects: Delay, modulation
Weight: 8.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
20 amp voicing
+
Hugely versatile
+
Preset capability

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most appealing visually

As perhaps music’s most recognisable guitar brand, it’s reasonable to expect something good from Fender. With the Fender Mustang LT 50, we weren’t disappointed. While this amp is classed as single-channel, in reality packs in 20 different amp voicings for you to choose from, as well as a small selection of good quality effects. 

We found its preset ability useful; with so much in the way of choice from various amps and effect voicings, it was nice to be able to store the ones we liked for quick recall later. An excellent addition to our best beginner guitar amps guide.

Best beginner guitar amps: Vox VX15 GT

(Image credit: Vox )

4. Vox VX15 GT

The lightweight amp modeler from the British amp giant

Specifications

Output: 15W
Number of channels: 11
Speaker: 1 x 6.5″
Effects: 8
Weight: 8.2Ibs/3.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Great amp models
+
Lightweight
+
Modern look    

Reasons to avoid

-
Traditionalists may not like the ABS construction 

The Vox VX15 GT is a little different from the other amps on this list. Rather than the standard construction usually found on practice amps, the Vox opts for an ultra-lightweight sealed cabinet made of ABS with a bass-reflex design. This unique design gives your tone the tight low-end you’re looking for and ensures all the sound is projected forward, where it is needed most. 

This amp has an impressive range of sounds onboard, from vintage AC30 tones to killer high-gain metal sounds, meaning it's never been easier to find a tone you love, no matter your playing style or inspiration.  

Read our full Vox VX15 GT review

Best beginner guitar amps: IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

5. IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp

A tiny, beginner guitar amp with huge potential

Specifications

Output: 15W (with power supply, 7.5W (with batteries)
Number of channels: 3
Speaker: 1 x 4”
Effects: (via Amplitube) 26 effects and 10 amp voicings
Weight: 1.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Amplitube compatibility
+
Compact and portable
+
Connects to your phone

Reasons to avoid

-
Power supply isn’t included

For smartphone or tablet owners, the IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp is particularly interesting. This tiny amp connects to your mobile device and, through its Amplitube app, allows you to access loads of different amp voices, cabinets, effects and other tools. 

The iRig Micro can be powered by a power supply, or by six AA batteries, making it both portable and versatile which, when it comes to the best beginner guitar amps, is a superb combination of features. While it may not be one of the best combo amps ever, it definitely ticks all the boxes a beginner guitar amp needs to.

Best beginner guitar amps: Yamaha THR10II

(Image credit: Yamaha )

6. Yamaha THR10II

The original desktop amp

Specifications

Output: 20W
Number of channels: 5 Guitar Amp Models (+10 via app), 1 Acoustic Model (+2 via app), 1 Bass Model (+2 via app), 1 Flat Voicing (+2 via app)
Speaker: 2x 3.1"(8cm) Full Range
Effects: 10
Weight: 6.6Ibs/3.0kg

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of sounds 
+
Hi-Fi quality audio playback  
+
Robust build quality  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best high-gain tones

Yamaha is responsible for some of the best beginner guitar gear around. They make one of the best beginner electric guitars in the form of the Pacifica, and now the Yamaha THR10II amp - one of the best desktop guitar amps you can get your hands on. This mighty little amp offers a wide range of tonal options in a compact, stylish package that fits in any room. 

Straight out the box, this amp offers five incredibly realistic amp models and an array of studio-quality effects, as well as one bass guitar model and an acoustic guitar option. If this wasn't enough, the mobile editor app allows you access to even more sounds at the touch of a button. 

So if you're tight on space but looking for an amp that delivers big on tone, then look no further than the Yamaha THR10II. 

Best beginner guitar amps: Blackstar HT-1R

(Image credit: Blackstar)

7. Blackstar HT-1R

The best beginner guitar amp for tube goodness

Specifications

Output: 1W
Number of Channels: 2
Speaker: 1x8”
Effects: Reverb
Weight: 5.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Glorious tone
+
Excellent reverb
+
Reliable

Reasons to avoid

-
Might struggle in a band setting

If the promise of multiple amp voicings doesn’t appeal to you, and you just want one solid, high quality sound to work with, then the Blackstar HT-1R may be the best beginner guitar amp for you.

It’s an all-tube amp, meaning you get those glorious tones the professionals rave on about, yet in a package small enough to suit a beginner – and, thankfully, means you don't need to turn it up too loud to get great sounds.

Indeed, what the HT1R lacks in features, it more than makes up for in tone and, as such, is easy for us to recommend to any beginner guitarist.

Best beginner guitar amps: Orange Crush 20

(Image credit: Orange)

8. Orange Crush 20

The best beginner guitar amp for maximum gain

Specifications

Output: 20W
Number of channels: 2
Speaker: 1x8”
Effects: None
Weight: 7.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Superb gain sounds
+
Iconic looks
+
Great for metal 

Reasons to avoid

-
No reverb

While Marshall and Fender are arguably the better-known brands, many players gravitate towards British amp giants Orange for their high-gain needs. Put simply, the gain – or distortion – sound produced by an Orange is quite unlike any other. Thick, with oodles of mid-range girth, and a raspy high-end, the sound of an Orange at full throttle is something to behold. 

The Orange Crush 20 takes all that expertise and knowledge and packs it into a 20W, beginner-friendly solid-state amplifier that’ll serve any aspiring metal player perfectly. Yes, it lacks effects of any kind, but that’s a small price to pay for such a tonally balanced amplifier.

Best beginner guitar amps: Blackstar ID:CORE 10

(Image credit: Blackstar)

9. Blackstar ID:CORE 10 V3

The sound in your head... on a budget

Specifications

Output: 10W
Number of channels: 5
Speaker: 2x 3”
Effects: 12
Weight: 8.2Ibs/3.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Great effects 

Reasons to avoid

-
Other options on this list have more features 

This is the third entry for Blackstar on this list, but with an amp this good, it needed to be included. The Blackstar ID:CORE 10 is perfect for beginners looking for an easy-to-use amp that packs a punch. 

The five amp models range from glassy clean tones to face-melting high-gain and everything in between. It also includes a wide range of effects from reverb, delay, chorus, and even an auto-wah!

Those who like to have more control over their amp can take advantage of the new Blackstar Architect software. This allows the user to customize many features of the amp, from the effects settings to the Cab Rig. This software is available for both Mac and PC. 

Best beginner guitar amps: Marshall Code 25

(Image credit: Marshall)

10. Marshall Code 25

A beginner-friendly digital modelling guitar amp

Specifications

Output: 25W
Number of channels: 1
Speaker: 1x10”
Effects: 24
Weight: 6.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Very tweakable
+
iOS and Android app control
+
Legendary brand pedigree

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much!

It would be remiss of us not to produce a list of best beginners’ amps and not include a Marshall. After much deliberation, we’ve opted for the Marshall Code 25, which is a solid-state/digital hybrid with all manner of amp models and effects included. 

What appealed to us about the Code series was the impressive number of amp combinations you can choose from. With 14 preamps, four power amps and eight speaker emulations, there is a tonal combo here for everyone. That’s before you get into the included 24 digital effects, which can even be controlled from your mobile device via Bluetooth.

Best beginner guitar amp: Buying advice

Best beginner guitar amp: Katana on red background

(Image credit: Future)

What should I consider when buying a beginner guitar amp?

Whether you're a total beginner looking for your first amp, or an experienced player looking for a home practice rig to keep the neighbors on your side, we've put together some useful tips to help you find the best beginner guitar amp. 

Your main trains of thought should be considering the wattage and the size of your amp. These are potentially the two most important aspects of getting a great beginner guitar amp to compliment your practice setup. 

How many watts does my beginner guitar amp need?

Thinking about the wattage of your amp is a super important factor when buying a beginner guitar amp for home practice or small gigs. When it comes to home practice, the smaller the wattage, the better. Ideally you want an amp that won't kick out loads of volume - and even a small 5-watt solid-state amp can be loud. 

If you're looking down the tube amp route, know that the perceived volume of a 5-watt tube amp is much greater than a solid-state amp of the same power. It's for that reason we included the Blackstar HT-1R in this guide, rather than its 5-watt big brother. 

If you want an amp that will cover practice, jam sessions and small gigs, then a solid-state 50 watts should be plenty. Tube amp wise, 15 or 20 watts will see you right.

It's worth noting though that while more experienced players gravitate towards tube amps on the eternal hunt for the perfect tone, tube amps are largely overkill for a beginner. They’re generally more expensive than their digital and solid state brethren, and they sound best when cranked up loud - a scenario we can’t always facilitate. That's why most of the amps on this list are solid-state or digital modeling amps. These amps offer a wide range of amp voices and a myriad effects. More importantly, they sound fantastic at lower volumes.

Best beginner guitar amps: Orange Crush 20

(Image credit: Orange)

How big should my beginner guitar amp be?

This is another important question to ask yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, as everyone needs different-sized amps to meet different criteria. You should consider where you're going to keep it, where you'll be using it and whether you'll be leaving it always set up or packing it away after use.

We'd usually recommend getting something with the biggest speaker you can afford. Something like a 10" or 12" speaker will help you to obtain a full range of frequencies from your new beginner guitar amp. However, there are amps like the Yamaha THR10II that, while having much smaller speakers fitted, are able to produce a full tonal range down to a pair of specially designed speakers. It won't kick out the same gutsy tone as a 1x12", but then, it's not really meant to.

The physical size of the amp ties in with speaker sizes nicely. A larger amp will allow for more resonance and sometimes a fuller tone, but can be inconvenient if you're limited on space.

As long as you consider the size and power you realistically need, and choose an amplifier that gives you the flexibility to try out different sounds, you'll be sure to find the perfect home practice companion.

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Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.