If you need something to amplify your low end and you’re keeping a keen eye on your wallet, then you’ll want to grab yourself the best budget bass amp you can afford. Obviously which one is best for you will depend on your needs and wants as a player, but we’ve put together our pick of the best affordable bass amps available right now, so you can get a great tone without spending a fortune.
Most importantly, the best budget bass amp will amplify your bass guitar and give you a great sound, whatever bass you’re putting through it. Whether you play clean, completely distorted, or anything in between, we’ve chosen a range of models that offer something different to every type of bassist.
From small practice amps to stage-ready combos and heads, we’ve picked a wide selection of models to suit any scenario. Many of the best budget bass amps today are even amazing tools for recording – you really don’t have to spend loads to track a great bass sound.
Best budget bass amps: Guitar World Recommends
Out of all our picks, the single best budget bass amp is hard to choose, but in terms of sound, versatility and features, we love the Fender Rumble 100 – it’s got a range of different sounds for players to choose from to suit various playing styles, and it’s big enough to gig with. The Orange Crush Bass 50 is also worth a mention for its ability to blend in both clean and distorted tones.
The Laney Digbeth DB200H head is also a great option for pretty much any style of bassist. While you will need a cab to get any sound out of it, it’s a beast for live use and the two channels provide you with incredible tube emulation, and classic solid state headroom – the best of both worlds!
Best budget bass amps: Product guide
The Fender Rumble bass amp series really lives up to its name, dishing out all the low end power you’d expect from one of the biggest names in the industry. The Fender Rumble 100 has enough power for you to be able to run at gigs, but it’s also incredibly light, weighing in at just 10kg.
There’s a great range of tones available from a simple and user-friendly control panel. You’ve got three different voicings to choose from – bright, contour and vintage, plus you’ve got the addition of foot-switchable overdrive for introducing a heavier sound to your set-up. There’s 100W of power at your disposal, all voiced through a great sounding 12” Eminence speaker, though there’s also a DI output on the back for hooking up to a PA system at gigs.
In terms of the feature set, sound and price, the Fender Rumble 100 is difficult to beat, making it one of, if not the, best budget bass amps around.
The Laney Digbeth is a great little bass head, but don’t let its size fool you. In this scaled down 200W head, you’ve got two main channels – the FET channel offers you the classic, big-headroom clean tones you might associate with solid state amps, whereas the TUBE channel offers the dynamic response and gradual break-up that you get with old school valve bass amps. These channels can be used individually, or they can be blended together – so if you’re playing some laid back jazz one day, then some modern metal the next, you’ve got an amp that can take care of all your needs.
This 200W head provides you with plenty of power for gigging, recording and rehearsing with a band, and the powerful EQ section and tilt controls allow you to precisely dial in your tone. Add in to the mix a DI output, headphone out, FX loop and aux in, and you’ve got yourself one of the best budget bass amps with an impressive array of sounds and features.
While the Orange Bass Crush is incredibly easy to use, it’s also really versatile. It’s a 50W amp that’s capable of delivering crystal clean low end alongside bone-crushing overdrive. What we really like is the blend function that allows you to dial in your overdriven signal with your clean sound as much or as little as you want. This can help make it sound like you’re playing through a bass amp and a guitar amp at the same time, which is really handy if you’re after a huge beefy bass tone.
Even without that, the Orange Crush Bass 50 is one of the best budget bass amps around. The clean tone is warm and full, taking all manner of different bass pickups well, and a lovely vintage-style growl is really easy to dial in. There’s a powerful EQ section built into this as well. Alongside a traditional three band EQ, there’s a parametric mid band that lets you really fine tune the frequencies you do and don’t want to hear. There’s even an onboard tuner and effects loop for players that like to get clever with bass pedals.
Regardless of the sort of music you play, the Orange Crush Bass 50 is one of the best budget bass amps available to players right now.
Portable and punchy! The Blackstar Fly 3 Bass is a great battery powered bass amp that will fit inside most gig bags. With controls for your volume, gain, tone, compression, and even a sub switch, it’s surprising the array of tones you can get out of this neat little budget bass amp.
While it really is one of the smallest bass amps available, it actually offers players a good array of sounds. Go from clean to distorted with ease and dial in your tone to suit whatever room you’re in, or bass guitar you’re using. It being battery powered allows you to take it with you on the go; need to warm up backstage before a gig? Then this is perfect! Otherwise, it’s just a neat little affordable bass amp that’s not going to earn you any noise complaints!
Read the full Blackstar Fly 3 bass review
If you’ve been watching bands and casting an eye over their gear, chances are you’ll have spotted an Ampeg or two. They’re one of the biggest names in the world of bass amps, and their Rocket RB10 is one of the best budget options available to players right now.
It’s got a 10” speaker that can dish out plenty of low end whilst retaining clarity. It also features their Super Grit Technology (SGT) that when engaged lends some of that legendary Ampeg drive to your sound. Countless players have relied on Ampegs when recording some of the most well known records ever made, and now you can get a very similar sound for a great price.
It’s really easy to use, and with handy features like a headphone output and line input, it’s great for practicing. It’s rated at 50W, so you might struggle being heard with a noisy drummer, however there’s an XLR output for linking up to a PA system or additional cab.
Read the full Ampeg Rocket RB110 review
Much like its guitar equivalent, the Boss Katana 110B comes equipped with a wide range of high quality bass tones, effects and connectivity options. If you want a great sounding bass amp that will cover any genre of music that also works as a recording tool, then this could well be it.
Off the bat you’ve got the choice between vintage and modern – so whether you want old-school tube-driven bass tones or a more contemporary and edgy tone, you’ve got it. There’s also the option to choose Flat, which will give a flat response allowing the characteristics of your pickups to shine through. Tweak your sound further with a responsive four-band EQ. You’ve then got some studio quality effects to enhance your tone with, which can further be customised with the Boss Tone Studio app.
The power amp section actually works alongside the main speaker and tweeter separately so you’ll always get a dynamic and responsive sound, regardless of the volume you’re playing at. If you ever need to go down the amp modeler route; the Katana 110B also acts as a powered speaker for those, plus an effects loop and direct recording out mean it’s equipped with pretty much anything you could ever need.
Read the full Boss Katana 110B review
This is a straightforward, lightweight 250W bass head from one of the biggest players in the world of guitar and bass audio. Featuring a simple but effective control panel, a great array of sounds and a modest price tag, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best budget bass amps around.
Tone hounds will love the control you have over your sound on this amp. It’s got a four band EQ that allows you to really nail your mid range, as well as dialing in your highs and lows as desired. We really liked the thrust knob on this amp; it brings in a Mosfet compressor that can really help level out your playing dynamics and add some serious punch.
Add to this some practical features like an aux in, headphone out and DI with the option of using it pre or post-EQ, and you’ve got yourself one of the best budget bass amp heads around.
For those that want to dig a little deeper into the various sonic palettes that are available for bass guitar today, then we have another offering from Fender that can’t be overlooked when searching for the best budget bass amp.
There are 50 presets on board that all model different classic bass amps. Many of the models on board the Mustang LT are based on expensive, heavy and sought-after tube amps, so it allows you to get a wide range of different bass tones all in a more affordable and practical package. There are even a bunch of great effects built into this amp so you can go wild experimenting with different sounds.
There are different sizes available, but we really like the 25W version because of how little space it takes up and how easy it is to transport.
Read the full Fender Rumble LT25 review
Small but mighty, the Trace Elliot Elf is a rock solid 200W bass head. You’ll need a cab to get any noise out of this, but the Elf weighs less than 1kg, and it fits in your back pocket making this one of the most portable budget bass amp options.
It sounds great and it’s super dynamic, regardless of whether you’re using active or passive pickups. You’ve got a gain knob that allows you to dial in some lovely sounding drive for a grittier tone. You’ve then got a three band EQ for fine tuning your sound, and a master volume – and that’s it! It doesn’t get much more simple and easy to use than this.
Best budget bass amps: Buying advice
Buying the best budget bass amp for you
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When shopping for the best budget bass amp, one key consideration to make is whether you go for a head or a combo. A head doesn’t make any sound on its own and requires an external speaker, or cab, though heads often weigh less and take up less room. At gigs it’s quite common to share a bass cab either with the venue or some of the other bands on the bill, meaning you can just turn up with your bass and head. A combo on the other hand houses both the amp and the speaker in one unit so you’ve got everything you need right there to make some juicy, low end noise.
What tones are you looking for?
You’ll want to think about the kind of tones you want out of your budget bass amp too. At this price, you’re probably not going to be looking at tube amps, but there are some great budget bass amps that model or emulate the sound and response of tubes. Some of the options on this list have a number of different channels too – this can be great for kicking in some overdrive when going into louder sections of a song. Others might be more simple and offer a single channel with fewer sounds, which is ideal for many players out there.
What effects come on-board budget bass amps?
As bassists, we can’t let guitar players have all the fun with effects. Some of the models on our list of the best budget bass amps have built-in effects for you to experiment with. Using effects can help add another dimension to your sound, whether that be with modulation, distortion, delay or anything else. We know this isn’t for everyone though, and there are some great budget options out there with no effects and a more streamlined control panel.
Other things to consider
There are a number of practical features to look out for when searching for the best budget bass amp too. A DI output allows you to take an XLR cable from your bass amp and hook it up to a PA system for further amplification – this is fairly common at gigs. Some models also have headphone outputs for silent practice and auxiliary inputs for plugging in an MP3 player to jam along with.
Also consider the size of amp you’ll need. If you’re looking for a budget bass amp for quiet home practice, then you don’t need something with hundreds of watts – something around 25W will do the trick. If you’re looking to play live with your amp then you’ll want to start looking around 100W and above. You might get away with some 50W bass amps, but it depends on the model – and how loud your drummer is! The size of the speaker can also make a difference, with larger speakers providing more low end response, but obviously taking up more room.