Best guitar amps under $1,000 in 2023: 10 top combo amps and heads

Boss Katana on a dark smokey stage
(Image credit: Future)

If you’ve got the budget to shop for the best amps under $1,000, then the world really is your oyster, as this is serious amp territory. From the most powerful modeling amps to tube combos and heads, you definitely won’t be short of options in this price range. Too much choice is a serious issue but, luckily for you, we’ve dredged through all the specs and stats to give you our top picks of the best amps under $1,000. There are some great options from PRS, Fender and Orange that will cover a huge range of genres and playing styles. 

While it’s true that the more you spend, the more you get, it’s definitely possible to find a fantastic-sounding guitar amplifier at the cheaper end of the scale, as this guide to the best guitar amps under $1,000 proves. 

We've made sure to cover an array of amps from tube and solid-state combos to high-powered heads, with each amplifier more than loud enough to take the stage and be heard over an enthusiastic drummer - meaning you'll be able to take your new amp out on the road!

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Our top picks

Despite being an amp aimed at hard rock and metal guitar players, the PRS MT 15 (opens in new tab) Mark Tremonti delivers a pristine clean tone alongside its growling dirt channel. Combine that with its ‘lunchbox’ sized portability and you’ve got yourself the best guitar under $1,000

Blackstar’s HT-20 MKII builds upon the great sound of its predecessor, improving both the looks and functionality drastically. With a great range of British and American flavored tones alongside versatile connectivity options, this is a great amp for home practice, stage, or the studio.

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Product guide

Best guitar amps under $1,000: PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti

(Image credit: Future)

1. PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti

A great all-rounder – the best guitar amp under $1,000 right now

Specifications

Type: Lunchbox tube head
Output: 15W, switchable down to 7W
Number of channels: 2, with clean pull-boost
Tubes: 2x 6L6, 6x EC83S
Weight: 17.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great cleans and overdrives
+
Blue/red light depending on channel

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for those seeking vintage tones

Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti is no stranger to giant guitar tones – his band has been conquering arenas for long enough for him to know what modern rock players need out of an amp. This signature head from PRS, who also makes the guitars that travel with him around the world, covers all kinds of tones with minimal ease.

This lunchbox-sized twin channel amp offers a crystal clear clean sound, with plenty of presence. There is also a hidden mid boost on the treble control, that once pulled, gives you an added mid-range bark to your clean tone. Now, it wouldn't be a Tremonti amp without a killer overdrive sound, and boy does this little amp deliver! The gain sounds on offer are thick and meaty, with plenty of low-end and piercing high-end. 

So, if you are looking for a killer metal amp that can also do mellow cleans at the flick of a switch, then this has to be the amp for you. 

Read our full PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti review  

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Blackstar HT-20RH MkII

(Image credit: Blackstar)

2. Blackstar HT-20RH MkII

Classic British and American overdrives with modern features

Specifications

Type: Tube head
Output: 20W, switchable down to 2W
Number of channels: 2, with two voicings
Tubes: 2x EL84
Weight: 21.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
ISF control to dial between UK and US voicing
+
Power attenuator

Reasons to avoid

-
May not have enough clean headroom for some players 

Started by a couple of ex-Marshall employees back in 2007, Blackstar has become one of the most prominent names in the affordable to mid-tier end of the market. And with good reason – amps like this HT20 MkII pack plenty of power with also the flexibility for home recording and practicing.

This may be a two-channel amplifier, but with the inclusion of a voice control on each channel, it actually boasts four different tones. On the clean side, the voice control switches between an American-style sound and a British one. Similarly, you can switch between a classic Blackstar tone or a high-gain setting - based on the HT Venue MkII - on the overdrive channel. 

This makes for a surprisingly versatile head that, with 20 watts of power, will comfortably handle most standard gigging situations. 

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Boss Katana Artist MkII - 100-watt 1x12" Combo Amp

(Image credit: Boss)

3. Boss Katana Artist MkII

A great all-in-one amp modeller with effects

Specifications

Type: Solid State
Output: 100W, switchable down to 50 or 0.5
Number of channels: 5
Tubes: n/a
Weight: 41.15 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
High quality Boss effects
+
A lot of power

Reasons to avoid

-
No valves

The Katana series brought high-quality amp modeling and those classic effects Boss are famous for into one ingenious package. This update packs even more tones, features, and options to dial in exactly the sound in your head – such as a variable solo boost and three custom EQ curves.

The Boss Katana Artist is the professionals modeling amp, taking what players loved about the standard Katana, and elevating it to a premium gigging combo. Featuring a Custom Waza 12-inch speaker, the artist has a tighter more focussed low-end and an increased power-handling. The new solid cabinet construction, certainly gives this amp a more traditional look, while the semi-closed back construction helps reinforce the punchy sound. 

It goes without saying, but all the effects are top-notch, and frankly sound incredible. It really is like having the world's largest Boss pedalboard built directly into your amp! So if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, that gives you incredible amp tones, with world-class effects then the Katana Artist is the right choice for you. 

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Vox AC15C2 15-watt 2x12" Tube Combo

(Image credit: Vox)

4. Vox AC15C2 Tube Combo

Old-school charm in a small and affordable package

Specifications

Type: Tube combo
Output: 15W
Number of channels: 2
Tubes: EL84
Weight: 66.58 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Those classic Vox looks
+
World-renowned blues tones

Reasons to avoid

-
No low-powered mode

Vox AC amps are not only known for their classic chimey 60s tone, but also their insane weight, and outlandish volume levels. Luckily, the AC15C2 delivers all the legendary Vox tone, without breaking the bank - or your back

With a pair of EL84 housed in its engine room pushing your signal through two 12” Celestion Greenback speakers, this 15-Watt twin will easily nail those Brian May rock tones - albeit at a much more manageable volume. That said, it’s more than capable of pushing serious air from the stage, making it the perfect amp for small gigs. 

On top of the classic blues and early rock tones, Vox is renowned for, there’s also lush tremolo and spring reverb onboard. 

Best tube amps: Supro Delta King 12

(Image credit: Supro)

5. Supro Delta King 12

A boutique tube combo at a brilliant price

Specifications

Type: Tube combo
Output: 15W
Channels: 1
Tubes: 1x 12AX7, 1x 6L6
Speakers: 1x12" Supro DK12
Weight: 13kg

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful sounding tube tone
+
Luscious onboard reverb
+
Boost switch for more gain

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward controls

Following up from their super popular Blues King 12, the Supro Delta King 12 has firmly established itself as one of the best small tube combos going. Despite its small size, it’s got bags of huge tone on tap.

The clean tone is smooth and sweet with a nice crispness that stays pretty much 'til the halfway point on the gain knob. Drive it past this point and you get a juicy drive sound that’s great for rock and blues. The two boost modes let you dial in even more juice, taking you right to grungy rock territory.

The cabinet looks absolutely stunning, with a unique design that will definitely turn heads at your next gig. It’s more than loud enough to hang with a heavy-handed drummer too, and if you need it for bigger shows, there’s a line out for sending direct to the mixing desk.

Read our full Supro Delta King 12 review (opens in new tab)

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Fender Blues Junior IV

(Image credit: Fender)

6. Fender Blues Junior IV

The most popular small valve amp of all time - reborn

Specifications

Type: Tube
Output: 15 Watts
Number of channels: One
Tubes: 2 x EL84
Weight: 14.3 kg

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight 
+
Great spring reverb
+
Re-voiced design  

Reasons to avoid

-
Some players may need more headroom  

It’s hard to deny the impact the Fender Blues Junior has had on the world of music. Whether it’s sitting pride of place on stages around the world or in the bedrooms of hobbyists, this plucky little amp has been a mainstay since it was released back in 1990. 

We are now on iteration number 5, and Fender has clearly listened to the common complaints people had about the previous generation. Gone is the previously spongey, overdrive sound, in favor of a tighter, more natural drive - thanks to the newly modified preamp circuit. The new Celestion 12-inch A-type speaker is also a vast improvement over the previous model, as we no longer have boxiness issues in the low-mids.

So if you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-use, and lightweight valve combo that won’t break the bank, then it’s worth joining the millions of other guitarists who have made the Fender Blues Junior their go-to amp. 

Read our full Blues Junior IV review

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Orange OR15H 15-watt Tube Head

(Image credit: Orange)

7. Orange OR15H 15-watt Tube Head

One of the best guitar amps under $1,000 if low-end is your thing

Specifications

Type: Tube head
Output: 15W
Number of channels: 1
Tubes: EL84
Weight: 17.77 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
More low-end rumble than you could ever need
+
Great for crunches and overdrives

Reasons to avoid

-
The payoff is that the cleans lack sparkle

Sometimes, simple is better - and it doesn’t get much simpler than the OR15H. This single-channel 15 watt valve amp, delivers bone-crushing overdrive tones, that aren’t a million miles away from the - much more expensive - Rockerverb Dirty Channel. This amp is a great pedal platform, so if you rely on an array of drive pedals, if worth checking this one out. 

There’s just something about the low-end response you get from an Orange amp that makes other brands sound fizzy in comparison. Anyone looking to dial in darker blues tones or sludgy stoner rock will undoubtedly appreciate the sheer sonic depth of this OR15H – which, despite being only 15-Watts, is guaranteed to shake the earth under your feet.

With a flick of a switch, you have the ability to drop the power down to a more bedroom-friendly 7 watts. Meaning there is no idea to have a separate practice amp, for home use. 

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus

(Image credit: Roland )

8. Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus

The iconic king of clean

Specifications

Watts: 40
Type: Solid state combo
Preamp tubes: N/A
Power amp tubes: N/A
Speakers: 25 cm (10 inches) x 2
Key features: Onboard chorus, vibrato, reverb and distortion

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning clean sounds 
+
Lush chorus 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most attractive amp on the market

The Jazz Chorus really did define the clean sound of the late 70s and 80s, with everyone from Andy Summers to Robert Smith, James Hetfield and Johnny Marr turning to this humble solid-state amp to achieve some of the best guitar tones of all time. 

Famed for its ultra-clean, high headroom sound, the Jazz Chorus really allows the tone of the guitar to shine through, while the iconic onboard chorus delivers the lush, wide modulation you'd expect from this 80s legend. 

The JC-40 takes the original blueprint of the JC-120 and scales it down to a much more manageable size - and volume level. It also includes a handy line out, which can be used for recording or even taking the signal out to a PA system while playing live. 

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Marshall DSL40CR 40-watt 1x12" Tube Combo

(Image credit: Marshall)

9. Marshall DSL40CR 40-watt 1x12" Tube Combo

A 40-watt powerhouse packing plenty of tone options

Specifications

Type: Tube combo
Output: 40W
Number of channels: 2
Tubes: EL84
Weight: 17.77 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
The most legendary name in amplification
+
Enough power for just about any kind of venue

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not sound as big as a 2x12

If you look at the list of Marshall endorsees over the years, you'll realise just how many legendary recordings have been made with their game-changing amps. While it may not be a 100W Super Lead or JCM800, this all-tube 40-Watt combo from the DSL series packs a lot of classic sounds into a small amount of space. 

The DSL 40 may be Marshalls best solution for the players looking for a robust amp that delivers all the legendary rock tones of yesteryear while offering modern features that bring the amp into the modern-day - such as a spacey digital reverb, a bypassable series effects loop, and even a line output with Softube's accurate emulation of a Marshall 1960 cab.

It's hard to look past the DSL40 for its outstanding tone and incredible value for money. This really is one of the best guitar amps under $1,000 out there right now. 

Best amps under $1,000: Fender 68 Custom Vibro Champ

(Image credit: Fender)

10. Fender 68 Custom Vibro Champ

Vintage valve tone you can use at home

Specifications

Type: Tube combo
Output: 30W
Number of channels: 2
Tubes: 2 x 6V6, 2 x EL84
Weight: 50 pounds
Type: Tube combo
Output: 5W
Channels: 1
Tubes: 2x 12AX7, 1x 6V6
Speakers: 1x10" Celestion G10R-30
Weight: 9.25kg

Reasons to buy

+
Glorious Fender clean tone
+
Great for studio work
+
Brilliant pedal platform

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t do high gain

The perfect small combo for home use, the Fender 68 Custom Vibro Champ is a tiny powerhouse of tone. Despite only being rated at 5 watts, this amp is surprisingly loud and more than a match tonally for any tube amp combo.

As you’d expect, that legendary Fender clean tone is present and accounted for here. It’s balanced smooth and sounds absolutely phenomenal with a bunch of drive or fuzz pedals placed in front of it. You won’t get a high gain sound out of the amp alone, but crank the volume and it will still hit classic rock territory.

The bright switch is incredibly powerful and works a treat at brightening darker-sounding pickups whilst the built-in tremolo and reverb effects can do anything from a subtle warble to cavernous space. Thanks to its low wattage, this amp is perfect for recording at home or in the studio, letting you tap into glorious vintage tube tone without annoying the neighbors or your audio engineer.

Best guitar amps under $1,000: Buying advice

Supro Delta King 12 control panel

(Image credit: Future)

 You’ve got a lot of choices at this price point, but there are just a few considerations you should really concentrate on when deciding on what to purchase. First off you’ll need to think about your own playing style and current rig to help decide on what you want. If you like to generate your drive sounds with pedals, then a neutral ‘pedal-platform’ type amp is what you need. A blank canvas that allows you to paint your tonal palette upon it. If you’re the type of player that rides the volume knob of your guitar and prefers a pedal-less set-up, then a drive channel is a must, so pay careful attention to which channels the amplifier has. 

Should I buy a tube or solid state amp?

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The tube amp vs solid state debate is as old as time itself, and to be honest, it's not as big a deal as the internet would have you believe. Now, while there are certainly significant differences between the two options, one isn't better than the other. You need to think carefully about the practicality of each and decide which is right for you. 

A tube - or valve - amp may give you the harmonically rich overdrive tone you long for, but if it doesn't come with an attenuator, you may find it impossible to push the tubes hard enough to get the desired sound. That said, if you are looking for a no-nonsense amp that evokes the tones of the past, then a valve amp is the only way to go - just find one with a low wattage for bedroom use. 

These days solid state amps tend to come loaded full of hi-tech features and a slew of effects - perfect for those looking to experiment with lots of different sounds. In addition, these amps don't need to be driven like their valve counterparts, and there are far more bedroom friendly. It also has to be said that not all the famous amps of the past used valves. The iconic Roland Jazz Chorus is, in fact, a solid state amp and is just as legendary as an all-tube Marshall. 

Close up of Black HT20RH controls

(Image credit: Future)

Does the wattage of the guitar amp matter?

Power should really be at the forefront of your considerations when considering one of the best guitar amps under $1,000 – there really is no point in owning a 100-Watt stack with no attenuation for bedroom playing. Likewise, the lower-powered mini heads that have become popular in recent years might not cut it if you find yourself performing at venues without being mic’d up or headlining bigger outdoor festivals. 

Now, it’s not all about volume; most of the time, it comes down to headroom. By headroom, we mean how loud the amp goes while maintaining a clean sound. Take the Fender Blues Junior for example. This gorgeous little amp breaks up pretty quickly, so if you were to push it to gig volumes, you’ll have a distorted sound - a fantastic sound, but distorted nonetheless. Similarly, if we look at the Egnater Rebel-30, the 30-watts of power mean it has a pretty decent level of headroom at concert levels. 

This goes hand in hand with how much gain you would like out of your new amp. Of course, there are some players who rely on clean amps and swear by their overdrive and distortion pedals for gain, but most rock/metal musicians will prefer an amp to do the bulk of the work before anything else gets added. And at the opposite end of the tonal spectrum, country and funk players will usually prefer an amp that thrives mainly on cleans, meaning they have little use for anything beyond that.

What features do I need?

 Lastly, you’ll want to consider what connectivity options the amp features. If you use a lot of pedals with time-based effects like reverb and delay, an amp with an FX loop allows you to run them separately, preventing coloration from other pedals in your signal chain. 

This means that your reverb tails and delay repeats will sound clearer and more defined, particularly useful when you have a long line of drive pedals in front of the amp. 

Power attenuation is a nice feature too if you need to practice quietly. It allows you to drive the amp and get that tube saturation without causing any noise complaints when at home. It’s also a great characteristic for studio work, as you won’t have to drive the amp so much to get a rich tone out of it. 

Read more about how we test products and services and how we make our recommendations.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences. He's interviewed everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handling lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).

With contributions from