If you’ve been playing for a little while, then you’ll know that the core sound of your rig is down to your amplifier. However, a lot of guitarists underestimate how the best guitar cabinets will allow you to expand upon your core tone, providing a three-dimensional element to your guitar work as well as helping to increase the volume on stage and in the rehearsal space.
Here, we’ll detail all the best guitar cabinets available today, from 1x12 extension cabinets all the way to the mighty 4x12 half stack. No matter your playing style, there’s a cab that will help you expand upon your sound.
We've included some in-depth buying advice at the end of this guide, so if you'd like to read more about the best guitar cabinets, click the link. If you'd rather get to the products, keep scrolling.
Best guitar cabinets: Guitar World’s choice
It just had to be, didn’t it? The Marshall 1960AV 4x12 Angled Guitar Cabinet is the original, and still the best, guitar cabinet for a huge variety of styles. Packing four Celestion G12 vintage-voiced guitar speakers, there’s not a thing this awesome bit of kit can’t do for your guitar’s tone. Crank the volume on this beast and you’ll feel it right in your chest.
We don’t all have space for a 4x12 cabinet so running the classic Marshall a close second is the Orange PPC212OB 2x12 Open Back Cabinet. With two Celestion Vintage 30 speakers for a tight response, the open back of this cab helps create a spacious, three-dimensional guitar sound.
Best guitar cabinets: Product guide
The image of Marshall stacks adorning stages all over the world has seeped into the very fabric of modern culture, even if you don’t know what a guitar cabinet is. This particular Marshall cab features ’80s sonic characteristics, with that original iconic ’60s styling.
Four 12-inch Celestion G12 Vintage speakers make this cab capable of delivering everything from pristine cleans to high gain lead tones and it does so with balance and power. With chime-like highs and a metric ton of low end that never gets muddy, this cab is pure rock power personified.
It comes with casters already installed, which you’ll need because this thing is seriously heavy! The birch cabinet has the top two speakers angled upwards for a better spread of your sound.
Orange cabinets are rapidly becoming some of the most popular cabs you’ll find, thanks to their fantastic build quality, sound, and of course those distinctive-looking orange Tolex wraps.
The Orange PPC212OB features two Celestion Vintage 30 speakers – a classic combo in guitar cabinet construction. They deliver a very mid-range heavy sound with no booming lows or harsh highs. Thanks to the open-back cab design and diagonally positioned speakers, there’s a distinctly airy quality that fills a room well.
Orange’s trademark skid runners take the place of your typical feet that you'll find on most guitar cabinets. They acoustically couple the cabinet to whichever surface you place it on, ensuring excellent sound delivery and controlled low end.
The EVH 5150 4x12 cabinet is perfect for rock and metal players looking to amplify their tone. It features custom-voiced Celestion speakers and is designed specifically for the EVH 5150 III 100W and 50W heads, although it will work with pretty much any kind of amp head.
Sonically this is a very smooth-sounding cabinet, very organic with a silky feel to the high end. The speakers are voiced for high gain and perform extremely well in these kinds of settings, delivering a warm tone without any harshness in the high end.
It’s an incredibly well-built cabinet with large-radius, rounded metal corners and recessed handles that allow for relatively easy transportation. The side effect of this great build quality is made clear in its weight, so be prepared to get some help if you need to take this cabinet upstairs.
Designed as an extension cabinet for the classic Hot Rod Deluxe and Blues Deluxe combo amplifiers, this lovely little box from Fender helps you double up on your tone with spacious, room-filling sounds.
Unsurprisingly the sound of this cab is well suited to Fender amps, but it adds a lot of low end to the typically treble-heavy Fender amp tone. Despite its small size, it does add a significant amount of volume when you crank your amplifier's gain channel.
It’s a closed-back cabinet construction, so you get a tighter low end that’s lovely and punchy. The cabinet feels extremely solid and you can remove the feet if you want to add another cabinet to your rig and stack them.
Mesa Boogie is the gold standard in rock and metal tone, so it’s no surprise to find that their guitar cabinet excels in this area too. Designed to be paired with the Dual and Triple Rectifier amp heads, this is an oversized cabinet for monster guitar tones.
Even at the highest gain settings, the Mesa Boogie 4x12 remains clear and articulate, really allowing your amp's natural tone to shine through. On the lighter side of things, it performs admirably too, great for arpeggiated clean passages and swathes of delay and reverb-soaked chord work.
The cabinet is extremely well built and will put up with plenty of abuse from load in and load out. It’s a Marine-grade Baltic birch construction so you’re assured of the best quality sound that will stand the test of time.
The Orange PPC412 4x12 guitar cabinet is an incredibly powerful piece of guitar gear that will make any guitar amp head sing. It’s an incredibly stable-sounding cabinet thanks to its sturdy construction and lack of wheels which tie it to the surface it sits on.
The Celestion Vintage 30 speakers deliver an incredibly punchy guitar tone that’s incredibly well balanced. You get lovely shimmery highs and solid low end, without going too much in either direction. It’ll do shimmery cleans just as well as it handles high gain, making it one of the most versatile guitar cabinets available.
The construction is typical Orange-fare: rugged and steadfast, it will put up with anything you throw out. There are no casters here, so be prepared to have someone help you move it over long distances because this thing is heavy!
The Marshall Origin ORI212A is designed to be paired with Marshall Origin amp heads, but will easily suit a variety of smaller-scale amp heads. You can fit a full-size amp head onto this cabinet, but it will overhang on each side a little.
The vertical configuration of the speakers means this cabinet may sound a little alien at first, especially if you’re used to a regular 2x12 or 4x12 cabinet. However once this effect wears off, you’ll quickly discover a bright, punchy tone that works well with a variety of amp heads.
The angled cabinet gives you a great presence on noisy stages and the closed-back design ensures that your low end remains punchy and articulate. It’s lightweight enough to move on your own and will easily fit up the narrow staircases of any venue.
The Engl E412VG Pro Guitar Cabinet is designed for rock and metal players, marrying huge guitar sound with German engineering for a powerful combination. It’s a highly robust guitar cabinet that will suit heavier styles and extended-range guitars.
Even when chugging on that low string you’ll find the bass response of this cabinet never feels ‘flabby’, staying tight and articulate. On higher gain settings it sounds absolutely phenomenal, delivering a punch that hits you right in the chest and never abates.
It’s an incredibly well-built unit, so as you’d expect it weighs a ton. Thankfully the addition of recessed handles and casters means you can move it around relatively easily, safe in the knowledge it will put up with any knocks it takes along the way.
1x12 cabinets have a tendency to sound boxy and can often lack low-end, but that’s not the case with this brilliant bit of kit. The Friedman Runt 112 is designed to be paired with the 20W and 50W amp heads of the same name, but it’ll do a lot for the majority of lower-powered heads and combos.
It’s a huge-sounding cab despite its smaller size thanks to its front-ported design, something you would normally find in bass cabs to enhance the low end. It sounds just as great in the upper and mid ranges too, with a throaty voice that sounds just as good with clean picking as it does on the gain channel.
It’s a lightweight cabinet so it's easy to get around whether you’re gigging or hitting the studio. The Baltic Birch still feels absolutely rock solid, so you’ll have no qualms about whether it can put up with the rigors of the road.
The Bogner 212 Guitar Cabinet does an admirable job of giving some 4x12 cabinets a run for their money when it comes to volume. Front-loaded speakers assist with this, enhancing the clarity and openness of this cab’s sound.
You get a great bass response with this cabinet but it’s always focused and never overpowering. The punchiness in the mid-range is complemented by smooth highs that never get close to sounding harsh or fizzy.
It’s an oversized cabinet, so larger than most 2x12s you’ll come across, the price to pay for that extra volume. As with the majority of cabinets, it's a birch construction that will be more than adequate enough to put up with the burden of regular gigging.
Best guitar cabinets: Buying advice
What should I know about the best guitar cabinets?
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When it comes down to it, guitar cabs are just wooden housings for speakers. A guitar cabinet won’t work on its own, so you’ll need an amplifier to drive it. The majority of guitar cabinets will feature 12-inch speakers because that size helps translate the full dynamic range of your guitar tone.
What size guitar cab do I need?
There are three main types of guitar cabinets that you can look at in today’s market. 1x12 cabinets are the smallest available but will still pack a punch. Due to their smaller size, they tend to accentuate the mids and highs and are great for helping expand the tone of smaller wattage combos and heads. The 2x12 is the next step up, bridging the gap between a classic combo and a half stack in terms of both sound and size. It will sound more focused than a 4x12, but will still pair well with high wattage amplifiers.
Lastly, we have the 4x12 guitar cabinet, which is the go-to for any guitarist seeking more volume. You will notice two main types of 4x12, straight and angled. Most guitar players prefer an angled cabinet, and this is because two of the speakers are tilted at an angle, which provides a better projection of your guitar sound, filling the space more efficiently.
Matching your cab's power to your head
One of the key factors you’ll need to look into is whether your amp output matches that of the speaker cabinet you’re plugging into. Getting this wrong can result in overdriving of your speakers, which will damage them in the long run. Impedance is expressed as Ω (ohms) and for the most part, a cabinet will either be 4 ohms or 8 ohms. If you look on the back of your combo amp or head, it will most likely tell you what kind of cabinet you can connect to, so be sure to check this before purchasing.
A lot of modern amplifiers can detect the impedance of the cabinet they are matched to and automatically adjust the power delivery, and if you’re still not sure, a perusal of the amp manual should see you right.
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