Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.Despite what you might think, a budget or beginner amp doesn’t have to be terrible! No matter how much you have to spend, you can find an amp that you’ll love.
Take a look at our recommendations for the 5 best budget/beginner amps for under $500. Of these 5, we’ve featured our 3 highest-rated amps below for those of you in a hurry. If you prefer to go into more detail, then keep reading and you’ll find links to full reviews, as well as links to your favorite retailers to check the most current prices.
Table of Contents
Best Beginner Amps (Summary)
Orange Amplifiers Crush12 12-watt Combo Amp
With only 12 watts of power and a fairly small 6″ speaker, the solid-state Crush12 won’t cause any earthquakes, but it will rock your living room or bedroom. If you envision yourself eventually joining a band and playing with a drummer, you’ll definitely need something with a bit more oomph. Check out our higher-powered recommendations below. However, even if you upgrade to a more powerful amp in the future, the Crush12 will still serve you loyally as an awesome bedroom practice amp.
For more information, check out our full review of the Orange Crush 12 amp.
Vox Valvetronix VT20X Hybrid Combo Amp
With 11 amp models, 13 built-in effects, and a 3-band EQ, you’ll be able to play anything from jazz to metal. By connecting to your computer with USB, you can unlock even more amp models and effects using Vox Tone Room software. This amp even comes with a built-in tuner, so you can save some space on your pedalboard and avoid having to hassle with an external tuner. With a headphone jack and auxiliary input, you can practice at any time of the day. The Vox Valvetronix VT20X is the perfect beginner amp at an amazing price.
Check out our full review of the Vox Valvetronix VT20X.
Boss Katana KTN-50 Combo Amp
Boss, well-known for their quality effects pedals, have included a whopping 58 effects for you to mess around with. You can chain up to 15 effects at a time by using the included software. 50 watts can be too much power for playing at home. Luckily, the Katana includes a built-in attenuator, allowing you to chop the power in half to 25 watts, and even further down to just half a watt – perfect for bedroom practice. It also comes with a headphone jack for when you need to be completely silent. This is our Top Choice for the best beginner amp you can buy for the price.
For a full examination of the Katana, check out our full Boss Katana KTN-50 review.
Yamaha THR10 Portable Combo Amp
This amp won’t be good for gigging or playing in a band because of its tiny 3″ speakers, but it’s great for small gatherings or bedroom practicing. You can even use it for recording thanks to the USB jack. By connecting to a computer, the Yamaha THR Editor software allows you to create your own custom presets using the built-in models and effects! It also has a headphone jack and auxiliary input for practicing and recording at any time of the day. If you don’t see yourself joining a band and will only need an amp for bedroom practice/recording, then this amp is perfect for you. If you need more volume, you always have the option of miking this amp at a venue. For the musician who plays gigs occasionally, you’ll enjoy the light weight and not have to dread carrying around a 30-pound combo amp.
For an in-depth look at the THR10, as well as sound samples, go to our Yamaha THR10 Modeling Combo Amp full review.
Fender Super Champ X2 15 Watt Combo Amp
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the Super Champ gives you a choice of 15 built-in effects! You can also customize just about every control on the amp by using the Fender Fuse software. Plug-in to your phone or computer and you have unparalleled control over recording, EQ, tones, and effects options. Will all these features and more, the Fender Super Champ X2 is one of our absolute favorite amps of all time.
Check out sound samples and more at our full review of the Fender Super Champ X2.