Best Guitar Amps for 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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Among the wide selection of models available, are you wondering which is the best guitar amp? If yes, then we’re here to help you out of this dilemma. We tested various amps and analyzed them in terms of sound quality, build quality, ease of use, and the in-built effects. After many hours of use, we ended up picking the top 5 best guitar amps that lived up to our expectations.
Read Related Article: Best Small Tube Amps
So read our list and find an amp that suits your needs.
|1. Vox AC4HW1
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|2. Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee
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|3. Fender Champion 100
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|4. Blackstar IDCORE10 Stereo Combo Amplifier
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|5. BOSS Katana 100
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Our Best Guitar Amps Reviews and Comparisons
1. Vox AC4HW1
- 4 Watt Class A combo amplifier; Hand-wired, turret board construction
- Reinforced cabinet (with natural HF diffuser); Wrapped in vintage Fawn vinyl
- Tube complement: 12AX7 (x 2); EL84 (x 1); 12-Inch Celestion GM 12 Greenback
- TOP BOOST: Volume, Treble, Bass; Cool/Hot Switch; High & Low inputs
- MASTER section: Master Volume
Vox’s outstanding AC4HW1 tube amp is high on quality and it packs a lot of tone into a relatively small pack.
Apart from being one of the best-looking amps, it also offers the trademark British vintage sound for which Vox is known. Cleans are pure while the gain is full-bodied and beautifully saturated.
The controls on this AC4HW1 are about as simple as it gets. There are four knobs, controlling master volume, treble, bass, and preamp volume (this functions more like a gain switch). The turret board is hand-wired instead of using modern printed circuit boards, simplifying the signal path through the amp and offering purer, more precise vintage tones.
There are two inputs, offering a high and low voicing. An output of an extension speaker lets you run the circuit in a larger cabinet if necessary. Finally, in its hot/cool switch, this amp has an extra special feature. It gives Vintage Vox top-boost tone when left on ‘cool’ mode. ‘Hot’ mode bypasses the whole tone circuit for a rich, overdriven saturation of the tubes.
What We Like About Vox AC4HW1
This amp also delivers a solid amount of bass and depth. It’s a great choice for recording, home use, and smaller jam sessions or solo gigs.
What We Don’t Like About Vox AC4HW1
Removing the back panel of this amp is a tough job.
- Good bass and depth
- Vintage British sound
- Hot/cool switch
- Difficult to remove the back panel
2. Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee
A push/pull switch on the output master volume changes channels, while another push/pull the switch on the gain knob flips the 2555X into rhythm clip mode, making the clean channel a lot more aggressive. The third rocker switch changes the output stage mode from pentode to triode, decreasing the power from 100 to about 50 watts softens the attack.
The reissue of the 2555X Silver Jubilee has the same silver vinyl cover used on the originals and looks just as beautiful. The controls are pleasantly familiar, with a simple front panel layout featuring bass, mid, treble, presence controls along with a preamp gain, and two master volume controls-one for lead and one for rhythm.
What We Like About Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee
Overall, the 2555X is built to last and look good for a long time, with the typically high quality of construction and attention to detail at Marshall. The reissue amp is as accurate tonally as it could possibly be, with perhaps a touch more gain and a low-end punch as the original.
What We Don’t Like About Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee
The amp is quite bulky and can be too loud for certain gigs.
- Simple front panel layout
- Tonally accurate
- Push/pull switch
- Too loud
3. Fender Champion 100
- When ‘burying’ your drummer in volume is important, the 100 watts thrown out of 2 – 12” Fender special designed speakers will get your point across.
- Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
- Toggle between 100 Watts of clean or mean from the 2 channels with the kick of a footswitch during a stage or studio performance.
- Explore many very usable musical tones from the many amp classic to modern amp voicing’s and the various spacial effects such as digital reverb, chorus, delay and vibratone.
- Limited Warranty Included.1/8 inch aux input
The Fender Champion 100 is a value-packed amplifier that combines power with neat features behind the front fascia of its old school silver grille cloth.
To get started, it has a 100 Watt amplifier section that drives two 12″ speakers, more than enough for most venues, while keeping the price tag reasonable. Fender’s first channel is based on old Fender Blackface clean, while the second channel allows you to choose between 16 different voices, from overdrive to high octane distortion. Fender has equipped the Champion 100 with an Effects Loop connection to better accommodate existing guitar rigs.
What We Like About Fender Champion 100
The best features of the Fender Champion 100 are sound quality and value-for-money, as well as its intuitive control of the old-school style. Many are pleased with Blackface’s authentic-sounding clean tone while others are particularly fond of its overdriven tone. Also adding to its premium appeal is the solid aesthetics of the amp build and vintage style, ideal for experienced guitarists who prefer classic looks.
What We Don’t Like About Fender Champion 100
The lack of an extension speaker output and a dedicated reverb knob are some of its drawbacks.
- Effects Loop connection
- 16 different voices, from overdrive to high octane distortion
- Vintage appeal
- No extension speaker output
- No dedicated reverb knob
4. Blackstar IDCORE10 Stereo Combo Amplifier
Having its own presets, The IDCORE10 is a modeling amp that comes with clean warm, clean bright, crunch, super crunch, etc. tunes. It is also fully programmable to achieve the user’s desired effect.
Using a mini USB it can be plugged into a computer to allow precise tuning and recording. This is done with a digital equalizer and a large ‘effects’ section allowing you to modify a wide set of parameters.
This could keep an enthusiast busy for hours, without bothering others with the noise, as the IDCORE10 can be used with headphones. If you want to go old school, then the Blackstar will offer you this possibility as it has a full set of intuitive controls, the same as on a traditional vamp.
For an entry-level model, the sound comes in full stereo with two speakers totaling 10W of output at remarkably good quality.
What We Like About Blackstar IDCORE10 Stereo Combo Amplifier
A plethora of effects coupled with an old school feel is what we like about this amp.
What We Don’t Like About Blackstar IDCORE10 Stereo Combo Amplifier
Having a wide variety of effects, the amp may be too complicated for some users.
- Has multiple effects
- Can be used with headphones
- An old school feel
- Too complicated to use
5. BOSS Katana 100
Boss’s Katana amps have earned a reputation as some of today’s best guitar amps and the BOSS Katana 100 does not disappoint. This 100W solid-state model is ready for gigs and has five amp characters (Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic), as with the rest of the range, plus variations for each.
Since this is a Boss amp, you get five independent sections of digital effects thrown in (Booster, Mod, FX, Delay, and Reverb), all of which can be saved over eight memory setting tones. Katana with its adjustable cab resonance options, power control, easy to record mic’d cab-emulated outputs along with tonal control stands tall on our list.
The built-in attenuation of the amp is a bonus to the overall value of the amp, making it viable for use in smaller venues and even for low volume practice.
What We Like About BOSS Katana 100
Its tone is commendable— especially clean, slightly overdriven sounds. And there are many that with some tweaking have got reasonably good sounding high gain tones. Many users are satisfied with the built-in effects of the Boss Amps. Those who already own pedals report that the stompboxes and the guitar processors work well.
What We Don’t Like About BOSS Katana 100
This amp may be quite complicated to use for some people.
- 5 amp characters with variations for each
- Good sounding high gain tones
- Ideal for smaller venues
- Too complicated in its functioning
Flaunting a vintage British sound, a hot/cool switch, and an exceptional bass and depth, the Vox AC4HW1 is highly impressive and the best guitar amp according to us. Not only does it look good but has a full-bodied gain which makes it popular among guitarists.
However, if Vox does not impress you, we’ve also mentioned other options that you can choose from. So pick one and amplify your amazing strumming skills.