Buying the best amplifier for your guitar is a really tough decision to make since a bad amp could make even the best guitar sound average. Also, the tones and responses produced by an amp can make a hell of a difference when you play. Hence, you should know your preferences thoroughly before buying one.
To help you with your decision, our team has compiled a list of the top 8 of the best tube amps for the money.
Fender Blues Junior IV – best tube amps for the money
Factors to consider when getting the best tube amps for the money
Comp amp Vs Head Vs Cabinet
This solely depends on the size of the venue you will be playing. You can get a combo amp if you are going to play in small halls or for club dates. However, if you want to rock a whole auditorium or an open space, then you need to get a 100-watt head and a cabinet. However, your combo is usually heavy-weighted.
Sold-State Vs Tube
Nowadays, traditional thinking is that solid-state amps can give you clean sounds at a price that is budget-friendly. The vacuum tubes in the tube amps are a lot more expensive. However, “serious” guitarists believe that tube amps will always give the best quality sound. However, you should choose an amp that fits your need the best.
With the help of digital processors, modeling amps can produce sound just like the tube amps of older times. The software “models” the sound provided by tube amps. These amps can be programmed and have numerous built-in effects like delay, etc. Some of these amps have analog or digital outputs that let you go directly into the PA system or recording interface
Size of the Amp
The sound that the amp produces depends on its size and power. Small speakers can produce high frequencies, however, large speakers aren’t capable of that. This is while woofers are large and tweeters are smaller. Open-backed cabinets and closed-cabinets are also very different than each other when it comes to the sounds they produce.
As we have discussed, amps can have different types. Similarly, they also have different configurations. For instance, combo amps contain speakers and amplifiers in one cabinet. Also, a “stack” is when you combine a head and two cabinets.
1. Fender Blues Junior IV – best tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 20 x 19 x 12 inches
- Weight: 31.00 lbs
The Fender Blues Junior IV is on top of the list of the best tube amps for the money. This amp comes at a very affordable price and is also portable. It also works perfectly in situations where we need low volume tube tunes and compatibility with the pedalboard.
The FAT switch on this amp can be used to easily widen the frequencies and enhancing your sounds. This amp gives you controls for treble, bass, middle, gain, master volume, and reverb level. Also, the FAT switch can easily be controlled through the footswitch.
Overall, this amp is the best tube amp you can find in the market due to its impressive features. However, some users have found that there was a hissing sound on the clean channel of the amp.
- Sounds are clean
- Pedal compatibility
- Build is of superior quality
- Light-weight design
- Clean headroom might not be enough for big performances
2. BOSS Katana MKII – best high-gain amps for the money
- Dimensions: 18 x 9 x 16 inches
- Weight: 25 lbs
The Katana series by Boss has premium quality amps that are loaded with in-built effects and a lot of impressive features, and the MKII is no different. This amp has a compact design and is available at a budget-friendly price.
In addition to this, the amp has a Waza Craft speaker than has been upgraded, along with MIDI functionality. This five-channel amp gives you five amp modes that let you control the sound. The in-built effects are great and you can even get additional ones from the Tone Studio Library.
All in all, this amp is a great option for you to take into consideration. However, some users have found its price to be slightly higher than its competitors.
- Has many impressive features
- Can give you high-gain
- In-built effects are amazing
- Price is a little high
3. BUGERA V5 – affordable tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 13.94 x 8.62 x 14.02 inches
- Weight: 22 pounds
The Bugera V5 is an affordable amp that works very effectively. It has 8-inch turbo speakers that give you all you need in an amp. This amp has hand-crafted components and hence, has a premium build.
In addition to this, it features a 12AX7 tube and an EL84 tube, which allows it to produce vintage tunes. This amp is also portable and offers you easy tone control. It is equipped with the “Infinium” technology that multiplies tube life-span.
Overall, it is a high-quality speaker that gives you numerous impressive features. However, some users don’t like the fact that it doesn’t work on batteries.
- Has a headphone mode
- Has “Infinium” technology for tube life management
- Has gain knobs that are independent
- Master-volume knob available
- Dark sound is better for blues
- Doesn’t work with batteries
4. Blackstar HT1R Series –compact tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 14.90 x 9.50 x 13.90 inches
- Weight: 13.85 lbs
The Blackstar HT1R is an amp that has a very compact design, making it convenient to carry. It also has a high-quality build and finish. In addition to that, it has two modes that you can select through the switch on the top of the panel.
This single-channel amp gives you controls for master volume and gain through the ISF control function which is a trademark of Blackstar. It has additional functions like reverb control, headphone mode, and an mp3 output.
Overall, this small amp is one that is packed with impressive and effective features. However, some users are of the opinion that its sound is on the darker side and ISF control can’t brighten it up.
- Small design
- premium finish and build
- ISF control function
- Headphone mode
- Sound is dark
- No general tone knob
5. BUGERA T50-INFINIUM – hand-built tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 17.91 x 6.18 x 12.68 inches
- Weight: 26.5 pounds
The Bugera T50 Infinium is one that is hand-built and is powered by two EL34 tubes and four 12X7 preamp ones. This 50-watt amp gives you quality tube sounds. It also lets you switch between Class AB for a tighter sound and Class A for a warmer one.
The Infinium technology by Bugera optimizes the performance of your tubes and evenly distributes the load between them. Hence, this technology helps you get the best out of your tubes throughout their life-span.
All in all, this is a great 50-watt tube amp that is worth considering. However, some users believe that recording through this amp turns out sterile.
- Has both dirty and clean channel
- Has infinium tube life multiplier system
- Functions are limited
- Recording is sterile
6. Yamaha THR30II – portable tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 16.4 x 5.5 x 7.68 inches
- Weight: 12.85 pounds
The Yamaha THR30II comes from a series of amps that have groundbreaking features. This amp has a very stylish build and is designed to be portable. This amp also gives you wireless connectivity and can also work on batteries.
In addition to that, the amp works on a 15V DC supply of power and also offers USB connectivity. It has a headphone mode for you to practice quietly at home and in-built effects like echo compressor, noise gate, chorus, phaser, tremolo, etc.
All in all, this is a highly portable amp from a reputable company. However, some users believe that it doesn’t have the traditional “guitar amp” look.
- Very compact and portable
- Works great for home practice and recording
- Easy to use
- Has in-built effects
- Doesn’t have traditional “guitar amp” look
7. Blackstar Silverline Deluxe – premium tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 12.99 x 13.39 x 26.57 inches
- Weight: 27 pounds
The Blackstar Silverline Deluxe is a very stylish amp with a grey-silver design that looks very aesthetically pleasing. This amp is also very easy to set up and use.
In addition to that, it has the SHARC technology by Blackstar that helps to ensure the quality of the tones produced by this amp. It is also equipped with Blackstar’s ISF control and also has a USB feature. Other features include headphone mode and recording modes, mp3 connectivity, and regular firmware updates.
Overall, this is a great amp brought to you by Blackstar. However, some users think that this amp doesn’t offer as many in-built effects as its competitors in the market.
- Impressive feature
- Premium build
- Front panel is laid out well
- Doesn’t offer as many effects as other amps
8. Fender Bassbreaker 007 – powerful tube amps for the money
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 15.81 x 14.75 inches
- Weight: 25.5 pounds
The Fender Bassbreaker 007 is one of the most powerful tube amps for the money. It gives you a very powerful crunch sound that isn’t offered by other Fender amps. This amp has convenient gain and tone control knobs along with treble booster controls that give you enhanced overdrive. This amp has a 10-inch Celestion speaker, two 12AX7 preamp tubes, and an EL84 power tube.
In addition to this, this loud amp has a bright switch that lets you neutralize the dark sound. This amp offers you good bass and you can easily use the control switches for your preferred amount of treble.
All in all, this is a good option to take into consideration while buying an affordable tube amp. However, some users are of the opinion that this amp can’t handle big gigs.
- Pre-amp gain can be added by treble booster
- Amplification is truly Class A
- Powerful crunch
- Can’t handle big gigs
Tube amps are believed to deliver an unmatched sound that is top-notch and is more versatile than other types of amps. This list is designed to help you choose from the best tube amps for the money. Picking an amp that gives you a wide range of features at a reasonable price would greatly enhance your rock and roll experience. However, you should always keep your needs and preference in focus while finalizing the amp you get for yourself.
- My tube amp has a standby switch. What does it do?
This switch functions to remove high voltage current from the circuit and lets the filaments of the tube get warmed up. This in turn lets the voltage get loaded down to nominal and hence, ensures safe operating.
- Are tubes dangerous?
No. Tubes get considerably hot; however, they are safe if you let the amp rest for a couple of minutes by disconnecting the power to the tubes. When the tubes get cooled down, it is safe to use them again.
- How can I tell when it’s time to replace a tube?
If your tube starts making a popping or crackling sound or has issues that weren’t there before, it might be because one or more tubes need to be replaced.
- Will changing tubes void my tube amp’s warranty?
Changing tubes doesn’t usually void the amp’s warranty. Tubes are an item that gets worn out and needs to be replaced. However, you should check the instruction manual just to be sure.
- I hear a rattling sound from my tube amp when I play certain notes. Is it a bad tube?
Tube amps can make rattling or ringing sounds at certain frequencies. First of all, you should unplug your amp and make sure the tubes are connected properly. Then, turn the tube amp on and tab the tubes on their ends very lightly using a pencil. If there is a ringing sound, you’re your tubes need to be replaced.
- One of my tubes died. What should I do?
You should replace the tubes. Keep in mind that tubes are designed in a way that leads them to get worn out. Also, some tubes last longer than others. If you are only replacing a single dead tube than focus on getting the closest possible match, especially if it’s a power tube. This would make sure that your tube amp stays efficient.