7 Best Tube Amps Under $500 of 2024

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With so many great tube amp models out there, it can be tricky to know which one to go for. And you certainly don't want to miss out on a tasty tube tone.

Tube guitar amps are a real treat for guitar players, offering a rich, resonant tone with gritty characteristics. Unlike solid-state amps, tubes are known for a brighter and more 'tangible' sound, with fuller harmonics and more saturation.

In this guide, we'll show you a few of the best tube guitar amps under $500. This covers a range of budgets, from affordable beginner amps up to mid-level pro gear.

If you're wondering, "Are budget guitar amps good enough for me?" It depends on your needs, but you can find some amps with a great tone in this price range.

We'll also share a tube amp buyer's guide to help you find the best amp for your needs.

Generally, in this price range, we think the Vox AC4 1x12" might be the best guitar amp on this list - it has a super authentic tube tone, legit amp heritage, and dynamic volume.

If you want something a bit more modern, we suggest you look at amps on the Blackstar Silverline range, either the Blackstar Silverline Special 1x12 or the Blackstar Silverline Stereo Deluxe 2x12!

Keep reading for the full list!

Quick Summary of the Best Tube Amps Under $500

  1. Behringer HA-40R-UL (Budget Tube Tones)
  2. Orange Micro Terror Head and PPC108 Cabinet (Terrific Mini Stack)
  3. Bugera V5 Infinium (Vintage Chic)
  4. Blackstar Silverline Special 1x12 (Modern Monster)
  5. Vox AC4 1x12" (Heritage Tubes)
  6. Marshall DSL1CR (Small but Mighty)
  7. Blackstar Silverline Stereo Deluxe 2x12 (Big and Bad)

Best Tube Amps Under $500

1. Budget Tube Tones – Behringer HA-40R-UL ($159)

Behringer HA-40R-UL


  • Wattage: 40w
  • Tube Type: VTC Tube Modeling
  • Speaker Size: 1x10"
  • Controls: OD gain, volume, clean volume, channel switch, 3-band EQ, reverb

The first amp on this list is a budget model from affordable gear experts Behringer.

While this 40-watt amp doesn't actually use tubes (you'd struggle to find good ones this cheap), it uses VTC tube modeling, which provides a surprisingly realistic tube tone at a fraction of the cost.

It also has the benefits of solid-state technology, including no heating times and a more consistent sound without tube degradation.

It offers a decent amount of versatility in tones, too, thanks to the array of controls, including a three-band EQ, a separate clean and overdrive channel, and a built-in reverb. It can do everything from smooth, clean tones to crunchy distortion.

Using a 40-watt power amp, this thing can go pretty loud, making it ideal for both practicing at home and playing on stage.

While it doesn't quite capture the true magic of real tubes, this could be one of the best budget guitar amps for players looking for an affordable tube tone.

2. Terrific Mini Stack – Orange Micro Terror Head and PPC108 Cabinet ($258)

Orange Micro Terror Head and PPC108 Cabinet


  • Wattage: 20w
  • Tube Type: 12AX7
  • Speaker Size: 1x8"
  • Controls: Volume, tone, gain

This head and cabinet bundle from Orange offers a sweet tube tone and decent speaker volume in a small and portable package.

This includes an Orange Micro Terror Head with a PPC108 Orange cabinet - giving you the benefits of using a head and cab setup rather than a combo amp.

Despite the small size, the Terror Head creates a full, punchy sound, and the cabinet projects well, too, giving a nice amount of volume for practicing at home or use in a recording studio.

The head has minimal controls, with a gain and volume knob and a single-tone control. Despite only having one tone control, you can still get a pretty wide range of tones out of the head -- and it's also super easy to use.

It also features a headphone output and a line-in, making it even more functional for recording and practice.

We think this small bundle is one of the best entry points into the world of tube amplification, and the fact that it's got a separate head/cab setup gives you options for expanding later down the line.

3. Vintage Chic – Bugera V5 Infinium ($279)

Bugera V55 Infinium


  • Wattage: 5w
  • Tube Type: 12AX7 and EL84
  • Speaker Size: 1x8"
  • Controls: Gain, tone, volume, reverb

This sweet little tube combo amp from Bugera is the perfect pint-sized companion for your practice room and offers crisp and creamy tube tones in a small footprint.

Among the more compelling features is the built-in power attenuator, which lets you adjust the amp's power performance to find the right level for the volume at which you're using it.

It has a rich tone that stands more on the vintage end of the spectrum and is therefore a great jammer for anyone who plays blues, rock n roll, jazz, and other more mellow guitar genres.

The built-in reverb sounds great, too, and brings a bit more versatility to the sound. The overall sound sculpting is fairly limited, given it only uses a single-tone knob, although it still has a good amount of depth.

4. Modern Monster – Blackstar Silverline Special 1x12 ($299)

Blackstar Silverline Special 1x12 in 50-watt Combo


  • Wattage: 50w
  • Tube Type: 12AX7
  • Speaker Size: 1x12"
  • Controls: Voice selector, gain, volume, 3-band EQ, tube response, effects, master volume

If you're looking for something on the more aggressive end of the spectrum, this combo modeling amp from Blackstar is a great choice and offers excellent value for money - and volume! This amp gives you the flexibility and range of amp modeling with the visceral sound of true analog tubes.

This amp features a huge range of tones thanks to its broad control bank. It includes a voice selector knob which changes lets you select from six different amp models, from clean to high-gain, and a tube response control for picking 7 different tube emulations. (Don't worry; it also uses real 12AX7 tubes in the preamp circuit.

The built-in effects bank is handy, too, letting you add delay, modulation, and reverb to your tone for a bit of extra spice, as well as two channels of gain. That's very attractive in the guitar world.

What's more, the Silverline Special integrates with Blackstar's INSIDER software, where you can further tweak the amp's performance, as well as pick presets made by top artists. The USB connection also acts as a USB interface, letting you record the amp directly to your PC, and it has an aux input and effects loop.

As far as functionality, versatility, and quality are considered, you'd be hard-pressed to find an amp that offers as much as the Blackstar Silverline for $300!

5. Heritage Tubes – Vox AC4 1x12" ($479)

Vox AC4 1x12"


  • Wattage: 4w
  • Tube Type: 2x12AX7 and 1xEL84
  • Speaker Size: 1x12"
  • Controls: Gain, bass, treble, volume

Vox is an amp brand that is closely associated with rich tube tones and vintage style. This no-nonsense combo amp captures the classic Vox AC4 tone, offering the iconic tube sound Vox is known for.

Despite the small array of controls, the AC4 can do it all and gives you any sound from crystal clean to mighty crunch. The tube selection is top notch too, using the finest 12AX7s and EL84s.

Using a renowned 12" Celestion speaker, the frequency range and harmonics of the sound are pristine. This is definitely one of the nicest practice amps on this list in terms of sound quality and tube authenticity.

With only 4 control knobs, you don't need to spend ages dialing in tones and only need to make some small adjustments to make a large amount of sonic change. The vintage chickenhead knobs are also very nostalgic and iconic.

Note that this is better for home practice and recording rather than stages due to the lower 4-watt power rating.

6. Small but Mighty – Marshall DSL1CR ($499)

Marshall DSL1CR


  • Wattage: 1w
  • Tube Type: ECC83
  • Speaker Size: 1x8"
  • Controls: Classic gain, ultra gain, 3-band EQ, reverb

Don't judge a book by its cover or an amp by its size - because this 8", 1-watt amp creates a shockingly beastly tone for its small profile.

Marshall is known for their disgustingly loud and dirty amps, and this mini beast still offers a taste of the aggression in a more manageable package.

If you're looking for a bit of bite in your practice room, the Marshall DSL1CR is a great option and can still rock your ears with its small body. This also uses Celestion speakers, so you know it's going to sound great paired with the ECC83 tubes.

Another neat feature for home recording is the fact that the line output is fitted with Softube's speaker emulation, meaning you can capture an authentic-sounding acoustic space, even playing silently through the direct connection.

7. Big and Bad – Blackstar Silverline Stereo Deluxe 2x12 ($499)

Blackstar Silverline Stereo Deluxe 2x12


  • Wattage: 100w
  • Tube Type: 12AX7
  • Speaker Size: 2x12"
  • Controls: Amp model voicing, gain, volume, 3-band EQ, ISF, tube selector, effects, master vol, resonance, presence.

If you're looking for a super beefy and versatile amp for stage use, this 100-watt monster from Blackstar has everything you need.

Much like the Blackstar Silverline model above, it has a huge range of tone options thanks to the amp voicing simulations, digital signal processing, and the 7-tube emulation models. And yes, this is still full of real tubes for an authentic tone.

With two 12" Celestion G12s and a 100-watt power amp, you can rest assured that this amp will get your voice across even on a large stage with a full band!

Sure, you won't be able to crank your tube power up to max volume at home without annoying your neighbors, but you can still dial it back enough to practice quietly. Or you can even use the line output to plug into your audio interface and record or practice with headphones.

Either way, if you want something loud, versatile, and aggressive, this modeling amp might be the best choice on the list and offers a great guitar tone!

Best Tube Amps Under $500 Buyer's Guide

There are a few things to consider when looking for a tube amplifier under $500. In this price range, you can see a fairly large variation in quality, but not to worry -- the amps we've recommended on this list won't disappoint!

Sound, Tone, and Response

Arguably, the most important factor to consider when choosing an amp is the type of tone it produces and how it responds to your playing style.

While we can't tell you what amp is the best for you without knowing what genre of music you play and how you like to play guitar, we can offer some suggestions to help you find the right amp for you.

There are clear differences in guitar amp styles. Typically, you either go for something with a vintage style, something more modern and clean, or something heavy and aggressive. All of these types are more suited to certain styles of music.

Some models also have more limited tube amp tones, while others are more versatile.

Spend some time listening to demo videos for amps you are interested in and see if they produce the kind of tone you are on the hunt for.

Features and Controls

The types of features and controls offered by an amp are also an important factor in helping you choose.

Some amps come with a lot of features, built-in effects, controls, and channels. The more of these things an amp has, the broader the range of tones you will be able to achieve from it.

In a recording studio or when you're practicing at home, having a wide range of controls can be nice to keep the variety high.

However, if you are performing on stage, then it might be easier to go for a fully kitted out pedal board instead to save you from needing to constantly fiddle with your amp mid-performance.

Ultimately, this depends on your tastes and how much other gear you plan on using. If you don't use pedals, you might want to get an amp that has a lot of features. If you do have a decent pedalboard, it might not be so important.

Tube Types and Configuration

Tube types and configurations are a more technical and nuanced aspect to consider that can take a while for beginners to understand.

There are thousands of different tube models out there (although there is a smaller selection of which are most commonly used in guitar amps). Each one has unique sonic characteristics and performance properties. Some are brighter, some are darker, some are softer, and some are harder.

Additionally, tube amps can have different configurations, such as single-ended, push-pull, or multi-channel. The configuration affects the amp's sound and versatility, so choose one that suits your style.

These factors can take a while to work out, so make sure you do some additional research if you want to get deeper into crafting your guitar sound.

Power Rating

Power rating is another super important thing to consider, as it determines the volume range of your amplifier. It's vital that you pick an output power rating that is suitable for the space you are going to use the amp.

For example, amps that are designed for stages are typically far too loud to use in a small home space and perform much better at loud volumes rather than quietly.

Lower-wattage amps (5-20 watts) are suitable for home use and studio recording, while higher-wattage amps (30-50 watts +) are better for live performances. It also depends a bit on the controls and your space, as you can dial some louder amps back enough to use at home.

Size and portability

If you need a portable amp, one of these sleek mini amps might be perfect for you. Make sure you get one that is small and light enough to carry around and also has a carrying handle. If you are a more professional musician, you might be using large stage amps, which are going to be heavy work regardless!

With a budget of $500, you can find some excellent tube amp options that will give you that coveted tube warmth and tone without being too expensive. Take your time to explore different models and choose the one that best suits your musical style and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is tube or solid state right for me?

Before making your choice, you might want to take a minute to consider whether tube amps are the best guitar amps for your style and needs as a guitarist.

Tube amps are considered great for:

  • Vintage and classic tones.
  • Natural and dynamic overdrive and distortion.
  • Responsive touch sensitivity.

Solid-state and digital modeling amps are great for:

  • Versatility with a wide range of tones.
  • Portability and lightweight design.
  • Built-in effects and modeling capabilities.

Are tube amps still the best?

Whether tube amps are the "best" choice for you depends on your specific preferences and needs. Tube amplifiers are known for their warm, rich, and responsive tone, making them popular among guitarists and audiophiles.

However, other amplifier technologies, such as solid-state and digital modeling, have made significant advancements and can also provide excellent sound quality and versatility. Also, tube amps need to warm up a bit before they sound their best.

The choice between tube amps and other types of amplifiers comes down to your personal taste and how you plan on using your amplifier.

How much is a good tube amp?

You can find good tube amps at a wide range of prices. Even budget amps can be decent if they don't spread their budget too thin and concentrate on one area of amplification. Lower-cost amps can be great if they cut down on other features.

Prices vary significantly based on factors like brand, features, and power rating across amp models.

Generally, you can find decent-budget guitar amps in the range of $200 to $2000 or more. Amps from well-known brands with a history of producing quality tube amps tend to be more expensive, while budget-friendly options can still provide great value.

Is a 5-watt tube amp loud enough to gig?

Whether a 5-watt tube amp is loud enough for gigging depends on several factors:

  • Venue Size: A 5-watt tube amp is suitable for small venues, clubs, and intimate gigs. If you're playing in larger venues or outdoors, you may need to mic the amp or consider a higher wattage option.
  • Amplification Needs: If you're looking for clean headroom and don't want the amp to break up into distortion at higher volumes, you may find a 5-watt amp lacking in power. However, if you embrace the natural overdrive of a low-wattage amp, it can work well for certain styles like blues and rock.
  • PA Support: Many gigs rely on a PA system for amplification. In such cases, a 5-watt amp can be sufficient as long as you can hear yourself on stage and the amp is mic'd into the PA system.
  • Band Dynamics: The overall volume of your band and the style of music you play also matter. In a loud rock band, a 5-watt amp might struggle to compete with the drums and other instruments. However, in a quieter setting or with acoustic instruments, it can work well.

Ultimately, the decision on amp wattage for gigging depends on your specific performance requirements and playing style. But generally, a 5-watt amp might be a bit quiet.


Good luck choosing your new tube amp! All of the amps featured on this list are among the best in their price bracket, so it's just a matter of working out your budget and personal tastes.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the iconic Vox AC4 1x12" valve amps, which have a classic tube tone and sound very sweet.

Otherwise, if you're a heavier player, then other amps like the Blackstar Silverline Special 1x12 or the Blackstar Silverline Stereo Deluxe 2x12 might be more to your liking.

Either way, you can't go wrong with the great sound of real tube tone!

Amplify your style, amplify your sound! Explore our top picks for the best small tube amps.

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