Only serious guitarists play tube amps. And that’s why we put this article together, because we know you’re a serious player.

Here are nine of the best tube guitar amps, their highlights, reported downsides, and specifications. And whatever kind of budget you have (or don’t have), there’s something for everybody on this list.

Blackstar HT Club 40 Mark II

Blackstar sounds like a spaceship in Star Wars. It’s not, but it’s just as cool. The Blackstar HT Club 40 Mark II tube amp gives you a variety of tube tone that’s out the wazoo. The feature that gives you all this variety is the Infinite Shape Feature (ISF), which adjusts the EQ curves of the amp’s bass, middle, and treble tones.

So for example, during the ISF knob all the way to the left gives you a tight low-end and an in-your-face middle. If you turn that knob all the way to the right, you can get a sound reminiscent of British guitarists. And other complementary knobs help define the tones even further.

The higher tones are a bit too bright for some guitarists, but many players like having bright highs.

Specifications and features:

  • 12-inch Celestion speaker
  • Two channels with different voicings control by foot pedal
  • Clean and Overdrive channel
  • Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) feature gives you a wide range of tones
  • Reverb setting with Dark/Bright switch
  • Effects loop with Loop Level switch
  • USB audio output

Vox AC15C1X

If you’re a fan of British invasion at all, you may like the Vox AC15C1X tube amp.

Before you plugin, you’ll notice a couple different options. You can plug into the standard channel and use the volume and tone cut controls to customize your sound. Or you can use the top boost channel and use the bass and treble knobs to shape the tone.

The powerful tones you can get with this amp are thanks to the three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes inside this beast. With these, you can get top-notch sustain, great response, and compressed overdrive.

Specifications and requirements:

  • 15 watts RMS
  • 16 ohms of output power
  • 1 x 12" 16-ohm Celestion Alnico Blue speaker
  • Inputs: normal input, top boost input, and footswitch input
  • Outputs: external loudspeaker output and extension loudspeaker output
  • VFS2A footswitch option

Boss Katana 100

With the Boss Katana 100 combo amp, you get five killer voicings: Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic.

The first three options deliver sounds you would expect from their names -- a clean sound, a crunchy sound, and a tone perfect for solos and leads, respectively. The Brown setting give you a tone that may remind you of 1980s metal. And the Acoustic setting is also pretty self-explanatory -- it’s tailored for plugging in an acoustic-electric guitar.

On top of these, you get Booster/Mod, Delay/FX, and Reverb settings as well as the ability to plug the amp into your computer via USB, which works in tandem with the Tone Studio software. With this software, you can download effects and tones and store your own custom sounds.

Owners of this amp do say the effects and EQ are not the best they’ve seen, but others say it’s still a good “bang for the buck” purchase.

Specifications and features:

  • Two footswitchable channels
  • Four channel tone settings
  • 100W/50W/0.5W power
  • 1 x 12" speaker
  • 55 selectable BOSS effects (store up to 15 on board at a time)
  • 3-band EQ
  • Five amp voices
  • Effects loop
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4" (instrument), 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/4" (line out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones/rec out)
  • MIDI I/O: In
  • USB: 1 x Type B
  • Headphones: Yes
  • Footswitch I/O: 1 x 1/4" (channel/expression), 1 x 1/4" (GA-FC)
  • Use BOSS Tone Setting editor software and Boss Tone Central via USB

Marshall JCM800

The Marshall name is a thing of legend, and the JCM800 2203 guitar amp head keeps in step with that legend.

It has just one channel but 100 watts of power. And thanks to the three-band EQ and a classic tone, you can get the perfect sound for blues, rock, and scorching solos. Plus, you’ll get an effects loop, which is great news for pedalheads.

Specifications and features:

  • One-channel tube amp
  • 100W of power
  • Three ECC83 preamp tubes
  • Four EL34 power tubes
  • 3-band EQ
  • Effects loop
  • Quarter-inch input
  • Four TS outputs

Bugera V55 Infinium

Inside the Bugera V55 Infinium tube amp, there are three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6L6 power tubes ready to deliver that classic tube tone. The 12AX7 provide the harmonious and crunchy tones while the 6L6’s give the V55 serious drive.

As you may know, tube amps tend to wear out over time, but this amp’s Infinium Tube Life Multiplier is meant to extend the lifespan of it. This feature monitors the condition of the output tubes, keeping them at the right level of operation and evenly distributed.

Despite this cool technology, some users report that it lasts barely a year before dying. Although those same guitarists say it had a beautiful tone while it lasted.

Specifications and features:

  • Two channels
  • 55W of power
  • One 12-inch speaker
  • Three 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Two 6L6 power tubes
  • Reverb and a 3-band EQ
  • Inputs: 2 x 1/4" TS (normal, bright), 1 x 1/4" (loop return)
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/4" (loop send)
  • Footswitch I/O: 1 x 1/4" (channel, reverb)

EVH 5150III LBXII

Improving upon the 5150 III, the LBXII is its 100-watt sibling with the same blue and green channels. The blue channel delivers super high gain while the green channel gives you a super clean tone, which guitarist from all genres are fond of.

Some players using this amp head were underwhelmed by the quality of the tones, saying things like “the distortion sounds very thin and fizzy.”

And when Eddie Van Halen slaps his name on a tube amp, you know it’s got to be good.

Specifications and features:

  • Two channels
  • 15W/3.5W of power
  • Four JJ ECC83S preamp tubes
  • Two JJ EL84 power tubes
  • 3-band EQ, Presence, Resonance
  • Effects loop
  • Quarter-inch input and output

Fender '59 Bassman LTD

When you plug into a Fender ‘59 Bassman LTD tube amp, you might think you’ve transported back to 1959. So if you like the sound of a good vintage tube amp, this might be a good choice for you.

Inside this machine, you’ll find GT-6L6-GE output tubes, a 5AR4 rectifier tube, and newer 12AX7 preamp tubes. And these are all supported by 45 watts of power. Plus, you have a choice between two channels to customize your tone: normal and bright.

Specifications and features:

  • 45 watts of power
  • Two channels: normal and bright
  • Four 10-inch speakers
  • Three 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Two 6L6 power tubes
  • 5AR4 rectifier tube
  • 3-band EQ
  • Inputs: 2 x Instrument (Channel 1), 2 x Instrument (Channel 2)

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25

With the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25, you get two channels, one with crunch and one with that classic Mesa lead guitar tone.

Channel one is meant for the rhythm guitarist, delivering fat and crunchy tones. And there’s a Multi-Watt power switch that allows you to choose between 10 watts and 25 watts to further personalize your sound.

On the second channel, you have three styles to switch between depending on your desired lead tone: Mark IIC+, Mark IV, and Xtreme. You also can choose between 10 watts and 25 watts.

Specifications and features:

  • Two channels
  • 10W/25W of power
  • Six 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Two EL84 power tubes
  • Reverb and a 5-band EQ
  • Effects loop
  • Two quarter-inch inputs
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (Headphones), 3 x 1/4" (Speaker)
  • Footswitch I/O

PRS Sonzera 50

The PRS Sonzera 50 is one of those tube amps that just has so much to offer that you could spend hours playing around with it.

First, you get two footswitchable channels that deliver anything from clean to aggressive tones. You also have Bright switches, Presence control, Reverb, and a 3-band EQ

Plus, this amp works great with any guitar rig, thanks to the 4-/8-/16-ohm speaker outputs, which allow you connect extension speaker cabinet.

Specifications and features:

  • Two channels
  • 50W power
  • One 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker
  • One JJ ECC835 preamp tube
  • Three Ruby 12AX7AC5 HG preamp tube
  • Two Ruby EL34 BHT power tubes
  • Reverb and 3-band EQ
  • Effects loop
  • Quarter-inch input
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (8 ohms), 2 x 1/4" (4 ohms), 1 x 1/4" (16 ohms)
  • Footswitch I/O: 1 x 1/4" (channel, reverb)