Guitar cabinets have benefits over a larger amp beyond your wallet too. They’re a lot more portable, for one thing, and give you more on-stage configuration options. Guitar cabinets also give you the option of taking a modular approach to your sound, letting you more easily customize it for different settings and situations. If you’re in the market for an extension cabinet that’s cheap but doesn’t sound like it, any of the choices below are worth your consideration.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap guitar cabinets on the market:
Orange Amplifiers PPC108 Guitar Cabinet
For the top contender in the under $100 category, you should take a look at this option from Orange. It’s the smallest option on this list, with a single 8” speaker and a 20-watt power handling, but it sounds a lot bigger than it looks, and it performs beautifully in both stage and recording applications.
The small size of the PPC108 has its benefits. At less than ten pounds, it’s by far the lightest cabinet on this list. Its dimensions are equally compact, so it certainly wins the day for portability. It uses the same basic materials as Orange’s larger cabinets. It has a durable closed-back construction and the iconic natural basketweave grille on the outside.
On the inside, you’ll find a smaller version of the same Voice of the World speaker you’ll find in their more expensive amps. The sound is well-balanced and has more punch than you might expect out of an 8” speaker. It’s hands down the best tone you can get for the price and therefore one of the best cheap guitar cabinets period.
VHT AV-SP-112VHT Guitar Cabinet
The California-based company VHT has made it their mission to provide players with tuneful, customizable sound at an affordable price. The all-tube construction of their amps gives them a lovely vintage feel, and they hand-wire all their equipment to make sure you’re getting consistently high quality. The 1X12” cabinet linked to here is just one example of how they live up to their mission.
This cabinet comes from VHT’s Special series, which is designed to be mod-friendly and fully compatible with a wide range of equipment and configurations. The sound is great, too, powered by a VHT ChromeBack 1260 speaker. The 60 watt power handling is on the low side for 1X12” cabinets. If maximum volume is your end goal, this may not be the ideal option for you, but it’s got plenty of kick to give most players the sonic boost they’re looking for.
Bugera 112TS Guitar Cabinet
The 1X12” speaker cabinet is one of the most popular options, especially if value and power are some of your main considerations. The 12” Turbosound driver that comes installed in this cabinet gives you that famous British tone, with a high sensitivity to get the most out of the 80 watt power handling. Dollar for dollar, no other cabinet will offer you the same decibels for the money.
Every aspect of this speaker cabinet has been thoughtfully designed (see full specs). The multiple hardwoods used in the sides are durable and add a nice warmth to the tone. It uses a closed-back construction to add resonance and depth to the sound, which is full from high to low. It also comes with everything you need to expand your set-up further in the future, with dual outputs and the option of switching from mono to stereo, meaning it will serve you well whether it’s your only cab or part of a full stack. This should be on anyone’s list of the best cheap guitar cabinet.
Laney Amps IRT112 Guitar Cabinet
Another excellent 1X12” cabinet in the sub-$200 price range is this model from Laney Amps’ Ironheart series. This cabinet is designed with easy portability in mind. It’s compact and lightweight, with ergonomic handles built right in to the sides so you can move it easily to rehearsals and gigs. It’s designed to pair perfectly with other Ironheart equipment, but the high-end electronics will sound just as impressive paired with a wide range of set-ups.
The custom HH driver installed in this cabinet has a power handling of 80 watts (see full specs), enough to deliver a massive sound. It’s designed for clarity and punch, making it ideal for soloists who want to make sure every note they play is heard from the top of their range to the bottom. The casing is just as impressive as the sound, ruggedly built and with an attractive modern look. While it’s the priciest model on this list, the versatility and build quality of this amp makes it worthy of your consideration.
Factors to Consider
People shopping for guitar equipment are often given the advice to shop with their ears. Everything you add or change in your set-up will have an impact on your tone, so obviously you want to make sure that you’ll like how it sounds. When you’re shopping for an inexpensive guitar cabinet, though, how it sounds should be just one of your considerations.
Pay close attention to the construction of the cabinet itself, both in terms of the quality of the construction and the materials that are used in it. As your sound evolves, you can change the tonal qualities of an extension cabinet by switching out the speakers. If the physical cabinet is ruggedly built, it can serve you well for many years to come.
The size of the cabinet is something you should think about, as well. Generally speaking, 1X12” cabinets are going to be your most versatile options. They are large enough to give you powerful sound with a full low end but still compact enough to transport easily to gigs.
Adding an array of different-sized cabinets to your rig can also help to fill out specific areas of your tone. An 8” cabinet, for example, can help add more depth and presence to your mid-range. Any of the cabinets on the list above can be the right answer for a certain kind of user—they are all among the best cheap guitar cabinets around. Considering all of the factors mentioned here can help you decide which one is right for you. Good luck!