Of course, sometimes new speakers can cost just as much as a new amp. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to upgrade the sound on your amp, check out the speakers on the list below. All of them will give you power and performance for less than $100.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap guitar speakers on the market:
Eminence Legend Guitar Speaker
The punchy, vintage-inspired tone of Eminence Legend speakers makes them a favorite for blues and jazz players, especially since they also give you a jangling high-end and impressive grit. They’re suitable for either stage or recording amps, with a ferrite magnet that’s both responsive and long-lasting.
The build-quality is definitely worth a mention, too. Every Eminence speaker is built by hand and professionally tuned to guarantee consistency and reliability. From the copper coil to the stamped steel basket, every piece of this speaker is designed to last, even if you tend to play your equipment hard. It also comes in a wide range of versions, with power handling of 75 to 200 watts and in sizes ranging from 10 to 15 inches. No matter what size or style of amp you have, you’ll likely find a Legend that fits it.
Eminence Texas Heat Guitar Speaker
This is another great option from Eminence. While it costs more than other options on this list, it’s still one of the most affordable ways to get an American amp tone. These speakers can give you the mix of warmth and bite that defines the classic ’70s rock tone, making it ideal for blues, country, and rock players.
Like the Legend, the Texas Heat is hand-built with top quality materials. It packs a lot of power at 150 watts and comes in both an 8-ohm and a 16-ohm version, so it’s more adaptable to a wider range of equipment. As a 12” speaker, it’s definitely the loudest option on this list. It’s also very responsive to your touch, making it likely the most fun of the speakers to play through. Hands down, it’s one of the best cheap guitar speakers around.
Jensen MOD8 8” Guitar Speaker
It can be tricky to find an affordable speaker that sounds equally good played clean or with overdrive. The Jensen MOD-8 delivers on this promise. Played clean, you’ll get a clear vintage-inspired tone with crisp highs and warm lows. Push the gain and it’ll give you a smooth fuzz, with a bigger sound than you’d expect given the size.
Jensen has designed this speaker to enhance the sound of the amp without obscuring any of its tonal qualities. This transparency is one of the main things that makes the MOD8 so appealing. It won’t alter your amp’s sound, it will just make it bigger and bolder. This means it’s a great choice either as an upgrade for low-quality speakers or as a cheap replacement for the worn-out speakers in a high-end amp.
Celestion Eight 8” Guitar Speaker
Celestion speakers are the factory default for mid-range or high-end British-style amps because of the speaker’s reputation for balance and versatility. They’re also popular because they’re typically very affordable, like this Celestion Eight, which sells for less than $30. An 8” speaker won’t get quite the same output as a 12” model, but if you’re looking for the most decibels per dollar, you’ll find it here.
One of the ways they keep the cost low is by using a ceramic magnet. This tends to produce a brighter tone that can be great for country and rock, with a full, rounded low end that keeps it from sounding top heavy. It’s rated for 15W with an 8-ohm impedance, making it compatible with most 8-inch amps and cabinets. This is likely the best cheap guitar speaker for the money.
Cheap Guitar Speakers Size and Sound
The first thing you need to think about when you’re buying a replacement speaker for your amp or cabinet is its size. You generally want to buy the same size speaker that you’re replacing to make sure it will fit. Amps and cabinets can sometimes be modified to accommodate larger or smaller speakers than it was intended for, but this will need to be done by a music professional and will end up costing quite a bit—something you’re probably not interested in, if you’re shopping for cheap replacement speakers.
The speakers on this list represent the three most common speaker sizes of 8”, 10”, and 12”. You may also find 15” speakers in particularly large amps, or even smaller, 6” speakers in practice amps, but these three sizes will generally cover the majority of performance amps.
You can also usually find a given speaker in multiple sizes. If you like the Jensen MOD8 sound, for example, but have a larger amp, you could get a Jensen MOD10 (see full specs) or the Jensen MOD12 (see full specs) for not a whole lot more. This is true of the other options on the list as well.
If you have a cabinet or amp with multiple speakers, you don’t necessarily have to change out all of the speakers when you upgrade one. It really depends on how much of a change in sound you’re going for. Upgrading one speaker and leaving the other one as-is can be a way to create new sonic textures without losing much of the original sound you appreciated about the amp. In this situation, it is especially important to pay attention to the impedance of each speaker (as well as the rating of your overall amp or cabinet) to make sure that all of the pieces will work well together from a practical standpoint.
Compared to spending hundreds of dollars on a new amp, upgrading your current set-up with the best cheap guitar speakers will give you a new sound at an affordable price. Even if you’re replacing the speaker out of necessity because it’s broken or worn out, you can view this as an opportunity to experiment and bring some new colors to your tone you may not even have realized you were missing. Good luck!