Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (2023)

By Chris Corfield

Contributions from

Mike Brooks, Daryl Robertson, Matt McCracken

last updated

Dive into our best bass amp guide to discover the options that deliver the power and features to suit your low-end needs, whatever your budget

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (1)

Just like your bass guitar becomes an extension of yourself, the best bass amps become a part of your sonic identity, the avenue by which your creativity and self-expression blossom into the world. Great sound in the low end underpins the rest of the band, interacting alongside the drums to form the nucleus of every great and timeless arrangement.

If you’re looking to buy yourself one of the best bass amps, then welcome - you’ve come to the right place. It sounds a bit cheesy, but we honestly don’t think that there has ever been a better time to buy a new bass amp. Not only have they been steadily getting lighter over the years, but they have also gotten more affordable, too.

So whether you’re brand new to the world of bass and need something to get you off the ground, or a bass master looking for your next high-end stage-ready setup, there’s something on this list for you.

To help you find exactly what you are looking for we've listed these awesome amps in price order, from budget-friendly to high-end.

We’ve included some expert buying advice further down this guide, so if you’d like to read more about the best bass amps then we'd recommend heading there now. If you’d like to get straight to the products, then keep scrolling.

Best bass amps: Our top picks

If you’re looking for the best bass amp and have the budget, you can’t go wrong with the omnipresent Ampeg SVT CL (opens in new tab). As heard on countless hit records over the years, this bass amp moves some serious air (it’s loud!) and will offer a punchy tone that few bass amps can contend with.

For the vintage tone seekers, we have to recommend the iconic Fender Bassman Pro 800. You’d be hard-pushed to find a bass player who doesn’t appreciate the rich, warm valve tones of this reimagined classic.

If you’re a bassist on a super tight budget, or you’re thinking about buying your first bass amp, then you’ll find a lot to love with the Fender Rumble 15 (opens in new tab). It’s lightweight, easy to use, and delivers a classic Fender bass sound. The headphone out makes it great for practicing your chops late at night too.

Best bass amps: Product guide & reviews

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (2)

1. Fender Rumble 15

The ideal amp for home practice


Power: 15 watts

Features: Volume, bass, mid, treble

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, 1/4-inch jack headphone socket,1/8 aux in

Weight: 16 lbs/7.26 kg

Reasons to buy




Super affordable


Great Fender tone

Reasons to avoid


A little basic

If you’re looking for a reliable home practice amp, then look no further. Designed to be compact, lightweight, and portable - the Fender Rumble series is ideal for beginners and professionals alike.

This stylishly petite amp delivers 15-watts of power - more than enough for practicing at home. The headphone out means you can practice any time of day without disturbing the whole household, while the aux-in allows you to jam along with your favourite tracks via your phone or device.

This little amp has it all, the look, the sound, and most importantly it’s affordable!

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (3)

2. Warwick Gnome Head

The pocket-size option


Power: 200 watts

Features: Gain, bass, mid, treble, master

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, 1/4-inch jack headphone socket,1/4-inch speaker out, XLR line out, ground lift

Weight: 2.12 lbs/0.96 kg

Reasons to buy


Extremely light


Loud and punchy

Reasons to avoid


A little basic compared to others

The Warwick Gnome is the ultimate pint-sized gigging companion. This minuscule amp weighs in at a measly 2.12Ibs and will easily fit in the pocket of your gig bag.

Don’t let its size fool you. This mighty little amp delivers a clear, crisp, clean sound with a whopping 200-watts of power. Whether you’re practicing at home or playing a small gig this fun-sized amp will be sure to keep up. The fully metal enclosure is strong enough to take a beating on the road, and XLR DI output with switchable ground lift makes it a strong amp to have by your side in the recording studio as well.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (4)

3. Blackstar Unity 30

A great practice amp with built-in chorus and compression


Power: 30 watts

Features: 3 Voices – Classic, Modern, Overdrive, 3-band EQ with semi-parametric Mid, Footswitchable Overdrive and Chorus, Compressor, Input Gain with clip indication, Pad Switch for active/passive instruments

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, MP3/line-in, XLR + 1/4-inch line out, headphones with independent level control

Weight: 22lbs/10kg

Reasons to buy


Built-in chorus/compression


XLR line out with ground lift

Reasons to avoid


Look elsewhere if you need an amp to gig

Blackstar may not be your first thought when it comes to amplifiers for bass guitar, but the Unity series proves they know a thing or two about reproducing thunderous low-end - and all at a price that is kind on your wallet.

This sturdy amp offers great tone-shaping options. The three different voices (classic, modern, and overdrive) cover a wide range of classic tones, and the footswitchable chorus adds a whole new dimension to your sound. As if this wasn’t enough, it also has a built-in compressor, which you can turn on with the flick of a switch.

Ultimately this is a versatile bass amp, that offers just enough features to make practicing the bass guitar at home fun, and interesting.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (5)

4. TC Electronic Thrust BQ500

Versatile compact head that’s big on value


Power: 500 watts @ 4 ohms

Features: Gain, Thrust, 4-band EQ and Master Volume controls, Onboard compressor

Connections: ¼” jack input, Balanced XLR output, SpeakOn speaker out, 1/8” headphone out/aux in

Weight: 2.3kg

Reasons to buy


Great for silent practice


SpeakON connectivity

Reasons to avoid


Better suited to active basses

While, understandably, this list contains some of the most sought-after, top tier bass amps on the market today, there’s some incredible amps to be found at the other end of the price spectrum. The TC Electronic Thrust BQ500 resides nearer the entry-level mark, but delivers a quite brilliant package for a shade under $/£300, including silent practice functionality and an onboard compressor.

As a compact, lightweight Class D head, the BQ500 is ideal as a dedicated gigging amp for players who find themselves travelling but don’t want to risk lugging their more expensive studio gear around.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (6)

5. Orange Crush 50

Classic orange looks with a built-in tuner!


Power: 50 watts

Features: Active 3-band EQ, frequency, volume, blend, tuner, -6dB pad

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, 1/4-inch jack headphone socket,1/4-inch, fx loop, footswitch

Weight: 31.85ibslbs/14.4kg

Reasons to buy


Classic Orange tone


Built-in tuner

Reasons to avoid


Other amps at this price have more features

Inspired by the flagship OB1 and 4 Stroke amps, the Crush 50 delivers that iconic orange tone in a more bedroom-friendly amplifier.

This may be a budget bass amp, but the Orange Crush 50 impresses on tone. Whether you’re longing for warm modern clean sounds or crunchy vintage drive, this amp delivers. The versatile active EQ section with a sweepable parametric mid band offers the ultimate control over your sound.

One nifty feature we absolutely love on this amp is the chromatic tuner. This may not seem like a big deal, but for us, it’s one less obstacle in the way of playing the bass. Simply plug in, tune-up, and bring the thunder.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (7)

6. Trace Elliot Elf

The best bass amp for portability and price


Power: 200 watts @ 4 ohms, 130 watts @ 8 ohms

Features: Gain, Level indicator, Bass, Middle, Treble, Power indicator, Ground/Lift switch

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, 1/4-inch jack Headphone socket, 1/4-inch jack output socket, Balanced XLR DI output

Weight: 730g

Reasons to buy


Small and lightweight


Cuts through a band mix

Reasons to avoid


No Aux In socket


Features limited by dimensions

The resurrected Trace Elliot has much to live up to, considering what TE used to stand for in terms of bass amplification. Obviously, the Elf is a very different proposition to the leviathan TE amps of the ‘80s, but don't let its size deceive you.

Tonally, there is much to be impressed by. The limited EQ section does its job well, while the LED indicators highlight when the in-built compression and drive functionality are in operation.

The actual power on offer is very impressive; looks can be deceptive. A fine amp and a no-brainer. You could even use it as an emergency backup for your gig bag.

Read the full Trace Elliot Elf review

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (8)

7. Markbass Little Marcus 800

The best bass amp from a true funk legend


Power: 800 watts @ 4 ohms, 500 watts @ 8 ohms

Features: Mute switch, Gain, EQ1 – UltraLow, Low, Mid, High Mid, High, EQ2 – Old School, Millerizer, Line Out Level, Master Volume, Pre/Post EQ selector, Ground/Lift switch

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, Speakon output socket, 1/4-inch jack Footswitch input, Balanced XLR DI output socket, 1/4-inch jack Send/Return sockets, 1/4-inch jack Tuner Output socket

Weight: 3kg

Reasons to buy


Uncluttered control panel


Versatile and punchy tones


High and low filters

Anything featuring the Marcus Miller signature will attract attention, and this has been very true of the Markbass range that Marcus has leant his name to. This particular amp has plenty of power but it’s the brushed steel looks, player-friendly control set, lightweight design and slap-happy bass tones that make this a real winner at an affordable price.

But don't be fooled into thinking this is just an amp for slap fans, it has far more tonality than that and can cover a lot of ground across a wide range of musical styles. Available in 250/500/1000 watt models also, the 800 model sits comfortably in between the two power extremes, offering fine tone-shaping options with a more than capable power output. Prepare to be impressed.

Read the full Markbass Little Marcus 800 review

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (9)

8. Orange Terror Bass 500

The mighty return of the ultimate lunchbox bass amp


Power: 500 watts @ 4 ohms, 250 watts @8 ohms

Features: Single channel, hybrid – Class D power amp with valve preamp, clean switch, variable input sensitivity for active or passive basses, natural channel: volume bass, middle, treble, gain

Connections: 1x 1/4-inch jack input sockets, speakon output sockets, balanced DI out, FX loop

Weight: 4.65KG

Reasons to buy


Compact size


Plenty of power


Great tone

Reasons to avoid


Not ideal for loads of distortion

The original Orange Terror Bass amp built its own fanbase at a time when portable amp heads with built-in valve distortion were few and far between. This new iteration features more grind and tonal colour.

Based on the AD200 amplifier, this hybrid-design utilises a 12AX7 valve in the preamp stage and a 12AT7 valve for the Send output of the FX loop. The return input has a solid-state stage and a solid-state Class D output stage.

So, how does it sound? Well, this is a loud amp! Playing with a pick gives a great rock tone straight off the bat, while adding some distortion courtesy of the 12AX7 in the preamp produces the signature Orange tone. It’s richly coloured, with enough grind and distortion to warm the sound up, but never venturing towards a lacklustre fizz.

Read the full Orange Terror Bass Amp review

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (10)

9. Aguilar Tone Hammer 500

Boss-level bass tone that’s portable


Power: 500 watts into 4 ohms, 250 watts into 8 ohms

Type: Class D head

Features: 3-band graphic EQ with adjustable mids, -10dB pad switch, effects loop, balanced XLR pre/post DI with ground lift, output mute

Weight: 4lb (1.8kg)

Reasons to buy


Easy to use front panel


Powerful EQ section


Versatile range of sounds

Reasons to avoid


No headphone out

Probably one of the best solid-state bass amp heads money can buy, the Aguilar Tone Hammer offers fearsome bass sounds in a package that weighs practically nothing. You also get incredible versatility to dial in pretty much any bass tone you like.

The drive control works in conjunction with the EQ section to vary the tone depending on your gain settings. This means that the EQ is flatter at low gain settings but as you turn things up the bass gets tighter and the treble smooths out.

There’s plenty of movement in the EQ section too, with 14 to 16dB boosts or cuts available across the spectrum. It's the midrange where the power lies here though and with a little experimentation, you can unlock some truly powerful bass tones.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (11)

10. Fender Bassman Pro 800

The vintage legend comes of age


Power: 800 watts @ 4 ohms, 500 watts @ 8 ohms

Features: Volume, Bass (push/pull Deep), Mid, Treble (push/pull Bright), Overdrive/Vintage selector, Gain, Blend, Volume, Bass (push/pull Deep), Mid-Frequency, Mid-Level, Treble (push/pull bright), Master Volume (pull Mute), XLR Output Level, Pre/Post EQ selector, Ground/Lift selector

Connections: 2x 1/4-inch jack input sockets, 2x Speakon output sockets, 1/4-inch jack Footswitch input socket, 1/4-inch jack Tuner Output socket, 1/4-inch jack preamp Output socket, 1/4-inch jack Power Amp Input socket, Balanced XLR DI output socket

Weight: 7.7kg

Reasons to buy


Powerful vintage tube tones


Rich colourful overdrive


Reduced weight

Reasons to avoid


Won't appeal to hi-fi tone lovers

When Fender first created the Telecaster, Precision and Jazz Bass instruments, the amplification the company subsequently produced was designed to bring out the now legendary characteristics of their basses.

Over time, the bass amps fell out of favour somewhat, but this newly re-designed version of the classic Bassman amp is a breath of fresh air, with vintage valve tones courtesy of its valve-loaded preamp, a whopping 800-watts of power, all the vintage aesthetics you could wish for and a back-friendly weight to boot.

Change from clean to rich valve tones in the blink of an eye with the two-channel setup and inclusive footswitch and play your Fenders as they were meant to be heard.

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (12)

11. Darkglass Microtubes 900 v2

State of the art bass amp tone


Power: 900 watts into 4 ohms, 500 watts into 8 ohms

Type: Class D head

Features: 6-band graphic EQ, adjustable compression, Microtubes Harmonic Enhancement/Saturation, 2x XLR pre/post DI, buffered effects loop, programmable Impulse Response, 1/8” aux in

Weight: 6.39lb (2.9kg)

Reasons to avoid


Not the cheapest

Darkglass makes some unfathomably powerful bass amps, with innovation and versatility at the forefront of their design ethos. The Microtubes 900 V2 is a top-of-the-range bass amp that’s equally at home on stage as it is in the studio.

The 6-band EQ section is absurdly powerful and adjusting any of the sliders will give you an instant tone change allowing for some serious tone sculpting. An onboard compression knob lets you tame the dynamics with a simple twist.

The drive control gives you another element to enliven your bass sound, with a crushing modern voice as well as one that gives you more vintage warmth. The level and gain controls ensure that you can dial in pretty much any bass tone you require.

Read the full Darkglass Microtubes 900 v2 review

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (13)

12. Eich T-1000

This best bass amp contender boasts impressive looks, features and tones


Power: 2x 500 watts @ 2 ohms, 1000 watts @ 4 ohms

Features: Gain, Taste, -10dB selector, Attack Time selector, Compressor, Lo, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid, Hi, Bass Boost selector, High Boost selector, Master Volume, Line/Effect Mix, Mute selector, Pre/Post EQ selector, Ground/Lift switch, Channel A Volume, Channel B Volume (with Sub on/off selector), Bridged Mode selector

Connections: 1/4-inch jack input socket, 1/4-inch jack Compressor/Mute Footswitch input, Balanced XLR DI output socket, 3x Speakon output sockets, 3.5mm Headphone output, 3.5mm Aux In input, 1/4-inch jack Send/Return sockets, 1/4-inch jack Line Out socket, 1/4-inch jack Tuner Output socket

Weight: 2.4kg

Reasons to buy


Great tone-shaping features


Magnetic fix pins are impressive


Puts power at your fingertips

Reasons to avoid


Too 'busy' for some players

Interesting features, such as the cable looping side handle and the magnetic fixing pins make the T-1000 a fully-featured, tonally flexible amp in a portable compact design.

The four-band EQ and boost features give bassists of all styles full control of their bass-tone; slap and tap players will find their performances are conveyed with power, clarity and authority while rock and pick players will appreciate the 'beefy' delivery.

Bright white LEDs illustrate which selection buttons and functions are in use and are very helpful on dark stages. A very impressive performer and a worthwhile consideration for the working bassist. Seriously good.

Read the full Eich T-1000 review

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (14)

13. Ampeg SVT-CL

The American warhorse returns in all its classic glory


Power: 300 watts @ 2/4 ohms

Features: Gain, Ultra Hi/Lo selectors, Bass, Midrange, Frequency, Treble, Master Volume, Bias 1 control, Bias 2 control, Impedance Selector switch

Connections: 2x 1/4-inch jack input sockets (0dB/-15dB), 1/4-inch jack Slave Output socket, 2x 1/4-inch jack output sockets, Speakon output socket, Balanced XLR DI output socket, 1/4-inch jack preamp Output socket, 1/4-inch jack Power Amp Input socket

Weight: 36.3kg

Reasons to buy


Familiar, classic bass tones


Powerful and authoritative


This amp has created legends

Reasons to avoid


Legendarily heavy, handle with care

Ampeg set the standard for bass amplification in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s and, alongside their 8x10 speaker cabinets, a classic bass sound was created. As a result, everyone wanted valve warmth matched with power and volume.

This amp is a recreation of the classic - and much desired - Ampeg amp. With eleven valves across the preamp, power amp and drive sections, if you're after tube performance, this is one of the best bass amps to try.

It's not packed with features and extras but then it doesn't need to be. The weight may put you off but there is no denying the enticing bass-tones on offer.

Best bass amps: Buying advice

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (15)

Choosing the best bass amp for you

Why you can trust MusicRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best bass amp is going to be as personal to you as your own bass guitar heroes and musical tastes, but there are several critical things you’ll need to think about before taking the plunge. Many of the bass amps listed here are amp heads, which means you’ll need a bass amp cabinet to pair with it.

What wattage is what?

Your first consideration when choosing the best bass amp for you should be the wattage. Sure, that 1000W bass amp head with the 8x10 cabinet will knock your bandmates' socks off at practice, but unless you’re playing stadium tours, it’s probably a bit much.

Bass amp wattages tend to be higher than that of their guitar amp equivalents, and that’s because lower tones require more power to push the air and generate the sound you hear. Going for a wattage somewhere in the region of 150 to 300W should be more than suitable for small gigs.

Cab compatibility

If you’re buying a bass amp head, then you’ll need to make sure it's compatible with your speaker cabinet.

Impedance, sometimes called resistance, is measured in ohms (Ω). If you pair a bass amp head with an output impedance higher than the bass cabinet is capable of handling, you will overdrive the speakers, most likely resulting in permanent damage. Most bass amps will tell you their resistance either in the manual, online or sometimes on the back of the amp itself.

For example, it may say ‘400W @ 4 ohms’, which means you’ll need to plug it into a bass cabinet with a resistance of 4 ohms. If you were to plug it into an 8-ohm cabinet, you’d only get 200W of power, but if you plugged it into a 2-ohm cabinet, then you’ll damage the speaker, and in the worst-case scenario, cause a fire.

Other features to consider

Bass amps these days can come with a number of features, some you may never need. So, it’s important to ask yourself if you will make use of them all. Some players are perfectly happy with a basic amp, especially if they shape their tone via the preamp/tone controls on their instrument or via pedals, while others look for extra functionality like compressors, limiters, or even cab simulators.

Want to know more about how we test music making gear and services at MusicRadar? Hit the link.

  • The best bass strings for all budgets
  • The best guitar tuners for guitarists and bassists
  • The best bass guitars available today
  • Small budget? These are the best cheap bass guitars around
  • Get started with the best beginner bass guitars
  • Nail the perfect live tone with the best DI boxes
  • Check out these gifts for guitarists

The best of MusicRadar in your inbox

Don't miss the latest deals, news, reviews, features and tutorials

Best bass amps 2023: 13 top choice amplification options for bassists (16)

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones and music production hardware.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 03/22/2023

Views: 5982

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.