Which Stratocaster Is The Best Value For Money?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

The Fender Stratocaster is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable electric guitars ever made. Despite being introduced a few years after the original Broadcaster/Esquire Tele — the world’s first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar, the Stratocaster quickly rose to the top of Fender’s best-selling list and continues till the present.

Unsurprisingly, Stratocasters have numerous models, especially since it has been the prominent guitar for many guitarists since its debut.

Due to the availability of many models, collaborations, and colors in Fender Stratocasters in various price points. Several guitarists find it challenging to pick which Stratocaster is best for them. 

This article aims to help you determine which Fender Stratocaster will give you your money’s worth by determining the best model for every category, including their specifications and pros and cons.

Best Stratocaster Models In Various Categories

Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster Series

Category: Best Affordable and Classic Looking

Price: $259.99-$289.99

The Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster series is probably deep at the bottom of the list of Fender guitars you expect to be mentioned here. Its price is extremely low for its quality and design. To provide you with a picture, Affinity series guitars cost a third of Fender Stratocasters Made in Mexico. Surprisingly, as a whole electric guitar, it is cheaper than Fender Stratocasters replacement necks. 

Despite being under Fender’s secondary company Squier, Affinity series guitars have a lot to offer. They are decent-sounding guitars that guarantee reliability and compactness. Electric guitars with the same price range don’t stand a chance compared to Affinity Stratocasters. Amazingly, this affordable masterpiece comes in HSS pickup configurations to provide users extra power, making them extremely tough to beat. 


Body Material: Alder

Neck Material: Maple

Fingerboard Material: Indian Laurel or Maple

Finish: 3 Color Sunburst (Black, Olympic White, Lake Placid Blue)

Scale Length: 25.5 inches

Number of Frets: 22 frets

Pickups: Ceramic Single-Coils (3)

Controls: Tone 1 (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup), and Master Volume, 

Hardware: 2-point Tremolo Bridge, Chrome Hardware finish, Die-cast turners 

Pros And Cons
Highly affordable for a StratocasterTarget Customer are beginners 
Very compact for its price

Fender Player Stratocaster Series

Category: Best Mid-Range Stratocaster

Price: $849.99

The Fender Player Stratocaster is your best choice if you’re searching for a top-performing electric guitar that is mid-priced. This Stratocaster possesses almost everything a guitarist desires. It features Alnico pickups which are excellent for a slightly thicker pitch that doesn’t overpower the Stratocaster’s signature warm tones. 

Purchasing a Fender Player Stratocaster will provide you with an instrument that can do it all. It certainly is a unique piece at a reasonable price point.

One of the main reasons most guitarists consider the Player series a top choice is because of the variety of designs and colors it provides them. For instance, if you are into vintage-looking guitars, the Player series has a buttercream-finished variant with an HSS pickup configuration to perfectly complement a Modern C-shaped neck profile with a 9.5 “-radius fingerboard and a two-point tremolo bridge with bent-steel saddles.


Body Material: Alder

Neck Material: Maple

Fingerboard Material: Maple

Finish: 3 Colors Sunburst, Black, Buttercream, Capri, Orange, Polar White, Silver, Tidepool

Scale Length: 25.5 inches

Number of Frets: 22

Pickups: Player Series Alnico 5-Strat Single-Coil

Controls: Tone 1 (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup), and Master Volume

Hardware: 2-point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles, Nickel/Chrome hardware finish, Standard Cast/sealed tuning machines

Pros and Cons
Reasonable Price considering its featuresUnideal for guitarists who prefer low-output single-coil pickups
Player Series Alnico 5 Strat single-coil pickup for more power

Fender American Professional II Stratocaster Series

Category: Most High-End

Price: $1,699.99-$1,749.99

The Fender American Professional II series is an upgrade from its predecessor, the American Professional I. However, many guitarists were concerned because of the release of the next version, especially since they considered the first version to be already perfect.

Nevertheless, because of Fender’s expertise in manufacturing electric guitars, the release of the American Profession II Stratocaster was again a success. 

This electric guitar is highly praised and sought-after due to its equal balance of classiness and modernity. Like most Stratocasters, the American Professional II is also composed of Alder and Maple. Concerning its fretboard, you are given a standard option of either Maple or Rosewood. One of this series’s models features a Roasted Pine Body. 

The American Professional II has a “Deep C” neck profile coated with the company’s proprietary “Super-Natural” satin for slick, simple, and comfortable playability.

Additionally, an upgrade incorporated by Fender in the second version is a newly designed neck heel, and smoother rolled fingerboard edges. The company’s primary goal is to produce a guitar that is enjoyable to play and offers a slight hint of classic touch by adding narrow-tall frets.

The Fender American Professional II Stratocaster also features a V-Mod II pickup that enhances its appearance and has a powerful impact. Even though it has a slightly rounded top-end, it still has the signature tone pallet of Stratocasters.

The tones this electric guitar generates are crisp and not brightly overpowering. Overall, the Fender American Professional II series is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a modified, polished rendition of the well-known classic.


Body Material: Alder and Roasted Pine (One model only)

Neck Material: Maple

Fingerboard Material: Maple or Rosewood

Finish: 3 Color Sunburst, Olympic White, Mystic Surf Green, Miami Blue, Mercury, Dark Knight, Roasted Pine, Black, and Sienna Sunburst. 

Scale Length: 25.5 inches

Number of Frets: 22 (Narrow-tall)

Pickups: 3v V-Mod II Single-Coil Strat

Controls: Master Volume, 2x Tone, 5-way Pickup Selector

Hardware: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles, Nickel/Chrome hardware finish, Standard Cast/sealed staggered tuning machines, and Pop-In Tremolo Arm and Cold-Rolled Steel Block.

Pros And Cons
Balanced Combination of Classiness and ModernityPrice may be expensive for others.
Neck feels amazing and comfortable courtesy of its satin finish
Variety of Finish to choose from

Fender American Ultra Stratocaster Series

Category: Top Of The Line Series

Price: $2,149.99-$2,699.99

The Fender American Ultra Stratocaster series features electric guitars that retain the iconic body shape of Stratocasters with the addition of thoughtfully designed body contours and a newly tapered heal for quicker access to higher frets.

This Stratocaster is modernism at its finest. It is naturally rooted in its illustrious past; the three Ultra Noiseless single coils provide hum-free performance while producing a vintage voice. What has changed is that the S-1 switch added the neck pickup to any position on the switch, lengthening its tone pallet significantly.

The American Ultra Stratocaster is the top of the line of Fender’s assembly line of Stratocasters. It features locking tuners, a gold-foil Fender logo, a maple Modern D profile neck that is comfort personified, and a compound 10 “-14” radius that feels distinctly new. Yes, this is a design that looks futuristic, but it is unmistakably still a Stratocaster, one that is excellently made. 


Body Material: Alder and Ash (on the trans finish)

Neck Material: Maple

Fingerboard Material: Maple or Rosewood

Finish: Ultraburst, Arctic Pearl, Mocha Burst, Texas Tea, and Blue Cobra

Scale Length: 25.5 inches

Number of Frets: 22 (Medium-Jumbo)

Pickups: Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage Strat

Controls: Master Volume (with S-1 Switch), Tone 1 (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup)

Hardware: 2-Point Deluxe Synchronized Tremolo with Pop-In Arm, Nickel/Chrome Hardware Finish, Deluxe Cast/Sealed Locking Tuning Machines.

Pros And Cons
Advanced Electronics with S-1 switch that expands its rangePrice may be expensive for others.
Modern-D neck Profile is exceptionalSome musicians believe its first release in 1962 was better. 
Premium Quality and Materials 
Hum-free and No Feedback pickup

Main Takeaway

For more than 60 years, the Fender and Squier Stratocaster line has undoubtedly been one of the best producers of electric guitars. Due to its market expertise, it became a well-established company and a prominent choice for professionals and casual players.

Since the Stratocaster was first made available by the company in 1954, it has enjoyed immediate success, which has continued to this day. The Fender Stratocaster now comes in several series lines and finishes to accommodate the preferences of most guitarists.

Additionally, each Stratocaster series is created for a particular level of guitar-playing ability, ensuring that you select the one that best suits your capacity. Overall, the Fender Stratocaster series lines have different price points to ensure that you choose the right one without breaking the budget.