While everybody loves to jam with their friends and play gigs to sold-out crowds, ultimately guitar players spend most of their time practicing on their own. And if you want to get the most out of your practice sessions, it’s important to have a dedicated guitar practice amp.
Amps designed for playing loud, like big tube amps or massive solid-state head and cab setups, don’t work as great for practicing at low volumes. Lower-wattage amps are designed for playing at practice volume, and they’ll deliver tones that will make you feel like a rockstar without waking up your neighbors.
To help you pick out the best options for you, we’ve designed a comprehensive list of the best guitar practice amps on the market today. We’ve included tube, solid-state, and digital combos — so whatever you’re looking for, you can definitely find it with this guide. Let’s get into it and break down all of the amps!
Fender Mustang LT25 Digital Combo
This digital combo amp from Fender is one of the best practice amps around, but it’s also a bit more powerful than you might think. It’s built with digital modeling technology, which allows you to emulate hundreds of famous tones from throughout guitar history. And with 25 watts of power, it’s got enough volume to go from the practice room to a small jam session as well!
Fender’s Mustang Series amps are the latest in a line of modelling amps from the company, designed to emulate famous tones from their historical amps like the Blackface and Tweed models. They also capture the sounds of other famous manufacturers, like Vox, Marshall, and Mesa-Boogie.
In the LT25, you get a single 8” speaker mounted in a solid wooden cabinet and filled with digital circuitry. The top panel also includes a set of standard control knobs, for volume, gain, treble, bass, and master volume. These provide all the necessary knobs to control all of the amp models — but you might not use all the knobs for every model.
The real key to the LT25 is its 1.8” digital screen on the top of the amp. This is how you dial in the particular sound of the amp that you want, as well as any effects models that you’d like to add to the basic color of the amp.
On the technical side of things, you’ll also find an auxiliary headphone output so you can practice in complete silence and a USB interface. The USB connection lets you connect the amp to a digital audio workstation on your computer and record directly in.
You can also use it to access firmware updates to the circuit, which will keep your Mustang on the cutting edge for years after you purchase it.
Blackstar HT-1R MkII
If you want a full tube amp that you can also use for practice without any problems, you might have trouble finding the right combo. After all, most tube amps put out too much power to work well in a home setting — you might end up getting a call from the neighbors before you push gig-ready tube amps like the Fender Blues Deluxe into overdrive!
However, the Blackstar HT-1R MkII is a great exception to that rule. With just one watt of all-tube power, the HT-1R sounds its best at bedroom volume levels. But even though it’s built for low-volume playing, it’s not a weak amp by any stretch. In fact, this mini combo is patterned after Blackstar’s HT-5R and HT-20R amps, and it captures their tone at a more portable size.
The HT-1R includes two channels: one clean channel and one overdrive channel. These let you rock out with hard crunch at lower volumes. You can control both channels with master volume and gain knobs; there’s also a reverb dial and Blackstar’s signature “ISF” EQ dial.
This knob provides treble, mid, and bass EQ in one setting: leaving it set at the left end gives you a scooped-mid “American” Fender sound, while dialing up the ISF knob will boost mids and re-adjust the overall EQ to give you a “British” sound reminiscent of Marshall and Vox amps.
Playing the HT-1R, one of the first things you notice is the amount of gain on tap. With just one watt of power, the amp breaks up quickly and easily, with a lot of crunch available if you hit it hard enough. Thankfully, the clean tones sound smooth and dynamic as well, and the reverb knob goes a long way towards smoothing out some of the rougher edges.
One of the downsides of the HT-1R is its 8” speaker. While this is a standard size for practice amps, it doesn’t provide as much bass as larger speakers can. Thankfully, the HT-1R includes a speaker out, which you can use to connect the amp to a larger speaker to improve the response. There’s also a headphone input, so you can practice in complete silence if you want.
The Line6 Spider 30 MkII works great on all different types of guitars, like this Fender Strat
Line6 Spider V 30 MkII
Line6 amps and effects are famous for their digital technology, which allows you to replicate the sounds of dozens of different amps and effects all in one affordable package. The Spider V 30 MkII builds on the achievements of past Line6 amps, and incorporates more modern features than ever to give you a practice amp that can emulate almost any tone you want.
From the moment you start playing with the Spider V 30, you’ll notice just how many different options you have at your fingertips. Line6 built 78 amp models into this amplifier, with 24 different cabinet simulations, eight different microphone simulations, and an extensive effects library to boot.
To get more out of your practice sessions, the Spider V 30 also includes extra built-in features
like drum tracks, an onboard looper, and a small metronome to help you improve your skills every day.
There’s also classic mode, which turns off the cab and mic simulations to give you a warmer, more classic response. Together, these digital features provide a treasure trove of material for you to practice with. No matter which styles of music you play, you’re sure to find great tones and backing sounds on this amplifier.
The Spider V MkII does offer clean tones, but it sounds much better with rhythm crunch or distorted lead tones. The presets offer you a wide variety of choices already — but if you want more control, you can adjust the response of each preset to tweak them further.
Of course, for all the features the Spider V 30 MkII offers, there are bound to be some downsides. The sounds are acceptable but not spectacular, particularly with the more effects that you layer on the base presets. The 8” speaker can also sound a bit boxy and tight when you don’t want it to — but other players might love that response, so it’s a matter of personal taste.
Overall, if you want the most presets, effects, and flexibility that you can pack into a practice amp, the Line6 Spider V 30 MkII will be your best bet. You’ll sacrifice a bit in tone quality, but overall it’s a good deal.
Yamaha THR10 II
Yamaha’s THR series has become a budget favorite, thanks to its combination of sound, portability, and price. For an amplifier that fits on a standard desk, you won’t find anything else with such great sound quality and so many built-in effects. Simply put, it’s one of the best budget guitar amps around that you can use to practice.
The heart of the THR10 are its amp models. Onboard the amp itself, you can access five different models, along with a standard flat voicing, an acoustic model and a special model tailored for bass. You’ll also find effects like chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo, echo, compression, and multiple types of reverb all built into the THR10 II’s chassis.
With controls for master volume, gain, effects, and a three-band EQ, it’s easy to sculpt your sound on the THR10. When played with low gain, the amp models sound clean and realistic, with plenty of dynamic response to your attack. The overdrive sounds aren’t exactly like a tube amp — the speakers are tiny, after all — but they do sound great for such a budget practice amp.
However, the onboard controls are just the start of this amp’s potential. With the accompanying app, you can expand the THR10’s capabilities with 10 new amp models, and two new flat voicings, two acoustic models, and two extra bass models. You can also control the amp wirelessly from the app, which makes it easy to play wherever you want around your house.
One other great feature of the THR10 II is that it includes access to Cubase bundled into the purchase price of the amp. Along with all of the features already onboard the amp, Cubase means that you can turn the THR10 and its accompanying app into a full-fledged digital workstation.
Overall, the THR10 II is one of the best practice amps around, and one of the best values in the guitar world today. If you’re looking for a practice amp for your home, you owe it to yourself to check this model out.
A great practice setup helps you take advantage of your gear.
Boss Katana 50W MkII
The Boss Katana 50W might be one of the most famous practice amps ever created. This 50-watt solid-state combo has become legendary among beginners and advanced players alike for its sound, versatility, and durability. Simply put, it’s hard to find a better option for an up-and-coming guitarist.
The heart of the Katana is a 50W preamp and a single 12” speaker. This speaker is significantly larger than the 8” and 10” speakers that you’ll find on other practice amps, and it gives the Katana a broader tonal range with much more articulation and bass response than competitors. This is perfect for players who want uncompromising sound in their practice amp.
The Katana is also built around a series of amplifier models, ranging from clean on one end of the spectrum to metal levels of gain on the other.
Along with it, the Katana models different types of amp response and gain, with an additional model tailored specifically for acoustic players. The MkII introduces a new “variance” system, which doubles the amount of models on tap: you get the original models, plus a new “variant” voicing of each one. If you loved the first Katana but want more flexibility, this is perfect.
The independent gain and volume knobs make it easy to add finer adjustments to your sound.
You also get a three-band EQ, which can smooth out any subpar facets of your tone with aplomb.
The third bank of controls determines the 60+ Boss effects that you add to your base tone. These include drive, delay, reverb, and modulation. Together, they provide almost an entire pedalboard’s worth of options in one built-in package, saving you time and money. If you are interested in building a pedalboard, though, be sure to check out our lists of the best pedals.
The final edge of the back panel controls the master volume, with the overall output of the amp and a headphone out. You can set the Katana to the full 50 watts, or you can attenuate it to 25 watts or all the way down to 0.5 watts for a quieter experience when playing at home. The attenuator dial also functions as a standby switch to minimize clutter.
On the back of the cabinet, you’ll find a set of inputs and outputs. You can run the Katana straight to your headphones, or load up one of the three cabinet simulations and plug directly into an interface for recording or playing through the PA. These technical upgrades make the Katana ready for the stage as well as your bedroom studio.
If you want even more control over how your amp and effects sound, you can also take a look at the Boss Tone Studio Editor. This installable app opens up a set of new parameters to tweak your effects, and gives you a real-time readout of your amp’s performance. Plus, adjusting settings on the app allows you to set your entire amp in one fell swoop as a bonus.
Finally, the Katana 50W MkII is backwards compatible with the Katana 50W MkI, which means that you can seamlessly transfer any presets that you might have created on the Mk1 to the MkII. Overall, the Katana sounds fantastic for a practice amp across a wide variety of sounds, and offers unmatched flexibility and depth for players of all skill levels to explore.
Marshall’s CODE 25 is one of the latest in a long line of famous rock amps.
Marshall CODE 25
Marshall’s answer to the Fender Mustang modeling series, the CODE 25 delivers the British company’s classic sounds in a sleek, streamlined package that’s easy for all players to afford. If you love the famous Marshall “crunch” and want to capture that sound in your practice space, the CODE 25 is a perfect option.
This amp uses digital modelling to emulate famous amplifiers, cabinets, and effects from throughout rock history. The amp focuses on classic Marshall sounds (as you might expect), but also includes other settings that you can use to emulate various tones throughout rock history. There are 100 presets total built into the amp, accessible with just a twist of a button on the top.
You also get a three-band EQ block, along with separate knobs for volume, gain, and master volume. This is a great way to sculpt the details of your sound, and fine-tune your drive. The master volume knob helps approximate Marshall amps which have a dedicated master volume dial.
In these scenarios, you can play with both the volume and drive knobs to dial in the perfect amount of gain and harmonics that you want to use. Then, the master volume allows you to take that same sound and adjust the volume so that it won’t overpower your practice room setup. You can also crank this to get by at small jam sessions or gigs.
The CODE 25 also includes a large effects bank next to the preset selection. These allow you to do everything from tune your guitar to adjust overdrive sounds, modulation effects like chorus and phaser, delay, and reverb.
The amp connects to your phone via Bluetooth, which lets you select the perfect preset and adjust your settings without touching the unit itself. You can even use it to play music through the speakers of your amp with streaming apps on your phone!
When you play the CODE, you’ll recognize the classic Marshall crunch with a wider voice than many other practice amps. The tones aren’t spectacular, but they do provide a solid emulation of many other sounds at a great price point. For players who already have an amp for gigging but need a dedicated practice amp, the versatility of the CODE will outweigh any tonal faults.
Vox Mini Superbeetle
This mini head-and-cab setup sounds just as great as it looks — which, considering its retro appeal and vintage chrome support poles, is no small feat! Overall, the mini Superbeetle delivers vintage Vox-style British amp cleans and overdrives in a package that won’t look out of place in your practice room or your living room.
At the core of the Mini Superbeetle lies Vox’s patented NuTube technology. This achieves tube amp sound, using real vacuum tubes, while eliminating the need for a bulky row of preamp and power tubes. The MV50 was Vox’s first amp using NuTube tech, while the Mini Superbeetle combines a NuTube preamp with a solid-state power section.
The amp is split into a head and cab, which makes it easy for you to run the amp into another cabinet for larger settings. The amp is rated up to 50W at 4 ohms, but the stock speaker only produces 25W at 8 ohms, which keeps volume and size down and makes it better for practice settings.
The top of the amp head contains six controls, which include master volume, treble and bass EQ, gain, reverb, and tremolo. The built-in effects allow you to get great digital reverb emulations and genuine tremolo (the depth is fixed, and you control the rate). The gain knob also lets you push the amp into overdrive, while keeping it quiet with the master volume knob.
If you want to keep things even quieter, there’s also a headphone out from the back of the amp head. This makes it easy to plug in and get the great sounds you’re used to, without anybody else hearing as you play!
When clean, the Mini Superbeetle delivers the sharp, bell-like cleans that Vox amps like the AC4 are known for. It’s got all the treble presence you could need. With overdrive, the amp thickens into a creamy saturation, with a boost to the midrange and a broad, room-filling sound. It’s a great way to sound like Brian May or The Edge, without annoying your neighbors as you shred!
The one downside to the Mini Superbeetle is the lack of headroom. Keeping the amp extremely clean is a challenge, particularly if you want to play with anybody else. The amp can handle duets and even small jam sessions just fine with an overdriven sound, but if you’re looking for loud, chiming cleans, you might need to search for another amp instead.
Princeton amps are fantastic for recording as well as practice.
Fender Princeton Reverb ‘68 Custom
If you’ve got a bit more cash to spend on a practice amp, Fender’s Princeton Reverb ‘68 Custom is one of the best amplifiers that you can find. This 12-watt tube combo amp is legendary among guitar players for its clean tones, and the new “custom” version offers great overdrive at volumes that won’t destroy any windows.
The ‘68 Custom version of the Princeton uses 6V6GT output tubes, along with 12AX7 tubes in the power stage. These tubes are known for their “American” voicing, with rich, smooth highs and scooped midrange frequencies. They’re a fantastic choice, whether you need a great jazz amp, or one for ambient and experimental styles.
The front control panel of the Princeton features six dials, which help you control the sounds of the amp, along with managing the built-in spring reverb and tremolo. The first three knobs are for the master volume, along with treble and bass EQ dials. Together with the volume and tone knobs on your guitar, these give you plenty of control over your tone.
You also get a dial to control the genuine spring reverb, produced in a tank at the base of the amp. It can go from light and wavy all the way to drippy, soaking wet spring goodness. Likewise, you’ll also find knobs to control the speed and intensity of the built-in tremolo. If you want a practice amp that sounds amazing but doesn’t sacrifice effects, the ‘68 Princeton delivers.
When played clean, this amp gives you outstanding clarity with plenty of sparkle and top-end range. It’s a bit bassier than some other Princetons, but overall it’s still a bright amp — a lot of players might find it helpful to keep the bass set slightly above the treble.
Crank the volume past 4 or 5 on the dial, and you’ll start to hear the amp break up. The overdrive is rich and musical, with plenty of smoothness and great string separation. It’s not as biting as the overdrive of British-style amps, which makes it fit in a bit better in a practice setting. To get more headroom, you can also use the attenuated second channel, which stays cleaner.
The one downside of the Princeton is its high price tag. However, if you want the very bets practice amp around, the Princeton’s dynamic tones and stage-ready power make it a great pick. If you want to save a bit more money while still getting a Fender tube amp sound, you might also want to check out the Fender Blues Junior 15 Watt Combo!
Orange Crush 20
Orange amps are famous for their creamy British distortion and overdrive, particularly in stadium stacks of amps and cabs. However, that tone can be difficult (if not impossible) to replicate in small rooms. Enter the Crush 20.
This 20-watt solid-state amp uses an 8” speaker along with a two-channel setup to give you the tones that Orange is known for, with a much smaller footprint and lower volume levels. The “clean” and “dirty” channels let you switch between chimney, mid-focused cleans and saturated drive by just flicking a switch.
However, the preamp is built for high gain, which means this amp sounds better with a screaming, rowdy guitar than with a jazz player. The lower output power and smaller speaker mean that it’s easier to push the Crush 20 into a boxy, mid-forward drive at lower volumes than you can with other amps.
One downside is that the gain control only works on the dirty channel, which forces you to create your own overdrive on the clean channel. You can do this with the volume knobs on your guitar and the amp, but it does make it more difficult to keep the amp at a reasonable volume if you want lighter gain.