Mini guitar amps, also known as practice amps, are very useful. They’re highly portable and take up less space than a regular amp. Of course, if you do gigs, a regular amp is best, although there are ways to get around that. But for traveling and playing at home, a mini amp works just fine.
As with all musical equipment, prices vary. Whether you want a top quality amp and the cost is no object, or you want the best in the budget category, there’s an amp for you. I’m going to go through what the top options are in each category so that you can make the best choice for your needs.
How to Choose a Mini Amp
Practice amps aren’t all created equal. So you need to look out for a few different things when making your selection.
Also, as you may imagine, a mini amp differs quite a lot from a regular amp. The main thing about mini amps vs regular guitar amps is that you aren’t going to get the same volume. But chances are that you aren’t looking to play loudly anyway if a mini amp is what you’re after. You may also not have quite the same sound quality in terms of low end frequencies. But that’s not necessarily the case. You just need to choose wisely and you can have a mini amp that sounds pretty good.
Mini amps come in two different sizes, micro and macro mini amps. As you may have guessed, macro is the bigger of these. The wattage will also depend on the size.
Mini amps range from 1 watt to 20 watts. Generally, micro mini amps go up to 10 watts and the macro mini amps range from 10 watts to 20 watts.
The main consideration here is the volume. A 20 watt amp is louder than a 10 watt, for example.
Chances are you’re going to be using your mini amp at a low volume. But even if you’re playing it as loud as it can go, you want to have good sound quality. No crackling or distortion that isn’t meant to be there, no tinny sounds, or loss of note clarity, etc.
Practice amps often come with different effects which eliminate the need for using pedals. Get an amp with the effects you’d like to have. But if you do have pedals, there are practice amps that take pedals or that facilitate the use of a pedal to stop and start the built-in effects.
If you’re going to be traveling a lot or taking your mini amp out and about with you, make sure you select one with a weight that’s convenient for that purpose.
The Top Mini Guitar Amps
Here are the top mini guitar amps in each price range.
Budget- Under $100
Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean rubbish. While the amps in this price range may use lesser quality materials, this isn’t always so. Sometimes it means fewer effects or a smaller frequency range, etc. Check these out and choose what’s best for you without breaking the bank.
Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp
This 10 watt amp is dirt cheap and very cute. One would assume it’s a toy, but nope. It actually sounds fairly decent although the tone isn’t the fullest and it has pretty good volume, although of course you wouldn’t be playing big gigs with this little amp. It has tone, volume, and gain knobs that you can tweak your sound with. Play with a clean sound or with a little crunch. You can use headphones for silent practice.
It’s powered by AA batteries or an adapter which isn’t included. It weighs less than 1lb and the dimensions are 3 x 6 x 6 inches. Most people like the volume for its small size and feel it works well as a practice amp. Some people found that there is some hissing and crackling although generally it isn’t noticeable when playing or using headphones.
JOYO MA-10 Mini Guitar Amplifier
It’s so portable, you can put it on a strap and it provides the basics. This 10 watt amp is available for acoustic (MA-10A), electric (MA-10E), and bass (MA-10B) guitars. It comes with both clean and overdrive. You can adjust your tone to suit your preference, the volume, and gain. You can plug in headphones for private practice and connect your phone to jam along to tracks.
Power it with AA batteries or an adapter. It weighs just under 3lb and the dimensions are 9.45 x 5.91 x 6.69 inches.
Most people enjoy the tone of this amp and that it works well for practice or jamming with others in quiet settings. The clean channel needs quite a bit of gain to put out enough volume though. Most of the complaints are about the bass amp which makes sense, trying to put out such low frequencies with such a small speaker is generally not going to result in great bass.
RockJam Electric Guitar Amplifier- 50 for 20 watt, 40 for 10 watt
This amp is available in a 10 watt version or a 20 watt version. The manufacturer states that it will work well for both practice and small performances. I would add that if the venue is too big or noisy, don’t expect much. If you just want to use it to practice without bugging the neighbors or the people who live with you at all, make use of the handy headphone output.
You can tweak your sound with the EQ, the 20 watt has an EQ that adjusts highs, mids, and lows. But the 10 watt can only adjust the treble. Rock out with the overdrive. You can also adjust the gain. While it is marketed as suitable for bass and drums too, I wouldn’t buy this specifically for use with a bass guitar. But it will work just fine with a guitar. It’s convenient to cart this practice amp around since it weighs only 4.2kg. The dimensions come in at 15.16 x 10.71 x 6.81 inches.
Most people say this amp does its job. The sound can get loud enough to have some fun with without disturbing the neighbors. There are a few people who say that the tone isn’t very full and that it doesn’t pack much of a punch. Some people appeared to get amps with defects, for example, cutting out when using the headphones. Note that you need to plug it into an electric outlet to play.
Marshall MS2 Battery Operated Micro Guitar Amplifier
If you want an amp with a good name and just the basics, this one is for you. This 1 watt offering just has tone and volume control. You can also plug in your headphones to keep your practicing totally private. It’s totally portable, you don’t even need to plug it in to play since it’s battery operated (it uses a 9V battery). There is an input for a DC adapter if you need to play without a battery. Note, there is no adapter included.
It’s so tiny you can carry it around in your hand. In fact, it has a clip that enables it to hook onto your belt or waistband. It weighs less than 1lb and the dimensions are 5.51 x 2.36 x 4.33 inches. You can choose from black, red, or black with grill cloth which is more like a slate blue.
This amp will serve its purpose. It’s not particularly loud, so it’s not your best option for playing even small gigs. But many people have said it’s fine for busking and great for practice. The sound is very compressed which isn’t nice for some people, especially when using overdrive. A few people also said it can be fuzzy if you crank it up too loud or use overdrive.
Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amplifier
Another big name, this one watt Fender mini amp is pretty decent. Like the previous amp, you can use it with a 9V battery or use an adapter to power it. You can adapt your sound to your liking with the tone, volume, and gain knobs. You can plug in your headphones for a private practice session. It looks just like the bigger version of the amp, but is conveniently small. It weighs less than 1lb and the dimensions are 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches.
Most people are happy with the sound. It’s never going to sound like a regular size amp, but it does pretty well with a clean sound unless you add distortion. When you do add some crunch, it sounds good. There are a few people though who would have preferred it to be louder (bear in mind that it’s only 1 watt), and that had defective models (the battery overheated and there was no sound).
Blackstar Fly 3 Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
If you want an amp that can play backing tracks or songs, check out this 3 watt amp by Blackstar. It has a line in jack for your phone, laptop, tablet or MP3 player. It also has tape delay effects for cool sounds and even a retro vibe and the Infinite Shape Feature so you can play around with your sound and get it just right. Not only that, but it also features gain, volume, and EQ knobs.
You can power it using AA batteries or an adapter. There are options for purchasing a standalone amp, a 3-pack that includes the amp, extension cabinet, and power supply, a Bluetooth amp, or just an extension cabinet if you already have a Fly 3 amp. You can also choose between black, green, or a Union Jack amp. It weighs just under 2lb and the dimensions are 7.59 x 5.59 x 4.29 inches.
Most people are happy with the amp for practice or playing quietly at home, friends, or even while camping. This is one of the most recommended mini amps. The sound is decent even at low volumes. Some people didn’t like the power supply and some people said the effects were too quiet.
Donner Cyclops Mini Guitar Amplifier
Need drums but have no drummer? No problem. The Cyclops 5 watt mini amp comes with a drum machine. There are 40 patterns that cater to pop, rock, blues, metal, funk, fusion and metro. You also get seven amplifier models: two clean, two overdrive, two higain, and one flat. Use effects (mod, delay, and reverb) to create tremolo, chorus, two types of delay and two types of reverb. You can also adjust the gain, volume, and tone. It even has a tuner function.
There’s a built-in Bluetooth function so you can pair it with your phone to play tracks. Power it with a 9V adapter, AA batteries, or 5V USB (USB-C). It weighs just over 3lb and the dimensions are 7.87 x 3.94 x 4.72 inches.
Most people enjoy the sound and say it’s loud for its size and that the tuner is accurate and convenient. The presets and effects are versatile so you get a lot for the price. A few people say the drums sound like toy drums and that the clean channels are quiet. Some people also received defective units where not all the channels worked. Personally, I also dislike the color and this seems to be the only color it comes in.
Orange Crush Mini 3W Combo Amplifier
This three watt offering is simple, but effective as a practice amp. You can adjust the gain, shape, and volume knobs to get clean or distorted sound, and EQ it to your liking. There is a built-in tuner for convenience. You can also use the aux in jack to play along to tracks. Want more volume, connect almost any speaker cabinet. Use your headphones for private practice.
Power this little amp using a 9V battery or adapter. For even more convenience, the amp turns on automatically when you plug in your guitar. It weighs in at just under 2lb and the dimensions are 3.27 x 5.91 x 5.71 inches. It’s available in orange or black.
Many people are happy with this little amp enjoying its simplicity. The volume is great for quiet practice. That said, there were a few people who found that the sound is fuzzy when clean and that there isn’t enough note clarity with the distortion.
It comes with a 1-year warranty.
Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack Amplifier
With this, you get a miniature full stack (one watt) that allows you to play clean or with overdrive. You can control the tone, volume and gain to reach your desired sound. Want bigger sound? Use this mini amp stack to drive an external power amp. Want to play in total privacy, plug in your headphones.
You can power it using a 9V battery or an adapter (neither are included). It weighs just over 1lb and the dimensions 10 x 3 x 5 inches. Most people are happy with this amp, finding that it’s quite loud for its size and sounds good enough for practice. Plus it looks great. But there were a few people who mentioned that the sound deteriorates after a while, especially the overdrive.
Comes with a 5-year warranty.
Flamma FA05 5W Electric Guitar Amplifier
If you want variety, this is another good option. It has seven different preamp types that are modelled after popular amps (Clean 1 & 2, Overdrive 1 & 2, Crunch, Lead, and Rhythm). Play around with the built-in modulation, chorus, tremolo, delay, and reverb. It has 40 drum tracks for you to jam with. It also has a built-in tuner. This amp comes with a 1-year warranty.
You can plug in headphones and connect your phone via Bluetooth. It uses AA batteries (not included) or you can power it with an adapter (included). It weighs just over 2lb and the dimensions are 6.9 X 6.3 X 4.1 Inches. Most people love the versatility and the drum tracks. It sounds pretty decent. There are a few complaints about the amp breaking or just not being the best quality sound.
Under $200 But Over $100
In this price range, you may find higher wattage options that are still budget buys, or you may find lower wattage options that are better quality.
Boss Katana Mini 7 Watt Combo Amplifier
This seven watt amp is a pretty popular choice. It has gain, volume, dedicated EQ, and tape delay. You can create different effects like vibrato and echoes using the tape delay. Use the EQ to tweak your sound until you’re happy. Adjusting the gain can get you distortion. Listen through your headphones if you want completely silent practice.
You can power it via AA batteries or an adapter. The power supply isn’t included. It weighs just over 2lb and the dimensions are 9 x 4.5 x 7 inches. Most people are happy with what this amp has to offer by way of volume and tone. The size is really convenient and it sounds full rather than tinny. A few people felt that the sound is weak, and a few mentioned it not being a clean sound.
Fender Champion 20 Guitar Amplifier
As you may have guessed you get 20 watts of Fender sound. And while this might not get you that full Fender sound, it will do. If you want variety with a louder practice amp here you go with 17 different amp models for you to play a variety of genres. Shape your sound with the full EQ and apply various effects like chorus, reverb, vibratone, and delay. You can also adjust the level of the effects separately too.
Hook up your MP3 player or phone to play to backing tracks. If you want to practice privately, plug in your headphones. There is a handy storage area at the back of the amp for cables and other small accessories. This amp comes in a little heavier at 6.6lb, but that is still pretty light compared to larger amps. The dimensions are 16 x 12 x 16 inches.
Most people enjoy the sound, saying it’s quite full for such a small amp, the volume is also good. It’s worth it to note that you can’t use a foot switch with this little amp. Unlike some of the other amps on this list, it’s not battery operated, so make sure you always go where there is an electrical outlet. There are a few complaints about the effects and amp models not being equally loud and some of the effects sounding cheap.
It comes with a 5-year warranty.
Marshall MG10G-U Combo Guitar Amplifier
This 10 watt amp has both clean and overdrive channels. You can control the volume for each individually. Within the overdrive channel you also have gain. Shape your sound using the contour knob. You can plug in your headphones to jam privately and there is a line-in jack to connect your MP3 player or phone.
There is no option to power this amp via batteries, so make sure that you’re always near an electrical outlet when planning to jam. The power cable is attached to the amp. It weighs 11.5lb and the dimensions are 13.9 x 11.77 x 18.5 inches.
Most people are happy with the sound as well as both the clean and overdrive channels. This little amp is quite loud for its size, although you won’t be playing any big gigs with it unless mic’ed up. It sounds good even at high volume. There are a few people who say the amp is a little hissy.
Comes with a 5-year warranty.
Marshall MG15G-U Combo Guitar Amplifier
As you may have guessed, this is Marshall’s 15 watt amp. With this amp, you get more control with your EQ which caters to lows, mids, and highs separately. Like the 10 watt, you get a clean and overdrive channel with individual volume controls and a gain control in the overdrive channel. You can plug in your headphones and connect your phone or MP3 player to play along to tracks.
As with the 10 watt amp, you can’t use this amp with batteries. The cable is attached to the amp. It weighs 16lb and the dimensions are 8 x 15 x 14.8 inches. Most people agree that this amp is fairly loud for its size and that it sounds great. They love both the clean and overdrive channels and how easy it is to get good sound. Some people found the volume dials too sensitive and said there’s a hiss.
Comes with a 5-year warranty.
Orange Crush 20 Guitar Amplifier
This 20W amp comes with foot switchable channels for maximum convenience. Those channels are dirty and clean. There are controls for gain and full EQ. The four stage preamp design gives you a warmer sound and the usuals like overdrive and distortion. You can hook up your phone or MP3 player to play along to tracks. For private practice, plug in your headphones into the CabSim jack which emulates a 4 x 12 cabinet. So it would be good for recording too.
This amp works with a power supply (which is included) that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet. It weighs just over 15.5lb and the dimensions are 16 x 9 x 13 inches. This amp just comes in orange.
Many people are happy with the sound and say it’s quite loud for a little amp. The sound has been described as warm. But there are a few people who say the dirty channel and the overdrive is muddy, blending the notes. It’s not a great amp for hard rock and metal.
It comes with a 1-year warranty
Orange Crush 20RT Guitar Amplifier
This is the same as the Crush 20, but with two extras: reverb and a tuner. So if you want a 20 watt amp from Orange, but want an additional effect and the convenience of using a tuner that’s built into the amp, here you go.
Most people are very happy with the sound and how loud the amp is. Again, it’s not the best for heavier genres, but does well with genres like blues, jazz, grunge, and punk. The tuner, sadly, is not super accurate, so best to rely on it as more of a guide. It will do in a pinch if you have a good enough ear to tweak the tuning to perfection.
It comes with a 1-year warranty.
Here you’ll get another upgrade in terms of quality, number of effects, or wattage,
Yamaha THR5 10 Watt Desktop Guitar Amplifier
This is another great option for versatility with a great look. It has five amp models (Modern, Brit Hi, Lead, Crunch, Clean). The effects include flanger, chorus, phaser, and tremolo. You can also add delay and reverb of which there are two types each (Delay, Dly/Rev, Spring, Hall). There is also a gain knob, master knob, and volume knob.
To keep time, there is an onboard metronome. For convenience, there is also an onboard tuner. You can hook up your phone to play along to tracks. You also get access to free software that allows you to customize your sound even further and also record. For this you’ll need a laptop or PC. Power this amp via AA batteries or adapter. It weighs just under 4.5lb and the dimensions are 6.58 x 4.72 x 10.67 inches.
Most people are happy with the sound and construction. The sound has been described as warm and surprisingly big for such a small amp. There were a few complaints about the amp rattling at high volume, but these amps may have been defective.
Monoprice 611815 15 Watt Tube Amplifier
If you’re looking for a tube amp, just smaller, here you go. It even looks vintage. This 15 watt amp sports three ECC83/12AX7 preamplification tubes and two EL84 power tubes. It also has a Celestion speaker. There is built-in reverb, a three band EQ, and gain. You can also adjust your tone and volume. The reverb can be switched on and off with the use of a foot pedal. Use the FX loop for maximum versatility while you play.
To use this amp, you need to be near an electrical outlet since it doesn’t take batteries. It weighs 31.6lb and the dimensions are 16.8 x 9.25 x 17.1 inches. Most people enjoy the sound and find the amp fine for practice. Having said that, there are many people who decide to modify the amp, but it’s a question of taste and what you like. My advice is to watch videos with people using it to see if you like it.
Vox MiniGo10 Combo Guitar Amplifier
This 10 watt combo amp sets you up to jam by yourself very well. It comes with a built-in loop function with a recording time of up to 40 seconds. Perfect for setting up layered guitar sounds. It also comes with drums that come in 33 different rhythm patterns.
The nine amp models are based on the more powerful Vox Cambridge 50. The range of models include Deluxe CL, Boutique CL, Vox AC30, and Brit VM among others. The effects include phaser, chorus, octave, and tremolo. There’s also two types of delay and reverb. You can use a foot pedal to switch between effects.
This amp gives you a mic input in addition to a laptop or PC input, and of course, the guitar input. So it’s really versatile. You can power this amp via an electrical outlet or a USB power bank for maximum portability. It weighs just under 10lb and the dimensions are 8.27 x 11.57 x 11.65 inches.
Most people enjoy the effects and the sound of the amp. They also enjoy how portable the amp is. There are a few complaints about the Mini Go 10 not being as good as some of the other offerings in the Vox range.
Orange Micro Dark Terror Hybrid Amp Head Mini Stack Combo
If you would like a head and cabinet combo for versatility, here you go. You get an orange Micro Dark head with an Orange Terror cabinet. This allows you to connect to a bigger speaker for those time you really want a bit more volume or stick to the smaller speaker for practice and maximum portability. Just bear in mind that it’s 20 watts, and gives only so much power. While it’s not convenient to take two pieces of equipment around with you, you can’t beat it for versatility.
This 20 watt tube amp (with ECC83/ 12AX7 tube), gives you a warm British tone. It blends valve and solid-state technology for the best of both worlds. You can achieve clean, overdrive and distortion with this preamp. Use the shape control to EQ your sound. Adjust the gain as needed for a crunchier tone. Connect a range of pedals to get whatever sound you want conveniently. You can also connect your headphones via the Cabsim jack.
The head is powered via a power cable which is included. This combo also includes a Krilin ¼ inch jack to jack cable. The head weighs just under 2lb (dimensions are 5.31 x 6.5 x 3.74 inches) and the cabinet weighs just under 8lb (dimensions are 10 x 10.2 x 5.3 inches). All in all, you’re looking at just under 10lb with dimensions of 10.63 x 9.45 x 21.65 inches. It’s available in black or orange.
Most people are happy with the size and tone of this stack. They enjoy that they can play with drummers when connecting the head to a bigger cabinet. There are some complaints about the small cabinet not being loud enough and even sounding slightly shrill. There may have been defective cabinets for them to sound shrill, but the size and wattage of the speaker (20 watts) is after all practice amp size, so expecting big volume from it is a bit unreasonable.
There you have it, the top 20 mini guitar amps for every budget. You’ll soon be jamming quietly to your heart’s content. No disturbed neighbors, family members, or house mates. You’ll also have an amp to take along to the beach or camping if you get a battery operated practice amp. Play wherever, whenever, quietly, or completely privately.
Cheanné Lombard lives in the home of one of the new Seven World Wonders, Cape Town, South Africa. She can’t go a day without listening to or making music.
Her love of music started when her grandparents gave her a guitar. It was a smaller version of the full-sized guitars fit for her little hands. Later came a keyboard and a few years after that, a beautiful dreadnought guitar and a violin too. While she is self-taught when it comes to the guitar, she had piano lessons as a child and is now taking violin lessons as an adult.
She has been playing guitar for over 15 years and enjoys a good jam session with her husband, also an avid guitarist. In fact, the way he played those jazzy, bluesy numbers that kindled the fire in her punk rock heart. Now she explores a variety of genres and plays in the church worship group too and with whoever else is up for a jam session.