Constant practice is vital for any guitarist. Lack of it makes you rusty, and if you are still a beginner, you will keep forgetting the basics when you stay long without practice. Therefore, as a way to ensure that you perfect your skill, buying lightweight gear eliminates the excuse of not practicing at all.
One gear you should have is a portable guitar amp.
In the past, you heard that most experts recommend these amplifiers for beginners because they are budget-friendly. But we differ because expert guitarists use them, still. For instance, when practicing at home, keeping the music as low as possible ensures that you do not bother anyone. And here is where a portable guitar amp comes in handy. You can also use them backstage when you want to rehearse a lick or progression without attracting attention from onlookers.
Also, if you are a constant traveler, you need one of these gadgets. They are small enough to fit into any suitcase, and they do not need a power source all the time. You can use a pair of batteries to amplify the sound from your guitar, especially if you do not have a source of electricity nearby. But if you are close to an electric socket, you can plug these gadgets.
The portable guitar amplifier market has a lot to offer. You will find so many amps from different brands to buy. And for many, finding the best one for their needs becomes challenging.
For that reason, we are going to review the best portable guitar amps in the market in this article. Here is what you should consider next time you are looking for one.
Top 10 Best Portable Guitar AMP 2020
1. Marshall MS2 Micro
Having to carry your grand guitar amplifier, everywhere you go (especially when no one is paying you) merely is cumbersome. But because of the love of music, you may need a portable one. The Marshall MS2 micro guitar amplifier is what you need.
The guitar amplifier is small, 2.4 X 4.3 inches. On its front, you will find the control panel, which features the volume, tone, overdrive switches, and the input port.
At the back, you will find the battery compartment and a clip. The clip is ideal for players who would prefer attaching the amplifier on their belt. Many guitarists will find that quite stylish.
On the left side, you will find a 9v port if you do not want to use the batteries provided in the package.
If you do not like black, this amplifier comes in a variety of colors. You can get it in red, silver, blue, and green.
The Marshall MS2 is a top amp for a reason: the sound. It provides excellent sound qualities, and it is loud. And with the overdrive, you are sure that your solos will never sound the same.
Note that the amp does not have the gain button. But with the volume and tone controls, you can find a great balance to suit your playing style – whether it is jazz, blues, or any other genre.
Because of its excellent features, this guitar amp is suitable for everyone. You can use it at home for practice and silent practices since it has a headphone jack located on its side.
During a performance, if you do not have the expensive monitors, this one helps you with that. You can mix it, and you can even connect it to your pedal chain, which is a character that most guitar amps lack.
2. Blackstar Fly 3
If you would like to jam at night without waking up anyone, then the Blackstar Fly 3 has everything you need for this to happen. The mini guitar amplifier can crack the entire room at the full sound.
The Blackstar Fly 3 features a durable body but remains lightweight. It is a 3-watt amplifier, which you can power using the batteries provided or through the power port.
At the front, you will find the three-inch speaker, which offers a punchy and exceptional sound. The top also features the control panel, which has the gain control, volume, equalization (ISF), overdrive switch, and the delay control and switch. You will also find the input port, MP3, and headphone ports here.
The back has the battery compartment and the DC power supply port. If you prefer to use batteries, you will need six AA batteries.
The manufacturer had all guitarists in mind when building the Blackstar Fly 3 guitar amp. Primarily, the three-inch speaker ensures that the sound is fulfilling and punchy for rock and jazz players.
You will also notice that the control panel has different effect controls. They can be great alternatives if you do not have the delay and overdrive effects pedals.
The guitar amplifier facilitates quiet practicing and jamming at night. You can hook your laptop or music player via the MP3 port and your headphones. Nobody will hear you play.
On the other hand, you can be sure that the amplifier can function as a portable speaker as well. You can amplify its sound during a performance, which is an added advantage for gigging guitarists.
3. Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
Assuming you are on a budget, what is the best portable guitar amplifier to buy? Well, the Danelectro is an excellent gift for anyone with a low budget, and any guitar player who would love a durable amp.
The amplifier brings a ‘kind- of’ retro feel to its appeal. It is small, but that does not mean that the manufacturer compromised on its durability.
At the front is its speaker; at the top, you will find the control panel with the volume, the tone, and overdrive controls. The input port is also located here.
The back features a belt clip and a battery compartment. If you need an amplifier that you can clip on your belt, then this is what you should purchase.
On its side, you will find the headphone jack and the power supply input.
Primarily, the Danelectro is loud. You can hear it from the other end of the room, even in low volume and tones.
Besides that, the amplifier is ideal for all guitars. You can use it for your acoustic, electric, and ukulele guitars. However, since it offers high frequencies, your bass guitar will not sound great with it.
If you would like to practice privately, then this is the guitar amp to use. With the headphone jack, you can do so without disturbing people in the room.
Additionally, players who want to crank up their solos should use the overdrive function. It does not compromise on the sound, regardless of how loud it gets.
4. Fender Mini Tonemaster
The Fender Mini Tonemaster is a gear that is perfect for players that prefer silent practicing. It is also a genuine amp for people that travel a lot.
For most players, tilting the amplifiers does two things. It makes the performance look appealing; secondly, it ensures that the sound travels directly to the player’s ears.
With the Tonemaster, you have this feature in the form of a tiltable back leg. You can retract whenever you want to place the guitar amplifier on the ground, and return it when you do not need to use it.
If you like appealing designs, then this portable guitar amp is a worth try. You will feel professional since it comes with two compartments. The upper one features the control panel, which has the input port, gain, volume, tone, and power controls.
The lower side includes the speaker. And on its side, you will find the headphone jack and the power supply port.
The Tonemaster is a great travel companion for electric guitarists. It offers unique sound qualities, and you have the freedom to try out different tonal variations with the controls available. Note, also, it may have a crunch effect, which you can control using the gain and tonal controls.
5. VOX Mini 5
If you do not have guitar pedals, you need to find a portable guitar amp that has other effects that are ideal for practicing and jamming. The VOX Mini 5 amp is a suitable alternative in this case. It brings so many qualities that any guitarist, whether beginner or a seasoned player, is going to love.
The VOX mini five has a robust built to ensure durability. It also comes with a belt strap at the top to help you carry the amp with ease.
Its six-inch speaker sits at the front and has a grilled design to protect it and add to its appeal. You can use six AA batteries or an AC adapter to power up the amplifier.
The manufacturer ensured that players would have a great time while playing or jamming. Its control panel, which sits at the top, features multiple controls for effects amp, gain, volume, and tone controls.
You will also find a rhythm kit, which features 99 patterns and beats for different genres. You can also set your tempo to whichever speed you would like. The feature facilitates jamming when you do not have a drum kit or a player close to you.
Other controls include the effects panel, which consists of the chorus, flanger, and many others. You will also find the mic in port and its settings tab, AUX IN, and phone jack.
You can set the watts to 0.1W, 1.5W, or 5W. These settings can assist in saving the battery life, especially when you are in the wild.
6. Yamaha THR10C Mini Guitar Amplifier
Most portable amps frustrate many guitarists because they do not sound fuller. For the Yamaha THR10C, it offers something more authentic when it comes to build, sound, and the different quality tones you can explore.
The THR10C is a lightweight version, which comes with amazing technology in and out of the amp. Primarily, you will need a 9V power adapter to power it. But if you do not have an adequate power source, you can fit eight AA batteries at the compartment found at the bottom.
Its body is robust, and features four speakers at the front, a comprehensive control panel at the top, and a handle to facilitate easy transportation.
For musicians who are a bit sensitive when it comes to sound, the THR10C is a worthy amplifier. It comes with different effects that you can try; a variety of tonal controls, including the bass, treble, middle, effects knobs, and output knobs.
It also has an inbuilt amp for the acoustic guitar, a tuner, recording interface, and an amp for different effects and an uncompromised sound.
Whether you are playing at home, studio, or a live performance, this guitar amp works perfectly. With its realistic sound and robust body, you can be sure that you will be using this guitar anywhere. Additionally, you can connect it to an electric guitar, an acoustic, and a bass guitar since it has a bass knob.
7. Roland Micro Cube GX
The Roland Micro Cube GX is a popular amp among most guitar players. Beginners and elite players seem to appreciate the technology and the different qualities that this amp brings.
The Roland Micro Cube GX is portable and lightweight. Hence, musicians who want to produce quality sound can do so with this amp.
It brings great sound qualities, which its amazing control panel facilitates. Be assured that this amplifier is loud enough for small venues, practicing at home, and playing in studios. If you need to mic it during an event, then you can mic it or connect it to a mixer.
Besides, if you are not close to a power source, this amp only needs six AA batteries to operate. The amp does not consume so much energy; hence, the guitar amplifier can run up to 25 hours, especially if you have quality batteries.
If you are on a budget, you can buy this amp instead of effect pedals. The control panel comes with different amps for effects, sounds, and controls. You can also enjoy some of the crunchy sound effects and reverbs.
Other exciting attributes on the control panel include a power button, a chromatic tuner, tone, volume, gain, and master controls.
Roland also provides an app for Apple devices, which you can download from the play store. The app, Cube Jam, provides the player with an interface to control the amp remotely. It also facilitates jamming and exploration of different effects present on the guitar amp.
You can connect the phone via the i-cube link port on the left side of the control panel.
8. Fender Mini ’57 Twin-Amp
Some musicians love to carry a good amplifier that delivers quality sound and is stylish. With the Fender Mini 57 Twin amp, you will get both of these qualities in plenty.
Regardless of its size, this guitar amplifier does not compromise on its built. It comes with a woven yellow design that makes it look extra appealing. Additionally, it is small and lightweight.
It also comes with a few controls on the control panel, and trial 9V batteries.
At the top, you will find a secure strap for carrying it with ease.
Though you do not expect such a tiny guitar amp to sound mighty, it ensures that it delivers quality sounds that other amps of similar size might fail to provide. Its speaker facilitates the 1-watt punch, which suffices for smaller spaces.
Apart from that, the control panel provides an overdrive button, volume, and tone controls. When tweaked perfectly, you can be sure that the sound produced is perfect, and sounds professional.
Since the Fender Mini 57 Twin amp is for travelers, you can be sure that it will provide the needed sound quality even with the 9V batteries. It suits areas where there is no electricity, backstage, living rooms, and bedrooms.
You can also connect your headphones to the amp if you want to practice silently.
9. NUX Mighty Lite BT Mini
The NUX Mighty Lite guitar amplifier features a compact design and comes with exciting technologies that you will love. It is a recommendable amplifier for musicians who want to practice at home or in smaller spaces without being a bother to others.
The sound quality of this amplifier is exceptional. You can traverse different sound effects using the clean, overdrive, and distortion channels.
Besides that, practicing without a drummer is now possible. It comes with different drum settings and nine drumming patterns. You can also use the metronome if you want to practice on increasing speed.
Note also that the control panel has some lightings that are aesthetic, and will do a perfect job in inspiring you to play.
The joy of any musician is the ability to play his or her music from anywhere. With this amp, you can be sure that you can play your electric guitar even when you are away from home or studio. You will need six AA batteries or power adapters.
You can connect your amplifier with your music devices using the Bluetooth feature on the amp. The benefit of this technology is that it reduces the need for using cables, even though the amp has an input port on it. It also helps the player during jamming.
10. Sawtooth 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp
Although not a common household name, the Sawtooth 10-watt is a top ten portable electric guitar amp. It comes with a 6.5-inch speaker at the front and a control panel at the top.
The amp’s construction is ideal for players who are always on the move. Its 6.5-inch speaker has an open weave grill to protect the speaker. The grill also ensures that the amp remains lightweight, regardless.
At the top, just next to the control panel, is a reinforced strap. You can be sure that the belt will not break anytime soon. It also provides an effective way to carry the amp to your next gig.
The Sawtooth provides rich tones for your guitars. You can use the gain, treble, middle, and bass controls, to explore different tones and make sure that your guitar sounds perfect.
Again, you can practice in silence; however, you will need to have a 6.35 stereo jack for the headphones.
The guitar amp is perfect for both beginners and pros. With the excellent sound quality it offers, your practice sessions will never be the same again. Other than that, it is portable. A point to note, nevertheless, is that this amp does not have a battery compartment. Meaning, you have to look for a suitable electrical outlet to use it.
Other gifts that come with the amp include a packet of plectrums and a 10-ft—instrument cable.
Best Portable Guitar AMP Buying Guide
If you want to become an excellent musician, you need to have your instrument, or gears, next to you, especially when you need it (them) most. Active traveling musicians have one problem: finding the right equipment to carry around everywhere you go.
An excellent example of a gear you need is a portable guitar amp. You may never want to carry your guitar amp everywhere you go. Therefore, getting a smaller amp can suffice during such situations.
Finding the best portable guitar amp can be quite tricky. But since you are here, today we’re going to show you what you need to consider when buying a reputable portable guitar AMP.
Of course, size
You’ll come across various portable guitar amps as you do your shopping. And even though all of them are portable, most of them differ in size, shape, and construction.
Get to know the size of the amp you desire. Is it something that can fit into your suitcase, or is it something that may need you to buy an extra casing so that you can carry it?
Also, as you check the size, consider construction. Some cunning manufacturers end up compromising on structure, which in turn makes the amp quite flimsy.
Test on the sound
Before you buy the amp, have a quick soundcheck. You may have to test several of them to compare how each of the ones you preferred sound.
Check the amp’s wattage, listening in to find out if the sound is realistic, get to know how loud it can get (headroom), how many speakers the unit has, and configure the EQ controls to see if you can get a variety of tonal controls for your music needs.
Note that each portable amp has its unique sound personality. In my opinion, take your time while testing the amp.
What’s on the control panel?
The control panel features all the EQ controls that help in shaping the overall tone of your guitar. Some guitar amps only come with a minimum of three EQ bands: volume, tone, and drive.
Other sophisticated ones come drum patterns, tuners, headphone jacks for silent practicing, aux port for jamming, and other effects. Such features can push the price of the amp. And whether you should buy one with those extra features depends on your needs.
If you have a pedalboard with all these effects, you may not need using the ones on the guitar amp.
Power supply options
When the word “portable” comes to play, you have to think differently. You may need a guitar amp that operates with and without an electric power supply.
The reason for this is that you may want to jam or practice in an environment where accessing electricity is quite impossible. And that’s where using a battery to provide the needed electric signal comes in handy.
Nevertheless, the kind of battery to use differs with each amp since it depends on the amp’s wattage.
The amp’s aesthetics
Some musicians love stylish portable amps. And there’s nothing wrong with going for one that looks amazing, as long as the amp provides the right kind of sound and durability.
Examine the kind of finish on the grill, the arrangement on the control panel, and see if other qualities could help to achieve what you need. For instance, some portable guitar amps have a clip-on belt. The clip is useful for players on a budget and who love something that they would use on stage as a monitor.
Last but Not Least
As you do your shopping, try as much as possible to consider your budget. Don’t spend more than what you have. That’s an essential rule of thumb in music. However, make sure that whatever portable amp you buy fits your needs appropriately.
Besides that, make sure that the amp is shapeable in terms of tonal qualities. When you are doing your research, you’ll notice that some portable amps are ideal for bass players because they offer low signals better than the highs. Hence, it’s important to note that the one you’re buying is ideal for guitars.
Similar to buying any instrument or accessory, it is essential to consider your needs before anything else. In our opinion, all these portable guitar amps are great for travelers. However, each has its benefits and limitations, which are essential to consider.
For instance, you will notice that most of these amps come with a battery compartment. However, the Sawtooth 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp does not have one. Meaning, you will always have to be next to an electrical source.
In conclusion, if you want the best portable guitar amp, you should try the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier. It is a simple amplifier to use, portable, loud enough, and works flawlessly with your pedal if you have one. That is why it ranks at number one in our top ten best portable guitar amp.