Top 10 Best Mini Guitar Amplifiers

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Throughout recording history, some of the biggest, most iconic tones came from tiny amplifiers. Many of them were little Fenders, like Eric Clapton’s tone on “Layla”. Dave Davies of The Kinks used a pawn shop Elpico amp for “You Really Got Me” and Jimmy Page often recorded with a cheap Valco. When it comes to capturing searing tone, you don’t always need muscle.

If most of the amps in our small combo amp post were still too loud for your needs, you’re in luck. There are a handful of great tiny amps on the market that will give you some semblance of their larger siblings’ tone without getting you evicted. Almost all of the time-honored flavors are covered, and often at price points low enough that you could get several for the price of a larger amp.

These little tone machines range from the one-watt, battery-powered desktop amp to lunchbox stack heads. All of these options are exceptional for recording, giving you a focused sound that is easy to capture. For natural breakup, it’s hard to beat these tiny things, which can be driven hard without the need for extreme volumes. They can generally be run into the front of other amps for an overdrive effect that could be more authentic-sounding than some pedals. They’re also excellent for practice.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from these is that they’re fun. Even if you don’t find your ideal guitar tone, messing around with these, building stereo rigs and miniature walls of amplifiers, is just enjoyable for any tone chaser. It’s a lot less fussy than tuning in amp models on your DAW, anyway. It should probably be noted that most of these don’t include reverb and can be quite dry, so you might want to grab a pedal to handle that part for you.

Update: As a commenter notes, the Yamaha THR10 Mini Guitar Amplifier is a pretty amazing mini amp. I haven’t included it in this post because it’s fully $100 more than the most expensive model here. Still, it’s definitely worth checking out if high-end modeling is the priority in your mini amp purchase.

If you’re in the market for a tiny tone machine, consider our list of the top ten best mini guitar amplifiers.


1. Fender Mini Deluxe

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(Fender)

Modeled after the excellent Hot Rod Deluxe, this little dude will save you about $700. Okay, not quite, since you certainly can’t go gigging with it. Still, it provides an inexpensive jolt of Fender tone in a super-compact size. It even comes with the chickenhead knobs and jewel light, for the detail-oriented. It can be run off a battery or a 9V DC adapter.

For more Fender-y goodness, consider the ’57 Mini Twin Tweed or the Tone-Master versions. Both have the same controls and the same power. Maybe buy all three and rotate them.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $29.95

Buy the Fender Mini Deluxe here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery or DC input
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Tone, Volume
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Fender Mini Deluxe information and reviews here.



2. Danelectro N10B Honey Tone

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(Danelectro)

The Honey Tone was the first mini amp I was ever introduced to. Someone had removed the H, Y, and last E to make it read One Ton. For an amp of this size, it’s approximately one ton of sound, so that’s fitting. This thing screams in comparison to similarly-sized amps, packed as it is with ten watts. While it will do clean and has an overdrive, the magic of this one is just turning it up past three and using the naturally compressed speaker sound. It’s a driven distortion tone that can be quite pleasing. Especially useful into the front of a bigger amp when the situation allows for it. Otherwise, use the belt clip to wander around while you practice. It’s also available in aqua and black, if you need to match your other gear.

If you like where this is headed but want a little more, the Danelectro DH-1 Hodad starts with the same basic tone, but adds a second speaker, echo, and vintage-style tremolo. A very tiny ’60s machine.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $22.95

Buy the Danelectro N10B Honey Tone here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery or DC input
  • Wattage: 10 watts
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Overdrive
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Danelectro N10B Honey Tone information and reviews here.



3. Vox MINI 3 G2

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(Vox)

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed that the price on this one is considerably higher than the first two. That’s true. But this is quite a lot more than just your average mini amp. This is a full-fledged modeling amplifier complete with eleven amp tones, effects, a tuner and a mic in. You could plug this directly into your recording interface and have a complete guitar tone solution. At three watts, this will be plenty loud enough to practice with, while giving you more than enough power for excellent recordings.

Amp models include three Fender-style, two Vox AC amps, three Marshall-style, two Mesa Boogie styles, and a line level. Effects include compression, chorus, flanger, and tremolo, as well as analog delay, tape delay, spring reverb, and room reverb. The tuner switch doubles as a tap tempo for setting the delay time. It even comes with a Vox-branded speaker, and will last ten hours on battery power. It’s a pretty incredible little machine.

This is the black version, but it’s also available in classic Vox coloring and Ivory.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $119.99

Buy the Vox MINI 3 G2 here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Gain, Tone, Volume, Amp Model, Effects, Delay/Reverb, Mic in Trim, Mic in Send, Tuner/Tap Tempo
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Vox MINI 3 G2 information and reviews here.



4. Blackstar FLY3

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(Blackstar)

Blackstar is well known for providing huge tones at reasonable prices all throughout their range. They’re also good at producing lower wattage amps that are ideal for home and studio use. This battery-powered combo is no different. It punches way above its weight class when it comes to tone, providing both a clean and dirty channel in combination with Blackstar’s ISF tone control. The ISF is designed to model American sounds (Fender cleans and Peavey overdrive) at one end, and British style (Marshall) at the other. It also includes a digitally modeled tape delay, with controls for level and time.

The combo itself sounds pretty good, but you can pair it with the FLY 103 extension cabinet to get even more out of it. The included three-inch speaker is voiced so that you can use it as a portable speaker for any device, while the headphone jack out is emulated for direct-in use. The line in is wired in such a way that the drive and delay don’t color your backing track.

If black doesn’t do it for you, it’s available in cream and, well, why not, Union Jack.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $57 (5 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Blackstar FLY3 here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, ISF EQ, Overdrive switch, Delay, Delay Level
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Blackstar FLY3 information and reviews here.



5. Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack

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(Marshall)

Who hasn’t wanted to stand in front of a wall of dimed Marshall stacks? Well, now you can and you won’t even get arrested for it. For the price of an equivalent ’59 Plexi full stack, you could pick up 76 of these little guys. Or just get one and enjoy Marshall-like tone in this tiny package. The Plexi is best when cranked all the way up, and this is your opportunity to do just that. This full mini stack emulates the compressed, singing distortion tone that made Marshall famous. It doesn’t have quite the bells and whistles as the others on this list, but it’s pretty neat, nevertheless. There’s a pull-out stand in the back so you can angle it up for better sound projection. The headphone jack is a preamp out for recording and plugging into bigger amps.

If you’re feeling modest, you can get the half-stack MS2 instead.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $64.99

Buy the Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Tone
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack information and reviews here.



6. EVH 5150 Micro Stack

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(EVH)

Very much in the style of the Marshall above, this EVH-inspired micro stack will help you dial in those Van Halen tones while you work up your covers. Based on the 5150 50 watt mini head, the cleans on this are actually fairly chime-y. The drive is convincingly derived of something Eddie Van Halen-esque, so it could be a good option for some players. Like the Marshall, it includes a kickstand for sound projection.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $49.99

Buy the EVH 5150 Micro Stack here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Tone
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more EVH 5150 Micro Stack information and reviews here.



7. Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX

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(Roland)

Like the Vox above and its larger brother on our small combo amp post, this Roland unit is a full-fledged modeling amp. While it lacks the tap tempo option of the Vox, it makes up for it with a Memory function, which will save and recall your favorite setting at any time. Use it on battery power as a practice amp, or as an extremely versatile guitar preamp for recording situations.

There are eight amp models, including Roland’s legendary JC-120. The eight effects include chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, octave, delay, and reverb. It has an on-board tuner and an i-Cube/auxiliary input. This should give you plenty of options for practice, but excels in the recording space.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $149

Buy the Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or Roland DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Amp Type, Effects, Delay/Reverb, Tuner, Gain, Volume, Tone, Master, Memory
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX information and reviews here.



8. Electro-Harmonix Headphone Amp

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(Electro-Harmonix)

Since Electro-Harmonix are one of the elder statesmen of the effects pedals scene, it makes sense that they would create a tiny amplifier meant to take pedals. This one doesn’t feature a speaker, so you’ll either have to get yourself a set of decent headphones to make use of it. It’s designed as a premium preamp that faithfully reproduces the sound of your gear without any other unnecessary bits. If a headphone amp is all you need, this is the one to go for.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $44.80

Buy the Electro-Harmonix Headphone Amp here.


Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Volume
  • Output: Headphones

Find more Electro-Harmonix Headphone Amp information and reviews here.



9. Orange Micro Terror 20-Watt Head

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(Orange)

Tiny amps are not all about one watt combos with three inch speakers. Tiny amps also mean ultra-portable stacks that are loud enough to play small shows, while also delivering outstanding studio tones. This amp helped defined the lunchbox style, bringing crushing tones to easy-to-move units. For the price of the Roland above, Orange will deliver for you 20 watts of actual tube tone, using a 12AX7 valve preamp. These amps are consistently surprising doubters, so if you need something light but powerful, this might be worth a look. It’s full stack tone in small packaging, but will still drive a 4×12 cabinet if necessary.

Of course, you’ll still need to pick up the matching cabinet for an additional $99. If you need a little more bass response, you might opt for the PC112C 1×12 cab instead. This little package can also be had in Dark Terror flavor, if you prefer.

Naturally, Orange also dabble in the mini combo amp market, and offer the CR3 Micro Crush, if you’re set on having a desktop-style amp.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $149

Buy the Orange Micro Terror 20-Watt Head here.



Specs:

  • Power: DC input
  • Wattage: 20 watt
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Gain
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Orange Micro Terror 20-Watt Head information and reviews here.



10. Hotone Nano Legacy Purple Wind 5-Watt Compact Guitar Amp Head

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(Hotone)

Sticking with micro stacks for our last pick, this Hotone amp is newly released this year. This amp is truly tiny, about the size of your hand. What’s most impressive about them is that they offer a couple of features most don’t at this size. The first is a three-band EQ, which is extra handy when trying to dial in with small cabinets. The second is an effects loop in the back of the unit. It also includes a headphone jack/line output and an auxiliary in.

I tested this one for a month or so and was pretty impressed with it. The Purple Wind is based on a ’59 Plexi, so headroom is virtually nonexistent. Just turn the gain all the way up and it works very well as a miniature fire-breather. The Nano Legacy also includes the following models, each of which are designed to sound like a classic amp.

With any of these, you’ll need to pick up a cabinet to play it through. Hotone has their own Nano Legacy cabinet that is specifically designed to deliver full-spectrum sound, including improved bass response. To my ears, it sounds a bit like a decent portable Bluetooth speaker and less like a guitar amp. It’ll still sing through a 4×12, though, so you have your pick of any cab.

I really quite liked the sound of this little beast. I ultimately decided not to buy it because I use a lot of drive pedals and the Plexi style didn’t quite suit for that. For use in the studio, these are almost cheap enough to buy one of each, just to have access to a high-quality guitar preamp inspired by vintage tones.

Need more options? Browse more mini and headphone amps here.

Price: $79.99

Buy the Hotone Nano Legacy Purple Wind 5-Watt Compact Guitar Amp Head here.



Specs:

  • Power: DC input
  • Wattage: 5 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Hotone Nano Legacy Purple Wind 5-Watt Compact Guitar Amp Head information and reviews here.



Other Options

If you dig the lunchbox style, you can get the massively loud ZT Lunchbox 200-watt amplifier. It has controls similar to the amps above, but the Ambiance knob emulates open or closed back cabinets. You can get an extension cabinet to match.

On the other hand, if your focus is on headphone use or direct-in recording, consider the Vox amPlug AC30 headphone amp, which plugs directly into your guitar jack and comes in a few flavors. You could save a few bucks by trying the Donner, Joyo, and Monoprice versions, too.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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Anonymous

The Yamaha THR10 series amps blow most of these out of the water.

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