If you haven’t got very much room, maybe share an apartment or house, you can’t always have a big amp. Possibly you have neighbors that are close, and you don’t want to disturb them. Whatever the reason, a mini amp is a great way of getting some amplified sound. They are small and compact, and some can even be carried around with you.
And the sound? One of the studio engineers who works with us has mic’d them up on numerous occasions and used them on sessions. Therefore, some of them, at least, can sound great. And in some cases, they are loaded with extra effects to give you even more bang for your buck.
So, let’s have a look at the best mini amps around and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 10 Best Mini Amp You Must Buy 2020 Reviews
- 1 VOX MINI3 G2 Battery Powered Modeling Amp
- 2 Roland Micro Cube
- 3 Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
- 4 Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt
- 5 Vox Pathfinder Combo
- 6 Marshall MS4 Battery-Powered Mini Micro Full Stack Guitar Amplifier
- 7 Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
- 8 VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Guitar/Bass Headphone Amplifier
- 9 2 Channel Stereo Audio Class D Amplifier
- 10 Orange Crush Mini 3-Watt Micro Amp
- Best Mini Amp Buyers Guide
- So, What’s The Best Mini Amp?
Top 10 Best Mini Amp You Must Buy 2020 Reviews
1 VOX MINI3 G2 Battery Powered Modeling Amp
There is one thing we can say about amplification. Utter the name Vox and a picture comes straight into your head. What picture? That classic cabinet of the AC30. The speaker cloth pattern and even the way the name is printed. Something that has never lost its style or impact.
Besides making pretty cabinets, they also know a thing or two about producing an epic sound. With their Mini 3 G2, they don’t let you down.
This little 3-watt amp can be carried around with you anywhere using its removable strap. You can take your sound with you. And what a sound. Eleven different amp simulations. Including the iconic AC 30 and the 4 x 10 Tweed. Some eight quality effects. These include chorus, delay, reverb, flanger, tremolo, and a compressor.
Some basic controls with volume, tone, and gain and of course, the simulation and effects selectors. It is more than just a mini amp for a little bit of practice. It offers portable amp modeling features. And if you are wondering about the lower frequencies that are taken care of. The Vox Bassilator circuitry delivers a lot of bottom end.
Some other little extra include plug-in opportunities for microphone, headphones, MP3, or your mobile phone. They really seem to have thought of it all.
It is built tough as well and feels like it so it’ll take a few knocks in its travels. It runs off the included AC adapter or by using six AA batteries. These will give you about 8 to 10 hours playing time.
This is one of the best mini amps for guitar. But as we said, it is much more than just a mini practice amp. Contender for the best miniature amp? Of course, just look at it.
- Well-built iconic design.
- Great effects, simulations, and sounds.
- Probably not suitable for a bass guitar.
2 Roland Micro Cube
Roland has a great range of mini amps known as Cube. This particular model is one of the smallest of the range known as the Micro Cube. It has a well-built, sturdy frame as all of these Roland amps do, but this only weighs seven pounds. It is a small amp, but possibly not one you can carry around with you so easily. In size, it is 12 inches by 12 inches, so it might be best used at home.
It has an output of 3 watts from its five-inch speaker. However, it still packs a punch, and its 3-watt rating seems a bit understated. It gives an accurate and clear sound even up to the higher output levels.
Where this little amp really scores points is with the extras that are built-in. The big story with this little beauty is that it has seven amp settings. And before you ask, yes, the Roland JC-120 Chorus amp is in there. If you can’t have the real thing, then this is the next best.
There are effects built-in as well. Delay and reverb, of course, but also there is a phaser, a flanger and chorus, and tremolo. That’s is quite an effects package for such a small unit. The good thing about the design, though, is that it has good effects. But it is not loaded down with them, so it becomes difficult to use.
Included are connections for iPad and iPhone and a ⅛” socket for headphones. There is a memory function for saving preferred sound setups. It runs on an AC adapter or on 6 AA batteries.
It’s a very good little amp and is one of the best mini amps for guitar users.
- Well-built, sturdy frame.
- Some good sound-shaping facility built-in.
- Not the cheapest.
3 Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
Yamaha has taken a different approach to the design of its THR5 mini amplifier. Gone is any semblance of traditional amp styling. No speaker cloth fronts to give it a nice aesthetic feel. Instead, we get a rugged all-metal amp that looks like it’s built for the worst you can offer it.
Maybe Yamaha are playing games with us because inside this tough chassis; it has a lot to offer. It has a selection of sounds, but from what we can hear, it does one thing very well. In fact, it could be the best metal mini amp there is.
The speaker pumps out 10 watts, and it is a very powerful sound. The amp might be solid-state in design, but all the sounds from within are modeled on famous vintage tube amps. You can call up five different amps or choose any of the eight special effects.
The controls are well laid out and explanatory. The delay and reverb are on one dial together; the other five effects are on a separate dial. It has a tap tempo and tuner.
There are also controls for Volume and Tone. Special choices regarding mic sounds are offered. These include condenser, dynamic, and tube. It also has a USB connection that will offer links to Cubase music production software, which is included free of charge.
The USB also allows two channels of recording and two channels for playback from your computer device and a headphone socket. It runs on 8 AA batteries or the supplied mains lead.
It’s a powerful little amp with a rather unconventional look. It has some good effects and amps modeling options. The Cubase link is a big plus point. Not the cheapest, though.
- Tough, rugged build.
- Some good built-in sound modeling options.
- Quite expensive.
4 Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt
Fender usually come up with something. The Mustang V2 is one of several mini and small amps that Fender produces. This one, though, is worth a look.
It is a little different from some other mini amps in that this Fender has an output of 20watts. This delivered from its 8-inch speaker. It also delivers a surprisingly deep bottom end for a cabinet so small.
It is a sturdy 15.5 by 14.5 by 7.5 construction and weighs 17 pounds. Therefore, unlike some of the mini amps we are reviewing, it is not going to fit in your pocket. It is, however, a well made compact little amp that will sit neatly in the smallest room.
But with this little Fender, we should not be talking about its size. Much more important to look at what’s inside. To start with, 18 different amp sounds covering all the genres. All of them adjustable to create the sound you are looking for.
They include the usual range of delays and reverbs, chorus and flangers and phasers. And of course, they had to include that famous silky smooth Fender tremolo — a multitude of options at your fingertips. And you can edit and tweak all of them using the Fender FUSE software. This is built-in, so your computer will link in through the USB port. This gives you even more control over the sound than you thought possible from a mini amp.
And as an added bonus, it has Ableton Live Lite 8 built-in.
It does not use batteries; it is a mains only unit. And it has aux inputs for MP3 and devices and also a headphone socket. And how much does all this cost? Much less than you are thinking. A great price for a great little amp. Making it one of the best guitar mini amps currently available.
- Great build and design at a very good price.
- Brilliant features and sound options.
- Some may want a smaller unit.
5 Vox Pathfinder Combo
As soon as you see a Vox amp, no matter what size, you know what it is. The look has hardly changed at all since the Shadows brought them to our TV in 1960. Followed quickly by the Beatles, and then just about everyone else. There was the 20 minutes that changed Rock music forever. That is, Queen at Live Aid when we saw Brian May using 15 of them linked together.
So as soon as we see the Pathfinder, we know who, what and how. No fancy frills with this amp. It just gives you what you expect. That crisp, clear Vox sound with a real growl when you push it,
At 17 by 12 by 8 inches and weighing 12 pounds, it won’t fit in your pocket. It’s still compact enough to not crowd out any room.
Its 6.5-inch speaker delivers a crisp 10 watts, and it has a clean or overdrive switch. Without any of the paraphernalia to deal with, the controls are basic. Volume, bass and treble and a gain plus the overdrive switch we mentioned. There is also a headphone/Line out socket.
If what you want is a great sounding amp that you just plug in and let rip, this could be it. It certainly must be considered as one of the best miniature amplifiers for guitar.
We can see this being used in a lot of places other than just at home for practice. The sound is what people really want from some amps – in many cases, a sound that has been lost over the years.
At such a great price point, this is a great buy.
- Great looking and sounding.
- Amazing price point.
- Some will want more in the way of effects and options.
6 Marshall MS4 Battery-Powered Mini Micro Full Stack Guitar Amplifier
If you happen to be, as an awful lot of people are, a dedicated Marshall admirer, then this is going to wet your taste buds. Now we are not going to say this sounds like the real deal. It couldn’t. Nothing does. But it has this sound when you crank up the volume and hear the distortion kick-in.
Close your eyes and listen. You can almost see ‘Big Jim’ in his shop in West London with a big smile on his face. As mentioned in the introduction, one of the studio engineers who works on this website has actually mic’d this up and used it on major songs. And we are sure he’s not the only engineer to do that.
In fact, we know someone else who bought one not to use, just to look at. It produces only 1 watt of power which is closer to 3 watts for everybody else. It is quite small at 10 by 4 by 2.5 inches and weighing just over a pound.
It’s not just about overdrive, though. A sweet clean sound can also be found using the controls on your guitar. Not having any built-in amp simulators or special effects, the controls are basic. Gain, Tone and Volume and off/on switch is all you have to worry about. It runs off a 9v battery or an AC adapter. There is a headphone socket to play in privacy.
This is not a modeling amp as so many amps are. There are no effects or sims, just the sound. And of course, the two-cabinet stack look.
Basically, it will give you three things. A great overdrive effect and a nice clean sound for practicing with. Finally, it will give you an overdose of nostalgia. We’ll settle for that.
Set at a price point that is very tempting, and this is a nice little buy as a mini amp.
- Has that Marshall stack look.
- It creates some great sounds.
- Some are going to want some extra effects and options.
7 Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
This little mini amp by Blackstar really is quite a tiny little thing. Measuring only 8 by 6 by 4.3 inches and weighing less than two pounds, its output will surprise you. On face value, you might be concerned that its size will not be enough to generate any sort of sound. You need not worry; it does.
Blackstar is a company based in Northampton, England, that is made up of designers that are also musicians. They have some idea of what musicians might need. The Fly 3 is one of their range of mini amps.
It is a 3-watt two-channel amp that is not loaded down with simulations and effects. They have kept it simple but efficient. It has EQ and delay included on the basis that for practice, you don’t really need much more. The two inputs allow you a clean or distorted sound. Controls are, therefore, simple and straightforward. They have, though, given you some further sound options if you decide to use them.
Included with this little amp is Blackstar’s own sound-shaping feature or ISF. That gives you a further option of trying out other tonal possibilities. It has a headphone socket and a Line in for mp3 or another suitable device.
It runs through a power supply or on 6 AA batteries. The price point has something to do with its overall size. They are both very small. This Blackstar mini amp really does give you a great little practice amp from such a small little unit.
Best mini amp for guitar? This little fellow might take some beating.
- Great sounds with some nice tonal possibilities.
- Compact and easy to use at a great price point.
- At this price, nothing at all.
8 VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Guitar/Bass Headphone Amplifier
Someone must have complained that mini amps were still too big. We have to say we thought we had seen just about everything in music but then this. You just cannot get any smaller than this. Just 3.39 by 3.15 by 1.22 inches in size and weighing just seven ounces. And still, they make it look just like an AC30 amp.
This could be the perfect little practice tool. Just plug in the headphones, plug it into your guitar, and away you go. It also has an Aux in fitted.
As its basic sound, it gives you the standard AC30. The controls are simple with Volume, Tone, and Gain. You might be forgiven for thinking that’s about all they could practically fit into this little amp. You’d be wrong. There is the classic tremolo sound of the old AC30 included.
Then there are effects. Delay, Reverb, and Chorus. Nine options in all. Plus, three different amp simulations. All packed into this tiny unit. It will accommodate bass guitar as well, making it a great little contender for the best guitar mini amp. Even though you could argue without a speaker, it isn’t really an amp.
For the convenience of use and storage, the jack plug folds away, and there is an automatic power-off. It runs off two AAA batteries.
It really is an astonishing piece of kit and at a price that isn’t going to break the bank. I suppose the downside might be you have to use phones. But many people practice with phones anyway.
Great sound, great price, and a whole lot of fun.
- A practice amp that will fit in your pocket.
- Well made with some great sounds at a great price.
- You have to use headphones.
9 2 Channel Stereo Audio Class D Amplifier
This is a two channel Class D amplifier from Fosi Audio. Class D amps are, of course, more efficient and offer a great performance level. They are a company that specializes in producing some good quality amps. They are based in Beijing, China.
It has a simple and compact design. It is a very sturdy build being made of aluminum with an aluminum control knob. Measuring just 4.2 by 3.5 by 1.4 inches, it is a small unit that will easily fit on a bookshelf or next to a computer. It is quite surprising then to learn that each channel pushes out 50 watts each.
It will need speakers to be connected. These can be your home speakers if you wish. The connection is a slip in the wire and then screw it tight arrangement.
As a mini amp to be used at home, it has a good sound and is obviously a lot more powerful than most in this review. It is best used with a home cinema system or a computer and will connect to an MP3 or phone or other compatible devices. It is well thought out, simple design, and care has been taken with the RCA ins to ensure they are stable.
If you are looking for a small amp to drive a home system, music, or cinema, then this is worth considering. It is quite well made but possibly isn’t the most rugged unit you will see. At 50 watts per channel, it will be loud enough for some systems. The sound is quite good. Not sure it’s the best option for musical instruments, though? It is very flat and doesn’t accentuate any frequency to bring out the best in a guitar, for example.
It is set at a reasonable price point.
- Small and compact for a bookshelf or desk.
- Cost-effective price.
- Not the best build quality you will find.
- Flat frequency response doesn’t bring out the best in musical instruments.
10 Orange Crush Mini 3-Watt Micro Amp
The Orange boys from Borehamwood in the UK are here to show what they can do. They were set up in London’s West End, later moving to Borehamwood. Cliff and his chaps arrived on the scene in the late 60’s just as ‘Big Jim’ was moving away from Hanwell to bigger premises.
We remember our first encounter. An Orange 100 watt amp and a 4 by 12. Wow, it was loud. This little fellow not quite as loud but with all the pedigree of great Orange amps.
Built to look exactly like its big brothers and sisters, this little 3-watt amp is excellent. At just 6 by 6 by 3 inches, it is very compact. It is what they call a ‘crush’ amp and offers a variety of sounds that pre-loaded.
The controls are basic, just gain, and a shaping control. If you like crisp, clean tones, then this will be the amp for you. It can even be used to run an external cabinet, so if you have a spare 4 x 12 lying around, you will be amazed by the sound that comes out!
Just like the bigger amps and cabinets, it has a tough build. The 3-watt output and the tough build make it ideal for street performers. The power level is also adequate for home practice. It runs off a 9-volt battery.
This small little Orange doesn’t offer too much stuff in the way of effects. It’s not for that. The sounds are clean and crisp and only has a little reverb to do anything with. A great little amp at a nice price point. It could be the best guitar mini amp.
- Good build with the great Orange look.
- Produces good clean sounds.
- Some may want more effects options.
Best Mini Amp Buyers Guide
Buying The Best Miniature Amplifier
A mini amp can be whatever you want it to be. In fact, with today’s technologies, it can be more than one thing. Options are plentiful with some of these amps. But still, the first question to ask yourself is quite obvious.
What Do You Want It For?
Some people will want it for different things. What you want it for will have an impact on what you buy and of course, probably the cost. It will also affect the size of the amp you buy. Some can be carried around with you. Others are for use inside or even on the street.
Just To Play At Home?
Nothing special, no effects, just a little volume so you can hear your guitar. If that is the case, then something very simple and basic is what you need. Even the power output doesn’t need to be high. Just enough to be able to hear.
What About Working On Stage Sounds?
Maybe you want to do some sound shaping. Work on sounds that you plan to use in a live situation. If this is the case, depending on the music genre, you will need some effects. So many of the mini amps have effects. Some in small numbers while others are loaded with them. You may want to import live music to play along to in which case you will need an aux connection on the amp.
However, if you are planning on using your mini-amp to play live, you may have some issues. Yes, you can, of course, mic just about anything, but turning up to a concert with an amplifier that you can carry in the palm of your hand may not give the venue’s sound engineer much faith in the band. It also probably won’t do your confidence a world of good.
Therefore, if you are planning on playing live in the not too distant future, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on an amp, please check out our in-depth reviews of the best guitar amplifiers under 250 dollars and the best solid state amps. If you want to spend a little more and love the sound of valves, how about getting one of the best tube amps that are currently available?
What About Sound Modeling?
Some will do that and have a variety of amp simulators and effects built-in. These will give you all the facilities of a larger modeling amp but without the physical size or the cost. If you want to find out more about these, check out our reviews of the best modeling amps.
One Last Playing Option
This would be for a young student player. Having a small amp to play through if all they have is an electric guitar would be a huge advantage and would certainly help their progression as a musician. It is a cheaper alternative to buying a bigger amp, and they can keep it somewhere out of the way. Maybe even carry it with them.
How Portable Do You Need It?
Will it stay at home? Are you planning to take it around with you? Are you hoping to use it on the streets? All considerations that mean to be kept in mind. If you’re looking for something slightly bigger and portable, please check out our in-depth reviews of the best portable amplifiers.
There are plenty of options and not a great deal of price difference between the top and bottom of the price range. The real key is what you will use it for.
So, What’s The Best Mini Amp?
We would want something quite functional for some guitar, not bass, practice. We’d like a few extra effects to play around with and a decent volume though not too loud. It is a serious little amp, but we’d still like it to look good for a bit of fun.
We have therefore chosen the…
Great little amp at a reasonable price with lots of features. Not only is it the winner of this rundown, but also, in our opinion, the best mini amp for guitar.