Top Small Amps for Guitars – Guide & Comparison
If you’re on the lookout for the best small guitar amp but have little to no time to go for a thorough research, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve examined some of the critically acclaimed products in this line as well as small guitar amps reviews, and have reached the conclusion that the Fender Champion is the one to consider. It will he you dial in various effects such as reverbs and delays, it accommodates most genres of music, and it features straightforward controls. If this product is not available, you might want to bear the Blackstar FLY3 in mind.
Our Top Choice
Designed to help you customize your sound and dial in various effects including digital reverb, delays, chorus, and vibratone, this pedal comes with features that will enrich your sonic possibilities. The unit sports Gain, Treble, Bass, Volume, and Voice controls that make it easy to use. Ideal for any guitar playing style, the unit allows silent practice thanks to the 1/8th headphone output jack.
The item is good enough for beginners yet it might not be a great option if you want to advance as one customer says.
Compact and easy to use, the unit is worth considering if you want to explore and customize the sound you produce.
If you’re in need of a good small guitar amp that is easy to use and compact enough to take it with you when traveling or going for a street gig, this model should not go unchecked. Due to the Infinite Shape Feature, the player gets the chance to explore endless sonic possibilities. Silent practice is ensured by the Emulated Output jack whereas the built-in MP3 / LINE IN jack will enable you to jam along with your favorite tracks.
While some customers will find its size perfect for outdoor gigs and travels, some say it is too tiny.
If you travel a lot or you want a small guitar amp to allow you to practice at home, this might be what you need.
Sporting a solid and easy-to-use design, this amp is all about adding versatility to your performance no matter your skill level. The various controls it comes with will enable you to personalize your sonic performance as much as you want and add explosive tones to your tunes. The 1/8″ headphone out jack allows the player to practice in silence while the 1/8-inch input makes it possible to play with the media player you prefer.
According to a few customers who tried it, the unit may buzz and vibrate, which can affect the final sonic output.
The item boasts a vintage design and various controls that will give you the freedom to customize your sound.
9 Best Small Guitar Amps (Reviews) in 2020
The many products available for sale, the various specs, and the price range might make it a bit challenging for you to find the best small acoustic guitar amps or a good small amp for gigs. In order to the ease the entire process, we have reviewed some of the most popular products below.
- 1. Fender Champion 20 Combo
- 2. Blackstar Fly 3 black
- 3. Fender Frontman 10G Guitar Amp
- 4. Fender Acoustasonic 15 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
- 5. Sawtooth ST-AMP 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp
- 6. Peavey Audition Guitar Amplifier
- 7. Stagg 15 AA DR USA 15-Watt Acoustic Guitar Amplifier with Digital Reverb
- 8. Pignose 7-100 Legendary Portable Amplifier brown
- 9. Dan Electro HTA-FA Honeytone Mini Amp. Nifty Aqua
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Fender Champion 20 Combo
The first product you might want to keep in mind when looking for a new amp to enhance your guitar sound is the Fender Champion 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier. This model will help you shape the sounds you produce and dial in various effects including digital reverb, delays, chorus, and vibratone.
The amp features various controls that will give you multiple possibilities to play with your sounds and explore. They include Gain, Treble, Bass, Volume, and Voice controls. The unit is compact and easy to use. Plus, it is versatile enough to accommodate any style of guitar playing.
It will work great with various genres such as metal, jazz, country, and blues. Thanks to the Auxiliary input, you can connect your MP3 player so you can play along with your favorite tracks. Furthermore, the 1/8th headphone output jack will enable you to practice privately without disturbing other people.
Offering a wide range of effects to improve your sound, this amplifier comes with digital reverb, chorus, delays, and even a vibratone effect.
You get all the controls needed to create the sound you want and this includes the classic treble and bass knobs, but you also have knobs that control the gain, volume, and the voices.
It is one of the more compact amps and that means you can have it with you anywhere.
Offering so much in terms of effects, it is clear that this model is great for many music styles, from hard metal to blues or country.
You can even connect an MP3 player to it thanks to the auxiliary input if you want to play some tracks and practice over them.
It only features one channel and that means you can’t switch from a clean sound to a heavy metal one too fast.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)
2. Blackstar Fly 3 black
Combining two channels, the Blackstar patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF), and the tape delay, the FLY 3 Mini Guitar Amp from Blackstar is a model you might want to check when looking for a good small guitar amp. This compact and portable amp will help you create the sound you want even when on the go.
Thanks to the ISF, the performer gets endless possibilities to explore and shape the tone. Plus, the tape delay effects will enable you to make your amp output resonate while playing. You can jam along with your favorite tracks by plugging your MP3 player, tablet, or phone into the MP3 / LINE IN jack built-in.
If your setting calls for private practice sessions, you can use the Emulated Output jack with your headphones. This way you can play anytime you want without worrying about disturbing other people. It is battery or DC powered, which gives you the possibility to take it with your wherever you go.
If you want a small guitar amp that is good in every situation, this mini amp will be great to take anywhere.
It features one interesting tape delay, which is hard to find in nowadays’ amps.
This amp comes with the patented Infinite Shape Feature that will let you explore with different effects and thus will provide lots of means to experiment.
Coming with an aux input, the amp will let you plug in any sort of modern device so you can play along with your favorite songs.
Being so small, it is also worth considering using its output jack meant to connect your headphones.
It works on batteries but it can also be plugged in, and that offers it more versatility, allowing you to use it on the road.
It’s quite small and as a result, it won’t produce that much sound volume.
The amplifier doesn’t come with a wild variety of effects.Click to see the price on Amazon!
3. Fender Frontman 10G Guitar Amp
Guitar amps allow players to add versatility to their performance and this model from Fender is committed to delivering a boost through a solid and easy-to-use design. Whether you need it for your beginner electric guitar or you’re already an advanced player, this amp is worth considering.
The Frontman 10G was designed to provide explosive tones with easy-to-use controls. The product features the Gain knob which controls how much you drive the amp with your guitar, the Treble, and Bass knobs to help you shape the high and low frequencies of your tone, and, of course, the Volume control.
The amplifier also comes with a convenient front-panel clean/overdrive switch for thick overdriven distortion. Thanks to the 1/8″ headphone out jack, you can practice in silence when the setting requires so whereas the 1/8-inch input allows you to play with the media player you prefer. The design follows the vintage “Blackface” amp construction.
Having a solid design, this amp is also capable of delivering a boost of sound in an easy-to-use way.
It is a suitable model for both beginners and more advanced guitar players.
The amp was made to be easy to use, with intuitive controls, but at the same time to offer great tones.
You have everything you need to control the sound, from the treble and bass knobs to gain and volume.
On the front of the panel, you will see that there is a switch that can be instantly engaged to take your guitar from a clean sound to an overdrive one in a second.
Using the headphone jack you will be able to practice in silence if you need so.
It doesn’t offer too much volume and its small size doesn’t help with that.
The mids are too saturated and they sound muffled.Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
4. Fender Acoustasonic 15 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
If you need an amplifier to help you play with your sound even when on the go, you might want to check the Acoustasonic 15 model from Fender for your travel guitars. The amplifier provides the performer with a great tone in an ultra-compact build.
Delivering just the right sound and features for an acoustic guitar and a mic, this small amp is easy to use as it boasts a simplistic design and it is flexible enough to work great with various genres performed at small gatherings and gigs. This model comes with a Whizzer cone to help the player achieve a more effective high-frequency response.
In order to provide the user with additional ambient depth and shimmer, the Acoustasonic 15 features a built-in chorus effect as well as an XLR input for a microphone and a standard ¼ inch jack for an instrument. Ideal for acoustic guitars, the product is portable and easy to transport weighing only 10.5 pounds.
Designed to be as portable as possible, this model from Fender will be a good partner on long trips where you want to play your guitar.
It is one special amp because it is made to work best with electro-acoustic guitars and microphones.
If you want to play on the street to get a bit of money, this is ideal.
It also allows you to play many different genres so it’s great for small gigs.
Coming with a Whizzer cone, the amplifier will give you a better response in high-frequency situations.
Surprisingly for something this small, it comes with more features than expected, amongst which a chorus effect that will give more depth to the sound.
Coming with a standard jack and an XLR input, you will be able to use it while singing and playing an instrument at the same time.
Although it has a chorus effect, it doesn’t come with any kind of reverb.Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
5. Sawtooth ST-AMP 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp
If you’re interested in getting an amp that provides a variety of tones yet features a compact build, you might want to check the Sawtooth 10-Watt. Designed to provide players with the essential controls needed for a richer performance, this model is easily transportable and can be added to your musical gear even when traveling as it weighs only 7.01 pounds.
The amp features treble, middle and bass controls to give you enough freedom to customize your performance with ease. It also comes with an overdrive switch that will enable the player to go between overdriven and clean sounds, and the usual volume, gain, and drive controls.
The Sawtooth 10-watt guitar amp serves as a great tool for beginners. The headphone jack will enable you to practice in silence whenever needed. This means you can use it wherever you are because you won’t disturb the people around you. The package includes the Pro Series instrument cable and a pick sampler.
In case you need a small amplifier that also features many tones, don’t miss this one.
Weighing only around 7 pounds, and being so compact, this model will be easy to transport and you can always add it to your music equipment.
You get all the controls that allow you to customize the sound, including the treble and bass knobs, and a knob that controls the middle frequencies.
A neat feature is the overdrive switch that will let you engage a rough sound in seconds without having to fiddle with the amp too much.
Being so easy to use, this amp is a great tool for beginners.
You can also make use of the headphone jack it comes with if you don’t want to annoy the neighbors.
Boosting a power of only 10 watts this amp will only be useful if you use it at home. Trying to use it in a band won’t end up well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($54.98)
6. Peavey Audition Guitar Amplifier
With this model from Peavey, you get to enjoy the push-back and warmth of a tube amp in a solid and compact construction. The player benefits from such sounds thanks to the exclusive designs of the preamp and power amp. The preamp section enables the performer to enjoy the gain and drive needed.
The power amp will react like a tube output section responding to the preamp with a natural compression that will increase as the volume of the amp gets higher. The widely ranging dynamics and the natural grit provided will significantly enhance the versatility of one’s performance.
Thanks to the exclusive TransTube technology, the sound is emulated with the reliability and convenience of the solid-state design. The headphone jack will help you practice in silence when the settings don’t allow you otherwise. The amp weighs 8 pounds, which means you can transport it with ease when traveling.
Tube amps were the greatest things back in the day, and this small model is one that copies their style and does it in a great way.
Thanks to the power amp and the preamp built into this model, you will be able to make use of some impressive sounds.
The relationship between the power amp and preamp is evident when they work together creating a compressed sound with increased volume.
When using this amp you will feel that the tones are more natural, and the grit you find in the sound will help you play with more versatility.
Weighing only 8 pounds, this amplifier can be transported anywhere, and thanks to the solid build, it will not get damaged.
It has a small function called Lead, that when turned on really boosts the volume.
It doesn’t offer many effects and that makes it somewhat lackluster.Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)
7. Stagg 15 AA DR USA 15-Watt Acoustic Guitar Amplifier with Digital Reverb
Another amp you might want to keep in mind when looking for a product that will enhance your sonic experience is the Stagg 15-Watt with Digital Reverb. It is suitable for a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, bass, and electric double bass.
The portable 15-watt acoustic guitar amplifier will help you create atmospheric music with ease thanks to its controls. The unit features a three-band equalizer with treble, middle, and bass controls that will help you customize your sound the way you want it. You also get the usual volume and gain controls that will enable you to easily adjust the sensitivity.
You can also plug a microphone into the mic input and practice without disturbing other people. The customers who tried the amp say it delivers crisp lows, balanced mids and highs, being clear and true to its specs and statistics. Also, the quality of the sounding reverb created has been appreciated by many consumers.
This is not only an amplifier that can be used efficiently with a guitar, as it can also work well with bass guitars or electro-acoustic guitars.
Blasting sound at 15 watts, for such a small device it really does a great job at sustaining its volume.
You don’t always find features like a three-band equalizer in amplifiers in this category, and that is to be appreciated.
Providing you with all the controls you need, this amp will let you adjust the highs, mids, and lows, and of course, the volume and the gain, which might be the most important feature.
The mic input lets you connect a microphone to it, just in case you’re performing solo on a stage.
You will also appreciate the reverb effect that the amp provides, so that is something nice too.
It would have bee nicer to have more effects, not just the reverb.Click to see the price on Amazon!
8. Pignose 7-100 Legendary Portable Amplifier brown
If you’re interested in exploring more when practicing but you also need a lightweight, portable amp to allow you to do so no matter where you are, the Pignose Legendary 7-100 is worth considering. This economical and completely portable model will help you flavor the sounds you produce even when on the go.
If you often need to practice or sing in places where you don’t have access to a power supply, the Legendary 7-100 might be just what you need. This model is ideal for practicing when traveling. It is powered by six penlight batteries, which renders it perfect for playing wherever you need.
Moreover, the amp weighs only five pounds. You can attach a guitar strap and sling it over the shoulder. What’s also great about this small guitar amp for practice is that it works with any instrument you can amplify. The metal corners, tough covering, and high-quality components ensure durability.
You won’t find many amplifiers that are lighter and smaller than this one.
This is such a portable model that it even has the look of a small carrying case made of leather.
The amplifier doesn’t even require you to plug it in anywhere. It just works on six small batteries.
Weighing only five pounds, you can even take it in your backpack without feeling it.
Despite being so small it still has a durable design, with metal corners and a metal lock keeping everything in place.
The good thing about it is that it works well with any kind of instrument you can plug into it.
You might not expect a quality build, but this device shows the opposite, with quality electronics impressing everyone.
It doesn’t really offer you the possibility to control the tone, the effects, or anything like that. It just boosts the volume of your instrument.Buy from Amazon.com for ($87.95)
9. Dan Electro HTA-FA Honeytone Mini Amp. Nifty Aqua
With this model from Danelectro, you get to shape your sounds and add a vintage touch to your overall gig performance. Boasting an old-school design, the Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp will provide you with a clean or overdriven sound without affecting your comfort when traveling or transporting it considering its dimensions.
The unit measures 5.6 x 5.8 x 3.1 inches, weighs 15.2 ounces, and is powered by a 9-volt battery that is included in the package. This means you can easily take it with you when on the go. It can also be powered by a Danelectro DA-1 adapter.
The Honey Tone amp features Volume, Tone, and Overdrive controls so you can customize the sounds you create. It allows private practice sessions thanks to the headphone jack. Ease of transportation is further enhanced by the real leather handle and belt clip. It is ideal for home studio, practice, and outdoor events.
This small device is a neat way to get some vintage feel to your guitar.
The amp has an old-school look that works well with the clean sound that it can provide.
It will also do well when you want an overdriven effect from it, and it manages to do that in a very compact form.
The device is powered by a 9-volt battery that comes with it, so you will be able to use it anywhere, as it only weighs around 15 ounces.
It also offers you the possibility to change the tone, the volume and to put a bit of overdrive into the sound.
Using the headphone jack you can plug in a pair and play by yourself all day long without the neighbors hearing you.
The electronics are not well isolated and that causes a certain humming when the amp is used.Buy from Amazon.com for ($21.95)
Yearly Guide & Report
If you’re in the market for an amplifier to enrich your performance and help you with your practice yet you don’t know where to start, here are the most important features to keep in mind before making a decision.
Even if your budget is limited and your shopping process is focused on a cheap small guitar amp, it still doesn’t mean that you should take home the first amp you plug into. In this guide, we will examine the specs good amps come with to help you decide which one is the right for your needs.
Amps for home use and practice
The market offers a wide range of guitar amps but you might wonder what distinguishes them. One of the best ways to answer that question is to think about the situations that will require you to use an amp. There are different amps for different needs.
If you are a beginner and you’re in need of an amp to practice at home and play quietly with other acoustic instruments, you need an amp that produces 10 to 40 watts of power as it will provide the right amount of volume for your living room or your garage.
Such models are usually configured with a single 6- to 8-inch speaker and might also include a coaxial tweeter for high frequencies. It is probably better to start with such an amp if you are new to it. Plus, they are priced lower than amps designed for performance.
If you have your own home studio and what you need is an amp for your acoustic electric guitar to help you record professionally, then there are some extra features you need to look for in order to add depth to what you record and help you capture your guitar’s signal with ease.
You might want to look for a model that comes with USB connectivity and multiple onboard effects such as chorus, reverb, delay, and phaser. Such models are ideal for home studio recording because they provide the player with lots of mic and amp simulations for various sonic textures.
In case you want to play live with a band, then you’ll need at least 30 watts and if you want to take your practice or gigs outdoors, you will need at least 15 watts of tube tone. Plus, street gigs call for lightweight, battery-powered amplifiers.
Digital, solid-state or tube?
Amp models are further divided into three more categories and in order to know which one is the best for you, it is probably better to take a listening test and judge with your ears. The tube technology is still considered standard by most players.
Still, some guitarists prefer the solid-state and digital amps to enjoy excellent tones. They cost less and they require less maintenance than tube amps. Again, it is recommended to bring your guitar with you when buying an amp, plug it in and see what it sounds like. An amp that sounded sparkly in the store may get you a dull sonic experience when paired with your own guitar.
Another important feature to bear in mind when looking for the best small amp for acoustic guitar or even for your beginner bass guitar is the sound of the power amp tone. Since distortion is generated by three sources including the power amp, the preamp, and the speakers, you should make sure you don’t overlook the power amp distortion when trying an amp.
Test the way your amp sounds by turning the volume up and then turning it down. If the amp is the right one for your guitar, you should get a lively sound and a crisp attack. That’s why it is important to take your guitar with you and try the amp to see how they work together.
Most amps feature more than one channel. A multichannel amplifier will enable you to plug in multiple instruments and guitars or an instrument and a microphone depending on your needs. If you use lots of different tones, then it is recommended to opt for an amp with three or more channels.
If you do get such a model, make sure that it has separate EQ controls for each channel so you can dial in the right tone for all the instruments and mics you use. Independent effects are also great. However, if you’re interested in creating a clean, good distorted sound, such an amp might be more sophisticated than you need it to be.
One thing to pay attention to is the number of watts listed on the amp label because many amplifiers are rated in watts per channel, which means that an amplifier with two channels rated at 100 watts per channel, may be listed by its total watts, for instance, as a 200-watt amplifier.
Depending on the type of the instrument you will use your amp with, you need to look for certain inputs. Electric guitar amps come with one or more ¼-inch inputs whereas acoustic guitar amplifiers feature ¼-inch connectors for instruments and XLR connectors for microphones.
There are models that also include 3.5 mm or stereo inputs so you can connect a stereo audio device such as a laptop. You can even find amps that boast combination inputs, which means they allow both ¼-inch and XLR connections.
Many amp models offer some built-in effects that usually include one kind of chorus and/or reverb. Their quality and variety differ from one brand to another. Such effects are ideal if you travel a lot and you want an all-in-one package.
You can always enrich your effects possibilities with external bass pedals, processors, or a delay pedal designed for your type of instrument. An overdrive pedal is also a great option for enriching your sonic experience.
The flexibility they offer is significantly greater than that of an amp that comes with built-in effects. Think twice before deciding and don’t pay for additional features that you will never or rarely use. Also, if you need to turn your amp up more than halfway when playing, consider a model that includes feedback control. Elaborate controls such as notch filters might require some experience, though.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a guitar amp?
Simply put, an electronic audio amplifier is a device used to make a source signal louder. When it comes to guitar amps, today’s models come with features that allow them to do more than that. The market now offers various guitar amp models.
However, an amp should include the preamp, the power amp, and the speaker. The preamp includes the circuitry that shapes the guitar sound and delivers it to the power amp. Most controls you’ll find on a guitar amp are used to control the circuitry in this part of the unit.
The power amp then outputs a greater version of the signal received from the preamp. The speaker will then turn the electrical energy received from the power amp into audible sounds. The amp models that contain all these three sections are known as combo amplifiers and are the most popular among guitar players.
Q: Can a guitar amplifier be used as a speaker?
Yes, guitar amps can be used as speakers, yet the sound delivered might not be the one you’d get from a sound system designed to play music. Plus, using your guitar amp to play your favorite albums and tunes involves some risks because these units are designed for the frequencies produced by an electric guitar.
This means that employing the amp to play music might affect the various internal parts of the amp. Not to mention that if you use the amp to play high frequencies, the sound delivered might be muddy.
However, the market now offers guitar amps that ensure a full frequency range and can thus easily and safely be used to play music as well. Regardless of the type of guitar amp you use, make sure you also have the right cable and adapter, if needed, to connect it to your audio player.
Q: How does a guitar amplifier work?
A guitar amplifier is an electronic device that turns a small electrical signal from a pickup on a bass guitar, electric guitar, or electric-acoustic guitar into a larger one. To do that, an amp contains a preamp, a power amp, and a speaker (if it’s a combo amplifier).
The first section of a guitar amp includes the circuitry needed to shape the sound of the guitar before delivering it to the power amp. Guitar amps come with a variety of settings that will help you further control this circuitry.
The next section, the power amp, is designed to boost this signal enough to power the speakers. If you have chosen a combo amplifier, then you will have anything you need to make your guitar audible. However, some units do not include the speaker and you will have to use one separately.
Q: How should I choose a guitar amp?
Choosing the right guitar amp for your needs depends on a variety of factors ranging from the power you want to the amp size, price, and the tone delivered. Start by considering the music genres you want to play, the type of sessions that require an amp (are they just home/practice sessions or live gigs?), and your budget.
Think of the music genre you’re interested in as the market now offers amplifiers that come with specific features to meet certain genres. Power, size, and prices are related. If you intend to employ the amp just for your home practice sessions, then a 10 to 30-watt amp should do.
However, if your musical activities include live shows, then you’ll need a model that provides you with more power. This will also help you know what type to go for: a tube, solid-state, modeling, or hybrid amp.
Q: Do amps affect sound quality?
The sound quality ensured by an electric guitar used with an amplifier depends on a variety of factors. We’d first need to define sound quality and this may differ from one player to another. While some guitarists consider the quality of a sound in terms of its clarity, others might think of it more in terms of tone.
Various factors could be discussed when it comes to what makes and affects the sound of an amp such as frequency response, distortion, current capability, and many more. As far as tone is concerned, today’s market offers guitar amplifiers that feature various settings you can use to modify the tone of your guitar.
The instrument’s tone can thus be modified through emphasizing and de-emphasizing specific frequencies or the use of equalizer controls. You can also add electronic effects to alter the sound. Reverb and distortion are some of the most common built-in features.