To get the best out of a guitar, an amplifier is necessary. During performances, they will not only increase the volume of the sound the instruments produce but will also make it clearer and more subtle. While there are lots of powerful guitar amplifiers you can easily plug into and let you guitar wail, there are times they may not be the best option to use. Simply put, some amps may be too big and too large for some occasions. Portable guitar amps will come in handy in such situations where the regular amps are considered inappropriate.
If you are considering investing in a portable guitar amp, here’s our selection of the 10 best portable guitar amps you may consider.
Top 10 Best Portable Guitar Amps
This is a budget battery powered guitar amplifier that represent one of the best deals in the market. The manufacturers are known for providing great amps at reasonable prices and this is definitely one of the best offerings, judging from the glowing reviews it has gathered from beginners and veterans. It is a 3 watts and 2 channels portable amplifier that you can run by power supply or with batteries.
In terms of tone, this little portable amp performs far better than what you will expect from something in its weight category. With clean and dirty channel in combination with Blackstar’s ISF tone control, this little amp will surely impress you. Other controls like volume and gain are pretty straightforward. There is also the delay effect that can be tweaked to sound like a reverb. Other cool features include the headphone jack out which is emulated for direct-in use and the 3”speaker that produces true Blackstar tones.
This is another top quality portable guitar amp from the reputable manufacturers Boss. The company is well known for some bigger amps but this little battery powered guitar amplifier does not compromise in quality at all even though it is pocket-friendly. It comes with a three-way amp style selector that enables you to choose between Brown, Crunch and clean.
For power, the boss katana mini amp makes use 9V power adapter or you can use 6AA batteries that can support 7 hours of performance. It is a 7 watts amp with on-board speaker or headphones as output options. In addition to the three-way amp style selector, other control options are gain, volume, bass, middle, treble, delay time and delay level. With all the features this amp comes with, it is surprising that it is so pocket-friendly.
This is one of the cheapest options when it comes to portable guitar amps. Considering the performance of amps of similar size, this is an absolute monster. This is understandable when you look at the wattage of this budget portable guitar amplifier (10 watts). One of the most interesting things about this amp is the simple but impressive design. The real leather handle makes it so cool just like the belt clip for travel use. It also come in aqua and black.
In terms of performance, you can also expect the best from this device. You can either use DC input to power this amp or 9V battery that is included in the package. Controls include volume, tone and overdrive while it supports on-board speaker or headphones as output options.
Fender has been in the musical instrument manufacturing for several decades and you can always expect their products to be of very good quality. This is not an exception form their wonderful list of impressive products. It is a 20 watts modelling amplifier with massive 8” speaker. There is an open back cabinet to store some extra cables too.
There are lots of other impressive features like the auxiliary input that lets you plug in MP3 player and play along with your favourite tracks. The EQ section of the control (Bass + Treble) as well as the dial in lush effects such as digital reverbs, chorus, delay/echo with tap tempo, tremolo, flanger and vibratone make the performance of this amp exceptional. The 17 various amp models will also accommodate most music genres. Gain control, master volume and FX level can also change the texture.
This is another good looking amp that every guitarist should add to his/her collection of mini amplifiers. Asides from the good look, there are several other reasons to get this little device including the great sound it delivers. To be honest, the sound is quite distinctive and rare for amps of this size. The compact size also makes it one of the easiest amps to travel as it fits easily into any bag.
Though the power rating of this amp is limited at 1 watt, it will give you adequate volume for your practice sessions. It comes with 2 channels for the balanced top-quality sound. Volume and tone controls are also available to get the right sound. The amp also features a headphone output for the best private practice session anywhere and anytime. It is the perfect deal when you are looking for mobility on a budget.
This is one of the loudest portable amps in the list. In reality, it is not just a practice amp. It is actually possible to gig with this amp but it is still considered as a portable guitar amp. The power rating of this device is 20 watts. This is quite massive and one of the reasons why the amp delivers such sounds that are so high and clear that they are suitable for on-stage performances. The renewed vintage British tube tone has been well captured in this portable amp.
The Orange Micro Terror features a single channel, hybrid-valve pre amp with solid state power amp as well as auxiliary input to plug in any phone or audio player and play along to your favourite track. For Controls, you have gain, volume and tone. These all combine to offer unparalleled levels of dynamics and tone for an amplifier of this size.
This is another product in the list that can serve as a practice guitar amp as well as a performing amp. It is highly reputed for its simplicity but the sort of performance it offers is also unique in a number of ways. There are no controls you will get asides from the volume knob but that does not make the amp a poor performing amp by any means.
In terms of wattage, the Pignose Legendary 7-100 is limited at 5 watts. The quality voiced 5 inch speaker is one of the reasons it produce the sort of sound that is ideal for performance. To power this portable guitar amp you can either use an optional AC adapter that is not included in the package or 6 AA batteries. Asides from being a practice and performing amp, the Pignose Legendary 7-100 is also a studio amp.
This is an ultra-compact full-fledged modelling amp. The portable guitar amp also comes with custom-designed speaker and a load of other interesting features. Though the power rating is just 3 watts, it is also a very versatile guitar amp that can also ideal for recording situations. The amp can be powered by either the Roland DC input or 6 AA batteries that are included.
The most notable feature of this amp is the memory function that can save and recall your favourite amp and effects settings anytime and anywhere. There are eight COSM amp tones in this little monster including the ultra-heavy Extreme amp. There are also eight DSP effects including chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, octave, delay and reverb with spring emulation. There is an on-board tuner as well as i-CUBE LINK jack/auxiliary input that provides audio interface for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. An interface cable is also included in the package.
9. Yamaha THR-5
This is not as cheap as other options in this list but considering that it is from Yamaha, you can always expect that it will be a great addition to your collection of portable guitar amps. It delivers a total of 10 watts via two drivers. It is also a flexible mini guitar amp. There are actually so many things you will like about this amp and we can only summarise few.
With the Yamaha THR-5, your practice sessions can get more serious than it used to be. There are five classic amp models including Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brit Hi and Modern as well as a range of effects processing, driven by the Yamaha’s signature VCM technology. These effects and models can be edited on a computer and loaded through USB cable (and there is one included in the package).
This is one of the bigger options in terms of sound quality and power rating. It is an incredible-sounding mini guitar amp, thanks to the heavy wattage (35 watts) and the 5 inch speaker contained in a sealed cabinet. Though it is a small amp, it is not just a regular practice amp but is versatile. It can be your ultimate desktop/recording amp.
In terms of controls, there are gain, volume and tone, and they are very easy to operate. Other unique things about the ZT Lunchbox Junior Amplifier are the Power 9V pedals, the 12V Power option that let you take the amp anywhere, as well as the switchable 115V/230V for international travel.
Why Portable Guitar Amps?
From the paragraph above, you should have an idea of why a guitarist may need a portable guitar amp. The main idea is to provide an alternative to the powerful full-sized amps when the occasion calls for it. When you are not performing on the big stage, you may not need the sort of sound your normal amplifier will produce. Imagine practicing at night with you’re a powerful amp! Your neighbours will certainly not appreciate the loud tone no matter how cool your tune is. But you need to practice anywhere and anytime. That is the use of a portable guitar amp.
With a portable guitar amp, you can play virtually anywhere. You can play in your front porch, on the road, at the beach or anywhere you want at all. The fact that they are portable means you won’t bother about the space to carry them. They can conveniently fit into your bag as you head anywhere. This means you can leave your normal amp at home and still be able to hear yourself play.
Factors to Consider When Buyer Portable Guitar Amp
There are different portable guitar amps on the market and the particular one you will buy will depend on a number of factors. We will briefly go over some important factors you may have to consider before making your final decision.
What You Need the Amp For
Obviously you need the portable guitar amp to improve the sound from your guitar but on what occasions are you going to be using it? If you just need something to practice with, you may have to go for the really small amps but if you need something you can equally use for performance in a small setting, your portable amp will have to be a little more powerful. Extra power and tonal control will let you do some busking when the need arises.
While shopping for portable guitar amp, you really need to consider the wattage. The wattage you will require will depend on how you want to apply your portable guitar amp. If you want something for just practicing, the 1-watt amps may do, but for more power and tonal control needed for performance, you need a portable amp with reasonable wattage.
You need to consider the power supply of the portable amp before buying. Most of the portable guitar amps will see in the market can be powered by batteries and DC inputs. Battery-powered portable amps are ideal for traveling but small combo or small head amp paired with a speaker cabinet are most ideal for home use. Go for the type that will serve your particular need.
The controls you will get from different portable guitar amps will differ. Gain, tone and volume will be available in most but some have additional controls for Amp Model, effects, delay/reverb, Mic in Trim, Mic in Send, Turner/Tap Tempo, Overdrive switch, Delay and Delay level.