Looking to save space, but don’t want to sacrifice tone? Don’t worry - our pick of the best mini amps for guitar will ensure that you keep your tone sounding big, whilst keeping your rig real estate to a minimum.
Whether you’re looking for a neat and tidy practice setup for at home or the office, or you’re looking for your first ever amp but don’t have a lot of room to play with, a mini amp could be the perfect solution. It doesn’t matter what style of music you play, there are loads of options in terms of sounds and features.
Guitar amps don’t have to be huge. Mini amps are literally just smaller, scaled back versions of some of the famous models you might have seen on stages around the world. Whilst you do sacrifice some of the sound you’d get with a bigger amp, the best mini amps for guitar have come a long way over the last few years with the market now boasting some really good options for any level of player and budget.
Mini amps can be a really practical option as they pump out less volume, so are ideal for practising quietly, plus they’re small so don’t take up much space and are easy to transport.
Best mini amps for guitar: Our top picks
The best mini amp for guitar might have to be one of the more recent models - the Positive Grid Spark GO. It’s a portable, mini version of what was already a fairly small amp to begin with. It’s got a ton of different high quality guitar tones available, and loads of practice and learning features. It even doubles as a Bluetooth speaker and recording interface, plus it will probably fit in your gigbag!
The Vox Mini Go 3 is also a great option. With some classic amp models and effects on board, you’re ready to cover all sorts of music, plus there’s a mic input and it can run off USB power allowing you to take your performances outside. We also love the updated classic - the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth and the Orange Crush Mini for some more affordable but still quality options.
Best mini amps for guitar: Product guide
This is the tiniest and most recent form of the incredible Positive Grid Spark amp. Coming in at just over the size of a regular guitar pedal, this is a really small and portable amp but, like its older siblings, it’s got a ton of great features packed inside.
Combined with the software you’d use on your smartphone or tablet, you’ve got a massive array of different amp models - from American clean tones, through British style crunch all the way to saturated high gain metal sounds; it’s all there. Tweaking your sounds is really easy within the app and you can add in virtual stompboxes to further your arsenal of tones. It even doubles as an audio interface and Bluetooth speaker.
The Spark Go is built really well too. It feels super premium, and the controls have been laid out in a really intuitive way. The sound quality is also very good - probably the best of any amp around this size. All in all, definitely one of the best mini amps for guitar available to players!
Read our Positive Grid Spark Go first look review
Vox are one of the biggest names in the amp world and their portable Mini Go series helps justify that. Onboard this 3W amp you’ve got 11 amp models and 8 effects, as well as a separate input for a microphone, built in-tuner and 33 rhythms.
If you want to practise at home, then your selection of amp models covers most genres nicely - you’ve got the legendary AC30 sound in there too. The built-in rhythms are really useful for improving your timing, taking your playing in different directions and just generally making practice more fun.
Should you want to take this out on the street, you can switch from using mains power to powering it via USB (using something like a power bank). At 3W, you won’t get loads of volume, but you’ve got enough to make a bit of a racket!
The Katana range has been making waves ever since its release so it’s no surprise that the Boss KTN Mini features in our list of the best mini amps for guitar.
It doesn’t have quite as many amp models as the full fat versions, but it is a fraction of the size. It does however come with three models or channels all offering different sonic palettes, ensuring that you’re covered for pretty much any type of music.
In addition to that and a 3 band EQ, you’ve got a great sounding delay as well. Power comes either via mains, or batteries, so you can get portable should you wish to!
The Blackstar Fly 3 has been on the market for a while now, but still remains one of the best mini amps for guitar. It’s super compact, but still packs a pretty decent punch! The sound quality is good, and you can get a nice range of clean and distorted tones, not forgetting Blackstar’s patented ISF control which allows you to dial in a more British or American style tone, depending on your preference.
There’s then an emulated headphone output, alongside a line in for jamming along to music, however this model is also Bluetooth enabled so you can stream your music wirelessly to play along, or just use it as a handy portable speaker. It’s also rechargeable, so no more batteries!
This little desktop amp contains a wide array of tones suitable for any style of player. From cleans, through classic rock crunch all the way to high gain tones, the THR5 sounds great and packs a weighty punch. Thanks to Yamaha’s Virtual Circuitry Modelling, the response and tone you get from this isn’t a million miles from a real tube amp. In addition to this, you’ve also got some great studio-quality effects, allowing you to sculpt loads of different sounds.
Whilst it’s a small desktop amp, the speaker system in this is great. It’s got two speakers rated at 5W each, so if you need a bit of volume then you’re covered, but it’s worth noting the clarity and sound quality at lower volumes too.
This mini amp packs a whole lot into a small package. It’s a 1W tube amp, with the ability to reduce the power down to 0.1W - this allows you to get that classic tube tone, whilst keeping the volume bedroom-friendly.
At its lowest power setting, it’s perfect for practising at home whilst taking advantage of that unmistakable tube feel and sound. Knock it up to the full 1W, and you’ve got the perfect amp for jamming with friends. The range of tones you can get is impressive too. From crystal clean sounds to the legendary Marshall crunch you’ve heard for decades, to higher gain tones well suited to metal, the Marshall DSL1C is as versatile as it is legendary.
The Fender Mini Tonemaster is a great way of getting that Fender sound in a tiny package. Powered either by batteries, or a 9v power adapter, it is small and easily transported making it the perfect accompaniment for players on the road.
It’s got a very simple three knob layout with controls for volume, gain and tone. With the gain at full, you get almost fuzzy tones, but dialled back it’s a lot more subtle. The sound quality isn’t amazing, as to be expected from a couple of 2” speakers, but it certainly isn’t bad either.
These sorts of amps can easily be dismissed as a novelty, but this is actually a great practice tool.
The Boss LX Cube is a desktop amp that you can either power by mains or batteries. It’s packed full of amp models - a total of six, plus an acoustic sim and a mic input. There are also a bunch of Boss’ world renowned effects built into it too.
The sound quality of this is great, with two 4” speakers offering crystal clear stereo guitar tones. It’s rated at 10W, so plenty loud enough for practice at home, and enough to pack a punch if you want it to. It’s also got a load of neat features like being able to store presets for each amp model, USB output for direct recording, a line out with cab simulation and an onboard looper (though this requires a separate footswitch).
The Orange Crush Mini has been around in some form or another for years now and has safely established itself as one of the best mini amps for guitar. You can power it either using a 9v adapter or battery, so if you need amplification on the go, then this is one to check out.
You’ve got some of that classic Orange gain on tap, as well as some nice clean tones. It’s even got a tuner built in which is very handy. We also like that you can run a speaker cable out of it into a cab, like a tiny pocket sized head. Through a 4x12, this mini amp sounds huge!
Best mini amps for guitar: Buying advice
There are all sorts of different options available when it comes to finding mini amps, so how do you know what’s right for you? We’ve put together a list of things to think about that will help you find the best one for you.
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If you’re after an amp with a lot of different sounds, then you might want to consider a modelling amp. These recreate the sounds made by various different amps - usually ones that are expensive and sought after. Whatever style of music you’re into, or if you want to cover a lot of ground - modelling amps have you covered from clean to high gain with everything in between. You can often switch quickly between these sounds at the push of a button.
Other mini amps on the other hand will just have a single channel, with the option of dialling in some gain. These tend to be really easy to use, though of course are more limited in terms of the sounds you can get out of them, which will suit some players just fine.
What effects will my mini amp have?
Some of the best mini amps even come with effects on board, ridding the need to use separate pedals - ideal when you’re trying to save space! Some might have reverb or delay, whereas others - usually modelling amps - have a range of effects that will allow you to dial in some more experimental sounds.
Can I record with my mini amp?
As technology has progressed, recording has become easier. Gone are the days of having to book an expensive studio to get your music down. You don’t even need to mic up an amp anymore. Some of the best mini guitar amps have a USB output that lets you plug straight into your computer so you can record your guitar tones directly into your DAW, essentially turning them into an audio interface.
Can you use a mini amp live?
Honestly? Probably not. Many, if not all of the best mini amps are designed for use at low volumes, so for playing at home whilst not disturbing anyone else, for example. Some of them might have just enough volume for jamming with a few other musicians. If you’re playing live without a drummer, then you might get away with something around 10W, but you’d likely have to mic it up through a PA system. Realistically though, these amps aren’t designed for live use.
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