If you ask me, the only real disadvantage of an electric guitar versus an acoustic guitar is that you can’t really play an electric guitar outdoors. Of course, that all changes if you have a good mini portable guitar amp. Mini guitar amps are a game-changer for anyone who wants to street perform outside, bring their electric guitar to the park, or just play around the house without being beholden to an outlet. A good mini guitar amp will change the way you shred on your electric guitar, and you’ll wonder how you ever stayed wired in. We’re going to show you the best mini amps out there so that you can enjoy the summer and get some guitar practice at the same time.
Carry on reading to see our full list of the best mini portable guitar amps, followed by a recap breaking down what makes each product on our list stand out. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick on Amazon here.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Look For in a Mini Portable Guitar Amp?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Mini Guitar Amps
- #1: Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp (Best Overall Mini Portable Guitar Amp)
- #3: Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier (Best Micro Guitar Amp)
- #4: Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier (Best for Practicing and Recording)
- What About the Cheapies? Our Best Budget Products
- Are Mini Amps Worth It If I Don’t Travel?
- Verdict: Your Best Mini Portable Guitar Amps
What Should You Look For in a Mini Portable Guitar Amp?
So what separates a good mini amp from a bad mini amp? Luckily, if you’ve bought any amp before, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a mini amp. Your expectations should be slightly different, but the overall concept is about the same. That being said, in case you haven’t bought an amp before or just want a refresher, we’re going to make sure to give all of the relevant information and keep you in the loop. We’ve made a clear and easy-to-read rubric to make sure that you get the full crash course on mini portable guitar amps.
Criteria #1: Sound Quality – Obviously, there are a lot of different aspects to “sound quality,” but we’ll try and make sure to get to everything. The best mini guitar amps will have a loud top volume, no distortion (unless you’re into that), and clear sound all across the spectrum from the bass to the treble. It might be a little hard to find a mini amp that can manage to offer all of that, but that’s what we’re aiming for on our list of the best mini guitar amps.
Criteria #2: Size – This one is pretty obvious. A battery-powered amp won’t really help in terms of portability if it’s too heavy to carry around. Of course, “too heavy” is also a relative term. Dwayne Johnson might be able to lug a Marshall Stack around like it’s a paperweight, but I’d probably have a little more trouble. Everyone is going to draw the line somewhere different in terms of the size and weight of their mini amp, but we’re going to make sure to give you the relevant information.
Criteria #3: Design- It’s going to be pretty hard to cram as many features into a mini guitar amp as you would be able to fit into a full-sized amplifier, but we’re looking for the products that manage to pull it off. The best mini amps out there will have knobs for every setting imaginable and extra ports such as a headphone jack. In the perfect world, we’ll find you a mini guitar amp that finds a way to give you the pros of a mini amp without the cons. Size and performance don’t need to have a negative correlation.
Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well. Of course, mini amps will naturally run cheaper than their full-sized counterparts. This means you can either choose to save as much as possible or “splurge” for the best product without really breaking the bank.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Mini Guitar Amps
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best mini portable guitar amps” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. We’ll also make sure to include a wide variety of products that covers different niches and price points. Finally, we’ll take time to note every feature that doesn’t fit squarely into the criteria from our rubric. This way, everyone can find the perfect product that will satisfy their needs and their budget.
And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best mini portable guitar amps.
#1: Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier (Best Value – All-Purpose)
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To start things off, we have the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier, which really manages to give you the full amplifier experience in a mini package. First of all, our top-ranked mini guitar amp boasts 7 watts of power, so you’ll be able to crank up the volume without carrying around a bulky amplifier. Next, the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier gives you access to all of the settings you can think of. With a clear and simple dashboard, you have knobs to adjust the gain, bass, mid, and treble, and you even have access to a delay effect.
On top of that, there are three distortion presets titled brown, crunch, and clean. You’ll be able to go from a heavy metal sound to a punk crunch to a classic clean sound quickly and easily. As a nice little bonus, the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier can double as your DJ hub, as it comes with an aux port that will allow you to plug in your smartphone and blast some tunes.
The Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier weighs just 3.3 pounds and it has a frame of 4.21 x 2.68 x 3.66 inches. With a little ingenuity, you’ll be able to clip this amp onto your belt and play while walking without. I promise you won’t notice the weight.
Of course, with all of these amazing features, the big selling point of the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier is its price. This is one of the most affordable mini amps out there, and the value you’re getting is incredible. With a return on your dollar that can’t be beat, it’s no wonder that the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier is featured on multiple lists of the best mini amps.
It’s also earned a plethora of positive reviews on Amazon, with customers calling it the “best small amp,” “the real deal,” and “great sound in a small package.” Whether you need a mini amp to play guitar in the park or add a soundtrack to the picnic, the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier has got you covered, and you’ll find yourself wondering why it’s so cheap.
This is the best value on the market, and the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier was an easy choice to be our best mini guitar amp.
#2: Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp (Best Overall Mini Portable Guitar Amp)
The beauty of cheap products like mini amps is that you can get the best one available without maxing out your credit card. If the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier wasn’t quite what you were looking for, then you might be thinking it’s time to increase your budget a bit. If that’s the case, you’ll have to check out the Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp. This premium-grade portable amp offers everything you can ask for, but you’ll have to pay for it. Here are the amazing features that might convince you it’s worth paying the full-sized price of this battery-powered guitar amp.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: The Most Wattage
The numbers don’t lie, and they’re pretty clear here. The Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp is just about the strongest mini guitar amp on the market. This little mighty mouse boasts 10 watts of power that might just make you forget you’re using a miniature amp. You can keep on blasting the volume and enjoy the portability that you can only get with mini amps. Plus, this Yamaha miniature amp offers the option to use an AC adapter, so you can plug in at home and play to your heart’s content while saving the battery for more mobile settings. The Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp really gives you the best of both worlds.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: All of the Effects
Naturally, a lot of the mini amps out there – even if they offer great sound quality -feature a more minimalist design. That means you don’t get a lot of the effects you’re used to enjoying from a full-sized guitar amp. The Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp offers everything under the sun, and this high-quality mini amp boasts some classic delay and reverb on top of presets for clean, crunch, lead, brit-hi, and modern. Of course, you also get chorus, flanger, phaser, and tremolo. You’ll be able to really embrace the “electric” in “electric guitar” and make sure that you have the exact sound you’re looking for.
On top of the high voltage and all of the amazing effects, our runner-up portable amp features a headphone jack, an auxiliary port, and a USB port. That means that you can play without disturbing the neighbors, use this amp as a set of speakers, or record straight to your computer. Finally, the Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp comes packaged with a copy of the Cubase AI recording software. You’ll have everything you need to embrace your nomad lifestyle while still recording all of your latest masterpieces.
The Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp may be a bit expensive compared to some other mini amps, but it’s worth every penny. This bad boy can go toe-to-toe with some full-sized guitar amps without breaking a sweat. With a size of 271 x 167 x 120 millimeters, this Yamaha amp is as small as you could expect. Its weight of about 5 pounds may be a bit heavy, but that’s a .small price to pay for a lot of customers.
If the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier is the best value on the market, then the Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp is the best mini guitar amp overall.
#3: Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier (Best Micro Guitar Amp)
Why settle for a mini guitar amp when you can have a micro guitar amp? Marshall is pretty much the king of the hill when it comes to guitar amps of any kind, and you can expect that the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier won’t be the exception. The big selling point of this micro guitar amp is, of course, its almost invisible size. The Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier has a weightless size of just 0.34 pounds, and its frame of 2.36 x 4.33 x 5.51 inches will fit in your pocket. This portable amp is smaller than some smartphones. If you came here because you just can’t compromise on the “mini” part of “mini portable guitar amp,” then everything coming next will feel like a bonus, and this is the guitar amp for you.
Coming with its small size, this solid-state amplifier has just one watt of power backing it up, so you’ll definitely want to use headphones in noisier locations. It also has the simplest design out there, with just three knobs – one for volume, one for tone, and one to toggle between clean and overdrive. For some, this simple design is a huge plus. For others, the minimalist approach is missing those bells and whistles. That choice is up to you.
Really capitalizing on the micro size, the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier can actually be attached to your strap, which gives you the most portable experience possible. As one reviewer very eloquently put it, “if you wear headphones you can literally play while walking down the street.”
The biggest flaw of the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier is probably that it’s missing an aux port, though with just 1 watt of power, that port wouldn’t do you much good anyway.
You asked for mini amps, and this micro amp is as mini as it gets. If you need to stay mobile while you shred some electric guitar solos, then the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier is the only choice for you.
#4: Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier (Best Low Cost)
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Mini amps are just naturally going to be cheaper than full-sized guitar amps. If you want to capitalize on that reality and get the cheapest miniature amplifier possible, then look no further than the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier. This budget-friendly portable amp is one of the best products you can get at this price range, which makes it a great practice amp for anyone who wants something both cheap and convenient.
The Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier gives you a line input for practicing with backing tracks and a headphone jack. It also features knobs for gain, volume, EQ/ISF, and delay. This ISF (infinite shape feature) knob is unique to Blackstar, and it lets you choose between an American sound and a British sound. The American style sounds tight, focused, percussive response, and the British sounds woody, crunchy, and warm.
The Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier runs on AA batteries, but it can also plugin with an AC adapter if you want to save some juice. This amp has 3 watts of power, which isn’t exactly a ton, but you’ll probably be pretty satisfied with the volume of this product.
Finally, our budget mini amp from Blackstar has a frame of 7.59 x 5.59 x 4.29 inches and a weight of just 1.98 pounds. That might sound big compared to Marshall’s micro amp, but it’s still pretty much pocket-sized.
And on top of the amazing price, the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon, so you can be sure that you’re not getting a crummy product while you’re trying to save. The Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier has the crowd’s approval, and it’s just about the best cheap option out there.
#5: Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier (Best for Practicing and Recording)
A popular use for mini amps is to use them as practice amps, and there’s no better practice amp than the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier. Thanks to the amazing I-Cube link feature, the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier is compatible with any iOS device, and you can’t imagine how much this will enrich your practice sessions.
Once you connect your iPhone to the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier, you’ll be able to record all of your sessions without the terrible feedback from your voice note app. You’ll also be able to easily play backing tracks out of your amp, so this Roland mini amp is the best friend of anyone who needs a little extra help practicing with a full band.
The knob panel on the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier is split up into two sections. The first section features gain, volume, tone, and master, and the second section lets you pick from the 8 different amp models, adding effects like chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, and octave. This latter section also features a delay/reverb knob.
As we’ve become used to, the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier offers a headphone jack. This mini guitar amplifier also features a convenient handle on the top that will make it even more portable than smaller mini amplifiers.
As for size, this mini guitar amplifier is definitely one of the heavier (don’t worry, that’s a relative term) options out there with its weight of 8 pounds. Its measurements are 12.5 x 12 x 9.25 inches and it boasts 3 watts of power, which, as we mentioned with the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier, won’t exactly make your ears ring, but will get the job done. On top of everything else, the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier has a built-in tuner.
The Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier is a practice amp through and through, and though it’s expensive, there’s no better option for anyone who wants to improve their technique or record some material while moving around.
What About the Cheapies? Our Best Budget Products
We’ve mentioned more than once how cheap mini guitar amplifiers can be, and I think we’ve done a good job of living up to that. Most of the products on our list have been pretty affordable. But if you disagree, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Just in case even the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier was too price for you, we made sure to include this bonus section of 2 extra budget amps. If you can’t find the mini guitar amp that suits your budget here, then I’m sorry to tell you that it doesn’t exist.
#1 Budget Product: Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp
For less than a night out at a restaurant, the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp gives you a simple and easy approach to portable guitar playing. This portable mini amp features just four knobs and a headphone port. Even the newest beginners out there will be able to just plugin and start playing.
The Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp has only 1 watt of power, so you will probably want to make use of that headphone output jack. With a weight of just 7 ounces, the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp will never weigh you down, and you’ll have no problem finding room for its frame of 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches.
Oh, did I mention it’s dirt cheap? Don’t be thrown off by the price though. 2,000 customers can’t be wrong, and that’s how many glowing reviews the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp inches received on Amazon. Save your money by purchasing the sweet and simple Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp.
#2 Budget Product: Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
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If you think that looks matter, then the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier really might be the steal of the market. There’s something hard to match about the classic beach vibes of this Danelectro mini amp. You can almost hear the waves.
In terms of performance, the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier features knobs for tone, volume, and drive. To save some space, the volume knob also doubles as the power switch, and that shows in the tiny frame of its 5.6 x 5.8 x 3.1-inch micro amp. As should be expected from all micro guitar amps, the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier keeps it simple.
With 1 watt of power, you won’t be blowing doors down any time soon, but you’ll have a streamlined experience that’s as convenient as ever. This amp even has a belt clip on the back so you can walk around while playing without a care in the world.
And, befitting of its spot in our budget section, the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier is the cheapest amp on our list. It’s actually not even close. This amp is cheaper than a full tank of gas. So if you want some clean sound in a convenient and cheap package, go ahead and buy the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier.
Are Mini Amps Worth It If I Don’t Travel?
Absolutely. Even if you aren’t racking up frequent flyer miles, a portable amp is a great way to save money on a backup amp. Plus, these portable sound hubs will give you the option of moving around the house while you play, or just relaxing on the porch while practicing instead of being cooped up inside. There’s something so liberating about not being beholden to outlets. Plus, some people might prefer an amp that doesn’t necessarily get to glass-shattering volumes.
Verdict: Your Best Mini Portable Guitar Amps
We’re reaching the end of our list, and you’re hopefully starting to get a good idea of which of our products is best for you. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, not to worry. We don’t want to rush, and we know how important it is to make sure you’re getting the mini portable guitar amp that’s perfect for you. That’s why we’re going to recap all of our mini portable guitar amps and focus on their standout features. This way, you’ll be able to see the highlights and really know what each product has to offer for you.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier.
It’s pretty hard to get 7 watts of power from any miniature amp, let alone one this cheap, so right away the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier is starting with a pretty padded lead. If you want to crank up the volume, this is one of the best choices out there.
Plus, you get the three distortion presets titled brown, crunch, and clean, as well as knobs to control gain, bass, mid, and treble. Finally, you also have a delay effect, so the Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier really does manage to give your the full-sized amp experience.
It has a simple design, and it can connect to your phone and act as speakers. The Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier is the full package in a small package, and with its amazing price tag, it’s the best value on the market.
If you need the best micro amp, pick the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier.
If you came to this list of miniature guitar amplifiers looking for only the smallest amps out there, then look no further than the Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier. This micro amp weighs almost nothing, and it can even be fitted onto your guitar strap to give you the most convenient mini amp experience possible.
It only has 1 watt of power, so you may want to use headphones if you’re in more public spaces, but you’ll have no problem hearing everything loudly and clearly in your home or other secluded spaces. It’s a little pricey, but the fact that it can fit right in your pocket is pretty amazing. The Marshall MS2 Battery-Powered Micro Guitar Amplifier is the creme of the crop for anyone who places convenience over everything.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier.
Mini and cheap kind of go hand in hand, but if you really want to maximize your savings, you’ll have to look at the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier. This 3-watt mini amp from the Marshall company is one of the cheapest options out there, and you’ll be getting a great practice amp for the price of a movie and popcorn.
Our top-ranked budget pick has a frame of 7.59 x 5.59 x 4.29 inches and a weight of just 1.98 pounds, and it features a simple knob board that will be easy to use right away. On top of that, you also get the signature ISF knob that’s the trademark of Blackstar. Finally, with raving approval from Amazon customers, you know you’re getting a popular product. Keep that vacation fund going by purchasing the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier.
That just about wraps things up. If you weren’t interested in the amps highlighted above, you may be more intrigued by the powerful and versatile Yamaha THR5 Modeling Combo Amp, or the Roland Micro Cube GX Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier which can act as a pocket-sized recording studio. Of course, you also have our bonus budget options in the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp and the Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier.
Remember, most of our mini guitar amps have a main feature that sets them apart from the crowd, so this is what you’ll want to focus on when deciding if an amp is right for you. Of course, you can also work in the other direction by thinking about which feature is most important to you and only looking at amps with that feature. No matter what approach you take, we hope that our list has helped you find the mini amp of your dreams.
That’s all for now. Enjoy your portable amp and make some sweet tunes on the go!