Top 9 Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers – When You Want To Practice On The Go
Last Updated: May-11-2018
The models we originally selected for this round-up still remain very popular and worth your consideration, so we left them untouched. However, we decided to add two more that deserve their time in the spotlight – the Roland Cube Street and the popular Danelectro Honeytone N-10.
Whether you are a street performer or want a convenient amp for your travels, chances are you don’t want to lug your favorite $500 amp in and out of cars, planes and trains.
Table Of Contents
- Top 9 Mini Guitar Amps:
- What’s the Benefit of a Portable Guitar Amp?
- What Style Should You Go For?
- The Final Word
Portable amps are usually affordable, with some coming in at the price of a few pizzas, while others are amps in the region of $300. Whatever the cost, the models we have highlighted in the following chart are undoubtedly some of the best amplifiers when it comes to travelling around. Let’s get started.
Top 9 Mini Guitar Amps:
|Image||Guitar Amplifier / Rating||Summary||Check Price|
|+ -|| Roland Micro Cube GX |
Total of 4.85/5
A tiny portable powerhouse that brings the full might of modeling technology.
|+ -|| Blackstar Fly 3W |
Total of 4.90/5
The functionality of a full-sized guitar amp in a very portable package.
|+ -|| Yamaha THR10C Classic Combo |
Total of 4.88/5
An extremely versatile and powerful amp for both home and road use.
|+ -|| Roland Cube Street |
Total of 4.72/5
Performance-worthy portable combo amp with big flexibility.
|+ -|| Pignose Legendary 7-100 |
Total of 4.58/5
A very simple, very potent and overall impressive little portable guitar amplifier.
|+ -|| Marshall MS-2 Mini Am |
Total of 4.80/5
A micro stack that brings the core tone of its full-size cousins.
|+ -|| Danelectro Honeytone N-10 |
Total of 4.28/5
A battery-powered amp oozing 1950s style and sound.
|+ -|| Vox amPlug 2 AC30 |
Total of 4.78/5
The essence of AC30 packed into a super portable and versatile package.
|+ -|| Fender '57 Mini Twin Amp |
Total of 4.70/5
A great looking, fairly powerful and decent sounding portable solution from Fender.
Roland's Cube series have been at the very front of modeling amp category designed for practice and home use. Their Micro Cube GX represents one of the smallest models from the series, and it is absolutely awesome.
Unlike most of its directcompetition, this amp brings on the full might of modeling technology. There are eight different amp emulations to choose from, six effects including both emulation and reverb/delay, and finally the ability to store presets.
For a tiny little amplifier like this one, those features make it extremely powerful. On top of that, you can run this thing using both the adapter and a battery. In terms of pure performance, Roland Micro Cube GX is a true powerhouse.
Blackstar Fly 3W belongs to the portable amplifiers category, but it brings a performance that is much closer to a full sized amp. Not only is it generally more powerful than most of its immediate competition, but Blackstar has also packed it with a great variety of features.
We are talking built effects, an actual EQ section and more. With a clean and overdrive channel, you can enjoy a great variety of tones on the go. One of the most interesting features of the Fly 3W has got to be the fact that you can attach a speaker cabinet if the built in 3 Inch unit is not enough.
Overall, Blackstar has created a highly versatile platform with Fly 3W.
Yamaha is known for many things, but amplifiers aren't one of them. Even so, they have managed to produce one of the most versatile and powerful compact packages on the market.
Yamaha THR10C brings the versatility of a full fledged modeling unit along with the tone of a proper tube amp. With over 6 different guitar amp emulations available, the user also has access to a bass amp, acoustic amp and mic simulation preset.
In other words, this is your one-stop shop for home recording. What makes it a great portable amp is its still reasonable size and the fact that it can run on batteries for a pretty respectable amount of time. All in all, a powerful choice.
Topping our list is an amp you may well recognize if you live in a big city, as it is the partner of so many street performers. And it’s no wonder – the Cube Street has such a portable construction and performance-worthy tone.
This solid-state battery-powered combo amp features two 6.5” speakers offering 5 watts of power, which is more than enough for home practice and small performances, while there’s great versatility with two channels for both mic and guitar.
It also features good EQ controls, eight different COSM amp models and six built-in effects, so no lugging around extra pedals is needed. Check out the complete Roland Cube Street review for all the details.
When it comes to portable amplifiers, you will hardly find a more unique and deceptively basic setup than the Pignose Legendary 7-100. This amp is the epitome of simplicity.
There are no controls aside from the one volume knob, while everything else is done using nothing more than what your guitar comes equipped with. Even so, its 5 Watts of power and a quality voiced 5 Inch speaker give it an almost tube-like aesthetic.
This line of portable amplifiers has become so popular over time, that numerous popular guitar players have decided to record some of their songs using nothing more but a Pignose unit. That type of value and legacy is pretty hard to find in this price range.
Marshall MS-2 Mini guitar amplifier is one of the smallest, yet best sounding amps you can get. When mobility is a requirement, the device's super compact form allows you to experience the core of Marshall's popular tone on the go.
The power rating of this amp is limited to 1 Watt. Even so, it is more than capable of giving you the volume necessary for a good practice session. MS-2 comes with two channels and is powered by a single 9V battery.
They have designed it to look like one of their classic stacks, which makes it one of the better-looking models in the portable category. If you're looking for a mobility on a budget, Marshall MS-2 Mini is the answer.
As portable amps go, the Honeytone N-10 from Danelectro surely wins the award for the best looking. As with all Danelectro products, this battery-powered mini amp shows off an awesome nostalgic design, similar to a 1950s hot rod with a nice chrome-effect grille and real leather strap.
Powered by a 9v battery (it works with an adapter, although this isn’t included), the tone is decent although certainly performs the best for vintage blues as there’s always an underlying grit to the tone.
Throw in a headphone jack for quiet practice and a handy belt-clip and you have a cool amp that shows great value. There’s more on the Honeytone N-10 in the full review.
Vox amPlug 2 AC30 belongs to the family of headphones guitar amplifiers. As such, it packs a lot of heat compared to its immediate competition. Not only do you get the essence of one of the most legendary tube amplifiers ever made, but Vox has also built in a whole lot of effects into these little amps.
You get three different effects, each with three different modes. Battery operated, Vox amPlug 2 AC30 will give you almost 20 hours of continuous work time on a single charge.
Add to that the ability to plug in your smart device, and you have a pretty great practice rig that can also be used to for casual jamming to your favorite tunes.
Fender is a brand known for producing just about everything and anything guitar related. As such, everyone expected them to design a decent portable amplifier. Fender '57 Mini Twin is what we got and it is pretty decent.
The power output you are looking at here is 1 Watt being distributed to not one, but two 2 Inch speakers. In terms of versatility, this amp comes with a clean as well as overdrive channel, both of which can be pretty loud.
What makes it so practical is the fact that you can power it either by using a battery or a power adapter. On top of all that, it just looks fabulous even though that is not all that important.
What’s the Benefit of a Portable Guitar Amp?
The most obvious benefit of having a portable guitar amp is the fact that you can take it anywhere with you – car, train, plane, beach, street… or even just around the house. Having one allows you to leave your more expensive/heavier/more fragile amps at home, but still be able to hear yourself play.
The fact that they are battery-powered means that you don’t need to find somewhere to plug in, allowing you to practice (and sometimes perform) anytime, anywhere.
What Style Should You Go For?
With so many styles on offer, it can be difficult to decide what portable amp you actually need. As always, it will depend on your budget and aspirations.
Do you just want something to chuck in your guitar bag so you can practice when you’re on vacation or travelling around? If so, one of the smaller amps coming in at under $50 are excellent. You don’t get a great deal of power, tone or control, but they give your guitar a decent voice on the road and it’s better than playing unplugged!
However, if you are planning to do some busking or performing with others, you’ll need something a bit more powerful with a little more power and tonal control. Just realize that the more power and control you have, the more you have to spend.
The Final Word
As we’ve mentioned, finding the best portable guitar amp for your needs will essentially depend on what you want from the amp. Define your purposes, then check out some of the amps on our chart for inspiration. Good luck with your new travel amp!