When you have kids or parents around, you might want to be mindful of your amplifier volume. The best mini amplifiers, also known as micro mini guitar amps, are a great choice in such a case. They come in handy when you don’t have enough space in the house or when you need a practice amp to use with your guitar on the road.
Their small footprint is a benefit rather than a drawback for being portable and providing a wide range of tones at incredible volume levels. With these small guitar amps, you have a great way to write and practice music and jams without blowing the windows out.
Luckily, you have the option of choosing the battery-powered type, which is perfect for traveling, or a small head amp that you can pair with cabinet speakers for home use. Other applications include recording on a PA system, not forgetting that they are good small guitar amps for beginners who want to learn.
We have reviewed the seven best mini amplifiers and provided you with a buyer’s guide so that you can finally play at reasonable and acceptable volume levels.
Table of Contents
Best Mini Amplifiers Comparison Table 2021
|Fender Mustang I V2 [Overall best]||7.6 x 15.5 x 14.5 inches||20 Watts|
|Yamaha THR10X||17.1 x 9.2 x 10.4 inches||10 Watts|
|Blackstar Guitar Combo Amplifier FLY3||7.6 x 5.6 x 4.3 inches||3 watts|
|Orange Crush20RT||7.9 x 13.8 x 15.8 inches||20 watts|
|Roland Micro Cube GX 3W||12 x 9.1 x 12.6 inches||3 watts|
|Monoprice 611705||12 x 12.2 x 8.3 inches||5 watts|
We all know how it feels to have an average amplifier which is why we’ve put our expertise to help you choose the best mini amplifier for your stereo system. Luckily, in this day and age, there are many smaller options that are becoming popular with music lovers who prefer something with a small footprint. We will take a look at the seven best small amps in 2021 to help you find the best compact options out there.
How We Put Together This List
Just like other amps, you will have different options when you are searching for a mini-amp. Choosing one model over the other can be challenging considering that the features are quite similar. The hardest part is figuring out the best mini-amp for your needs. Fortunately, this article will give you all the information before you make that crucial decision.
We conducted thorough research from trusted studies and reports on the best mini amplifiers brands. We also gathered helpful information from product experts and that’s what guided us on what features to look for in a small footprint amp. We ended up with a list of seven top-rated brands and regardless of whether you want a practice unit for studio or for stage performances, you’re going to find fit in our review.
Let’s get started!
1. Fender Mustang I V2
Fender Mustang I V2 has set the standards for a modern guitar amp in terms of clean sound, versatility, and secure USB connectivity. It delivers outstanding performance for such a compact and portable design. I V2 is a perfect small guitar amp for guitarists who are not familiar with digital recording. It has made it easy for them to record, edit, store, and share their music.
Fender Mustang I V2 Key Features and Benefits
- Fender FUSE Software– The Fender FUSE Software allows you to connect to your PC or Mac seamlessly. With this software, you can alter and save the presets, and at the same time, you can download additional presets from various online sites. You can also use this software to modify various effects such as delay, reverb, and many more. With this, you can customize the tones to fit your needs.
- Practice Friendly Features– Fender Mustang I V2 has been designed to incorporate the essential practice features for a smooth operation. They include a 1/8th headphone output jack that allows you to practice privately. Another crucial element is the Auxiliary input that lets you jam along your favorite tracks by plugging your MP3 player and becoming part of the band. Other than the Fender software, you can use the included USB port to connect to your PC/Mac.
- The Optional Footswitch– Mustang I give you the option to connect an optional footswitch that allows you to switch back and forth between a set of presets. It is important to note that this amp will allow you to save up to 24 presets while playing. There is another set of 12 presets that can be accessed using the Fender software. This means that if you are using a PC/Mac, you can save up to 36 presets.
- The Effects– Fender Mustang I V2 has a total of 44 effects that falls under four major categories. These are; Modulation effects such as chorus, tremolo, and filters, Stompbox effects such as distortion and overdrive. The other type is the Delay, and it includes effects such as tape and reverse. The last category is the Reverb with effects such as plate and ambient.
What we liked
- It offers up to 36 presets.
- High-quality effects.
- USB connectivity.
- It uses Fender Fuse Software to outdo the competition.
- It offers basic sound controls.
What we didn’t like
- Not appropriate for high gains amps sound.
- Not a great choice if you don’t plan to use the Fender Fuse software.
Our verdict– Fender Mustang I V2 is inarguably one of the most popular mini amps on the market today thanks to the Fender FUSE Software. Its main selling point is its balance in price and quality features. The included AUX input and headphones out make this piece of equipment a good all-in-one practice amp.
Try Fender Mustang I V2 for a versatile mini amp for under $200.
2. Yamaha THR10X
Yamaha THR10X has been designed to sound great over a wide range of music genres. It offers quality sound, whether played with a clean tone or with a dirty tone. It delivers exceptional performance, especially for guitarists who are not playing live. This model is also invaluable to a musician who wants more distortion, more gain, and the unmatched response of a full-sized model.
Yamaha THR10X Key Features and Benefits
- Virtual Circuitry Technology– Yamaha THR10X utilizes Yamaha proprietary Virtual Circuitry Technology to deliver authentic effects and hi-fi quality stereo playback. On top of this, it produces a realistic sound which ensures that there is no compromise when it comes to core sound generation. With that, the amp can sound good and retain dynamics regardless of the volume levels.
- Control Features– This amp has a single jack input for guitar and a headphone output jack for your headphones. It also has an AUX input jack for MP3 players and other audio sources. The DC power input is on the rear surface together with the USB port. The unit also includes eight control knobs for various controls. They include volume control, gain control, tone network, among others.
- Active LED Display– Yamaha THR10X comes with a small circular LED display that is used to indicate active presets. This LED display is also used to provide information on tuning and tempo rate. It also acts as a power indicator providing you with the retro glow effect. Other than this, you will also find more non-programmable knobs that are used to control the overall output level.
- Built-in Effects– This mini amp comes with several effects with five separate channels. As a result of this, this amp utilizes two knobs to govern these effects. One knob is used to control modulation effects while the other is for reverb and delay. These knobs have four different sections. Each section modifies the mix level of the effect in use before moving to the next section.
- It provides for easy recording via USB cable.
- It sounds fantastic even at low volume levels.
- It offers three-dimensional sound.
- It comes with user memory and a tuner switch.
- You have the option of using AC power batteries.
- No Bluetooth connectivity.
- No Bluetooth connectivity.
Our verdict- Yamaha THR10X will offer you great value for money and above all the amp is fun to use. It produces incredible recorded tones while the USB connectivity makes it put down some excellent and rewarding sounds.
Yamaha THR10X is a perfect practice amp for music playback and quiet practice. Get one on Amazon.
3. Blackstar Guitar Combo Amplifier FLY3
FLY 3 is the perfect mini amp for your guitar or phone. It is advantageously compact and plays with a big tone even when playing at low volumes. It comes with an emulated output jack for the headphones and an MP3 input jack which allows you to connect to your MP3 player, laptop, mobile phone, and more. It has an optional battery operation and a set of custom speakers which means that you can take this amp wherever you go.
Blackstar Guitar Combo Amplifier FLY3 Key Features and Benefits
- Highly Versatile- Blackstar FLY 3 is a great low–wattage mini amp with unrivaled sound generation. With its battery-powered operation, you can use it on your desk, bedroom, or carry it in your backpack and go with it wherever you want. It is not only a practice amp but also an excellent amplifier for recording using the Emulated Line Out, which allows you to record directly to your PC.
- Onboard Controls- This amp has straightforward controls that include volume, gain, and tone controls. The amp also has an MP3 line-in for audio and a port for headphones for those who want to operate as quietly as possible. The headphone port also acts as its speaker out. Another exciting feature is that you can attach a speaker cabinet for your set of speakers.
- Straightforward Channels– The amp has two channels; the inbuilt tape delay and Blackstar’s patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature). The ISF allows you to have total control over the tone of your amp. This feature also allows you to control gain on both channels. The result of this is deep and meaty gain, which is quite the opposite in other mini-apps where the gain tends to be a bit weak and stifled.
- Revolutionary Sonic Performance- FLY 3 is an innovative mini amp with an incredible tone even at low volume levels. This 3 Watt amp allows you to have unlimited control over the characteristics of your tone. With that, you can juggle from classic USA sound to British Rock and anywhere in-between. This level of control provides you with an impressive array of sounds making FLY 3 a perfect compact guitar amplifier.
What we liked
- It comes with extension capabilities.
- Controls are versatile, allowing you to choose what you like.
- You can toggle between clean and overdrive channels thanks to the channel select button.
- It features onboard controls for adjusting the level and time of delay.
- It comes with a port for headphones for silent practice and recording.
What we didn’t like
- The sound is somehow clunky when the tone is on high gain.
- The unit does not come with the cable as such you will have to buy one separately.
Our Verdict– Straight from the box, you have a mini amp with both clean and overdrive channels that will provide you with an incredible array of sounds. When you combine these sounds with the inbuilt tape delay, you’ve got high-quality sounds at your disposal.
Blackstar FLY3 is a perfect mini amp for beginners, guitarists, and students on the move.
4. Orange Crush20RT
The Crush 20RT features two-foot switchable channels and a shared EQ. It also comes with separate overdrive gain and volume controls. This design enables it to provide you with gigantic tones that will satisfy your craving for overdriven and distorted sounds. It will also offer you quality sound that is rich in harmonic overtones. Orange Crush20RT comes with a pair of 8-inch speakers which enables the amplifier to provide mind-blowing tones.
Key Features and Benefits of Orange Crush20RT
- Twin Channel– Crush 20RT will offer you versatile and detailed sound levels that you have never experienced in such a small guitar amplifier. It features a high gain preamp design with both clean and dirty channels. This design helps to inspire a range of complex tones. These channels can be switched using the optional footswitch delivering everything from blissful cleans to high gain metal distortion.
- Built-in Reverb and Chromatic Tuner– Crush 20RT comes with digital reverb and the integrated chromatic tuner to add a touch of 3D sound on the tonal platform. By blending in the reverb, you can rest assured that your guitar’s tone integrity will be maintained. The integrated tuner, on the other hand, is fast-tracking and accurate, allowing quick tune-ups between tracks.
- Cabinet Simulation– The Crush 20RT is complete with an AUX input for backing jams and a headphone output for silent practice. It has also integrated the Cabsim circuit for PA and home recording setup. The headphone port also doubles up as speaker-emulated recording. Here you can connect to a mixer to capture huge and authentic tones. The included custom-designed speakers strike a perfect balance between vintage highs and modern low ends for more clarity.
- The Analogue Signal Path– Crush 20RT all-analog circuitry allows it to provide balanced sound. For example, the improved three-band EQ section allows you to have total control over your music. This arrangement inspires guitarists to play anything from bold vintage highs to cool tones. Also, this amp also offers 20W output power, which is powerful enough to produce sufficient volume for both practicing and stage performances.
- It offers a great tone considering its solid-state base.
- It features built-in reverb and tuner.
- Simple controls keep the tones transparent.
- It offers harmonic distortion to produce better sound.
- It is a highly portable and affordable mini amplifier.
- The sound feels unbalanced towards the bass end.
- Durability can be improved.
- It lacks an output for mixing purposes.
Our verdict– Orange Crush 20RT works well when it comes to practicing and recording. It is also perfect for a small venue, for small performances. With the inbuilt chromatic tuner and reverb, this amp sounds equally great at cranked-up band level or bedroom level.
With Orange Crush20RT, there’s no excuse for not getting cool tones regardless of your taste or age.
5. Roland Micro Cube GX 3W
This compact and highly portable amplifier come with a set of limited but usable effects. It makes a fantastic practice amp, especially when used together with a nice electric guitar. It is also popular with buskers due to the durability part of it. This amp has only 3 watts of power, but it is surprisingly loud for even a full band.
Roland Micro Cube GX 3W Key Features and Benefits
- The Memory Function– The memory function is the latest development by Micro Cube GX. This function enables you to save your favorite effects and tones at the touch of a button. This operation turns your amp into a dual-channel amp in that you can toggle between the standard model and the saved settings. As such, you can use the memory function to switch between different tones, save a favorite sound, or even recall a unique sound from a particular song.
- Digital Effects– Aside from delay and reverb, Micro Cube GX comes with 8 additional built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processing) effects. This entails all the essential effects from chorus and flanger to phaser and tremolo. As for the delay and reverb, it has a separate control that allows you to switch back and forth between the two effects. The newly added spring reverb adds a touch of authenticity to your roots and rocks sounds.
- Rock Uninterrupted on Battery Powered Operation– Micro Cube GX features a battery-powered operation while still maintaining an ultra-compact footprint. It uses six AA-size batteries which give you up to 25 hours of uninterrupted playing. The increased power output delivers bigger tones than before making Cube GX a great hit globally. Additionally, the built-in tuner eliminates the need for carrying an external tuner while jamming at home, camping trips, wherever.
- The Unique iCube Link/AUX Input– The iCube link jack provides you with a way of integrating your amp with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. This interaction gives you a two-way kind of communication with music apps. With that, you can play along the music tracks; at the same time, it allows you to send the sounds into your iOS recording interface. You can also you this jack to connect other audio players, i.e. Android devices.
What we liked
- Great onboard effects
- You don’t have to worry about power outages as it operates on AC power or battery.
- It offers several amp emulations like an Auxiliary input for CD players among others.
- Has the capability of saving presets.
- It comes with an adapter that allows you to switch to AC power.
- Uneven tone at high volumes.
- Can’t connect the microphone and guitar at the same time.
- Some of the overdrive sounds could be better.
Our Verdict– Roland Micro Cube GX 3W is a versatile mini battery/AC-powered amp with plenty of useful features. The top panel is straightforward and easy to use. It displays a level of functionality that allows you to play various styles of music, whether you want metal distortion or clean jazz sound.
Micro Cube GX 3W is an excellent choice if you like playing around with different amps effects and sounds.
6. Monoprice 611705
611705 is a tube mini amplifier from Monoprice which features a stable, durable open-backed cabinet. This cabinet is responsible for keeping the cubes cooled. Also, it has separate volume and tone controls, which makes the circuitry less complicated and easy to use. In addition, it comes with an 8-inch Celestion speaker, which is a versatile and durable option for small amps.
Key Features and Benefits of Monoprice 611705
- The Celestion Super 8– Monoprice 611705 comes with Celestion Super 8 speaker which is partly responsible for the high-quality sound. This speaker provides well-balanced highs and mids. The result of this is excellent sound quality and a meaty bottom end. This speaker is undoubtedly one of the most prominent sounding 8-inch speakers, and when combined with 611705, they will provide you with pure tones; everything any guitarist would wish for from an amp this size.
- Simple Controls– Monoprice 611705 has very minimal controls that are very simple to use. This helps in keeping the tone pure and making the circuitry less complicated, which is an ideal setup for pedals. Just like other amplifiers in our review, it also has separate controls for tone. This amp is mostly preferred by musicians who do not want a mini amp that has multiple EQ controls or numerous channels.
- Classic Styling– Asides from being compact, Monoprice 611705 is designed with a distinctive texture, cream-colored and synthetic leather exterior. This kind of design leads to high Low Input for natural overdrive. At the same, it has a High Input for full power and volume. The model has also incorporated chrome corner guards. These guards protect the amp against bumps leading to increased dynamic range and harmonic distortion.
- Versatile and Durable– 611705 is a pretty versatile mini amplifier with a solid frame and durable open-back cabinet which is great for keeping this cube amp fresh. This 5 watts amp drives a single 6V6gt power tube from the standard 12AX7 pre-amp tube. This interplay enables the amp to deliver authentic tones as well as great distortion features. With this, you will get pure tube tones in a practice-friendly package.
What we liked
- Well-balanced tones.
- You can use this amp with pedals.
- Simple volume and tone controls.
- It comes with high-quality low and high inputs features for more power and volume.
- Full and well-balanced sounds that work well with blues.
What we didn’t like
- LED lights are easily damaged.
- It offers one channel only.
- It does not offer a headphone output
Our verdict– The Monoprice 611705 provides you with natural tones in a practice-friendly package. It has met the necessary standards enabling it to produce all-rounded sounds with amazing distortion features. It is also important to note that the amp features an ergonomic design, which makes it easier to carry around.
Monoprice 611705 is a perfect low-consumption, grab-and-go amp for those on a budget. Buy one on Amazon.
7. Boss Katana-Mini
Boss Katana-Mini is in a class of its own when it comes to delivering a commanding range of vibrant and full tones. It does this with a warm ambient delay that would slice through any band setup. The innovative power control and unique design make this amp excel in home playing. It also features seamless Bluetooth connectivity; all you have to do is plug the included transmitter into your guitar and enjoy inspiring sound at low volumes.
Boss Katana-Mini Key Features and Benefits
- Inspiring Tones, Warm Ambience– Boss Katana-Mini features an all-analog input circuitry with a couple of gain stages that delivers three classic sound settings, i.e., Clean, Brown, and Crunch. This gain approach is similar to that of high-end amps. The Clean setup delivers crisp tones with a robust dynamic response. The brown setting, on the other hand, offers up warm high-gain tones, which is ideal for solos. Crunch delivers an overdrive that’s perfect for rock and blues rhythms.
- Comprehensive Design Approach– Katana mini amp has been crafted in a way that inspires you to plug in and play for hours. The design includes refined circuitry, a custom speaker, and advanced hardware. It has also incorporated an energy-efficient design that has seen the amp run on six AA-size batteries or an optional AC adapter.
- Built-in Tape Delay and Analog Tone Stack– Katana Mini comes with a unique built-in tape-style delay. This tape makes use of the dedicated level and time knobs to switch between reverb and delay effects. In the end, will have a bit of everything; from long delay effects like repeats to subtle reverb effects. Also, you can enhance your sound through the provided three-band analog stack. This stack provides you with natural sound shaping similar to that in full-sized amps.
- Highly Versatile in terms of Practice Features– This mini amp is loaded with a couple of practice features. They include an aux input that you can plug in your smartphone and other music devices and jam along with the music files. This port also allows you to stream tracks from the web. You may also want to take advantage of the mic’d up voicing cabinet for both recording and private practice.
- It allows power splitting.
- It includes recording/ phone output.
- Dedicated effects control for adjusting sounds quickly.
- It includes power control for achieving dynamic response at low volume levels.
- Runs on batteries or AC power.
- It does not come with a footswitch.
- It does not offer an option for running some versions like the Combo using an external cabinet.
- It does not include onboard reverb.
Our verdict- Boss Katana mini offers very useful and neat options to play around with which includes five customizable presets. These presets can be modified to provide a range of tones that will ensure that you can play any style of music.
Boss Katana mini has been designed to rock right from the box.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Mini Amplifiers
If you have still not made up your mind on which mini amplifier to buy, this section will provide you with all of the information you’ll need to help you choose the best mini stereo amp that is going to fit your needs.
Below are essential features that you should consider if you intend to take your music career to the next level.
i. Compatibility with Essential Equipment
A good mini amp should at least feature a headphone-out and an AUX-in to help you use essential external pieces of equipment. A headphone-out allows you to play via headphones, especially if you want to play silently. The AUX-in, on the other hand, will enable you to connect the amp with different equipment and have its audio transmitted via the speakers.
The whole essence of having a mini amplifier is the ability to carry it with you anytime and anywhere. It should be compact and small in size so that you can take it comfortably during travel. As long as you pair it with 8-inch speakers or less, it should remain relatively portable.
Most mini amps come with two switchable channels inform of the clean channel and the dirty channel. The clean channel is used to play clean sound while the dirty channel allows you to play with distortion sound effects. A good mini amp should enable you to flip between the two channels efficiently providing you with a wide range of tones that you can produce.
iv. Built-in Effects
Best mini amplifiers should have presets of standard effects. The presets enable you to have basic settings for everything from distortion, delay, overdrive, and modulation. However, this is going to be determined by what you intend to do with the amp. For example, if you will be juggling between different music genres, then an amp with these built-in effects will be invaluable. You can, however, can opt for a simple model if you don’t plan on using these effects.
v. Speaker Size and Power Rating
The power rating of an amplifier will determine how powerful the unit is. It will also determine its ability to produce quality sound. As such, the higher the power rating, the louder the amp and vice versa.
When it comes to speakers, the sound produced by the amplifier will vary depending on the size of the speakers. Generally, small-range speakers struggle to produce low-end frequencies. Besides, they make the amp produce a thinner sound when compared to that produced from giant speakers. However, as the size of the speakers increases, the amp gets heavier.
The benefits of having the best mini amplifiers for your speakers are countless. The obvious one is that you can go anywhere with them. As such if you are in constant motion and you require an amplifier that you can carry along for your practice or stage performance, the best bet is getting a mini amp.
These mini amplifiers come in different sizes while the prices vary depending on what the amp has to offer. Some are relatively big, making them suitable for home use while others are suited for quieter performance.
Most of them use both batteries and AC adapters and as such you don’t have to worry about the power source. They relieve you of the weight of your massive amplifiers that requires a defined power source. The choice is yours. Whichever model you go for, make sure you select the one for your needs.