There are always going to be times when you’re out and about, in a studio, in a dressing room or just jamming with friends when small is good. Small is what you need. Small is what you want.
When that time comes, and you a need small, lightweight, and highly portable amplifier, there are plenty of mini amps out there to choose from. And when that time comes, it’s reassuring to know that going small doesn’t necessarily mean huge sacrifices in volume and sound quality.
So, lake a look at our top ten picks, and hopefully, you can find the Best Mini Amp for you…
Top 10 Best Mini Amp in 2023
1 VOXMINI3 G2 Battery Powered Modeling Amp
If you’re looking for a portable mini amp, with plenty of modeling options and effects, then the well-built VOX MINI3 G2 Battery Powered Modeling Amp is as good a place to start as any.
Along with some cool vintage, Vox sounds you also get some cool looks in a lightweight and affordable package. And it looks every bit like a larger Vox. Now that’s cool.
The Vox mini measures 10.6” x 7.5” x 11.8” and weighs approximately 3kgs. It has three watts of power and uses six AA batteries that should give you around 10 hours of playing time. What’s more, there’s also a mains AC adaptor included, which is very useful indeed.
The control panel is well laid out and easy to read. And there is an 11-way amp modeling selection switch, plus controls for volume tone and gain. There’s also a tap button and an impressive array of effects to choose from, including; a choice of four delays, chorus, compressor, flanger, reverb, and tremolo.
There are the usual inputs for; guitar, auxiliary in, and headphones. All good stuff, but what we particularly like is the standard 6.4mm microphone input. Even better is the fact that you can control it for volume, trim, delay, and reverb.
We really never expected that.
Well done, Vox.
The features and portability make this a great buskers amp. When paired with either an electric or acoustic guitar, it fairs equally well and produces more than enough volume to annoy (sorry we meant entertain), all those music-loving shoppers outside your local stores.
If you’re seeking higher volumes, it was noticeable that cleaner tones projected more efficiently than those soaked in drive. Its ability to efficiently project cleaner sound makes it great for playing with an acoustic guitar.
Frankly, this has a huge sound for such a small package.
- Sound quality.
- 11-Way amp modeling.
- Multitude of effects.
- Microphone input.
- It has a mains power AC adaptor.
- Humming when distorted at louder volumes.
2 Roland Micro Cube Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier
The Roland Micro Cube GX comes in to replace the massively successful original Micro Cube. Happily, there are some nice updates and improvements over the outgoing model to include; more effects, more functionality, and improved versatility. The outgoing model was the most successful mini amp of all time, so these are big boots to fill.
Fortunately, the new Micro Cube maintains its original big sound, portability, and robust build quality. And what’s more, all the classic Roland looks are still there.
We like that.
Roland Micro Cube Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier measures 12” x 9.1” x 12.5” and weighs in at three kilograms. It has three watts of power and uses six AA batteries, which are included. It can also run off a mains AC adaptor. Something we always to like see.
There are eight different amp modeling options to choose from. Additionally, there’s new, improved processing for effects and delay and a new spring reverb. It has main controls for gain, volume, and tone, with, of course, a master volume. There’s also a memory setting to store all your favorite settings.
New to this model is their i-Cube link. This is a built-in interface connection for use with iPhone, iPod, or Apple devices, which allows you to jam and record your favorite tracks. It’s a nice feature for the ten percent of Apple users worldwide. The other ninety percent will just have to make do with using the connection as a simple stereo input.
There are, of course, standard-sized inputs for your guitar and headphones.
For only a three-watt amp, The Roland Micro Cube GX is plenty loud and packs some punch. The quality and range of the eight different amp voicings are really very good. So too are the quality of the onboard effects.
Overall, the sound quality is high, with particularly strong clarity when played clean. This clarity is maintained until the volume is pushed to its limits. Only then do you begin to significantly hear a loss in tone. In common with most amps of this size, things do then start to get a little rough around the edges.
Otherwise, the big sound from this little Roland makes it an excellent practice or performance amp.
Has the people’s choice for best Mini Amp just got a little better?
We think so.
- A great choice of tones.
- Powerful sounding.
- Good onboard effects.
- Preset memory savings.
- Sturdy build quality.
- i-Cube interface is only suitable for Apple products.
3 Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifiers have a total of five different amp models; Acoustic, Boutique, High Gain, Mini THR, and the Original THR. They’re all well designed, sturdy, and sound great. They look cool too.
The glowing LED tube-like lights from inside the slatted metallic shell are epic.
The Yamaha measures 6 ½” x 10 ½” x 4 ¾” and weighs only 4 ½ pounds. It requires eight AA batteries, though it does have a mains AC adaptor included.
Controls include five different mic models; Condenser, Dynamic, Tube, Nylon, and Clean Electric Guitar. There’s also a blend control, which allows you to mix between guitar and modeled tone.
There are two effects knobs for dialing in various combinations of compression chorus, reverb, and delay. Unfortunately, one of the issues with these is that they are continuous knobs that can, at times, be hard to dial in a good tone.
You can be on the cusp of dialing in what you want only for it to switch to the next effect. This can be both frustrating and take a little time to get used to. There is a single tone control to dial in the level, and there is a master volume and volume control.
The Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier also has a tap tempo and a built-in tuner, both of which we like.
Inputs include all the usual suspects; guitar, auxiliary, and headphones. Additionally, you get a USB input, adding greatly to its versatility.
Probably one of the most common asked questions you’re asked about this size of amp concerns the level of volume. Is it enough? Well, of course, that depends, but for use in a small room, studio or bedroom, it will be plenty loud enough, even before you hit full tilt.
In terms of sound quality, it‘s also plenty good enough for its size. But best of all, it enhances the acoustic’s sound in a natural way, and the effects, once you finally manage to dial them in, really help to improve its tone. The reverb also sounded particularly good.
The Yamaha THR5 Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier sounds great with fingerstyle playing and, although not marketed as such, it also sounds great with other acoustic string-based instruments.
Overall, a nice sounding amp with some good detail and clarity in the mids. The fact is, this specifically modeled acoustic amp is the best acoustic guitar mini amp we’ve heard.
- USB interface.
- Good tone for acoustic and stringed instruments.
- Nice onboard effects.
- The effects can be a bit fiddly to dial in.
4 Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt 1×8-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier
The Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt has probably pushed itself to the very extreme of what could be classified as a mini amp. Its size and power is way, way beyond a lot of the amps we’ve included today.
We’re sure you’ll agree, though, that despite its size and weight, the original Fender Mustang is such an iconic amp, it would be a sin not to take a look at the 20 watts version.
Let’s get this out of the way. It measures 7.6: x 15.5” x 14.5” and weighs a not so light 17lbs. However, despite its relatively large size, 17lbs is still not massively heavy. OK, it’s not as portable as most, but it’s not exactly a back-breaker either. With its size, you get an 8” Fender speaker and lots and lots of effects.
These include; 17 amplifier models, 24 onboard presets, tremolo, phaser, reverb, delay/echo, and other effects. There’s also USB connectivity, auxiliary output, and connection for a guitar and headphones. And if all that’s not enough, it’s got a chromatic tuner too.
No doubt, this has the best sounding lower end of all the amps we’ve looked at today. There’s also plenty of oomph to this amp and plenty of modeling to get exactly the sound you want. Furthermore, the amp models are better than a lot of amplifiers you’d find at this price and are pleasingly authentic.
One small negative is that there are a lot of controls onboard, which are a little complicated and can take a while to master. You really have to take some time to experiment to get the very best out of Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt.
A nice amp suitable for a wide range of playing styles.
- 24 onboard presets.
- Good onboard effects.
- Nice bass response.
- 5-year transferable warranty.
- Good build quality.
- Optional footswitch available.
- Main AC operated only.
- Relatively big and heavy for a mini amp.
5 Vox Pathfinder Combo, 10W (V9106)
Though it’s not the largest we’ve looked at today, this is still a relatively big mini amp.
There’s no doubt that everything about this amp looks and feels Vox. It’s the largest of the three Vox mini amps we’re looking at today. It’s, therefore, fair to expect bigger things… and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
It measures 17” x 8” x 12” and weighs in at 11.9lbs. And has a 6.5” Vox Bulldog speaker and 10 watts of power.
Vox Pathfinder Combo, 10W (V9106), has a really simple and uncluttered control panel. You’ll find a clean and dirty channel, volume, gain, treble, and bass. There are two inputs, one for your guitar and for your headphones or line out. And that’s your lot.
That was easy.
OK, there’s very little in the way of features, so the big question is, does it make up for it with the sound?
The quality of sound at the lower end and when pushed is better than anything we’ve heard at this price. The sound remains clear for longer. It’s bright when played through the clean channel and crunchy when distorted. The really cool thing is when playing with heavy gain, when you roll back the volume, the tone cleans up beautifully. Nice.
You also get that classic Vox ‘chimey’ tone. It sounds great played clean and givers an excellent Blues/Rock kind of vibe. But when played through the gain channel, it’s capable of producing some decent saturated sound.
You can honestly hear where the money has been spent here.
- Great authentic Vox tone.
- Easy layout.
- Good build quality.
- Looks great.
- AC mains power only.
- No built-in effects
6 Marshall MS4 Battery-Powered Mini Micro Full Stack Guitar Amplifier
Admit it; you can’t help but smile when you look at this? On looks alone, this has got to be the best mini amp for metal.
If we told you that Phil X uses a Marshall MS4 Battery-Powered Mini backstage to warm up with (and how we’d all like to see that), we’re pretty sure you’ll be laughing now.
It measures a mere 10” x 3” x 5” and weighs only 1.3lbs. It’s powered by a 9V battery and can be powered by an optional AC adapter. That’s always handy. Surprisingly, the Marshall MS4 manages to fit in two 3” speakers. Less surprisingly, it produces one watt of power.
This little micro stack has controls for gain, volume, tone, and an on/off switch. It also has a headphone input that can be used to drive an external power amp. Now that’s pretty useful.
The controls will take you less than a minute to master.
Despite its diminutive size, it’s much louder than we expected. It’s able to deliver a decent quality of sound and a decent range of tones for such a small amp. Yes, it’s definitely better than we’d expected.
When the gain is cranked, it comes close to replicating the classic Marshall crunching tone. And when you back off the gain, it cleans up really well. It has a good level of clarity for such a small micro mini amp.
It’s an impressively tight sounding little amp for its size. It sounds great through headphones, too, and you can also clip it to your belt and walk around. What’s not too like?
- Input for headphones and external amp.
- It can be clipped to your belt.
- Cheap plastic construction.
- Bass response is thin.
7 Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier
Blackstar manufactures some of the best-selling full-sized guitar amplifiers. And the Blackstar Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier is just as popular as the larger versions.
At first glance, the aesthetics and build quality certainly look up to standard. This has got none of the flimsiness and toy-like feel of some of the mini amps. This looks and feels like a serious piece of kit.
It measures 7.59” x 5.59” x 4.29” and weighs in at a shade under 2lbs. It’s powered by six AA batteries. There’s no mains power, which is a shame, but Blackstar does provide an optional battery power pack.
Controls are nice and simple. There are gain, volume, EQ, and delay knobs, plus an overdrive switch. There are inputs for guitar, headphones, and an auxiliary input for your electronic device.
The controls are easy to master, but despite the simple layout, you’ve still plenty of flexibility to dial in some great tones. You, of course, still have the option to hook up to your phone or other electronic devices, to add in some of your favorite loops or tracks.
This little three-watt amp has enough power to fill a small room. It’s nice and punchy, even at higher volumes. Played clean, it’s clear. When overdriven, there’s a nice thick crunchiness to the tone without becoming fizzy or muddled.
This sounds very much like a Blackstar amplifier but in a tiny package. The sound quality is more than enough to enjoy some inspirational practice sessions.
A great little amp.
- Great Blackstar sound.
- Good build quality.
- Auxiliary input.
- No mains power supply.
- Limited effects.
The VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Guitar/Bass Headphone Amplifier is one of seven different modeled plugin amplifiers manufactured by Vox. This particular mini amp is designed to have the classic sound signature of an AC 30. If this doesn’t suit your particular style of playing, then there should be one from Vox that does.
They also have Bass, Blues, Classic Rock, Clean, Lead, and Metal versions to choose from. Though it has the classic Vox looks, unfortunately, it feels and looks a little cheap. Lots of plastic and basic control knobs here. Oh well, considering the really low price, it’s hardly unexpected.
The Vox plug-in falls into the category of micro-mini amp. It obviously has to be small to plug straight into your guitar and stay hanging there. It measures a diminutive 7” x 1” x 5” inches and weighs about the same as a couple of guitar picks. 3.04 ounces to be precise. It, of course, has a headphones input, that’s the whole point after all.
Additionally, there is an auxiliary input so you can hook up to your electronic device and play along to jam tracks or whatever music tickles your fancy. It has a volume, tone, gain controls, and even a top boost channel. And it’s operated by 2 AAA batteries, which should give you around 10-15 hours of playing time.
Sadly, the batteries are not rechargeable.
There are some adjustable onboard effects to help further shape your tone. These include; chorus, delay, and reverb. They are not exactly subtle, and you can only use one effect at a time, but never the less they sound perfectly acceptable. There’s also a tremolo setting, which is better than we’d have expected.
Plugged in with a good set of headphones, it’s perfectly possible to get some really great tones out of this little device. There has definitely been some real wizardry at work in managing to create some authentic Vox voicings.
- The sound quality is good.
- It’s able to produce some authentic and versatile tones.
- It has an auxiliary input.
- It’s lightweight and unobtrusive.
- It’s inexpensive.
- You can only use one effect at any one time.
- Cheap plastic construction.
- The batteries are not rechargeable.
9 2 Channel Stereo Audio Class D Amplifier Mini Hi-Fi Professional Digital Amp
This is the only mini amplifier on our list that is not specifically designed for guitar. Like the Vox plug-in headphone-amplifier we’ve just reviewed, the 2 Channel Stereo Audio Class D Amplifier, is purely for amplification only and has no speakers within the unit.
This is a mini amp with some serious minimalistic looks and superb sound.
Check this out, this thing is tiny, it only measures 4.2” x 3.5” x 1.4”, weighs just 1.4lbs, yet is able to deliver 100 watts of power. That’s remarkable for something so small. We can think of units ten times this size that delivers less power, cost more, and sound worse in the process.
This amp really packs a punch and has enough power to drive two 2 Ohm – 8 Ohm speakers As for controls, there’s a volume control and an on/off switch on the front of the amp, and that’s it. At the rear, you have RCA inputs, four speaker connections, and a power cable input.
The sound is what this mini amp is all about, and it certainly delivers on that. When paired with a good set of speakers, the level of clarity is excellent. They use a TI TPA3116D2 chip from Texas instruments to achieve their clean and precise sound.
All in all, this amp produces a clean, HiFi quality sound. This is the best mini amp for bookshelf speakers, desktop speakers, or any small speaker you care to think of.
It’s an excellent mini amp from Fosi Audio
- Excellent sound.
- 100 watts of power.
- No EQ controls.
- No Bluetooth.
10 Orange Crush Mini 3-Watt Micro Amp – Orange
Who doesn’t like an orange?
Well, we think you’ll like the Orange Crush Mini 3, which looks and sounds every bit as appealing as all the other Oranges out there. It’s a nice sturdy little amp, that’s easy to use with a few cool features, and with enough functionality to keep you happy.
The Orange Crush Mini 3 measures 16” x 14” x 15” and weighs 2 pounds. It is powered by a 9V battery, also can use AC mains, and has 3 watts of power.
The controls on the top of the amp are uncluttered and straightforward. You have volume, gain, and tone. The top panel also has inputs for headphones and guitar. Additionally, there’s an easy to read and use tuner.
The rear panel has an auxiliary input. We would have liked to see this on the top of the amp, and this would seem more logical, but never mind. The rear also has a speaker output. The best thing is that this is actually compatible with all the Orange range. In theory, you could hook this up to their largest 4 x 12 speaker cabinet. Brilliant. That would be so, so cool.
Like a lot of these mini amps, it has a sound way larger than its tiny size. When played through the clean channel, it’s all nice, clean, and crisp. Throw some gain it’s way, and it will reward you with some crunchy, rasping grit. Even distorted, the bass holds up well and stays punchy.
This is an amp that feels equally at ease, either clean or distorted.
Finally, we really like the way the tone control dials in some clearly different sounds at every setting.
The Orange Crush Mini 3-Watt Micro Amp is a very nice, no fuss, no-frills, good sounding mini amp.
- Great sound.
- Clear and easy to use control panel
- Auxiliary output.
- Speaker output connection.
- No delay or reverb.
Best Mini Amp Buyers Guide
There’s plenty of stuff to think about when buying a mini amp. Other than price, some of the main things to consider are likely to include; portability, built-in effects, connectivity, and of course, sound quality.
Let’s briefly look at each of these in turn…
Though all of these mini amps are light and portable, if you need to move around freely whilst playing, you may well choose something like the Marshall MS4 or the VOX AP2AC amPlug. It weighs next to nothing and can either be attached to your belt or directly plugged into your guitar.
If very high levels of portability are still important, though the need to freely move around isn’t, there’s a great choice of mini amps to be had. This category of mini amp will usually have around 3 watts of total power and typically weigh around 2lbs.
Where portability is of lesser concern, we’ve featured a couple of much heavier 10, and 20-watt amps. Weighing 12lbs and 17lbs, respectively, the Vox Pathfinder and Fender Mustang are a lot harder to move around, but the fact is they do offer better sound, particularly at the lower end.
A large number of built-in effects won’t necessarily improve the sound, and there are plenty of great-sounding amp with very few effects to prove that. However, they will give you potentially more flexibility to find the exact sound you’re searching for.
If built-in effects are your thing, then you should definitely go for the Fender Mustang. This easily has the most onboard effects. Furthermore, with its larger sized speaker, when compared to the rest, if you play bass, we think this is also the best bass mini amp on our list.
We feel having the ability to connect your mini amp to your mobile or electronic device is important. And in fact, nearly all of the mini amps we’ve reviewed are able to do this. We also feel it’s desirable to have an output connection for external speakers, which only a few are able to do.
However, the one connection we think is particularly useful is the microphone input.
The VOX MINI3 G2 is the only mini amp to feature a microphone input and therefore makes it the obvious amp choice for any buskers out there.
Micro amps are never going sound as good as fuller-sized versions of the same brand. They do, however, put on a good show, with both a surprising level of power and sound quality given their size.
The one amp that we feel gave the best show for overall sound quality was the Vox Pathfinder. Its 6.5” Bulldog speaker produced some genuinely high-quality sound and was able to quite accurately replicate the ‘chimey’ Vox tone.
On sound alone, the Vox Pathfinder would be our choice for the best mini amp for guitar.
Need Something Bigger & Louder?
If, after going through this review, you’re still unsure as to whether a mini amp is what you need, then please check out our reviews of the Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers and the Best Guitar Amplifiers under 200 dollars currently available.
So, What’s The Best Mini Amp?
So, there we have it.
A great selection of ten mini amps. They all have their particular strengths, but the best all-rounder, and we feel the best mini amp, is the…
It does everything well, and though it might not have as many effects as some of the other amps, it still sounds great. This little Blackstar really does epitomize the concept of mini amps being, small, affordable, and portable, yet is capable of producing a big sound.
A small size really doesn’t have to mean a small sound.