The 5 Best Mini/Small Practice Amps for Under $300

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Small amps may not be as glamorous as their arena-shaking stacked up cousins but they are a daily go-to item for many guitarists. Many find them just the ticket for practice, rehearsal, small gigs, and sessions. They are easy to haul, not overly loud, and usually are pretty affordable. Today, we’re going to be looking at what we feel are the best mini guitar amps for home use. Home is where most of us do our practicing, right? It’s vital to have the right amp for home playing that won’t break your bank or your neighbor’s ears. All the amps here are cool and worthy contenders to be your daily practice partner, so get two. They’re small.

11. Blackstar HT1 Series Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Blackstar HT1 is an absolutely killer choice for anyone looking for rock tones at home. It delivers a single mighty watt from an ECC83 preamp and ECC82 power amp tube. This lets you get all up on those tubes, drive them hard, and find your sound, keeping the peace all the while. It even has a speaker-simulated direct output that works nicely for headphone playing and recording. This is an amp that makes it easy to not sound like your guitar tracks were recorded at home. Like most small amps, its clean sounds aren’t its best feature but nobody expects an ankle-biter like this to have cleans like a Twin Reverb. This amp is all about drive and distortion that sounds bigger than it really is.

Blackstar is known for tone and has become the amp of choice for a lot of players. There’s a reason for that. Play one of these and your search may well be over.

PROS –

  • Small size, great tone!
  • Actual tubes!
  • Punches above its weight.

CONS –

  • No reverb.
  • Iffy clean sounds.
  • Too loud for some users.

Specifications:

  • Power: 1W
  • Speaker: 1 x 8″
  • Preamp Tube: 1 x ECC83
  • Poweramp Tube: 1 x ECC82
  • Effects:
  • Input: 1 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/4″ TRS (Line)
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/4″ TRS (Headphones), 1 x 1/4″ (Speaker)
  • Weight: 13.2 lbs.

CHECK PRICES: AMAZON/THOMANN

See how it sounds:

22. VHT AV-SP1-6 Special 6 Combo Amplifier

Anyone seeking the best small guitar amp for home use would be wise to check out the VHT AV-SP1-6 Special Six. This is one of the few hand-wired small amps out there under $300 and that, alone, makes it a screaming deal. Factor in the legendary VHT reputation and it just makes sense to take one for a spin. Being handwired, the Special 6 is a natural choice for all you tweakers, hot rodders, and modifiers out there. You just can’t do that stuff with a circuit board amp. Non-tweakers will be glad to know that the stock vibe of the Special 6 is plenty good for most people and it gets accordingly positive reviews just as it sits.

The Special 6 is a six-watt combo amp with a single ten-inch speaker. It runs itself on a 12AX7 preamp tube and 6V6 output tube. The Gain control has a push-pull function that is where all the overdrive emerges from. It even has a High/Low Power switch to attenuate the overall volume and to let the tubes be pushed harder. If your house needs a mini guitar amp with a decidedly old-school flavor, this is the one.

PROS –

  • Good clean and dirty tones!
  • Hand-wired goodness!
  • High/Low Power switch!

CONS –

  • Factory tube choice can be improved upon.
  • Build quality could be better.

Specifications:

  • Power: 6W (Hand-Wired Circuit Board)
  • Speaker: 1 x 10″
  • Preamp Tube: 1 x 12AX7
  • Poweramp Tube: 1 x 6V6
  • Input: 2 x 1/4″ (Hi/Low)
  • Outputs: 3 x 1/4″ (Speaker Out),
  • Weight: 25 lbs.

CHECK PRICES: AMAZON

See how it sounds:

33. Yamaha THR10X

Yamaha’s THR10X is an ultra-portable 10-watt amp that is aimed at those looking mostly for hard rock and metal guitar tones. It features an unusual 2×3.15” speaker compliment and gives users access to five distinct high-gain tones modeled on rock’s most popular amps. It moves easily from punchy classic metal sounds to the bass-heavy sounds of today’s metal. It also features one bass amp model and one for acoustic guitar, making it a one-amp solution for many guitarists. It sports a three-band EQ system, Bluetooth, built-in effect processing based on Yamaha’s VCM technology, and can even run on batteries.

This one is part of Yamaha’s successful THR10 series of amplifiers and it gets tons of high ratings from the Internet’s metal players. It is said to deliver a more tube-like touch than a lot of amps in its class. You can even run your MP3 player into it when you’re not jamming. Pretty cool. This is probably the best practice amp available for the metal scene.

PROS –  

  • Tone, tone, and more tone!
  • Two speakers!
  • Bluetooth connectivity

CONS –

  • Very few. It’s hard to find bad reviews on these.
  • Some think it could be louder.

Specifications:

  • Power: 10W
  • Speaker: 2 x 3.15″
  • Amp Models: 5 High Gain Amps, 1 Acoustic Amp, 1 Bass Amp
  • Effects: 8 (2 Simultaneous)
  • Input: 1 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/8″ (Aux), Bluetooth
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/4″ Headphones
  • Weight: 6.17 lbs.

CHECK PRICES: AMAZON/THOMANN

See how it sounds:

44. Laney CUB 10

Laney’s CUB 10 is a super-straightforward combo amp for anyone seeking a non-boutique boutique amp. This baby is all about its hardware and does its thing with two ECC83 preamp tubes and two 6V6GT output tubes. It is built on a Class A/B circuit that makes tones many of us have loved for decades. Controls were kept simple here on purpose and you’ll only find knobs for Gain, Volume, and Tone. Pretty tough to go wrong with that setup. It carries one ten-inch speaker and weighs a solid 18 pounds.

Overall reports on the CUB 10 are good, with many saying that it can even keep up with a drummer’s volume. It takes pedals very well and is styled with a sweet vintage look that gets lots of notice. If you like to keep things simple, get a CUB 10 and be happy.

PROS –

  • Big tones and a good bit of volume!
  • Built well!
  • Simple to make sound great!

CONS –

  • No Direct Out.
  • No Reverb.
  • No auxiliary input.
  • No Headphone Out.

Specifications:

  • Power: 10W
  • Speaker: 1 x 10″
  • Preamp Tube: 2 x ECC83
  • Poweramp Tube: 2 x 6V6GT
  • Input: 2 x 1/4″ (Hi/Low)
  • Weight: 18.19 lbs.

CHECK PRICES: AMAZON/THOMANN

See how it sounds:

55. Roland Micro Cube GX 3W 1×5 Battery Powered Guitar Combo Amp

When the ultimate in portability is required, only a Roland Micro Cube will do! The Roland Cube Series has become popular in recent years. They are some of the best-sounding solid-state amplifiers ever. The Micro Cube takes this amazing sound and puts it in a package so small that it’s tough to believe. It runs on batteries or the included AC adapter. It packs eight Roland COSM amp models for classic and current players, including you metalheads, thanks to the Extreme voice available. It can even be used with a vocal microphone. It has eight DSP effects onboard plus a separate Delay and Reverb processor. You can leave your pedals at home!

The Micro Cube is a wonderful choice for any player whose personal space is in short supply. It is also perfect for street players and buskers. It may be tiny but it doesn’t sound tiny or small, nor do any of its Cube Series family members. These have a lot of fans and are gaining more all the time. Perhaps you will be the next one!

PROS –

  • Ultra ultra portable!
  • Eight COSM amplifier models!
  • Two effects processors onboard!

CONS –

  • Not many. These have a great rep!

Specifications:

  • Type:Solid State
  • Number of Channels:1
  • Total Power:10W
  • Speaker Size:1 x 8″
  • Reverb:Yes
  • Effects:Yes
  • EQ:Yes
  • Amp Modeling:Yes
  • Number of Models:3
  • Inputs:1 x 1/4″ (instrument), 1 x 1/8″ (aux)
  • Outputs:1 x 1/8″ (record out/headphones)
  • Headphones:Yes
  • Height:12.5″
  • Width:13.625″
  • Depth:7.0625″
  • Weight:10.375 lbs.

CHECK PRICES: AMAZON/THOMANN

See how it sounds:

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