The Best Portable Guitar Amps for Every Player

I think that most of us would agree that one of the worst parts about playing music is lugging around all of the outrageously heavy and often absolutely essential gear from play place to play place. One of the heaviest pieces of non-optional gear for an electric guitarist, for example, is definitely your amplifier. But not all amps are created equally, and finding a lightweight, portable amp is possible. Check out our list below for a variety of amplifiers all under 25 pounds that can accommodate a variety of playing scenarios.

Model Best For Price On Reverb
Vox AC4C1 Your apartment. $200-$350 Shop Now
Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 8in Gigs of all sizes. $870-$1200 Shop Now
Yamaha THR10 Modeling Amp Natural modeling. $230-$350 Shop Now
ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox 200W The lightest beast. $280-$450 Shop Now
Roland Cube 20GX Effects options. $120-220 Shop Now

Vox AC4C1

Don't let its size fool you – the Vox AC4C1 is truly a great amp.

Its profile alone is adorable, coming in a vareity of different colors with a little handle to make carrying even easier. But the sound this little guy can muster is what really makes it stand out. It produces crystal clear tones and even takes effects pedals quite well despite it's size.

The VOX AC4C1 is packed with a 10" Celestion speaker and is only a 4-watt amplifier, so it's not going to compete well with a drum kit or a full band. But despite its low wattage, it's a great practice amp with easy break up at apartment-friendly volumes that won't rouse your neighbors or housemates.

Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 8in

The Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 is the quintessential choice for the gigging musician.

Depending on their situation, some musicians opt to have a few different amplifiers – their main amp(s) and a smaller, portable amp for practice or smaller gigs. With the Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 series, you don't have to superfluously spend the money to make those distinctions. This amp can compete with a full band that includes an acoustic drum kit (and even horns) as well as it can accommodate smaller, singer/songwriter gigs.

There are three amps in the Mach 2 series – the 8", the 10", and the 12". They're all 2 channel, 200-watt total (100W per channel) amps with the only differences being their sizes and weights. The biggest model in the series, the 12", tops out at only 27 pounds. To put this in perspective, each of these amps can fit easily into an overhead compartment on a commercial airplane.

We decided to put the 8" on our list because we're incredulous when it comes to how much this amp can do in comparison to everything else in its weight class. It does replicate a myriad of sounds using Quilter's patented technology – it is a solid state amp, though, not a modeler. It will also accommodate an extension speaker (if it's somehow not loud enough for you as is), or you can go directly into your PA system. If you don't want to use the onboard effects, you can push any pedal you'd like and use the effects loop in the back for better tone.

Yamaha THR10 Modeling Amp

Modeling amps have been around for some time now, and they've definitely been divisive.

While most musicians can appreciate the idea behind being able to model all kinds of sounds in a compact package, the execution just wasn't always there. The Yamaha THR10 Modeling Amp changes that.

With the THR10, your modeled tones sound more organic than the overly digitized tones of earlier modeling amps. The other cool component of this amp is its technology integration. You can plug it into an iOS device and use the matching THR Session app to fiddle with the specifics of your song. You can also go direct into your computer via USB and use the professional recording and editing program it comes with called Cubase AI to open up your tonal potential even further.

While you're not going to be going out and gigging with this amp, that's not really the point here. The point is to have a coffetable-friendly amp that produces the most natural and realistic tone at a volume that won't irritate and alienate those around you, and/or serve as a cost-efficient gateway into recording.

ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox 200W

The ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox is the choice on our list that packs the most power wattage-wise into the smallest and lightest package.

Weighing in at only 10 pounds, this amp is truly the most portable and giggable option that most likely weighs less than your guitar in its case. If you live in a city and take a lot of public transit, for example, you can't beat this kind of portability.

The sound that the Lunchbox can produce is nothing to scoff at either. It's praised for achieving really jazzy cleans and for cutting through the mix of a whole band admirably. You can also pair it with a 2x12 extension cabinet if you're playing a really large, very loud gig and feel like you need an extra punch. Sized at just 1x6.5, you're really getting a lot for a little (price-wise, too).

Roland Cube 20GX

The Roland Cube 20GX is definitely this list's best budget option.

It does, however, still manage to pack all that a guitarist needs into one simple and extremely portable package at that price point. It offers five stompbox-style effects, a three-band EQ, and a built-in chromatic tuner.

Even though this amp only packs 20-watts, it is still surprisingly loud. We would recommend using it more for personal practice and maybe rehearsal with your band than live shows, but it really depends on your style of music, your playing and the size of the venue. This is another offering on our list that supports iOS integration with a free Cube Jam application that allows you to record the Cube's tones with music playback. The same jack for this integration can also be used as a straight stereo input, allowing you to plug in almost any audio device to be played through your Cube's speaker.

Small Amp, Big Sound: Vintage Practice Amps Shop Now
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