5 Best Practice Amps (REVIEW)

Even the best musician needs a place to practice. But you can’t always set up an entire recording studio to do it. And if you practice at home, you can wave goodbye to cranking up the 100 watt amp or you'll find yourself with some very annoyed neighbours.

Here’s the solution: You get a small practice amp.

A (decent) small guitar amp sounds good even at lower volumes, and it’ll help you become a better guitarist without driving your neighbours insane.

And the best bit?

They’re also handy for travelling, so you can practice playing without needing to go acoustic.

At a Glance: Our Choice of the 5 Best Practice Amps 

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyers Tips: What you need to know when getting a new practice amp

  • A 15 watt amp at maximum will be more than enough for a practice amp. You can experiment with lower wattages too.
  • The amp should be small enough to travel with, so you don’t have to give up valuable practice because you’re on the road.
  • Headphone and USB ports are great because they will allow you to have silent practice that feels like a regular one, and record your practice on your laptop or phone to help find problem spots.
  • All components should be of high quality. Nothing will slow down your progress like a terrible sounding amp, as it’ll discourage you.

Now that we’ve considered a few aspects of how practice amps and guitar works together, let’s take a look at some actual amps and what separates the best from the rest.

The 5 Best Practice Amps

To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...​

1. Roland Cube 20GX

Roland CUBE-20GX 20W 1x8 Guitar Combo Amp Black

Although this comes in at 20 watts, it’s still a viable practice amp. It just has a little more heart. Additionally, it’s equipped with a handy app, so you can record your music on iPhone or iPad for later review!

  • Three channels, all with a great tone
  • Built like an absolute beast making it ideal for travelling mishaps
  • Comes with an aux jack for the iCubeLink app connectivity
  • The weight of this amp makes it hard to lug around all day, offsetting its durability
  • At 20 watts, it’s definitely on the large side for a practice amp
  • Lead channel is a little underwhelming

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Orange Micro Crush CR3

Orange Amplifiers Micro Crush PiX 3 Watt 9-Volt Mini Amp

What the Roland Cube 20GX lacks in portability, the Crush CR3 excels at. A miniature amp, 3 watts and not even 1kg of weight.

  • Super affordable, making it a great first amp for a budding musician or a backup for on the road
  • So lightweight that you could have it strapped to your back all day and forget it’s there
  • Can use battery or mains power, so you can truly practice anywhere
  • Whether you love it or hate it, the garish appearance is definitely going to draw some odd looks
  • The amp runs through battery power at an alarming rate
  • Being so small and simple, the amp’s capabilities are nothing special. They’ll get the job done for a practice, but that’s all.

Let's take a look at this product...

3. Roland Micro Cube GX  (Editor's Choice)

Roland Micro Cube GX 3W 1x5 Battery Powered Guitar Combo Amp Black

Don’t worry, we haven’t included the same amp twice! This is the much smaller 5 watt version. For a practice sized amp it packs a lot of punch. This is easily one of the best practice amps around. It’s also battery powered, has the iCubeLink app functions of its big brother

  • Includes a chromatic tuner, so even if you’re still learning the basics or want to experiment with new tunings you won’t need to dig your tuner out of a bag somewhere
  • Has a range of 8 different effects so you can fully practice a huge variety of styles
  • Battery lasts a surprisingly long time
  • Effects don’t function very well at low levels as the controls lack sensitivity
  • Unless you use headphones, this can be slightly too loud for night time use at maximum settings
  • If the amp could connect with the iCubeLink app from your phone or tablet wirelessly, that would be a big improvement from fussing around with cables, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Let's take a look at this product...

4. Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp (Budget Choice)

Danelectro N10B Honey Tone Mini Amp in Burgundy

Possibly the coolest looking practice amp you’ll find. It can be clipped onto your belt which also makes for a good speaker when on the move or if you want to try out a new guitar in a shop quickly.

  • Good battery life
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Very simple controls which removes the temptation to endlessly play with settings
  • For more than basic tones, you’ll need to use pedals which removes some of its travelling perks
  • The tone isn’t the greatest, but as a practice unit it won’t make you sound worse than you think you are
  • Mains power adaptor is sold separately

Let's take a look at this product...

5. Marshall MS-2 Micro Stack

Marshall MS2 Micro Guitar Amplifier

If you need a practice amp that can be later configured to work with a full range of speakers, this is a great choice as it’ll help you save space and money investing in more and more amps.

  • Stereo outputs for external speakers
  • Has headphone jacks
  • Extremely lightweight, making it great for quick practice sessions anywhere at anytime
  • Neither battery supply or mains power adaptor are included
  • More expensive than most similar size amps
  • When used as a head stack it lacks a lot of the fine tuning controls that a full sized unit would have

Let's take a look at this product...

So which should I buy?

You might have already made up your mind, but if you’re still having a little trouble choosing between our 5 best practice amps, here are our recommendations.

Unless you don’t have an iPhone or iPad to take advantage of the iCubeLink app, the Roland Micro Cube GX is the absolute perfect practice amp for beginners or regular gigging guitarists alike. Even without this, the range of features makes it a very attractive choice.

On the other hand, it can be quite expensive so if you’re looking to get something more budget friendly, the Danelectro Honeytone N-10 provides a cheaper alternative, although it comes at the cost of losing anything beyond basic functionality.

Featured image source: Edward LundCC BY 2.0

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

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