When practicing the guitar, most people will always have to be sure that they will not disturb their neighbors or family members. If your plan is to cause a ruckus or you need something for an upcoming gig (or both), this guide to the best practice amps for guitar may not be for you. There are a time and place for everything – just not right now!
However, if you are new to the game, or you need to downsize, you’re going to want one that is loud enough for you to hear what you’re playing, but quiet enough to where no one will complain.
That’s where a small practice amp for guitar comes in, and a good one can make a huge difference. Additionally, if you don’t plan on performing live, and opt to play at home most of the time, one of these may be one of your best long-term investments at a meager cost compared to a much larger one.
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What’s The Best Guitar Practice Amp?
There isn’t a single best piece of equipment out there for everyone; it’s subjective, and each person will have their own preferences as to what is the greatest. But for practice amplifiers, there are some things that you should consider when looking to purchase one. These are:
- Sound Quality/Options
- Extra Features (i.e., Effects)
Luckily for you, I’ve narrowed the search down for you to a select few that are a good fit for all of these criteria, while also allowing room for diversity. For instance, these won’t all be high-gain metal amplifiers.
These are the brands and models that I feel make the cut as some of the most unbeatable guitar practice amps for sale:
- Roland Cube-10GX
- Fender Champion 20
- Orange Crush 12
- Peavey Vyper VIP1-20
- Vox V9106 10W
No matter what style you play, at least one of these amps will suit your needs. They won’t break the bank or take up much space; it just depends on their individual perks which may catch your interest. Nowadays, most amplifiers, including tiny ones like these, will give you the option to record or use headphones through an output jack as well.
With that in mind, let’s get started with our first in the list of electric guitar practice amp reviews!
The Roland Cube-10GX is an insanely popular practice amplifier because it covers a lot of ground for under $150.
In this little package, you get access to three preset tones – Clean, Crunch, and Lead, but what’s cool about this small solid-state amp for guitar is that you can use the Cube app with your iOS or Android device and get even more customization outside of just turning the knobs on the app.
From my experience and what I’ve heard from others, people love options, and allowing them to make adjustments outside of the amp is outstanding. The technology has come a long way.
I also love that it has a lot of extra features on it. It is a guitar practice amp with effects on it, such as chorus, delay, and reverb.
If you were concerned about noise levels, don’t be. Despite being only 10W, this amp packs a powerful punch; however, you can always use the headphone jack, so the sound exclusively goes to your ears. Roland has made a fantastic product with this one – don’t miss out!
Fender Champion 20
Fender guitar amps have a pretty good reputation as being a solid blues and jazz-style amplifier, and the Champion 20 is no exception. In my opinion, the cleans on this one are crystal clear, and you can definitely get some dirty distortion tones as you’d hear from the classic rock or grunge era.
There is still enough gain where it could pass as an excellent amplifier for very early heavy metal, like Black Sabbath, but for modern styles, I think this one falls a bit short. A distortion or overdrive pedal can potentially make up for that though.
Another way that this one redeems itself for what may be a minor issue for some people is that it is probably the best practice guitar amp with effects on this list. It comes with the chorus, delay, and reverb like most devices have, but it also contains tremolo, auto-wah, and vibratone, which I think really sets it apart from the others.
If you aren’t looking for something for metalcore or death metal, you’ll probably love this amplifier and find it perfect for classic or vintage sounds. It’s also the most powerful one (tied with the Peavey Vyper) in this list, at 20W, and it’s very affordable.
Orange Crush 12
No, we’re not talking about the Orange Crush soda here! This section is for Orange Amplification’s wonderful Crush 12 model.
To be honest, the Crush 12 doesn’t have all of the frills that a lot of the ones on this list have, so what makes this one special? Why is it one of the best guitar practice amps?
Let me tell you why. Despite the lack of effects on this little 12W amp, it has some of the biggest and most professional sounds I’ve ever heard come out an amp at this price range. It sounds more expensive than it is.
It has beautiful cleans but it can also offer some extremely aggressive metal tones, so you still get versatility without having to compensate with effects.
Oranges also have the most unique aesthetic out of any brand that I’ve seen. I think Hughes and Kettner with their blue lights may be a close second to this bright orange design. A lot of people find this appealing, and maybe you will too along with its sonic capabilities.
Check it out for yourself!
Peavey Vyper VIP1-20
Peavey has created one of the greatest modeling combo amplifiers on the market. I used to be the biggest fan of Line 6 Spyder amps, but the Vypers from Peavey has won me over when it comes to the modeling niche.
I love modeling amps and the versatility that they bring. Some may argue that they sound too sterile or processed at times, but you can’t expect the greatest sound possible from an amp in the $150 range and is only 20 watts. For that price, and it’s intended purpose, which is for practice, I think the Vyper VIP1-20 one is perfect for that.
There are so many different effects and model types on this amplifier. It is also a guitar practice amp with an effects loop, which is something we haven’t seen yet in the others on this list. If you’re interested in recording into the device while jamming over it, this one’s for you.
With a wide array of options for you, but with a slight sacrifice in sound quality, you still have a great amplifier that would be ideal for newer players who need something to get the job done. Don’t expect to take this on your next gig because that’s not what it is meant for.
Vox V9106 Pathfinder 10W
This small practice amp for guitar is ideal for those who appreciate a more minimalist design. To be forthright, the Vox V9106 Pathfinder 10-watt amplifier does not have a lot of features that it can boast, but it really excels in what it does have.
You have a clean and overdrive channel along with your typical gain, bass, and treble knobs to dial in your sound. The clean sound is pristine, but I’d describe the overdrive as less “punchy” and more “grainy.”
Because of this, I wouldn’t say this is the best guitar practice amp for metal – I think that it would need some extra peripherals, like a distortion pedal, for that. Similar to the Fender Champion, it’s exemplary for more classic, vintage, or indie sounds.
I do like how this model looks, and in my opinion, it suits the sound characteristics of this amp perfectly.
I’d also like to point out that the Vox V9106 is the most affordable one out of all of the ones we’ve checked out. This one goes for 90 dollars, which makes it a fantastic choice for someone’s first toy.
Summary & Conclusion
Modern practice amplifiers allow players to sound decent at a fraction of the price it costs for a larger one, like a 100W combo or half-stack. For lounging around the house, and playing at a low-volume, a small practice amp for guitar will do just fine for you.
I am actually quite blown away at how good these little amps sound these days. They are leagues above the one I received from my B.C. Rich starter set many years ago.
This article took a look at 5 different amplifiers and gave you an overview of each of them. And when I say different, I mean different – while some may have similarities, they each have something unique to offer whether it’s from sound capabilities to aesthetics.
To recap, the top 5 practice guitar amps that I’ve recommended that you check out are, with some final positive comments on them were:
- Roland Cube-10GX (Perfect Balance Between Sound, Features, and Power)
- Fender Champion 20 (Lowest Price For The Most Power; Organic Sound)
- Orange Crush 12 (Best Sound Quality)
- Peavey Vyper VIP1-20 (Most Features)
- Vox V9106 10W (Most Affordable)
With an average cost of $110 between each of these, you’re getting a good amplifier that’s also super budget-friendly. It’s just a matter of examining to see which one is right for you.
Do you want something with more effects or are those inconsequential? How about something with a little bit more power and a fuller sound? On the other hand, if you want something even smaller, you can check out these mini amps!
Hopefully, by reading this guide to the best guitar amps for home practice, you can now answer these types of questions for yourself and come to a decision that helps you out as well as your family and neighbors. If for whatever reason there are still noise complaints, be sure to make use of the headphone jacks that you can find in any of these. You never know when you’ll need it. Rock on!