Best Small Guitar Amp 2016 Review

In this article we set out to find the best small guitar amp. We review a number of small amps that could make your practice time much more enjoyable!

Best Small Guitar Amp 2016 Round-up & Reviews

The small guitar amps on this page offer portability and practicality. While you're never going to get the sounds of a larger, more powerful amp from a small box, the amps included here all offer a surprising amount of volume and sound quality.

Best Small Guitar Amp: Quick Choice

Below is our selection of the best small guitar amplifiers available in 2016.

Fender Champion 20

Fender Champion 20 Best Small Guitar Amplifier
Fender Champion 20: One of the best small guitar amplifiers.

For under $100, you can't really go wrong with this little Fender amp.

  • See reviews and current price at Amazon.com
  • Currently unavailable in UK.

Line 6 Spider IV 15 Modelling Guitar Amplifier

Line 6 Spider IV 15
Line 6 Spider IV 15. Our (joint) choice for the best small guitar amp.

Offering digital modelling in a portable package, the Line 6 is one of the best small guitar amps around.

Marshall MG15CFX MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Amp

Marshall MG15CFX Guitar Amp
Marshall MG15CFX Guitar Amp: Our joint choice for best small guitar amp.

A Marshall that can sit unobtrusively in your practice room and easily be moved round the house.

Pignose 7-300 HOG-30 Amplifier

Pignose 7 300 HOG 30 Amplifier
Pignose 7 300 HOG 30 Amplifier

Retro styling and battery-powered portability make the Pignose a tempting proposition.

Fender Champion 40 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amp
Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amp

This mid-sized fender is an ideal first 'proper' amp.

  • See reviews and current price at Amazon.com
  • Currently unavailable in UK.

Marshall MG30CFX MG Series 30-Watt Guitar Amp

Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Combo Amp
Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Combo Amp

An adaptable Marshall with a useful 30 watts of power.

Best Small Guitar Amp: In-Depth Look

Fender Champion 20

Fender Champion 20 Best Small Guitar Amplifier
Fender Champion 20: An excellent small guitar amplifier.

For under $100, you can't really go wrong with this little Fender amp.

  • See reviews and current price at Amazon.com
  • Currently unavailable in UK.

Fender's 'Champ' line of amps is one of the most famous in amp history. Our first 'proper' guitar amp was a tiny Fender Champ. It had both an amazing sound and a hunger for expensive valves. The styling of the current Champion range of amps hearkens back to the old Champs, but that's where the resemblance ends.

The Fender Champion 20 is a 20 watt transistor amp, making it quite powerful enough for all but the loudest practice sessions. You'll need a bigger amp to be heard clearly in a full band rehearsal, but for day to day practice this is all you're likely to need.

The amp is 16 x 12 x 16 inches, making it nicely portable.

There's more than meets the eye with the Champion 20: look closely at the dials and you'll see that 4 amp modes are offered. These are: Tweed, Blackface, British, and Metal. You'll also find some useful effects, including reverb, delay and chorus. However, you have very little control over their parameters.

All in all, a nice-sounding and good-looking small guitar amp. You can't go wrong for under $100.

Line 6 Spider IV 15 15-watt 1x8 Modelling Guitar Amplifier

Line 6 Spider IV 15
Line 6 Spider IV 15: Our choice for the best small guitar amp in 2016

Offering digital modelling in a portable package, the Line 6 is one of the best small guitar amps around.

The Line 6 Spider IV is a great introduction to the world of amp modelling. This small guitar amp (8.5 x 15 x 16 inches) offers a huge amount of 'tweak-ability'. You can make it sound like a Marshall one moment, and a Mesa Boogie the next.

The Spider IV remembers your setting, and also comes with hundreds of presets that you can spend a happy day or two playing with. You can plug in a basic foot-switch to change between sounds, or a 4 button foot controller with wah-wah capabilities.

If you like to experiment with new sounds, this could be the ultimate small guitar amp!

Marshall MG15CFX MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

Marshall MG15CFX Guitar Amp
Marshall MG15CFX Guitar Amp

A Marshall that can sit unobtrusively in your practice room and easily be moved round the house.

Marshall's MG15CFX 15 watt amp is a little more expensive than it's Fender rival, although if it's the Marshall name you want you could opt for the slightly less flexible MG15CF.

The MG15CFX doesn't offer as many tonal options as the Line 6, but is still very adaptable. With 4 programmable channels, headphone socket and digital effects, the little Marshall could be the perfect practice amp.

Keep the baby Marshall in your practice room (it measures 15 x 8.1 x 14.9 inches), and one of its big brothers in your garage for band practice!

Pignose 7-300 HOG-30 Amplifier

Pignose 7 300 HOG 30 Amplifier
Pignose 7 300 HOG 30 Amplifier

Retro styling and battery-powered portability make the Pignose a tempting proposition.

The original battery-powered Pignose amp has gained cult status. It's a bit of kit that most guitarists have at some time either used or owned.

The Pignose 7-300 Hog-30 amp uses the styling of the original Pignose in a more powerful package. It's bigger too, measuring 16 x 12.2 x 19 inches. However, the battery-powered ethos of the original is still there. The larger Pignose has an internal battery that charges up while the amp is plugged in, and that takes over when used away from a power socket.

With 30 watts of power, and the usual range of guitar amp controls, the Pignose 7-300 HOG-30 is a great choice for the guitarist on the move!

Fender Champion 40 - 40-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amp
Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amp

This mid-sized fender is an ideal first 'proper' amp.

  • See reviews and price at Amazon.com
  • Currently unavailable in UK.

With a 40 watt output, and measuring 23 x 13 x 22 inches, the larger Fender in this list is approaching the mid-sized category. Compared to a Fender Twin, though, it's still a baby, which is why we're including it here!

Offering a similar range of tones and controls as the Champion 40, in a package that makes it suitable for 'quiet' band practice too, this is a nice 'first proper amp'.

Marshall MG30CFX MG Series 30-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Combo Amp
Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Combo Amp

An adaptable Marshall with a useful 30 watts of power.

Marshall's 30 watt MG30CFX offers a handy step-up from the smaller 15 watt version. Of course, what you gain in power you lose in portability. The 30 watt is still small, at 18.9 x 8.8 x 16.5 inches, but if you're after the practicality of an amp you can easily swing around with one hand, then you should consider getting a smaller model.

That said, it's a great choice for a beginner or back-up amp, and doesn't take up the whole room like a Fender Twin or one of Marshall's bigger combo's!

Why Buy A Small Guitar Amp?

You need a small guitar amp in your life. Even if you don't know it yet. With a small guitar amp, everything seems easier, and somehow more 'immediate'.

Want to practice in a different room? No problem, just pick up your amp in one hand, guitar in the other, and move everything you need simply and quickly.

Want to tidy up the studio? Just put the amp on a shelf, give the floor a quick hoover, and put the amp back on the floor. Job done.

Want to try out some new songs with your bassist? Put your guitar in its case, throw a lead and your pedals in a shoulder bag, and pick up your small guitar amp. You're good to go. You could even transport the whole set up on the train.

You could argue that all of these things are possible with a larger amp–and you may well be right–but it's just not the same as having a small guitar amp ready and waiting to be turned on.

Best Small Guitar Amp 2016 Review Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our round up of some of the best small guitar amps on the market today. Remember, it's always a good idea to try out new gear in person: what works for one person won't necessarily work for you. Get down to your local music store and try some of these small, but perfectly formed, guitar amps for yourself!

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