7 Best Guitar Amps For Home & Apartment Use
You might be fretting about your options when searching for a guitar amp for home or apartment use, but the truth is that small amps don’t have to sound bad.
As more and more of us are spending more time inside our homes from both choice and necessity, amp makers have decided to meet our needs. So now we have a pretty nice selection of quality-sounding guitar amps that won’t rattle the walls.
We’ve found 7 of the very best low to mid-range combo guitar amps that don’t take up too much room in your home or flat and neither will they bring unnecessary complaints from your neighbors.
Table of Contents
- Best For Home Use
- Best Budget Pick For Small Apartment
- Guitar Amps For Home Use
- 1. BOSS Katana 50 MKII
- 2. Fender Frontman 10G
- 3. Orange Crush 20
- 4. Blackstar Fly 3
- 5. Positive Grid Spark Guitar Amplifier
- 6. VOX VT20X Modeling Amplifier
- 7. Fender Mustang LT-25
- What should I consider when buying a guitar amp for home use?
- How many watts does my guitar amp for home use need?
- How big should my home guitar amp be?
Best For Home Use
BOSS Katana 50 MKII
The Boss Katana 50 MKII is a super versatile modeling amp, filled with quality amp tones and effects. It’s easy to use and it steers clear of most of the problems associated with digital amps. The Katana-50 MkII is powerful and yet excellent for home use because it is equipped with an adjustable Power Control that allows you to achieve cranked-amp tone at lower volume levels. This amp will give you a great, stage-ready tone on a budget without annoying your neighbors.
Best Budget Pick For Small Apartment
Fender Frontman 10G
As the name suggests, the Fender Frontman 10G is a 10-watt solid-state guitar amp. 10 watts is enough to practice on alone or with another musician in your apartment or home. With such a small speaker and casing, the sound will not carry outside your home.
Fender’s Blackface cosmetic treatment makes the Frontman 10G look as good as it sounds. The amp features dual selectable channels (normal and drive), auxiliary input for CD or drum machine use, a headphone jack, and 2-band EQ.
Guitar Amps For Home Use
1. BOSS Katana 50 MKII
The Boss Katana 50 MKII is a 50W modelling amp, packed with a wide range of high-quality sounds and effects, as well as super useful everyday features, like USB and headphone out for recording and silent practice, one-touch reset recall, power amp input for using with modellers and profilers, and loads more.
The Katana also sounds excellent at bedroom levels due to the ability to switch the wattage, so it has the added bonus of being great for home & apartment use.
The Boss Katana has a unique streamlined minimal design that will blend in easily with any home’s decor.
The Katana 50 MKII dishes out a range of lush tones. You can get that chimey, glassy Strat tone; warm, full-bodied clean tones with humbuckers; and choppy, funky rhythm sounds, all by making simple tweaks to the control panel.
This amp sounds very warm. It sounds very close to a tube amp, especially on the clean channel.
The EQ has an incredible range, it can go from super boomy to incredibly tinny and everything in between just from the EQ controls.
The amp has five amp types, that are – acoustic, clean, crunch, lead, and brown. These amp types can be selected is via a rotary switch, where you simply push the button above it to access the variations.
There is also a master volume and a rotary switch for selecting either 50W, 25W, or 0.5W of output power, and three more buttons that flip between manual and preset modes.
It sounds really good at low volume. Even at the lowest possible setting on the 0.5-watt setting sounds pretty darn good.
This amp is easily enough for playing at small/medium-sized venues or apartments.
The effects are very good sounding. The analog effects sound very natural, and the digital effects are very good.
The full list of effects is very long, and there are variations between the same effects. As in, there’s a spring reverb, plate reverb, modulating reverb, etc.
And there’s a digital chorus, and keyboard chorus, flangers, etc.
It’s difficult to find fault with the Boss Katana 50 MkII. The sound quality is great, and there’s a ton of options onboard that will suit any style of player, plus it’s really easy to use.
2. Fender Frontman 10G
Fender’s Frontman 10G is a tried and tested amp for beginning musicians who like to practice in small venues. It is arguably one of the most common and revered practice amps currently produced.
The amp, weighing in at just 8.5 pounds, has a great mid-ranged focus Fender-style clean.
Though the amp only comes with a 6.5” speaker, the clean response actually compares pretty favorably to the larger amps in the Frontman series.
It looks good and sounds good without being a drain on your hard-earned money. It is hard to come by a product that is cheap only as far as the price is concerned.
Since it gives a decent tone and looks beautiful, it is one of our top picks for best amps for home & apartment use.
The Fender Frontman 10G is an 8.5-pound amp with dimensions of 5.8 x 10.2 x 11 inches. It is hardly larger than a shoebox, so you can easily fit it in your backpack.
Although the amp is small, it is much louder for its size. You can increase or reduce its tone by its two-band treble and bass, which allows you to change the tone depending on the instrument you use it for.
If you are playing rock or metal, the overdrive button will give you a suitable distortion to make your music sound incredible.
The controls of this 10-watt amp are pretty straightforward.
At the front of the amplifier, you will find a control for gain. Right next to it will be a switch for selecting overdrive.
That’s going to be a push-button. Using this switch, you can add overdrive to the tone you are playing.
Up next will be a volume knob that allows you to change the volume of the amp. There will be bass and treble knobs along with the audio knob right before the power switch.
The Headphone Out jack at the front of the amp allows you to plug in your headphones and play your tunes without disturbing your family or neighbors.
3. Orange Crush 20
The Orange Crush 20 is a stripped-down and straightforward solid-state combo amp. While this amp doesn’t feature the suite of onboard effects other budgets modeling amps do, it has the overall best tone of any under $200 amp we’ve ever tried and makes a perfect practice amp for your home.
The amp has 20 watts of output thanks to its 1×8 Orange Voice of the World speaker. Featuring a clean and dirty channel, that can be alternated with an affordable Orange footswitch, a 3 band EQ, and gain control, there are plenty of great tonal options at the tip of your fingers.
Although bigger than other amps in its class, the Crush 20RT is still pretty small and only weighs 7.2kg.
The amp has a 3 band EQ consisting of bass, middle and treble control.
The Crush 20RT also includes a built-in reverb effect with its own dedicated control. Dial the reverb control clockwise for more reverb.
The Crush 20RT is capable of producing a very wide range of tones. From classic and crunchy to high gain metal scream. Funky, bluesy tones to clean and mellow.
The amp is pretty simple to operate, the mastery comes from experimentation to find your perfect tone.
The Crush 20RT also features a 1/4 inch phones port to enable you to plug in a set of headphones for silent practice without disturbing your next-door apartment’s neighbors.
The phone’s port can also be used to connect to a mixer or recording console.
The clean and dirty channels have detailed saturation and highly efficient signal processing that provides a great feel and responsiveness when switching between the foot-switchable channels.
This is definitely one of the best affordable amps for small gigs and home use. The fact of the matter is that it just sounds so good and costs so little and you can’t find a better value than that.
4. Blackstar Fly 3
The Blackstar Fly 3 is a combo amp designed for portable use, rated at 3W, and equipped with a 3″ speaker, this amp is perfect for a small condo or an apartment.
Weighing in at just less than 2 lbs, you can literally take this amp anywhere, and since it can run on 6 x AA batteries or on an optional 6.5V DC power supply, you can play with it wherever you want to take it.
At 3W of solid-state power, you know that you aren’t going to be moving a lot of air with this amplifier, but you can still get moderately loud and can keep up with other players.
I think It’s the tone that makes the Fly 3 such a resounding success, though; it sounds as good as practice amps four times the size, with meaty bass response, American-style cleans, and hefty gain.
This product is aimed at guitarists who are likely to spend as much time playing along with records as they do in solo strumming mode.
The amp has two stereo mini-jack sockets. The input allows you to connect a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or MP3 player, and the headphone output will place your guitar signal in the center of a full stereo field.
Its 6AA batteries will last up to 50 hours of playing at low volumes, but only four hours at full blast.
For unaccompanied bedroom playing the amp is loud enough. It’s also very pure, very clear: very Blackstar.
Turning up the Gain brings some pleasing thickness and crunch, and there are no rattles or plasticky buzzes even with the volume at full.
5. Positive Grid Spark Guitar Amplifier
The Spark has all the connectivity, amp modeling, and onboard effects you’d expect from a state-of-the-art desktop amp, but it takes the format into the future with its Smart Jam and Auto Chords features.
Positive Grid recognizes one central truth about guitar players; most of us play at home. And they have kitted out this desktop amp to provide all the features you might want from your stay-at-home amplifier.
With the Spark amp, you can easily approximate any of your favorite players, even if you practice in a cramped bedroom under the stairs. What’s more, a quality set of built-in practicing tools can help you write new songs or decode your favorite music, after you’re done picking the perfect tone.
If you’re after an affordable practice solution that also works for recording and as a Bluetooth speaker, I highly recommend you check out this amp.
This 40W amp has some 30 amp models and 40 onboard effects, and with its Smart Jam and Auto Chord functions, it might just be the future of digital guitar amplification.
The Spark 40 was a hit with guitarists even before it was launched. Some 25,000 people pre-ordered the amplifier, and over 100,000 own it now in the first year of its release.
For an amp that costs less than $250, the build quality and finish are astoundingly good.
There are seven amp voices, which equates to seven channels in the language of yore.
You’ve got two for bass and acoustic guitars then Clean, Glassy, Crunch, Hi-Gain, and Metal.
There is a three-band EQ, gain, master volume, and output. The effects each have their own dedicated controls so you can dial them in and out of your signal on the fly.
The amp seamlessly integrates with the Spark App on your smartphone.
Using the Spark app opens up a whole world of fun. There are 30 different amp models, five compressors, nine overdrives, ten modulation pedals (including some lovely tremolo effects), six delays, and nine reverbs.
You can mix and match them any way you like, make numerous adjustments on each effect and save your favorite presets to the amp itself or Positive Grid’s ToneCloud service.
6. VOX VT20X Modeling Amplifier
The VT20X is an all-new take on guitar amplifiers that combines classic tone with modern technology to deliver everything you need to play your best – from warm tube sounds to cutting high-gain lead tones.
It has a single 8” speaker with 20 watts of power, which makes this amp suitable for home practice or small gigs.
It even comes in eight vibrant color options so you can match your personality or style.
The amp gives you the classic sound of a tube amp, without the drawbacks. That means that your music will be loud and clear-sounding as if it was coming from a tube amp.
VT20X is a hybrid: it has a 12AX7 tube in the preamp section, which is surprising for the unit of this size.
The most distinctive feature of this device is probably its VET (Virtual Element Technology) which models the circuits of the classic amps rather than their sound.
This way VT20X acts as those amps and creates a natural tone.
Additionally, it offers Amp Class and Bias shift, further enhancing the tone controlling options.
This amp has 11 amp models, 13 effects including noise reduction, 8 user programs (2 banks with 4 channels), and 33 in-built programs.
The tones are indeed very responsive.
The VT20X has two channels for those looking to dial in their perfect sound.
The cleans are very sweet and delicate but there is also some really nice ‘edge of overdrive’ tones that seem to speak particularly well when you turn up loud.
The chorus sounds great on the clean sound too.
The dirty tones are appropriately grungy and complex, and again they really sound great in those crucial mid-gain regions.
The high gains are downright brutal, in all the best possible ways, with satisfyingly natural saturation and articulation.
The amp also has a headphone jack for silent indoor practice or recording.
7. Fender Mustang LT-25
Fender’s Mustang LT25 is a compact little combo, with an eight-inch speaker, a fuss-free control panel, and a black-on-black finish with a chrome Fender logo on the grille cloth.
There are 20 amplifier models, 25 onboard effects, there’s a USB connection for hooking up to your computer for recording, and an auxiliary input for playing along to your favorite tracks.
For the beginner, or the player looking for something compact, versatile to practice at home, that’s all you need.
The Mustang LT25 is endearingly small, measuring just 36.8 x 21.1 x 33.2cm (WDH). At 5.8kg it’s quite portable too, although it’s not really beefy enough to hold its own outside of a domestic setting. That said, it’s louder than you might expect.
The sounds produced by Fender’s Mustang LT25 are quite frankly, fantastic. It comes with 30 presets, ranging from warm blues and jazz tones to punk and metal and overblown prog sounds and almost all of them are inspiringly usable.
The Mustang LT25 has a pretty basic control panel. There’s a standard 1/4″ input jack for your guitar along with two 1/8″ jacks for headphones and AUX-in.
There’s also a 1/4″ jack for a footswitch.
Next, you find gain, volume, treble, bass, and master control knobs. The master volume controls the overall output of the amp, with the others affecting the selected patch specifically.
You can actually control all of these variables via the encoder for finer control. In addition, you can define the mid via the encoder, which you can’t via the control knobs.
The LT25 also has a USB port, which allows you to connect to a computer. That’ll allow you to update firmware, record, and access additional features via Fender Tone.
The headphones jack allows you to practice silently in your apartment, with the speaker being automatically muted when headphones are connected.
In short, it provides all the basic features that a bedroom guitarist is likely to want, in a small, budget-friendly package.
What should I consider when buying a guitar amp for home use?
Whether you live in a home with your family or in an apartment and want to keep the neighbors on your side, we’ve put together some useful tips to help you find the best guitar amp for bedroom practice.
Your main focus should be considering the wattage and the size of your amp. These are potentially the two most important aspects of getting a great guitar amp to complement your practice setup at home.
Remember that the key to finding a great guitar amp for your flat is to keep the power down and the fidelity high.
How many watts does my guitar amp for home use need?
Thinking about the wattage of your amp is a super important factor when buying a guitar amp for home practice or small apartments. When it comes to home practice, the smaller the wattage, the better. Ideally, you want an amp that won’t kick out loads of volume – and even a small 5-watt solid-state amp can be loud.
If you’re looking down the tube amp route, know that the perceived volume of a 5-watt tube amp is much greater than a solid-state amp of the same power.
If you want an amp that will cover practice, jam sessions in small venues, then a solid-state 50 watts should be plenty. Tube amp-wise, 15 or 20 watts will see you right.
How big should my home guitar amp be?
This is another important question to ask yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, as everyone needs different-sized amps to meet different criteria. You should consider where you’re going to keep it, where you’ll be using it and whether you’ll be leaving it always set up or packing it away after use.
The physical size of the amp ties in with speaker sizes nicely. A larger amp will allow for more resonance and sometimes a fuller tone, but can be inconvenient if you’re limited on space.
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