Best Small Tube Amps for 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

Music Authority may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

There is a huge gamut of small tube amps in the market today that help you boost the tone of your guitar. It is important that you have one, even if you are a beginner. Choosing the best small tube amp will depend on whether you are looking for a recording head, giggable combo, or desktop practice amp. Some of these amps can be pricey and some of the cheap ones can be low powered.

However, there are affordable amps from music industry giants like Fender that are budget-friendly and will give you a great tone. Here are some of the best small tube amps that you can consider buying for your practice sessions.

Comparison Table

ProductFeaturesLatest Price
1. Marshall DSL20C Amp
Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier (M-DSL20CR-U)
  • Perfect for classic rock, hard rock, and classic metal playing styles
  • Standby switch to switch between power levels

Buy on Amazon
2. Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior IV
Fender Pro Junior IV 15 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • Great for rock, blues and country
  • Excellent sound quality

Buy on Amazon
3. Vox AC15C1
VOX, 2 electric-guitar-amplifier-combos, Vintage (AC15C1)
  • Versatile
  • Tone Cut control

Buy on Amazon
4. Fender Pro Junior IV
Fender Pro Junior IV 15 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • Superb for recording
  • Clean amp tones

Buy on Amazon
5. Peavey Valveking II 20
Peavey 03608850 ValveKing II Micro-head 20W/5W/1W Tube Head With Peavey 03022920 Multi-Purpose 2-Button Footswitch with LEDs
  • Highly versatile
  • Great sounding overdrive tones

Buy on Amazon

Our Best Small Tube Amps Reviews and Comparisons

1. Marshall DSL20C Amp

Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier (M-DSL20CR-U)
  • Gain and volume per channel. Dedicated resonance control
  • Reverb. High and low power settings
  • Celestion seventy-80 speaker
  • Softube Emulated output
  • 3 x ECC83 and 2 x EL34 valves

Product Highlights

There are several amps in the Marshall DSL Series ranging from the monster 100-watt DSL100 head to the 5-watt DSL5C. If you are looking for an amp with quality sound that can fill up the space of your bedroom consider the Marshall DSL20C. Complete with the typical Marshall tone, this tube amp has two channels, each with its own gain and volume control.

Features

The DSL20C is a 20-watt valve combo accompanying a 12-inch Celestion speaker. The amp is fitted with two channels, classic gain, and ultra gain. The classic channel makes the sound clean and warm and can bring in a gritty overdrive. The ultra channel is well suited for hard rock musicians.

The reverb controls and the EQ are shared between these two channels. EQ consists of treble, middle, bass, and presence. There is a tone shift button for lowering the mid frequencies, and deep button to add a bottom end tone.

What We Like About Marshall DSL20C Amp

Digital reverb and a level control setting is equipped for each channel to get the best tone suited for your playing style.

What We Don’t Like About Marshall DSL20C Amp

It is well suited for classic rock, hard rock, and classic metal sound range but not for more aggressive playing styles.

PROS

  • Perfect for classic rock, hard rock, and classic metal playing styles
  • Standby switch to switch between power levels

CONS

  • Not suited for aggressive playing styles

Buy on Amazon

2. Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior IV

Fender Pro Junior IV 15 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • 15 Watts
  • Jensen 10" P10R speaker
  • Volume circuit modified for more gradual Breakup
  • Tighter bass response when overdriven
  • En lacquered tweed covering; vintage-style '50s grille Cloth; Leather handle

Product Highlights

The Fender Hot Rod Blues Junior IV is one of the most popular small tube amp series from the music industry giant. They are solid amps featuring great value for money. The Blues Junior IV is one of the smaller Hot Rods that has become a favorite for home use or for a jamming session with the band.

Features

The Blues Junior is a single-channel, 15-watt tube amp with a 10″ Jensen P10R speaker. It is fitted with some very basic but effective controls: volume, treble, bass, middle, master volume, and spring reverb. There is a fat switch to thicken the sound.

The single volume and single tone knobs on the back panel make it a user-friendly device. Therefore, the Blue Juniors IV is well suited for beginners, professional gigging musicians, or home studio owners. Additionally, this small tube amp is great for rock, blues, and country.

What We Like About Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior IV

The Blues Junior IV is fitted with a modified volume circuit. This helps you to apply extremely precise gain adjustments to achieve a wide range of tones.

What We Don’t Like About Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior IV

The amp is only suited for rock, blues, and country playing styles.

PROS

  • Great for rock, blues and country
  • Excellent sound quality

CONS

  • Not versatile

Buy on Amazon

3. Vox AC15C1

VOX, 2 electric-guitar-amplifier-combos, Vintage (AC15C1)
  • 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
  • EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
  • Simple but effective Gain, Bass, Treble, Reverb, and Master Volume controls
  • Extension and External speaker outputs; By-passable Effect Loop, Distinctive VOX Styling. Output Power: 10W RMS

Product Highlights

Vox amplifiers released the AC15C1 way back in 1958. It suddenly appealed to the guitarists for its sheer tone. Although overshadowed by its successor the AC30, the tube amp is still a success in the market.

Features

AC15C1 is a 15 Watt amplifier featuring a single 12″ Celestion alnico blue speaker. It is a two-channel amplifier consisting of a normal channel and a top boost channel, each with its own volume control. The top boost channel comes with independent treble and bass tone controls to help tailor the tone as per your needs.

Both channels depend on the tone cut and volume controls located in the master section. The tone cut control helps shape your tone further. Balancing the volume of the channels with the master volume control makes the amp sound clean and also makes it possible to get decent amounts of gain.

What We Like About Vox AC15C1

To add a touch of rock n’ roll to your sound the AC15C1 is equipped with an onboard tremolo effect with both depth and rate controls.

What We Don’t Like About Vox AC15C1

There is no footswitch to change between channels.

PROS

  • Versatile
  • Tone Cut control for an additional degree of tone-shaping.

CONS

  • No footswitch to change between channels

Buy on Amazon

4. Fender Pro Junior IV

Fender Pro Junior IV 15 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • 15 Watts
  • Jensen 10" P10R speaker
  • Volume circuit modified for more gradual Breakup
  • Tighter bass response when overdriven
  • En lacquered tweed covering; vintage-style '50s grille Cloth; Leather handle

Product Highlights

The Fender Pro Junior IV has been praised by the likes of legends including Derek Trucks and Eric Clapton. Fender has made a few changes to the model since its launch in 1993 and this tube amp is still an affordable option to many of the guitarists.

Features

The 15-watt Pro Junior IV hosts a modified volume circuit, which delivers tighter bass response. To improve this bass response the unit is fitted with a Jensen P10R Alnico 10-inch speaker.

The Pro Junio IV is a great machine that can deliver a balanced clean sound that can easily transition into rich, multi-layered overdrive tones as the volume is turned up. Also, the volume control contributes to a more gradual change between clean and aggressive sounds.

What We Like About Fender Pro Junior IV

Even at lower volumes, it can produce clean tones that sound rich and robust.

What We Don’t Like About Fender Pro Junior IV

There tends to be a bit of tube rattle if you play it at bedroom levels.

PROS

  • Superb for recording
  • Clean amp tones

CONS

  • A Celestion speaker would have been better than a Jensen speaker

Buy on Amazon

5. Peavey Valveking II 20

Peavey 03608850 ValveKing II Micro-head 20W/5W/1W Tube Head With Peavey 03022920 Multi-Purpose 2-Button Footswitch with LEDs
  • Save With This Bundle: Package Includes: Peavey 03608850 ValveKing II Micro-head 20W/5W/1W Tube Head With Peavey 03022920 Multi-Purpose 2-Button Footswitch with LEDs
  • Ultra-compact, 20-watt all-tube guitar amplifier head delivers great tone onstage or in the studio
  • Switchable between 20 watts, 5 watts, and 1 watt for any live or studio situation
  • Dial in Class A or Class AB tones with the Vari-Class control
  • This angled, ergonomically designed Peavey multi-purpose 2-button stereo foot-switch features a sturdy molded housing and quality metal switch components. The two buttons are labeled 1 and 2 with red and green LED lights for ease of operation. 15' right angle 1/4 cable included.

Product Highlights

Peavey is for all the metal fans out there. The Valveking Series from Peavey is known to achieve high gain sounds making it a favorite of metal musicians. The Valveking II 20 is a great tube-powered rock amp packing a ton of features.

Features

This small tube amp has a power of 20 watts and houses a 12-inch speaker. There are two channels namely, clean and lead. Each has its own 3-band EQ and volume control. The clean channel features a bright button to make sound crisp and clear. The lead channel hosts gain control and a gain button to improve preamp gain. The lead channel provides a wide range of higher-gain sounds. The boost control improves the versatility of the channel by producing extra presence and sustain for solos.

What We Like About Peavey Valveking II 20

There is an additional speaker output with an impedance switch that will let you plug into a mixing console or house system, global effects loop, and footswitch controls.

What We Don’t Like About Peavey Valveking II 20

You will need to switch channels for full overdrive.

PROS

  • Highly versatile
  • Great sounding overdrive tones

CONS

  • Reverb effect sounds a little digital

Buy on Amazon

Final Verdict

There’s nothing quite like the tone achieved by an all-tube amp. It can boost the quality of your music as well as the tone of your guitar. Many of us look for small low watt amps that can provide quality tones even at lower volumes for our practice sessions.

According to us, the Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior IV is the best small tube amp. Recommended for all country and blues musicians, this amp can achieve a wide range of tones by applying precise gain adjustments.

It is perfect for a beginner, a gigging musician as well as a homeowner.

I hope you liked our suggestions!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: