7 Best Practice Guitar Amps For Rock & Metal (Low Watt, Max Tone)

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  • What are the best practice amps for rock and metal?
  • What should you look for in a practice amp?
  • We’ve rounded up the best practice amps for all budgets.

A good practice amp is an essential tool to have. After all, an amp shapes how you play, and you respond to it like it responds to you.

Even though silent practice might be employed occasionally, nothing beats the feeling of playing through a real guitar amp.

There is a great supply of practice amps on the market today, and in this article, we’ll help you find the best one for you.

(For those who want to play loud without disturbing the neighborhood, check out 10 Best Amp In A Box Pedals With Excellent Tone.)

What Are The Best Practice Guitar Amps?

The Fender Super Champ X2 is our pick for the best practice guitar amp. It features true Fender tube tone and is one of the very best practice amps you can find. If you want a quality practice amp on a budget, then the Blackstar Fly 3 is a great choice. For those of you that need an ideal combination of fantastic tone, portability, effects, choices, and cutting-edge technology, the Yamaha THR30II is our premium choice.

Here are our candidates for best practice amps:

  1. Fender Super Champ X2 (Our Pick)
  2. Blackstar Fly 3 (Best Value)
  3. Yamaha THR30II (Premium Choice)
  4. Line 6 Spider V 20 MKII
  5. Marshall DSL 1CR
  6. Boss Katana Air
  7. Orange Crush 20

1. Fender Super Champ X2

When it comes to guitar amplifiers, Fender holds a special status. The Super Champ X2 brings the tradition and quality that these amps are known for to the practice room, making it our choice for best practice amp on this list.

It Features 15 watts of power with a real tube preamp to get that Fender tone that has defined history. This all-tube amp is a fantastic choice for the money and will let you stay inspired during your practice sessions.

OUR PICK
Fender Super Champ X2

The Super-Champ X2 features hybrid tube technology that combines a digital amp modeling pre-amp with dual power amp tubes for the warmth and dynamics that can only be had by tube amps.

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Features

  • 1 x 10″ Fender Special Design speaker
  • 15 effects, TAP tempo control for delay time/modulation adjustments
  • 16 different amp voicings
  • USB output for speaker-emulated digital recording
  • 2 x 6V6 tubes, 1 x 12AX7 preamp tube

Review

The Super Champ X2 combo amp features a real tube preamp and power amp sections for classic Fender tone, with built-in digital effects. This is especially useful for practicing as you will get a great blend of analog and digital technologies to suit any style.

This compact amp features a specially designed Fender 10″ speaker that works great for mellow clean tones as well as crunchy blues overdrive. But there is much more!

The Super Champ X2 offers 16 selectable voicings so you can have a variety of sounds at your disposal, as well as a two-band eq. Everything from classic Tweed tone to Blackface roar is included here.

Fender also included 15 digital effects to add even more range and possibilities.

This amp also features a line output for recording directly or plugging into a live sound system. You can also connect it to your computer via USB for direct speaker-emulated digital recording. With this amp, you can practice literally anything, from blues and country all the way to heavy rock and metal.

2. Blackstar Fly 3

The Blackstar Fly 3 offers fantastic value and it’s our top choice for those on a budget. It is very small, very portable, but also very capable.

The Blackstar has a lot of handy features that guitarists will really appreciate in a practice amp, such as the ability to easily play along to songs thanks to its line-in jack.

BEST VALUE
Blackstar FLY3 Battery Powered Guitar Amp
$69.99

Combining two channels, tape delay, and the innovative Infinite Shape Feature, the Blackstar Fly 3 is a great-sounding, portable, battery-powered guitar combo amplifier. 

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Features

  • 2 channels: Clean, Crunch
  • 3″ speaker
  • 4 Ohms, 5 Watts
  • 0.9 KG
  • MP3/Line in

Review

The Blackstar Fly 3 is a mini practice amp that combines two channels, tape delay, and the company’s patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF).

The ISF allows you to infinitely alter the sound of this amp, giving you endless options for your amp’s tone. This amp also features a nifty tape delay effect for some old-school echo sounds.

This Blackstar amp also comes with an mp3/Line-in jack so you can connect your mobile phones, tablets, etc, and play along with tracks. There’s also an Emulated Output jack that can be used with headphones.

Adding to all these features, this unit can also be battery powered so you can take it anywhere you need to go..

In addition, you can combine the Fly 3 with the Fly 103, (which is sold separately) to create an ecosystem that adds up to a 6-Watt guitar amp setup. This will also create a stereo effect that can be useful when practicing.

This little but powerful offering from Blackstar will excel as a home practice amp for anybody looking for a compact and inexpensive solution for practicing.

3. Yamaha THR30II

The Yamaha THR30II is a 30-watt stereo amplifier that offers great build quality in a compact and very convenient form factor. Its rechargeable battery allows you to perform in areas without the need for plugging into mains power.

This Yamaha amp follows in the footsteps of the popular THR10 II Wireless. It includes effects, Bluetooth connectivity as well a great tone, making it our premium choice for this list.

PREMIUM OPTION
Yamaha THR30IIW

Modeling combo amp for electric guitar with inbuilt battery and wireless receiver compatible with the Line6 Relay G10 transmitter.

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Features

  • Realistic tube-amp tones
  • 15 guitar amp models plus effects
  • Bluetooth support
  • Plug-and-Play USB connectivity
  • Built-in rechargeable battery

Review

This amp features a solid build in a very compact form. Its enclosure is not only durable but very stylish with LEDs that glow in the dark and an aluminum handlebar that lets you easily grab this amp and take it anywhere.

All the control knobs are sturdy and well built and feel as though they are just the right size. It features 15 guitar tones that go from clean to heavily distorted and everything in between. Separate to this, you’ll also find a 3-band EQ, effects, and more.

The THR30II features a built-in wireless receiver that combines with an optional Line 6 Relay G10T transmitter (sold separately) to offer players a completely cable-free performance. This transmitter is also well built and feels quite sturdy.

It can also be used with the free Yamaha Rec’n’Share app. This app is available for iOS and Android and was designed to allow musicians to record audio and video along with songs from their music library, then easily share performances online.

Overall, the THR30II is the ultimate practice amp and is well worth the premium price tag.

4. Line 6 Spider V 20 MkII

The Line 6 Spider V 20 MkII is a solid choice for anyone looking for a rocking 20-watt practice amp. It is easy to use and comes full of features like effects, USB port, and connectivity with Line 6’s Spider V Remote app to edit tones and have additional resources via the Cloud.

This is one of the best practice amps on the market today at an incredible street price, and quite popular as well.

Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII
$429.99

Step onstage or in the studio with an amp that can deliver almost any tone your music demands.

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Features

  • Speaker mode for organic sound
  • Electric, acoustic, and bass guitar presets
  • 200+ amps and effects available via the app
  • USB interface
  • Built-in tuner

Review

The Line 6 V 20 MkII comes fully loaded with features that guitar players love. For starters, there are over 200 preloaded sounds with an intuitive color-coded control set.

This amp improves on Line 6’s previous model with enhanced modeled amp characteristics, such as compression qualities and EQ curves. Line 6 bought in high-profile artists to help develop additional presets on the Spider V 20 MkII and it shows.

This amp features a custom-designed 8″ guitar speaker that will do the job with electric and acoustic guitars and even bass. Needless to say, with over 200 presets it accommodates any style and genre imaginable and can tackle just about anything.

The V 20 MkII features 78 amp models, 24 Cab simulations, and 4 mic models. Add to that over 100 effects and the possibilities are endless.

This amp will be great for new guitar players that don’t have much experience with effects, cab sims, etc. The V 20 MkII will give users the opportunity to learn how to put effects together, mix and match, and come up with tones they like.

This amp also features Tap Tempo, built-in tuner, and USB output. It weighs only 11 lbs, making it great to just grab and go whenever you need to. If you like options, flexibility, and the ability to come up with your own sounds, this practice amp might be just what the doctor ordered.

5. Marshall DSL1CR

When it comes to rock amp models, Marshall wrote the book (or at least a good chunk of it). The DSL1CR tube amp packs legendary Marshall tone in one of the most compact packages available today.

If you want to truly rock out during your practice sessions with tube tone, consider the DSL1CR. It is a great practice amp for any rock guitar player.

Marshall DSL1CR
$549.99

 With two channels, reverb, and an effects loop, the DSL1CR is ready to rock. And with its adjustable power level, you can dial in cranked-amp tube tones that won't wake your neighbors.

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Features

  • Dial-in cranked tones at any volume
  • 2 channels
  • Studio-grade digital reverb
  • Rear panel series effects loop
  • Softtube accurate Marshall 1960 cab emulation

Review

The Marshall DSL1CR amp comes from a legendary lineage that goes back over 20 years to the JCM Dual Super Lead (DSL).

This amp became quite popular among players due to its great sound quality and now you can have that same vibe in your practice room, but without breaking the bank or getting an eviction notice.

The Marshall DSL1CR features two channels, a reverb, and an effects loop, offering you everything you need to focus on your practice. You don’t have to worry about waking up the neighbors with this Marshall, as you can dial in cranked amp tubes at low levels.

Additionally, this amp features a Softube speaker-emulated output for direct recording and monitoring so the only one listening is you.

The DSL1CR amp sports two ECC83s tubes in the preamp section as well as an ECC82 tube in the power amplifier, both working together to provide you with that killer rock tone for your practice.

This all comes out through an 8″ Celestion Eight 15 speaker to deliver punch and a wide-ranging tone. It also features a Classic Gain channel to help you achieve legendary rock tones when you practice. The other channel is Ultra Gain, for when you need to work on your metal chops.

This is a splendid practice amp for anyone that plays hard rock or metal.

6. BOSS Katana Air

The BOSS Katana Air wireless guitar amp belongs to the Katana amplifier series and comes with 50 BOSS effects.

This amp is completely wireless and comes with a wireless transmitter to use with any guitar. This is the ultimate take-me-anywhere practice amp with legendary BOSS built-in effects.

BOSS Katana Air Guitar Amplifier
$409.99

First things first: the BOSS Katana-Air wireless guitar amplifier delivers primal tones from the Katana amplifier series, with five distinct amplifier characters and over 50 BOSS effects.

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Features

  • Fully wireless guitar amp
  • Versatile 5 amp voicings
  • Motion-activated wireless transmitter
  • Bluetooth equipped
  • Powered via 8 AA batteries or power adapter

Review

The BOSS Katana Air is the only practice amp that features an included wireless transmitter to use with any guitar.

This transmitter recharges when you dock it into the Katana Air, for an all-in-one fully wireless practice experience. If you are tired of cables, then you’re gonna love the built-in wireless transmitter.

It offers up to 12 hours of playing time on a single charge and features a motion-activated operation, turning on as soon as you pick up your guitar.

The speakers of this Katana amp produce 20 watts of power which can be increased to 30 if you use a power wall adapter.

This practice amp comes with Booster/Mod, Delay/FX, and Reverb control knobs to give you easy access to each effect type, all of them with a dedicated knob.

This guitar amplifier features 5 amp voicings, customizable effects, and editor software via an app or your phone or tablet.

Besides being a fantastic practice amp, the BOSS Katana Air also doubles as a premium Bluetooth music player. This amp can be powered with eight AA batteries or a power supply.

7. Orange Crush 20

This is one of the best practice amps available today. It builds on the footsteps of the Orange Crush 12 and offers fantastic features at a killer price.

The Orange Crush 20 is a great solid-state amp that is easy to use and is perfectly fine for recording as well as for practice. It delivers iconic Orange distortion and tones in a small package.

Orange Crush 20RT Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Orange Crush 20RT brings you gut-punching tones with highly-responsive overdrive and levels of detailed saturation that will absolutely blow your mind. 

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Features

  • Solid-state
  • 4 stages preamp
  • 3-band EQ
  • 1 x 8 ” speaker
  • 20 Watts

Review

The Orange Crush 20 is a solid-state 20-watt amp that offers highly responsive overdrive and levels of detailed saturation and high gain.

This practice amp offers Orange’s CabSim circuit that emulates the muscle of an Orange 4 x 12″ cabinet through the Crush 20’s headphone / line output.

The Orange crush can take you from clean tones all the way to various distorted realms so you can practice any style and genre you need to.

This is one of the most durable practice amps on this list as it features Orange’s signature Birch Plywood with Orange Tolex enclosure. Combine that with the fact that this amp does not have any fragile tubes (as it is solid-state) and you get a practice amp that will likely last a long time.

This amp still offers touch sensitivity that resembles tube amps. The clean channel is crystal clear and will be quite useful for jazz players that want to do some serious practicing.

This amp can also be used for small gigs and jam sessions that require anything from nice clean sounds to some serious overdrive.

Final Thoughts

It’s good to remember that the most important thing for practicing guitar is having the will, focus, and endurance to do so consistently. After all, practicing is the only way of getting better at anything, and guitar playing is no exception.

A good practice amp will be a true partner on your journey to becoming a better guitar player and overall musician.

And since practicing has to happen in places that many times are not suited for it, it is important to have an amp that can accommodate any environment.

All the amps in this list offer features that will let you crank up the volume when possible and bring it way down whenever necessary. Many also offer a headphone or line out to avoid potential conflicts with the neighbors.

All the practice amps from this list made with this in mind, so you can’t really go wrong with any of them. Pick the one that suits you best and good luck on that beautiful journey to becoming a better musician.