The Best Battery Powered Guitar Amps - Portable/Busking

The Highest Rated Battery Powered Guitar Amps

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Being able to play through an amp without being tethered to a power outlet is important for musicians who are always on the go. But aside from being outdoor friendly, these amps also give you more freedom to play anywhere around the house, in apartments or in hotels, wherever inspiration strikes.

Here we look at the best battery powered guitar amps on the market, based on the most current rating data up to mid October of 2022.

Yamaha dominates this niche market with two of their highly rated desktop style studio friendly amps - the THR5 and THR5A. Blackstar is not far off with their hotel room friendly Fly 3 Bluetooth. And as towns and cities continue to open up for outdoor events, gigging and busking friendly battery powered amps like the Fender Acoustic Junior Go are gaining traction in the market.

The Best Battery Powered Guitar Amps - 2022.10

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

The Highest Rated Battery Powered Guitar Amps

Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth - 3W

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$110
Blackstar FLY 3 Bluetooth Battery Powered 3W Guitar Combo Amplifier
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Battery Powered Guitar Amp along with the Yamaha THR5 and Yamaha THR5A.

Cons

  • Limited volume
  • Lack luster clean tone
  • No USB connection

Pros

  • Superb portability and great for practice
  • Great sounding overdriven tones
  • Bluetooth convenience
  • Versatile voicing via Blackstar's ISF knob

The Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth is a compact amp that addresses the most common need of guitarists - the ability to practice anywhere and do so at manageable volume levels.

Rated at 3W, this is not a loud amp, but it does what big amps can - it provides great sounding tone at lower volumes. And it does this with Blackstar's patented Infinite Shape Feature (IFS), which gives the amp versatile voicing with just one knob - from tight American tones to jangly and open British voicings.

For a small amp, it sounds bigger than it actually is, and has good definition, even when you set the gain high. As long as you don't drive the volume too much, you can get great sounding overdriven guitar tones. Clean tone is not as good though, but you don't really get amps from Blackstar to play clean.

The 3W amplifier is paired with a 3" speaker, and housed in a modern looking cabinet. It can be powered by 6 AA batteries for untethered use, and it can also be powered by an optional power supply.

Being a more recent release, this version comes with wireless Bluetooth compatibility, so playing along with tracks is easier. This feature also allows the amp to double as a multimedia player for smart devices. This makes it a great amp to carry on the road, great for playing in hotels and apartments where you want good tone but don't want to disturb the neighbors.

With its practicality and portability, the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth is highly recommend for guitarists who want to keep practicing wherever they go.

Specifications

  • Power Rating: 3-Watts
  • Battery Life: Up to 20 Hours
  • Power Source(s): 6 x AA Batteries or 6.5V DC
  • Speaker: 1 x 3”
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, EQ (ISF), Delay, Bluetooth, OD, Delay Level, Power
  • Input(s): 1/4”, AUX-IN
  • Output(s): 1/8" Headphones, RJ45 jack (Extension Speaker)
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs
  • Dimensions: 4.96” x 6.69” x 4.01”

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Perfecto De Castro 96/100
Guitar.com Chris Vinnicombe 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Yamaha THR5 - 10W

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$210
Yamaha THR5

Cons

  • Limited volume
  • Does not move air like traditional amps
  • Need software editor to access some features

Pros

  • Versatile amp modeling and effects
  • Crisp and detailed tones
  • Intuitive controls
  • Vintage radio aesthetics
  • USB audio interface and preset editing
  • Good battery life for what it can do

The THR5 is part of Yamaha's line of desktop friendly combo amplifiers meant for practice and home recording. It's rectangular profile is inspired by vintage radios, giving it a classic appeal that contrasts its internals, which provide modern digital sound processing.

Speaking of DSP, this compact amp lets you choose from 5 amp models that covers a wide spectrum of tones: Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brit Hi, Modern. It may seem few compared to modern amp modelers, but it trumps the competition when it comes to tone and sound quality.

The tones that it provides are crisp and detailed, more akin to how guitar sounds on recorded music than an actual amp. It sounds great when using clean and crunch settings. And it also has decent mid-gain to high gain tones, as long as you're careful to not push the amp's volume too hard. Also don't expect this small amp to move air like a traditional amp.

In addition to its amp models, it also comes with 4 types of modulation effects, along with 4 delay/reverb effects. All of that add up to make the THR5 versatile enough to cover much of what's being used in different styles of music. What's impressive though, is that given its versatility, it still is intuitive - it doesn't take much tweaking to get good sounds.

Note that features are a bit limited compared to bigger THR models, but this is expected given that this is the smallest and cheapest of the bunch.

The amp is driving two 3.15" speakers, and can do so for up to 6 hours while running on eight AA batteries - which is quite impressive given the many tones and uses that you can get from this amp.

The Yamaha THR5 is as a fun amp to take anywhere, be it at home or outdoors. If you're looking for a compact and affordable grab and go amp, then this is highly recommended.

Specifications

  • Power Rating: 10W
  • Battery Life: ~6 hours
  • Power Source(s): AC Adapter / 8 x AA Batteries
  • Speaker: 2 x 3.15"
  • Controls: Amp, Gain, Master, Tone, Effect, DLY/REV, Volume, Tap Tempo
  • Input(s): 1 x 1/4" Guitar Input, 1 x 1/8" Aux in
  • Output(s): 1 x 1/4" Headphones
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 6.57" x 10.67" x 4.72"

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Elmo Karjalainen 68/100
YouTube John Coupland 94/100
Guitarist Next Door Teemu Suomala 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Yamaha THR5A Acoustic Amp - 10W

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$210
Yamaha THR5A Battery-Powered Combo Guitar Amplifier 10W
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Battery Powered Guitar Amp along with the Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth and Yamaha THR5.

Cons

  • Limited volume
  • Single channel
  • Need software editor to access certain features

Pros

  • Adds back the air and body resonance of acoustic guitars
  • Versatile voicing options via Mic models
  • Useful effect selection
  • Studio quality sound and functionality
  • Good battery life for what it can do

Yamaha's THR line takes another top spot in the market, this time with a compact battery-powered amp that's meant for acoustic-electric guitars, the THR5A.

Being an acoustic amp, it's main focus is to improve the sound and realism of under-saddle piezo pickup systems. And it does this by emulating the sound of a miked up instrument, using modern digital sound processing algorithms. This adds back the natural air and resonance of the acoustic guitar body, which can then be blended to the direct piezo output.

Since this is meant for acoustic instruments, it does away with overdrive and amp models, and opts instead for different mic models. The models include emulations of popular mic types including condenser, dynamic and tube. The condenser model is my favorite, as it adds a lot of body to the sound, much like how condenser mics would when using it for recording. The dynamic mic model is a bit more subtle, while the tube model adds a bit more old school warmth and grit to the sound. There is also a special mic model tweaked for acoustic-electric nylon string guitars, and an EG CLN (Electric Guitar Clean) mode where the blend knob behaves like a gain knob.

In addition to these tone enhancing mic emulations, the amp also comes with useful effects like compressor, chorus, flanger, tremolo, delay, reverb and noise gate. Note that some of these effects are only accessible via software editor.

All of these features are packed inside a compact amp that looks like a vintage radio, which gives it an aesthetic edge over the usual look of compact amps. Speaking of compact, at 10W and with two 3" speakers, this is meant for small rooms and studio use. It does not have enough volume for band settings, let alone gigs.

The Yamaha THR5A can run on 8 x AA batteries for 6 to 7 hours, so it is truly a "play anywhere" acoustic amp. Interestingly, the label "amp" doesn't really do it justice, the more proper description for the Yamaha THR5A is that it's a portable all-in-one studio rig for acoustic-electric guitars. Definitely worth a closer look if you're into acoustic-electric guitars.

Specifications

  • Power Rating: 10-Watts
  • Battery Life: 6-7 Hours
  • Power Source(s): 8 x AA Batteries or DC
  • Speaker: 2 x 3”
  • Controls: Mic Type, Blend/Gain, Master, Tone, Effect, Delay/Reverb, Volume, Tap Tempo/Tuner
  • Input(s): ¼”, AUX-IN, USB
  • Output(s): Headphones
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.7” x 6.5” x 4.7”

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Acoustic Guitar Magazine Doug Young 88/100
MusicRadar Dave Burrluck 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Best Busking Amp

To be considered for this section, amps had to have at least 20 watts output and have separate inputs for guitar and a microphone that can be used simultaneously. The amp we have recommended is the highest rated in this category although the Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge was a close runner-up.

Fender Acoustic Junior Go - 100W

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Fender Acoustic Junior Go
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Battery Powered Busking Amp.

Cons

  • No acoustic body resonance modeling
  • Will need a separate footswitch for handsfree use

Pros

  • Loud yet lightweight and portable
  • Versatile input/output options
  • Clear and transparent sound
  • Busking friendly battery operation

At 100W, the Fender Acoustic Junior Go is a battery powered acoustic amp that can go loud enough for busking and gigging. It comes with a full range speaker system that includes an 8" woofer and a compression tweeter, so it can be likened to a portable PA system, but with some extra features that guitarists like. More importantly, all these features are powered by a built-in Lithium-ion Rechargeable battery, that can run for up to 5 hours at high volume levels. It can even run for up to 12 hours when set to moderate volume levels.

It has two independent channels with dedicated combo XLR inputs and controls, allowing for two acoustic guitars, or for plugging in a mic and acoustic guitar together. And since both channels have their own EQ controls, you have more freedom to shape the sound without negatively impacting the other sound source.

Speaking of sound, the amp has a very balanced sound, with good highs and deep bass, which is quite surprising given its small woofer. Sans its built-in effects, there's not much coloration going on, so you get an amplified transparent version of what you put into the amp. This clarity is actually the main advantage that this amp has over other similar gigging amps.

Onboard effects include different types and combinations of reverb, delay and modulation effects. It also has a built-in looper which is nice for looping. It would have been nicer if it had some sort of acoustic body resonance modeling. Also note that you'll need to get a separate footswitch to use the looper hands-free.

Another feature that makes this a good gigging amp is its versatile output options - having two XLR line out jacks that can be set to stereo overall, or as dedicated outputs for each channel. It also has USB audio recording capabilities, which can be nifty when you want to record your busking or gig audio.

I've noticed that recently released Fender amps are getting lighter - without compromising build quality and reliability. This amp is a good example, everything about it feels solid, yet it is light enough to carry with one hand.

All in all, the Fender Acoustic Junior Go - 100W is a good sounding and road worthy busking amp for those who need to play in places with no power outlet to plug into.

Specifications

  • Power Rating: 100-Watts
  • Battery Life: 5-12 Hours
  • Power Source(s): Built-in Lithium Ion Battery or AC
  • Speaker: 1 x 8” with compression tweeter
  • Controls: Main Controls( Power, Looper (Record Play/Stop, Undo), Bluetooth Pair), Per Channel Controls (Volume, 3-Band EQ, FX Level, FX Select, Phase)
  • Input(s): 2 x XLR-1/4" combo inputs, 1 x 1/8" Aux In
  • Output(s): 2 x XLR (line out), 1 x Headphones
  • Weight: 15.7 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.02” x 15.71” x 9.4”

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Guitar Player Jimmy Leslie 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Things to Consider When Buying a Battery Powered Guitar Amp

Battery Life

As features and power rating increase (power rating is the wattage of the amplifier) battery life is going to decrease. So amps that model effects are going to have a shorter battery life, and the louder the amp the less time the battery is going to last. However, this also depends on the type and amount of batteries used. Bear in mind that more or larger batteries make the amp heavier, making it less convenient to travel with. Some manufacturers also specify that pushing the amp to max volume will greatly reduce operating time. While many amps still run on conventional disposable batteries, there are some that now feature built-in rechargeable batteries. These batteries are expected to last longer, but not forever. The downside to internal batteries is they will need proper servicing to get them replaced.

Speaker Size

Speaker size has a huge impact on your tone. The smaller the speaker, the brighter and more focused it sounds. Larger speakers will sound fuller and warmer. Most battery powered amps have a smaller speaker, but many actually have a depth of tone that’s incredibly impressive for the relatively diminutive size. Do take into consideration that larger speaker sizes may make the amplifier weigh more especially when approaching the 12" speaker territory.

Amp Modeling and Effects

Many battery powered amps now come with built-in amp modeling and effects although the selection is generally more limited than larger plug-in modelling amps. You can usually only choose one of the modulation effects such as chorus/flanger/tremolo and add some reverb or delay. Apart from simplifying the controls this also helps to reduce power consumption compared to a full blown effects chain.

Weight/Portability

Battery powered amplifiers are usually smaller than their powered counterparts. But the batteries themselves add noticeably to the weight. No matter how portable an amp claims to be, you still have to consider how portable you want your gear to be. For example, bringing an amplifier made for busking / street performance to a one-on-one guitar lesson may become a chore when you could use a lighter amplifier instead.

Battery Powered Guitar Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2018 and the current edition was published on October 14, 2022.

For this 2022.10 edition we compiled a list of battery powered guitar amps available from major US online retailers and ended up with 35 candidates on our short-list.

We then compiled relevant reviews, ratings, forum discussions and recommendations for each amp on our short-list. The number of sources we collated increased three-fold compared to the previous edition, going to over 36,700. All these data were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 that we used to select amps that reflect the market's sentiment as the best. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Buskers today have it easy with good quality busking amps like the Fender Acoustic Junior Go - I used to have to bring long extension cords if I had to play outdoors!
I'm also jealous of how convenient the Yamaha THR5 is, packing so much good tone and functionality in a small amp that can run on batteries.

Contributors

Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Produced by Gearank.com using photographs of the Fender Acoustic Junior Go, Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth and Yamaha THR5A.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

I have the bass version of

I have the bass version of the Fly with external speaker. It is nice but the amp you left off is better. The Nux Mighty Air is smaller, louder has great amp modelong and thousands of effects combos.

Curious why more amps aren't

Curious why more amps aren't being made utilizing rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries? These batteries can supply much more power for longer periods then a handful of AA or AAA batteries while also being rechargeable and easily replaceable. Guess most amp makers aren't interested in utilizing a power source that you can find in many power hungry electronics now, from portable speakers to cell phones to drones. Maybe I should start my own company.

yes i agree, i came here to

yes i agree, i came here to din that it is weird there are not more .. wtf shitty aa batteries lol

The Roland Mobile Cube is a

The Roland Mobile Cube is a good amp and we have previously recommended it in our guide to Guitar Amps Under $200 - here's a direct link to the Mobile Cube information.

We did consider the Mobile Cube for this guide, but there were many battery powered amps with higher ratings, so we chose to recommend the more highly rated amps instead.

The Roland Mobile Cube is still on our short-list and will be considered for inclusion when we publish our next major revision of this guide.

Why do they all run on AA

Why do they all run on AA batteries? I want an amp with serious power that will run on my rechargeable drill battery pack.

Looking for a portable

Looking for a portable lithium powered amp for acoustic guitar - preferably with at least a 6" speaker size (one)... likely not made (yet) lol... tx ~ S

For regular battery use, just

For regular battery use, just invest in the latest generation "eneloop" type rechargeable batteries, like Energizer Universal 8 for $20-25. They run 1900mAH, hold a charge in storage for a long time. Just charge two sets, then you have a spare set along with you. You can run mini-amps off a plug-in as well, but note it usually is NOT charging the internal batteries, so you need a separate charger for them. Still a cheap investment for regular players.

small battery powered amp for

Small battery powered amp for 3hr street performance with 3 microphone inputs & costs