The Best Guitar Headphone Amp for 2024 | Both Floor and Bug Type

Best Guitar Headphone Amp Selection

Play and practice quietly whenever you want with the best guitar headphone amp. These compact amplifiers allow you to sharpen your axe without disturbing the people around you and do so without needing to hook up to a bulky amplifier.


In the past, guitars sounded too harsh and thin through headphones. But now, with speaker emulation and improved Digital Signal Processing (DSP), getting good tones is surprisingly easy with the right gear.

To help you find the right gear for silent practice, we feature the best headphone guitar amps – categorized into bug-type units and compact floor-based guitar processors.

Compact bug-type headphone amps are the most convenient. These mini amps plug directly into your guitar, eliminating the need for a guitar cable. More importantly, these plug-and-play micro amps are designed to deliver great-sounding tones through your headphones.

While not as convenient as bug-types, compact guitar processors are also good tools for driving headphones. Their built-in amp models and digital effects, along with speaker cabinet emulation results in good tones through headphones.  The convenience of hands-free footswitch control is also a big plus. They also usually come with extra features like looping, tuning, USB direct recording, and more.

Whether you want the plug-and-play simplicity of bug-type amps or you prefer the versatility of compact guitar processors, you’ll find one that suits your needs right here.

To make the most of your headphone amp, pair it with these highly-rated Closed Back Headphones.

Best Guitar Headphone Amp – 2024

Author & Contributors

Best Guitar Headphone Amp - 2024

When discussing the best guitar headphones, these compact models are the first to come to mind.

Fender Mustang Micro

94
GEARANK
94 out of 100. Incorporating 4200+ ratings and reviews.
$119.99
Fender
fender-mustang-micro-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Bug-Type Guitar Headphone Amp.

Cons

  • Expensive for a bug-type headphone amp.
  • No software editor.
  • High-gain tones are good but not exceptional.

Pros

  • Features 12 amp models and 13 effects, with USB-C and Bluetooth functions.
  • Great-sounding cleans and low to mid-gain tones.
  • Straightforward controls.
  • Plug swivel mechanism for easier storage and positioning.
  • Small, lightweight, and easy to carry.
  • With its expanded features, you are getting more value for your money

Fender has secured a spot in this guide by incorporating the features of their Mustang series amps into the compact Mustang Micro.

This bug-type guitar headphone amplifier unit stands out due to its use of newer technology. It includes features such as Bluetooth compatibility. This allows audio streaming from your phone, so you can jam along with your favorite tracks. It also has USB-C connectivity for direct recording, which ups the use you can get from this unit.

It also effectively functions as a guitar audio interface. Meaning, that you can connect it directly to your PC for recording and other sound processing.

One distinct advantage of this unit is its expanded range of amp models and effects. Similar to the Mustang amps, it comes with Fender's digital GTX amp and stomp models.

This offers up to 12 amps and 13 effect types for more sonic flexibility, albeit at a higher price point compared to the competition.

Like its larger Mustang amp siblings, this unit excels in clean to mid-gain tones, while its high-gain options are still quite decent.

Additionally, a lithium-ion battery rechargeable powers it that can last up to 6 hours per charge.

Despite its compact size, Fender has managed to incorporate essential controls for tweaking the amp, effects, EQ, and volume.

The jack plug angle can also be adjusted to accommodate different guitar and bass guitar types. It can be folded for easier storage and to avoid getting caught up on wires or other things.

With its modern features and the backing of a reputable brand, the Fender Mustang Micro is definitely a worthy investment.

It may come at a price almost similar to that of an effects pedal, but as the best headphone amp for guitar in this category, it definitely is a value investment.

Specifications

  • Tone: 12 Amp Models, Adjustable EQ
  • Effects: 12 Effect Models including Modulation, Delay and Reverb
  • Controls: Knobs: Gain, Tone, Volume | Button: FX, Power/Amp Mode
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4"
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/8"
  • Power Source: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery (Up to 6 hours)

Rating Source Highlights

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

Demo

Valeton Rushead Max

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 3500+ ratings and reviews.
$39.99
Valeton
valeton-rushead-max-pocket-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • No online warranty. The warranty must be processed through the seller.
  • Bulky, fixed plug with protruding knobs.

Pros

  • Good-sounding, versatile amp voicings.
  • Offers various EQ, modulation, and ambiance effects.
  • Compact, lightweight, and easy to carry.
  • Convenient built-in USB rechargeable battery.
  • Budget-friendly price.

The Valeton Rushead Max is a compact guitar headphone amplifier that offers a wide range of guitar rig essentials at an affordable price.

It allows you to select between commonly used amp types, such as "CL" for clean tones based on US-made amps. Another is the "OD" for crunchy, overdriven tones based on popular UK amps.

It also has a "DIST" for modern high-gain guitar tones and comes with an easily accessible, streamlined interface.

Tone shaping is achieved using the included tone, gain, and level knobs, allowing for adjustments. With this, you can set it to accommodate various pickup configurations and types to produce great tones regardless of the guitar used.

In terms of effects, it provides a switch to choose from three essential modulation types: tremolo, chorus, and flanger.

The Rushead Max headphone guitar amplifier also includes ambient effects like delay and reverb. It has the option to use both simultaneously, adding realism to the guitar sound, which usually isn't the case when using headphones.

Additional features include an aux input jack and the ability to charge the unit via USB. It comes in a lightweight plastic housing with a fixed plug.

It sticks out quite a bit; it has protruding knobs. This means you should be careful not to bump on any object to avoid the risk of damaging this unit.

This is crucial because Valeton does not offer a warranty document online. After contacting them, they confirmed that the warranty was processed through the seller.

The Valeton Rushead Max ranks 3rd on the list of the list of the best bug-type headphone amps, and it's also the cheapest. So, if you're in search of a budget-friendly yet versatile guitar headphone amplifier, this unit would be a great choice.

Specifications

  • Tone: Switchable (Clean, Overdrive and High Gain)
  • Effects: Tremolo, 3 x Chorus, 3 x Delay, 3 x Reverb
  • Controls: Knobs: Gain, Tone, Volume | Button: FX, Power/Amp Mode
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/8"
  • Power Source: USB Rechargeable (Up to 5 hours)

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube GrowWithGuitar 94/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Vox amPlug 2 Metal

90
GEARANK
90 out of 100. Incorporating 2450+ ratings and reviews.
$49.99
Vox
vox-amplug-2-metal-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • Non-rechargeable.
  • Limited control settings.
  • Plastic and requires handling care.

Pros

  • Delivers powerful high-gain tones, plus delay effects.
  • Provides three mid-voicing variations.
  • Adjustable plug for easier storage and positioning.
  • Aux-in and auto-power-off features.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Long battery life.

In the guitar world, high-gain tones are the universal default effect for hard rock. For this reason, it still remains popular among guitarists, despite the ever-changing musical trends.

It's often challenging to achieve good metal tones at lower volumes. This is especially true when using only headphone guitar amps. The sound of an amp cooking is just that unique.

However, the Vox amPlug 2 Metal solves this problem. It offers convincing high-gain tones that sound full even through the small speakers of headphones.

Described by Vox as "American high-gain," the amPlug 2 Metal provides voicing variations. Its three mid-scoop options are Mid Cut Off, Mid Cut Lo, and Mid Cut Hi.

This allows for flavors ranging from flat to V-style scooped sound. A sound that is metal-sounding enough for renowned guitarist Ola Englund. However, the tone still does not match the standards of expensive high-gain tube amps.

The amPlug 2 Metal features swivel-capable plugs for easier storage and attachment in different positions. It's got streamlined control settings found on other headphone amps from Vox, like the amPlug Gen 2 units.

Additional features include built-in effects, a folding plug, auto-power off, and aux-in.

In summary, the Vox amPlug 2 Metal is a portable high-gain metal "rig" that allows you to play without disturbing your loved ones.

Specifications

  • Tone: Metal (High-Gain)
  • Effects: 3 x Chorus, 3 x Delay, 3 x Reverb
  • Controls: Knobs: Gain, Tone, Volume | Button: FX, Power/Amp Mode (Mid-cut Low, Mid-cut High, Flat)
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/8"
  • Power Source: 2 x AAA Batteries (Up to 17 hours)

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Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube GrowWithGuitar 95/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Vox amPlug 2 Classic Rock

89
GEARANK
89 out of 100. Incorporating 2950+ ratings and reviews.
$49.99
Vox
vox-amplug-2-classic-rock-ap2-cr-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • Cramped controls cause accidental setting changes.
  • Muddy chords and fizzy single-note lines at high gain levels.
  • Made mostly of lightweight plastic material, it requires extra handling care.

Pros

  • Authentic classic rock tones emulate midrange emphasis and crunchy overdrive.
  • Tube amps have transparency and bite which makes them work well with other genres.
  • Offers three mid-boost options for versatile tones.
  • Chords sound full and detailed at low to mid-gain levels.
  • Affordable but premium-looking with old-school vintage amp-style cosmetics.
  • Plug with a swivel allows for easier storage and positioning.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Packaged securely and comes with AAA batteries.

At the core of classic rock tones are old, overdriven tube amps that are often times cranked hard. In my experience, even big amps and guitar processors have difficulty emulating this sound, so I wasn't expecting much from something this small.

Thankfully, my low expectations were quickly exceeded. The AP2-CR did a nice job of emulating the midrange emphasis and crunchy overdrive flavor commonly associated with classic rock tunes.

I especially love the "bite" when digging into the strings, making this a fun amp for practicing solos and improvisation. More importantly, I'm pleased there's enough transparency with its overdrive to still sound like "myself".

Surprisingly, notes seem to decay organically like tube amps, which is a big plus. Chords sound surprisingly detailed and full, but only in low to mid-gain levels.

Speaking of gain levels, driving this classic guitar headphone amp up too many results in muddy-sounding chords and fizzy single-note lines. This is unfortunate but understandable, given this unit's price and target market.

The muddy tone is especially noticeable when using single-coil pickups, but thankfully, it's not as muddy when I switch from Strat to Les Paul.

What sets this one apart from other amPlugs is its switchable (color-coded) "Mid-Boost" Mode. It lets you choose between Mid-boost Off (Green), Mid-boost 1 Lo (Orange), and Mid-boost 2 Hi (Red). This means that you have multiple channels to work with.

This feature adds a virtual switchable booster circuit into the unit, emulating many rock guitarists' commonly used boost pedal + amp setup.

This headphone amp is not meant for Vox AC30 style clean tone. But I can get good clean tones by turning the gain knob all the way down in Green mode (Mid-boost Off).

But I prefer the slightly dirty and gritty cleans the Orange and Red modes provide. This mid-boost works really well with my Strat, letting me hear the nuances of my playing better.

This is a great practice amp for fans of the gnarly guitar tone of classic rock.

Specifications

  • Tone: Classic Rock
  • Effects: 3 x Chorus, 3 x Delay, 3 x Reverb
  • Controls: Knobs: Gain, Tone, Volume | Button: FX, Power/Amp Mode
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/8"
  • Power Source: 2 x AAA Batteries (Up to 17 hours)

Rating Source Highlight

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

Demo

Vox Brian May AmPlug

89
GEARANK
89 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.
$59.99
Vox
vox brian may amplug electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • Niche appeal, may not suit some guitarists.
  • Has no reverb.
  • Requires regular battery replacement.

Pros

  • Captures Brian May’s iconic Red Special guitar and AC30 amp tone.
  • Small and easy to carry.
  • AC30 + Treble Booster.
  • Includes stereo delay, phaser, and chorus.
  • Features "We Will Rock You" stomps and claps for practice.
  • Long battery life.

Launched at NAMM 2023, Vox's new amPlug is inspired by the tone of an iconic guitar player. To be specific, this small, portable amp is created to replicate the unique tone of Brian May, guitarist of the legendary band "Queen,".

Developed in collaboration with Brian May himself, this amPlug captures the sound of his Red Special guitar and AC30 amplifier.

This gives you access to his classic tone anytime, anywhere, by simply plugging into any electric guitar and a standard set of guitar headphone.

One of the main features is the AC30 + Treble Booster setting, which recreates Brian May’s signature sound. This setting delivers the warm, saturated tones and distinctive harmonics he is known for.

This amplug model also includes additional effects like stereo delay with tap tempo, phaser, and chorus. This gives you a range of sounds to experiment with.

Furthermore, it has built-in rhythm patterns. This includes the famous "We Will Rock You" stomps and claps, which are ideal for practice sessions and jamming along with this iconic Queen track.

The Brian May AmPlug is designed for convenience, running on 2xAAA batteries for up to 15 hours of playtime. It has gain, tone, and volume controls, and its foldable jack mechanism can plug into any guitar.

This headphone amp for guitar is a great option for guitar players who want to emulate Brian May’s sound without investing in expensive equipment.

But whether you're a Queen fan or just in need of a portable amp for practice, the amPlug Brian May provides an accessible and affordable solution.

Specifications

  • Tone: 9 x Rhythms (We Will Rock You, Rock, Pop1, Blues, Funk, Jazz, R&B, Pop2, Metronome
  • Effects: 2 x Delay, Phaser, Chorus
  • Controls: Gain, Tone, Volume, Rhythym
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4" plug, 1 x 1/8" TRRS (aux in)
  • Headphone output: 1 x 1/8" TRS
  • Power Source: 2 x AAA batteries (Up to 15 hours)

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Grant Parker 95/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Compact Multi-Effects as Headphone Amps

Here are top-rated portable guitar effects pedals that are also great for playing through headphones. Although these guitar processors are not as convenient and portable as bug-type headphone amplifiers, they offer tone variety and can be used with a regular amp or with a PA system / audio interface.

Line 6 HX Stomp

95
GEARANK
95 out of 100. Incorporating 1050+ ratings and reviews.
$649.99
Line 6
line-6-hx-stomp-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • Very expensive if you're only looking for a headphone amp.
  • May have a steep learning curve for beginners.
  • Limited physical controls might limit on-the-fly adjustments.

Pros

  • Advanced DSP Technology.
  • Offers over 300 amp models, effects, and cabinet simulations.
  • Comes with 126 presets, allowing up to 8 blocks per preset.
  • Compact and sturdy design.
  • Supports impulse responses, ideal for headphone use.
  • Stage and recording-ready features and audio quality.
  • Includes pitch-shifting effects and a looper.

The HX Stomp features Helix's digital sound processing technology in a portable 3-switch pedal. It is complete with high-end cab simulation and support for impulse responses, making it ideal for headphone use.

As part of Line 6's Helix line, it utilizes the company's latest digital sound processing (DSP) technology to produce convincing amp and effect sounds.

Amp modelers are designed to sound good with full-range speakers. They also translate well for recording and quiet practicing through headphones.

The HX Stomp comes with 126 presets, allowing up to 8 blocks per preset. It offers a selection of over 300+ amp models, effects, and cabinet simulations. These are all part of the Line 6 Helix line M-series effects, including some of their older models.

This versatility is the primary reason why the HX Stomp is a market favorite when it comes to compact guitar processors. It can cover everything from pop music, to country, to alt rock band style gain, and more.

Additionally, it includes pitch-shifting effects and a looper. All these features are packed inside a compact pedal with three-foot switches.

If you're looking for a high-quality compact guitar processor from the leader in multi-effects pedals, then the Line 6 HX Stomp is worth checking out.

It does come at a price, but it's an invaluable tool you can use both as a headphone amp for guitar practice, or gigging.

Specifications

  • Tone: 100+ Amp Models, Speaker Cabinets
  • Effects: 200+ Effects (Up to 8 Blocks Simultaneously)
  • Controls: Knobs: 6 Assignable | 2.4" Display | Footswitches: 3
  • Inputs: 2 x 1/4" (L/Mono,R), 2 x 1/4" (L/R, Aux In)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power Source: 9V DC power supply (included)

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound on Sound Paul White 94/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Zoom G1X Four

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 5150+ ratings and reviews.
$119.99
Zoom
zoom-g1x-four-electric-guitar-headphone-amplifier

Cons

  • User interface requires a bit of time to get familiar with.
  • Pushing the unit into high-gain territory may make it sound "fizzy,"  requiring more tweaking to make it sound good.
  • Challenges with switching multiple effects seamlessly during performances.

Pros

  • Very affordable for a multi-effects unit.
  • Includes 16 cabinet simulations, great for headphone use.
  • 13 amp models, 71 effects, and 90 presets.
  • Allows up to 5 effects to be used at once.
  • Expression pedal.
  • Good build quality and is portable.

Zoom is a well-established manufacturer of guitar multi-effects processors. It is a preferred brand for many beginners and even intermediate players for its affordability and quality.

They are best known for offering high-quality products at an affordable price, as demonstrated by the G1X Four.

This compact multi-effects unit comes with 16 cabinet simulations, making it ideal for use as a headphone amplifier.

Despite its size, the G1X Four is packed with features, including 13 amp models, 71 effects, and 90 total presets.

It offers a wide range of options, from subtle overdrive to experimental effects. The unit allows for the simultaneous use of up to 5 types of effects, providing plenty of versatility for creating unique tones.

Additionally, it includes a built-in looper. One standout feature is the expression pedal, which enables real-time control over volume, wah, and certain effect parameters.

This hands-free control option sets it apart from compact units. However, it does require more floor space and additional cabling.

Overall, the Zoom G1X Four serves as a convenient, compact multi-effects unit. It's also the cheapest of the floor units in this guide, providing you with exceptional value as a guitar headphone amplifier.

Specifications

  • Tone: 13 Amp Models, 16 Speaker Cabinets
  • Effects: 70 Effects (Up to 5 Simultaneously)
  • Controls: Knobs: Lo, Mid, High, Vol, | Buttons: Setting, Edit, Rhythm, Looper, 5 Selector Buttons | Footswitches: 2 and 1 Expression Pedal
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power Source: Zoom AD-16 AC adapter (Not Included), USB Bus Power, 4 x AA batteries

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Music Radar Alex Lynham 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Boss GT-1

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 2250+ ratings and reviews.
$199.99
Boss
boss-gt-1-guitar-multi-effects-pedal-electric-guitar-headphone-amp

Cons

  • Relatively big compared to other guitar headphone amp options.
  • You need to buy a compatible power supply separately.
  • Optimal control requires using the Boss Tone Studio App.

Pros

  • Features high-quality COSM DSP technology.
  • Offers Boss-quality effects and amp models.
  • Good size-to-weight ratio.
  • Can be used for electric and pickup-equipped acoustic guitars.
  • Backlit LCD display, knobs, buttons, and three footswitches..
  • USB recording.

The Boss GT-1 features the same COSM DSP technology found in their more expensive guitar processors but in a smaller and lighter package.

By connecting headphones to this unit, you can enjoy a wide selection of Boss effects and amp models. It has additional buttons and foot control options, all while maintaining a reasonably portable and compact design.

It even includes acoustic amp tones for use with pickup-equipped acoustic guitars. Moreover, the GT-1 is not just about offering more tones; it is known for its great tones and good-sounding amp models.

This includes high-gain tones that sound great through headphones, just like they would through regular speakers.

Despite its size, this unit provides a significant number of footswitches—three in total—and an expression pedal. This makes the GT-1 a compact all-in-one guitar rig suitable for use on stage and for silent practice.

For better control, it is equipped with a backlit LCD and an array of knobs and buttons. This also makes the GT-1 an excellent tool for learning about different guitar amps and effects. Because you can do it even without the usual cost and bulk associated with them.

If you want a more visual effects editing approach, you can use the Boss Tone Studio App. This app provides you with a more interactive UI and more control over your sound, the same app that's compatible with the popular Boss katana series of amps.

It has a USB feature, which comes in handy when you want to record using your computer.

I was surprised by the lightweight and compact design of the GT-1 when I played with it. It has a good size-to-weight ratio that surpasses most of the guitar processors I've tried.

Lastly, it can be powered by four AA batteries, making it a genuinely portable all-in-one rig.

In summary, the Boss GT-1 is a reliable, versatile, and compact guitar processor. It performs well through headphones, an amp, an audio interface, or even a PA system.

Specifications

  • Tone: Over 20 Preamp Voicings
  • Effects: 108 COSM Effects
  • Controls: 3 x Footswitches, 1 x Expression Pedal, 3 x Knobs and Multiple Buttons
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power Source: 9V DC power supply (Sold Separately) or 4 x AA batteries

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Premiere Guitar Matthew Holliman 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Things to Consider When Buying a Guitar Headphone Amplifier

Headphone Amps vs Guitar Amps

There's really no substitute for the feel and vibe of a cranked guitar amp, but since people around us have limited noise tolerances, we don't always have this privilege. While you can connect Amp to Headphones, they are less convenient than using a specialized headphone guitar amp. Sometimes, the convenience of quick plug-and-play use and the ability to play your guitar on your bed or while walking around can inspire you to spend more time improving your skills and tone. Or maybe even write a song or two, hopefully resulting in more and better music.

Form Factor

Headphone amps come in many different forms, but the most popular ones are compact bug-type units that directly plug into your guitar. These are favored for ease of use and mobility, with the downside being the need to replace or recharge batteries regularly. Compact box-type headphone amps (usually with belt clips) are mobile but require an extra cable to connect to your guitar. We've also included floor and desktop-based guitar processors because they can provide the same headphone amp functionality with the added benefits of digital sound processing and more, albeit with some limitations to portability. You can also use an electric or acoustic guitar pedal as a headphone amp. Those with amp and cabinet modeling are ideal for silent practice.

Portability

Speaking of portability, this should be your priority if you're always on the move. And in this case, bug types are ideal. But remember that they need a bit more handling and can be easily misplaced.

The compact guitar processors we included here are reasonably light and compact but usually require dedicated bags or storage spaces for transport. Always remember to pack extra batteries or chargers if you plan to take the amp with you as you travel.

Tone

Getting your guitar to sound good to your ears is important because the sound quality will affect your mood and playing experience.

Thankfully, guitar headphone amps are designed to complement the sound of electric guitars. Many come with familiar amp voicings, like Classic Rock, Metal, Clean, and many more.

So make sure to get those that sound close to your preferred style and voice. While it is unreasonable to expect studio-quality tone from headphone amps, many will provide usable, if not good-sounding, tones.

Features

Having extra features can be a good thing, especially if they can promote better playing technique, longer practice times, or more productive music production.

Features like aux input allow you to play with tracks to keep your timing skills up. The same can be said with metronomes, auto-accompaniment or built-in rhythms, and loopers. These features make for a good practice tool.

The ability to quickly and conveniently record your playing also helps a lot in terms of checking and improving your technique or storing song ideas, which elevates your use to beyond what regular practice amps offer.

On the flip side, if you just want something straightforward, then extra features can be distracting. At the end of the day, you have to know what you need and get one that fits the role.

Headphones

The quality of your headphones will play an important role in terms of sound and comfort. This means that when buying a guitar headphone amp, it is best to consider your budget for good headphones along with it. While cheap earphones and headphones can work, they usually lack low-end, resulting in thin-sounding tones. Check out our guide to Closed Back Headphones if you want more information on good options. Some specialized headphones work great, like the Boss Waza Air, which comes with a gyro sensor for an impressive 3dD spatial effect.

Cables and Adapters

To fully use the features of guitar headphone amplifiers, you ought to have good-quality cables, be it for audio or USB connectivity. Most small bug-type amplifiers utilize 1/8" aux input jacks, so if you want to jam along with tracks, you must have this type of cable ready. Don't neglect to consider cable length—get ones that are long enough to allow you to have a comfortable position or for some movement. You can also go for adapters if you already have other cables ready.

Best Guitar Headphone Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2018. The current edition was published on June 27, 2024

We started off by looking at popular guitar headphone amplifiers, which are mostly bug-type units, and we shortlisted those with good ratings.

We then expanded our research to include top-rated compact multi-effects and guitar processors that are reasonably portable and headphone-friendly.

Note that scope scope leaves out mini amplifiers like the Positive Grid Spark Go, Nux Mighty Lite, Katana Mini, and more. The focus is on specialized amps meant for guitar headphone amplifier use.

For this edition, we ended up with a preliminary list of 33 candidates, which included runner ups like the Nux Mighty Plug, Boss Waza Air, Blackstar Amplug, and more. We then gathered and analyzed over 46,800 relevant reviews, ratings, and comments.

All these data were then processed with the Gearank Algorithm, resulting in rating scores out of 100 that we used to select the highest-rated guitar headphone amps based on actual market sentiment.

We divided the list into two categories, the first of which features the best guitar headphone amps, while the second part features top-rated compact guitar processors. For more information about our methods, see How Gearank Works.

Some of the popular guitar headphone amps that didn't make it into this guide include the Sonicake US Classic, Electro Harmonix Headphone amp, and others.

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

Being a guitarist and a dad, I often practice quietly by plugging headphones straight to my guitar processors. While this system works, sometimes I end up not practicing because I can't be bothered with the task of setting up the space and cables needed. Dedicated guitar headphone amplifiers like the Vox amPlug Classic Rock is a game changer in this regard, it allows me to practice virtually anywhere without the need for setting up space and cables.

Contributors

Jerome Arcon: Product Research and Supplemental Writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media and Image Credit

Main/Top Image: Produced by Gearank.com using photographs of the Vox amPlug 2 Metal and Valeton Rushead Max.

The videos above 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.

7 thoughts on “The Best Guitar Headphone Amp for 2024 | Both Floor and Bug Type”

  1. Today we removed the following item from our recommended list above due to a lack of availability, but you can still read our analysis of it: Zoom G1Xon.

  2. My favorite is the NUX PG2. They are cheap and all the fx sound good. Easy to use to. Actually prefer over the basic POD

    1. The PG-2 does have some good reviews, but we haven’t short-listed it because the manufacturer has discontinued production.

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