Being onstage with towers of blazing 100 watt amplifier stacks might be the thing rock and roll dreams are made of, however, it’s just not realistic for the vast majority of guitar players. Don’t be fooled by the wattage rating on tube amps, a 5 watt tube amp can be LOUD while a 15 watt tube amp can keep up with just about any drummer. Whether you are playing club gigs, recording, or just jamming with some friends, a low watt tube amp can get you great tones for a reasonable amount of money.
While it’s just about impossible to say what the best tube amp is is due to the fact that the amplifier needs to match up with an individual player’s style, this list covers a lot of ground. Maybe you’ll find something that fits a need for yourself or for a guitar playing person in your life. I chose only quality low watt amps that generate their tones through the use of good old vacuum tubes to review on this site. These small tube amps are great for beginning guitar players and they are also the type of amp an experienced player should have in their collection.
The amps listed here range from the 1 watt Blackstar HT-1 up to the 15 watt Fender Blues Junior and Orange Tiny Terror. Some, like the Vox Lil’ Night Train, are in head format where you’ll need a separate speaker cabinet to use while others, like the Vox AC15, are “combos” where there is a speaker included in the cabinet. The VHT Special 6 is available in a head or a combo.
Take a look at our handy comparison chart to get an overview of some popular low watt tube amps and their features.
The low watt amps here are sold through Amazon.com. I recommend Amazon because they have good prices and excellent customer service.