Join us on a quest to find the Top Tube Amplifier on the market today.
We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best tube amps available. Specifically, we’re going to include the best tube amplifiers for home use. Some tube amplifiers are simply too loud and powerful to be practical for use at home. But with these amplifiers, you won’t have to worry about any noise complaints or angry neighbors. They are just big and powerful enough to get that classic tube sound without blowing anyone’s head off with sheer volume.
For this list, we primarily want to focus on amps in the 5 to 15-watt range. For those of you used to playing 50 or even 100-watt stacks then don’t let this seemingly low power rating fool you, these amps can still get really loud when pushed. A couple of the amps on our list may exceed this range, but they must have a variable wattage control, so you can lower the power output for home use.
The size of the amps is also a deciding factor for this list. Most of us do not have a large studio space or music room, so we do not have the space for a huge Marshall stack at home. Therefore, for this list we’re going to include amps that are in the Goldilocks zone of amplifiers; not too big, not too small. Just right!
Fender Blues Junior IV
The Blues Junior is the industry standard for affordable tube amplifiers. This is a combo model which is both home and gig-friendly. They are durable and easy to use and are incredibly popular for good reason. Its volume is easily manageable and it has a single speaker which makes it easy to mic up for gigging or recording. The speaker is a Celestion A-Type which gives this combo its characteristic bark. It does both clean to relatively overdriven sounds very well, and it works great with effects pedals.
This is a very cool and modern take on a tube amplifier. It’s a true all-tube amp with the addition of in-built cabinet emulation. This means it can be used as both a normal amp with a speaker cabinet, or you can plug it directly into an audio interface for home recording. This amp is ideal for those who love that natural tube amp sound but want to record it more easily without making excessive noise.
The Morgan AC20’s best feature is its power dial. With this, you can lower the power output of the amp to suit the room in which you’re playing, and this is without sacrificing tone at all. Speaking of tone, Morgan’s tone is absolutely immaculate. The highs are crystal clear, and the lows are deep and booming.
Another cool feature on this amp is the ability to switch between the preamps 12ax7 to ef86 with a single toggle. The 12ax7 gives you perfect crystalline clean tones, and the ef86 gives you a fat, growly, more saturated sound.
Victory Sheriff 22
The Victory Sheriff 22 will provide you with unmistakable British tones with a modern flair. This Marshall-style amp is suitable for laying live at venues big or small, and it can be used at home since it has its own dedicated speaker output at 0.3 watts, which is ideal for use at home. Otherwise, there is a full-power output at 22 watts which is definitely too powerful for playing in your bedroom.
Blackstar HT-1R MKII Combo
This is an ideal amp for those who primarily play at home. Blackstar’s all-tube HT range is lightweight and portable, and they also have a USB output for home recording. These amps also have a great-sounding in-built digital reverb in addition to a “voice” switch which allows you to choose from British or American tones. Despite this amp being a 1-watt combo, it still packs a punch when you open it up and crank the volume.
The main downside with using small combo amps such as this is that the small 8-inch speaker doesn’t produce a large amount of low end. Put for the reasonable price, lightweight, and portability, you can’t go wrong with this Blackstar range of tube amplifiers.
The right amp for you is largely dependent on what sort of guitarist you are. Whether you play live regularly or are more of a hobbyist who plays exclusively at home, there is an amp on our list that will suit your needs. Additionally, for those who record their music at home, there are many modern options for tube amplifiers with USB outputs, so you can capture that authentic tube sound with ease.