Best Guitar Amps for Headphones – Play loud, silently

Arrangement of Guitar Headphone Amps next to each other on colored backgrounds

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For guitar players on the go or folks who like flexibility in their guitar practice routine, headphone amps are a godsend!

When using one of these micro devices, you aren’t bound to your clunky amps and you aren’t making any noise.

Guitar headphone amps offer limited sonic versatility, but extreme portability compared to traditional amps. That’s why they are usually sold in various specialized options like metal amps, rock amps, and more.

Pair them with the right headphones and you’re sound experience will level up significantly.

Fortunately for you we’ve done that list too – a match made in guitar heaven. >> Check it here.

Editor’s Pick
Vox AC30 AP2AC Headphone Amp
Who doesn’t love VOX? I remember the first time I changed from a matchless stack to an AC30 and fell in love. This headphone unit has all the look of a real AC30 in a headphone amp you can take and practice your electric guitar chops with ease for only $39.42.
Left handed Maton Acoustic Guitar with Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphones
Left handed Maton Acoustic Guitar with Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphones

Personally, I love these little things. Some folks tend to discard them but I have to say my practice hours have only increased since getting one, and that’s what it’s all about, right.

With that said, I did the hard work and sifted through what the market has to offer right now. Check out the best headphone guitar amps in 2022.

VOX Guitar Headphone Amp (amPlug 2 AC30)

Editor’s Pick

VOX AP2AC amPlug Headphone Amp as a Best Guitar Amp for Headphones
VOX AP2AC amPlug Headphone Amp

Amazon Price: $39.42

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VOX AP2AC amPlug is the first thing most guitarists think of when someone mentions guitar headphone amps, and I’m no different. This little amp encompasses everything great about this type of items. It’s portable, durable, looks sweet, and packs a killer sonic attack.

There are seven different models within the series, each specialized for a different style. The models include Blues, Bass, Classic Rock, and more. The one I would like to focus on is the AC30, modeled to match the company’s iconic amp, originally introduced in 1958.

In the sonic department, the circuit is fully analog, and that’s awesome. The shortest way to describe this model is like having a mini AD30VT Vox modelling amp circuit board at your disposal.

Needless to say, you will need to combine this little fella with a set of quality headphones or a good stereo for quality results. I highly recommend clean and light overdrive tones. You won’t spot a difference between an actual AC30 and this little fella if properly set up.

Among nifty features, the defice has a foldable mechanism for the input audio jack, plus the auto-off function. That’s cool but what I like more are the three on-board audio regimes. This is great because you will be able to cover a variety of tones and genres.

You shouldn’t expect too much sonic versatility from these amps in general, but it’s nice to have some variety and not be limited to a single style.

You can also add Delay, Chorus, and Reverb effects. Obviously, the quality won’t bev on par with separate stomp-boxes or a high-quality guitar processor, but it’s good enough to spice your jams up. The device runs on a pair of AAA bateries.

What we like (Pros)

  • Analog circuit
  • High durability
  • Three audio modes
  • High sonic versatility

What we like less (Cons)

  • On-board effects aren’t exactly top-notch

Valeton Rushead Max Headphone Amp

Another Worthy Contender

Valeton Rushead Max Headphone Amp
Valeton Rushead Max Headphone Amp

Amazon Price: $28.70

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If you’re looking for something a little more affordable but still effective and versatile, check out the Rushhead Max from Valeton.

What makes this model stand out is the vast array of guitar headphone amps and effects.

We’re looking at five control knobs and nine different effects, including Chorus, Tremolo, Flanger, Clean, Overdrive, Distortion, and more.

This is a great addition for beginners. The quality of the on-board effect is nowhere near amazing, but it’s enough to give you a clear image of the effect at hand and drive you to play and practice more.

The number of included controls is just enough to prompt the newbies to experiment with their sound. What I find important is that the clear output is solid. For practice, you’ll likely want to level up your playing in clear mode and then do the easier part by adding effects.

I was also impressed by the 4-5-hour battery life, certainly more than expected. Finally, the durability is high, which is paramount with smaller items like this.

In short, you’ll get a good clean sound output, perfect for practice on the go. On top of that, you get nine different effect configurations and fiec control knobs to spice things up if clean practice becomes boring. And then, the price tag is affordable. Good stuff!

What we like (Pros)

  • Good value for money
  • High versatility, plenty of controls
  • Nine tone modifications
  • Long battery life

What we like less (Cons)

  • Weaker distortion sounds

Fender Mustang Micro

Best Premium Headphone Amp

Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp
Fender Mustang Micro

View at Fender

If you want the top option and you’re ready to pay extra, look no further than the Fender Mustang Micro.

This little beast offers 12 on-board amp simulators, combined with 13 onboard effects. And the best part is – they actually sound pretty good!

in fact, I can say that this tasty guitar headphone amp makes most of the contenders on this rundown sound like toys. Yes, they are all great for what they were designed and this model is pricier than the rest but with a solid set of headphones, Mustang Micro will actually deliver an experience similar to using a full-on amp.

Fender Stratocaster with Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphones
Fender Stratocaster with Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphones

The effects included in the mix are pretty versatile and I love that the input jack can rotate 270 degrees. This gives you exceptional freedom to use this Fender headphone amp across your home or on the go.

The device sports a USB-C output for extra-fast charging, and offers Bluetooth compatibility. What I like the most apart from the sturdy build and the top-notch sound quality is the vast array of onboard amp simulators.

Basically, this feature allows you to dial in a sound output closely similar to your regular amp, retaining the same tome both during Mustang Micro practice sessions and full-on amp use. You can also experiment quite a bit and them implement it to your main guitar amplifier later on. Pretty convenient, right?

What we like (Pros)

  • Amazing sound
  • High durability
  • 12 amp simulators and 13 onboard effects
  • Battery rechargeable via USB

What we like less (Cons)

  • Still the most expensive option

NUX GP-1 Headphone Amp

Budget Pick

NUX GP-1 Headphone Amp
NUX GP-1 Headphone Amp

Current Amazon Price: $15.99

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If you are looking for the basic goods, just a clear-cut headphone amp that will deliver a decent audio output on the budget, NUX GP-1 is the one.

The device offers clean and distorted options, and even comes with a pair of AAA batteries. The distortion is described as “Classic British” and it does the job alright in my opinion.

Like I said, I prefer using these amps in clean mode because you use them to practice you strumming and technique, not to dial your tone in. And clean output is where it’s at; if you get something right on Clean, you’ll certainly nail it after adding overdrive or distortion.

Apart from the extra drive, this guitar headphone amp offers no onboard effects. That was possibly one of the factors behind the lower price tag, and the right approach to take, in my opinion. Since this model’s durability and build quality is on par with the pricier products, it would seem like the cut was made in the effects department.

So if you don’t need to use the effects during practice, this product is a great way to save a few dollars and still get the gist of what the headphone amps are all about. Personally, I don’t find the effects paramount for products like this, but they are a great addition.

And considering that you can get headphone amps with decent on-board effects for a few extra tens of dollars, it’s just as valid to go for that option. But if you’re looking to pay the lowest possible price that will still get you a decent headphone amp, this is the one!

What we like (Pros)

  • Low price
  • Solid construction and durability
  • Clean sound
  • DIstortion still included in the mix

What we like less (Cons)

  • No extra effects apart from Distortion

Donner Guitar Headphone AMP

Best for Metal

Donner Guitar Headphone AMP
Donner Guitar Headphone AMP

Current Amazon Price: Price not available

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If you’re a metalhead and you know that you don’t invest much time in playing other genres, then why not get a specialized metal guitar headphone amp? If this assessment sounds alright with you, I say check out Donner’s Heavy Metal!

This model is based on the Soldano SLO100 amplifier and features an onboard chorus effect. It comes with a USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable to connect with your audio player. The battery can run for 5 hours straight, with some folks even reporting 6 hours of continuous operation.

What makes this fella stand out is obviously the sound. I am pleased that we are looking at a genuine modern metal beast and not some cheap scoop-the-mids toy.

The sonic attack is best dfescribed as crunchy. It’s perfect for heavy, thrash, or even death metal. And if you’re looking to tone things down, you can slide the distortion down and go for a more hard-rock based delivery. Needless to say, if you are looking for genres softer than hard rock, this is not the product for you. The big “Heavy Metal” sign makes that pretty clear, though, right?

The onboard chorus effect is a nice little addition to spice things up, especially if you’re looking to make those gloomy tones. Note that the effect has no dedicated control knob, so it’s either on or off. Overall, if you’re the type who likes to crank it up to 11, this is the one!

What we like (Pros)

  • Great metal sound, genuine crunch
  • Good build quality
  • Can work for hard rock too when distrotion is on low levels
  • Included Chorus effect

What we like less (Cons)

  • No control options for the Chorus effect. It’s either on or off

Blackstar amPlug2 FLY Bass Headphone Amp

Best for Bass

Blackstar amPlug2 FLY Bass Headphone Amp
Best Guitar Amps for Headphones - Play loud, silently 12

View at Blackstar

And finally, we’ll wrap things up today with a little something for the bass players. Meet the Blackstar amPlug2 FLY Bass, the best bass guitar headphone amp for bassists on the market right now.

This bass guitar headphone amp offers three different channels: Classic, Overdrive, and Modern, along with six different rhythm configuration: Rock, Blues, R&B, Funk, Hip-Hop, Tap Tempo, and Metronome. The body design is foldable and fits with just about every guitar out there.

As expected, the sonic output is configured to deliver lower frequencies and cover even extended-range basses with clarity and punch. The sound is rumbling, deep, and strong. The on-board distortion is pretty sweet too, great for beefing up your bass attack. But what impressed me the most is the battery life – 17 hours! Just wow!

This model also includes loops and beats, which is awesome. Not only can you walk around your house or hang around in bed with just your bass and the headphones and jam, but you can even add drums into the mix.

The design is foldable and the input jack can rotate 180 degrees. Also included in the mix is the auto shutdown feature in case of inactivity. For all you bass players, I say check this one out!

What we like (Pros)

  • Top-notch low end coverage
  • Included distortion
  • High audio versatility
  • Amazing battery life. 17 hours!

What we like less (Cons)

  • Gain crackle at higher levels

Summing it all up

I hope this rundown of guitar headphone amps was helpful and that you found your best headphone guitar amp. When searching for products, I made sure the sound quality sounds first. I also went for high durability because this is a small product people often take on the road or around the house, so no flimsy stuff!

Finally, I made sure to add some cool extras here and there and bring you the cream of the crop across various criteria and price ranges.

Make sure you are staying safe and have a good one, guys!

Can I use headphone amp for guitar?

Yes! You certainly can. Ideally though, you will use a headphone amp that is specifically designed for guitars and the related frequencies.

Is a headphone amp worth it?

Yes. Headphone Amps for guitar make it possible to practice in your room, school, offices and other places where you can’t set up a full sized amp. An easy and private way to practice.

What size is the headphone jack on a headphone guitar amp?

Most guitar headphone amps use a 3.5mm jack plug but ensure you check the specific connector to the model you are looking at.

Do you need specific headphones for a guitar amp?

No. Any headphones or earphones will work but there are some that do a particularly good job at replicating the frequencies common to guitars (electric and acoustic).

This post was last updated on 2022-09-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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