Recently, it has come to the attention of amp manufacturers that people do not want to lug around heavy 100 watt amps for practices or wherever they are going with their guitars. Which is why so many of them have focused their time and money on manufacturing smaller versions. These 15-watt tube amps have tons of great features in a super portable version.
Here we will discuss the best 15-watt tube amps we have found on the market, along with a buyer’s guide to help you out.
Best 15 Watt Tube Amps Comparison Chart
6 Best 15 Watt Tube Amps
1. Monoprice 611815 15Watt, 1 x 12 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier with Celestion Speaker & Spring Reverb
Best known for being an Amazon choice product, this best 15-watt tube amp comes with a 1-year replacement warranty. Also offered is a 30-day money-back guarantee. With excellent customer support, this tube amp has a rugged designed and rigid quality control.
The 15-watt tube amp uses three ECC83/12AX7 preamplification tubes and two EL84 power tubes for the amplifier section, along with a Celestion Red Truvox 1215 speaker. It can successfully manage frequencies between 80Hz and 10kHz, with hum and noise -75dB below the rated power and 0.5% total harmonic distortion. The spring reverb adds a lush spaciousness to your tone and can be switched on or off using a foot pedal.
- Superior guitar tone with tone and styling of the ‘40s and ‘50s
- Synthetic leather exterior with chrome corner guards.
- A pair of EL84 tubes
- Three industry-standard 12AX7 tubes
2. Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1×10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
Another Amazon choice winner, this Fender 15-watt tube amp will be sure to please with its two 6V6 tubes and one 12AX7 preamp tube. It comes with a USB output for speaker-emulated digital recording, as well as two channels with channel switching format and optional footswitch.
The voicing knob features 16 different amp types (Tweed, Blackface, British, Metal, etc.) and 15 effects with effects adjust control and a TAP tempo control for delay time/modulation rate adjustments.
- Updated style and modern modifications
- Onboard effects for a versatile wealth of tonal coloring, atmospherics, and textures. Includes reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo and much more.
- Its amplifier features digital amplifier modeling encompassing a variety of amp types old and new, U.S. and U.K., and more
3. Bugera BC15 15-Watt Vintage Guitar Amp with 12AX7 Tube
This 15-watt guitar tube amp is extremely versatile in the music world. With a hand-selected 12AX7 tube, it features an authentic vintage design and classic guitar sound. There is a Gain button, which is provided to activate the Lead/Distortion channel. This amp is perfect for small gigs, rehearsals, jam sessions, and much more. This durable amp features a compact design with a consistent tone.
- 12AX7 valve in its preamp stage
- A master volume
- 2-band EQ which provides it a wide range of tonal options
- An attractive design to look at
4. Laney Amps CUB All TUBE Series CUB 12R 15-Watt 1×12 Guitar Combo Amplifier
The Laney Amps CUB All TUBE Series CUB 12R 15-Watt 1×12 Guitar Combo Amplifier is an attractive black and brown tube amp that has a custom-designed speaker. It is coupled with 3 x ECC83 pre-amp tubes the Cub12R goes from warm cleans to rich crunch giving the classic tones you need. The amp has an outlet socket so you can hook it up to a larger cabinet if you desire. Your favorite effects pedals can be connected via the FX loop.
- Small and attractive styled 15-watt tube amp
- Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume, Tone and Reverb controls
- FS1 footswitch (not included with purchase)
- Three ECC83 tubes
- Two EL84 tubes
5. Fender Hot Rod 0213205700 Blues Junior III 15-W LTD Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier
Another Amazon choice winner, this Fender 15-watt tube amp is a stylish choice for your music needs. Warm articulate tones are provided by the Jensen P12N speaker with Classic warm tube tone provided by the EL84 power tubes and 12ax7 pre-amp tubes.
There is a Foot switchable “FAT” option which adds thicker tones and subtle overdrive and an onboard spring reverb for a large echo effect. You can also not forget about the attractive lacquer tweed cabinet nor how durable the cabinet is!
- Attractive tweed vintage-style brown and gold grille cloth cabinet with lacquer finish
- Renowned Fender reverb
- Flexible controls
- Solid and durable construction
- Vintage pointer knobs
6. Ibanez TSA15 Tube Screamer 15W Tube Guitar Combo Amp Bundle with Polishing Cloth
Designed by a trusted guitar company, this 15-watt tube amp delivers the same legendary overdrive you get from a TS pedal! Included in your purchase is the footswitchable functionality with Tube Screamer Overdrive, Tone, and Level controls.
The IFS2G footswitch is sold separately. The Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the greatest overdrive pedals ever created, and the TSA15 tube combo amp features a true Tube Screamer circuit that surrenders that same legendary overdrive.
- 12 Celestion Seventy 80 speaker which can deliver everything from natural clean sounds to fat crunch tones to warm, smooth overdriven tones with the modified TS9 circuit built right into the amp.
- Genuine Tube Screamer circuit built into the front end
- Controls: Tube Screamer-Overdrive, Tone, Level Amp-Treble, Bass, Volume
- Modes: Pentode”15W; Triode”5W
- 2 x 12AX7 tubes (Pre)
- 2 x 6V6 tubes (Power)
Best 15-Watt Tube Amp Buyers Guide
Tube amps are very popular for many reasons. Musicians love that they have a warm and natural sound that is smooth. They also produce a natural overdrive that goes into force when the volume is turned up. And they are subtle. They are very responsive, and for that, guitarists just can’t get enough!
Here we have compiled the best information for you so you can make an educated decision when it comes to purchasing a 15-watt tube amp.
Things To Consider
There are certain things to consider when purchasing a tube amp. You would not just go to the store and throw the first head of lettuce into your cart without examining it to be sure it was good. Just as you would not purchase a car without test driving it. That is why you should look at all aspects of a tube amp to be certain that it is right for you.
You may not know it, but tube amps have different playing styles. Where some amps will be perfect for playing hard rock, others are more suited for classical music. It all comes down to the type of music you will be playing the most.
For those individuals that play heavy music, you will want to look for an amp that has excellent connectivity to the pedals, along with a dedicated gain and volume switch. Like playing classical music? Go with an amp that has a good chime and cleans that will not take too much precious time to set.
One or two channels are generally provided for a tube amp to control the volume and gain. The gain should not be thought of as a way to control the volume. Instead, think of it as a means to control the level of power that the volume produces. When you turn the gain up as high as it can go, a richer sound can be produced now that the volume is louder.
How easy it is to carry your amp is something that needs to be considered when you purchase it. If you are going to be taking it to rehearsals, gigs, friend’s houses, and more, you will want something that is easy for you to move and carry.
The heavier it is, the more of a pain in the behind it will be to move. And since it is your amp, it will always be your job to move it. Look for a tube amp that is lightweight but still has all the other factors and features that you still like.
To go with mobility, always look to see if your tube amp comes with a carrying case. This could potentially make it easier for you to carry. Sometimes they do come with cases that will help protect it, but other times, this is an added expense.
Depending on what your budget is, it could be helpful to purchase a case to help move it from one place to another. Just be sure when you purchase it that it will fit your tube amp correctly and that it is of high quality so the straps do not bust right away.
Break-In time is very important when purchasing a tube amp. Many do not think about this when looking for a new amp, but this is crucial. You need time to get used to the amp. Just as you would not wear a new pair of shoes on a big day without breaking them in first, you should not use the amp in this manner. As electricity flows through the speakers, it will broaden them.
Think of it as loosening it up as you do your shoes. Within a short amount of time, you will notice a change in the sound for the better.
Pedals can magnify your tube amp easily. Pretty much any amp can use a pedal, and all sorts of distorted sounds will be made. While you will not have to check compatibility on these, you will want to see if your amp is compatible with USB ports if you are interested in recording music.
The quality of your music could also change once you plug your guitar into your computer. Software is also a thing to look at. Some amps have software that they are compatible with, so be sure to check into this if you are interested.
Where Will You Use the Amp
Before you purchase the amp, you must think about where you will use it. Is it going to be for practice with the band? Or will you be using it for gigs? Tube amps generally work best for solo endeavors. They can also work OK in smaller locations if you are performing for the public. Just remember, the larger and the louder the crowd, the less likely the amp will work as well as you wish for it to.
Speaker size has a lot to do with how happy you will be with your 15-watt tube amp. Consider these facts:
- Larger speakers do not produce as many frequencies as smaller speakers.
- Medium-sized speakers are excellent for producing a mid-range emphasis.
- Larger speakers are normally more efficient at producing towards the low end.
- If you are looking for a crisp and clear sound, consider purchasing Celestion speakers.
You may also want to look at the EQ controls when purchasing a tube amp. Some will have several, while some only have one. If you purchase a tube amp that only has one, you may have to use a pedal. This is fine, but there are some disadvantages(along with advantages) to using the pedal).
Features You May See
There are many features that amps have nowadays. Here are some of the features that are becoming quite popular.
- Reverb units are amps in which use spring reverbs. These are natural in sound, but others will use digital revers.
- Effect loops are often seen in amps. Stompboxes or ramp units can be added with this feature after the preamp section. This will avoid any unwanted amplifying on effect noised.
- Channel switching is amps that allow you to switch from preamp channels from a clean to a distorted tone. Sometimes a footswitch will be included. However, you may have to purchase this separately.
- Built-in effects often come with many amps. These digital effects are great for many different uses while playing.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our best 15-watt tube amp buyers guide. Our hopes are now that you can make an educated decision on which amp is right for your needs. With this guide, you can find an amp and be up and playing in no time.
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.