Best 15 Watt Tube Amps – 2020 Complete Round-up

Thalia
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

A tube amp is not always practical when you want to have a quick rehearsal or home practice, although it does make the best companion to a guitarist.

If you want to keep the amazing sound qualities of the tube amps without having your neighbors taking one out on you, here we have the best 15-watt tube amps, that are perfect for home use. 

Let's take a look.

Comparison Chart of the Best 15 Watt Tube Amps

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best 15-watt tube amp overall
  • Has a wide variety of eight all-analog preamp circuits
  • Authentic tonality and unique design for resonance and tone enhancement
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  • Contains two EL84 power tubes
  • Highly affordable and British quintessence
  • Has an effects loop and three 12AX7 preamp tubes
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  • Best 15-watt tube amp for the money
  • Powerful tube amp with 15-watts and 5” speaker
  • The high-quality audio experience in a portable design
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  • Includes an external speaker
  • Has a footswitch socket and an FX loop
  • Multiple controls, including reverb, volume, tone, bass, treble, and gain
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  • Rich sounds with two channels
  • Voicing knobs for 16 amp types
  • Wide variety of digital effects and a tap tempo control
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How Loud is a 15-Watt Tube Amp?

Loud enough to practice, yet not loud enough to blow out your windows and upset your neighbors. In fact, it is quite loud, but not as loud as those higher than 50 watts. It is perfect for home use; you can take it with you to rehearsal and benefit from all the features of a tube amp without the inconveniences of a large one. 

What Are The Best Uses For a Tube Amp?

Here’s a shortlist on what you can use a tube amp for:

To Step-up Your Game

A tube amp reportedly sounds much better than solid-state amps. Why would that be? Purely up to personal liking, but there’s some science to it as well. A tube amp performs smoother and is more responsive than solid-state. It gives the player much more control over the tones, and the sounds are quite sensitive.

For Louder Performances

A tube amp is also used because it sounds louder. For instance, if you are happy with your 15-watt solid-state amp, but you can barely be heard over your drummer, there is no point in using a more powerful amp to drown out your other players completely. A tube amp of 15 watts will typically be louder than a solid-state amp of 15 watts.

For Distortions

A tube amp can be useful for its distortion, which is more abundant than a solid-state amp. However, the tube amps have a distortion which is considered harmonic, or musical. Additionally, with a tube amp, the louder you play, the more harmonic content you get – as notes fade away, the content goes down as well. 

How to Choose a 15 Watt Tube Amp

There is no robust guidance on how to choose it since it depends on your needs, but here are some rough guidelines you should consider throughout this review:

Budget

One of the first considerations would be your budget, although we did do our best to offer you only high-value products. Make sure the amp you settle for goes within your upper budget limit. After all, this is a long-term investment, and you will keep this amp for a long time – make sure you are happy with its features. 

Features

Features need to be consistent with your needs. The next section below will provide you with a variety of tube amps that perform slightly different. The best thing to do would be to consider what would make you happy – a simple, intuitive layout or more tweakable controls? Are you a classic-type of personal, or do you want some modern high gain?

Size

Size is also important if you travel a lot. For example, if you go to the studio or rehearsal room regularly. In this case, you might want a lightweight, portable design to aid you with moving between venues and be easy to carry along with your other accessories. If you are more static, you could benefit from bulkier models since they tend to have more features. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best 15 watt tube amps:

  1. Vox AV15
  2. Orange OR15
  3. RockJam Busker Amp

Review of the Best 15 Watt Tube Amps

Knowing the top options for the best tube amp will help make your search a lot simpler. Here we look at some of the best.

Best Overall:
Vox AV15

Vox AV15 15w 1x8-Inch Analog Valve Modeling Guitar Amplifier

PROS

  • Has phone, aux in and input
  • Has three effects that can be used
  • Portable, intuitive use, and lightweight
  • True analog circuitry with a twin triode 12AX7
  • Performs with high-quality even at low volumes
  • Great value for money and recommended for versatility

CONS

  • Included power cable is poor quality
  • Requires maintenance for the 12AX7 tubes

What Recent Buyers Report

If you want versatility, this AV15 scores high on all aspects. The bright and fat switches allow you to customize various tunes, and you can choose either modern or vintage tube response with the switchable bias control. It is user-friendly and includes clean, crunch, high gain, and overdrive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The AV15 is a great tube amp of 15 watts, which is extremely versatile. You have a complete blend of functional features, including clean, crunch, and high gain, which can be tweaked using the bright/fat switches. The speaker is sealed for better resonance and presence.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is masterfully designed to be used in a recording studio, for home practice, or any other enclosed spaces. It is also highly recommended to pair with an acoustic guitar for the best results. The vintage wood box offers high resonance, and you can use the reverb, chorus, and delay effects to your liking.

Bottom Line

Overall, the AV15 15-watt tube amp is a multi-circuit analog unit that offers you consistent quality every time you plug it in. It is beginner-friendly, yet contains enough controls and features to allow you full freedom and express your creativity. The tone-shaping capabilities are definitely worth a try.

Runner-up:
Orange OR15

Orange Amplifiers OR Series OR15H 15W Compact Tube Guitar Amp Head

PROS

  • High-quality tones
  • Impressive tone-shaping abilities
  • Distortion is absolutely a must-try
  • Ideal for rehearsals and studio work
  • Excellent cleans and a wide spectrum of tonal range

CONS

  • Quality control
  • Only one channel available
  • Not suitable for a large stage

What Recent Buyers Report

The main feature of this tube amp is the ​ability to switch the output power of the amplifier through the bedroom/headroom switch. So, you can drop the power to 7 watts or even 1 watt for home rehearsals and back to 15 watts when you’re in the studio.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Orange OR15H has a wide range of adjustable knobs and features, with an intuitive design. You can use a simple EQ control that gives you wide tonal flexibility, and you can successfully adjust the output wattage for the best results. This tube amp is highly recommended for its classic crunch.

Who Will Use This Most

Whether you want to rehearse, go to the studio for recording purposes, or you want to awe a small crowd, this tube amp should be high on your list. With the compact feel and look, it is easy to transport around, and it is impressively powerful and dynamic.

Bottom Line

One thing is for sure – Orange OR15H is a basic, clean-looking amp. The surprising part is when you give it a try – how can a unit with such basic-specs be so versatile? And so affordable? And seem so loud? If you are looking for a classic crunch tone with simple flexibility, this is it.

Best for the Money:
RockJam Busker Amp

RockJam Bluetooth, rechargeable 15 watt portable guitar amplifier

PROS

  • Full, rich tonality
  • Pleasant aesthetics
  • Durable and reliable build
  • Powerful and clean sounds
  • Has integrated Bluetooth connection
  • Highly portable, can be battery-powered

CONS

  • Medium budget
  • Distortion is quite strong

What Recent Buyers Report

Despite its tiny and portable design, this amp is quite powerful – you can easily fill up a house or a small building. Even though it is battery-powered, it does not sound flat or tiny, like other similar alternatives. It is definitely a choice worth considering for both beginners and more experienced players.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The RockJam guitar amplifier made its way on our list due to its powerful output and vibrating sounds. What is somewhat unique about it is that it also has an integrated Bluetooth connection so that you can strum along with your favorite tunes. It also includes controls for volume, echo (for microphone input), treble, and bass.

Who Will Use This Most

With the 15 watts, this tube amp is a great unit, whether you want to rehearse, record, or have a small performance. You can also attach a microphone you can control with volume and echo, along with the effects for guitar: volume, bass, and treble. This unit is ideal for both beginners and more experienced guitarists.

Bottom Line

The RockJam busker guitar amp lives up to its name and delivers a high-quality performance each time you turn it on. With an integrated rechargeable battery, this tiny unit gives 15 watts of powerful, vibrating sounds and makes you wonder what took you so long.

Laney Electric Guitar Power Amplifier, Black/Brown (CUB-12R)

PROS

  • Warm sounds
  • Powerful tonality
  • Intuitive interface
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Highly versatile due to numerous controls

CONS

  • Quite overpriced
  • Can muddy the tone when the gain is cranked all the way up

What Recent Buyers Report

Clean mode is crystal clear, although you can add some grit to your tones, linearly and without any harsh standalone lines. The amp is overall sweet-sounding, and you can easily tweak its controls. The reverb effect is particularly interesting, especially that the switch moderates it well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The CUB12R has a full and rich tube-specific tone, which will add just the right amount of warmth to your tones. It is fully-packed with features for gain, middle, bass, treble, tone, volume, and reverb. It offers a smooth, yet rich overdrive with a lot of gain – but don’t crank it up too much, you’ll get a bit flubby.

Who Will Use This Most

If you need an amp full of personality, some bite, and roar, the CUB12R is no cub indeed. In fact, it is a portable, easy to use amp which will add some grit here and there when needed, sweetening your tones and awe your audience. Perfectly recommended for beginners and intermediate levels.

Bottom Line


Overall, the CUB12R is a perfect way to get tonal purity, with a vintage tube-specific tone. If you want to stay away from overly complicated layouts and excessive knobs, this tube amp will be the perfect match for you, and you will definitely grow together.

Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1x10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp

PROS

  • Features two channels
  • Ideal for beginners with lots of amp presets
  • Includes FX features, ideal for home practice
  • Analog sounds with exceptional quality of tubes
  • The integrated USB connection for easy tune and loops recording

CONS

  • Quality control
  • Not for large stages

What Recent Buyers Report

This amp is simple, flexible, and offers wide tone flexibility. You can easily connect it to the computer through the USB in order to record loops, tunes, and backing tracks. You have a lot of versatility and flexibility to create all the songs to your liking, and you have access to unlimited other tones.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This amp is sufficiently strong to make you shine through a rehearsal session or have some powerful home practice. It has a voicing knob that allows you to choose between Blackface, Twee, British, Metal, and 12 other voicings, 15 FX settings, and control for tap tempo.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want fun, affordability, and tweakable, endless possibilities, we present you the Fender Super-Champ X2 with endless options and features. It is truly a champion, which will make you shine like a star. Whether a beginner or a more seasoned player, this amp has a lot to offer.

Bottom Line

This rich, full of vigor amp offers all you need in one word: versatility. With a dual-channel tube, the unit includes 16 amp voicings, 15 FX settings, and unlimited access to tones, which can be created with Super Champ X2. You should definitely check out this formidable pack of features!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tube Amps

Here’s a short pros and cons list of using tube amps in your setup:

  • Distinctive sounds
  • Tube-like tones
  • Harmonic distortion
  • High sensitivity
  • Responsiveness

Tube amps are often chosen for their distinctive sounds and tone. They bring more warmth, while solid-state amps are crispier. The sound of a tube amp is also clean when played softly, but can get a distorted ‘sharper’ note when playing with more accent. 

The tube amp also has the natural distortion which solid-state amps do not have – the harmonic distortion which some players prefer instead of any modern distortion pedal. The tube amp is also very sensitive, thus gives different results with different players, responding to their specific play style, and bring uniqueness in their performances. 

  • Higher costs
  • Maintenance
  • Loudness

On the other hand, tube amps are more expensive than solid-state amps, and they require some maintenance if the tubes break down, which in this case, needs to be replaced. Additionally, they are louder than solid-state amps with the same 15 watts – and if turned down, the quality will not be as good. 

Conclusion

Overall, the 15-watt tube amps are the perfect way to practice at home or go about your rehearsal schedule, keeping all the benefits of tube amps, but in a more compact and affordable packaging. All you need now is to get all this information and make a decision – how adventurous are you?

Thalia

Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.