5 Best Lightweight, Battery-Powered Portable Bass Amps

Bass Guitar Close-Up 2

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Welcome to the 21st century. A phone that’s smaller than a bar of soap is a more powerful computer than we relied on to get to the moon. A magnetically-levitated train in China whisks travelers away at speeds north of 250 mph. Electric cars drive themselves.

Decent battery-powered and portable bass amps exist.

This last one might sound improbable, even after the lead-in but it’s honestly the one that I’m most excited about. Even though there are some limitations here, there’s a lot you can do with these little marvels of technology and we’ll cover everything you need to know.

But if you just want to skip ahead and see what made our list, you can check out our top three favorites here:

Best Overall
Pignose HOG-20
Pignose HOG-20
9.9
  • 20 watts is more than enough for small venues and busking all while staying lightweight at just 14 pounds
  • Comes with rechargeable batteries so you're ready to go without any additional purchases
  • Equipped with squeal overdrive control, two instrument inputs, and a headphone jack for a little of everything without extras you don't need
Lightest Weight and Budget-Friendly
Blackstar FLY3
Blackstar FLY3
9.8
  • Weighs less than 2 pounds and can easily fit inside a backpack
  • 3 watts won't bring down the house but it's plenty for living room shows, practice sessions, and busking
  • Great budget-friendly price which is perfect for beginner guitarists
Runner Up
Roland Micro-Cube Bass RX
Roland Micro-Cube Bass RX
9.6
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds but provides a ton of low end power
  • Offers 8 amp models, 1/8" aux input, tuner, drum machine, flanger, wah, delay, headphone, and mic input along with a whole pile of other features.
  • Long battery life of 11 hours and uses readily available (and affordable) AA batteries

Limitations Of Portable and Battery-Powered Bass Amplifiers

Before we get into what you need to look for in a lightweight bass amp, let’s make sure we’ve set some expectations.

Is your battery power bass amp going to thump harder than the big 100-pound behemoth that sits on the floor of your favorite recording studio?

Sorry, but it’s unlikely.

After all, bass frequencies are synonymous with size and power. The legendary Ampeg B-15, for example, favored by James Jamerson among others, weighs 99 pounds. And less than a decade ago, that was the norm in the world of bass amps. You also shouldn’t expect a portable bass amp to be a tube amp and for the hardcore audiophiles out there that’s already a tough thing to accept.

As amazing as a portable bass amp is I still have to admit, that the very idea of a battery-powered bass amp has limitations. It’s the laws of physics- you can only bump so hard when you’re small and battery-powered. But “only so hard” is a lot harder than you might imagine and it’s still more than enough to hit those deep, low frequencies that really resonate with people. With the amps on this list, you can rehearse in your room, play bass at acoustic bonfire jams, busk anywhere your heart desires, and even perform at small to medium-sized venues.

Yes, portable and powerful is truly the future of bass amps.

First of all, not to stick on the “physics” point too long, but keep this in mind. “Micro” and “bass” are two aspirations at opposite ends of a spectrum from one another. The more powerful portable bass amps are heavier. The truly micro ones are more like Bluetooth speakers than bass amps. Don’t blame me, blame Newton or something. Whoever invented physics…

What To Look For In A Battery-Powered Bass Amp

Okay, now that we know what we’re getting ourselves into let’s go through some of the basic things you need to consider before you decide which portable bass amp is right for you.

Size and Portability

Just how portable do you need?

Most professionals recommend that a 150-pound person carries no more than 15 pounds in a backpack– at least for long periods of time. I know the gig veterans and roadies are rolling their eyes but this at least gives us a starting point.

Most of the battery-powered bass amps on this list are around 15 pounds which put them in that sweet spot of not too much weight. But you can also find options as small as 2 pounds which are quite literary pocket bass amps.

So consider your gig setup and just how much walking you’re going to do outside of a car. We don’t have any portable bass amps on this list that are more than 24 pounds so don’t worry about picking on that isn’t actually portable if you stick with this list.

Wattage

You’re usually going to need to find a balance between wattage and weight. Sure, you can find options that weigh less than 2 pounds but you’re going to get about 3 watts out of those.

Then you’ve got 30-watt options that weigh closer to 25 pounds.

For most folks, somewhere in between is best and that’s why I recommend the Pignose HOG-20 that comes in at 14 pounds and 20 watts. That’s plenty of power for busking and small venues but not so much weight that it’s no longer portable.

However, if you just want something for the house, you won’t have a problem with something less than 10 watts.

Battery Life

Like weight, battery life will usually vary with wattage. Higher wattage means more power drain and less battery life.

However, every portable bass amp on this list has a battery life of at least 5 hours which is usually more than enough for a small gig. If you’re willing to carry backup batteries then this factor becomes even less critical since you can just take a break, replace the batteries and get back to the show.

Sound

This is where things get pretty subjective and what sounds great to one person will sound not-so-great to the next. To help you out, we’ve included a few YouTube videos that really highlight the bass tones and sound you can expect.

Soak those in and then make your choice.

5 Best Portable and Battery Powered Bass Amps

With the background information out of the way, let’s get into the reviews starting with our best overall pick.

Best Overall: Pignose HOG-20

Best Overall
Pignose HOG-20
  • 20 watts is more than enough for small venues and busking all while staying lightweight at just 14 pounds
  • Comes with rechargeable batteries so you're ready to go without any additional purchases
  • Equipped with squeal overdrive control, two instrument inputs, and a headphone jack for a little of everything without extras you don't need

Before we even get into the sound (which is great) just take a look at this thing! Pignose is a class act, with a visual language that reminds me of a vintage portable vinyl player I picked up at a garage sale like a year and a half before vinyl became cool again (I’m not trying to say I’m uber-fashionable, more like impractical.)

It also helps that the price point is pretty darn reasonable when you consider the wattage you’re getting here.

And finally, realize that yes, this is a 20-Watt battery-powered amp. This is officially beyond the capabilities of many traditional wall-powered bass practice amps. Plain and simple, 20 watts means volume and bass response. If that’s your priority, this is your amp.

When I was comparing the amps’ sounds, the video of the Pignose featured a bassist busking in a busy Manhattan subway station. And if you’ve ever been to New York, you know that you have to be loud to be heard over that city! You can also see the Pignose HOG-20 in action and get a better feel for the sound in the less busy setting of McDonough, Georgia here:

Naturally, there are trade-offs. The HOG-20’s feature list is much slimmer than the Roland offering. Additionally, twenty watts of power means it uses more energy so while this powerful bass amp is plenty portable, you shouldn’t expect to get more than 6 to 7 hours of playtime out of it.

Still, most people don’t need the bells and whistles that you’ll see in our runner-up and just need something to bring down the house- or the subway. It also weighs just 14 pounds which is about the weight of a fat cat…and I know you can carry a fat cat!

I’m also a big fan of the battery setup here and the HOG-20 comes with two rechargeable batteries that are ready to go. The plus side here is that you don’t need to constantly replace little AA batteries or worry about creating extra waste by throwing them out.

The downside is that you can’t go more than 6 hours before you need an outlet to charge the batteries. For most people, that isn’t going to be a big deal but if you’re going on a longer busking tour you may prefer a portable bass amp that takes ready-to-go batteries so you can replace and roll. In that case, the Roland Micro Cube is probably a better choice.

It’s clear that there’s a whole lot to love here and the HOG-20 strikes a great balance of portability and power. You can read more reviews, take a closer look at the vintage design and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Runner Up: Roland Micro-Cube Bass RX

Runner Up
Roland Micro-Cube Bass RX
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds but provides a ton of low end power
  • Offers 8 amp models, 1/8" aux input, tuner, drum machine, flanger, wah, delay, headphone, and mic input along with a whole pile of other features.
  • Long battery life of 11 hours and uses readily available (and affordable) AA batteries

I’m not sure if Roland invented the idea of the battery-powered amp in the abstract, but they are the masters of this territory. The Roland Micro-Cube is like the original battery-powered amp, and quickly spawned a whole line of Micro-Cubes, each designed toward a different end.

I personally borrowed a friend’s for a house show (and a little busking before the show). I used it as a simultaneous mic and clean guitar amp. Instantly, I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how good it sounded, how powerful. Especially in such a compact package as this little guy weighs under 15 pounds.

There was just something so improbable, bordering on magical, about this tiny device projecting my music. You can imagine I was sad to give it back to my friend.

The Micro-Cube Bass RX is the all-around best mini bass combo amp, in my opinion. The unique presentation of four compact speakers gives this mighty device diverse capabilities that run circles around your other portable and lightweight bass amp options. It’s no surprise that it comes with a premium price tag too.

But it would take less space to talk about what the RX can’t do than to list what it can. Because the Roland cube is a modelling amp, it contains 8 amp models, a range of classic effects to keep you busy (chorus, flanger, reverb, and more) as well as a couple of handy practice tools- a tuner and a selection of metronome patterns.

And despite its rated power output of 5W, I had to be careful not to overpower a 5-piece acoustic band in a 100-seat venue. I know, that might seem hard to believe but you can see this bad boy in action here:

The battery life is great and while Roland advertises 11 hours, your mileage may vary. When I used this little bass amp, it was working for around 8 hours between me and a few other musicians. That’s way more than enough for most folks and plenty for small gigs or busking. And if you are at a venue with power, it also comes with an AC adaptor so you can plug it into power.

So why did this powerful portable and battery-powered bad mamba jamba only grab the runner-up spot? Because it can be hard to track this down sometimes and it regularly goes out of stock on Amazon. If it’s available, it’s worth snagging one but don’t be too disappointed if Amazon lists it as currently unavailable.

You can read more reviews and check today’s availability on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Lightest Weight and Most Budget-Friendly: Blackstar FLY3

Lightest Weight and Most Budget-Friendly
Blackstar FLY3
  • Weighs less than 2 pounds and can easily fit inside a backpack
  • 3 watts won't bring down the house but it's plenty for living room shows, practice sessions, and busking
  • Great budget-friendly price which is perfect for beginner guitarists

If you take portability very seriously then you’ll want to take a look at Blackstar’s FLY3 which is appropriately named considering it’s the flyweight of battery-powered bass amps with a weight of less than 2 pounds. For comparison, that’s equivalent to just 4 of the original Gameboys or around the same weight of a quart of chocolate milk.

I know, my weight comparisons are a bit out there but try and tell me you don’t have a great feel for the weight of this battery-powered bass amp now?

The lightweight design is not only easy to carry but also easy on your wallet and the FLY3 is one of the more affordable portable bass amps out there.

But all that good stuff isn’t without a tradeoff and the Blackstar FLY3 is also a 3-watt speaker. It’s by far the quietest offering on this list, more appropriate for bedroom practice or an indoor acoustic jam. So as long as you’re on board with the FLY3’s purpose, it’s a great piece of equipment.

Considering volume is at a premium here, the built-in compressor is a nice touch, allowing bassists to maximize their tone and presence while playing. And speaking of which, the most common reaction to the Blackstar’s tone is what I would characterize as “pleasant surprise.”

If you want to get that “pleasantly surprised” feeling you can check out this little guy in action here:

The FLY3 offers a unique feature. It’s available in a stereo configuration that enables you to double your wattage- hence volume. However, at that point, you’re approaching the price of other premium setups that offer even more watts. So instead of trying to turn this little guy into something it’s not, you’re better off embracing it for what it is: a powerful battery-powered bass amp that prioritizes portability above almost everything else.

While it doesn’t impact the sound, I also can’t help but mention the name “Blackstar” which is the same as the 2016 David Bowie album. Even though there’s no connection, this little bass amp definitely wins some style points.

You can take a closer look at this little guy, read more reviews and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best For Big Wattage: Pignose HOG-30

Best For Big Wattage
Pignose HOG-30
  • 30 watts of power is some of the highest you can get when it comes to a battery-powered bass amp (that's still portable)
  • All that power means this bad boy weighs in at 24 pounds which is still easy to carry around
  • The price is reasonable for the wattage you get

If you want big watts, battery power, and portability then the HOG-30 is worth taking a look at.

That extra wattage will require a tradeoff and while it’s still portable this battery-powered bass amp weighs around 24 pounds. That’s like carrying two hefty felines or about three gallons of milk so it’s not light- but definitely doable. Still, it’s the heaviest amp on this list by far so unless you’re happy to prioritize power you may want to look at another option.

Like the HOG-20, rechargeable batteries are included along with an AC adaptor in case you want to plug in and play. The battery life isn’t going to be as long as some of the other options on this list (again, thanks to the high wattage) but you can still reliable get 5 or 6 hours of playtime out of this.

If your motto is go big or go home, then the HOG-30 might be the portable and battery-powered bass amp for you. You can handle just about any small venue with those or make your play for King of the Buskers with the 30 watts of power- that’s up to you.

While I love the wattage and the vintage look, my biggest grip is that the grill over the speaker is plastic, not metal. All that said, the Roland-vs-Pignose debate comes down to your priorities and when it’s all laid out like this, I think you’ll know for yourself which direction is right for you.

If you want to take a close look at the input and output options, read more reviews and check today’s price on Amazon you can click here.

 

Alternative Option: Headphone Amp for Bass

Alternative Option
Headphone Amp for Bass
  • Perfect for individual practice without breaking the budget
  • Plenty of extra features that you'd normally only find in a modelling bass amp
  • More than 12,000 five star reviews on Amazon

If your main motivation here is individual practice, then consider a bass to headphone amp, such as VOX’s AP2BS.

I know, it’s not a speaker at all so don’t be misled here. Instead, it allows you to plug headphones into your bass. So you can only jam solo, but as I said, that is some people’s goal here and this can be a great option for folks that are sharing a home with other people. Or a good gift (with a not-so-subtle hint) for folks that are sharing a home with a bass player already.

You also get modelling amp tones and these handy gadgets allow an aux-in for virtual jams and feature a selection of rhythm patterns as well.

As you’d expect, this little guy is extremely portable at just 3 ounces and only requires 2 AA batteries compared to the 6 that you’d need for something like the Roland. It might not be exactly what you came here for but it could still be what you need.

You can read more reviews, check out all your options (from bass to blues and classic rock) along with the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Conclusion

While we don’t have flying cars or real hoverboards yet (I refuse to recognize those hilarious powered-sideways-skateboards as “hoverboards,” I wanna float- not slide!) But the bassist on the go doesn’t have to lug around an upright jazz bass anymore or go full Violent Femmes for that matter.

Now, you can pull a classy move like playing your Fender Jazz on the beach, or your Rickenbacker on the street. Maybe you could link your rig up to a Mu-Tron III clone and launch everyone in earshot into outer space. Either way, keep working and feel the joy of the music!