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Published Dec. 22, 2020

Amplifiers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes — not just the large suitcase size that many people think about when visualizing a typical amp. Amplifiers are designed to be used in many locations and scenarios to process sound signals and make them louder through a speaker system.

If you aren’t looking for concert-level sound amplification, maybe a mini amplifier would be enough to suit your needs. Mini amplifiers are great because they’re small enough to be portable and compact enough to be set up in some very tight or inconspicuous spaces. Even though they’re significantly smaller than a typical amplifier, they’re still powerful enough to deliver some serious sound, making them a very versatile and desirable option for homes, offices, boats, RVs, and more. If you’re in the market for a mini amplifier, check out our favorites and read through our informative buying guide to learn exactly what to look for in a good-quality, reliable mini amplifier.

Our pick for the best in overall reliability, performance, and price is the Pyle Bluetooth Mini Stereo Power Amplifier. It features built-in Bluetooth technology to allow you to stream all your favorite audio wirelessly, and it’s compatible with all your favorite Bluetooth devices, like iPhone or Android smartphones, tablets, iPads, PCs, and more. It’s equipped with a 3.5mm AUX input jack for all the devices that aren’t Bluetooth enabled, giving you a versatile and well-rounded listening experience.

This compact mini amp also comes equipped with four push-type speaker terminals, an easy-to-read, bright blue LED, USB and SD memory card readers, and a hand remote control for operation from afar. Separate treble and bass control knobs let you customize your sound quality, and a headphone jack lets you listen without disturbing others. It measures 5.61 x 2.71 x 4.21 inches, making it easy to set up just about anywhere. It should be noted that your speakers will need to be hardwired to the amplifier to work.

Key Features
  • Four speaker input jacks
  • Bluetooth compatible with all your mobile devices
  • Separate bass and treble controls
  • USB and SD memory card slots
Specification
  • Brand Pyle
  • Model PCAU48BT
  • Weight 8 ounces
PROS

Super compact

Easy to use and set up

Lots of options for listening to your favorite music

CONS

Can create a slight humming sound at certain volumes

Must be hardwired to you speakers

Some concern about Bluetooth malfunction over time

The Kinter K2020A+ Limited Edition Original Tripath TA2020-020 Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier is an incredible value when it comes to a mini amplifier. It comes equipped with not only the amp but also a specially designed 12-volt, 5-amp power supply to allow the amplifier to function at its best, providing you with top-notch sound quality. This is a great amp for desktops, dorm rooms, dens, offices, and more. Its special Tripath TA2020-020 amplifier chip emits crisp, efficient, and powerful sound.

This compact mini amp features two 3.5mm inputs that are gold plated and provide superconductivity for audio inputs. Improved spring terminal speaker outputs make for fast, reliable, and easy speaker connections. Separate treble and bass controls allow you to tailor the sound for different needs. This unit measures 4.72 x 5.79 x 1.65 inches. It’s best for powering eight-ohm speakers but can do 16-ohm speakers, just a little less efficiently.

Key Features
  • Gold-plated RCA connectors
  • Separate treble and bass controls
  • 12-volt, 5-amp power supply included
  • Tripath TA2020-020 amplifier chip
Specification
  • Brand Kinter
  • Model K2020A+
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Affordable

Super easy to use

Clear sound quality

CONS

Not wireless capable

Only two speaker channels

Not the most powerful amp on the market

If you’re in the market for a top-of-the-line wireless connection for your speakers, check out the Fosi Audio Bluetooth Amplifier. This sleek and modern-looking mini amplifier supports USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth 4.2 apt-X, and 3.5mm AUX input, making it one of the most versatile amps on the market. One of the only interfaces it doesn’t support, unfortunately, is Dolby/DST audio, so be sure to check your system before making a purchase.

It has a wide detection range of up to 65 feet, allowing you the ability to place this amp inconspicuously almost anywhere you want. It is a class D amplifier that offers 50 watts of power and can support two 4 ohm speakers with crystal clear sound quality. It comes with a convenient multifunctional wireless remote control that allows you to alter the bass, treble, input selection, EQ, volume, mute, and much more. It’s also equipped with its 24-volt power supply, AC cord, USB cable, optical cable, user manual, and an impressive 18-month warranty. It measures 11.93 x 9.13 x 2.76 inches.

Key Features
  • Fully Bluetooth compatible with speakers, as well as mobile devices
  • Includes 24-volt power supply
  • Minimalistic design with bright LED display
  • 18-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand Fosi Audio
  • Model DA2120-A
  • Weight 2.64 pounds
PROS

Sleek and modern design

Crystal clear sound quality

Easy to operate via remote control

CONS

Larger than some other models

Pricey

Can’t support Dolby/DST audio

If you’re in the market for something completely different when it comes to a mini amplifier, the Facmogu F900 Mini Bluetooth Power Amplifier is a fun and unique option. Measuring only 3 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches, it’s one of the smallest and most compact mini amplifiers on the market. It features dual-channel 50-watt outputs and an upgraded TPA3116 chip that’s ideal for speakers in the 4-8 ohm range. It’s also equipped with an AUX/USB/Bluetooth input for added versatility.

The Bluetooth capability allows you the convenience of wirelessly connecting to your PC, tablet, iPad, laptop, or smartphone to stream all the music you want. It’s not compatible, however, with Amazon Echo, Alexa, or Bose speakers. This mini amp features a fun metallic color and a one-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Key Features
  • Dual-channel 50-watt output
  • Wireless Bluetooth capability
  • Bonus AUX/USB port
  • Fun metallic finish
Specification
  • Brand Facmogu
  • Model SKU17021
  • Weight 1.04 pounds
PROS

Super compact to be able to fit almost anywhere

Simple and fun design

Very affordable

CONS

Needs an external power supply

Not compatible with Amazon Echo or Alexa, or Bose speakers

A weaker output than some other models

The Nobsound 2 Channel Bluetooth 5.0 Amplifier is a classic-looking, old school design with modern technology that will be a great addition to any sound system. With its TPA3116 chip and Bluetooth compatible technology, this mini amplifier delivers high-end, clear sound at an affordable price.

This unit measures 6.93 x 4.72 x 3.7 inches and can fit inconspicuously in most home offices, dens, dorm rooms, apartments, RVs, boats, and more. It features independent treble and bass controls for customizable sound and a respectable dual-channel 100-watt output to give you the power you need. This mini amp can function with Bluetooth up to 28 feet away from its source but doesn’t come with any extra AUX/USB ports to support other devices that aren’t Bluetooth compatible.

Key Features
  • Dual-channel 100-watt output
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • TPA3116 chip technology
  • Classic, old school design
Specification
  • Brand Nobsound
  • Model DZ036
  • Weight 1.37 pounds
PROS

Can stream music wirelessly

Strong sound output for high-quality, clear listening

Can customize the sound with independent bass and treble controls

CONS

No AUX/USB port

Short Bluetooth range compared to some models

Requires space for airflow due to lack of a cooling fan

Offered at one of the lowest prices on the market, the Lepy LP-2020A Class-D Hi-Fi Digital Amplifier is a good little amplifier for anyone on a strict budget. It’s a straightforward, no-frills mini amp that’s super easy to set up and use. Its unique all-aluminum appearance is sleek and reminiscent of the stereos from the ’70s and ’80s. It measures 5.7 x 4.7 x 1.6 inches and can fit neatly into your existing stereo set-up, or in a small area where space is limited.

It features two 20-watt outputs, making it suitable for speakers in the four-ohm range. It’s compatible with your PC, laptop, smartphone, MP3 player, CD player, iPad, television, and much more, making it a versatile little amplifier. This particular unit can be securely bolted down thanks to its rugged surface mount components. It comes with a 12-volt, 3-amp power supply.

Key Features
  • Dual-channel 20-watt output
  • An all-aluminum sleek front plate
  • Mounting brackets for secure placement
  • Overheat shut-off protection
Specification
  • Brand Lepy
  • Model LP-2020A Class-D
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Super affordable

Separate bass and treble controls

Straightforward and easy set-up

CONS

A weaker output than many other models

Not Bluetooth compatible

Plain looking design

The Douk Audio Bluetooth 5.0 Power Amplifier 2 deserves an honorable mention for being a well thought out, innovatively designed, and high-tech mini amplifier that’s a great value for the price. Fully Bluetooth compatible, this dual-channel, 50-watt output will achieve faster transmission speeds and high-quality and stable sound delivery.  This particular model can support RCA, AUX, and USB inputs, making it a versatile addition to your stereo system.

Fun and bright LED lights indicate power and levels of function. Gold plated speaker input jacks and audio output jacks promote signal clarity, power, and reliability. The included 19-volt power supply is sufficient for 3-8 inch home speakers, but larger speakers will require a more powerful amplifier to function sufficiently. All in all, this is a fun-looking mini amplifier that will do a great job for smaller spaces.

Key Features
  • Dual-channel 50-watt output
  • Bluetooth capable
  • Compatible with RCA, USB, and AUX inputs
  • 19-volt power supply included
Specification
  • Brand Douk Audio
  • Model DZ044DY_B
  • Weight 1.54 pounds
PROS

Fun and innovative design

New and versatile technology

Super user-friendly and intuitive

CONS

A less powerful output than some other models

Some distortion sounds when connected to larger speakers

May not work with all USB connectors

Best Mini Amplifiers Buying Guide & FAQ

Now that you’ve seen some of our top choices when it comes to the various mini amplifier models on the market, it’s time to discuss what you need a mini amplifier for and what criteria or features you should look for in a high-quality, reliable mini amp. 

Not all mini amps have the same features and set-ups. Indeed, there is a wide variety of amp types on the market, so this buying guide will help you to narrow down what aspects are most important to you so that you can be sure you’re getting the perfect mini amplifier to suit your needs.

Do You Need a Mini Amplifier?

If you’re looking to build a high-quality sound system in your dorm room, office, den, RV, boat, or workshop that doesn’t take up a ton of space or cost a ton of cash, but sounds a hundred times better than just playing music on your smartphone, a mini amplifier is a key piece of equipment that will be the cornerstone of your stereo set-up.

Combining a mini amp with a set of good quality outdoor or shelf speakers, or even a set of second-hand late-model speakers can create a solid-sounding and respectable stereo system. Thanks to advances in technology, mini amps are super-compact, yet can still produce a lot of crystal clear, high-quality sound at a super affordable price. 

Even better, a lot of today’s mini amplifiers are compatible with Bluetooth technology, allowing you to wirelessly stream music from all your Bluetooth capable devices, like your smartphone, iPod, MP3 player, laptop, tablet, and sometimes even Amazon Alexa or Echo, giving you practically unlimited options for playing your favorite music.

  • An inexpensive way to create an in-home stereo system
  • Super space-saving design allows them to be inconspicuously installed virtually anywhere
  • Versatile enough to allow you to play music from a wide variety of different devices

Two channels aren’t enough? Learn what our favorite five-channel amplifiers are here.

Types of Mini Amplifiers

setting up mini amplifier for car audio
Setting up a mini amplifier in a car

Just like with full-size amplifiers, there are several different types of mini amplifiers that you can choose from based on what your specific wants and needs are. If you’re a die-hard musician or music lover, you may be concerned with getting the highest quality, top-of-the-line amp available, but if you’re looking to have a system that provides moderate sounds and background music for parties, or during working hours, you may be geared toward something that sounds great, but costs less and takes up less space.

Class A

This type of mini amplifier is a simple and straightforward device. It conducts sound through the full 360 degrees of the waveform cycle. They’re usually made up of two sub-categories: single-ended and push/pull amps. Push/pull amps are better and utilize output devices in pairs with both devices conducting through the entire 360-degree cycle. One device usually handles more of the positive portion of the load, while the other takes the negative portion. This leads to decreased sound distortion and hum during music play.

The positive attributes associated with Class A operation often make them the gold standard for lots of audiophiles. The one big drawback to this type of amp is that they’re highly inefficient. Because Class A amps have all output devices fully conducting all the time, they have a lot of wasted power, which unfortunately gets converted to heat.

Class B

Class B amplifiers use a push/pull arrangement also, but in such a way that only half of the output devices are conducting at any given moment. One half covers the positive portion of the waveform and the other half covers the negative portion. This makes them significantly more efficient than Class A. 

Despite this fact, Class B amps are rare, due to the large amount of crossover distortion created by them. Crossover distortion is a problem in the transfer between the positive and negative portions of the waveform, and it’s usually pretty audible, which is a major no-no if you want clear, crisp music play.

Class A/B

As the name implies, this type of amplifier combines the best attributes of both A and B classes to create a better quality sound. They’re very common and popular with consumers and audiophiles. This type of amplifier closes the distortion gap between the positive and negative portions of the sine wave, greatly diminishing crossover distortion.

This type also takes care of the efficiency problem, since this push/pull method of amplification isn’t functioning at 100 percent throughout the full 360-degree wave cycle. These two aspects combined make an amp that sounds great and is widely respected by audiophiles.

Class D

This type of amplifier is often wrongly referred to as “digital amplification”. It’s the be-all-end-all of amplifier efficiency, with rates greater than 90 percent. This is achieved by rapid switching of the output devices between the on and off state, versus having them active all the time. Class T designs are a specific implementation of Class D, designed by Tripath, which utilizes switching rates of 50MHz. The output designs are controlled by pulse width modulation, which is just square waves of different widths that are produced by a modulator to represent the analog signal. This provides a theoretical output efficiency of 100 percent.

You can choose from analog or digital controlled Class D amplifiers. Analog controlled Class D amps usually have better performance and lower output impedance with an improved distortion level. Typically, most modern mini amplifiers will be a Class D amp, since their benefits are just so much greater than all the other options combined.

Looking for an amplifier for your component speakers? These are our top picks.

What to Look for When Buying Mini Amplifiers

best audio system connected with mini amplifier
Mini amplifiers connected to an audio system

When purchasing a mini amplifier, one of the most important things to look for is going to be compatibility. Not all mini amps are created the same, with several different types that can perform their functions over varied platforms. If you’re just looking to plug in a set of bookshelf speakers to make a budget-friendly and space-saving stereo system for your home, office, or dorm room, it’s not such a huge concern, and you can go with a mini amp that’s more value-oriented.

If you’re hoping to stream music wirelessly from a variety of different devices or let your friends or family easily and wirelessly connect to your sound system, you are going to want either a Bluetooth capable device or something with several input options, like an AUX and a USB port.

The Most Important Features of Mini Amplifiers

No matter what your purpose or desire for needing a mini amplifier is, several key features are important across the board, and including them in your search criteria will quickly help you narrow down your options to the most relevant ones.

Size

One of the biggest reasons most people want to buy a mini amplifier is portability or size restrictions based on the overall stereo system. Do you have space for something that can accommodate a 12-pound amplifier or do you only have enough room for a 2-3 pound amp?

A mini amplifier’s main appeal lies not in its ability to pump out a ton of sound but in its ability to fit into a tight space or to be inconspicuous enough not to detract from your overall decor, whether it’s in an office, home, or dorm room. So pre-measuring your chosen spot for a mini amplifier may help you narrow down your options quickly since not all mini amps are the same size.

Connectivity 

Being able to connect your mini amp to a mobile device is a huge must-have for many consumers. Thanks to recent advances in technology, so many mini amps on the market have this capability and are still small enough to fit in a purse or a backpack.

That being said, two connection options are often overlooked. One is the ability to plug in a set of headphones. Not everyone owns a pair of pricey wireless headphones. For the purists out there who want the option of being able to plug in for privacy or so as not to disturb others, a headphone jack is key.

The other connection option often skipped over is the microphone jack. This is important in all systems that are to be used for karaoke, singing in public places, or recording audio files on tracks in your living room.

Sound Quality 

While mini amplifiers certainly don’t offer the same level of loud, crystal clear sound and banging bass beats that you see in regular-sized amps, users of mini amps still want a high-quality, sharp sound for their music.

A really good mini amplifier will still produce an impressive and reliable sound that’s going to be a pleasure to listen to and not an embarrassment when you have company over. Surprisingly, with the rapid changes in technology, today’s mini amplifiers have an impressive amount of sound-producing power, making them a versatile and portable option for a lot of people. 

Learn all about our top picks for four-channel amplifiers here.

Best Mini Amplifiers FAQ:

Still, have some questions surrounding mini amplifiers? Here, we examine some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions and provide our most in-depth answers to provide you with even more clarity when it comes to choosing your favorite mini amplifier.

Q: What is the smallest amplifier?

While the Facmogu F900 Mini Bluetooth Power Amplifier is the smallest mini amplifier on our list, it measures 3 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches, which is incredibly tiny. However, one of the smallest mini amps on the market, the NS-10G Bluetooth 5.0 2 Channel Power Amplifier just beats it by measuring in at a super-compact 3.15 × 2.09 × 0.87 inches.

Q: How do you make a mini amp speaker?

While instructables.com has a pretty cool video on how to make a mini amplifier speaker, it’s still a pretty in-depth process that requires a lot of components and lots of steps. Considering that you can purchase mini amp speakers to fit a variety of budgets, it’s way easier to save yourself the time and effort and just buy one.

Q: How much does a small amp cost?

Small amplifiers can vary greatly in price, with some of the most budget-friendly being offered at around $25, while other, more high-end, and technologically advanced mini amps can cost upwards of $150.

Our Top Pick

For us, the Pyle Bluetooth Mini Stereo Power Amplifier has everything you want in an awesome mini amplifier that combines reliability, performance, and price to be the best overall choice. It features built-in Bluetooth technology to allow you to stream all your favorite audio wirelessly and it’s compatible with all your favorite Bluetooth devices, like iPhone or Android smartphones, tablets, iPads, PCs, and more. It’s equipped with a 3.5mm AUX input jack for all the devices that aren’t Bluetooth enabled, giving you a versatile and well-rounded listening experience.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all you need to know about mini amplifiers and why you need or want one, let us know in the comments if you decided on the  Pyle Bluetooth Mini Stereo Power Amplifier, the Kinter K2020A+ Limited Edition Original Tripath TA2020-020 Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier, or one of the other great options on our list. Either way, a mini amp can be a game-changer when it comes to producing high-quality, clear sound in a small space.

Sources:
  1. Amplifier – Wikipedia

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