Amps

Which Lunchbox Amp Among Dozens On The Market Should you Pick?

Written by Jim Malkovich

A lunchbox amp is a box the size of a lunchbox that houses an amp system. These amps were created for musicians that wanted an easily transportable device that would let them practice, jam and perform in small gigs without all the contrivance of a large amplification system.

One of the biggest issues with guitar amps is the power that many performers think they need but don’t really understand the power of watts. Amplifiers are scientific electronic devices created to amplify the low decibels of a guitar to noise levels that can be heard for all audiences.

Cons

ider that the so-called 50 to a 100-watt amp is the standard box amp you think of, but that’s a misconception or misunderstanding of amp power.

A good loud amp for home and practice use is only 3-5 watts. An amp for jamming at home or in a garage is around 10 watts, an amp for small performances including outdoor improve. is typically 15 to 20 watts and an amp for performing with bands would be around 30 watts. If you want an amp to project to a large auditorium or gig, then you go above 50.

Lunchbox amps were created to combine both the power of a versatile, lightweight, portable amp with the power of loud system when connected to powerful speakers. Since lunchbox amps combine a speaker with an amp, you have to look for a professional model and not some anonymous brand. The reason is pure science. Understand that the amp doesn’t produce sound, it merely produces an electrical current that carries the sound wave order to the speaker which converts the current into sound. Therefore the speaker is as important as the amp, and the amp must be equal to or more powerful than the speaker. However, don’t buy an amp that is more than double the power of the speaker, or you might end up damaging the speakers.

Now, having stated all about power, you will be surprised to see some powerful amps presented here, including a 200-watt lunchbox speaker that is designed for professional use and will blast the socks off anyone standing too close. In other words, when you use a lunchbox amp, don’t let its small size fool you or anyone, if you invest in a powerful amp, over 50 watts, make sure the volume is set to low; otherwise, you will be arrested for sound terrorism.

When investing in an amp, consider all the features you need, and only invest in an amp that provides you with the versatility that you require. In other words, if you don’t use it, don’t buy it. Test the amp by twiddling the knobs and checking its performance with your guitar.

A quick word about Headroom

Headroom is all about sound distortion. Headroom is the difference between the maximum level and the normal operating level that the amp can pass without distorting the sounds. Since musical instruments provide wide variations in dynamic range; without enough headroom, you get frequent distortion (clipping).

As such, when you have a limited budget or purchase legacy equipment that uses a lower power amp, take care that you have enough headroom or you will end up damaging your speakers from a low power result too.

What are Impedance and Ohms?

Ohms are measures of resistance. Amps work with 4, 8 or 16 ohms of resistance. The best amp speaker configuration is when the loudspeaker’s power is exactly correct for the amplifier.

You can connect more than one loudspeaker to an amp, and there are two methods, these are dual and parallel.
The parallel is when you divide the impedance by the number of speakers connected, for instance, if you have four speakers that are rated at 16 ohms, you take 16/4 to get the overall rating of 4 ohms.

To sum up, you will notice that I don’t mention all the superlatives of sound. Some will mention how throaty and deep their amps are. That’s a load of hogwash; an amp is an electronic device used to amplify sound, full stop. The speakers are the units that convert sound and can make them meaty or beefy, or whatever mother menu item is on the list. One final word on amp foodstuffs, setting and controlling an amp will deliver different tones and sounds, ultimately it’s about knowing how music is converted from analog to digital. So when you invest in an amp, also play around and practice with the dials and fiddle about till you comprehend and understand the different values you can get from an amp and speaker combo. For this, it’s wise to consider buying an amp that has multi-channel and has a separate EQ for each channel.

List of Top-Rated Lunchbox Amps

Product ImageProduct NameMore Information
1. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Acoustic 75-watt Class A/B1. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Acoustic 75-watt Class A/BMore Information
2. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox 200-watt Class A/B Guitar Amplifier2. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox 200-watt Class A/B Guitar AmplifierMore Information
3. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Junior 35-watt Class D Guitar Amplifier3. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Junior 35-watt Class D Guitar AmplifierMore Information
4. Celestion 5-Watt, 1x8 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier with Speaker4. Celestion 5-Watt, 1x8 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier with SpeakerMore Information
5. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Cab 6.5-inch Passive Speaker Cabinet5. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Cab 6.5-inch Passive Speaker CabinetMore Information

The Best Lunchbox Amps Reviews

1. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Acoustic 75-watt Class A/B

This is the ZT 75 watt Lunchbox Acoustic 2-Channel Amplifier

Performance

The ZT Lunchbox Acoustic gives you 75 watts of power, and since its 75 watts, you know you are going to blow away anyone that stands within 100 yards of you. This amazing lightweight and the compact amp is a perfect solution
This is a professional lunchbox amp and comes with all the fixtures and features needed, including two channels that come with individual reverb controls, a 1/8” Aux Input, effects loop, and 3-position Anti-Feedback Control with bypass, and 6.5” speakers. There is much more just look at the features below. This amp is designed to provide sounds for medium-sized rooms.

The headroom on this model is ample, and you get to play with the sounds too, the various gains and EFX loop are exceptional features that let you deliver tones and sounds in any format.

Features

  • 75W Class A/B power amplifier
  • Mic channel w/ 1/4” and XLR inputs
  • Instrument channel w/ 1/4” input
  • Independent Gain, Bass, Treble
  • Reverb controls for both channels
  • Anti-Clip limiting circuit
  • Internal Speaker Mute switch
  • External Speaker Output
  • Headphone out (1/4”) with volume control
  • AUX IN (1/8”)
  • Weight: 12 lbs./5.4kg

Recommendations

This is a 75watt lunchbox speaker for professional musicians seeking a powerful yet light and compact amp-speaker unit.

2. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox 200-watt Class A/B Guitar Amplifier

This is the ZT 200 watt lunchbox amp with 6.5” speakers

Performance

OK, so you thought that 100 watts were strong, well this small lunchbox speaker will blow away any thoughts of weakness from your minds. This beast in a box blasts out 200 watts of power that would light up any auditorium with screaming students in a frenzy.

This is a Class A/B Power Amplifier with 2 x 100W amp units that provide the playing required to support any band, gig or solo artists that want to perform outdoors, indoors or in space.

This model comes with the power to drive an external speaker cabinet and comes with the dynamic response and the headroom to handle all effects easily. You also get a unit that can travel, and it supports both 115V and 230V sources.

This lunchbox model also works well with foot-pedal freaks and will deliver any level of boost and overdrive with ease. This is the triple X of lunchbox speakers, so don’t let its diminutive stature and light weight fool you.
The box comes with an internal speaker mute switch, a 1/8” AUX IN jack, a ¼” headphone jack with volume control, and an external speaker output jack. It also provides an open back speaker ambient effect

Features

  • 200W (100W + 100W) Class A/B power amplifier
  • 6.5″ speakers
  • Ambiance effect
  • External Speaker Output
  • Internal Speaker Mute switch
  • Headphone out (1/4”) with volume control
  • AUX IN (1/8”)
  • Pure analog front-end, with diode overdrive capability
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs./4.3kg

Recommendations

If you think you can handle it, then get it. If you like the power of 200 watts and are ready to face angry neighbors, angry cops and happy audiences, then get it.

3. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Junior 35-watt Class D Guitar Amplifier

This is the ZT 35 watt junior lunchbox amp

Performance

​This ZT model is designed for a lower amp usage, and while it doesn’t come with a very large headroom, it delivers perfect 117dB level power for practice and small gigs.

This amp comes with an optional car battery adapter cable, so you can connect it your vehicle, or use the 9v power battery pack, which means if you don’t have a power outlet you can still perform.

35 watts is powerful, and this model is called junior to distinguish it from the beasts that ZT produces, this is the lightweight 5lbs model that just makes life a gig.

The speakers are 5,” and you get a massive tone from them at all times, the box itself is a diminutive 6” affair and is a class D device. The box comes with a 1/8” headphone jack, a 1/8” AUX IN jack and three power source options.

The bottom line is this, even if you own an amp, you want this one as a spare or as a travel companion.

Features

  • Custom designed ultra-power 5″ speaker
  • 9V Output to power effects pedals
  • 12V Power Input
  • Headphone out (1/8”)
  • AUX IN (1/8”)
  • Switchable 115V/230V
  • 35W Class D power amplifier
  • Peak Output: 117 dB at 1 meter
  • Weight: 5 lbs./2.3kg

Recommendations

This is the ultimate portable and versatile lunchbox speaker that will sit nicely in any vehicle or home and is a great travel companion providing 35 watts of clean and clear power.

4. Celestion 5-Watt, 1×8 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier with Speaker

This is the 5-Watt 1×8 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier with Celestion Speaker

Performance

This is an exceptional practice amp that uses tube power for performance. This model comes with an ECC83/12AX7 pre-amp tube and a 6V6GT power tube combined with a Celestion Super 8 GBA-15 speaker.

This combo creates 5 watts of focused power delivering frequencies between 80Hz and 10kHz, with hum and noise -75dB below the rated power and 0.5% total harmonic distortion.

The amp provides you with a Low input attenuating the signal by around 50% and a High input for overdrive.
The box is designed using a classic cream-colored, textured, synthetic leather for the exterior and finished with chrome corner guards.

Features

  • 12AX7 preamp tube drives a single 6V6GT tube
  • Simple, minimalist controls
  • Celestion Super 8 Speaker
  • 1-watt and 5-watt selector button

Recommendations

A classic look and feel, a lovely carry handle and perfect 5 amp performance form a lunch box that is designed for individual practice.

5. ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Cab 6.5-inch Passive Speaker Cabinet

​Lunchbox Cab Extension Speaker for ZT Lunchbox Amp​

Performance

​So I decided to close with a speaker and not a lunchbox amp. This is the ZT Lunchbox Cab, it is a passive extension speaker, that comes with the same lines and look like all the 6.5” lunchbox amps. You can use this to add to any lunchbox amp to increase your performance and output. This model comes with a built-in phase switch for accurate sound in all situations.

Features

  • Custom designed ultra-power 6.5″ speaker
  • Phase switch
  • Weight: 7 lbs./3.1kg
  • Input: 1/4”

Recommendations

A perfect additional speaker to any ZT lunchbox amp.

About the author

Jim Malkovich

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