Guitar Speaker Guide

The Lightest 12″ Guitar Speakers

Do You Want to Make Your Guitar Amplifier Lighter?

This is a list of the lightest 12″ guitar speakers on the market.  These speakers are perfect for those wanting to reduce the weight of their guitar amplifier combos or speaker cabinets.  All of the speakers on this list I have tested personally and will still sound great as an alternative to the larger magnet counterparts.

 

Lightest Speaker by Brand, Weight, Watts, OHMS, and Volume

Brand & SpeakerWeightWattsOHMSSensitivity
Celestion Century G12 Neodymium Speaker3.7lb / 1.7kg60 Watts RMS8 and 16 OHMS98dB
Eminence Tonkerlite4.1lbs / 1.86kg125 Watts RMS8 OHMS101.1dB
Jensen Tornado Classic 1004.41 lbs / 2kg100 Watts RMS4, 8, and 16 OHMS98.2dB
Eminence Legend EM12N6.6lbs / 3.1kgs200 Watts RMS8 OHMS99.9dB

 

The Lightest 12″ Guitar Speakers

The Celestion Century G12 Neodymium Speaker is the lightest 12″ guitar speaker on the market weighing in at only 3.7lbs/1.7kgs.  After owning a few of these speakers over the years, it will make a big difference to the weight of any guitar amplifier you put them in.

This speaker drastically lightened my Peavey amplifiers from their stock Blue Marvel Speaker. I also owned a limited edition Fender Hot Rod Deluxe called a ‘White Lighting’ where the Celestion Century G12 came stock with it.  This was my introduction to this lightweight and ground sounding speaker.

The Celestion Century is hard to find brand new but they do pop up from time to time on places like eBay or places like Craigslist or Gumtree.

Weight aside, the Celestion Century G12 was one of my favorite speakers of all time for how it sounded.  This is a detailed speaker somewhat reminiscent of the Creamback but with a less exaggerated low end.

This speaker will suit musicians ranging from Jazz, blues, to rock players. I used this speaker on many of my studio recordings and it made recording the amplifier all too easy.

Back in the day, this speaker was stock fitted into the White Lightning Hot Rod Deluxe. Those amps were a Fender Special Release and can no longer be found new.  The good news is upgrading the speaker in any hot rod deluxe will give you the exact same sound as that amplifier.  This is one of the nicest sounding and non-offensive speakers on the market!

This speaker will suit anything from Jazz, Blues, Country, and Rock.

Celestion G12 Century Neodymium
Celestion G12 Century Neodymium

 

Eminence Tonkerlite

The Eminence Tonkerlite is the ‘lighter’ option to the old-school Tonker.  This is a far lighter speaker than its previous Ferrite counterpart which is also a great speaker.   I was lucky enough to test the Tonkerlite out versus the Tonker in a side by side comparison.

Each of the speakers was daisy-chained to the same Fender Deluxe Reverb and the test proved very interesting.  Some of the great things about the Tonkerlite versus its larget magnet cousin was the fact it was way lighter.

The Tonkerlite also sounded far more balanced and ‘nice’ to the ear whereas the Tonker had way more 3D projection and push of sound.  Another characteristic that was very evident was that the Tonkerlite had more speaker distortion at the same volume than the Tonker.  Initially, I thought this was due to the difference in speaker efficiency but there’s not a lot in it.  If you are looking for the loudest and cleanest headroom speaker replacement then the Tonker is better in my experience.  Check out my article regarding the loudest guitar speakers in the World if the volume is a consideration.

With all this in mind, the Eminence Tonkerlite is still a great replacement speaker for keeping the weight down.  While it does sound quite a bit different from its old magnet counter-part, it’s still pretty great!

This speaker will suit anything from Jazz, Blues, Country, and Rock.

Eminence Tonkerlite
Eminence Tonkerlite

 

Jensen N12D Neodymium Speaker (digital amps)

One of my new favorite speakers of all time is the Jensen N12D Neodymium speakers.  These speakers are very light, made by Jensen, and sound amazing in my Fender Tone Master Twin.  For those looking for an American sounding speaker, this is a total no-brainer!  This speaker will work great in most Fender amplifiers.
the Jensen N12D is rated at 150 watts and comes in both 8 and 4-ohm variations. Most modeling amplifiers are rated at 4 OHMS thanks to the class D power amplifiers.  If you are not sure what the rating is in your amplifier please check my amplifier speaker rating guide for more information.
Coming in at 2.4kgs or 5.29lbs, the Jensen is not the lightest 12″ Neodymium guitar speaker on the market but it is one of the best sounding ones I have ever used.  The Jensen N12D is rated at 98.9dB making it a decent option, but it’s not as loud as the Tonkerlite.
This speaker will suit anything from Jazz, Blues, Country, and Rock.

Jensen N12D Neodymium

The Jensen 12″ Tornado Classic 100 is a very viable option for many types of musicians wanting to cut the weight down in their amplifier. This is easily one of the lightest 12″ guitar speakers on the market thanks to its lightweight Neodymium magnet design.
The Tornado Classic 100 is a very light speaker at only 2kgs or 4.41lbs.  This lightweight 12″ guitar speaker is rated at 100-watts.  This means you can load it in practically any guitar amplifier out there up to that volume.  This Jensen speaker sounds great both clean and dirty making a great choice for high gain guitarists.  Not only will the Jensen Classic 100 sound great in something like a Fender Twin, but it will also sound great for Marshall or Mesa amps.
This Neodymium speaker is available in 4, 8, and 16 OHM variations as well.  If you are looking for a lighter speaker for your modeling amplifier, this will also do the job.  Rated at 98.2dB, this speaker will fill most rooms in terms of output volume.
The voicing of this speaker lends itself to having a lot of low-end frequency.  If you a looking for a speaker with a more focused low end then go for the Tonkerlite.  Those that love a big bottom end will dig the Jensen.  This speaker is also not very mids-heavy either making it a good match for Blackface Fender Amplifiers or those who like to chug.  The high frequencies never get too bright either.  This seems very apparent on all Neodymium speakers I’ve tried.

Why Are Neodymium Speakers so Light?

Since the 1950s speaker design hasn’t changed much, if at all.  It was only in recent times that birthed a new speaker magnet alternative from Alnico and Ceramic (Ferrite).  Compared with the older magnet types, Neodymium speakers were far more expensive initially.  Costs thankfully came down as the consumer demand grew.

Neodymium speakers are by far the lightest 12″ guitar speakers you can find.  You can also find them in various other sizes including 10″ and 15″ options.  Imagine being a bass player with 4×10″ speakers or a single 15″ speaker with a huge magnet.  These Neodymium alternatives have made it so much more accessible to get a great tone without the weight. I don’t know any bass players in my circles not using these lightweight options.

 

What Makes a Speaker Really Heavy?

 

The magnet type and magnet size can drastically change the weight of a speaker.  Both the Alnico and Ceramic (Ferrite) speakers are much heavier than Neodymium magnets.  Speaker magnets come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of the largest speaker magnets are found on speakers such as:

  • Eminence Tonker, Swamp Thang, and Wizard
  • WGS Reaper HP
  • EVM12L Classic 12″ Guitar speaker
  • Tone Tubby Stealth 12C8

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Each of these speakers listed can weigh the amplifier down by an additional 7.3+ KGS (15lbs).

Final Thoughts about Neodymium Guitar Speakers

If it sounds good it is good.  If it’s also light then go for it.  I instantly regretted putting the Eminence Tonker (above) in my Marshall DSL40CR from a weight perspective.  It made a really heavy guitar amplifier 7.5kgs/15lbs heavier! If you are younger than 40 then weight probably isn’t a concern.  If you are older than 40 or already have back or knee issues the lightest option is usually the best option.

These are some of the lightest 12″ guitar speakers that I’ve tested.  Check out the best Neodymium Speakers on Sweetwater.