BOSS Katana 50 Watt Vs 100 Watt: What’s The Difference?

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 06/28/22 •  13 min read

The whole BOSS Katana 50 Watt Vs 100 Watt argument has been discussed a lot when it comes to the power rating. But features are what really what matters. Today we take a look at the reasons one is better than the other.


BOSS Katana 50 Watt Vs 100 Watt: There’s A BIG Difference

BOSS came out of nowhere a few years ago with the Katana series. BOSS has always been known as great pedal company, and over the years made some great multi-effects units as well. But BOSS wasn’t exactly famous for making amplifiers. But the Katana came out, and it seemed like every review was outrageously positive. I must admit, I was a little suspect at first. I thought maybe this was just the next “big internet trend”.

I discounted it so badly, I didn’t even try it in stores. I honestly believed that it was just internet hype when it came to the BOSS Katana, and nothing could replace my tube Blackstar. That is, until I got one myself. I was blown away with the features, and I use my Katana on pretty much a daily basis at this point. I use it to practice, record, and even use it when I give lessons. The quality is undeniable, and the fact that it remains in “budget” territory is insane. You get a lot for your money here.

But I see the question all the time about the Katana. What is the difference in the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt? The obvious answer is the amount of power you’re getting out of each unit. Both are plenty loud to gig with, but there are a couple of features that make one better than the other. Every guitarist has different needs, so which model you purchase will be based on how you are planning on using the Katana.

The BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt argument is all over the internet, but we are going to try and simplify the two models for you. It honestly boils down to the specific features. As a beginner, you may not even know which one will fit you best, and that’s okay. But hopefully, this guide will help you prepare for the model you need, and save you having to buy a different model in the future. I know a lot of people that bought the wrong Katana for how they wanted to use it!

So let’s dive in to the top 5 differences when it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt amp models!

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#5 Preset Banks

BOSS katana 50 watt vs 100 watt

When it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt conversation, I think the first thing we need to address is the amount of presets that you can save. Now I think this matters more to the person that is going to use the Katana for playing live, but it can come in handy when recording as well. So which one is better?

Well, it depends on your needs. The difference really isn’t that big.

For at home use, I rarely use more than 3 of my presets. If I am being completely honest, I really only use 2 of them on a consistent basis! I have a “heavy” preset that covers everything with high gain tones, and then I have a clean Fender-like tone with reverb. Those two get used more than any of the other presets I have programmed. But if I was playing gigs right now, I would need all 8 banks for sure.

So if you are just playing around at home with your Katana, then the 50 watt will do just fine. The same goes for people who use it for recording. Having 4 tones preset for recording will definitely get the job done. But if you plan on using the Katana Live, then having those 8 banks will make a huge difference in your on-stage options. Which brings us to another point…


#4 The GA-FC Foot Switch

Now this one is pretty self explanatory, but it is definitely worth noting. The BOSS GA-FC foot switch only works with the 100 watt. This is one of the biggest differences when it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 watt VS 100 watt models. Now I know plenty of people that have no plans on gigging the Katana, and they can get by just fine using the dials on the top of the amp. However…

If you plan on gigging the Katana, the foot switch is going to be absolutely imperative. Especially since it controls not only the banks that you switch between, but also the effects that you can turn on and off. Now this will have no bearing on playing at home, but on the stage you won’t have access to the Katana panel to turn things on and off. This is especially important when it comes to the Boost functions and the effects. Not being able to turn off a Delay during a song is going to sound atrocious.

I think you will be seeing a pattern here, when it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 watt VS 100 watt models. One was obviously more geared towards using the amp on stage. I think this was definitely done by design, but depriving the 50 watt model of so many features seems a little off to me. For the performer, the 100 watt is the obvious choice. But the 50 watt could totally be used in a band situation. I guess it just seems weird that the two models are so different.

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#3 The Wattage Options

BOSS katana 50 watt vs 100 watt

This was another feature that changes between models, and it really isn’t vastly different in my opinion. But it does make a difference when playing at home. The BOSS Katana 50 watt VS 100 watt debate rarely talks about the wattage options since it is pretty cut and dry, but I think it makes a big difference for home players. You get similar settings for both models, but the 50 watt is much easier to tame in my opinion.

When I use my 100 watt Katana at home, it pretty much stays on the .5 watt setting. This is because at 50 watts, or 100 watts…my neighbors would not be very happy with me (Not that they are!). The Katana has two volume controls, but they are not as responsive as you may think. That being said, there is a “perfect balance” kind of setting between the Amp Volume and Master Volume that will work with any wattage setting. With enough fiddling around, you can make any setting work.

The thing is, BOSS has said that the Katana sounds best with the Master Volume cranked up. You then control the Katana’s volume with the Amp Volume, and Gain knobs. This is supposed to be a “trick” or tip that BOSS released, and it does make the high gain settings “pop”. But it also limits the amount of control you have over the amp. This is where the 50 watt Katana actually wins… for at-home playing. The 25 watt setting is ideal over the .5 watt in my opinion. The 100 watt model only has .5, 50, and full power-100 watts.

Bonus: While we are talking about knobs, the 100 watt Katana also has a Presence Knob next the Master Volume. This gets brought up in the BOSS Katana 50 Watt Vs 100 Watt debate often as well. The 50 still has access to the Presence control when you bring up the BOSS Tone Studio. But it is nice to have it available as a knob for me on the 100 watt model, since I mess with that setting a lot. having a physical knob is better, for me.


#2 Stereo Expand/ Slave Out

Boss Katana 50 watt Vs 100 watt

It seems like the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt debate really comes down to using it live or not. Because this is a feature that I don’t think many people would use at home just for giggles. Both Katana models have the “Power In” feature where you can run the Katana strictly as a power amp, and this is a cool feature for people who use something like the Line 6 units. It basically makes the Katana take the place of a FRFR speaker, just with an A/B Class power section.

But another curious feature that the 100 watt Katana has is the “Stereo Expand” option. You see, all of the Katana’s modulation effects can be ran in stereo. The best way to hear this is with the Ping Pong Delay with a set of headphones. That isn’t the interesting part though, since most multi-effects units can do stereo sounds. Even the cheap ones do stereo delay really well these days, so what’s the big deal?

The really cool thing is that you can take two 100 watt Katana amps, and hook them together. I know this sounds a little crazy, especially since you can buy and expansion speaker. But this turns the second Katana into the “Slave” unit, and all of the amp functions are turned off. So if you are on stage, you could use both, and separate them to get a cool stereo effect! This works with delays, reverbs, and just about anything that has a stereo feature. The “Main” Katana amp will control the actual sounds, while the other acts as a powered speaker!

Now usually, I would scoff at this kind of feature because it seems impractical and a little silly. But considering how small the Katana 100 is, and lightweight, this is totally an option for gigging guitarists. This would work particularly well if you are the only guitar player in the band. You could set each Katana 100 on opposite ends of the stage and get effects like Johnny Marr did on “How Soon Is Now?”. The bouncing back and forth can be a real crowd-pleasing effect.

I wouldn’t advise doing this if you are in a two guitar band, since you would be stepping on their side of the stage. Then again, if the guitars are being hooked up to a mic at the venue, it would work fine! I think the original intent from BOSS was to be able to use the Katana for a power amp for multi-effects units. The Stereo Expand feature was just something the designers discovered afterwards, since it is the same concept.

So accident or not, this is a fun feature that can really stand out on stage. Even if it was an oversight in the design, it can still be used to great effect (pun intended). Considering you would be using the Katana 100 for both units, it will also have a uniform look on stage. Either way, I think this is another point for the Katana 100.


#1 The FX Loop

Boss Katana 50 watt VS 100 watt

The biggest feature regarding the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt models is the FX Loop function. This was the sole reason I picked the Katana 100 over the 50 watt version. The Katana takes pedals just fine through the input jack, and I have done that with some of my fuzz pedals and achieved exactly the tone I was looking for. The Katana also takes overdrives, and distortion pedals really well too. But there is one pedal that absolutely NEEDS the FX Loop, and it is a pedal that I cannot sacrifice…

If you use a looper pedal, then you know the best results come from running it through the FX Loop. This way, you can start a loop on the clean channel, and then switch the preset to play over the loop you just created. You cannot do this with the Katana 50 watt. If the looper is going through the input jack, then whatever channel you are on, the loop will be on as well. This is why we have FX Loops, in general.

The same goes for any pedal you want to use in the modulation family. Sure, you can use chorus and delay through the front of the amp. But modulation sounds so much better running separately through the FX Loop. The main advantages of an FX Loop is that generally effects sound clearer and are more pronounced when the input signal is sent through the preamp prior to being affected. In addition to this, the tone of a guitar amplifier is generally more defined if the effects pedal is going direct into the input of the preamplifier.

So if you want to make use of a looper pedal, then the Katana 100 Watt is going to be the choice. This was the main reason I bought the 100 over the 50. I use a looper to craft solos, practice, and write melodies all the time. So taking that feature away is a deal breaker for me with ANY amp. But this is the main reason you should consider which option is right for you when it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt.


BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt: The Verdict

Both of these amps sound absolutely amazing, especially when you consider the price. But make no mistake, the 100 watt and 50 watt Katana amps are for two completely different guitarists. If you want a loud practice amp to use at home or for simple jam sessions, then the 50 watt Katana is going to be just fine. But if you plan on playing shows or using pedals, then the 100 watt model is really your best choice.

When you are watching review videos or looking at the stats and specs on paper, there isn’t much difference between the two models. But the devil is definitely in the details when it comes to the BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt debate. The two amps were clearly designed with different purposes in mind. The 100 watt using the footswitch and having a dedicated FX Loop is crucial for most players.

So hopefully these details will help you decide which version you buy if the Katana has been on your radar. It really is an amazing amp, and I think that beginners and veterans alike can enjoy what the Katana has to offer. But make sure you choose the one that is going to suit your needs! After all, there is really just a $100 difference between the two. But that difference can mean a lot when it comes to your user experience!

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BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt: Which is best for live use?

Since the 100 watt Katana not only has more power under the hood, it is the obvious choice for most gigging guitarists. But the 100 watt also has a dedicated FX Loop, and the option to use the foot switch.

BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt: Which one has a footswitch?

Only the 100 watt models offer the GA-FC Footswitch option. These are sold separately. The GA-FC controls presets, and turning effects on and off. It is a super versatile accessory and a necessity for live use.

BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt: Which one is loud enough to gig with?

Both are plenty loud to gig with. But the 100 watt version is going to be a better pick since it has the optional footswitch, and can take pedals in the FX Loop.

BOSS Katana 50 Watt VS 100 Watt: Which is better to record with?

Both versions support both line out, and USB recording functions that work with any DAW. You can also use Tone Studio with your DAW to dial in your tone.

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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