Boss Katana 50 vs 100: The Differences Compared

The Boss Katana MK II is one of the most popular electric guitar amps in the market. The two most popular variations of this amp are the 50W and 100W versions, so what exactly is the difference between them?

In this article I’ll directly compare the Katana 50 and 100, highlight all the differences and similarities between them and compare the tones.

Here’s the quick answer…

The Boss Katana 100 has a physical presence control, effects loop, stereo expansion option and an input for a footswitch, unlike the Katana 50 which does not have any of these features. However, the Katana 50 is smaller, lighter and approximately $100 cheaper than the Katana 100.

FeatureBoss Katana 50Boss Katana 100
Power Output50W100W
Speaker1×12”1×12” or 2×12”
Presence ControlNoYes
Preset Slots48
Effects LoopNoYes
Stereo ExpansionNoYes
GA-FC Footswitch CompatibleNoYes
Boss Katana 50 vs 100

Boss Katana 50

Boss Katana 100

Images link to Amazon

Here’s a link to both amps on Guitar Center so you can check the current prices:

Tone Comparison

The Boss Katana 100 sounds clearer and more open compared to the Katana 50 which sounds a bit muddier and warmer in comparison.

Check out this YouTube video comparing the tones of the Katana 50 and 100.

Keep in mind that there is also a 2×12″ version of the Katana 100 which will sound different compared to the 1×12″ Katana 100. The 2×12 Katana 100 sounds louder, fuller and warmer compared to the 1×12 cabinet version.

Wattage and Volume

The most obvious difference between these two amps is that the Katana 100 has a power output of 100W, and the Katana 50 has a power output of 50W.

This does NOT mean that the Katana 100 is double the volume. This is because the relationship between wattage and volume is not linear.

The difference in decibels (dB) between a 50W and 100W amp, is usually around 3dB. To put this into perspective, the sound of your own breathing is around 10dB. It actually takes an amp to have 10x more watts, to be perceived as twice as loud to most humans.

The Katana 50 is very loud and is perfectly capable of playing with a drummer in a live gig.

Other Features

In this section I’ll be looking at the following:

  • Channels and effects
  • Effects loop
  • Footswitch compatibility
  • Presence control
  • Power switch control
  • Preset saving
  • Stereo expansion
  • Other inputs/ outputs

Number of Channels and Effects

Both the Katana 50 and 100 have the same number of onboard effects and channels.

The channels are:

  • Acoustic
  • Clean
  • Crunch
  • Lead
  • Brown

Each channel has a “variation” button which adds some brightness and gain to each channel.

Here’s a guide to the effects available and how to access them:

  • Booster (adds compression, volume, changes the EQ and boosts gain): green A- blues drive, green B- clean boost, red A- overdrive, red B- mid boost, orange A- distortion, orange B- treble boost.
  • Modulationgreen A- chorus, green B- flanger 117E, red A- flanger, red B- compression, orange A: phaser, orange B- limiter.
  • Delay: green A- digital delay, green B- SDE-3000, red A- analogue delay, red B- digital delay, orange A- tape echo, orange B- modulate.
  • FXgreen A- tremolo, green B- phaser, red A- wah, red B- flanger, orange A- octave, orange B- pitch shifter.
  • Reverb: green A- plate, green B- tape echo + plate reverb, red A- spring reverb, red B SDE-3000 + plate reverb, orange A- hall reverb, orange B- SDE-3000 + hall reverb.

You also get a 3-band EQ (bass, mids and treble) on both amps.

Effects Loop

The Katana 100 has an FX loop unlike the Katana 50.

An effects loop (FX loop) allows you to place pedals after the pre-amp stage of the amplifier but before the power-amp stage. This allows effects such as reverb, delay and modulation to be placed in the optimal position in the signal chain after any distortion or overdrive.

Check out my complete guide to effects loops to learn more.

Footswitch Compatibility

Only the Katana 100 is compatible with the GA-FC foot controller which allows you to switch between the different presets and effects. With the Katana 50, you can just use the basic A/B footswitch.

The footswitch does not come included with the Katana 100 but can be purchased separately. It allows you to toggle between your presets which is a brilliant feature to have if you’re using the amp in a live gig.

Presence Control

The Katana 100 has a physical presence control, unlike the Katana 50. If you want to adjust the presence on the Katana 50, you’ll need to hook your amp up to a device which has the Boss Tone Studio app.

The presence control is used to boost the high-end frequencies resulting in a brighter, livelier and more raspy sound when using distortion.

Check out my complete guide to amp presence controls to learn more.

Power Control Switch

On both the 50W and 100W versions of the Katana, there is a power control switch which allows you to select a lower output. This makes the amps playable at lower volumes which is very useful if you’re using it at home.

The power settings available for the amps are slightly different…

Katana 50:

  • 50W
  • 25W
  • 0.5W

Katana 100:

  • 100W
  • 50W
  • 0.5W

The 0.5W is perfect for at home practice, whereas the higher power output options are useful for gigging or jamming with a band.

Number of Saved Presets

Another very useful feature found on both the Katana 50 and 100 is the option to save settings and effects presets so you can quickly get back to the same tone without re-dialling in every control again.

The only difference between these amps in this respect is that the Katana 50 only allows you to save 4 presets, whereas the Katana 100 allows you to save 8 presets.

Stereo Expansion Feature

On the Katana 100 you get a stereo expansion feature unlike on the Katana 50. This means on the Katana 100 you can connect an additional Katana 100 to get stereo sound and effects.

Other Inputs/ Outputs

Both amps have a headphone output so you don’t have to annoy your neighbours when practicing, and also an Aux input so you can jam along to tracks from your laptop, phone or other device. You also get a USB output which can either be used for recording or for headphones.

Dimensions and Weight

The 1×12 cab versions of the Katana 50 and 100 are pretty similar in size, but the Katana 100 is slightly wider and taller than the Katana 50, and slightly heavier. The Katana 100 2×12 is significantly larger in terms of width compared to the Katana 100 1×12 and also quite a bit heavier.

Check out the tables below for a comparison of the dimensions and weights of each amp.


MeasurementKatana 50
Katana 100
Katana 100
Width18 9/16”20 7/8”26 7/16″
Depth9 3/8”9 13/16”9 13/16″
Height15 11/16”17 1/2”19 1/16″
Weight25 lbs 10 oz32 lbs 11 oz43 lbs 11 oz


MeasurementKatana 50
Katana 100
Katana 100
Width47.0 cm53.0 cm67.0 cm
Depth23.8 cm24.8 cm24.8 cm
Height39.8 cm48.4 cm48.4 cm
Weight11.6 kg14.8 kg19.8 kg

Which Amp Should You Choose?

The Katana 100 is approximately $100 (or £100) more expensive than the Katana 50.

It is worth the extra money if…

  • You need an FX loop
  • You need a stereo expansion option
  • You need to use a GA-FC footswitch
  • You’re using it primarily for gigging

Otherwise, the Katana 50 is perfectly fine. It sounds great and is perfect for smaller gigs or at-home practice.

Here’s a link to both amps on Guitar Center so you can check the current prices:


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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