The Rising Popularity of Desktop Amplifiers! But Which One Should You Go For?

Stuart Palmer

Stuart Palmer

The desktop guitar amp market is getting more popular, but with many companies now creating their own ranges to enter this market, how do you know which one suits you the best?

Lets look at some of the most popular and highest rated, and do a comparison! Our top picks are from Boss, Yamaha, Positive Grid & Nux. These desktop Amplifiers might just be the finest money can buy. These style of Amplifiers are somewhat a newcomer in the guitar industry, but the desktop amp has gained massive popularity with guitarists. In such a small package, they are able to match great sound, and sometimes come included with effective practice tools in the form of an app. Because of this convenience, desktop amps are now changing the way people practice. If you want to play late at night without disturbing the neighbours with their low volumes & headphone connectivity, or when inspiration strikes, getting one of these amps is a complete game changer.

Around 10 years ago, amplifiers designed for practice were low-quality items you find in guitar starter packs, great for starting out, but unfortunately not much else. This has completely changed now with guitar players having different needs, and with technology improving, it was only a matter of time until the quality of a practice amp compared to a regular amplifier has now blurred. Thanks to the improvements in modern technology, we now get great-sounding amp tones with Bluetooth connectivity, coupled with Smart Apps to help us practice better, and giving us more options at our fingertips.

We have pulled together our years of product knowledge & experiences trying out plenty of gear to give you this rundown of the best desktop guitar amps we feel that can be bought right now.

Boss Katana Air EX Wireless Guitar Amplifier

The Boss Katana-Air EX is a powerhouse wireless desktop amp that delivers big stereo sound and authentic Katana tones in a compact footprint. With twin five-inch speakers, a custom wood cabinet, and 35 watts max power, this everyday practice companion dishes rich, resonant tones that rival amps much larger in size. A large variety of onboard amp characters and effects support every musical style, and you can customize setups and enhance daily sessions with the companion Boss Tone Studio app for iOS and Android. And thanks to advanced Boss wireless technology, you have complete freedom to move around with no instrument cable to trip you up.

Key Features

  • Stage-Class Sound in a Desktop Amp – Katana-Air EX has been engineered to provide an authentic stage-style playing experience in a desktop size. Two custom five-inch speakers are loaded into a carefully designed wood cabinet, generating full sound with rich resonance typically only available with performance amplifiers.
  • Premium Katana Amps and Effects Katana-Air EX comes loaded with sounds derived from the Katana stage amplifiers, dialed-in for maximum expression with its desktop cabinet. You also get access to over 60 BOSS effects, including a wide selection of overdrives, distortions, and boosters, plus mod, delay, and reverb effects optimized for the amp’s stereo speaker system. This gives you the option to create any tone you desire!
  • Save your Favourite Tones – With six onboard memories, you can store your favourite amp and effects setups for instant recall.

Yamaha THR10IIW 20W Wireless Desktop Guitar Modelling Amp

Yamaha amps have always excelled at producing crisp, dynamic modelling tones to capture the presence of a real tube amp. That’s why the THR is favoured by a number of pro musicians in need of an amp which sounds as good as it is portable. Switch between five savable onboard presets, with five guitar styles including clean, crunch and hi gain settings. Bassists or acoustic needn’t feel left out – there are three bass amps to customise across a three band EQ and an acoustic piezo style channel too.

The THR isn’t short of effects. Choose from a range of classic and contemporary echo, reverse, spring and hall reverbs. Modulation is on tap with a selection of flanger, chorus, phaser and tremolo.

Key Features

  • Realistic tube-amp tones and feel plus essential effects – 15 guitar amps, 3 bass amps, 3 mic models for acoustic-electrics, and flat modes. Modern, Boutique, and Classic for each amp type (THR10II Wireless and THR10II can switch the amp mode by THR Remote)
  • Bluetooth Connectivity – Bluetooth support for audio playback, editing via THR Remote, and more
  • Built-in wireless receiver – Play your guitar wirelessly! The amplifier comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that lets you play anywhere.
  • USB Connectivity – Plug-and-play USB connectivity for recording and playback.
  • Smart App – The THR Remote editor/librarian app is designed for desktop and mobile devices, and with it, you are able to control and dial in the exact tones you need.

Positive Grid Spark 40W Practice Amp

Packed with 40-Watts of immersive, room-filling sound, ultimate on-board control and massively inspiring smart features like all new Smart Jam Live, Auto Chords, 10,000+ tones and more!

Vivid, spacious sound and elevated tone from the smart amp that started it all. Want a compact home rig that truly rocks? You’ve come to the right place. Jam, play and practice more with millions of songs. Access over 10,000 tones powered by our award-winning deeply powerful BIAS tone engine.

Key Features

  • The Smart App, designed to Jam with you – Simply start to play and the Spark amp and app work together to learn your style and feel. Then Spark generates authentic bass and drums to accompany you in real time. It’s a smart virtual band that’s always ready to jam!
  • Auto Chords – Choose any song. Spark’s smart app will auto display its guitar chords in real time as you play. Easy controls let you slow down the song’s tempo. Loop a difficult section to learn and master parts!
  • 40W Amp with Room-Filling Sound – With 40W at your disposal, you are able to use it at a very quiet level, all the way to playing turned up, giving you fantastic tone wherever you decide to play!

Nux Mighty Space Guitar & Bass Amp

The NUX Mighty Space Guitar and Bass amp is a small yet commanding wireless 30-watt modelling amplifier that is perfect for practicing in any space, whether you’re at home in a bedroom or sat practicing before a gig. This little amp has got your back, giving you a whole host of tonal capabilities through its dual 4” loud coaxial speakers and its compatibility with the Mighty Amp app.

Included with a wireless transmitter, the NUX Mighty Space allows you to plug in and play without having to faff with cables, giving you the freedom to freely move around the room, comfortably sit down and not worry about being tangled in cables. The transmitter works perfectly with both electric guitars and bass guitars, whether you have active or passive pickups, this compact amp caters for them all. The NUX NMP-2 footswitch control is also compatible with this amp, giving you the added ability to loop riffs and add drum tracks to play along to.

Key Features

  • Hours of Play Time – The 7 hours of battery life makes the world you stage, whether play in a bedroom, or even outside, this amp allows you to play anywhere without being tidied down by plugs and sockets.
  • Wireless Versatility – Included with this compact amp is the NUX wireless transmitter so that you can simply plug in and play without being tangled up in wires or restricted when practicing in a small space.
  • Tremendous Tonal Palette – NUX’s Mighty Amp app provides a whole host of tones and sounds for you to experiment and play with, as well as downloadable presets that you can customise.


After trying out and testing the various desktop amplifiers that are currently on offer, the amplifier that stands out and is currently pushing the desktop amplifier standards is the Boss Katana Air EX Wireless Guitar Amplifier. The quality of the Boss Katana range keeps improving, and keeps setting a new benchmark for what can be achieved for its price. With the convenience of having the range of quality sounds, all editable with the Boss Smart App, it will truly give you the urge to pick up the guitar and practice on a more regular basis.

Stuart Palmer
Stuart Palmer
Stuart is a massive fan of Metal, Prog & Jazz Fusion. Massively influenced by guitar players such as Tom Quayle, John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan to name a few. Currently pondering the world of Headless Guitars.

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