12 Best Guitar Pedals in 2018
If you’re a guitar player looking for ways to incorporate new and different sounds into your music, you should look into adding some pedals to your setup. Many of the greatest guitar heroes of all-time, from Jimi Hendrix to Jack White, have used effects pedals to achieve unique and totally unforgettable playing styles.
The range of products available has exploded in recent decades, so you might be asking yourself how to get started. Luckily for you, we have combed the market and compiled a comprehensive guide to help you understand what types of pedals are out there. We also include detailed reviews of the five best guitar pedals, so if you feel torn between a few options on our list, head down to our Review section to clear up any doubts you may have.
Top 12 Guitar Pedals Comparison Chart
How to Choose the Right Guitar Pedals to Enhance Your Music
Finding the best guitar effects pedals for your needs is a whole lot simpler once you know what to prioritize while you research. In this section, we will describe the most important things you should assess, including your musical style, the key design features of good quality pedals, and extra details that make certain brands stand out from the rest.
Your Musical Style
Some of the best guitar pedals are designed to produce sounds that are perfect for a specific genre of music, but not so much for other genres. Before you start studying the nuts and bolts of different brands and models, think about the type of music you like to play and understand what features create the sound you’re after. Some examples are below.
- Blues – If you’re a blues fan, look for pedals that project a medium frequency resulting in the warm, rich tones emblematic of the genre. To take full advantage of the moody sounds of the blues, you’ll want to be able to control the level of distortion. It’s also a good idea to choose a model that lets you turn up the delay effect, so keep an eye out while you’re shopping.
- Metal – If you love to wild out on your guitar, look for a pedal that can really up the ante on distortion so you can achieve the type of sound metal is famous for. Also look for pedals with sustain so you can draw out each note and make the most of your runs. Whether you love classic metal or more modern stuff, a high-distortion pedal is the best way to make the most of your instrument and amp.
- Classic Rock N’ Roll – Musicians of the 1960s experimented with guitar pedals to achieve totally unique sounds that hadn’t really been heard before in mainstream music. If you dig this sound and want to recreate it, you’re in luck. There are guitar pedals designed to produce the vintage sounds of the rock n’ roll greats. Look for distortion knobs that reproduce the sounds you love.
Core Design Elements
Good guitar pedals have specific controls that make them user-friendly and effective. Here are some of the most important features to look for.
- Distortion – For many decades, some of the most memorable musicians across the entire musical spectrum have used distortion to push their sound to new levels. Originally produced by overloading the signal running through an amp, distortion can now be achieved at the touch of a dial on a foot pedal. If you’re a fan of the blues or metal, it’s imperative to find a model with great distortion capabilities.
- Delay – If you’re seeking an easy way to add a rich, 3-D quality to your music, you’ll love a pedal with a delay feature. Some models will enable you to adjust settings such as the number of repetitions of a specific stored sound, the volume of each repetition, as well as the time between each playback. You can achieve a multitude of effects by playing around with these settings.
In addition to the features described above, certain models come with additional perks that differentiate them and make them a great buy.
Here is a sampling of extra details to pay attention to; these may end up helping you decide between two great models.
- Size and Weight – Some models are designed with a lightweight shell and a slim silhouette; this makes them easy to transport if you’re constantly lugging your gear from one practice space or gig to another. A compact design ensures an easy fit on any pedal board or in any cramped floor space.
- Durability – If you have a heavy foot or tend to toss things around when you break down your rig, keep an eye out for extra durable aluminum alloy shells. You’ll keep your pedal in great shape for longer and avoid unnecessary wear and tear that could impact its longevity.
- Warranty – If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to replace your gear after you make a purchase, you may want to make sure the pedal you choose is covered by a great warranty. Some manufacturers are upfront with their policy – the best available is three years – while others only disclose their warranty details if you reach out to their customer service team with a specific issue. Make sure you are comfortable with the company’s level of damage, repair, and replacement support before finalizing your purchase.
Top 5 Best Guitar Pedals Reviews
If you love versatility and a classic sound, we suggest you go with one of the best guitar pedals in the business – the Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal. This pedal is well constructed, durable, and really has it all.
Wah pedals were used by many of the most iconic figures in music, from Hendrix to Clapton. All you need to do is rock your foot backward and forward on the pedal. The backward motion increases the bass, and the forward motion places more emphasis on treble. You can vary the speed and pressure of your rocking to totally control the effects you’re creating.
This pedal is particularly durable, which makes it a great choice for anybody playing gigs or breaking down and transporting their gear frequently. Its die-cast construction will stand up to plenty of wear and tear while producing beautiful sounds over the long term.
This model is protected by a one year warranty, so there is really no reason to hesitate in going ahead with your purchase. It’s the total package for anybody who wants a great quality all-around pedal to create a variety of sounds.
The TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal is another great option for any musician. This pedal is capable of adding 20 dB of boost to your setup, enhancing your sound significantly.
One of the key features of this pedal is its small size. Any type of pedalboard can easily accommodate it.
It also has a technology called PrimeTime which allowed you to use the pedal in two entirely different ways. In Latching mode, it functions as any other standard pedal would, producing effects when your foot makes contact and stopping when you release pressure. In Momentary mode, the effect will last as long as the switch is activated.
This is a solid pedal for anybody who is looking to give their rig a sound boost without compromising on space. We think you will be very pleased with your purchase.
If you’re looking for a really powerful pedal with lots of distortion for a really rocking sound, you’re going to love this pedal from Behringer.
This model has a Drive control dial which lets you adjust the level of distortion you want to achieve. Turn it all the way up for if you’re playing metal, or play with lower and medium settings for interesting sound effects and a broad range of tones.
The pedal runs off either a 9V battery or a power cord which Behringer sells separately. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll appreciate its helpful LED light that indicates battery life and Power On/Off status. You will be able to easily see from a distance that the pedal is on and ready for use.
This pedal is the perfect choice for anybody who is a fan of overdrive pedals and distortion. Its design makes it easy for you to play around with both ends of the spectrum and craft the perfect sound for your taste.
The Audio Distortion Guitar Pedal from BOSS is another terrific option for people seeking awesome levels of distortion. It’s ideal for many types of music, from classic rock to metal.
You can customize your own sound easily with this pedal. Simply adjust the three dials as you please to wield total control over tone and the amount of distortion output. You’ll be able to add tons of depth to your guitar. It also pairs really nicely with bass.
If you’re the type of person who likes to experiment with instruments and accessories and switch up your rig, you’ll be pleased to know that this pedal has great resale value. It’s been on the market for quite some time and is always in demand.
This pedal is solid, so feel free to stomp on it as you need without fearing you’ll damage it.
If you’re looking to add rich distortion to your guitar or bass playing, make sure you check this model out. It’s a great addition to any rig.
This Delay Effect Pedal made by Donner is perfect for anybody who wants to experiment with ambient sounds, echo, and looping. Whether you play blues guitar or upright bass, this tiny, affordable pedal will give you endless options to create a completely unique sound.
This pedal features three control knobs. You can control the Echo, the amount of Delay (which ranges from 20ms~ 620ms), and the Feedback, or number of times the sound will repeat.
Although it’s small and cheap, this pedal is well made. It is crafted from aluminum alloy, and the three control dials feel solid.
You can operate this product using a 9V battery or by using a separately sold power adapter. The pedal is equipped with a LED light so you can check its battery life at a glance.
This product is a steal for anyone who wants to experiment with looping and echo. We guarantee you’ll love it for years to come.