Are Boss Pedals the Best Effects Pedal Brand?
They're one of the best value brands, but not necessarily the best overall.
Boss pedals have consistently struck a good balance between price and quality. While they aren't necessarily the best in terms of pure quality and performance, the value you get from these pedals - because of their low price - has long been regarded as one of the best deals in the world of guitar pedal retail.
Boss pedals are extremely popular for their simplicity, consistency, and better than average tone quality. They're not shooting the moon with anything particularly fancy, but instead have released small stompboxes over several decades, mostly in the same form, and often with little more than color to distinguish them at a quick glance.
For many guitar players, this is enough. They don't need complexity to control their effects. They just want something simple.
Boss pedals are also popular with people who want a separate stompbox for each effect, as opposed to lumping them all together in a multi effects pedal.
And all this brings us to our question: Are Boss pedals the best?
That depends on what you mean by "best."
Quality VS Value
When you're talking about the "best" we're usually dealing with one of two meanings:
- The best in terms of overall quality (quality and craftsmanship only)
- The best in terms of value (quality and craftsmanship + price point)
The first "best" is simply a matter of quality. In other words: Is it just the nicest guitar pedal (or pedals) on the market? Does Boss make guitar pedals that are literally nicer than everyone else's?
If that's what you mean, then the answer is no. Boss makes great pedals, but there are plenty of other brands that are objectively better (sound better, offer more control, etc.) than Boss pedals.
The second way to look at whether something is "the best" is combining quality with price. For the consumer, that should be the highest possible degree of quality at the lowest possible price. For many, the best option is the product where those two factors intersect.
- Best possible quality
- Lowest possible price
In a lot of cases, Boss is arguably giving you the best possible quality and the lowest possible price for said quality, without necessarily being the best overall.
Boss's Small Stompboxes
This is mostly in regards to their small form stompboxes, the ones you're probably most familiar with.
These are typically the pedals from Boss that give you a high value mark. Many are between $100 and $200, or even less in some cases.
The Waza Craft Series
The newer Waza Craft series has taken several older Boss pedals and revamped them with an analog circuit and a fresh coat of paint. These are more expensive, but they are legitimately some of the nicest single-effect pedals on the market, getting closer to that "best overall" status.
Boss Large-Form and Multi-Effects Pedals
Boss also produces a lot of larger-form multi-effects pedals, which I'm not as familiar with and not generally a fan of. Multi-effects pedals are harder to gauge because there are so many of them with so many effects. Besides, the Line 6 Helix and Kemper Profiler series have basically shot the moon in the multi-effects market.
So are Boss pedals the absolute best pedals on the market?
But are they at least top three in terms of value? I would say, yes.
You could even make an argument for them being the best value of all the brands currently available. And they're certainly one of the most popular.
If it's a question of whether or not you should feel comfortable buying Boss pedals, I don't have any hesitation on that front. They're a great company that consistently puts out solid effects pedals at reasonable price tags.
The comments section is open below if you have questions about Boss pedals.
I'll help out as much as possible.
Hey! Nice article. I have a plethora of pedals, I have been loving the guitar for over 30 years….You answered the question already; quality and price are simply unbeatable. I have many pedals that have finished in the drawer – more expensive than boss – but the B’s are still going and still sound the best. They do take dialing in with more precision than other do.
You wrote about chugging tones…my favourite! But no Metal zone in it…? That is one of the best chugging pedal at a very good price even the waza…Finally, I think the boss’s design is very functional and good looking what an area to press rather then a button they are unique.
Hey, thanks David!
For the Metal Zone, I thought about putting the Waza Craft version in there. It’s a good option.
Boss has really upped their game with the Waza Craft series.
Thanks again for sharing.
Yeah I think it is, but they are so many pedals!!!!
Better a new pedal or a new amp…? That is the question?
I salute you from Italy and thank you for your reply.
Thanks, David. What’s your current amp situation? I’m always in favor of a nice amp that can handle distortion on its own.
Hey man! Well that is a very good point, and that is why I said pedal Vs amp. You know, you just have to buy a few pedals (2-3) and you get the price of an amp…a low wattage tube amp neh?! That has a ‘voice’ so to speak…I have always used pedals with solid state…with a old Peavey 50w, or a Fender 40w..but now I am stuck on a boss katana head MK2 100w through a cab with a pair of celestion v30…sounds pretty good. That amp is bonkers it has so much!!! And with the foot-switch…just amazing really. Great chugging sounds – play 7 strings in drop A usually – But is too much options really…for same reason I gave up daws and plugins…knobs galore!!! Albeit virtual knobs…I am on the verge of a PRS MT 15, looks and sounds like a great package. Do you know anything about it…?
I should tell you I am not a professional musician bro…I am just an architect who has been in love with the guitar forever…But there’s still sooo much to learn and to try!
Thanks for your time and reply Bobby. Take care
Bobby Kittleberger says
I’m not super familiar with the PRS amps, but I think they definitely have a Mesa vibe. I think if you were to go with an amp like the MT-50, you’d be set to go without a distortion pedal.
That said, I’ve been really impressed with the Katana amps. They’re one of my favorite recommendations right now.