Written by Guitar Chalk Editorial
Guitar pedals are more expensive these days, but you can still find a lot of cheap pedals that provide solid value.
The same is true of chorus pedals, which are some of the most common and useful modulation effects available to electric guitar players. On this page, we've pulled together four of the best chorus pedals under 100 dollars retail, three of which use analog circuits.
We'll cover each pedal in plenty of detail, but if you just want to see the pictures and check out the pedals, they're in a four-column table below these paragraphs.
Our Favorite Chorus Pedals Under $100
As mentioned, three of the pedals listed here use an analog circuit, including both EHX choruses and the MXR M234. The JHS 3 Series chorus is the only one using a digital signal processor. The NEO Clone is the cheapest on this list, while the other three all tie for the lead in cost at $99 retail.
Keep in mind, you could potentially see these pedals glance above or below their established price points depending on the following factors:
- Where you buy
- When you buy
- Whether you're buying new or used
- New series or iterations of these pedals released in the future
We've linked to Sweetwater since we partner with them (at no extra cost to you) and they tend to be a reliable marker of typical retail cost for guitar gear.
If you have questions about any of the pedals, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we'll help out as much as possible.
BEST OVERALL/BEST VALUE
MXR M234 Analog Chorus
The MXR M234 is the best overall chorus pedal on the market, with plenty of control and a rich, distinct analog tone.
Pros of the MXR M234
Cons of the MXR M234
EHX Small Clone Chorus
Yet another analog chorus pedal, the Small Clone is a copy of the chorus that Kurt Cobain used to use. It has a simple control scheme and a more vintage, watery sound.
Pros of the Small Clone
Cons of the Small Clone
JHS 3 Series Chorus Pedal
JHS made this chorus pedal simple with a vibrato mode that provides more of a "warbling" sound. It can do the basic modulation layering, or the more intense vibrato tones.
Pros of the 3 Series
Cons of the 3 Series
EHX NEO Clone Analog Chorus Pedal
The Neo Clone is a slimmer version of the Small Clone at a discounted price, coming in around $75 retail, making it the cheapest on this list and a good budget-friendly option.
Pros of the Neo Clone
Cons of the Neo Clone
How do we pick?
We've been working with chorus pedals and the guitar pedal market for a long time, which has given us a lot of familiarity with the options. We draw on this knowledge to target brands, features, and quality markers within a certain price range.
Take the the following brands, for example:
- Electro-Harmonix (EHX)
- MXR/Jim Dunlop
- JHS Pedals
These are three pedal manufacturers that we know are trustworthy and reputable. It's easy to trust the chorus pedals that come out of their shops, regardless of price range. For years they've consistently built really solid pedals, which makes it easy to trust them for a particular query like the one we're addressing here.
We're also looking at pricing, which means we don't just try to stay under $100, but we also try to avoid buying too low. For example, some of the Behringer chorus pedals are between $20 and $30, yet we don't like to recommend those because they aren't nearly as nice as the ones in this list.
While it's good to get something cheap, we also want to make sure we're recommending quality to you.
The chorus pedals in our list meet the following high-quality markers, in addition to being less than $100:
- Reliable brand
- Analog or well-designed DSP circuits
- Well-built with metal casing (many of the cheaper brands use a plastic casing)
- A decent amount of effect control
Most of the cheaper chorus pedals don't meet these basic requirements. Just make sure to pay attention to exactly what you're getting if you decide to go with something really cheap. In a lot of cases, it's worth it to pay a little more and get a nicer pedal.
Other Important Chorus Pedal Features
Let's talk a little more about some of the chorus pedal features that we focus on. In chorus pedals, there are two quality indicators that matter most, outside of brand and pricing: Control and circuit type.
You'll need to pay attention to the type of control provided on each chorus pedal. Typically we see the following:
Bonus controls might include:
- Mix or Level
- Low EQ
- High EQ
In chorus pedals under $100, you'll usually be limited to a rate and depth control. The MXR M234 is the rare exception to that rule.
Despite being in a lower price range, there are still plenty of opportunities to get an analog circuit in your chorus pedal, if that's something that's important to you. Of the four pedals listed, the following three all have an analog circuit:
- MXR M234
- EHX Small Clone
- EHX Neo Clone
Even the JHS 3 series still sounds great, despite the DSP. In this price range there seems to be a decent balance between DSP and analog chorus pedals.
To summarize, we'd expect a limited scope of of options when looking at chorus pedals under $100. However, we'd also expect some clear winners with plenty of analog boxes to choose from and some reliable brands to work with.
We're confident that the four pedals in this list are good investments, and well worth the asking price.
If you have questions that we haven't addressed about any of these four pedals - or perhaps a chorus pedal we didn't mention - feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below. We'll help out as much as possible.