Updated by Bobby
Recently updated on January 11th, 2021
Removed the Amptweaker TightMetal JR since it's getting harder to find on third-party retailers (strangely). Also, replaced the Wampler Latitude Deluxe Tremolo with the MXR M234 analog chorus (we already had a tremolo pedal and zero choruses on this list).
In this article we'll cover a basic understanding of guitar pedals, what they are, and how they work.
This will help you make better decisions when buying guitar pedals. We'll also cover the best guitar pedals out of what we've tested and actually used. These are not secondhand recommendations based off reading and re-hashing product descriptions. All of these pedals have been bought, played, and used by those who contributed to this article.
We're doing guitar pedal reviews based on those that scored the highest in our rating system. Beneath the top pedals are resources and articles covering other effects categories.
All of these pedals have been bought, played, and used by those that contributed to this article.
10 Top Guitar Pedals Overall: Highest-Rated Picks
BBE Acoustimax Preamp
Boss BF-3 Flanger
Empress Effects Heavy Distortion
Line 6 DL4 Digital Delay
LR Baggs Venue DI Acoustic Preamp
Strymon BigSky Reverb
Strymon Flint Tremolo
TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb
Walrus Audio Fathom Reverb
MXR M234 Analog Chorus
1. Walrus Audio Fathom Reverb
Walrus Audio's Fathom is a unique style of reverb containing four intriguing algorithms, which all sound totally different from one another. You can use the mix knob to completely remove your dry signal from the output, which preserves only the wet side of the effect. This produces some bizarre, ethereal sounds that we haven't been able to duplicate with other reverb pedals.
More Fathom Details
Going through our grading systems shows no glaring problems with the Fathom. In terms of shear tone quality and versatility, the Fathom is one of the best pedals we've ever used. Tweaking it's settings provides a range of significantly different sounds, as opposed to being being a subtle variation on a theme. Those looking for ambience on their pedalboard, and prefer to experiment with different effects and reverb sounds, should consider the Fathom an immediate top recommendation. Even with the boutique-level price tag, we'd say the Fathom is well worth it.
IDEAL FOR: Ethereal ambience for studio and stage
2. Amptweaker TightMetal JR Distortion (not currently available)
Particularly when it comes to modern distortion pedals, the TightMetal ST and JR by Amptweaker is one of our favorite designs.
Its ability to mimic an amp-driven tone, both heavily and mildly saturated, makes it one of the few distortion pedals we'd be willing to compare to a high-quality amplifier-based distortion source. In fact, it was designed by the same guy who used to design amplifiers for Peavey.
We like the TightMetal JR for all of its functionality, particularly if you're leaning more towards a heavy metal or modern distortion vibe.
IDEAL FOR: Lead and rhythm metal tones
3. Strymon BigSky
Strymon's BigSky is one of the most powerful digital reverb pedals available. It has 12 different reverb modes that can each be adjusted by seven different controls, where two of those - PARAM 1 & 2 - change depending on which algorithm (mode) you're using. There are also 300 different presets available for banking sounds, making the BigSky extremely convenient for session guitarists and live performers.
Strymon BigSky Details
However, the BigSky is really expensive, limiting its appeal to beginners or those who are working on establishing their pedalboards. Otherwise, guitar players who rely on ambient sounds will get a ton of use out of the BigSky.
For semi professional and professional guitarists, there's no scenario where we wouldn't recommend the BigSky.
IDEAL FOR: In the studio
4. MXR M234 Analog Chorus
There aren't too many chorus pedals that give you a bucket-brigade analog circuit and a five-part control scheme at this price point. At only $99 retail (cheaper if you buy used), the M234 is one of the single highest-value guitar pedals we can recommend, and it's our favorite recommendation for those specifically after chorus pedals. We've reviewed it in full, coming up with a 92.4 overall score in our ratings system. At the price, you won't find a better-sounding chorus pedal.
Read the review: MXR M234 Analog Chorus
M234 Chorus Details
You have a two-band EQ for the pedal's wet signal (high and low) and helps you match the tone to your amplifier. This does a good job of blending the effect and creating a smoother transition when the pedal is turned on or off.
Below the EQ controls you have level, rate, and depth, where level controls the wet/dry mix and the other two knobs let you control the speed and intensity of the chorus's waveform.
It runs off a standard 9V power source and has an analog bucket brigade circuit (as we mentioned).
Our only complaint: No mention anywhere of a true bypass connection.
IDEAL FOR: Ideal for clean electric guitar chord progressions, but cheap enough to be universally relevant.
5. LR Baggs Venue DI
In the Venue DI you have both a preamp and DI in the form of a stompbox. In other words, it's not a typical acoustic guitar pedal that you can turn on or off. It's more like a mini acoustic amp, housing an effects loop, and even an XLR out. Running your acoustic through this device - like the Acoustimax - sounds amazing, with a gain control and a full, four-band EQ for tweaking and adjustments. It also does a great job of quelling noise and feedback, with or without a soundhole cover.
Venue DI Details
Once you start using the Venue DI, it's hard to go back, like we said about the Acoustimax. It gives your tone far more definition, with heavier low-end and clearer highs that aren't too chime-like. It's a fantastic tool for any acoustic performance scenario, with functionality that serves the live player as well as session folks. Particularly for recording it's smart and helpful to use a preamp like the Venue DI since it gives you such a significant increase in tone quality.
IDEAL FOR: Acoustic performance and recording
6. TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb I and II
The reverb effect finds its most appealing, somewhat-low-cost option in the Hall of Fame pedal series from TC Electronic. The unit has several different modes of reverb, along with a decay, level (wet/dry mix) and tone control, giving you tons of varied reverb sounds to experiment with. At the price, it's incredibly functional and a perfect alternative for those that want to avoid the sticker shock of the BigSky and other expensive units.
Hall of Fame Details
If you're using an amp or PA system without onboard reverb (or a reverb you just don't like) the Hall of Fame can supplement nearly any type of ambient sound you could want. With so many modes and the level control, you can have a thick reverberated covering or just a subtle layer of ambience. It's useful in any scenario, regardless of playing style.
IDEAL FOR: Basic ambience
7. Line 6 DL4 Digital Delay Modeler
The Line 6 DL4 gets strong marks for tone quality, cost, and tweaking features, while also making regular appearances on pro-level guitar rigs. Shinedown‘s Zach Myers, Ace Frehley, Phil Wickham, and Sarah Lipstate are just a few names that have made the DL4 delay a regular feature of their pedalboard.
Line 6 DL4 Details
We would suspect that most negativity (some Amazon reviews) about this pedal would have to be a matter of preference and not technical concerns. You could make the case that since it has been out so long (since 2000) it should be dropping in price. Yet, that's a minor complaint for a pedal that we think is well-worth $300.
Read the full review: Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler
IDEAL FOR: Electric guitar performance
8. Empress Effects Heavy
This Empress Effects distortion pedal is completely analog with two channels and a three-band EQ dedicated to each one. It packs a modern, Mesa-sounding distortion capable of tons of smooth gain and low-end punch. It's expensive, but also worth the price of admission as the highest-functioning distortion pedal we've ever tested.
Empress Effects Heavy Details
In our rating system, "EQ Comprehension" considers how much control you have over a pedal's sound. The Empress Heavy scores a 98 in that category with a three-band EQ for each channel and two global EQ controls. This is one of the Heavy's most notable strengths, along with its overall tone grade. It's a perfect distortion for live performance, recording, or even as an amp or preamp replacement.
IDEAL FOR: All modern distortion needs
9. Boss BF-3 Flanger
Boss's BF-3 Flanger is one of the most versatile modulation pedals we've ever used, capable of tones similar to chorus pedals and phaser effects, in additional to the flanger sound itself. It's also unusually cheap as it often drops in price, particularly in the used market where a lot of BF-3s and BF-2s tend to circulate.
If you can get one used, you have a good chance at paying well under the retail markup and getting back a ton of functionality in return.
Read the review: Boss BF-3 Flanger
IDEAL FOR: Basic modulation and effects layering
How Guitar Pedals Work (the basics)
For electric guitar players, how do guitar pedals work? That's the question we're going to answer in this article. We're not going to look at the intricacies of the circuits or the different types of effects. Instead, we're just going to cover the basics and keep things really simple. This is ideal for someone who is just looking to get started with guitar pedals and perhaps add a few to their electric guitar rig for the first time.
In this article, we'll answer the following questions:
- What do guitar pedals do, exactly?
- How do you hook them up?
- How do you power them?
- What does the end result sound like?
Answering these questions will show you how guitar pedals work at a basic level. For some of these items, I'll link to other resources I've written that explain the topic in-depth, if you're interested in a more detailed account.
Otherwise, read on to learn the basics about how guitar pedals work and how they can make your electric guitar way more versatile.
What Guitar Pedals Do
Guitar pedals (also called "stompboxes") usually come in the form of a small metal encased pedal with an on/off switch. Inside these metal boxes are digital or analog processors that change the input coming from your electric guitar.
This processor works by using a digital algorithm or analog circuit to alter the sound wave, making the output sound different.
In simpler terms, guitar pedals change the sound of your electric guitar. There are a ton of different sounds that can result, but primarily guitar pedals alter one of the following audio qualities:
Depending on the type of guitar pedals you're using, you'll almost always be altering one of these five aspects of your electric guitar's sound.
How to Hook Up Guitar Pedals
You might be thinking, "This sounds great, but how in the world do I set all this up?"
It can sound complex at first, but hooking up guitar pedals is actually quite simple. Let's say, for example, you have a few guitar pedals, like these from my own collection:
You'll then use an instrument cable to go from your guitar to the input on the right side of whatever pedal you have placed furthest to the right. Look for the side labeled "input". From there, you'll go from the left output of that pedal to the right input of the next and so on in that order until you get to the output from your last pedal. That output will connect to the input of your amplifier.
In most cases, the cables in between the pedals are quite short and are referred to as "patch" cables. The cable coming from the electric guitar to the first pedal, and from the last pedal to the amp, should be much longer.
The End Result
Once this is setup, depending on the types of pedals you have, you can make a lot of different sounds with your electric guitar. Here are a few examples of things I've recorded with some of my own guitar pedals and the pedals we've reviewed.
This is a reverb pedal, played through a six-string electric guitar and amplifier:
Here's another example with a delay pedal:
These are just a couple tastes of the sounds you can create with guitar pedals. The more pedals you have, the more versatile your electric guitar can be. And once you know the drill, it's easy to understand how guitar pedals work and how to set them up on your own.
Summarizing How Guitar Pedals Work
To summarize my answers:
Guitar pedals are signal processors which means they take an input from your electric guitar, then (either by digital or analog mechanisms) output a new sound.
These pedals can be connected one after another going from your guitar all the way to your amplifier with regular instrument cables, though shorter ones are more convenient, cheaper, and easier to work with. From there, you can power them, either with a 9V battery or a permanent power supply. All of this covers the most basic aspects of how guitar pedals work, and can get you started with your first few effects.
How to Setup Guitar Pedals
This section is for beginners trying to learn how to setup guitar pedals.
It could also be helpful for those who want to teach this topic or just get a refresher on some effects and amplification best practices.
I'll cover all the basics relating to pedal setup, focusing primarily on effects order, connection, power, and a few other related bullet points.
When you're finished, you'll know all the most important aspects of setting up your guitar pedals, whether you have just a few or a large selection that's difficult to manage.
Let's get started.
First, what do we mean by "setup?"
I've already made brief mention of this, but let me be more specific about what I mean when I say we're going to "setup" our guitar pedals.
Our primary goals are the following:
- Proper order
- Functional connection
- Optimal use
Setting up your pedals - and perhaps your pedalboard (more on this later) - should accomplish these three things.
To start, I'll answer a common question about guitar pedals.
What order should you put them in?
What order should your pedals be in?
If you're asking this question, you probably know a little bit about how your signal chain works.
To quickly review:
A signal runs from your electric guitar, through your processors (pedals or rack effects), then into an amplifier.
Why does the order of guitar pedals matter?
How you order your guitar pedals matters because of how they process your signal.
This process varies depending on which pedals and effects you're using.
For example, if you have a distortion and chorus pedal, you would want your distortion first in order to handle volume before you handle waveform changes. In other words, modulating a distorted signal is better than distorting a modulated signal.
What exactly do I mean by modulation, waveform, and volume?
Let's uncover some of the lingo.
Using Effects Categories
Before we can fully understand why pedal order matters, or even talk about how to order them, we need to categorize guitar pedals based on effects categories.
Generally speaking, there are a five effects categories:
- Gain (distortion)
- Compression and Volume
Pedals should be ordered based on these categories. Let's start by giving the order based on categories alone:
From right to left, starting at your guitar and ending at an amplifier, this is how effects categories should be ordered.
Now, let's go over which pedals would go into each category.
We'll go in the order given above:
Compression and Volume
- Volume pedals
- EQ pedals
- Wah wah pedals
- Pitch shifters
- Octave pedals
- Distortion pedals
- Fuzz Pedals
While there are some pedals that are more nuanced and difficult to categorize, most of them can be sorted into one of these five parent categories.
Now, let's look at another diagram that shows how we might order a few of these pedals, based on those categories.
Let's look at this setup with pedals only.
Since we know the categories a little bit better, it'll be much easier to arrange our pedals in a proper, linear signal path.
Based on the categories we've covered, you can order almost any guitar pedal or any type of effect.
If you have questions about types of pedals that you aren't sure how to categorize, leave those in the comments section and I'll do my best to help out.
What about a pedal tuner?
If you have a pedal tuner, it can technically be placed anywhere in a signal chain.
However, I personally prefer to keep mine at the beginning, before any effects that actually manipulate the signal.
Some players keep them at the end of their pedal chain, right before the amp.
Either way is fine.
How do you connect them?
All guitar pedals connect with the same type of cable you use to connect your guitar to your amplifier.
These are called instrument or "TRS" cables, identified easily by the quarter inch tip (jack) where they're plugged in.
As you might have gathered, it isn't a great idea to use full-blown guitar cables between each pedal, simply because they're usually placed much closer together.
For connecting pedals, you have a few options that are far more functional.
They include the following:
- Instrument Patch Cables
- Low-Profile Patch Cables
- Pedal Couplers
All three of these are basically really short forms of the instrument cable pictured above.
For example, a low profile patch cable looks like this:
It's simple, but effective.
Here's a look at some pedal couplers:
Let's look at some of the comparisons between pedal couplers and patch cables.
Patch Cables VS Pedal Couplers
Pedal couplers have their advantages and disadvantages.
On the positive side, they're virtually indestructible and great for preserving your tone and keeping unwanted noise to a minimum.
On the negative side they're completely inflexible and can struggle to deal with height differences between pedals. They also - surprisingly - don't do a great job of minimizing space (physical distance) between pedals.
The patch cables with the low profile angles (pictured above) actually do a much better job of preserving space between pedals than the couplers.
I've used both, but the low-profile patch cable is my personal favorite connection solution.
Let's chat about patch cable length.
As I eluded to earlier, it's important to minimize the length of cabling between each guitar pedal.
The more length there is, the more opportunity you have for noise and unwanted electrical interference to creep in.
Generally speaking, it's wise to aim for three to six inches of cable length between each pedal. Most patch cables measure around six inches, though the low-profile options are available in three inches.
The pedal couplers are a bit shorter, though (again) because of their design don't save as much physical space between each pedal as some of the patch cables.
Of course it depend on how you have everything setup, but a good, general best practice is to keep your cabling to a minimum.
I don't mean to sound like setting up your guitar pedals is a completely rigid, barricaded activity.
What I'm giving you is a list of best practices, and not a list of rules.
Because your pedalboard is uniquely your own, especially as you begin to learn how to use effects and build your own style and sound. These guidelines will help you get started and give you a jumping off point.
More on Guitar Pedal Order
In this section, we're going to look at more detailed examples guitar pedal order, both with and without an effects loop and a line selector. We'll also cover effects categories and how they can help you order your guitar pedals. I'll include everything you could practically expect to see on your pedalboard including tuner, EQ, and noise gate placement.
In other words, use these graphics to plan your pedalboards and then make adjustments as you need to.
Straight Line with No Effects Loop
This is the most common guitar pedal order, assuming you have everything setup in a straight line without any kind of switch or effects loop. It also assumes you're using only one amp without a splitter. This is the configuration that will apply to most people.
Tuner, compressor, and volume pedals - if you're using them will all come first.
Two Amps and Line Selector
If you were using two amps, you could use your splitter at the end of your signal (after the EQ pedal in the graphic) or you could put different lines of pedals going to different amps, like this:
You could also move some pedals out in front of your line selector if you want them impacting the signal going to both amps, like this:
By Effect Category
If you were to break this down by effect category, it would look something like this:
These categories are the best way to understand how to order guitar pedals. Based on the graphic, you would order pedals by category, in the following arrangement:
- Utility Pedals
- Noise reduction
- Preamp-level pedals
Nearly all of the guitar pedals that exist fall into one of these seven parent categories. They're the best way to think about the methodology behind ordering your effects properly in a signal chain. Order by category first, then you can mix and match within those categories. For example, it doesn't really matter how you order modulation pedals within the category of modulation. Phaser can go before chorus, flanger, or vice versa.
As long as you get the parent categories right, the variation within those categories is a lot more flexible.
But what about some of the special cases, like an effects loop?
We'll go over those next.
With an Effects Loop
If you have an effects loop in your amplifier, you'll have a few more options at your disposal for ordering your guitar pedals. The most conventional use of an effects loop is to put your modulation and ambient effects in this loop, along with a volume pedal of some kind. You could also leave the volume pedal in your main pedal line or have one in each.
Some guitar players will put all their pedals in an effects loop, though this is not something we recommend because filter, distortion, and compression should all be in the main line between the guitar and the amp input.
Typical Guitar Pedal Cost and Pricing Structures
How much do guitar pedals cost on an average day? What about the difference between new and used pricing? Does the retail cost differ widely between brands and specific pedals? The truth is that there's a lot of variety within the world of guitar pedals, which means the pricing differs drastically. However, we can simplify it to some degree.
Because the pricing difference doesn't really come from effect type. Instead, it comes from brand and manufacturing method.
Aside from brand you can break guitar pedal prices up between mass-produced and boutique or handmade guitar pedals:
- Mainline or mass produced pedals: Generally cheaper
- Boutique or handmade pedals: Generally more expensive
You could also make the distinction based on the type of circuit the pedal has, namely analog or digital:
- Digital circuit: Generally cheaper
- Analog circuit: Generally more expensive
Now, these are of course conventions and not rules. The actual pricing of any one guitar pedal will vary a lot, but I want to try and give you some rough numbers to work with. This is the "simple" answer.
Rough Estimate and Price Range
If you go out and by a garden variety guitar pedal, you should expect to spend somewhere in the range of $90 to $150 dollars per pedal.
For those wondering what the price range of guitar pedals is on a large scale, it starts on the low end at about $20 and goes all the way up to around $500 on the high end.
Again, this is extremely generalized, but it does give you a quick look at what you might expect to spend.
Just for kicks, I threw a few pedals into my cart on Reverb and took a screenshot. This is a good representation of used pricing.
Between shipping and the price of each pedal, we come in just under $300 at $280, averaging $93 per pedal.
Let's look at another shopping cart example, this time with Musicians Friend, which will be closer to new or retail price.
As you can tell, new pricing moves our total a little higher, averaging around $100 per pedal, though this is just an example of what you might be looking at if you were to order some for yourself.
One thing I like about Reverb's system is that you can actually look at the pricing history for pedals.
Let's look at this data for a few popular stompboxes.
The Boss DS-1 Distortion
- Typical used price: $30
- Typical new price: $50
Dunlop 535Q Crybaby Wah
- Typical used price: $75
- Typical new price: $150
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb
- Typical used price $110
- Typical new price: $150
Now, the three examples we've looked at are all mass-produced pedals with a digital circuit. If you're trying to get a feel for what you would pay for a boutique pedal, perhaps with an analog signal path, a good rule of thumb is to double these prices. In other words:
- Mass-produced pedals with digital circuits: $100-$150
- Boutique pedals with analog circuits: $200-$250
Again, I'm painting in broad strokes because there are so many different pedals. However, these estimates are commonly played out.
How to Save Money on Guitar Pedals
As we've illustrated, the used price of most guitar pedals will give you roughly a 20 percent cut off retail cost. In some cases this will be much cheaper, depending on a variety of factors, but primarily the pedal in question and the selling medium.
Outside of buying used, you can also buy cheap guitar pedals for effects that are more straightforward.
For example, an EQ and tuner pedal will work the same from almost any brand.
You can get away with buying low on those types of effects.
Cost Section Summary
In summary: How much do guitar pedals cost? As with many things in life, it depends.
Since there are so many manufacturers and pedal models out there, it's hard to get a uniform answer to this question. That's why we've put the average guitar pedal cost around $90 - $150. This a pretty typical price point you can expect to fall into or a good "rough estimate" of what you'll be spending for each pedal.
You should also keep in mind that most guitar players don't buy their pedals all at once.
Instead, they buy one at a time depending on what they need and what kind of music they play. You don't necessarily need a bunch of pedals. Just buy one or two to start out, then add as you see the need for it.
Powering Guitar Pedals 101
I was a little surprised to find out that guitar pedals didn't just work on their own. They each need a power source, and for those that might be newer to the world of guitar pedals (like I was) it's not immediately clear as to how that happens or what can serve up that power. However, the answer is fairly straightforward. To power guitar pedals you have essentially four options:
- 9V battery (one for each pedal)
- Single adapter wall plugs
- Daisy chain wall plug (plugs into multiple pedals)
- Isolated power box with an electrical cord to each pedal
All of these are valid methods of powering your guitar pedals, though they all have their pros and cons. How you're approaching your guitar pedal collection will determine which one is best-suited for you.
I'll talk a little bit about each method covering the pros and cons.
One of the most common methods of powering guitar pedals is a single 9V battery, since most pedals need 9V to operate. This can get trickier with 12V and 18V pedals, though those are far less common. For example, all the small Boss pedals can be powered by a 9V battery connection. Depending on the pedal, you'll have a compartment that can be opened where the battery can be easily attached.
The problem is that guitar pedals are notoriously power-hungry and will drain 9V batteries rather quickly. Even when you have a pedal turned off, with the instrument cables plugged in, it'll still pull power. After going through enough 9V batteries, this gets pretty expensive.
- Cheap (at first)
- Easy to obtain
- Easy to install
- Isolated (less noisy) source of power
- Gets expensive after awhile
- Needs to be regularly replaced
- Not reliable for live shows (risk of power running down)
- Not all pedals run of 9V (some 12V or 18V)
The next step up from a 9V battery would be a single 9V power adapter that plugs into a wall, like this 9V AC-DC power supply:
These adapters are an improvement over a battery in regards to the battery running out. With a permanent adapter, it can always provide power without having to be replaced. The problem with it is that it only provides one source of power, meaning additional pedals will require additional power sources, and an outlet for every single pedal you want to add, assuming they're all powered with a 9V power supply that plugs into the wall.
Thus, we've solved one problem and replaced it with another. We no longer have to worry about batteries running out of power, but each power source we have is only good for one stompbox.
This can work for smaller pedalboards, but will quickly require a more robust solution that hogs up less outlets.
9V Single Supply Pros
- Affordable and permanent
- Isolated form of power (single supply for each pedal)
9V Single Supply Cons
- Each supply requires its own outlet
- Multiple power supplies can get really messy
- Not ideal for more than one or two pedals
Daisy Chain Adapters
You might have heard the term "daisy chain" in reference to guitar pedal power, but weren't exactly sure what it meant. In basic terms, it's a power supply that extends power through a chained connection that all stems from one outlet. Here's how it looks in a Donner daisy chain power supply:
While this solves the problem of needing multiple outlets, it does pose a major technical issue that isn't immediately apparent. All of those chained power source are "unisolated."
What is isolated power and why does it matter?
A power supply is isolated when it's sheltered from all other power circuits, existing in a one-to-one relationship with the device its powering. In other words, each pedal has its own source of power where that power source doesn't cross paths with any other power sources.
In a daisy chain, this is not the case as all sources of power are shared.
What's wrong with that, you ask?
It can be really noisy.
Daisy chains and unisolated power boxes are notorious for creating electrical crossover and noise problems. As you increase the number of pedals that are chained together with non-isolated power, your odds of having noise problems goes up dramatically. Like I said about the individual power supplies, daisy chains are a decent fix for maybe three pedals at most. Any more than that, and I'd advise moving on the our fourth and final option.
Daisy Chain Pros
- Extremely cheap
- Easy to setup
- Eliminates the need for multiple outlets
Daisy Chain Cons
- Power sources are not isolated
- Notorious for causing noise issues
- Can still have trouble handling different voltages
Isolated Multi-Source Power Supplies
The only pedal power option that solves all these problems is an isolated power supply box, like this one from Voodoo lab:
These power supplies only require one wall outlet, but then isolate power to each individual power output on the box, which you can see in the above picture. This eliminates all the problems we've had with the previous three solutions. It requires no batteries, only one wall outlets, and solves the noise issues by isolating each individual power source.
For all pedal and effects setups, we recommend this type of power, despite the fact that isolated power supplies are fairly expensive. It's not uncommon to spend $150 - $200 on one of these boxes, which is certainly a downside to consider.
However, if you run even four or five guitar pedals, we'd recommend investing in an isolated power supply.
Isolated Power Supply Pros
- No batteries required
- Needs only one outlet
- Often provides multiple voltages within a single box
- Provides isolated power through each power output
- Easily powers multiple pedals at once
Isolated Power Supply Cons
- Significantly more expensive than the previous options
Pedal Power Summary
It's hard to want to throw $200 at an electrical/utility device for your pedalboard. However, it's necessary if you want to even consider expanding your pedalboard past just a few stompboxes. For me, even trying to use more than two pedals at once almost requires that a professional-level isolated power source be used.
However, it's also important just to know the other options available to you so you can make an informed choice about how to power your effects.
We'd advise making it a priority before you start to add a lot of pedals to your rig.
Best Guitar Pedals for Your Situation
Like I said, choosing the best guitar pedals for your situation will depend on what type of effect you're shopping for.
At the bottom of this article, I've linked to guides I've written for a bunch of different types of pedals and effects categories.
On this page I've also put together a highlight of the guitar pedals that have performed best in our reviews and rating systems. When I review a guitar pedal, I make sure I have it in my hands so I can take my own pictures and record my own demos.
Our Rating System
We've also built up a rating system for each pedal we review, so I've put the highest scoring options in the list at the beginning of this article.
You can refer to that list if you want to browse through pedals based on my own research.
At the same time, you need to make the call for yourself.
Decide which effects you want to pursue and checkout some of our other guides.
If you need help or have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out via the comments section below.
Good luck pedal shopping.
Concluding and Additional Questions
Have questions about this roundup?
Maybe you want to know more about why we've chosen these pedals out of everything we could have chosen. Again, we've used and tested these pedals with our own gear, so we've taken the time to make sure what we're recommending is actually worth buying.
For more information about our experience or just general questions, feel free to drop them below in our comments section.
We're happy to answer their and help out as much as possible.