Written by Bobby
Parent article: Best Guitar Pedals
Updated by Bobby
Recently updated on March 6th, 2021
Checked links for product availability and made minor changes to formatting.
Best Pedalboard for Guitar players: Our Top Pick
Pedaltrain Metro 16
All of the Pedaltrain boards are light weight, affordable and available in a wide variety of sizes. We're comfortable recommending any of them for all skill levels and situations.
Pedalboards are one of the simplest pieces of guitar technology in existence. Yet, there are a lot of them and a lot of different things to consider before you buy one. If you’re a guitar player that has started to put together even a small collection of pedals, a pedalboard should be on your radar pretty quickly. In this article I’m going to cover some of my best pedalboard recommendations, covering all the factors you’ll need to consider when buying one for yourself.
Best Pedalboards for Guitar: Top Five Picks
Pedaltrain Series (Metro 16)
Vangoa Ghostfire (type D)
Gator GPB Large
Best Pedalboard Brands: Top Three
Best Small Unpowered Pedalboard
1. Pedaltrain Metro 16 (Pedaltrain series)
Like the BCB-30, the Pedaltrain Metro 16 needs to be in the right situation, but is a perfect solution once there. The Metro’s surface area is only about 16 x 8 inches, which is enough space for roughly five small pedals on the first row, then a few on the back, if needed. There's room to work and more so than you would expect when you initially look at it.
The board is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, so you’re also getting a surprisingly durable piece of equipment.
The board comes with a set of hook and loop ties with adhesive backing similar to regular Velcro. It also ships with this carrying case:
IDEAL FOR: Mid-sized pedal setups, Boss pedals
Best Large Unpowered Pedalboard
2. Gator G-Tour Pedalboard
Gator Cases makes some of the toughest and most durable pedalboards in existence. This one is particularly heavy-duty, designed to take a lot of punishment with shock absorbing EVA foam, aluminum valance (covering the edges and corners) and a heavy locking system. It’s pricey, and you’re paying for the protection. Thus, I’d recommend this board particularly those who are doing a lot of traveling and need the extra cushion to protect their pedals. The ideal buyer is anyone whose gear might be taking a lot of abuse.
IDEAL FOR: Guitar techs, gigging musicians and guitarists who already have a power supply
Best Powered Pedalboard
3. Boss BCB-60
Predictably, the Boss BCB-60 is a board that’s optimized for Boss pedals.
If you run a lot of them through your effects chain, it’s good news. But even if Boss stompboxes aren’t your focus, the BCB-60 has a lot of great features and can fit a healthy number of pedals.
The BCB-60 itself has the following dimensions:
It’s not huge, but certainly big enough to hold five or six pedals with something larger like a wah or volume pedal in tow. Hear are a couple examples of folks who have configured the BCB-60 without a lot of Boss pedals. Two larger pedals (the right-most one is probably a wah) and a small tuner:
This next user has four small boxes, plus a Morley wah pedal and extra room, if needed:
From what I can tell, you should be able to remove those panels near the top of the board, the ones with the blue text on them, in order to make more room. The exterior of the board is a type of molded resin, which isn’t as strong as the Gator boards, but still plenty tough.
This one also comes with an onboard power supply and all the adapters you need to use it. Even the pedalboard's patch cables are included:
If power is an issue, this is a great perk. Those who have a power supply already will lose some value here, though I doubt the daisy-chain you get is contributing a great deal to the cost.
The board is ideal for most scenarios, particularly for in-home or light-traveling players who need a power source.
IDEAL FOR: Guitar techs, gigging musicians, Boss pedal owners and guitarists who need a power supply
Best Cheap Pedalboard
4. Vangoa Ghostfire Type D
For those on a more strict budget, we'd recommend going with something from the Vangoa Ghostfire series. These are some of the lightest pedalboards we've ever used, even more so than the Pedaltrain boards. The Type D pictured above also comes with Velcro material, a carrying case, and a strap, all for around $60, which is the cheapest price point on this list. It's ideal for beginners or even someone gigging who doesn't want to drop a ton of money on an aluminum board.
IDEAL FOR: Guitar techs, gigging musicians, Boss pedal owners and guitarists who need a power supply
Best Aluminum Pedalboard
5. Gator GPB-BAK-OR Large Aluminum Pedalboard
It’s not as big as the Classic Pro, though it is cheaper and one of Gator’s larger pedalboard offerings. Coming in at roughly 23 x 10 inches (with no edging) you’ve got room for somewhere near the 10 to 12 pedal range. The material is aluminum with angled holes throughout each lane that allow you to run cables underneath the board and out of site. Velcro for adhering pedals along each strip is included.
There’s also a universal mounting system underneath the board for mounting an external power supply. Here’s what it would look like:
Once the power supply is attached, all patch cables can be easily routed to and front the unit. So you’re better off if you can bring a power supply to the table and you don’t mind the angled stance of the board (some like this, others prefer a flat board).
It might even be a matter of liking the orange color.
IDEAL FOR: Guitar techs, gigging musicians and guitarists who already have a power supply and need a lot of pedal space
What is a pedalboard?
In this section, we’ll cover some pedalboard basics for beginners.
What are they, and how do you set them up?
A pedalboard is designed for electric guitar, bass, or even acoustic players, to sit on the floor and serve as a platform for your guitar pedals. It mostly comes in a rectangular shape with rounded edges and a flat surface that’s not overly thick. It helps you manage your guitar pedals in the following ways:
In this regard, pedalboards are both effective and simple.
Complexity comes when you start talking about different materials, whether or not pedal power is included, and how to size the right pedalboard for your particular guitar pedal collection. We’ll get through all of those issues as we answer this simple question: What is a pedalboard and why do we need them?
Let’s start with pedalboard types and materials.
Things to Consider When Buying
Aluminum VS Plywood VS Synthetic VS Metal/Iron
While materials don’t play a huge role in the types of pedalboards available to you, it is worth quickly noting what is used to create them:
- Aircraft-Grade Aluminum (most common)
- Synthetic Rubber (Styrene)
- Metal/Cast Iron
The most popular material, especially in recent years, is the aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both lightweight and very sturdy. Pedaltrain has used this material in their boards since the beginning, which has given way to a lot of imitation of that particular pedalboard design. For types of pedalboards, I’ll give each one their own category.
LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINUM PEDALTRAIN (RAILED) STYLE
Pedaltrain has designed their boards with a lot of weight relief, which is great for those that have to be on the move a lot. They use a hollow lightweight aluminum, with a “railed” system that uses vertical railing horizontally on the board with space in between each rail.
Lots of other companies have imitated this design, though I believe Pedaltrain was the original purveyor.
LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINUM VOODOO LAB (GRATED) STYLE
Voodoo Lab’s take on the aluminum pedalboard is similar, but they provide weight relief with small oval-shaped holes instead of the rail design that Pedaltrain uses. The floor of a Voodoo Lab board is also a lot thinner.
Another common design uses a hard plastic or synthetic rubber to create a covered base for the pedalboard and a semi-enclosed surface area. Boss’s BCB-60 is one of the most popular examples of this pedalboard design.
BASIC PLYWOOD (WOODEN)
In most cases, wooden pedalboards can only be found via custom and boutique pedalboard makers. I don’t recommend them just because they tend to be heavier and don’t offer the same durability you get form the aluminum boards.
Although, some of the wooden boards do look fantastic.
How do I choose the right size? Pedal & Pedalboard Dimensions
This is a tough question to answer.
First, you need to know the dimensions of your pedals and have at least a general idea of how to set them up. Our Pedalboard Planner is a helpful tool you can use to set up a visual of your pedalboard to scale and make a decision about how much surface area you need.
You’ll need to consider the following:
- Width of each pedal
- Height of each pedal
- Space you want between each pedal for cables
- How many rows of pedals you want to implement
Once you have a general idea of the kind of space you’ll need to handle pedals you already have, you’ll want to think about your future plans.
In other words:
Will be adding pedals anytime soon?
WHAT IF I WANT TO ADD MORE PEDALS IN THE FUTURE?
If you think you’ll add more pedals in the future, there are essentially three different ways to handle that with regards to your pedalboard:
- Swap: Switch a new pedal out for one of similar size that was already on your board
- Expand: Use empty space on your board (assuming you have empty space)
- Rotate: Rotate pedals on your board to make more room for new ones
All of these are viable options when you want to add a new pedal to a pedalboard. I would advise planning to buy a pedalboard that has enough space to expand to around two or three pedals. This means you won’t need to swap or rotate existing pedals for awhile. If and when you do, you’ll have plenty of extra room to work with. At some point, if you keep adding pedals, you’ll need to add a second pedalboard.
Some pedalboards do come with a power supply.
I typically do not recommend this unless you can verify the quality of the power supply included. In a lot of instances, they’re fairly cheap. We covered and reviewed a bunch of pedalboard power supplies here, so check that out for help in terms of what to look for in a power source.
Generally, I recommend buying your power supply separately. The only exception would be the Dingbat pedalboards by Voodoo Lab, which commonly come with Voodoo Lab power supplies.
What about Velcro?
Most pedalboards come with Velcro or the generic “hook/loop” adhesive. For those that don’t know, this material has two sides: One for your pedalboard and another for each pedal. Using it is quite simple.
- Cut the Velcro to the desired shape
- Apply hook side to pedalboard
- Apply loop side to each pedal
Some pedalboards include Velcro (or the off-brand version of it) and some don’t. Since Velcro is so cheap to buy, I wouldn’t make a decision about which pedalboard to buy based on the inclusion or exclusion of Velcro.
If you need to buy your own, it’s easy to get a hold of.
For those interested, you can get bulk VELCRO on Amazon for next to nothing.
Do I need a case?
For a long time I didn’t use cases with my pedalboards. But, once I started having to play outside of my house, I was really glad I had one. For those that do any kind of gigging or transporting, the case is a must-have. When buying a pedalboard, there are a few different case-related scenarios to consider:
- The pedalboard is the case (comes with a detachable top)
- Pedalboard includes a case
- Pedalboard does not include a case
If your pedalboard doesn’t include a case, you’ll need to check with the manufacturer to see which case would be compatible. Most companies make cases for each board they sell, even if they’re sold separately. Most of the major brands, including Pedaltrain and Voodoo Lab, ship their boards with a free case or at least a gig bag.
Here’s a quick list of brands that typically provide a case or gig bag:
- Voodoo Lab
- Gator Cases
What kind of cables should I use?
I always recommend using the flat, right-angle pedal cables, like these ones from Hosa, for pedals on your pedalboard. They save a ton of space between each box.
Pedal couplers are also good for minimizing clutter, though they require a little more space than the patch cable between each pedal.
- Low-profile patch cables (usually about 6″ of length)
- Pedal couplers
The less cable length you have between each pedal, the more pure your signal will be and the less excess noise you’ll have to deal with.
More Pedalboards Worth Checking Out
In addition to the pedalboards we’ve already recommended, I want to finish up by listing a few honorable mentions that are also good options, especially if you didn’t find a good fit from the above choices. These are typically middle of the road in terms of pricing, but are nicer for what you pay.
For the Money
- Donner DB-3 (20 x 11): Cheaper brand but great value
- Gator Cases GPB-BAK-1: Higher-grade aluminum, popular option
- Temple Audio DUO 24: Room for two rows of effects, Dingbat design
From these lists, I’ve reviewed a handful of pedalboards taking a more thorough and in-depth look. These are the boards I’ve gotten the most questions about and have been the most popular in their respective categories.
Thoughts or questions?
Have thoughts about the pedalboards listed or a pedalboard-related question?
Feel free to leave it in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to help out.