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Best Guitar Pedals EVER!! Ultimate Rundown (2023 Edition)

What pedal should every guitarist have? Which is the best guitar pedal? Here's your answer...

The best guitar pedals – they’re exactly the type of equipment you want on your pedalboard!

Why? Because out of all the guitar pedals out there, these are the ones which help you create your very own signature sound within the shortest timeframe possible. Call them a workflow godsend. The types of pedals that ALL budding musicians need (not just to stand out), but to take their music itself into new exciting spaces!

Most likely why a LOT of guitar icons owe at least part of their success to the assortment of effects on their pedalboard; Kurt Cobain, Eric Clapton, Nile Rodgers, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan… they all used pedals. Steal their pedalboard & trust us – there wouldn’t have been nowhere near as much synergy between all the elements of each track. Heck, when you really think about it, their pedal setup could even be the reason they managed to (somehow) bunnyhop their way out of the underground!!

So when you consider that today, pedals offer you as a guitarist more features than ever before, you start to realise the sheer size of the opportunity that you have. You have more options when it comes to sound than ever before; NOW is the best time to be a guitarist – period. Question is then, how do you choose the best guitar pedals? And which guitar pedals work well with your genre? Keep reading to find out…

After something specific about which is the most sold guitar pedal? Or just curious what we deem to be the best guitar pedals of all time? Dive into the menu below to get all the answers you need super FAST…

a pile of guitar pedals ready to be reviewed

Aside from the various types of guitar pedals… there’s also multiple variants of each one.

So while Boss may do a good compressor pedal, & TC Electronic may do a good reverb, they’ll be 10s of other variants all from different pedal manufacturers, & all offering their own set of quirks & features. Team that with how certain pedals are also more suited to certain genres + that some pedals offer different levels of usability, & you soon begin to see just what a minefield you need to wade through when purchasing guitar pedals.

Not that you need to worry though. See, to help you decide on the best guitar pedals for your setup, we’ve whittled down over 200 pedals!! That’s right – we’ve spent weeks fiddling with these pedals all to bring you our rundown of the best guitar pedals of each type…

PS/ Below you will find our top pick for each pedal type + the link to the individual rundowns for each pedal.

1: Boss DS-1 distortion pedal

guy tweaking the distortion pedal that's fixed to the front of his pedalboard

Wondering how distortion can enhance your sound & want to weigh up all your options? Take a tour of our rundown of the Most Popular Distortion Pedals.

2: Fender Santa Ana overdrive pedal

Intrigued as to what overdrive pedals do? Or why you’d benefit from one? Take a look at our rundown of the Top Overdrive Pedals you can buy today.

3: Jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah pedal

Want to learn more about wah pedals, & why they’re beneficial for your setup? Be sure to check our our guide to the Best Wah Pedals.

4: TC Electronic Flashback 2 delay pedal

pro guitarist showing off their pedalboard

Interested to see how a delay can enhance your sound + weigh up all your options? Dive into our rundown of the Most Popular Delay Pedals.

5: Boss RC 600 looper pedal

Want to learn more about looping & how it can enhance your recordings/ live performances? Be sure to stay on our site until you’ve at least read our rundown of the Most Popular Loopers of all time!

6: TC Electronic Skysurfer Reverb pedal

Interested to learn more about reverb? Or just curious how it can effect your tone? Jump into our rundown of the Most Popular Reverb Pedals.

7: Keeley Compressor Plus pedal

guitar geeks arguing over the best guitar pedals

Searching for the best guitar pedals but curious whether a compressor should be on your shopping list? Jump into our rundown of the Best Compressor Pedals to learn all you need to know about this fantastic effect!

8: Boss TU-3W Waza Craft chromatic tune (with bypass)

Curious how tuners can level up your pedalboard & want to know more? Jump into our rundown of the Best Tuner Pedals for sale today.

9: ART CoolSwitchPro ABY pedal

Intrigued by the magic of ABY pedals & want to know how to spot a good one? Dive headfirst into our rundown of the Top ABY Pedals On Sale today.

10: Roland EV-5 expression/ volume pedal

buy some of the best guitar pedals online

Looking to factor an expression/ volume pedal into your setup? Or just wondering how they can work to increase the overall impact of your sound? Jump into our rundown of the Best Expression Pedals you can buy.

11: Hotone Ampero II Stomp guitar multi fx pedal

Contemplating a multi FX pedal & want to eye up all your options? Be sure to dive into our rundown of the Best Multi FX Pedals To Buy today.

BONUS: Mission Engineering 529i pedalboard power supply

Curious about what makes a good power supply for your pedalboard? Or just curious how to spot a good one? Dive into our rundown of the Best Pedalboard Power Supplies.

Enjoy this review of the best guitar pedals & eager for more? Keep up to speed with more Music Production Tips, as well as the latest Guitar Effects Pedals. Recently, we also did a review of the Best Midi Controllers EVER + another on the Most Popular Electric Guitars For Beginners, which may also be a good read.

close up of the controls you find on guitar pedals

Or if you’ve still trying to decide what guitar pedals are best for your pedalboard, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…

While all guitar pedals play a vital role in the outcome of your sound, there are some which are used more frequently than other – i.e. the pedals that virtually every guitarist must have (or at least consider) if they want to achieve a signature sound.

3 of the most popular guitar effects pedals are…

  • Wah pedals – Invest in one of these & you’ll be able to freely manipulate the frequency of your audio. In other words, eeek some funkish groove into your tone that been used for decades by the likes of Nile Rodgers & Chic. The hardest thing to master with this pedal is timing, BUT get it right & the whole feel of your song can quickly shift to a whole new level.
  • Distortion pedals – Much as the name suggests, these guitar pedals will allow you to distort your sound so that it sounds like that of a high gain amp. The easiest way to spot a distortion pedal is the harsh clipping that makes your tone almost seem square. Just be warned – don’t use these pedals on a distorted channel or you’ll experience an awful lot of fuzz & muddiness. Cleans channels only people!
  • Looper pedals – Think of these pedals as a glorified tape. One that allows you to build up your sound piece by piece, in order to create a really full layered soundscape. Ask us & loopers are in fact the must-have pedal for guitarists full stop. Heck, Ed Sheeran has made an entire career around his loop pedal, so there’s good reason to believe that without one you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.

Like most famous guitarists, Stevie Ray Vaughan has used a broad selection of pedals throughout his career. Some have remained in constant use, while others have fizzled out or appeared at different times during his career. The pedals that Vaughan is known for using the most are…

  • Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer + the classic TS10 & TS808 too!
  • Dunlop JDF2 Fuzz Face
  • MXR Loop Selector
  • Tycobrahe Octavia fuzz pedal
  • Vox V846 Wah

As for Eric Clapton, he’s a MAJOR Boss fanboy.

Take a quick glimpse through his back catalogue of gear & you’ll soon realise how severe this love of Boss really is. Eric’s pretty much had a Boss version of every pedal he’s used, bar perhaps his Vox wah, which anyone who’s into music knows, is one of the best guitar pedals out there. So instead of boring you with a long list of Boss pedals, we figured why not just give you a taster.

In which case, here’s 4 of the most major guitar pedals used by Eric Clapton…

  • Boss TR-2 Tremolo
  • Boss CE-2 Chorus
  • Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal
  • Vox V847A Wah-Wah Pedal

Finding the most popular guitar pedal EVER is no easy feat.

Because aside from the fact that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ guitar pedal, there’s also umpteenth different effects + different variants of each one. Then consider that each pedal bodes itself differently to each genre & you see just how naïve it would be to claim that just 1 pedal is the most popular.

BUT there are a few that we think stand out above the rest. So with that in mind, here’s just some of what we know to be the most popular guitar pedals ever sold…

Right – this is one of those questions that can go either way, because…

You can play a guitar without any pedals whatsoever. In fact, if you’re beginner looking to master the basics, it’s probably best you do just that. The less distractions the better. However, if you want really want to make a bespoke tone, then buying the best guitar pedals is necessary, especially if you perform live!

And yes, if you’re recording in a studio, you could of course add effects & change up the tone in a DAW using a few plugins, BUT if you’re really hunting for that organic tone, pedals are 100% the way to go. Plus, did you know that applying your effects to raw signal (opposed to adding them in in post production) can actually boost clarity & overall sound quality!!

Team that with how pedals are FAR more hands-on & are still used by the pros to this day, & yep – for guitarists at least, pedals aren’t going away in a hurry. In fact, in this world of plugins, auto-tune & digital production, they could actually be the element that helps you zing out from the crowd.

While you can often find other pedals used in Metal music, by far the most common are…

  • Fuzz pedals
  • Distortion
  • Overdrive guitar pedals

All of which work together to create that earthy distorted grunge that you get from a good Metal track. Those playing with distorted tones will likely be using some sort of solid-state amp, which works great with such pedals for increasing the dirt of the bassline. Something that helps to create that high-intensity head-banging hype that Metal fans all crave.

Team that with the grit of a fuzz pedal & yep – you’ve cracked it.

Nope – Boss pedals really are that good… especially their loopers!

See, while you’ll come across a lot of pedal manufacturers that have come into the game over the past 20 or so years, Boss have been beavering away manufacturing guitar pedals since the iconic CE-1 Chorus Ensemble that was released all the way back in 1976!!

Experience that’s allowed them to go on to create what can easily be regarded as some of the best guitar pedals to date. Boss have especially made a name for themselves with their looper pedals. Not only do Boss manufacture foot operated loopers like the RC 600 & RC 50, but they also create loopers that can be operated by hand like the RC 505 to suit the likes of DJs & beatboxers.

A move that as you can imagine, has caused quite a stir, as it’s taken the art of looping away from just guitarists & opened it up to pretty much anyone with a laptop.

Just a heads up – John Mayer is in many ways, a pedal player.

He’s had that many different guitar pedals over the years that we really do struggle to count. Right from boost & overdrives to fuzz & distortion, Mayer has pretty much used them all. However, from wha we can tell he does have his favourites. Here’s just 3 guitar pedals that we’ve seen Mayer using an awful lot…

  • Keeley Katanoa Clean Boost
  • Electro Harmonix soul food
  • Ibanez Tube Screamer

Want to know even more about the guitar pedals behind John Mayer’s tone? Click here to jump into an in-depth rundown of exactly that.