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Best Wah Pedal 2024? Here’s 10+ Un-wah-lievable Guitar Pedals!!

Which is the best wah pedal? Is there such thing? We investigate...

Why do you need the best wah pedal?

That’s pretty obvious. You see, a wah-wah isn’t just ‘another guitar FX pedal’. It’s ‘that’ pedal. The one that SCREAMS “Jimi Hendrix” & opens up a whole new envelop of funkish tones. Sounds that were later popularised by the likes of Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards since the late 70s.

And what with Nile being one of the most successful music producers to date, with his funkish wah-like tones being (a large part of) the reason behind his success, it’s hardly surprising that wah-wah pedals are so popular. Team that with all the other famous faces who’re said to incessantly use a wah – Kirk Hammett, Tom Morello & Eric Clapton etc. – & it’s easy to understand why the best wah pedals are highly sought after.

Question is though, what is the best wah-wah pedal? Is there even such thing? Read on & we’ll reveal everything we know about this iconic guitar FX pedal.

After something specific about this guitar pedal? Or just want to find what we think is the best wah pedal super fast? Use the menu below to get all your answers in 1 click…

guitarist hooking up a wah pedal to their pedalboard

NOTE: Got a fetish for more than Wah pedals? Be sure to also jump into our Review Of The Best Distortion Pedals + the Best Reverb Pedals too!

Name the best wah pedal – exactly, you can’t!

And that’s because, like most music gadgetry these days, a good quality wah wah pedal is hard to come by. In fact, there’s that many good pedals out there that it’s a struggle to make a choice. Some are compact, others are easier to use – & there’s some that just look ‘sensational’ as part of a pedalboard. So much so that we struggled to find a good wah wah pedal ourselves… there’s THAT many!

Exactly why we’ve done all the hard work for you; choosing the best wah pedal for you, couldn’t be easier. Simply read on & we’ll reveal our top picks…

1: Donner Vowel 2 in 1 wah & volume pedal 

reviews of the best wah pedals

2: Vox V847 wah pedal

3: Jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah pedal

4: Mooer Audio The Wahter pedal

a jimi hendrix wah pedal from the side

5: Jim Dunlop The Original Crybaby pedal

6: Electro-Harmonix guitar wah pedal

7: Fender Tread-Light wah effect pedal

8: Dunlop JC95B Jerry Cantrell

teacher showing student the different pedals on a pedalboard

9: Morley PFW2 wah fuzz

10: Hotone Wah effects pedal

While wah pedals (typically) get better the more £$€ you spend, not everyone has a bulging back pocket & can justify spending 3 figures on a wah pedal.

Something that’s completely understandable, especially if you’re a beginner who’s having to kit out your pedalboard from scratch. Because let’s just say that not all budget wah pedals are good – there are some you should seriously avoid! In which case, if you’re after a wah, but don’t want to shell out an eye-watering amount of £$€, then you may be interested in this…

What we consider to be the best cheap wah pedal for sale today…

11: Behringer HB01 Hell Babe wah

guitarist with their foot on a wah wah

Not everyone’s a fan of standard-sized wah pedals.

So in the case you’re looking for a pedal to take on tour, or simply after a way to free up space on your pedalboard, a mini-sized wah may be just what you’re after. Plus, if your current wah is starting to show its age, then even a mini wah may come as a significant improvement. All of which beggars the question, what is the best small wah pedal you can buy?

Let’s just say that if it was us spending the £$€, then this would be the wah we’d opt for..

12: Jim Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q mini wah

Narrowing down the best wah pedals was hard enough, let alone singling it down to just 1. So instead, we’ve settled on 2. The first being the pedal that we’d pick if we were a serious player or pro guitarist. That being the…

Jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah pedal = Best Wah Pedal Overall

And we say so for good reason. Yes, Jimi Hendrix was the legend who practically invented the wah pedal, & therefore not to crown his pedal the best would be a bit of an insult. However, there’s more to it than that – don’t be fooled into thinking we’re soft.

See, this pedal does an awful LOT to earn the title of the best wah. Let’s just say you’ll struggle to find a wah that feels this natural to play. The relationship between your foot and the pedal is really something else – a connection you don’t tend to get with cheap wah pedals!! The Dunlop gives you a great amount of control over your sound.

Plus, because the price is somewhat premium, it also reflects in the build. This pedal feels rock solid – like a proper piece of kit that’ll stand the test of time. And while of course, it may not be the most portable or be painted in a neon colour, it covers pretty much all the basics (& then some). And does so incredibly well.

However, if we were just starting out, then spending 3 figures on 1 pedal may seem a bit extortionate. Which is why if we were a beginner, or just looking for a quick solution, we’d opt straight for the…

Donner Vowel 2 in 1 Wah & Volume Pedal  = Best Budget Wah Pedal

That’s because as far as value goes, you can’t really top the Donner. And while it may not be made in Japan or feel as solid as a Crybaby, it’s a pedal that ‘does the job’. Well, actually, it does 2, which makes it even better value for £$€.

Plus, for a cheap wah pedal, it actually feels quite good to play. There is a pretty good connection between you & the pedal. What’s more, for a pedal at this price range, you’d expect it to feel flimsy, but as far as we can tell, it’s pretty well put together. Put it this way, it feels like it’s not just going to fall apart in 5 minutes.

And that’s why we feel it deserves the title of one of the best wah pedals you can buy. Yes, it’s not Vox or Jim Dunlop, but… it surprised us. So much so that if we were building a pedalboard on a budget, the Vowel would almost certainly be the 1st pedal we’d invest in.

As far as value goes, it’s insane!

Enjoy this review of the best wah pedals & eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Reviews Of Guitar Pedals, as well as our Advice On Music Production Tech. We’ve also recently published a rundown of the Best Loop Stations + another on the Best Guitar Pedals EVER, which also may be an interesting read.

guitar pedal poking out of a schoolboy's rucksack

Or, if you’ve still got as burning question about the best wah pedals, keep reading to discover even more about why a wah is such an essential part of any guitarist’s setup…

As a guitarist, there’s a lot of effects pedals you could buy, however many purists believe the wah pedal to be one of the most important?

Reason?

Well, beside from this iconic pedal being the secret behind many a famous artist’s sound – Nile Rodgers & Jimi Hendrix to name but a few – a wah wah pedal enables you to alter SO many aspects of your sound! In technical terms, wah’s are known as an envelope filter because of the way they allow you to SQUEEZE the resonance of your sound… a wah isn’t an ‘on/off’ type of effect. It’s gradual.

And it’s that which is why they’re pretty much the perfect starter pedal. Yes – even the best wahs are affordable & do last a considerable amount of time, but (stress on the BUT) it’s the sheer scope for customisation & finding your sound (i.e. the envelope part) which makes them one of the best pedals for newcomers, especially solo guitarists; their distinct ‘Funk-ish’ peak really does add a dimension of depth to your sound.

As for which wah pedal you should buy first (as a beginner), we’d say that should be one that ticks these 3 boxes…

  • It doesn’t have SO many features that it’s hella confusing to operate
  • Isn’t boutique or aimed at pro guitarists with pro-grade pedalboards
  • Is made by a reputable brand & gives you all the basics at an affordable £$€

While you can buy many good cheap wah pedals, you’d be a fool to buy the first one you come across.

And that’s because when assessing a cheap wah pedal, there are things you need to look for. Let’s just say that not all cheap wahs are worth even the bargain basement price they offer. So to help track down the best cheap wah pedal, here’s a couple of tips…

  • Check reviews – A MAJOR thing to look out for with cheap wah pedals is longevity. Because while at first they may look shiny & new, after a couple of months’ punishment from your foot, that could all change. You can generally tell you’ve found a good wah pedal if the reviews are mostly positive & the construction is made of metal. Believe it or not, but some wahs are actually made of plastic. Far less of a sturdy material that’ll likely turn into a problem in the long run.
  • Eye up the spec – Remember: the core purpose of any wah is to help you vibe-up your sound & express yourself in different ways. All of which a poorly specced cheap wah makes a LOT harder. Just take it from us, if you’re torn between a basic wah & one that’s a bit more pricey, but has extra levels of adjustment – spend that bit extra. Who knows? That extra scope in sound could be the difference between a hit song & a flop… #FoodForThought

Wah pedals are ALL about tone. That’s what distinguishes them from any other guitar pedal & why they’re often argued to be the best guitar pedal you can buy!

In fact, out of all the guitar pedals on sale today, the wah is the most flexible of the lot. The envelope filter allowing your to not only lover the frequency as the pedal is tipped, but also raise it as pressure is released. Plus, some pedals even come equipped with what’s called a Q knob that allows you to adjust the range of the pedal – i.e. it’s peak frequencies.

So should you want your wah to only operate across a narrow range in the upper mids to highs, you can. Just as if you want to use the wah across the entire frequency range, you can. It’s this which is why wahs like the Dunlop Crybaby have become SO incredibly popular.

They give you infinite possibilities!!

In short, the difference between a volume pedal & a wah is actually pretty straightforward.

When adjusting the wah pedal, you’re adjusting just the parameters of the wah effects. Nothing more. Whereas with a volume pedal, you’re adjusting the levels/ tone of your overall sound – i.e. all your effects combined. So say you’re using a wah in tandem with a volume pedal, you can ‘find your sound’ so-to-speak using the wah, & then control how the overall tone is output/ heard with the volume pedal. Small difference we know, but when performing it really does have a significant impact.

And what’s kore the way you operate a wah pedal differs too. With Volume, you simply have a toe-down pedal similar to that of an accelerator in a car. The further forward you press, the more the sound changes. Whereas with a wah, you rock the pedal back & forth from centre position. It’s this motion which allows you to achieve the ‘funk-ish’ tones that the wah is well known for.

If you want to get the best out of a wah pedal & use it to help you create a distinctive & notable sound, then there’s a few thing you need to know. Here’s 3 tips on how to get the best out of a wah pedal…

  • Choose the best wah pedal – First things first – do this right. Choosing the best wah pedal is pretty much the most important thing yo consider. After all, playing with a n inferior pedal or one that doesn’t suit your style of play, is only going to make the job of using Wah effects in your music 10x harder. Always do your research & invest in a pedal that helps you get the most out of your sound. Not sure how to do that? Try finding a pedal that’s designed to mimic the sound of an artist who you’re inspired by – that’s always a good starting point.
  • Get used to the rocking motion – It’s important not to forget that unlike conventional guitar pedals, the wah relies on a rocking motion to work & isn’t just toe-down. So in the case you’re not sure which to buy or are just a beginner, get a cheap wah & get used to doing the rocking motion in tandem with your guitar playing. Then when you’re feeling more confident, think about upgrading to something more premium with more features.
  • Don’t overdo it – Remember: as much as wah pedals are darn right cool, they are an effect – not a constant part of your sound. So do bear in mind that the wah isn’t something you should always have your foot on. The real challenge of using a wah is finding the right time to use it to inject that ‘Funk-ish’ groove into your sound. That’s how you use a wah to create impact & that’s how a wah can (in many ways) make or break a hit song!

Are there famous musicians that use wah pedals? …. is that really a question???

Yes – 100%!

That’s part of the reason why the wah is SO incredibly famous; it’s been used by some of the most astute minds in the business to create some of the most iconic songs in history. Famous musicians to use a wah pedal include: Jimi Hendrix, Brad Plunkett, Krik Hammet, Nile Rodgers and Cliff Burton.

In fact, really analyse many of their songs & a lot of the biggest musicians on the planet (those above to name but a few) may not have even gained fame if it wasn’t for the sheer tonal mastery of the wah!! So really, to say the wah isn’t an iconic guitar pedal at the very least is one hell of an understatement!!

Just saying…. :)

Spend 5 minutes looking into the best wah pedals & it becomes pretty clear which was used by Jimi Hendrix.

Yes – Jimi favoured the iconic VOX V847 wah pedal as with many musicians back in the 60s, which you can hear on his hits Purple Haze & Voodoo Child. However his real wah-pedal crush was the Dunlop Crybaby. A pedal that off the back of Jimi & other famous musicians alike, has gone on to become what’s arguable the most popular wah pedal to date!!

In many ways, Clapton was much the same as Hendrix when it came to wahs.

His go-to pedal was also made by Vox, however (slight difference alert) he opted for the V846 model, not the V847 like Hendrix. Reason being that the V846 has an eve so slight difference in tone when compared to that of the V847. Something that if you listen to Clapton, you’ll know is likely one of the keys to his unique sound.

So you can see what we mean, here’s a comparison between 3 Vox wah pedals…

YouTube video

Tom Morello is most known for using the infamous Dunlop CryBaby through most of his career.

In fact, he’s developed such an association with the pedal that he’s even got his own signature model of the pedal – the TBM95. Which is essentially is a bright orange model of the CryBaby that sports the graphics, “Sometimes History Needs A Push” & “You Don’t Need A Weapon When You’re Born One”. A slogan that along with the bright colour theme, really does a lot to show his sheer passion for music. But that’s not all…

According to Jim Dunlop, the pedal is actually the exact same wah Tom has used on every album & tour he’s ever done – the GCB95 CryBaby.

Buying a wah pedla is easy, but tracking down the best wah pedal for you is a whole other task in itself.

As you can probably guess, it’s not one for the faint hearted. So to ensure you track down the best wah for you first time round, here’s 3 things to look for when buying a wah pedal…

  1. A reputable brand – As snobbish as it sounds, when buying a guitar pedal it’s often a good idea to go with a reputable brand – your Vox, Jim Dunlops & even more beginner-focused brands like Donner. That way, you know the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with the product & that it’ll stand the test of time is pretty high. While the case may be different with other music gear, Amazon own brands are a ‘no-no’ when it comes to wah pedals!!
  2. The right tone – Tone is everything! That’s 95% of the reason why you expand your setup with a wah in the 1st place – to enhance your tone. So before concluding that pedal X or Y is the best wah pedal for you, be sure to take a listen to how they sound with certain guitars over YouTube. This is especially the case if you’re trying to emulate the sound of a certain guitarist, as some wah pedals can do a lot better job with this than others… Just saying :)
  3. Fit for purpose – Before buying a wah pedal, you need to understand how you’re going to use it & get an idea of whether it’s fit for purpose. Point being that if you’re a travel musician who’s looking to use a wah on the regular, then a cheap pedal may not be the way to go. Something made of metal may be more robust. Much the same as if you’re after a certain level of adjustability or control. You need to understand why YOU want from a wah pedal before anything else.

Whether you need a wah pedal really all depends on…

  • A – What you’re plans are for your tone
  • B – How skilled/ serious you are of a guitarist

See, as much as a wah pedal would be nice to have for most guitarists, whether it’s necessary is a whole other matter. Spoiler alert – in 75% (if not all cases) where it’s financially viable for you to buy a wah pedal, we’d encourage you to do so. Few pedals help you develop your relationship with sound as much as a wah. However, if you just want to play guitar, they’re not necessary.

Come to think of it, a good number of famous guitarists have got to where they are by using very few (& sometimes even no pedals whatsoever. A pedalboard & a wah is not a guarantee of success as a guitarist, although if you ask us, we would say that it makes it a whole lot more likely.

Ask us & any piece of music gear – be it a wah pedal, amp or instrument – that helps you express your true sound is worth it’s weight in gold. And for that reason alone, we’d say while wah pedals are not a necessity, they are a piece of gear that every aspiring guitarist should at the very least consider or try out. Because it’s only through experimentation that we find who we are.

And as corny as it sounds, THAT is what makes a signature one-off award-winning sound.