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Best Distortion Pedals

Expert Reviews & Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Distortion Pedals

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How to Choose the Best Distortion Pedal

If you’re a novice or veteran guitar player, your distortion pedal needs might be different, but there are a few characteristics that each pedal needs to have for both the beginning guitarists and hardcore rockers out there. Things like lights, power, and bypass are just a few of the things you’ll be interested in before you buy your pedal. So we’ve done the hard part and laid it all out for you on how to find top rated distortion pedals based on these characteristics:

Best Distortion Pedals

LEDs: Whether you’re a rockstar performing in concerts or at home performing in your basement, lights are key to keep track of what pedal does which thing. LEDs will help your distortion pedal distort sounds, but also let you know if the pedal is working!

Best Distortion Pedals

True Bypass: Having a true bypass feature on your distortion pedal will allow you to keep your sounds free and clear from extra noise while giving your music an organic sound. True bypass is a great feature for you if you’re looking for true tones to shine through instead of any added tone colorations or stronger/weaker variations of your frequencies.

How to Choose the Best Distortion Pedal

Color: Like other products, you may be drawn to a more neutral or colorful distortion pad depending on your personality, band type, and venue. Choosing a color for your pad is as easy or as difficult as you make it, but always keep in mind the quality of the product, not just its outward appearance!

Best Distortion Pedals

Power: Trying to decide if you want an electric or battery powered distortion pedal? Take into account your venue, music studio, or jam space before settling on one power option or another. Battery powered may be better for those traveling often, but electric can be good, too.

Best Distortion Pedals

Size: Size is always a priority as you don’t want a pedal that’s too small for you to adjust. You also don’t want one that’s too clunky to carry around. Again, check with your recording area and your other musical gear before deciding on a size for your next pedal.

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Warranty: Protecting your distortion pedal before something happens is always a good idea. Check the warranty for your new pedal to avoid having problems with your supplier before you hit the road for a tour!

Top 10 Products

All the music geeks out there will be happy to hear we’ve researched and reviewed the top distortion pedals on the market! Distortion pedals bring a new sound to your music and give guitarists like you a way to customize a solo or concert. If you’re into rocking out and sounds from out of this world a distortion pedal is for you. Start with our top and budget picks, then move on to the rest of the list to find the best distortion pedals so you can keep rocking until the sun comes up.

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

Top Pick
Loved by guitar and bass players alike, the Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal gives you plenty of wiggle room for your distortions. Depending on how you like your tones, you’ll find that this pedal works well for anyone who wants to distort their sounds. We consider this pedal one of the best distortion pedals of all time as it gives you everything you need to distort your sound like a professional rockstar including lights and true bypass. The only thing you’ll need to get this bad boy up and running is a 9v battery which you can find at any music store near you! We chose the Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal as our top pick because it has everything you need for any level of musician. It’s easy to take on the go and easy to use with every setting you need to change the sound of your music according to your preference. Why wouldn’t you want the very best distortion pedal you can find?
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Joyo Distortion Pedal

Budget Pick
If you’re looking for classic rock’n’roll then you’ve found the perfect distortion pedal for you! The Joyo Distortion pedal gives your rock’n’roll style guitar or bass a chance to try on metal music. This pedal is known for its high gain which allows you to thrash it all the way up for a metal song or turn it down for an alternative sound. No matter what kind of solo you’re looking for the Joyo Distortion Pedal is here to make it happen. You’ll find an LED light and true bypass to be useful during any concert or dark venue. The pedal comes with one 9v battery to get you started so you can get to jamming the second it arrives on your doorstep. The Joyo Distortion Pedal is considered one of only a few good, cheap distortion pedals which is why we chose it as our budget pick! If you don’t have a ton of money to spend, but still want to rip check out the Joyo Distortion Pedal.
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Boss DS-1 Distortion Bundle

Orange you glad you found this distortion bundle? If you’re looking for a boss distortion pedal, you’ve found the perfect one! The Boss DS-1 Distortion Bundles come with more than just a pedal as you’ll need a few extra things to tune your tones just right. In this bundle, you’ll find all the controls, tone, distortion, and levels, all in one pedal. You’ll also have an additional patch cable to add the DS-1 to your signal chain and an audio cord to connect your DS-1 to your instrument. A few of the extras in this bundle include picks and a polishing cloth to keep your gear clean. This distortion bundle is great for a variety of instruments including guitar, bass, and keyboard. You’ll be able to change the pace of your sets by playing a variety of music like 80’s metal and 90’s alternative with this pedal in your arsenal. Want to be the boss at your next show? Grab yourself the Boss DS-1 Distortion Bundle and feel the power!
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Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal

The Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal is slender and discrete. Made with aluminum alloy, it’ll last for years to come. This pedal is known to give you exactly the sound you’re looking for from metal to echoes, you’ll be able to find a full range of distortion. You’ll find that an LED light tells you if your pedal is on or off. The true bypass feature gives you the opportunity to provide a transparent tone that some pedals don’t. You are able to control the three aspects of your tones including level, distortion, and gain to customize to specific sets or songs. The Morpher Distortion Pedal is a true bypass as it gives you one standard in/out for your audio cable, without additional cords being necessary, so you’ll have the truest sound bites flowing from your instrument to your amp. If you’re looking for a slender distortion pedal that still rocks, you don’t need to look any further!
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TC Electronic Distortion Pedal

If you’re looking for full control of your distortion sounds, you’ll want to check out the TC Electronic Distortion Pedal. This pedal gives you four controls for gain, level, bass, and treble to give you all the options for customizing your tunes. The TC Electronic Distortion Pedal is another true bypass pedal so you’ll have no loss in tone as your music flows from instrument to amp. For those playing bass, you’ll have the chance to switch the voicing with this pedal, too. We added this pedal to your top 10 distortion pedals because it gives you four options to customize your tones, true bypass, and even an option specifically for bass players. We think you’ll love this pedal, especially if you’re looking for a specific sound you’ve had a difficult time perfecting with any other pedal. If you’re ready to make your sounds your own, grab yourself a TC Electronic Distortion Pedal!
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Digitech Distortion Pedal

The Digitech Distortion Pedal is as compact as it gets. If you’re playing in a small space or store your equipment in a small area, this pedal is your best bet! Even though this pedal is small, its power is mighty. You’ll find true bypass along the sides of the pedal itself. You’ll also have control over the gain, level, high, and low output of your sounds. Despite its size, you’ll still need a 9V battery that is not included in your pedal purchase. You’ll find a small blue LED light on the front of this pedal lights up once you insert your battery. The brushed metal look is much different than any of the other pedals we’ve shown you so far. The model name of this pedal is known as the Gunslinger, as its compact and has the look of gun metal for those who are true metalists out there. If you’re looking for a smaller setup that packs just as much power, definitely consider a Digitech Distortion Pedal.
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Behringer Ultra Metal Pedal

You’ll be hard pressed to find a pedal as brightly colored as a Behringer Ultra Metal Pedal. This pedal is truly one of a kind as it gives you a ton of customization options for a great price. Controls like distortion, level, mid frequency, high, mid, and low give you ultimate control of how you shape your sounds. This pedal is one of the top metal distortion pedals because it gives you an opportunity to turn your metal sounds from mush to muscle with just a flip of a switch. The ability to micromanage your tunes is just one great feature of this pedal, as the true bypass allows for only the truest, most transparent sounds to find their way out into the crowd. This pedal is also built with high-quality components to ensure that you’ll have years to come with this product. If you do have a problem with your pedal, you’ll be happy to know that you have a one year warranty to set your pedal straight.
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KOKKO Distortion Pedal

The KOKKO Distortion Pedal is another slender pedal with true bypass. You’ll find controls for tone, level, and gain to give you options for sound customization. An LED indicator on the top will let you know if the pedal is active or not which will come in handy during band practice or during your performance. One of the great features of this pedal is that it provides anti-skid pads on the back to keep your pedal from sliding around on the floor during your set. The KOKKO Distortion Pedal is also made with aluminum alloy for a durable, sturdier mini-pedal. You’ll find great value in this product as it comes highly-rated and has so many options for those who want to experience a full scale rock show. From metal to alternative, you’ll find that this mini-pedal has a lot of gain packed into it. If you’re interested in small pedals, the KOKKO Distortion Pedal is definitely a fan favorite!
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Rowin Analog Dumbler Pedal

Rowin’s Analog Dumbler Pedal is an ode to vintage pedals! One look and you’ll see that vintage is still in style. The size of this pedal pairs perfectly with all of your other pedals on your pedalboard, too! You’ll be able to shape your tunes with the gain, tone, and master volume switches. The true bypass is easy to turn on and off with the footswitch, turning your sound back to its truest form with just a quick flip of the switch. Despite its size, you’ll find the Rowin Analog Dumbler Pedal performs just as well as standard sized pedals. Unlike other distortion pedals, this pedal runs solely on plug-in to perform. There’s no room for a battery so you’ll need to purchase a separate cord in order to rock on! The bottom line is: if you’re looking for something vintage, powerful, and compact this pedal is the one of the best you’ll find on the market!
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Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal

We all know Fender quite well, but you probably haven’t met their distortion pedal yet. The Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal comes with a variety of controls and knobs. You’ll find two controls each for both tone and gain. You can blend, boost your bass, and change the level of your distortion all with a few flips of the switch or turns of a knob. You’ll find an LED light in the center of the pedal to ensure its on when you need it. A footswitch for the true bypass is located at the bottom of the pedal for easy access. Like many of the pedals out there, Fender’s Pugilist Distortion Pedal is powered by a 9V battery that is not included. The best thing about this pedal is that it offers channels for you to customize your sound. Choose from Tone A or Tone B and Gain A or Gain B to micromanage your sounds for the perfect set. If you’re looking for a bigger pedal with tons of options to customize your music, you’ll want to go with the Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal!
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