Boost pedals are one of the most under-utilised and overlooked tools a guitar player has at their disposal.
The function of a boost pedal is simple; to amplify your guitar signals. The best boost pedals are the ones that do this with minimal (in any) interference to your tone,
Before we will get into the story of boost pedals and how they can help you out in everyday situations, let’s look at some of the best ones in the market, which we think you should check out.
Buy the Best Boost Pedals in 2020
If you are someone that has used a boost pedal before or has done some research will definitely know about this pedal. The reason why this pedal is so popular in the market is because of its build quality, affordable price and ease of use and the effect it has on your tone just makes it stand out in the sea of pedals.
When you take this pedal out of the box, the first thing you will notice is the build quality it has. It just feels like you are holding a workhorse in your hand. The all-metal case also makes it more believable. This is not a new pedal in the market, everyone is aware of its durability. It only has a single on/off, it also features true bypass so your tone won’t be affected when it’s off.
- It has a 1/4″ input and output.
- There’s also an input for the 9V DC power supply next to the input on the side of the pedal. If that doesn’t work for you, you can also remove the bottom of it and power it with a 9V battery.
- There’s no book that you will need to read to use this pedal. It has a large GAIN knob, which adjusts the gain.
Some people call this pedal a transparent clean boost. Through this pedal, you will feel that the signal has just a little more clarity and crispness, but that’s what makes it a great choice. But you will need to understand where to put this pedal in the chain. If you put it at the start, it’s going to be very transparent. The best place where it shines the brightest is around the overdrive and distortion pedals. It doesn’t matter if you play rhythm or lead, this pedal is extremely useful. It’s very effective and easy to use.
MXR M-133 Micro Amp is a great boost pedal. It was and is still used by many pro guitarists out there. This is the most popular boost pedal out there. It has a simple appearance, also very simple to use, but its effectiveness is what makes it stand out. You are also not paying a huge amount of this pedal. The pleasant tone it adds to your sound will just help you hit the right notes.
- Active Treble, Bass ,Gain and Volume controls allow for limitless tone shaping
- Offers a super transparent 20db+ clean boost and a +/-15db 2 band active EQ without ever compromising the integrity of the original tone
- Provides a solution to sound degradation, caused by long instrument cables and/or long effect chains between guitar and amp, by strengthening the original signal
- True bypass for eliminating any signal interference when switched off
- Can be used with AC adaptor (optional)
When you look at the name of this booster, you will know you are making the right choice. Xotic is a brand that many people trust. It’s no doubt one of the best brands out there that makes boost pedals. Xotic Effects RC Booster is that one pedal that you will find on many pedalboards. It’s the cleanest boost that you will ever come across, the RC in its name stands for Real Clean.
The moment you will take this pedal out of the box, you will notice that it’s not a simple one-knob pedal. It has 4 knobs, Volume, Gain, Treble and Bass. We will talk about those later, but first, let’s talk about the build quality of this pedal. This pedal feels rugged, it’s a durable product. So don’t worry, it can deal with you easily if you are a rough handler.
- It has a 1/4″ input and output on the sides of the pedal.
- You can power this pedal through a 9V DC power supply or can hook it up with a 9V battery by removing the bottom plate.
- You can read the True Bypass pedal under the footswitch that means it’s not going to affect your sound or signal when it’s switched off.
- It’s not very compact, it’s like 4.4″ wide.
Now you must be wondering what this booster sounds like? The sound that it makes will definitely force you to buy this pedal. It is one of the greatest transparent boost pedals money can buy. Many guitarists can attest to this fact that it’s one of the cleanest pedals around. It sweetens your tone but doesn’t introduce its own colouration or character in the sound.
The Bass And Treble controls make it one of the most versatile boost pedals in the market. It’s not like an EQ guitar pedal, but getting these two things in a boost pedal makes it a multi-purpose pedal. These EQ controls allow you to make even micro-adjustments to bring the best out of your guitar.
Xotic RC Booster is all about its transparency. For people who want complete control will definitely benefit from its treble and bass controls. This RC booster will definitely stand out when it comes to versatility. You won’t regret adding this booster in your chain. No matter how you use it, it will definitely bring the best out of your guitar.
- Ultra-compact booster pedal wittc electronic spark mini booster ultra-compact booster pedal with Primetime switching and fully analog design Primetime switching and all-analog design kick's your playing into high gear
- Impressive 20 dB of completely clean boost makes your core tone shine through
- Revolutionary Primetime footswitch seamlessly toggles between classic on/off or a momentary boost based on how long you hold it down
- High-quality discrete analog circuit purely amplifies your signal without any degrading or alteration
- Level control knob gives you versatility to go for a pristine boost or drive your amps to peak performance
The TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster has the most basic design. It’s a one-knob transparent booster that comes with +20dB in just one tap and also has an extra new feature called “PrimeTime”. It’s easy to use because of just one knob. It’s a small booster that won’t take much space in your pedalboard. It also has an affordable price tag.
- Spark Mini booster has a strong build, it comes in a white and gold colour.
- Soft-click footswitch and true bypass are there to preserve your tone.
- The range of this level knob is between 0 and +20dB of boost.
The boost you will get with this pedal is transparent. It’s a great option if you want your performance to stand out, but also not compromising on the sound part.
The new feature “Primetime” is there to help you boost whenever you want. It will turn on the boost as long as the footswitch is pressed, as soon as you let it go, the boost will stop. It’s a great thing if you want a boost in just some parts of your live performance or recording session. Don’t worry, you can also use this booster like other pedals by just switching it on and off.
This Spark Mini booster will not disappoint you. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something to sweeten your tone or a huge volume boost, this booster will do both jobs without making the sound worse. It’s also quite affordable so you are also not putting a lot of pressure on your pocket for this booster.
There’s one thing that you can’t do, you can’t power this booster with a battery. But other than that, It’s also small, so it won’t take much space, other than that it’s a good looking booster. It makes your whole pedalboard look great.
- MXR joined forces with Custom Audio Electronics founder Bob Bradshaw to bring you the MC-401 Boost Pedal
- Cleans up nicely when you roll back your guitar volume, making it extremely responsive to picking dynamics without thinning your tone
- High-quality components provide quiet operation and trouble-free interaction with other pedals on your board
- Custom Audio Electronics has made limited quantities of pedals for select clientele since 1980 and has now teamed up with MXR to bring these pedals to the masses
- This boost pedal features the unique sonic stamp of legendary designer Bob Bradshaw
This is the second MXR booster that made this list. But this booster is not just made by MXR, it’s a collaboration between Custom Audio Electronics and MXR. The MC-401 is a great transparent booster with an easy to use build. Its range is between 0 and +20dB. If you are a solo or just want to stand out in the crowd, this booster is there to help you make up for any volume loss.
- It’s a simple-looking pedal with an attractive brush finish.
- It is powered by a 9V DC adapter or you can just hook it up with a battery by removing the bottom plate.
- It has a current draw of 1.5 mA. It has a rugged build, it can handle any type of abuse you put it through. It
There are a lot of boosters in the market, but no one comes near to the simplicity of this one. Many clean boosts introduce their own character, but not this one. It’s just a volume booster, nothing more, nothing less.
MXR is a brand that everyone trusts. And then in collaboration with Custom audio electronics just means that you won’t regret buying this booster. It’s a great affordable booster, but sometimes because of its rugged build, the button is actually hard to press.
This is the biggest rival to MXR Micro Amp. Although pitting MXR micro amp against this booster is not a fair comparison, but still, they are both boost pedals. Xotic EP booster is just on a whole new level. The effect it has on the tone of your guitar just makes it stand out, it’s also more expensive than the MXR booster.
The build quality and the feel it will give you is just the same as Micro amp. It’s just slimmer than that, which will be a great thing for you if you are short on space. The strong build of this booster feels like it can withstand a lot of abuse. Just like the Micro Amp, the appearance of this is tour-worthy.
- It has an on/off footswitch, true bypass
- 1/4″ input, and output on the sides. It also has an input for power supply on the back of the pedal.
It can be powered with 18V or 9V DC, which only slightly affects the tone. Other than that, it has a single big knob. Removing the panel on the underside of the EP booster will reveal a slot for battery and DIP switches.
This EP Booster is not a fully transparent one. It’s not a straightforward, clean boost like the MXR Amp, it’s popular because of the extra crispness and clarity it adds to your tone. Many guitarists call this pedal magic. One owner even said that it looks like the transistors are made up of unicorn horns because this pedal is just that good. Even if you turn the knob all the way down you will still not miss the magic.
It makes the tone pleasant, but don’t worry you can also use this pedal as a transparent clean booster. The 20dB gain is just enough to bring out the best of your guitar. The two DIP switches also make it this pedal versatile, one switch is a bright switch and the other one is a Bass boost. Any type of setup will benefit from this booster, it’s just that adaptable.
It’s really hard to say anything bad about EP booster. I am sure many owners can attest to this fact that no matter what your gear is, Xotic EP Booster will just make it better. This is not a great booster for you if you are in the market for a transparent clean booster. If you are looking for a cleaner boost, then MXR Micro Amp is a better option than this. But if you are looking for something to add more beauty to your sound and make it sound like magic, this is the one for you.
ZVex Super Hard on the booster is one of those on which you can count on. It’s not like other transparent boosters, it adds some serious character to your tone and is quite a unique one. There are two versions of this, one is the hand-painted version and another one is silkscreened graphics, it’s also the cheapest one. Functionally, they are the same.
- The Build quality of this is top-notch, both versions will add some personality to your pedal setup. Unlike some boosters on this list, operating this booster is quite easy.
- The footswitch in the middle switches the effect on and off and it’s also a true bypass one. The large knob is the one that controls the amount of boost.
- It has a design of the 1960’s recording console. It has a single 1/4″ input and two outputs on the sides.
The sound of this booster is clean and transparent. Although if you crank it up, it’s going to add a lot more crispness to your tone. Its gain is much stronger than the Xotic EP Booster and MXR Micro amp. It’s also a great always-on pedal, with a little sparkle to add in your setup. Don’t push it over halfway because then it will be so hard on your amp that it can result in a thick tone.
Choosing this over the MXR Micro Amp and Xotic EP Booster is a hard decision. All of these boosters have their own class. ZVex SHO is a more transparent clean booster than the Xotic EP. It also adds a little sparkle to your tone but doesn’t change the tone overall. If you pit it against MXR Micro AMP, then it’s your personal preference. If you are looking for something that has a personality and does a great job, then this is the one for you.
- As far as guitar clean boosts go, the Katana is king tone
- It's the pedal to have for the finishing touch on your tone
- The Katana is also a fat, harmonically rich boost, just pull out on the volume knob and stretch your imagination with overdriven tone!
- You can keep it on all the time to push your amp harder, or as an occasional boost to cut through the mix
- Obsessed or compelled with the fattest, fullest drive? Well, before Other people started using blue LED's and non-diode clipping stages, there was the TMB and Katana.... Cascading FET stages do the tube-amp-thing like nothing else!
When you mix all the top-notch components to make a booster which can also shift from transparent to colour boost, you get the Keelay Katana. The first thing you are going to notice about this pedal is how elegant it is. It has a white colour scheme with only one knob on the side for easy access with your foot.
It’s a great design, to be honest, many pedals can follow this design. If you just look at the knob, you will think that it’s only there to add volume. But are you looking for something to make your tone crispy? Pull the knob out, now you are getting a boost with a little bit of gain. It’s not going to be as much as an overdrive pedal, but it’s enough to add that beauty in your tone. It also has two modes, one with the knob pushed in. In that mode, you can increase the volume that goes up to 20. With the knob pulled out, you are getting a boost with a bit of gain. Not overdrive, but it will give you the same feeling.
- The Katana is a bit expensive compared to other boosters, but there’s a big reason for that.
- It has a bigger headroom because of its internal voltage doubling.
- If you power it up with 9V, it will double it to 18V. It also has two Field EFfect Transistors, that means it can produce a tube-like tone.
Adding this booster into your pedal setup will give it a great look. It will make it stand out in the crowd. It’s a great booster with two modes. That means that you are getting two types of boosters into one. The amount you are paying for this pedal is a fair price for what it does. It’s a booster that can play the role of an overdrive pedal as well. This booster will not only give your set up a new look but will make it complete.
- Small die-cast case saves valuable pedal board space
- Put this little monster in line before any effect to provide boost and definition
- Improves the gain and saturation of your amp
- The Nano LPB-1 Power Booster gives your sound presence! Housed in a compact, die-cast box with rounded corners to save valuable pedal board space
- 9V DC power jack
Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 is extremely easy to use a booster. It has only one switch with only one boost knob. If you want a booster that is from a good brand and also doesn’t want to put pressure on your wallet, then this is the best booster for you out there.
- The LPB in its name means Linear Power Booster. Although its price is not that much, you are still getting the quality and reliability of Electro-Harmonix. That means the booster is not going to disappoint you. It’s built is metal, it’s assembled in the USA.
- It’s a true bypass and also has a 9V battery included. You can also use a power supply with it. Because of its compact size, you are also not giving up a lot of space.
I know you must be thinking about a lot of things right now. But look at the price first, it’s quite affordable. Any boost pedal you get is going to make a lot of difference in your tonal result if you know where to add it in your rig. That’s the magic behind it, but on top of that, this is a great boost pedal for people who are new in this world.
People, who are aware of these boost pedals would be thinking if it colours the tone? Yes, it does. But not that much, just a little bit. As MXR Micro Amp adds a bright sparkle to your tone, this one is more on the dark side. It depends on your need, to be honest. Not every booster can suit everybody.
If you are in the market for trying out boost pedals with a small budget, then this is the perfect intro pedal for you. There’s no budget option that is of this calibre. It’s not going to affect your tone a lot, but it will add that little beauty in your setup that you are searching for. MXR Micro Amp is much cleaner and transparent than this booster, but at this price point, Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 really stands out.
- A full frequency boost and independent buffer brought to you in a small footprint mini pedal
- A quality buffer that helps prevent your high frequencies from being lost
- A clean boost that makes sure your guitar always sits in the mix
- Features the ability to turn the buffer on and off independently all with a micro pedal size
- A one-knob, problem-solving toolkit from the studio to the stage
Sometimes it’s hard to find a brand that you can trust. Well, that’s when you this booster comes in. Not every manufacturer can provide you with reliable products, but Wampler does that. Wampler pedal is a name that everyone knows. No matter what type of pedal you are choosing, if it’s from Wampler Pedals, it’s going to maintain the top-notch quality.
- This booster has a small build, that means it will fit in any given space.
- It has top-notch components. It’s also durable, even if you are a rough handler, it will stay with you.
- There is no internal place for batteries so you will need to hook it up with a 9V adapter.
It has a black-surface with painting and a combination of yellow and white writings. The design of this pedal is fancy, but it’s still very easy to use. It has a single knob which will make the boost happen and that’s it, you don’t need anything more. You won’t need any tweaking, no matter where you add this in your rig, it’s not going to compromise on the quality. It doesn’t modify your tone that much, but it will refine it and by adding a small amount of gain to it will make it sound great.
If you are looking for a clean boost pedal, then you are going to fall in love with this one. It adds a transparent boost with a slight gain. It’s not that versatile, but the purpose you are buying it for is going to be fulfilled.
Bottom Line: Wampler pedals have never disappointed. It’s providing a great booster at a fair price point. It’s a pedal that’s going to make your sound better and the transparency it has will just blow you away. All you need to do is to connect it with your rig and start jamming. It’s worth every penny.
- A recreation of an iconic circuit matching all of the wonderful qualities of the original
- A great clean boost that goes all the way to a chimey classic organic gain
- Can be used as just a clean boost by turning the gain all the way down
- Introduce gain to attenuate the clean signal until you find the magical blend in between
- Can be powered by a 9V battery; battery is NOT included
You will need to research a lot before finding two effects that get on with each other. Boost and overdrive is the perfect pair. You are not going to find any combination that can compete with them. You can say that they are soul mates. Boost with overdrive means Perfect. This booster has the famous circuit that Klon Centaur used. It’s the exact same replica of it.
Many brands have tried to copy the Centaur but no one is as close as this booster. It also gives you the same feeling. It provides a clean boost when it’s at low and improves the tone of your sound. The overdrive will produce the harmonic content and warmth that will make you think twice before choosing any other booster.
- It has a gold body with a painting of an archer. Other things on this booster are displayed in red.
- You can just power it up by a 9V single battery, it has a slot in the bottom. You can also hook it up with an adapter, it really depends on what you have or what you need.
The controls of J. Rockett Audio Designs Archer Ikon are just amazing. They are smooth which means that you can make all the little adjustments you want. No matter what type of sound you want, you can achieve it through this. It has three knobs, One is the Output that controls the volume of the pedal. The second one is treble, which crafts the tone for you. The third one is Gain, which is responsible for the legendary overdrive. The pair of all these makes this booster the best one in the market.
It performs great when used as a clean booster. To achieve the best quality, you will need to set the gain at low and crank up the output. Even if you are not using the overdrive, you are still getting a great improvement. No doubt Klon Centaur was the best one out there, but after that, this is the booster you should have in your rig.
When this booster was introduced in the market, the manufacturer promised that it’s going to sound like the Klon Centaur. This brand has fulfilled those promises. The number of controls you have on this pedal will improve your sound in every possible way. No matter if it’s a clean boost or an overdrive, this booster will fulfil your needs. This booster has brought back the memories of the long-gone Klon Centaur, it just feels like it has reincarnated with a different name.
Buying Guide for Boost Pedals
What is a Boost Pedal?
A boost pedal is basically a pedal that is used to increase the gain of the signal that a guitar produces. There are a lot of types of pedals, distortion pedals, reverb and many others. This pedal doesn’t help that much, but if you don’t have this, you can’t say that your board is complete.
This is a type of pedal that not everyone uses, but those who do can benefit from this in a lot of different ways. You won’t get any extraordinary effects through this, but they still have so much to offer. Some guitarists think that this is just another volume knob, it’s true for the most part. You need to fully understand why you really need them.
Pedal to the Rescue
If you have a mix signal chain or using a lot of different effects on your pedalboard. You will notice that the tone of your guitar weakens. It can also happen because of the long guitar cables you have from guitar to amp. If you are facing such a problem, this pedal will fix it in a second for you.
Once you are aware of the full potential of this pedal, you will understand how important it is for your board. This pedal is the one that leads during solos, it will also help you get a strong signal from your board. It also adds tonal character and additional features. It is also the unknown hero behind many great performances and recording sessions.
Types of Pedals
Boost pedals come in different types. You can say that there’s a different pedal for every occasion. There are over hundreds of boost pedals in the market, selecting one of them according to your requirements is not that easy. So to make that decision easier for you, we have compiled a list of all the best boost pedals across the market.