10 Best Distortion Pedals

This might sound a bit cheesy but the right amount of distortion in your sound can change your life.

A distortion pedal is a phenomenal gadget that distorts your sound, making it heavy and dark.

..but choosing the best distortion pedal is very important, or you are left with a destroyed bass sound.

and that’s why, in this article, we will let you know about the best distortion pedals to choose from.

Buy the Best Distortion Pedals in 2020

This little buddy makes you achieve smooth overdrive for your solo sessions as well as extreme distortion to attack your song. The main knobs include the drive, tone, and volume of your sound. You can also choose between low and high pass playing. It is interesting to see the pedal that offers a wide range of quieter passages. If you play a lot of songs with ups and downs, Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive is the way to go. The lower amount of volume does not mean you miss out anything, it actually adds value to a lot of songs.

The body is sturdy with a protective panel and a built-in battery. However, if you ever need a battery change, handling small screws can be a nightmare. High Peak/Low Peak (HP/LP) switch lets you boost clearly and distort powerfully. True bypass switching is available in this distortion pedal along with the ‘enhanced bypass’. It packs classic tones with no fuss of any kind at all. Why is it so powerful? It is because the company Fulltone was founded by Michael Fuller who is a session guitarist, performer, composer, electronic tinkerer featured in many popular guitar-related magazines. He knows what needs to be in a pedal. So, relax and purchase without any worries.

OCD is a surefire way to have clean and spanky sounds with a range of highs and lows. The pad is highly touch-sensitive and easy to use. Feel free to create intense lead tones with depth and versatile dynamics. The pedal easily induces lush harmonic tones without any uncomfortable distortion. If you set your HP/LP switch to ‘high-peak’, you feel an instant Vox-like sound. You will have to play with this buddy to see how great it feels like. If you dig in, the notes will go crazy and if you play it soft, they will get cleaned up.

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion
  • Highly responsive full spectrum distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble controls
  • 100% Analog
  • True bypass

This is the world of modernization and everybody wants advanced and new stuff around. But in the world of music, old-school technology comes first. Musicians remain loyal to the devices they believe in. This is why the new tech amalgamates into the vintage and creates a beautiful fusion. One such union is MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion. This little buddy has always set a high bar when it comes to usability and performance.

M75 Super Badass Distortion comes in a silver glossy body, so it will live through the years. It is not just sturdy but also lightweight and portable. In this price range, the availability of 3-band EQ is an exception in the market. To spice things up, it comes with true hardwire bypass which means natural output with no colour tone. Taking the control section to perfection saves a lot of energy and time if you know what I am talking about.

There are five beautifully placed knobs here. The ‘Output’ changes the volume of the effect and lets you balance it according to the rest of the chain. ‘Distortion’ determines the amount of distortion. It lets you go crazy with just a twist of the knob. ‘EQ’ is where things get interesting. ‘Bass’ cuts down or boosts the lower frequencies of the tone. The ‘Mid’ bass highlights the mid-range and the ‘Treble’ spikes the high frequencies. These three knobs tailor the pedal according to your instrument and taste.

Diversity is the core feature of M75 Super Badass Distortion. You can distort like the 70s vintage overdrive to the crunch and finish up with modern distortion. And you cannot just ignore everything that falls in between. A simple knob delivers so much versatility. The sound quality it gives is truly ethereal. The whole galaxy hears the girth and growl of the EQ. This might be the reason it comes in the name of being a super badass distortion.

Xotic Effects SL Drive Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Faithfully delivers the legendary sounds of the Super Lead and Super Bass British amplifiers Two settings provide a ton of versatile tones Amp-like response that interacts nicely with your guitar's volume control Tone, Drive and Volume controls Compact enclosure True-bypass switching
  • Famous for its woody, organic and beautiful sounds of saturation, these legendary British amplifiers, the Super Lead & Super Bass, have been delivering one of the all-time classic sounds for almost 50 years
  • Players like Jimmy Page, Paul Kossoff and countless other relied on this type of tone for their signature sound
  • Xotic have recreated this vintage masterpiece in a rugged small enclosure
  • The SL Drive offers very amp-like response and cleans up nicely with a roll of your guitar's volume knob

It is a very simple, subtle, compact, affordable and easy to use distortion pedal available in the market. Initially, the company served a bass-related market and then moved on to the electric guitars. It always opted to be a top-notch sound company. But with SL Drive Distortion, it came out with a relatively affordable pedal that gives you a legendary taste.

Unleashing the power of all of its features, you easily turn a mediocre amp into an exceptional sonic haven. It replicates the tone of Marshall overdrive that we all love. To achieve such results, SL Drive has two modes; Super Lead and Super Bass. They boost a different range of frequencies. Thus, it does not have characters of the one-trick pony. When turned off, it does not colour the tone because of its true bypass switching. You also do not need to worry about any hiss or unwanted noise in the chain. You can power this fella using the batteries as well as AC adapter, so you can practice or perform indoors and outdoors.

The design is amazingly compact and fancy. The design is a combination of sleek black surface, grainy sides, and golden writings. The output is also impressive. If the headroom of SL Drive cannot satisfy your music needs, you got the Xotic Voltage Doubler to boost and add more expressions. Now let’s talk about the controls. The Drive changes the distortion overdrive to your sound. The Tone boosts or cuts down the higher frequencies of the sound. And the Volume increases or decreases the level of effect. To further dive into the sea of distortion with this pedal, you got to go to the bottom and expose four DIP switches. The Super Lead has definite highs and beautiful sustain. The Super Bass gives lesser gain.

The first three switches change mid and high frequencies and the fourth gives you a phenomenal +6dB boost. If you mess with the Drive knob, you achieve Marshall overdrive which starts from subtle effects and goes up to the girth level. All other controls your sound slightly without distorting it a lot.

Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff Distortion with Top Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
  • High input impedance buffered bypass
  • Output volume and master drive controls
  • 3-Band EQ: bass, mid and treble
  • Foot switchable Top Boost with separate control knob
  • 9-volt battery included, Optional 96DC-200BI power supply available

There is no going back if you step into this powerful and addictive distortion pedal. You might have come across many pedals, that can really distort the sound. In case you want even more out of this distortion world, Metal Muff Distortion with Top Boost by Electron-Harmonix is the way to go. Big Muff Pi has claimed its name in top distortion pedals in the market already. But Electro-Harmonix did not just distort but actually boosts the game to the next level. Let’s find out what phenomenal features it offers.

Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff has amazing controls with 3-band EQ, the feature some amplifiers do not possess. You can really dig deep with this feature. The most popular feature it has is the Top Bost circuit engaged with a footswitch. It comes with a built-in battery compartment protected with a shell. The design is eye-catching, featuring a shiny black surface with white writings. When you have a look at it, you perceive it to be the beast of distortion.

The only downside maybe its beast-size. If your pedalboard is crowded, it is difficult to find space for this bad boy.

The controls it has got lets you tweak even the smallest details so beautifully that you cannot just avoid enjoying. The pedal has two footswitches. The Boost knob activates its Top Boost circuit and the Bypass lets you choose between the ‘engaged’ and ‘bypassed’ options. The Control knob sets the levels of the output. The Top Boost intensifies the narrow band of high frequencies. The ‘Treble’ knob delivers up to 10dB of the cut or boost. The ‘Mid’ knob tones down or accentuates the mid-range frequencies by 15dB. The ‘Bass’ focuses the bottom end by 14dB. The ‘Dist’ knob increases or decreases the amount of input gain and is responsible for all the distortion.

The pedal has a variety of distortion flavours that take you from classic rock to the metal craze. We suggest you increase the effect gradually so you may find your sweet spot. You can dive immediately into the sea of distortion if you think you can handle the searing distortion. But when you play with the Top Boost circuit, things get way more interesting than you may think. It accentuates the harmonic content into the sound impressively. In the meanwhile, you can dial in some treble to create a punchy depth. Take time to experiment with Metal Muff and you will not regret buying the one.

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BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, Single Mode (DS-1)
  • Tone, leveland distortion knobs on face
  • Super-tough construction
  • Lets your true guitar tone shine

Boss is one of the most prominent sound brands in the world. You can trust if something is coming from this brand. They have been around since 1977. The reason we are telling you about the company is that; it has been serving its happy customers since then. To celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017, Boss came up with an extraordinary DS-1 Distortion Pedal. It was a limited edition at the time but because of repeat sellers, it is still available in the market. Stay with us to explore more about this buddy.

The design of this distortion pedal is distinctive and eye-catching. It comes in the dark design and gold lettering and knobs. It has great build quality. No matter how forcefully you play with this boy, it will bear some abuse easily. DS-1 has many things from the original pedal, powered with a 9-V battery. The colour palette lets you do some adjustments even on slightly lit stages. It is so good that if you let your pedal fuss around, you will have the amazing sounds.

There are three basic knobs; Tone, Level, and Dist. The first one balances the low and high-end frequencies, making your sound organic. The ‘Level’ as always sets the amount of intensity and blends beautifully with the rest of the chain. And the third knob is where things get interesting. It increases or decreases the amount of effect and lets you be subtle or crazy. You just need to tweak these knobs and you will find your pedal does the magic for you.

With every control knob, you can get the versatile toning which can only be achieved in more sophisticated and expensive gears. As you touch the knob and turn it, you start listening to the slight sound starting. And if you go on rotating the knob, you will eventually hear the girth sound and unique distortion. The ‘Tone’ knob adds brightness and high frequencies. Whether you are professional or a novice, you will enjoy this distortion pedal for the rest of your life.

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Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
  • Used as a primary distortion, it excels at arena rock rhythm tones and soaring leads
  • Nails that sweet spot where a tube amp goes from sparkly clean to warm overdrive
  • Use the RAT 2 as a boost for solos and get the extra kick you need

Pro Co RAT2 is the distortion pedal you can trust because of its clear sound, compact design, and a sturdy body. It has an all-analogue circuit which creates an organic tone out of the gear. The design is classic with sturdy steel, making it more durable. The kobs and footswitches are heavy-duty indeed. The gadget may easily bear some abuse.

The controls are versatile and sensitive. It takes just a twist to strike the soul into your sound in a different way. And if you push it past 3 o’clock, you will notice what is the deal all about. RAT-2. The ‘Filter’ controls high-end brittle as you turn it clockwise, but if you go in the opposite direction, you get to roll off some low-end and intensify the brightness. Last but not the least, ‘Volume’ knob modifies the output level and interacts with ‘Distortion’ to give you a tailored tone.

When it comes to talking about its sound quality, it is a fine distortion tool with the clean channel of your amp. It gives your sound a fuzzy character and intermingles with the effect. You can also use this pedal with the dirty channel of your amp and use it as a booster. The ‘Filter’ controls the balance of your sound effects. The overall nature of the RAT2 is fuzzy and chaotic in a good way. You should take time to play with this buddy and you will learn to unleash the superpower it has got. With all of its flavours, It is one of the best distortion pedals available in the market.

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Singing sustain with attitude
  • Crushing distortion
  • Adjustable tone
  • True bypass
  • 9 Volt batteries required (included, best with Polaroid 9 Volt batteries), Optional 9DC-100 power supply available

There have been many trends in music electronics, some were weird but many were focused on tailoring the likes and preferences of the guitarists. This gave birth to the legendary Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi, a fuzzy pedal that has been used by the renowned rigs and recordings. It has one downside though; its gigantic size. The company wanted to create its mini version. And it came out with Nano Big Muff with all of its qualities imported from the original. Let’s find about the little yet powerful buddy in detail.

The guitarists do not take nano pedals seriously. But the Nano Big Muff is a fine exceptional gear. If you played around with the original, you already know what we are talking about. And if you are unaware of its power, keep reading more. Nano Big Muff has a unique design consisting of a black, white, and red colour palette. It has the same circuit system, the company has just made it small in size. It is quite surprising to see the amazing results in such a shrunken circuitry. You can power it through a supply or battery. You can jam with this fella indoors and outdoors without having a second thought in mind.

The Nano Big Muff has a true bypass switching so you do not need to worry about the possible hiss in your chain. Just like any other distortion pedal in the market, it has input and output jacks to connect to the rest of the chain. The main focus of the company is giving versatility in simplicity. The pedal has an impressive set of controls and features which lets you distort your tone in a phenomenal way.

The pedal contains three black knobs mounted on the white surface of the pedal. These knobs provide you with the functionality and precision of the pedal, which takes time obviously. The control panel starts with the ‘Volume’ knob changes the amount of output and intensifies the distortion. The higher setting means heavier results in the sound. The ‘Sustain’ knob is where things get interesting. It adjusts the amount of sustain and distortion in a unique way, adding flavours to the character of this pedal. The ‘Tone’ is the control knob which lets you modify the nature of the sound. You can either treble and play around or you could boost the bass and make your distortion more girthy. And we got a footswitch that actually turns the pedal on or puts it in true bypass mode. Our final verdict is that if you want to rock the stage, you cannot avoid this little yet powerful boy.

Festnight Guitar Effect Pedal, Golden Brownie Distortion Effector Pedal Guitar Accesories Full Metal Shell True Bypass
  • Golden Brownie: Golden Brownie is a vintage distortion pedal, giving you a high gain and 80's hard rock tone.
  • Gain Function: The gain function is easy to control and has an unbelievable DRIVE range, which is perfect for head-on heavy grind applications.
  • PRES Knob: The Pres (presence) knob adds versatile tweaking ability that transforms any amp into a fire breathing hellhound.
  • TONE Knob: The TONE knob is about blues and soul. Turning down is rock, turning up is more bluesy.
  • True Bypass: True bypass, with LED light to indicate effect or bypass status; full metal shell, durable and sturdy.

When you are first starting out in music, you are compelled to think that things are going to get easier as you mature. But the case is otherwise after so many years. Same is the case with musical instruments when you understand them better, you are more into experimenting. And it continues. To assist this quest, there comes Xvive Golden Brownie T1 that distorts your sound like never before. It knows how to rock your jamming sessions. It performs well regardless of the settings. It means you can squeeze impressive distortion even if you are new.

This pedal replicates the sounds of Marshall and delivers the best results indeed. Its name is interesting and shows a ‘tasty past’. You are guaranteed to get the quality you desire in your tone. The good thing is that it is an affordable gear for distortion. This is the perfect choice for those who are on a budget. It is less expensive but the ‘look and feel’ is not. Additionally, it has sturdy silver knobs. Because of its durability, you will not miss anything during the most important moments. The only downside of this pedal is that you can power it through an adapter and power supplies only. But in terms of its features, it is a power-packed distortion pedal.

The control panel starts with the ‘Gain’, which adjusts the gain added to the sound, as the name indicates. It can boost or dial down your distortion and give you a wide range of toning abilities. The ‘Volume’ sets the overall level of the output and fuses everything together. Tone colourize the sound and make your travel from shimmery blues to punchy rock. The ‘Presence’ takes distortion to the next level. It lets you make a high-pitch sound. On the whole, Xvive Golden Brownie T1 delivers what it claims to.

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Effect Pedal
  • Gain, level, bass and Treble controls - total control of your distortion sounds
  • True bypass - Zero loss of tone
  • Voicing switch - for an awesome shift in bass response

Distortion is not all about the audio effect. It is something that ignites the inner spark in you. If you are searching for the best distortion pedal, you always want something to beat your heart out. If you are looking for such a pedal, we have got TC Electronic Dark Matter covered for you. This is a compact distortion pedal with a sleek design that will change the way you perceive distortion. The features of this buddy will make you believe we are not exaggerating here.

It comes in all-analogue circuitry that brings those old days back to your mind. Digital circuits are not bad at all but it’s not natural that much. It has its typical controls in place with two added voicings mingle your vintage sounds with modern ones. The sonic versatility present in TC Electronic Dark Matter is immense. It can be powered with batteries as well as supplies. So, you can go out and enjoy distorting your sound without worries. This pedal is not a one-trick pony in any dimension.

Let’s talk about the controls of Dark Matter now. Gain is the first encoder which sets the amount of gain added to your beautiful sound. It emits ‘real’ distortion even at lower settings. But it also manages to go sky-high to place your leads. The ‘Level’ determines the amount of volume of the output. On the bottom, it has a two-band equalizer containing ‘Treble’ and ‘Bass’ knobs. The former knob lets create tight low-end or punchy sound and the later lets you cut or remain soft by changing the high spectrum.

The pedal also contains a two-way toggle. If you put it up, you happen to listen to the vintage sound while putting it down lets you delve into modern music. The footswitch is quite fancy that activates effect and triggers true bypass if you want. With slight experimentation, you are good to go with Dark Matter for sure.

Biyang Distortion Effect Pedal METAL-END King High Gain Built-in Amplifier Simulator EQ With True Bypass Full Metal Shell (King)
  • 3 Distortion Modes ( Modern, Normal and Classic) and 3 Tones (Normal, Bright, Warm) selected via the toggle switches.
  • Built-in amplifier simulator with toggle switch for ON/ OFF controls; supports high frequency cutting function.
  • 4 EQ setting (Low Boost, Middle Boost, Middle Frequency, High Boost); with output level and distortion degree control knobs.
  • Adopts German made WIMA capacitors, ensuring fast and low loss signal transfer. Mirror-finish stainless steel shell, sealed potentiometers for longer service life.
  • True bypass footswitch design ensure effectively convertion of bypass and effect, no loss of your actual guitar tone under bypass status.

We are lucky to have such a wide array of affordable distortion pedals available in the market. And they are powerful and sturdy. Biyan Metal End High Gain Distortion Pedal is one of them. It is the best value for money indeed. If you are on a budget and still want some quality pedal, Metal End King High Gain is there. It is durable to the extent that it can easily bear some abuse. The design is pretty impressive as well. It has a fancy silver exterior with red letterings. It is a total package of extravaganza at an affordable price.

Biyan Metal King High Gain has miraculously 4-band EQ that paints your tone beautifully. To add value, its Amp Simulator ignites the sound and saturates your sound to give warmth. Combined with three EQ and three distortion sounds, you are left with an amazing piece of art to play with. Biyan did not stop here. It has also got a High Cut function for quick scoping. The pedal has a true bypass that guarantees the natural toning. You can power this bad boy with a 9-V alkaline or carbon-zinc batteries as well as power supplies. The only downside of this pedal is that it has a bulky body. It makes it a bit hard to put under the pedalboard.

When it comes to talking about its control panel, you will find plenty of controls with high-quality features. All the control knobs are sensitive, accurate and efficient. The first one is ‘Level’ which modifies the volume of the gear, of course. Then comes the four-band EQ with Low, Mid Freq, Middle, and High, each determining the response within specific frequencies. Moving on, you will find the ‘Dist’ knob which modifies the amount of distortion in a subtle and heavy way. The phenomenal ‘High Cut’ toggle provides an extra tonal capability to the sound. And to boggle your mind, even more, this pedal has Normal, Bright and Warm modes for distortion, giving you the ability to diversify your output in a professional way.

On the whole, this distortion pedal has beautiful flavours, durable body, and sleek design, so you do not miss out anything. We suggest you buy Biyan Metal End King for it is affordable yet powerful.

Buying Best Distortion Pedals

When you dig into the market of distortion pedals, you come across all sorts of models and brands. And sometimes we end up buying a pedal that only brings frustration and disappointment. We cannot always blame some companies for it as the musicians have different tastes and needs. This is why we have come up with the list of the best distortion pedals available in the market.

You got to explore and see what fits. As always, we always suggest you choose the distortion pedal according to your taste and needs. Your decision is the pedal to master your sound more effectively

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the age of the player?
  • Which kind of Top you like to have! Solid or Laminate Top?
  • Do you wish like Steel or Nylon Strings?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do the sellers offer add-ons?

Conclusion

When you dig into the market of distortion pedals, you come across all sorts of models and brands. And sometimes we end up buying a pedal that only brings frustration and disappointment. We cannot always blame some companies for it as the musicians have different tastes and needs. This is why we have come up with the list of the best distortion pedals available in the market. You got to explore and see what fits. As always, we always suggest you choose the distortion pedal according to your taste and needs. Your decision is the pedal to master your sound more effectively.

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