Do you want to rock out like your favorite rock band’s lead guitarist? Then you probably need to seriously consider investing in the best distortion pedal you can get your hands on. These musical accessories are invaluable and make all the difference in the tone and sound quality you produce. So whether you are shopping for your first one or a replacement, here is a guide that should make things easier for you.
|BOSS DS-1||4.3/5||View Price|
|Donner Yellow||4.3/5||View Price|
|Zoom G1on||4.4/5||View Price|
|Behringer OD300||4.1/5||View Price|
|Donner Morpher||4.3/5||View Price|
|Pro Co RAT2||4.3/5||View Price|
|Electro-Harmonix Soul||4.5/5||View Price|
|Joyo JF-04||4.1/5||View Price|
Top 10 Best Distortion Pedal Models
1. BOSS DS-1
It comes with a knob for controlling the tone and another for controlling the level of distortion. This makes it a versatile option that is great for both professionals and amateurs.
Another great thing you have to look forward to from these controls is the high quality sound alteration.
It might be simple but there is definitely nothing basic about the sound quality it produces.
At mid-range distortion, you will get classic rock-style distortion that is perfect for both solos and accompaniment.
The sound is also very warm and harmonic which is a perfect way to counter the otherwise raw nature of distortion.
- High quality construction for durability
- It is easy on your wallet
- Produces high quality distortion
- It has bad bypass adding an annoying fuzzy quality to signals when the pedal isn’t engaged
2. Donner Yellow Fall Vintage – Pure Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal
It has simple but highly stable Aluminum alloy construction. This contributes largely to the unit’s overall durability and strength.
The use of aluminum also ensures that you get the desired strength without having to deal with a super heavy accessory.
It has 3 control knobs; the ECHO, time and feedback controllers. The ECHO knob allows you to adjust the level of sound delay being injected into the guitar’s sound input.
This creates a beautiful echo-effect for a fuller tune. The time knob helps you determine the intervals at which this echo is introduced while the feedback knob is for controlling repeats per tempo beat.
One unique feature of this model is the LED light. This lets you know whether or not the pedal is engaged. Pretty convenient isn’t it?
When the pedal is not engaged, the light will be off. In this state you also get to enjoy true bypass with absolutely no adjustment of the original sound signals.
- Easy monitoring of activity using the LED light
- Versatility with a variety of control options
- High quality construction
- It is sensitive to other electronics with placement close to the amp distorting the loop
3. Zoom G1Xon – With Built-in Expression Pedal
This model is more of a guitar effects pedal than a simple distortion pedal. However, it can be used to distort input signals from guitars.
There are a total of 100 effects for you to choose from. This versatility makes it a perfect option for professionals.
The pedal also comes with a built-in expression pad. It makes the tone fuller for better quality output.
The pad also gives you the ability to prolong chords and notes for more expressive playing.
This unit runs on battery power. It has a run time of up to 20 hours. This is not only impressive but also comes in handy when playing for long periods of time whether it is on a concert or for rehearsals.
- It is very versatile with a wide variety of control options
- It produces high quality sounds no matter what effect you choose
- With the multiple pads and panels, this unit is more complicated to operate than most other models
4. Behringer OD300 – Best Overdrive/Distortion Pedal
It features 4 control options including distortion level, drive, tone and mode. It is one of the only models on this list that provides both distortion and drive effects.
The latter boosts the former’s effects for a rich and high quality sound unlike anything you have heard before.
It also features an LED status light. This is very important as it lets you know whether or not your unit is currently working and altering the sound signals.
It runs on a 9V battery powered. This comes in handy when you want to enjoy all these effects without running your power bill through the roof.
However, you only get about 3 hours of run time per full power charge on this supply.
- It provides both distortion and overdrive sound signal alteration
- It has great aesthetics with the compact design and purple finish
- It has a really low battery life which means you cannot use it for long
5. Donner Morpher – Solo Effect Guitar Pedal
This is the second model from Donner on this list and it is every bit as impressive as its brand-mates.
It shares the classic features from this company including the LED status light and the high quality aluminum alloy construction.
It provides true bypass when the unit is not engaged for clean and completely unaltered sound.
One thing that sets this model apart is the expanded distortion level. This offers a high degree of sound alteration that is perfect for musical genres like grunge rock and metal.
It also stands out with its ECHO control that allows you to include repeats in your peace.
- Price-wise it is very affordable
- It gives the sound output a beautifully expressive quality
- This is among one of the few models out there that is lightweight yet highly durable
- It is AC powered for unlimited run-time
- The loop and feedback circuits are unstable and produce lower quality echo effects than other models
It can use either DC power or battery. With the latter, it uses a 9 V battery that could last you up to 5 hours or more.
The unit has 3 control knobs. One allows you to adjust the volume. This complements the amplifier’s volume control effects which come in handy for concert settings.
The second knob is for determining tone. You have some variety here as well. All you have to do is to determine the type of sound you want whether it is bass, treble or others.
Finally, there is a sustain knob for controlling gain. This allows you to determine the level of distortion of sound signals from your guitar or other instrument.
- It can be used either on battery or DC power modes
- It has LED lights to let you know the unit’s working status
- The sustain knob facilitates generation of expressive effects for high quality output
- It has a limited variety of guitar effects considering its high price
7. Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz – Traditional Aluminum-alloy Classic Effects Pedal
Donner must be doing something right as they have another model as a favorite on our list of best distortion pedals.
It has the same true bypass, LED status light and 3 knob controls that we have come to expect and appreciate from the brand.
What sets this model apart is the sound quality. It has a more traditional fuzzy distortion effect.
This is in sharp contrast to other models from the brand that have more grainy and growly distortion.
The fuzzy nature is ideal when you want your guitar output distorted without being too dramatic.
- Durable design
- Convenient monitoring through the LED light
- It is very easy to operate
- The fuzzy effect can be noisy and unpleasant with some guitar and amp models
The Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal allows you to adjust the level of distortion, choice filter and volume.
This is done using three knobs that make operation of the unit a breeze.
Something unique about this model’s distortion is the grainy and growly nature of distorted sound.
This is perfect for both bass and electric guitars.
The overdrive and volume boosters also come in handy in concert and arena settings where the amp needs as much help as it can get.
- Offers both distortion and overdrive effects for high quality output
- It boosts the effectiveness of sound amplifiers
- Very easy to use
- It produces clean high quality sound
- It is battery powered thus has limited run time
This pedal allows you to control drive, distortion and treble.
The presence of a drive control knob makes this model stand out from many others on this list.
It boosts the distortion effects and helps to clean up the sound.
That way, you get to enjoy the fuzzy quality from the distortion circuits without having to deal with annoyingly grainy sound textures.
The treble control also allows you to determine the tone depending on the instrument and the type of sound you want.
- It has unique control options for variable sound effects
- Great aesthetic design
- It has compact and durable construction
- It produces beautifully harmonic fuzzy distortion
- It is expensive
10. Joyo JF-04 High Gain Distortion – Guitar FX Pedal with Mid EQ
There is nothing particularly special about this unit’s control options.
However, the variety allows you to play around with different levels for true customization of the sound.
There are 4 knobs available including the gain, treble, mid, volume controllers. Just set each to the desired level and get rocking.
The unit also has a true bypass design. This is useful when you want to play some parts of the music without distortion of any kind.
All you have to do is simply disengage and rock on until you want the sound altered again.
- The awesome aesthetics make it every rocker’s dream
- It is one of the cheap but high quality models on our list
- It is versatile with a decent variety of control options
- It is inadequate for distortion when playing intense and expressive pieces
After all is said and done, the importance of a good distortion pedal is difficult to ignore. They will turn your boring old solo riffs and accompaniments into lively runs worthy of a spot in the rock hall of fame. With all the information provided above, you know not only why to buy one but also how to use it and what to look out for when making your decision.
The 10 top options should also come in handy for inspiration and guidance as you now know what is available out there. So take your time and make a decision that will give you full value for your money and then some.