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10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal Reviews – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

Electronics

We’ve narrowed down the field to our top 10 best overdrive pedals. With something on the list for players in every style and genre, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect pedal to round out your sound, whether you’re shopping for your first pedal or your fiftieth.

Last updateOctober 22, 2018
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Jessica Simms
Today’s expert
Jessica Simms
10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal Reviews – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

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Pros

Faithful reproduction of a vintage Klon Centaur

Designed with touring musicians in mind

Huge output

Tons of headroom

Balanced tone across the range with no loss in the bass

Cons

Higher price point

Can be tricky to dial in the right tone

Learn more
Pros

Small footprint on your pedal rack

Transparent effect lets your pure tone shine through

Great warmth from the bass knob

Voicing switch further expands tone customization options

Outperforms pedals at twice the price

Cons

Can get a bit muddy in the low end on higher settings

Sounds better with some amps than others

Learn more
Pros

Small footprint on your pedal rack

Transparent effect lets your pure tone shine through

Great warmth from the bass knob

Voicing switch further expands tone customization options

Outperforms pedals at twice the price

Cons

Can get a bit muddy in the low end on higher settings

Sounds better with some amps than others

Learn more
Pros

Transparent overdrive with smooth attacks and good definition

Also gives an exceptional clean boost

Classic effect in a pedalboard-friendly, compact housing

Hand-built for consistent quality

Versatile across styles and set-ups

Cons

No option for battery power

Input jacks are a bit crowded

Learn more
Runners up

Also good products

3 / 5

This real tube overdrive gives you a warm, vintage effect for a fantastic price.

2.5 / 5

A classic stompbox-style overdrive that has a sweet, smooth sound, though the price isn’t great for what you get.

3 / 5

A flexible pedal designed by Eddie Van Halen for massive high-gain overdrive.

2.5 / 5

A big pedal with a big sound aimed at hard players looking for a lot of overdrive.

2.5 / 5

An impressive valve-based overdrive that has the range and tone-shaping options to truly fit into any style.

2 / 5

A warm, natural overdrive effect perfect for blues and rock.

How We Decided

23Products
Tested
46Hours
Spent
06Experts
Interviewed
17Consumers
Consulted
Jessica Simms
Today’s expert
Jessica Simms

Jessica Simms is a saxophonist and life-long student of music. She works as a freelance writer and ghostwriter in Pittsburgh, PA.

Author Comment

As a professional musician, I know the importance of choosing the right effects pedals to get your ideal overall sound.

General shopping guide

giphy 1 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018Overdrive pedals are some of the most versatile and useful effects you can buy. They can help balance out weak frequencies, increase your overall output, or add some extra gain and color to your tone. We’ve scoured the web for the best overdrive pedals on the current market and brought them to you here. Whether you’re shopping for your first ever effects pedal or an experienced player looking for a new color to add to your tonal palette, you’ll find something on the list below that suits your needs.

Research You Can Trust

Whenever you’re buying guitar effects, you want to start by shopping with your ears. Our first step for assembling this list was to listen to the pedals in a variety of equipment configurations to find the ones with the best and most versatile tone. We also asked professional guitarists what overdrive pedals they use and love, in terms of both sound and performance.

Considerations

The 30-Second Review

Because overdrive pedals are one of the more popular effects in the guitarist’s arsenal, you’ll find a lot of variety in terms of both price and performance. The difference between pedals at the various price points will be largely internal and determined by the type, size, and complexity of the circuitry that’s used. You will also probably spend a bit more if you want a pedal that can do both overdrive and clean boost effects successfully. You can still get a quality overdrive effect if you’re on a budget, though—there are quite a few options in the under $100 category that will give you a pro-level effect at an entry-level price.

Finding the Perfect Overdrive

81BXblLMAHL. SL1500  - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the pedals we picked, there are a few big picture questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you really know what you’re looking for.

On that note: what exactly is an overdrive?

An overdrive effect pedal does the same basic thing as turning the gain up on your amplifier. It’s different from a distortion pedal because the emphasis isn’t on adding a new color to your tone, more just enhancing your natural sound to make it bigger and louder.

The fact that they mimic an amplifier is what makes overdrive pedals both so versatile and so popular. If you like your amp’s clean tone but it doesn’t have much crunch, an overdrive pedal can give your tone the boost it needs. You can also use it to introduce a new color, like giving the warmth of a valve overdrive to a signal run through a solid state amp.

Different overdrive sounds are produced by using different components to create the effect. This is the main factor in the price of the pedal, too. Some materials cost more than others, and some processes are more labor-intensive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive pedals are better, but there are some styles of overdrive effect you’ll have to pay more to get.

Valves and Circuits

1 1 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

 

The big binary in the guitar amplification world is valve or tube versus solid-state. This comes down to whether the amplification is produced using vacuum tubes or transistors. There is a lot of debate about which is better, and both styles have their staunch advocates, but in general, you can expect the sound of a tube amplifier to have more warmth and musicality.

This same rule of thumb can be applied to overdrive pedals, which use the same basic principles as amps in their construction. Valve-based overdrive tends to be warmer. Those who love it describe the sound as more musical and more natural. Transistor overdrive has a bit of a harsher, brighter edge, but it’s also more articulate. It’s a good choice if you think a valve overdrive makes your sound muddy.

But that’s just part of the story…

 overdrive pedal 2017 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

Whatever overdrive pedal you buy, it’s just one part of your larger sound. Your guitar, pickups, amp, and other effects are also influencing your tone, and you want the sound of the overdrive to seamlessly fit into this mix.

That doesn’t mean you have to match a valve overdrive with a valve amp. In fact, the opposite is often true. If you use humbucking pickups and a tube amp that already give your sound a lot of warmth, a valve overdrive might be overkill; a transistor-based overdrive could give your sound the little bit of edge it needs.

There’s one other thing you want to keep in mind: the upkeep of your pedal. The vacuum tubes in a valve overdrive will occasionally need to be replaced. You do this the same way you would for a tube amplifier. It’s not hard and you won’t need to do it often, but it does make valve overdrive pedals slightly higher-maintenance than their transistor-based equivalents.

By the way, there’s another benefit to tube overdrive pedals: they’re more customizable. You can replace the stock tube any time you want to alter the color and response of the overdrive.

Style and Genre

how to choose an overdrive pedal - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

While there are no rules about what effects and sounds can be used for any given genre, there are some pedals that are more popular with players looking for a certain sound.

Overdrive pedals have a place in pretty much any genre. The question is what kind of overdrive you’re looking for. Tube overdrives tend to be popular with blues and jazz, who tend to favor a more transparent overdrive overall (and want it warm when they put it on thick).

Distortion-heavy genres, including punk and metal, may want to go with a transistor-based overdrive. They tend to have a higher overall output and are also clearer on fast solo lines. Both the Fulltone OCD and the EVH5150 will give you the screaming, high-gain overdrive that these genres tend to call for.

An overdrive pedal is also a key effect in getting a country guitar sound. You’ll generally want a pedal that gives you a good amount of sustain and drive without clipping the notes too harshly. The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini would be a great choice for a country player because it can give you both a clean boost and a nice subtle distortion as needed.

When it comes to rock, things can get a bit trickier, just because the sound is so wide open—almost anything can work, in the right situation. Our best advice would be to find a player whose tone you want to emulate and check out what kinds of effects they use. This is good advice across genres, actually, but especially key for rock players since there are so many options.

Mixing Effects

signal chain - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

One great thing about overdrive pedals is that they’re fairly easy to integrate into a signal chain and work well in tandem with other effect pedals. Used the right way, you can create entirely new effects that give your sound a truly unique edge.

In most situations, you’ll want to put the overdrive effect fairly close to the amp in the signal chain—before most of your other effects. This is especially true of effects like loop pedals and wah pedals that distort or repeat the signal.

Sometimes, though, you’ll get great results from playing with the order. If you have a delay pedal, try putting an overdrive directly after it in the chain. Since overdrive pedals are affected by the signal’s velocity, you’ll get slightly less on each repetition, adding an extra dimension to your delay effect.

You also get more flexibility with the relative placement of other pedals that are aimed more at shaping your guitar’s tone than embellishing it. For example, you can use a compression pedal after your overdrive pedal to clean up the signal, especially if you want the overdrive more as a boost. If you flip them and put the compressor first, the overdrive can restore any color that was lost.

Best Overdrive Pedals: Full Reviews

01

J. Rockett Audio Designs Tour Series Archer Overdrive and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

J. Rockett Audio Designs Tour Series Archer Overdrive and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

51uvBZP95cL 300x300 - J. Rockett Audio Designs Tour Series Archer Overdrive and Boost Guitar Effects PedalIf you’re looking for a Klon clone, J. Rockett Audio is arguably the most authentic. They manufactured the original pedals, giving them intimately familiar with the inner workings of that classic pedal. Short of dropping a few grand on a vintage Klon Centaur, the Archer is the closest thing you’ll find to that sound.

This pedal has our favorite clean boost on the list. You’ll want to be gentle with the output knob because it can get crazy loud pretty fast. The gain control is smooth, giving you the whole spectrum from clean tone to full crunch.

Sound aside, the Archer is also cleverly designed. It’s built so you can change the battery without taking it off your pedal board, and the top-mounted jacks let you connect it with less cabling—little details that a gigging guitarist can appreciate.

Features:

  • Controls: Gain, output, treble
  • Dimensions: 7” X 3” X 5”
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Power: 9V battery or AC adapter
  • 1-year Limited Warranty

Pros

Faithful reproduction of a vintage Klon Centaur

Designed with touring musicians in mind

Huge output

Tons of headroom

Balanced tone across the range with no loss in the bass

Cons

Higher price point

Can be tricky to dial in the right tone


02

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

User Manual

31V9Drw2EL e1539690204465 300x214 - Ibanez Tube Screamer MiniTC Electronic is known for making great equipment that’s affordable for any guitarist, and they don’t disappoint with their MojoMojo Overdrive. It gives you a transparent overdrive that’s full in the low end—no screechy distortion here. With a lot of options in a compact, rugged package, it’s a versatile pedal and, in our opinion, the best value on the list.

This pedal is an especially good choice if you like chaining effects. It was designed to complement with the Dark Matter and it sounds great paired with a wide range of distortion, fuzz, and other effect pedals. The same is unfortunately not true of amp styles. The MojoMojo sounds especially great paired with Marshall-style amps but can be muddy when used with a lot of solid-state amps.

What’s the bottom line? Paired with the right equipment, the MojoMojo has a warm, open overdrive perfect for jazz, blues, and rock—and you definitely can’t beat the price.

Features:

  • Controls: Drive, Level, Bass, Treble knobs; voicing switch
  • Dimensions: 5” X 3” X 4”
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Power: 9V battery or AC adapter (not included)
  • True Bypass
  • 3-year Warranty

Pros

Small footprint on your pedal rack

Transparent effect lets your pure tone shine through

Great warmth from the bass knob

Voicing switch further expands tone customization options

Outperforms pedals at twice the price

Cons

Can get a bit muddy in the low end on higher settings

Sounds better with some amps than others


03

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

User Manual

61zkAgVl4sL. SL1000  269x300 - TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive PedalTC Electronic is known for making great equipment that’s affordable for any guitarist, and they don’t disappoint with their MojoMojo Overdrive. It gives you a transparent overdrive that’s full in the low end—no screechy distortion here. With a lot of options in a compact, rugged package, it’s a versatile pedal and, in our opinion, the best value on the list.

This pedal is an especially good choice if you like chaining effects. It was designed to complement with the Dark Matter and it sounds great paired with a wide range of distortion, fuzz, and other effect pedals. The same is unfortunately not true of amp styles. The MojoMojo sounds especially great paired with Marshall-style amps but can be muddy when used with a lot of solid-state amps.

What’s the bottom line? Paired with the right equipment, the MojoMojo has a warm, open overdrive perfect for jazz, blues, and rock—and you definitely can’t beat the price.

Features:

  • Controls: Drive, Level, Bass, Treble knobs; voicing switch
  • Dimensions: 5” X 3” X 4”
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Power: 9V battery or AC adapter (not included)
  • True Bypass
  • 3-year Warranty

Pros

Small footprint on your pedal rack

Transparent effect lets your pure tone shine through

Great warmth from the bass knob

Voicing switch further expands tone customization options

Outperforms pedals at twice the price

Cons

Can get a bit muddy in the low end on higher settings

Sounds better with some amps than others


04

Wampler Pedals Tumnus V2 Overdrive/Boost Effects Pedal

Wampler Pedals Tumnus V2 Overdrive/Boost Effects Pedal

User Manual

71Zj3FAfB L. SL1200  300x300 - Wampler Pedals Tumnus V2 Overdrive/Boost Effects PedalWampler is too large a company to really be considered a boutique pedal manufacturer but in terms of quality that’s what you can expect from the Tumnus. These pedals are still hand-built using the same overdrive circuitry that built their reputation. The only difference is they’ve put the famous Klon Centaur overdrive in a remarkably tiny pedal.

You only have to listen to the Tumnus for a few seconds to know why people love the effect. It is the ultimate in transparent overdrive, giving your sound some extra grit without losing tone or definition. The clean boost tone is great too. It does use a buffered rather than a true bypass. A lot of players like the effect on their sound, but it’s something to keep in mind.

The Tumnus isn’t cheap, though it’s definitely more affordable than the boutique pedals it competes with. If you’re looking for a versatile transparent overdrive, it’s worth the extra expense.

Features:

  • Controls: Gain, treble, volume
  • Dimensions: 7” X 4” X 7”
  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Power: 9V AC adapter (not included)
  • 5-year Warranty

Pros

Transparent overdrive with smooth attacks and good definition

Also gives an exceptional clean boost

Classic effect in a pedalboard-friendly, compact housing

Hand-built for consistent quality

Versatile across styles and set-ups

Cons

No option for battery power

Input jacks are a bit crowded


05

Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999

Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999

User Manual

91LMFI9O9tL. SL1500  288x300 - Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999If it’s vintage overdrive you’re looking for, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Tube Monster from Behringer. It has both the sound and the look of classic overdrive pedals from the ’50s and ‘60s, combined with modern build techniques that make it a more durable and versatile option.

Behringer markets this as a tube amp crammed into a pedal, and while that’s a bit of an exaggeration it’s not far from the mark. The 12AX7 vacuum tube inside the Tube Monster gives your tone a warmth that digital effects can’t replicate.

Want to know the best part? You can get the Tube Monster for right around fifty bucks—definitely one of the most affordable ways to add a true tube overdrive to your sound. Experimenting with different tubes also gives you more ways to customize the effect sound. Overall a solid pedal at a great value.

Features:

  • Controls: 3-band EQ, gain, and master knobs; noise gate with adjustable threshold
  • Dimensions: 8.5” X 7” X 2.5”
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Power: 9V AC adapter (included)
  • True Bypass
  • 3-year Warranty

Pros

Superb vintage effect sound

Well-designed for looks and function

Adjustable threshold on the noise gate means complete control of noise

Excellent value

AC adapter comes included

Cons

Changing tubes can be a bit tricky

Large footprint


06

Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal

Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal

User Manual

61WHxcgOb9L. SL1099  300x267 - Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive PedalThe OCD from Fulltone has been around for a while, and it graces the pedal boards of players the world over. The most recent release of this iconic pedal has the same sweet crunch as the original.

Great things will happen if you get an 18V AC adapter for the OCD. This pedal takes a lot of power. If you want that devastating, heavy metal-style overdrive, a 9V battery just isn’t going to cut it. It can give you a more subtle overdrive if you want, too, although the effect range is definitely not the widest on the list.

Fulltone makes reliable pedals, and the OCD definitely has a great tone. It maybe costs a bit much for what you get, and it’s not the most versatile option, but it’s a solid effect that’s definitely worth considering for metal players and hard rockers.

Features:

  • Controls: Volume, Drive, Tone
  • Dimensions: 5” X 3” X 2.5”
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Power: 9V battery, 9V or 18V AC adapter
  • True Bypass
  • 5-year Limited Warranty

Pros

High and low pass filters help keep your tone under control

Sweet overdrive at any dynamic level

Easy to open the casing and replace batteries

Responsive overdrive and distortion effects

Solid build and smooth action on the knobs

Cons

Takes a lot of power to get the full effect

Not the best value


07

MXR EVH5150 Overdrive – Demo

MXR EVH5150 Overdrive – Demo

User Manual

61tdlnRsoL. SL1000  300x300 - MXR EVH5150 Overdrive - DemoWhen you think of high-gain overdrive, the screaming rock solos of the ‘70s and ‘80s definitely come to mind. If that’s the sound you’re going for, you definitely want to check out this pedal designed in collaboration with one of the icons of the era: Eddie Van Halen. The EVH5150 is a beast of a pedal with a flexible overdrive effect that sounds great in any situation.

The EVH5150 seems like it should be a bigger pedal than it is. There is an impressive number of customization options for a pedal that weighs less than a pound. This does make the interface feel a bit crowded. Combined with the black-on-black color scheme, it might be tricky to adjust in low lighting. Still,

Here’s the deal: The EVH5450 can take you from subtle warmth to super saturation and everything between. It’s the pedal you want if you’re looking for full control over your sound, and you can count on it for a great tone no matter what kind of amp you’re playing through.

Features:


Pros

Powerful overdrive with a wide effect range

3-band EQ lets you really dial in the tone

Gate control wipes out signal noise

Flexible effect sounds great with any amp or equipment

Road-worthy construction

Cons

Might be tricky to adjust in a dark venue

On the costlier side


08

Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive / Boost Pedal

Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive / Boost Pedal

User Manual

61jtkvsd3YL. SL1000  300x258 - Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive / Boost PedalHere’s another option from Fulltone that gives you the same reliable high craftsmanship but with a different overdrive color. As it turns out, this pedal is the perfect choice for metal, hard rock, and any other genre that calls for massive overdrive.

The first difference you’ll notice with the Fulldrive is the size. It’s a big pedal, but with good reason. Along with standard effect controls, there’s an adjustable Boost mode and toggles for activating MOSFET overdrive or changing the clipping style.

If you’re looking for a more subtle effect, this might not be your best choice. The Fulldrive2 can do it, but it’s at its best when you let it scream. If you want aggressive overdrive, look no further than the Fulldrive2.

Features:

  • Controls: Volume, tone, overdrive, and boost knobs; mode and style toggles
  • Dimensions: 7” X 4.5” X 3.5”
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Power: 9-18V AC adapter
  • 5-year Limited Warranty

Pros

Two channels of truly thrash-worthy overdrive

Lots of control over the overdrive sound and style

Includes Boost Mode for increased sustain

Built to take a beating

Cons

More pedal than most players are looking for

Uses too much power to run on battery


09

Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

User Manual

91DM9Or4dRL. SL1500  300x300 - Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects PedalThe overdrive from a vintage tube amp has a very distinctive sound. Getting that sound used to mean spending thousands of dollars, but no more thanks to amp overdrive emulation pedals like the Friedman BE-OD. It’s based on the company’s classic BE-100 amplifier and gives you the same tight distortion and full bass in a smaller (and much more affordable) package.

The BE-OD gives you twice the tone-shaping options that you’ll find on most overdrive pedals. This is a good thing if you like having complete control over your sound, though it does mean spending a bit more time with the pedal to figure out what all it can do.

This definitely isn’t the cheapest item on the list. A lot of players balk at the idea of spending two hundred bucks on an overdrive pedal—until they hear what all it can do. If you want the big, bold tube overdrive of a vintage amp, the Friedman BE-OD is worth the investment.

Features:

  • Controls: Bass, treble, presence, volume, gain, tight
  • Dimensions: 7” X 4” X 4”
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Power: 9V or 18V AC adapter (not included)
  • True bypass
  • 3-year Limited Warranty

Pros

Authentic tube amp sound modeled after Friedman BE-100

Great tonal clarity at all gain levels

Tight and open effect tone

More unique tone shaping options than most overdrive pedals

Can suit every style from blues to heavy metal

Cons

Customization knobs take some getting used to

On the upper end of the price spectrum


10

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Bundle with Instrument Cable, Patch Cable, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Bundle with Instrument Cable, Patch Cable, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth

User Manual

813LYpE5leL. SL1500  300x300 - Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Bundle with Instrument Cable, Patch Cable, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Polishing ClothEven if you like a lot of distortion on your tone, the situation sometimes calls for an effect that’s more subtle. The Super Overdrive from Boss lets you do both in one pedal. The overdrive is designed to emulate the tone of a classic tube amplifier and it does the job well, with a sound that’s surprisingly full and warm.

Sadly, we had some issues with the build. Boss usually delivers impeccable construction, so we were a bit disappointed to find the connections felt a bit loose and the knobs slightly flimsy. It doesn’t seem as rugged as you’d expect Boss pedals to be.

Despite these flaws, the sound of the DS-1 definitely makes it a great value at the price. It even comes with cables and a cloth (though, oddly, not a power adapter). The natural tone and low price make it a good choice for players on a budget.

Features:


Pros

Smooth effect with a warm tone

Versatile sound that mimics tube overdrive

Intuitive interface

Responsive to shifts in articulation and dynamics

Included cables increase the value

Cons

High power use drains batteries quickly

Construction quality doesn’t feel as high as other models

Doesn’t include a power adapter


Cables and Power

maxresdefault 2 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

There are two accessories you’re definitely going to need for any kind of effects pedal: a source of power and cables to connect it into your signal chain. Most pedals, unfortunately, don’t come with either.

Here’s the good news: cables and adapters are pretty much universal across effects pedals. If you have an array of pedals, you can use the same accessories for all of them. Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re shopping.

Cables

Anything your signal passes through can affect your sound. While there’s some debate on how much difference an expensive cable really makes, there’s no question that a cheap or damaged cable can lead to signal loss and impact your tone.

When you’re connecting effects together, you want to use short cables with right angle jacks. This will let you position the pedals closely together without excess cable laying around. A shielded cable is also key to protecting your signal. Something like Donner’s Guitar Patch Cables will do the trick. You can buy them individually if you want, but getting a three- or six-pack will save you money in the long run if you know you’re going to need them.

Power

Most effect pedals give you two options of how to power them: a 9-volt battery or an AC adapter plugged into a wall outlet. The battery option is great as a back-up in case of power failure, or to ease your set-up hassle in a venue with limited outlet space, but you shouldn’t rely on the battery as your full-time power option.

Here’s why: pedals take a lot of power.

You’ll burn through batteries incredibly fast if you rely on them exclusively, and will have to worry about them dying mid-gig.

Since you know you’ll need an AC adapter, the question becomes what kind you want to get. The majority of pedals require a 9-volt AC adapter. Some can also use an 18-volt adapter. This can be a good way to get some extra power out of your effect, but not every pedal can handle that kind of voltage. Make sure to check your pedal’s user manual before buying anything other than a standard 9-volt adapter—you can destroy some pedals by giving them too much power

Many pedal manufacturers make their own power adapters. You certainly don’t need to use an adapter made by the same company as your pedal, but if you’re not sure what kind to get the manufacturer’s recommendation will never steer you wrong.

IMG 8368 650x430 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

If you have a lot of pedals, you’ll want to use a pedal power supply instead of individual adapters. This will save you a lot of space and hassle when you’re setting up. Figure out how many pedals you need to power and what kind of connections they all have before you start looking so you know what kind of power source you need.

The Truetone 1 Spot Pro is a popular option if you’re looking for a power source. It can power up to seven pedals at once, with options for both 12-volt and 18-volt effects pedals. A simpler daisy-chain design like the Donner DPA-1 can also work nicely if you only use a couple of effects.

An Overdrive for Everyone

giphy 3 - 10 Rocking Overdrive Pedal  – Give your Tone a Boost in 2018

Just like there are all different kinds of amps, each of which gives you a slightly different tone and color, there are a wide variety of overdrive pedals out there to choose from. The perfect pedal isn’t going to be the same for everybody. It’s all about what sound you’re going for and what kind of equipment you’re playing on.

What’s your ideal overdrive sound? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! No matter what you’re looking for, one of the pedals on this list can deliver—and probably for less money than you were expecting. We hope the reviews and info here help you make an informed decision about which pedal is right for you!

Leaders comparison
The winners

Best products from range

Best of the best

J. Rockett Audio Designs Tour Series Archer Overdrive and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

There’s a reason Klon Centaurs are such a sought-after effect. The J. Rockett Audio Archer is an authentic recreation of that famous sound at a comparatively affordable price. You can use this pedal in any style and set-up, and it’s designed to last you through a lifetime of gigs.

Best for the money

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

The TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal is far and away the best overdrive pedal you can get for less than fifty bucks. It’s a versatile effect that will add warmth and depth to your tone. It also has a solid build and a relatively small footprint, so you can take this baby on the road without a worry.

What’s your ideal overdrive sound? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! No matter what you’re looking for, one of the pedals on this list can deliver—and probably for less money than you were expecting. We hope the reviews and info here help you make an informed decision about which pedal is right for you!

Runner-up

FAQ
Faq

Frequently asked questions

Q:

What is the difference between overdrive and boost?

An overdrive effect mimics the distortion caused by pushing the gain on a tube amplifier, adding grit or fuzz to your tone. A boost effect is aimed at increasing the volume of the signal without altering the color of the tone. Because both of them ultimately add to the sonic output, they’re often grouped together, and many overdrive pedals can also provide an excellent clean boost when called for.

Q:

What is a transparent overdrive?

A transparent overdrive is an effect pedal that adds gain to your signal without adding a lot of colors. It’s different from a boost pedal in that it does add some distortion to your tone, as opposed to only increasing the volume of the output. Compared to other overdrive pedals, though, transparent overdrives allow more of your natural sound to shine through.

Q:

I’ve seen a lot of overdrive pedals described as “Klon Centaur clones.” What does that mean?

The Klon Centaur is an overdrive pedal that was designed by Bill Finnegan in the early ‘90s and sold from 1994 to roughly the year 2000. It is notable as one of the most sought-after transparent overdrive pedals ever made, and the original pedals can sell for thousands of dollars. The germanium diodes within the guitar are the component typically cited for giving them their unique qualities. If you want to know what a Klon Centaur sounds like, check out this video.

Because of their relative scarcity and high cost, many companies started making their own version of the Klon Centaur after production was discontinued in 2000. These pedals are referred to generally as clones since their aim is typically to reproduce the pedal as closely as possible. While each clone will have its own unique color and attributes, they’ll typically be equally capable of providing either clean boost or overdrive effects.


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