The 25 Best Distortion Pedals You Can Get In 2023


Distortion is one of the most important effects in the rock world, as any type of rock would not exist without distortion effects. It is the first effect beginner guitarists try to reach that amazing cranked amp tones heard in thousands of iconic songs.

Although rock is the genre that distortion effects are heard the most, there are many genres distortion pedals are used, such as jazz, pop, blues, country, and more. Today many guitarists have more than one distortion pedal on their setup to get more versatility and reach different tones.

There are hundreds of distortion pedals on the market with different specs, prices, and circuits. So here are the best pedals you can check to add to your setup.

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion

MXR Super Badass Distortion
  • Highly responsive full spectrum distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble controls
  • 100% Analog
  • True bypass
  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Provides a wide range from low-gain overdrive to modern metal
  • 3-Band EQ, output, and distortion knobs
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion is a simple, versatile, and highly good-sounding distortion pedal. It features a 3-band EQ, along with distortion and output knobs to shape your sound, and it offers great tones from low-gain overdrive for smooth blues to modern metal high-gain distortion.

The gain range is quite wide, which increases the versatility of the pedal. Furthermore, it has a True Bypass Switch stomp to turn the effects on or off. It has the traditional 1 x 1/4″ input and output and works with a standard 9V DC power adapter or a 9V battery, which are both not included in the price.

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver Overdrive Pedal
  • Overdrive/Distortion Pedal for Electric Guitar with BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver
  • JHS Angry Charlie Voices
  • Analog dual overdrive and distortion pedal
  • Provides BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver and JHS Angry Charlie in a single stompbox
  • Offers great tones from killer creamy yet crunchy tonal blends to British-style high-gain tones
  • Level, tone, drive, and 6-position mode selector dials
  • Option to use BD-2 and JHS separately or combined with serial or parallel configurations
  • Buffered Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output, 1 x 1/4″ remote switch
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver is a highly versatile pedal from the guitar effect pedal pioneers Boss. It combines two of the iconic overdrive and distortion pedals, BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver and JHS Angry Charlie, to equip you with everything from creamy blues tones to British high-gain modern distortion effects.

The dual overdrive and distortion pedal features the 6-position mode selector to use the two pedals separately or in different configurations to combine them with a serial or parallel circuit. This way, you get quite a high range of tones to shape your sound. 

The pedal also has a buffered bypass switch along with level, tone, and drive knobs for tone-sculpting. Overall, a great pedal if you need versatility from your pedal.

Mesa/Boogie Throttle Box EQ

  • Digital distortion pedal with two distortion modes
  • 5-band graphic EQ, Mid-Cut Control, and Boost Control
  • Hi-Level, Lo-Level, Tone, and Gain knobs
  • True Bypass Switch
  • Low and High Gain modes
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output,
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Designed and handbuilt in the USA, Mesa/Boogie Throttle Box EQ is a killer distortion pedal with two distortion modes for high and low-gain tones along with a 5-band graphic EQ for you to have all the control over your distortion sounds.

The tone and mid-cut controls increase the versatility, while the boost mode gives you more aggression, perfect for solos. There are two footswitches on the pedal, one for True Bypass and the other to change between low and high-gain modes. Overall, the pedal is ideal if you want to have total control over your distorted tones.

Pro Co Rat 2

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
  • Used as a primary distortion, it excels at arena rock rhythm tones and...
  • Nails that sweet spot where a tube amp goes from sparkly clean to warm...
  • Use the RAT 2 as a boost for solos and get the extra kick you need
  • Analog Distortion, Fuzz, Overdrive pedal
  • Famous RAT-style hard-clipping distortion
  • Provides a wide range of tones, from subtle overdrive to high gain and fuzz-filled modern tones
  • Distortion, Filter, and Volume knobs
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Pro Co Rat 2 has been a pedalboard staple for more than four decades as it offers the iconic hard-clipping distortion with amazing harmonic-rich saturation that can be heard in countless iconic albums. Either to have heavy-duty, fuzz-like grunge for your cleans or have smooth overdrive or have high-gain modern tones, Pro Co Rat 2 is ready to deliver.

The pedal has a 3-knob layout with Distortion, Filter, and Volume knobs to shape your sound. Distortion knobs adjust the saturation, the filter knob adjusts the clarity and rolls off the highs for a warm, cranked amp tone, while the volume knob adjusts the overall output.

KHDK Dark Blood

KHDK Dark Blood KHDK's Evil Pedal, Dark Blood, Delivers Evil,...
  • Gain controls the gain of the circuit. A lower setting creates a...
  • The tone of the KHDK Dark Blood distortion effects pedal is tube-like and...
  • Its unique power is its distinctly amp-like sound
  • Richly articulate and deep, Dark Blood can provide the main tone into your...
  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Tube-like mid-heavy high-gain tones
  • Richly articulate and deep, distinctly amp-like sound
  • Great for palm-muting riffs and searing high-gain solos
  • Solid-state and MOSFET technology
  • Gain, Volume, Treble, and Doom knobs
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

KHDK Dark Blood is the ideal pedal for high-gain lovers as it works with a combination of solid-state and MOSFET technology, giving it a distinctly amp-like sound. The tones you get from the pedal are quite deep and richly articulate, with greatly aggressive and uncompromising dynamics. 

The pedal works great for palm-muted riffs as well as searing high-gain solos. The gain knob controls the gain level, while the doom controls the pre-distortion equalization, which is for adjusting the low-end grunt in your tone. With the knob, you can adjust how tight your bass will be or how long sustain you will have. The treble knob is for the low-pass filter, while the volume knob is for the overall output level.

Wampler Sovereign Distortion

Wampler Sovereign V2 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
  • A distortion pedal designed to be so versatile you will wonder how so much...
  • Two gain stages, a mid contour, bright switch and tone control allow you to...
  • Dial in virtually any sound from modern distortion all the way back to...
  • Built from high grade components picked for their superior sound and...
  • Analog overdrive-distortion pedal
  • Bright, Boost, Gain, Volume, Tone, and Mid Behavior control
  • Great clarity and touch responsiveness
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V-18V DC power adapter or 9V battery

Wampler Sovereign Distortion is a great analog overdrive-distortion pedal that delivers good tones from thick and fluid to cutting and aggressive. The sounds you get from the pedal are highly clear and touch-responsive, making it great for playing low-gain to mid-gain tones.

It features Bright, Boost, Gain, Volume, Tone, and Mid Behavior controls to give you good control over your sound, along with modern-vintage and boost-gain switches.

Friedman BE-OD Distortion Pedal

Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Authentic British Overdrive Tones
  • Volume, Gain, Tight, Bass, Treble and Presence
  • True Bypass Switching
  • Can be powered between 9-18VDC (no battery)
  • Analog overdrive pedal
  • Volume, Gain, Tight, Presence, Bass, and Treble Controls
  • Inspired by Friedman BE100 tube amp
  • Great British-flavored overdrive tones
  • Offers ​​wide tones from mild breakup to aggressive sounds
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 9-18V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Friedman BE-OD Distortion Pedal is a unique distortion pedal based on the iconic Friedman BE100 tube amp. It brings you the iconic British-flavored overdrive and distortion tones from mild breakup to aggressive and crunchy distortion.

On the control panel, you have volume, gain, tight, and presence knobs along with the 2-band EQ for shaping your tone. These are the exact controls you get on the iconic BE100 tube amp.

Fender Pugilist Distortion

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal
  • Dual gain engines
  • Discrete tone controls per channel
  • Led backlit knobs
  • Fender amp Jewel LED
  • Analog dual overdrive/distortion effects pedal
  • All-original drive circuit designed by Fender
  • Option to use Series or Parallel modes to combine tones
  • Tone A-B, Gain A-B, Level and Blend controls along with Series-Blend and Bass Boost switches
  • LED backlit knobs
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Fender Pugilist Distortion is an original overdrive-distortion pedal designed by Fender. It has a dual tone circuit with the option for the users to blend them with Series or Parallel operation choices. Each gain stages have its own controls with tone and gain knobs.

The pedal is quite versatile with the dual operation circuit, allowing you to have subtle or aggressive overdrive-distortion tones. Furthermore, the bass boost switch greatly provides the fat bottom to your tone to have thicker and heavier sounding distortion.

Walrus Audio Iron Horse V2

  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Level, Tone, and Distortion controls and 3-way mode switch
  • Great for classic rock, chunky rhythms, and blistering solos
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Walrus Audio Iron Horse V2 brings back the classic rock distortion and overdrive with its great sound with thick, punchy, riffy, and rowdy tones. It features a 3-way mode switch which arranges the clipping diodes to have different distortion voices.

The pedal can handle everything from thick, warm overdrive to high-gain old-school distortion tones. It is a great pedal for classic rock and hard rock lovers, and the unique design of the pedal with the horse illustration looks quite cool.

Amptweaker TightMetal Jr

  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Noise gate and 3-band EQ
  • Gain, Tone & Volume Controls, and Fat-Tight Switch
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V or 18V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Amptweaker TightMetal Jr is a unique analog distortion pedal made by the high-gain amp guru James Brown. The pedal brings quite new and unique rock and metal tones with great definition and aggressiveness. The pedal features a built-in noise gate, a 3-way tone selector for different distortion voicings, and volume, tone, and gain controls for extra versatility.

The pedal is quite compact and comes with a true bypass switch to turn off the circuitry. The rest of the specs are quite standard, with traditional input-outputs and a 9V or 18V DC power adapter, which is sold separately.

Bogner Ecstasy Red

Bogner Ecstasy Red Overdrive/Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
  • "True bypass Boost function with independently lit volume and gain controls...
  • Boost function with independently lit volume and gain controls
  • "Master Controls: Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass and Volume"
  • "Variac On/Off switch: adds a ""dropped voltage"" dynamic compression to...
  • Analog overdrive-distortion pedal
  • Inspired by the Bogner Ecstasy Amplifier’s Red channel
  • 3-Band EQ, Volume, and Gain knobs
  • Variac, Mode, Structure, and Pre-Eq switches
  • Footswitchable Boost and True Bypass
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output and 1 x 1/4″ remote
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V Battery (sold separately)

Bogner Ecstasy Red is a great overdrive-distortion pedal based on the mystical Red-Channel tone of the iconic amp. The amp was famous for its higher-gain crunch lead tones, which were used by many artists. The pedal offers interactive controls to shape your tone with 3-band EQ, volume, and gain controls, as well as Variac, Mode, Structure, and Pre-Eq switch for further customizations.

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold

  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Based on the sound of a cranked Sunn power amp
  • Tube tone with rich harmonics
  • Relay-based True Bypass
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC isolated power supply required (sold separately)

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold takes the attention with its harmonically rich tube distortion tones and unique silent switching system. The pedal is inspired by and based on the cranked sound of Sunn Model T amps, providing you with a good range of dirty tones. The pedal is also quite dynamically responsive to your playing style.

The single-knob design makes the pedal quite simple to use and great for beginners. But the single knob is quite functional, allowing you to change between different distortion tones.

Kingtone Duellist

  • Dual Overdrive/Boost and Distortion pedal
  • Separate Drive, Tone, and Volume controls and Fat-Stock-Glass switches for both channels
  • Dual True Bypass Switches
  • Dual and Split modes allow running the Duellist as separate pedals
  • TRS in and out ports
  •  White LED backlit knobs
  •  9V or 18V DC Power Adapter

Kingtone Duellist is a great and versatile distortion pedal with dual channels for lead and rhythm lines. It has easy-to-access side switches along with a channel order selector switch to make the transitions easier. The pedal delivers an open tube-amp likes tone, with the SRV mod adding attack and dynamics to the classic tones. 

You can also split the channels using the pedal as two separate pedals and place the two sides of the Duellist in different orders in the signal chain. It is a highly versatile and good-sounding overdrive-distortion pedal for players who want to have two pedals in the same stompbox. 

Hamstead Odyssey

  • Analog distortion pedal
  • 3 Clipping Circuits
  • 18dB of Clean Treble & Bass Boost and Cut switches
  • Highly versatile with many different overdrive and distortion combinations with the switches
  • Tone, 2-Band EQ, Gain, and Level knobs
  • 9-12V Power adapter (sold separately)

Hamstead Odyssey is an all-analog distortion pedalş with a high versatility thanks to its high range of control and switch control options. With different combinations, you can get many sounds out of the pedal. It features 3 clipping circuits, 18 dB of clean treble and bass boost and cut switches, along with control knobs such as tone, 2-band EQ, gain, and level knobs.

This pedal is a real Swiss Army Knife drive for players who want the utmost versatility out of their distortion pedals.

Origin Effects RD Hot Rod

  • Analog hot-rodded vintage-style amp overdrive pedal
  • Output, Highs, Blend, Gain, Lows, More-Press controls
  • Post-Drive EQ switch
  • Buffered Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Origin Effects RD Hot Rod is an analog vintage-style overdrive and distortion pedal that imitates the sound of modded Plexis and Trainwreck amps. If you like the thick, tube-like saturated distortion tones of the ’70s, this pedal might be ideal for you. While all the control knobs are straightforward, More/Pres knob is the unique one that controls the negative feedback. 

Plus, with the switch, you can get post-drive EQ controls to shape your final sound.

Ceriatone Horse Breaker

  • Dual-channel distortion pedal
  • Based on the Klon Centaur and Marshall Bluesbreaker amps
  • Option to use the channels independently or combine the two for harder tones
  • Separate Gain and Volume knobs, mutual treble, and tone knobs
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Ceriatone Horse Breaker puts two of the legendary amps into the same stompbox: Klon Centaur and Marshall Bluesbreaker. The Klon part is called the Horse and gives the legendary transparent overdrive of the amp, while the Breaker part is the Bluesbreaker, as it provides the thick and mid-heavy breakup of the legendary amp.

The pedal offers different tones, from the subtle clean boost with low gain to rich and fat distortion of British-style amps to push the limits.

Chandler Limited Germanium Drive Distortion Pedal

  • Gain Boost/Overdrive/Distortion Pedal with Germanium Transistor Circuitry
  • The sound and tones of Chandler Germanium Pre Amp in a guitar-ready pedal
  • Germanium Drive and Feedback controls
  • Smooth-Bright Highs and Mid-High-Full Boost switches 
  • 1 x 1/4″ input, 1 x 1/4″ outputs
  • 2 x 9V DC power adapter or 2 x 9V batteries (sold separately)

Chandler Limited Germanium Drive Distortion Pedal allows you to have the iconic Germanium sound in a guitar pedal. The pedal has a germanium-transistor-based drive along with a feedback adjustment option to sculpt your tone from scratch. From thick tones with a fat bottom end to rich and airy distortion, you can get anything with this versatile pedal.

Boss Metal Zone

  • Simple distortion pedal
  • Level, 3-band EQ with semi-parametric midrange, Distortion knobs
  • Super-long sustain and heavy mids and lows
  • Great for hard rock and metal genres
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V Battery (sold separately)

As the name suggests, Boss Metal Zone is a great distortion pedal for metal and hard rock tones. It features Level, 3-band EQ with semi-parametric midrange, Distortion knobs to shape your sound along with unique dual-gain circuitry that makes your tone huge. The sustain is long, and the mids and lows are quite strong, making the pedal perfect for heavy tones.

Boss DS-1W

Boss DS-1W Waza Craft Distortion Pedal
  • Disttion Pedal with Stard Mode
  • Tone/Dist/Level Controls
  • Custom Mode
  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Standard and Custom Modes
  • Tone, Distortion, and Level controls
  • Buffered bypass
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V Battery (sold separately)

Boss DS-1W is one of the most iconic distortion pedals thanks to its renowned versatility, definition, and hard-hitting punch in the Standard mode. But it also has the Custom mode for players who want more from the pedal. The custom mode combines old and new tones as it adds enhanced midrange bark to the body of your sound. This mode also enhances the dynamics, and the overall level is pushed up by 6dB to better drive a hot tube amp.

REVV G3

Revv G3 Purple Channel Preamp/Overdrive/Distortion Pedal
  • Preamp/Overdrive/Disttion Pedal f Electric Guitar - Purple
  • Analog Preamp-Overdrive-Distortion Pedal 
  • Based on Revv amplifiers’ purple channel
  • 3 different aggression modes for different distortion effects
  • 3-band EQ, volume, and gain controls
  • Great for modern metal tones
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

REVV G3 is a great preamp pedal with overdrive and distortion circuits based on the iconic REVV amps’ purple channel. The pedal features 3 different aggression modes, including Blue, Red, and Off, for different distortion styles. While the pedal can cover any tone from low-gain boost to high-gain heavy tones, it shines with modern metal-style high-gain tones.

Electro Harmonix Flatiron Fuzz

  • Analog Op-amp Powered Fuzz/Distortion Pedal
  • ’70s-style circuitry for symmetrical hard-clipping distortion and classic ratty tones
  • Volume, Drive, and Filter Controls
  • True Bypass Switch
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V Battery (sold separately)

Electro Harmonix Flatiron Fuzz brings back the classic ratty tones of the 70s with its vintage-style circuity for symmetrical hard-clipping distorted tones. The pedal handles anything from subtle grit to thick distorted tones and to all-out fuzz effects. Plus, the control panel has a basic design with volume, drive and filter controls to shape your sound.

Danelectro Roebuck

Danelectro Back Talk Pedal, DBAC1
  • Danelectro Back Talk Pedal
  • Original Tone & Grit of 1990s Models
  • 2 Clipping Options
  • 3-way Switch
  • Analog Distortion-Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal
  • 3-Band EQ, Distortion, Level Controls
  • 3 clipping modes 
  • Reissue of Japanese-made MOSFET distortion pedals from the 1990s
  • Buffered Bypass
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Danelectro Roebuck is a great analog distortion pedal that brings back the Japanese-made MOSFET distortion pedals from the 1990s. These pedals were one of the most versatile pedals of the era and had amazingly transparent grits as well as British-tinged grind and tubelike screamy overdrives. It features 3 different clipping modes, 3-band EQ, distortion, and level control to sculpt your sound.

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal for Guitar and Bass with Bright and...
  • 🎸 【Classic Plexion Distortion】It is a modelling pedal which mirrors...
  • 🎸 【2 WORKING MODES】:Normal and Bright. Using the Bright channel...
  • 🎸 True bypass provide transparent original tone. Featuring a pure analog...
  • 🎸 Whole Aluminium-alloy classic body, stable and strong, it makes this...
  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Great value for the price
  • Volume, Tone, and Gain knobs along with Bright-Normal switch
  • Based on the original Plexi amps
  • True Bypass and LED indicator
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter (sold separately)

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal is a cost-effective simple distortion pedal based on the iconic Plexi amps. The pedal has two modes, the bright and normal channels. The Bright channel gives you the iconic late 80’s rock tones, while the normal mode gives you a chance to shape your sound as you like adjusting the gain, tone, and volume knobs. The overall sound of the pedal is rich, full-bodied, and strong, which is great for the price offered.

MXR M104 Distortion +

MXR Distortion +
  • Germanium-powered, soft-clipped distortion
  • Classic 70s distortion
  • Classic early ’80s hard rock tone
  • Model Number: M104
  • Analog distortion pedal
  • Classic 70s distortion and 80’s hard rock tones
  • Simplistic design
  • Output and Distortion knobs
  • Hardwire Bypass Switch
  • LED indicators
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

MXR M104 Distortion + is a simple distortion pedal that equips you with great tones of 70’s distortion and 80’s hard rock sounds. The cost-effective pedal features great value for its price offered and is quite easy to use with its two-knob design. The rest of the specs are quite standard, and the pedal has a hardwired bypass switch activated with the stomp. The LED indicators allow you to see if the bypass is on or off.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic
  • Classic tone Tone, drive, and level controls
  • Tone, drive, and level controls give you access to warm, amp-like overdrive...
  • The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is a reissue that's just like the original in...
  • Same factory, same components, same housing, same famous seasick-green...
  • Analog Distortion and Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal
  • Classic and iconic stompbox distortion and overdrive tones
  • Tone, drive, and level controls 
  • 1 x 1/4″ input and 1 x 1/4″ output
  • 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery (sold separately)

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is one of the most iconic distortions and overdrive pedals of rock history, thanks to its authentic sound and tasty tone. This pedal is the reissue of that iconic pedal and is almost the same. The pedal provides a warm amp-like overdrive with amazing touch sensitivity. The tone, drive, and level controls allow you to sculpt your sound as desired.

Conclusion

Distortion pedals are arguably the most important elements in the pedalboards, especially for rock and metal guitarists. There are so many choices in the market today with different tones, tastes, budgets, and levels of versatility for guitarists to shape their killer rock tones. 

You can check any of the distortion pedals on the list according to your needs and budgets. These are some of the best and most significant distortion pedals you can find today.

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Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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