Top 20 Budget Distortion Pedals Under $50, $100, $150, $200


Buying a distortion pedal is an excellent idea if you are into heavier genres. What this pedal does is allows you to distort the signal coming out of the guitar. Distortion pedals are among the most popular ones you can find, especially among metal musicians. 

Distortion pedals usually add more saturation, and they can alter the sound. Regardless of the model you pick, there is a high chance that the pedal will be quite aggressive and heavy. Furthermore, the majority of players will use distortion on a clean channel. 

There is no reason to put distortion over overdrive since it might be too much. As you can probably guess, some of these effects can be expensive, and not everyone is willing to spend a couple of hundred to buy a guitar pedal. 

Here, we will go through some of the options you’ll have if you want to buy a distortion pedal on a budget. 

Top 5 Budget Distortion Pedals Under $50

The first budget group of pedals is reserved for those costing less than $50. Here, you will find some of the popular budget brands, and some models can be quite decent. Naturally, the quality won’t be on the professional level, and if you are interested in something better, you will need to invest a bit more. 

These are an excellent option for beginners since they will give you a rough idea of what distortion pedals can do. If you are satisfied with the sound and the idea, you can always get a more expensive model in the future. 

Donner Morpher

Donner Distortion Guitar Pedal, Morpher Distortion 3 Modes Natural,...
  • Morpher is High-Gain Distortion, great made and affordable. Sounds like a...
  • High degree distortion degree of metal, stable to solo, has strong...
  • Whole aluminium-alloy classic, stable and strong.
  • True bypass provide transparent tone, LED indicator shows the working...
  • Red
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Aluminum alloy
  • Three knobs: level, gain, and tone
  • Three-way switch
  • 8.8 ounces (249.48 grams)
  • 6.6 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches (16.76 x 11.94 x 6.35 centimeters)

Another pedal by Donner is called Morpher. The pedal is compact, durable, and you can create a sound you like in no time. This is another high-gain pedal that gives you an option to boost the tone as much as you like. Morpher packs a lot of power in such a small case, and it is another pedal for those who enjoy the heavier sound. 

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Of course, the main quality of Morpher is its price, and it is one of many reasons why Donner is so popular these days. The pedal has three knobs to adjust level, gain, and tone, and it is fairly easy to use. I should also mention that there is a three-way switch you can use to select one of three possible modes. 

Donner Dark Mouse

Donner Distortion Pedal, Dark Mouse Distortion 2 Modes Classic Hyper...
  • [Inspired by Classics and More] Dark Mouse distortion pedal is made to...
  • [2 Modes] Classic: Produce a classic, warm distortion sound with some fuzz...
  • [Durable Guitar Distortion Pedal] Aluminum-alloy classic, stable and...
  • [True bypass Guitar Pedal] True bypass provides transparent tone. LED...
  • Black
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Two modes
  • True bypass
  • Three switches: distortion, level, and filter
  • Aluminum-alloy
  • 11.3 ounces (320.35 grams)
  • 4.7 x 2.6 x 2.5 inches (11.94 x 6.6 x 6.35 centimeters)

If you are looking for the cheapest possible option, Donner is probably the best pedal you can find. The company specializes in designing great budget equipment, and they are slowly becoming one of the most popular options for beginners. The first pedal on the list is called Dark Mouse, and it is a great distortion. 

The pedal has three switches to adjust the sound, and it works on a 9V battery or adapter. As you can probably guess, the battery is not included in the package, and you will need to buy it separately. Dark Mouse is a great choice for anyone looking for a heavier sound, and it works great for hard rock, grunge, and even metal. 

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Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal

Behringer Ultra Metal UM300 Heavy Metal Distortion Instrument Effect...
  • Take off with the most extreme and sought-after hard rock or heavy metal...
  • This BEHRINGER product has been designed to compete head to head with...
  • Multi-gain circuitry to give you super-thick, tube-like distortion plus...
  • Dedicated Distortion, 3-band EQ and Level controls for awesome sound...
  • Red
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Plastic
  • Six knobs: dist, high, mid, level, low, mid freq
  • 11.7 ounces (331.69 grams)
  • 2.76 x 2.13 x 4.84 inches (7.01 x 5.41 x 12.3 centimeters)

The next one on the list is a pedal by Behringer. Unlike the majority of budget pedals, Behringer is a well-known company designing gear for more than thirty years. Naturally, this isn’t the best pedal you can find, but it’s quite worth the money. One of the main downsides of Behringer UM300 is that the pedal is not really durable.

The casing is made of plastic, and you might want to be careful when using it. As for the tone, you can create interesting combinations if you decide to play with knobs, and it is quite decent. Keep in mind that the pedal is named Ultra Metal, which means that it might not be to everyone’s taste. 

Joyo High Gain Distortion JF-04

JOYO High Gain Distortion Pedal from AC/DC Crunch to Heavy Metal with...
  • JOYO High Gain Distortion guitar pedal, get the kind of hard distortion...
  • From a little blues rock crunch to an all out snarling distortion this is...
  • Whole aluminium-alloy housing classic stoving varnish finish, stable and...
  • In addition to the existing JF/Ironman/R series of effect pedals, we will...
  • Black
  • LED
  • Durable
  • 9V
  • Four knobs: gain, treble, mid, volume
  • 15.2 ounces (430.91 grams)
  • 5.1 x 4.1 x 2.5 inches (12.95 x 10.41 x 6.35 centimeters)

Joyo is another excellent company focusing on budget gear, and here, we can see Joyo High Gain Distortion. The overall design of the pedal is quite simple, and there are four knobs you can use to adjust the sound. The first one is for gain, and the rest is for EQ or treble, middle, and volume. 

The pedal sounds surprisingly good considering the price, and it is obviously meant for metal players out there. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust it to your needs. Joyo JF-04 gives you plenty of options when it comes to adjustments, and you can easily create the sound you like. 

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Joyo JF-17 Extreme Metal

JOYO Extreme Metal Pedal with 3 Band EQ and Low-Mid-High Gain Boost...
  • JOYO Extreme Metal Distortion pedal with a powerfully-adjustable 3 band EQ...
  • Where this pedal is most at home is with the gain at 12 'o' clock or...
  • Whole aluminium-alloy housing classic stoving varnish finish, stable and...
  • In addition to the existing JF/Ironman/R series of effect pedals, we will...
  • Black
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Six knobs: high, mid, low, boost, level, and drive
  • Two footswitches
  • Durable
  • Aluminum alloy
  • 15.8 ounces (447.92 grams)
  • 5.16 x 4.13 x 2.4 inches (13.11 x 10.49 x 6.1 centimeters)

The last one for this category is another pedal by Joyo. This time, it is Extreme Metal. One of the first things you’ll notice about this model is that it is quite larger compared to other ones. There are two footswitches, which allow you to control boost and bypass. 

Furthermore, the pedal has six knobs to shape the sound, and there is a 3 band EQ. The pedal is quite versatile, and you can find almost any tone you like. If you pair it with a good amp, the pedal will sound great. It is an excellent choice for beginners and those who want to experiment with pedals. 

Top 5 Budget Distortion Pedals Under $100

As we increase the budget range, we can notice a couple of popular brands. The price range here is between $50 and $100, and this also means an increase in quality. Naturally, we are still far from professional equipment, and you will need to invest a lot more if you want perfect gear. 

But for those looking to purchase something on a budget, there are many great options to choose from. 

Boss DS-1

Boss DS-1 Distortion Bundle with Power Supply, Instrument Cable, Patch...
  • Classic BOSS Distortion tones for guitar and keyboard
  • Reproduces dynamics of playing, from soft to hard
  • Distortion, Level and Tone control to tailor overall sound as desired
  • BOSS 5-year warranty
  • Orange
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Three knobs: tone, dist, and level
  • 1.85 pounds (839.15 grams)
  • 6 x 4 x 6 inches (15.24 x 10.16 x 15.24 centimeters)

Boss DS-1 is one of the iconic pedals, and it’s quite affordable. Probably the main reason for the popularity of DS-1 is that almost every guitar player had it at one point. Especially beginners. The pedal is affordable, sounds decent, and it’s made by Boss. It is obvious why so many players would want to try it. 

As for the sound, DS-1 gives you a lot of options to create something you’ll enjoy. The pedal is easy to use and it has a standard Boss design. It’s durable, and more importantly, affordable. In this package here, you will also get an adapter, patch cable, picks, and others. 

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MXR Super Badass Distortion

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion
  • Highly responsive full spectrum distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble controls
  • 100% Analog
  • True bypass
  • Silver
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Five knobs: output, distortion, bass, mid, and treble
  • True bypass
  • 3.2 ounces (90.72 grams)
  • 4.5 x 6 x 2.75 inches (11.43 x 15.24 x 6.99 centimeters)

MXR is another giant in the market, and many professional guitarists use pedals by this brand. Here, we have Super Badass Distortion, and it’s quite nice. The pedal is versatile, and you can use five knobs to find the tone you like. There is no reason for you to go all-in (unless you feel like it), and the pedal sounds good with lower gain as well. 

The pedal is easy to use, you have output and distortion knobs, and 3 band EQ to further shape the sound. Finally, the pedal offers true bypass, and it works on a 9V power source. The best option is to use the pedal on the clean channel since it offers so much gain. 

JHS Series 3 Distortion

JHS Pedals 3 Series Distortion (3SDISTORTION)
  • Made in Kansas City USA
  • A massively versatile distortion pedal with the ability to achieve medium...
  • The controls on the Distortion are Volume, Filter (or Tone), and Distort...
  • The Gain toggle gives you a choice between more saturated and compressed or...
  • White
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Three knobs: volume, filter, and distortion
  • Switch
  • Durable
  • 11.2 ounces (317.51 grams)
  • 4 x 3 x 2 inches (10.16 x 7.62 x 5.08 centimeters)

JHS released Series 3 a couple of years ago, and it made a lot of impacts. Firstly, each pedal from the series is affordable and sounds great. You can find nearly any effect you want, and you won’t need to spend a fortune on it. When it comes to the distortion pedal, it is versatile, easy to use, and will give you great sound. 

The best thing about the Series 3 is that it works great with any amp, and you don’t need to own high-end gear to make it sound good. The pedal has three knobs for volume, filter, and distortion, and it is an excellent option for both experienced players and beginners. 

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Boss OS-2

BOSS Overdrive/Distortion Guitar Pedal (OS-2)
  • Delivers killer separate overdrive and distortion effects that you can...
  • Designed to provide raunchy, hard distortion
  • Yellow
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Four knobs: level, tone, drive, and color
  • 1.08 pounds (489.88 grams)
  • 5.9 x 3.6 x 2.5 inches (14.99 x 9.14 x 6.35 centimeters)

Another pedal by Boss, but this time, we have a combination of overdrive and distortion. As with any other Boss pedal, it is durable, and you won’t need to worry about damaging it on accident. Of course, the main difference is that the pedal is a 2-in-1 unlike the first one I mentioned, and it gives you a different sound. 

The pedal is ideal for both rock and heavier genres since you can easily adjust the sound. All you need to do is turn the drive knob, and you will increase the amount of gain allowing you to play metal. One of the main advantages of Boss OS-2 is its versatility and how you can play nearly anything on it. 

MXR M77 Custom Badass Modified O.D.

MXR M77 Custom Badass Modified O.D.
  • 100Hz cut and boost control allows tonal fine-tuning
  • Bump switch engages alternative voicing for a low and mid-range boost
  • Classic overdrive circuit with modern modifications for improved...
  • True bypass
  • Gold
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Four knobs: tone, 100 Hz, output, and gain
  • Bump switch
  • True bypass
  • 11.2 ounces (317.51 grams)
  • 5.5 x 4.4 x 2.6 inches (13.97 x 11.18 x 6.6 centimeters)

If you like the idea behind MXR pedals, Custom Badass Modified might be the right thing for you. One of the first things I should say is that the MXR M77 can sound phenomenal with the right setting. The pedal is still simple and easy to use. There are four knobs, but this time, we have a 100 Hz potentiometer for fine-tuning.

There is also a bump switch that activates alternative voicing for mid-range and low boost. MXR M77 is quite versatile, and it sounds amazing for blues, rock, hard rock, and even heavy metal. While the sound is not as powerful as some other distortions, it allows you to create a beautiful sound. 

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Top 5 Budget Distortion Pedals Under $150

As we increase our price range, we can notice more and more great-sounding pedals. Naturally, personal preference has a lot to do with the overall satisfaction, but there is no denying that these pedals are good. 

Each model offers something different, and with a bigger budget, you’ll have more options. The pedals here cost between $100 and $150, and there are some models you need to check out. 

Wampler Ratsbane

Wampler Ratsbane Distortion Pedal (Rats Bane)
  • Turn the distortion control all the way down for a deep but powerful gain...
  • Turn the filter control counter-clockwise to cut straight through the mix...
  • The Gain switch offers three distinct choices. In the middle gives you the...
  • The Voice switch subtly alters the compression and clipping of this pedal....
  • Grey and black
  • Beautiful design
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Three knobs: volume, distortion, and filter
  • Gain switch
  • Voice switch
  • Durable
  • 8.1 ounces (229.63 grams)
  • 6.61 x 4.02 x 3.35 inches (16.77 x 10.21 x 8.5 centimeters)

Wampler is a company from Indiana, USA, and it was founded in 2007. While the history of the brand is not long, the company quickly managed to find its audience. Here, we have a Ratsbane, which is an overdrive pedal. The design of Ratsbane shows a picture of a plague doctor, and it is a RAT type of pedal.

Ratsbane is compact, has three knobs, and additional switches for different modes. If you are interested in owning a great versatile pedal, Ratsbane is a great choice. You can easily adjust the sound, and go for something calmer or turn the gain all the way up and have some fun. 

Ex-Gear Red Fury

EX-GEAR Red Fury Distortion Pedal, The Classic Distortion Tone and...
  • SOUND: This classic distortion pedal will inspire you to write great riffs...
  • POCKET Q TECH: EQ settings were calibrated to create precise frequency...
  • ILLUMINATION: All the controls are illuminated. illuminated foot-switch...
  • MAGNETICS: Strong magnets allow the Red Fury to adhere to any ferromagnetic...
  • Red and black
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Six knobs: bass, mid, treble, volume, tone, and gain
  • True bypass
  • Compact
  • Magnetic bottom
  • 14.4 ounces (408.23 grams)
  • 5.7 x 3.54 x 2.56 inches (14.48 x 8.99 x 6.5 centimeters)

Ex-Gear Red Fury is a pedal that has 3 band EQ, an additional tone knob, and a huge gain potentiometer. It’s easy to use, and it is quite versatile. The pedal works great on the clean channel, and you can make excellent distortion, especially if you use a good amp.

One of the interesting things is that the bottom of Red Fury is magnetic, and you can easily attach it to your pedalboard or any other metal surface. All pots are illuminated, and you will be able to see the pedal even on stage. 

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Boss Metalzone MT-2

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal
  • The MT-2 provides super-long sustain and heavy mids and lows like a stack...
  • The Package Height of the Product is 3 inches
  • The Package Length of the Product is 6 inches
  • The Package Width of the Product is 4 inches
  • Black
  • 9V
  • LED
  • Durable
  • Four knobs: level, two for EQ, and distortion
  • Standard Boss design
  • 15.2 ounces (430.91 grams)
  • 5.9 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches (14.99 x 9.4 x 6.1 centimeters)

Ok, so the first thing I need to say here is: yes, Metalzone is a good pedal. Many people believe that this is one of the worst pedals ever created, and I think that the reason for that is that they weren’t using it properly. MT-2 has two knobs with two additional rings for control of EQ, and you can do so much with them. 

It also works better if you plug it into the effects loop on your amp, since plugging it directly won’t sound nearly as good. This also means that if you plug a single-coil guitar on the cheapest possible amp, there is a high chance that MT-2 will sound bad. But if you use it correctly, you can achieve wonders. Finally, the pedal is obviously for metal music and something that requires a lot of gain. 

EarthQuaker Acapulco Gold

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold Power Amp Distortion Effects Pedal
  • ControlsBig Knob: The big knob sets the output level, sometimes known as...
  • Measures4 5/8″ x 2 1/2″ x 2.25″ with knob
  • Power Our pedals take a standard 9 volt DC power supply with a 2.1mm...
  • White and yellow
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Single knob
  • Durable
  • 11.7 ounces (331.69 grams)
  • 5.75 x 3.25 x 3.25 inches (14.61 x 8.26 x 8.26 centimeters)

If you are looking for a pedal that’s easy to use, you won’t find any simpler than Acapulco Gold. The pedal has a single knob, and that’s it. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of options for creating the sound. Acapulco Gold can be quite powerful, and you can even use it on single-coil pickups to transform the tone. 

The pedal is still versatile, and it is made by EarthQuaker. Furthermore, the company designs pedals and each model is hand-made, one by one. If you are looking for a versatile, simple, and amazing pedal, Acapulco Gold is something you need to check as soon as possible. 

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Fender Pugilist Distortion

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal
  • Dual gain engines
  • Discrete tone controls per channel
  • Led backlit knobs
  • Fender amp Jewel LED
  • Gold
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Six knobs: tone A, gain A, tone B, gain B, blend, and level
  • Blend switch
  • Bass boost switch
  • 1.5 pounds (680.39 grams)
  • 5.45 x 4.85 x 3.25 inches (13.84 x 12.32 x 8.26 centimeters)

We all know that Fender is amazing when it comes to instruments and amps, but a couple of years ago, Fender released a series of pedals and they are incredible. If you love Fender sound, you will be blown away by the quality of each of these models. Here, we have Fender Pugilist Distortion, and the design is the same as with the rest of the series. 

There is a magnetically latched hinged door on the back for the battery, but it also works with adapters if you own one. As for the sound, the pedal is quite versatile, and you can use it to create that well-known Strat sound, or go wild and boost distortion and bass as much as you like. There are also two modes you can use independently, or combine both of them in one effect.

Top 5 Budget Distortion Pedals Under $200

The final category is for pedals between $150 and $200. Now, pedals can be even more expensive, but that wouldn’t be considered to be a budget option. Here, we will see more expensive versions of the pedals I mentioned before, as well as famous brands. 

These are some of the best pedals you can find on the market, and they still fall in the budget category. 

Fender MTG Tube Distortion

Fender MTG Tube Distortion Pedal
  • Nos 6205 preamp tube
  • 3-Band EQ with tight control and switchable boost
  • Level and boost controls
  • Package Dimensions: 7.366 L x 13.462 H x 12.192 W (centimeters)
  • Nos 6205 preamp tube
  • LED
  • Durable
  • 9V
  • Eight knobs: treble, middle, bass, tight, level, level, boost, and gain
  • Bypass and boost footswitch
  • 1.1 pounds (498.95 grams)
  • 5.4 x 4.9 x 2.9 inches (13.72 x 12.45 x 7.37 centimeters)

Another model by Fender, but this time we have MTG Tube Distortion. This is a tube pedal, and the preamp tube is Nos 6205. There are eight knobs you can use, and the pedal comes with EQ as well. The separate boost circuit comes with its own knobs, and these are marked as level and boost. 

The pedal is easy to use, it has the same design as other Fender models, and it is perfect for everyone that loves the authentic Fender sound. 

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Wampler Sovereign

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...
  • Gray
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Four knobs: volume, mid contour, tone, and gain
  • Two modes
  • Boost/gain switch
  • 12 ounces (340.19 grams)
  • 7 x 4 x 7 inches (17.78 x 10.16 x 17.78 centimeters)

Wampler offers so many different pedals you can try out, and Sovereign is one of them. The pedal works excellent on the clean channel, and you can use the knobs to further shape the sound of the pedal. It is easy to use, it’s durable, and there are two switches for modes and boost or gain. 

Sovereign is quite versatile and you can play with knobs to create a sound you like. The best thing about it is that it works great regardless if you have single-coils or humbuckers. 

Walrus Audio Iron Horse

Walrus Audio Iron Horse V2 LM308 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
  • A return to the classic distortion: thick, punchy, riffy and rowdy
  • Updated level control makes it easier to dial in unity gain
  • Updated tone control allows more Treble to be dialed in if desired
  • Updated distortion control smooths out the range of distortion making it...
  • Yellow and black
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Three knobs: level, tone, and distortion
  • Mode switch
  • True bypass
  • 10.6 ounces (300.5 grams)
  • 6 x 4 x 3 inches (15.24 x 10.16 x 7.62 centimeters)

Walrus is another excellent brand that offers unique pedals. Here, you can check out the Iron Horse, which is a beautiful distortion with a gorgeous design. One of the first things you’ll notice is a stallion drawing, but more importantly, that the pedal is quite simple. 

There are three knobs to adjust the sound, and a switch to select different modes. Iron Horse gives you a classic distortion sound in a modern pedal, and you can play it on low or high gain. Naturally, it is best if you use it on a clean channel. 

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JHS Paul Gilbert PG-14

JHS Pedals Paul Gibert PG-14 Signature Distortion Pedal (PG14)
  • This circuitry allows the player to have the dynamics and tone of loud...
  • A second unique and essential feature of the design is that an active...
  • This design feature gives the user a vast sweep of tonal possibilities with...
  • The PG-14 is an end-all pedal for adding the ultimate dirt channel to your...
  • Blue
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Six knobs: volume, mid, drive, tone, mid freq, and push
  • Durable
  • 9.9 ounces (280.66 grams)
  • 5 x 4 x 4 inches (12.7 x 10.16 x 10.16 centimeters)

I already mentioned a pedal by JHS, but this time, we have a model designed for the legendary Paul Gilbert. PG-14 is an amazing distortion pedal that gives you so many options to adjust the sound. It isn’t too heavy, and it sounds incredible. 

If you are a fan of Paul Gilbert, you will adore this one. It is a mix of several effects, and it works great with almost any clean amp. The pedal is based on tube amp circuits but with transistors instead. The best thing about PG-14 is that it is so responsive. 

MXR Distortion +

MXR M104 Distortion +
  • Germanium-powered, soft-clipped distortion
  • Classic 70s distortion
  • Classic early ’80s hard rock tone
  • Yellow
  • LED
  • 9V
  • Durable
  • Two knobs: output and distortion
  • 1 pound (453.59 grams)
  • 5.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches (13.97 x 6.35 x 11.43 centimeters)

The final model on the list is another pedal by MXR. This time, it is Distortion Plus. It is a pedal with a simple design, and it gives you that famous eighties sound. The pedal has two knobs to adjust output and distortion. 

Naturally, the gain is not as high as some other models, but it sounds really good. It works great with both humbuckers and single-coil pickups. If you are looking for an affordable pedal with a classic sound, MXR Distortion Plus might be a perfect thing for you. You can also use it on both clean and overdriven channels. 

Summary

Buying pedals for your guitar is always challenging. There are so many different options, and not every one of them is cheap. If you are buying on a budget, you might be interested in cheaper models.

Fortunately, the affordable distortion pedals start at under $50, and you can find a couple of great effects. As you increase the price range, the quality increases as well, and you will have more pedals to choose from. 

Of course, it is up to you to see which model is the best for you. Each pedal you can find offers something different, so don’t be afraid to hear a couple of them before you decide which model is the best option for your taste.

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Last update on 2021-10-20 / 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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