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Are you a little tight on funds, but can’t help lusting over gear you can’t afford? This is a pretty common scenario that every guitarist has gone through at least once or twice.
Guitar pedals are often some of the most common items added to a guitarist’s wish list. Fortunately, some very inexpensive pedals are widely available, allowing any guitarist access to great tones.
The following pedals are some of the best cheap guitar pedals you can currently find out in the wild. Each grouping of pedals is sorted by price range.
Top Guitar Pedals Under $100
TC Electronic Ditto – Best Overall
If you’re somebody that tends to play by themselves, you might find that you’re limited with what you can do. You won’t be able to produce layered sounds much like a band would be capable of doing.
That is, unless you acquire a loop pedal. These pedals allow you to record layers of loops, with the ability to play over the loops as desired.
Loop pedals are also incredibly convenient for learning and writing solos over your own progressions. So, not only are these pedals practical, but they can also be a great educational tool.
One of the absolute best loop pedals you can buy is the TC Electronic Ditto (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon). This pedal has all of the basics suitable for any guitarist, and it doesn’t take up much space.
Compared to other loopers on the market, the Ditto has a very basic and streamlined layout. There’s only one control to worry about here, which has to do with the volume of the loop playback.
The real magic lies in the pedal’s foot switch, which you’ll use to record, undo, and stop the pedal’s function. Throughout the process, you can play freely over any recorded loop.
There is a 5-minute recording capacity with the Ditto, accommodating even the longest of chord progressions. If you had the itch, you could record a performance of an entire song and play solos during playback.
One thing to note is that you will need a 9V power supply (not included) to power the pedal. The pedal does not offer a 9V battery power option.
You won’t find a more straightforward and capable looper at a more inexpensive price. There’s a reason why the Ditto has been the go-to loop pedal for nearly any type of guitarist.
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby – Best Premium
There’s no denying that the wah pedal is one of the most iconic guitar effects ever created. Even non-guitarists are familiar with the distinct sound this pedal can give a guitar.
If you’re looking for a wah pedal, your best bet would be to start with the standard traditional model. The Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is just the wah pedal you’ve been looking for.
On the whole, this is a pretty basic wah pedal. It doesn’t offer any spectacular extra features that might be seen with other pedals.
Simply tilt the foot rocker forward and you can engage/disengage the pedal. Rocking to the heel produces a closed sound, with the toe position having an open sound.
When sweeping the rocker from the heel to the toe while playing a note, you’ll instantly recognize the classic sound. This is exactly what has been featured in some of the most iconic music ever to be recorded.
While you’re probably familiar with the wah through guitarists like Hendrix and Clapton, its capabilities are much deeper. Wah pedals are indeed great for adding a vocal characteristic, but they can be utilized like a filter, too.
For an example, check out the song Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler utilizes a wah pedal toward the heel position to give his guitar that grimy and squashed characteristic.
If there was to be a con with this pedal, it’s related to the sheer size of the pedal itself. The rocker is about the length of an actual foot, so it will take up some space on a pedalboard.
However, the wah pedal is a true staple when it comes to effects pedals. This is the perfect starting place for classic wah sounds at a ridiculously affordable price.
TC Electronic Spark Mini – Best Budget
Are you lacking volume in moments when you need it most? In situations like these, a boost pedal is usually called upon to carry out the task.
For starters, there is only one control knob to have to worry about when using the Spark Mini. This control knob affects the actual volume of the signal coming from the pedal itself.
In all reality, this is all a boost pedal really needs. Its prime duty is to simply raise the volume of your signal.
You’ll find that the Spark Mini can do this, offering up to 20 dB of volume increase.
It gets even better, though, because the Spark Mini has a little secret hidden in its foot switch. Simply pressing the switch will turn the pedal on and off as found with any other pedal.
However, if you hold the switch down, the pedal will operate in Momentary mode. This essentially means that the pedal will only boost while the button is pressed.
Those with tube amps will find that the Spark Mini is great for pushing the amp into overdriven territories. However, you can choose to operate the pedal as a standard clean boost if you prefer.
You will need to have a 9V power supply in order to use this pedal. A power supply is not included, and there is no option for a 9V battery.
Overall, this is a great example of pure utility packaged in a small frame, all without breaking the bank. You can’t ask for much more than that.
MXR M290 Mini Phase 95
With the M290, you’re essentially getting 2 phasers in 1 pedal. By pushing the 45/90 button, you can change the mode between the original Phase 90 and the Phase 45.
The Phase 90 is undoubtedly the most well-known among the pedals, but the Phase 45 offered a more modern take. Where the Phase 90 might have been a little rough around the edges, the Phase 45 smooths things out.
Both pedals were extremely versatile, and with the M290, you have access to both at the push of a button. If that wasn’t enough, there is a separate switch (designated as Script) to produce more definition to the effect.
The M290 isn’t a complicated pedal to operate, either, as the speed of the effect is the only adjustable control available.
One of the best parts about this pedal is the fact that it comes in a miniature form factor. You’ll get 2 historic phaser pedals in one small package, decorated in its iconic orange color.
To use the M290, you’ll need to have a 9V power supply.
JHS 3 Series Screamer
This offering from JHS can provide you with tones ranging from classic overdrive to extreme grit. You could even use this as a boost, providing subtle tone coloration here and there.
Regardless of how you wish you use it, the 3 Series Screamer makes it easy to find your tone. There are 3 different control knobs to be found here, including volume, tone, and drive.
In this regard, the 3 Series Screamer is akin to most of the classic overdrive pedals found on the market. This overdrive has 1 extra feature that provides a wider range of tonal possibilities.
You’ll find this capability relating to the position of a 2-way switch. Operating the pedal in one mode will act like a traditional overdrive pedal with standard clipping.
When you switch the position of the switch, you’ll engage the JHS “strong mod” which produces an asymmetrical clipping. This will give your tone much more grit with a little bit of messiness in all the right areas.
The JHS 3 Series Screamer packs in both classic and modern overdrive in a clean, white package.
EarthQuaker Devices Plumes
This pedal has a layout that should feel pretty similar to the traditional overdrives. You’ll have controls for level, gain, and tone.
Where the Plumes differs is that it has 3 different operating modes to choose from via a 3-way switch. You can choose from:
- LED clipping
- Asymmetrical clipping
- Clean boost
Whether you want transparency or full-on grinding chaos, the Plumes is more than capable. Plus, it features some excellent graphics that can look good alongside any pedal on your board.
Are you looking to create some truly spacey guitar sounds without having to shell out a fortune for optimum pedals? The MOOER A7 is an exciting affordable alternative that might have what you’re looking for.
When it comes to spacey sounds, the delay and reverb pedals tend to reign supreme as royal effects. The A7 is essentially a reverb pedal with modulated effects built inside.
There are 7 reverb types to choose from with the A7, including:
Aside from plate and hall, most of these reverbs have a modulated aspect combined with their sound.
Rather than having a dial to choose from the reverb types, MOOER has done something unique. All of the reverb types can be found on the edge of the pedal, each with its own backlit button.
Aside from these reverb types, the A7 offers quite a bit of control for a miniature pedal. You’ll have the standard mix, decay, and tone controls like you would find on any reverb pedal.
The A7 also includes an X parameter, controlling the size of the space in which the reverb resides. There’s also a Chaos parameter, controlling the amount of modulation present in the reverb.
If that wasn’t enough, the A7 also offers options relating to the trail of the reverb itself. You’ll be able to utilize both infinite and natural trails here, all with the press of a button.
The A7 does require a standard 9V power supply to use. Again, because it’s a mini pedal, there is no 9V battery capability present.
Overall, the MOOER A7 is prime for anyone that is looking to create sonic space without breaking the bank. MOOER has managed to pack in practical functionality in a very small frame.
Best Guitar Pedals Under $50
TC Electronic Honey Pot – Best Overall
In many ways, the Honey Pot is the perfect middle ground between fuzz and distortion. The pedal is more than capable of producing tones that fall within each respective realm.
You’ll have no problems cranking in fuzz that is super round, fat, and crackly. Tones that are grating with intense distortion are also very much on tap here.
This pedal’s controls are very straightforward, offering parameters covering sustain, volume, and tone.
The Honey Pot features a graphic design that really gives off some vintage flavors. Don’t let that fool you though, this is a mean pedal designed for serving up brutal tones.
Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 – Best Premium
This is a very simple boost pedal that has one controllable parameter relating to the boost amount. Because of this, the LPB-1 is suitable for guitarists at any stage in their playing journey.
While a boost might seem fairly simple (it is), the LPB-1 can be used in a variety of different ways. The most popular method is using the pedal to push a tube amp to produce overdriven tones.
Another way you could use the LPB-1 is to place it before or after specific pedals in your signal chain. You’ll find that certain pedals react differently when placed either before or after the pedal.
Many of Electro-Harmonix’s pedals have become classic staples in the world of guitar effects. The LPB-1 is essentially the same line booster that the company produced in the late 1960s.
Really, the only difference here is that the pedal comes in a miniature form factor and has modern graphics.
To use the LPB-1, you will need a 9V power supply or a 9V battery to power the pedal.
TC Electronic Blood Moon Phaser – Best Budget
Need swirling phaser tones on a budget? The TC Electronic Blood Moon Phaser is your best bet.
If you love 70s and 80s phaser tones, this pedal will send you straight to heaven. This is a straightforward pedal and serves up nothing but classic tones.
The only controls to be found here include rate, depth, and feedback. Part of the reason for this pedal’s success has to be because of its simplicity in finding delicious tones.
A standard 9V power supply (not included) is needed to use the Blood Moon Phaser.
Top Guitar Pedals Under $30
Believe it or not, there are some pedals that are priced below $30. Because of the budgetary nature of these pedals, no distinction regarding their overall value has been given.
There’s nothing quite like the funky quack of an auto-wah. The Flamma FC11 serves up these tones on a serious budget.
With this miniature pedal, you’ll have a fully-functional envelope filter with adjustable controls over:
You’ll be able to use the FC11 in a number of different ways, ranging from short staccato to long swells. This is part of the reason why the FC11 provides so much value at such an astonishingly low price.
Do you long to have modern John Mayer and Trey Anastasio tones? Dumble amplifiers play an important role, but they can cost as much as 6 figures.
Not everyone has that kind of discretionary fund, which is what makes the ISET Dumbler so useful. For under $30, you’ll have a pedal that simulates the characteristics of the Dumble amplifiers.
The controls are fairly straightforward here, offering parameters for gain, volume, voice, and tone. In many ways, this will act like a very transparent overdrive or a boost with subtle clipping.
Behringer’s SF300 is an extremely budget-friendly fuzz pedal that offers options and a simplistic layout.
There are 4 controls on the SF300, including parameters for:
The pedal even offers 3 different modes, including:
- Modern fuzz
- Classic fuzz
What To Look For When Buying Cheap Guitar Pedals
Buying pedals to add to your rig should be a fun and exciting process. However, if you’re not sure what to look out for, you can become a little conflicted.
How can you know whether or not an inexpensive pedal is worth your money or your pedalboard? The answer to this is fairly subjective to each individual.
You’ll find that the following points of information can help to serve as a useful guide when navigating the market. Keeping all of this in mind will help you to find the right pedal for your rig.
When you’re buying any pedal, you’re going to want to have a good idea of what the pedal actually does. What kind of pedal is it?
This should seem like the most obvious thing to look out for. However, there are some guitarists who buy pedals without having any idea of their function.
Once you have a good idea of what it does, ask yourself what the purpose of your purchase is. How are you planning to utilize this pedal in your rig?
While a pedal may be equipped with a certain effect, it might not actually be practical for your chain. You should really take the most time in considering this aspect of your purchase.
Furthermore, you’ll want to see what the pedal has to offer compared to pedals in a higher price range. This is where you’ll see if the pedal is truly providing value.
You will want to pinpoint the most iconic pedals in their respective families of effects. Does the cheap guitar pedal have enough similarities that justify the overall purchase?
There may be instances where you find you might have wished to purchase the classic go-to at a higher price. Doing the necessary mental work and research will help to prevent this from becoming a regular occurrence.
While you might not always have the ability, it’s in your best interest to try the pedals out first. Internet demos (while great) can only go so far in conveying the possibilities a pedal has to offer.
By trying the pedal out yourself, you’ll really understand exactly how a pedal sounds in real life. Plus, this will show you whether or not a pedal will suit your playing style and tonal characteristics.
Another thing to consider is the overall design of the pedal’s layout. This is what determines the operating difficulty, and should be a point of concern no matter the price.
Does the pedal have a large number of parameters that you can adjust? Having options is a must for any avid pedal-tweaker that likes to fine-tune the minutiae of their tone.
Some pedals have a minimalistic design, often offering only 1 adjustable knob for the entire pedal. These can still be a great pedal, especially for a guitarist that appreciates a low-maintenance approach to their tone.
Along with the layout design, you’ll need to pay attention to the actual foot switches. Most are pretty common push-type switches, but some do come equipped with multiple uses.
This might not always be readily apparent, but can actually expand the pedal’s versatility. Some pedals might also rely on specific foot switch push sequences for specific operations.
Take into account how easy it will be for you to actually use the pedal in a real musical setting. Something with complexity could prove to be a cumbersome distraction to deal with in the middle of a performance.
Again, the best way to get an idea of the pedal’s layout is by actually trying out the pedal beforehand. However, some studious internet research can give you a pretty decent understanding of this.
Perhaps one of the best things about cheap pedals is that you can often afford to buy more pedals. Because of the versatility of many cheap pedals, guitarists can put together a great pedalboard at an extremely low cost.
When you’re amassing a large collection of your pedalboard, you might run out of space. A pedalboard only has so much real estate, and it’s not always practical to bring 2 pedalboards to a gig.
The guitarist must really consider what is absolutely essential to have on their pedalboards. It isn’t easy to sacrifice some pedals, especially if you really have a use for everything.
This is where doing some careful planning and research on the pedal’s actual size can come in handy. You can essentially plan the real estate on your pedal board by noting the size of each pedal.
Most pedals do tend to come in a fairly standard-sized form factor, measuring about 4” by 3.5”. Although this doesn’t seem like a whole lot, it adds up quickly with multiple pedals.
You can’t just take into account the pedal’s size, you must also consider the space required for cabling. All the pedals need to be connected and your organizational skills are going to play a role in saving space.
In many instances, a micro (or nano) pedal can really save the day. These smaller pedals offer the same function at a fraction of the size.
Purchasing only mini pedals for your board is a possibility, but again, might not always be practical. Some pedals, like a wah pedal, have a large footprint and must be accommodated.
By knowing what you’re working with, you can really make the most of the space on your pedalboard. Otherwise, you’re buying a pedal for another one to sit on a shelf.
When you’re buying any pedal, you must always pay attention to its power requirements. Most pedals tend to run off of a standard 9V power supply.
If you don’t have a dedicated power supply, consider whether a battery can be used. Often, pedals are equipped with the ability for either the power supply or a 9V battery.
This isn’t always the case, however, so take the time to find out. Some pedals don’t have battery capabilities and some pedals require a different power voltage.
Don’t wait until you have the pedal at home to figure this out. Doing so could mean that you are unequipped with the capability to actually power the pedal.
In that event, your new pedal can’t be used until you purchase a power supply. It might not be a big deal, but it does mean having to make an extra purchase.
Even though you’re opting to buy cheap guitar pedals, you still need to keep your budget in mind. This is a fact of life that must be considered with almost any purchase you make.
Because some pedals are so inexpensive, it could cause you to purchase many pedals. Always be aware of what the calculated total cost of your purchases amounts to.
You might just find that, despite being cheap, your purchases have pushed you over your budget.
If you want to save some extra cash, be sure to peruse the used market. You’ll find a wealth of pedals that are barely used costing much less than they do in new condition.
This means that you can try out different pedals without having to spend a massive fortune. Plus, if the pedals aren’t a fit for you, you can always resell them back on the used market.
Do keep in mind, however, that cheap pedals won’t exactly fetch a large price on the used market. Regardless, this still allows you to retain a portion of your original investment in the pedal.
Another way you can save some money is to see if the retailer has any demo versions available for sale. You might also find these pedals being referred to as “open box”, but it essentially means the same thing.
Demo pedals are pedals that have been used within the store only. They are completely new aside from this fact, and retailers will sell them for a slight discount.
Best Brands For Cheap Guitar Pedals
Let’s face it, the market is saturated with many different options of pedals you can put in your signal chain. When you’re not sure what to look for, it can help to look to some established brands.
The following brands have an excellent reputation for building pedals that are friendly to the wallet. You can be sure that you’ll get your money’s worth with pedals from these companies.
TC Electronic is a Danish brand that has been producing quality effects since the mid-1970s. The company specializes in guitar pedals but also produces effects for studio use as well.
MOOER is a Chinese company that has been revolutionizing the market by offering quality products at affordable prices. The company has received critical acclaim from some of the biggest YouTube guitar channels on the internet.
Top Cheap Guitar Pedals, Final Thoughts
It’s truly an exciting time to be a guitarist in today’s day and age. Technological advancements have allowed guitarists to put together a powerful pedalboard on a serious budget.
Gone are the days when cheap pedals would be almost unusable in any musical setting. If you’ve been needing a little something extra in your signal chain, cheap guitar pedals can provide the remedy.
Last Updated on July 29, 2022.
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