Best Distortion Pedals For Metal

Top 5 Best Distortion Pedals For Metal (October 2020)

Updated - October 2, 2020

When looking for the best distortion pedal for metal, it’s best to first understand what a distortion pedal is. The distortion pedal is one of the most commonly used pedal genres on the planet. They come in all shapes and sizes and each one offers something a little different to the next. The best distortion pedals for metal are some of the most important pedals you can have on your pedal board. They are a very personal choice, in respects to which ones you choose to use.

What Is A Distortion Pedal?

A distortion pedal will color your tone and push your amp to give it a unique sound. The characteristics of which will depend on the pedal you use and the components within the pedal itself.

The best distortion pedals for metal usually have 2 control knobs. These are ‘level’ & ‘gain’. These straight forward controls give you what you need to adapt the sound to your liking. However, the main thing to note here is that the higher the gain the dirtier your tone will become. Generating more feedback and harmonics the higher you go.

The best distortion pedals for metal are best used on a clean tone. They can be part of an effects pedal chain but remember the cleaner the tone the better the distortion effect will be.

Choosing the cheapest distortion pedal you can find, just for the sake of having one isn’t a great strategy. Some cheap distortion pedals can sound tinny and lack the warmth and depth of other more premium pedals. We’ve done our best to avoid these tinny amateur pedals and only recommend those that have a nice sound.

Why Do I Need A Distortion Pedal For Metal?

You’ve got a guitar, an amp & a decent clean sound. The problem is your amp is missing that sweet distortion sound that will blow your audience away. You might already have a specific type of distortion but you’re missing a 70’s classic tone.

Each distortion pedal has its one unique attributes, component setup & appeal. Someone who wants a more transparent gain boost will choose a completely different pedal than someone who wants to kick in a variety of distortions to make their tone sound entirely different.

Distortion pedals can be used in a number of different ways. They can support an already overdriven channel. Or they can provide 100% of the gain into a completely clean amp. The best distortion pedals for metal can be placed anywhere in the effects pedal chain however they are popular at the start of the chain with many guitarists.

Best Distortion Pedals For Metal - Top 5
    1. Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal - The MT-2 Metal Zone distortion effects pedal is one of BOSS' most popular pedals. This stompbox provides some of the most insane distortion tones with huge mids and lows and an ultra-saturated sound.
    2. Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal - The Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds with super-thick, tube-like distortion.
    3. BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal - The BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion guitar effects pedal takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today's new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme.
    4. JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal - The JOYO R-03 UZI distortion guitar effects pedal is Specially designed for heavy metal, it’s characterized by High Gain.
    5. Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal - The Koogo PDS-1 distortion pedal's distortion works great and difference in the tone is fantastic. For the price it is a real bargain.
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Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Solid, Strong Build Quality
  • ✔ Amazing Metal Distortion Sound
  • ✔ Hugely Popular Pedal
  • ✔ True Bypass
The MT-2 Metal Zone distortion effects pedal is one of BOSS' most popular pedals. This stompbox provides some of the most insane distortion tones with huge mids and lows and an ultra-saturated sound.
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  • The pedal for a proper metal sound
  • Sustainer/EQ/Overdrive pedal in pedal form
  • Level, EQ low/high and distortion adjustable
  • Compact, highly robust construction
  • Battery and mains operation possible
  • Incredible-sounding distortion pedal with unique dual-gain circuitry
  • Provides super-long sustain and heavy mids and lows like a stack of overdriven amps
  • Three-band EQ with semi-parametric Mid control offers a wide range of extreme distortion textures
  • A must-have pedal for any hard rock or metal guitarist
  • BOSS 5-year warranty

One of the most popular pedals in Boss’s arsenal the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal is a must-have for any serious metal or hard rock player. With distortion resembling the guttural growl of Cerberus this pedal offers roaring distortion with massive mids and lows and ultra- saturated sound.

Metal Zone Foot Pedal The BOSS Metal Zone is another distortion pedal for guitarists who need the sound of a stack turned up to max volume. 2 Gain levels guarantee sufficient distortion and sustain until the last day; its rich bass and powerful mids can make noise like a 4×12 and the 3-band tone control, including quasi-parametric mid control, ensures plenty of flexibility. What more could the disciples of heavy metal need?

To keep up with the most severe metal playing the Boss Metal Zone MT-2 Pedal has been built to last with an aluminium die cast body and sturdy control knobs; backed by a 5-year warranty (when you register the pedal with Boss). The pedals compact design and light weight make it the perfect pedal for carrying between gigs.

Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal

Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ High Quality Components - Built To Compete With The Big Boys
  • ✔ Great for Heavy Rock & Metal Distortion
  • ✔ Features Distortion, High, Mid, Level, Low & Mid Frequency Control Knobs
  • ✔ Electronic On/Off Switch For High Signal Integrity In Bypass Mode
The Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds with super-thick, tube-like distortion.
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  • Take off with the most extreme and sought-after hard rock or heavy metal distortion
  • Multi-gain circuitry to give you super-thick, tube-like distortion plus endless sustain
  • Dedicated Distortion, 3-band EQ and Level controls for awesome sound shaping
  • Status LED for effect on/off and battery check
  • Runs on 9 V battery or the BEHRINGER PSU-SB DC power supply (not included)
  • First-class electronic On/Off switch for highest signal integrity in bypass mode

In the churning, smoldering world of heavy metal, it’s the middle frequencies that make all the difference between mush and muscle. With the UM300 Ultra Metal, you not only get control over the Mids – you can micromanage them!

The UM300 effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds, with super-thick, tube-like distortion – plus virtually endless sustain.

Like most distortion boxes, the UM300 comes with Distortion and Level controls, and the High and Low controls let you dial in the amount of top-end and bottom you desire – but the similarity to other stomps ends right there. Much like our world-class mixing consoles, we’ve given the UM300 a Mid Frequency control, allowing you to select a midrange frequency (from 200 Hz – 5 kHz) and boost/cut it by up to 15 dB. What this means in terms of tone, is thick, tube-like distortion with endless sustain for everything from aggressive, traditional metal assaults – to the ultimate in modern crunch! A brilliant status LED tells you when the UM300 is active, while a top-quality on/off switch maintains highest signal integrity in bypass mode. You can power the UM300 with our PSU-SB DC power supply (not included), or pop in a 9 V battery.

Is there a hole in the middle of your tone? You’ll be surprised how affordably and efficiently the Ultra Metal UM300 can fill it! Take off with the most extreme and sought-after hard rock or heavy metal distortion. Get hold of the Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal today!

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Dual-Stage Distortion Circuit
  • ✔ Ideal For That Metal Sound
  • ✔ Strong Metal Casing
  • ✔ BOSS 5 Year Warranty
The BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion guitar effects pedal takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today's new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme.
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  • Produces extreme, low-end distortion for modern metal and hard rock
  • Gain Boost circuit creates huge distortion and sustain regardless of level
  • New Bottom control for bottom-heavy distortion matched to 7-string guitars
  • Tone control adjusts balance between high and low frequencies
  • BOSS 5-year warrant

The MD-2 Mega distortion takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today’s new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme. The secret is a special dual-stage distortion circuit with an added gain boost-plus new Bottom and Tone controls–for crushing distortion with massive low end. Take your distortion into the future with the MD-2.

The Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal takes the principles of usual distortion by clipping the inputs signal and adding inharmonic overtones to create the classic warm grit that you would expect. Building on this the Boss MD2 Mega Distortion Pedal offers a dual-stage distortion circuit; adding a Gain Boost control knob to give you extra crushing distortion and incredible sustain, similar to the way distortion was first achieved by over-driving a tube amp. The inclusion of Bottom and Tone controls make it easy to put extra emphasis on the low-end and adjust the balance between high and low frequencies. The sound that the Boss MD-2 is capable of offering makes it the perfect piece of kit for modern metal and hard rock.

This pedal is great for rock and metal and has plenty of good tones. Take a look for yourself.

JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal

JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Gain, Volume, Low, Mid, High & Bias Control Knobs
  • ✔ Bias Switches Between 'American' & 'British' Distortion Modes
  • ✔ Tough Metal Chassis Keeps Your Pedal's Guts Safe
The JOYO R-03 UZI distortion guitar effects pedal is Specially designed for heavy metal, it’s characterized by High Gain.
  • Heavy Distortion
  • Versatile classic distortion from crunch to fat & intense lead sounds
  • Volume, Gain, Low, Mid, High, and Bias sliders
  • On / Off switch with LED display
  • Ambient LED lighting with 3 modes
  • Input and output socket: 6.3 mm jack
  • Power supply via 9 V DC power adapter with negative pole inside
  • Current consumption: 20 mA
  • Dimensions including potentiometers: 109 x 67 x 48 mm
  • Weight: 248 g

R-03 Uzi Distortion takes it to the next level. The UZI is versatile machine introducing some classic British overdriven amp tones. Why do we call it the UZI, it can unleash a powerful distortion that is enough to shatter a bus shelter. A killer drive distortion pedal !

The distortion effect pedal takes your guitar tone from a smooth overdriven break up to that intense edge of a sustained classic metal distortion. From subtle crunch to fat and saturated lead sound, the Uzi is a distortion pedal with great sonic flexibility and will represent a classic overdriven amp through to a very responsive aggressive grungey distortion with ease. The ability to adjust the EQ on the pedal arms you with a small but powerful sonic weapon. Similar to the sounds of a JCM800 and 900 this pedal sounds hot ! Don’t stand too close, when you hear this pedal shoot into action, your ears will get totally, fried man..

At your fingertips you can control Volume and Gain whilst tweaking the EQ with Low, Mid, High & Bias.

The R Series, or Revolution series from JOYO are the 4th generation of guitar effects and all feature some very cool ambient LED lighting. The lights can be toggled from a switch on the rear of the pedal..3 modes of lighting are available to adjust when they come on.

‘Sync’ to the footswitch – The LED ambient lighting on the front and rear of the pedal with shine bright when the footswitch is pressed, also illuminating the LED effect indicator on the top of the pedal.
‘Always’ – The lights are always on, but the pedal is only activated when you press the footswitch and the LED effect indicator comes on.
‘Off’ – Okay, so Tron may not be your favourite and you want to stick to something a little less futuristic. The lights are off, the LED effect indicator comes on when you stomp on it and activate the pedal.

Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal

Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Small Sized Pedal - Great For Crowded Pedalboards
  • ✔ Toggle Between Natural, Tight & Classic Modes
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
The Koogo PDS-1 distortion pedal's distortion works great and difference in the tone is fantastic. For the price it is a real bargain.
  • Suitable for solo, high gain distortion pedal with dynamic response and definition, especially suitable for solo playing and keep particles with smooth.
  • 3 WORKING MODES – Natural, Tight, and Classic.High degree distortion degree of metal, stable to solo, has strong expression with dynamic echo sound.
  • Whole aluminium-alloy classic, stable and strong.
  • True bypass provide transparent tone, LED indicator shows the working state.
  • Input impedance: 1 M Ohms.
  • Output impedance: 95 Ohms.
  • Working current: 13 mA.
  • Power Supply: 9V AC adapter.
  • Dimensions: 3.74″ (D) x 1.77″ (W) x 1.89 (H).
  • Weight: 8.46oz (with box).

The Koogo Distortion pedal is capable of making your tiny fresh tube amp a louder and fuller sound as the full stack. This high gain distortion pedal features dynamic response and definition. It is perfect for solo playing and maintains particles with smooth. You can select from three working modes: Classic, Natural, and Tight. The Koogo Distortion comes in a stable and sturdy aluminium-alloy enclosure. It also includes an LED indicator that displays the working state and true bypass for transparent tone.

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