Best Distortion Pedals On The Market

Top 10 Best Distortion Pedals On The Market (September 2022)

The Best Distortion Pedals On The Market (September 2022)

Looking for the best distortion pedals? We want to help you find them. Whether you are a professional or beginner, there's one question that never falls short of an answer. The best distortion pedal for guitar. And to be honest, it can be quite a hard thing to find because so many companies have entered the market to offer great pedals.

Picking between what's best is not always easy, but with the help of this buyers guide, no one will have to worry about that anymore. Take your pick from our recommendations and feel the power of the world's best pedals.

Distortion pedals are probably the most used pedals in the hard rock and heavy metal genres. A distortion pedal can change an ordinary riff into something the rock gods would be proud of. Distortion is the sound of thunder racing through your amplifier leaving all other instruments in its wake. It's safe to say that the rock and roll classics wouldn't exist without the distortion effect. Or it would sound very different at least. While we can't give a definitive answer to the question which are the best distortion pedals on the market. We can give you an idea of the choices out there for each significant price range. As well as previous customer reviews and our personal recommendations.

Finding the best distortion pedals for guitar can be a difficult process. There are many factors to take into consideration when trying to find the perfect pedal, including sound quality, price, and the features you need. The overabundance of guitar pedals on offer can make it difficult to choose the best one for your needs. With top brands like Boss, Electro-Harmonix, Ibanez, Line 6 and more to choose from, its important to research before committing to a purchase.

You no longer have to be frustrated by indecision while searching for guitar effects. We’ve covered a variety of distortion pedals in our latest buyers guides. Whatever your needs and budget, we’re sure we can help.

The Best Distortion Pedals On The Market Buyers Guide (September 2022)

  • 1. JHS Sweet Tea V3
  • 2. Revv Amplification G3
  • 3. BOSS DS-1X Special Edition
  • 4. EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2
  • 5. Fender Pugilist
  • 6. Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
  • 7. MXR M75 Super Badass
  • 8. BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion
  • 9. MXR M78 Custom Badass '78
  • 10. Pro Co RAT2
JHS Sweet Tea V3 Image

JHS Sweet Tea V3

  • ✔ Two Pedals In One
  • ✔ Choose Which Direction The Circuit Flows
  • ✔ A Versatile Overdrive & Distortion Pedal
  • ✔ Made In The USA

The JHS Sweet Tea V3 overdrive & distortion pedal is a versatile overdrive/distortion pedal that covers everything from light breakup, blues, rock, heavy grind to more.

JHS Sweet Tea V3 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

JHS Sweet Tea V3 is a very well-known pedal. It's built with quality components to ensure dependable and long-lasting performances. From smooth bluesy overdrive tones to aggressive high gain sounds, Sweet Tea V3 can do it all with ease. This is a best selling product that's known for its durability, even after years of hard use. It delivers creamy, yet subtle, tones. Featuring three channels (clean, crunch, and lead), this pedal is well designed and easy to use. The design of the Sweet Tea V3 is based on the popular Sweet Tea OD-1 from JHS Effects.

It's an overdrive pedal with amazing tone that can range from a clean boost to a full-on distortion. Its legendary sound comes from a three stage clipping circuit that is tuned for perfect harmonics. A great pedal for anyone into classic, vintage tone. Whether you play country, blues, rock, or metal, it'll add some great crunch to your amp at a low volume.

In short, the JHS Sweet Tea V3 is a 2-in-1 overdrive/distortion pedal that packs a punch. It's built rugged and has a sound all its own.


Revv Amplification G3 Image

Revv Amplification G3

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Sturdy Metal Chassis
  • ✔ Features Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Made In Canada

The Revv Amplification G3 overdrive & distortion pedal sounds great whether you use it in front of an amp, in its effects loop, with a modeler, or direct into a cab simulator.

Revv Amplification G3 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The G3 is a true-bypass overdrive pedal that is hand built in the USA. It is designed to bring you the full sound and feel of a vintage tube amp at a fraction of the price. It features the same great tone that has made the original G3 a classic and earned it the title of first pedal on the boards of many famous players.

It is a fast and transparent 3-channel line driver with a unique and innovative design. The G3 Line Driver cleans up noticeably the sound of all kinds of guitar pedals. It is also very effective with active guitar preamplifiers. The overdrive pedals low noise and wide frequency response are its main benefits. The G3 Line Driver is perfect for any situation where you need to boost the signal without coloring or reshaping the tone.

The G3 is a versatile high gain preamp. One that is capable of producing everything from a clean boost to a heavy distortion. Although it can be used as a direct recording output. We strongly recommend using a cabinet or power amp. This high-gain beast gives you classic tube amp tones, and then some.

If you're looking for a pedal that can really deliver the goods, then the Revv Amplification G3 is an incredibly versatile and powerful pedal. Which is great for the gigging musician.


BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Image

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition

  • ✔ Special Edition Pedal
  • ✔ Perfect Sound Over The Entire Fretboard
  • ✔ Real Time Processing Adapts To Your Playing Style
  • ✔ Features True Bypass Switching

This guitar pedal sports an all-new design providing a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals.

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Special edition BOSS distortion pedal with next-generation sound, feel, and tonal response
  • All-new design provides a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals
  • Powerful real-time processing adapts to your playing to provide ideal distortion tones in every register
  • Enjoy perfect sounds over the entire fretboard, from tight, crisp tones on the low strings to fat, singing tones on the highest notes
  • High-clarity distortion sound that’s never muddy or boomy, even when playing two or more notes at the same time
  • Ultra-responsive to volume changes and picking dynamics
  • Very low noise, even with high-gain settings
  • Drive, High, and Low knobs offer a wide range of sound shaping not found in typical stompbox pedals
  • Striking appearance with exclusive chrome knobs and control plate, plus vintage silver knob for battery compartment access
  • Features BOSS’ innovative Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP), realized with proprietary technology and custom DSP

The DS-1X launches the famous BOSS distortion into a modern era of expression, delivering an unmatched level of performance for guitarists with an ear for tone. This next-generation stomp combines over 35 years of innovation in pedal design with the most advanced technologies, bringing you a completely new tonal experience that’s only possible with the legendary expertise of BOSS. Prepare to be amazed—the inspiring and ultra-responsive DS-1X will change your thinking about distortion pedals forever.

The DS-1X completely redefines the distortion stomp, kicking it into a new universe of dynamic response and clarity. Powered by BOSS’ MDP technology, this amazing pedal delivers distortion that sounds perfect no matter where you play on the neck, even at the highest gain settings. You’ll enjoy tight response on the low strings and fat, singing tones on the highest notes, plus exceptional definition when playing two or more notes at a time. At every setting, the sound is never muddy or boomy, while the smooth, natural presence ensures that you always cut through without harshness or nasal overtones. With the DS-1X, your distortion tone feels and sounds “dialed in” the instant you turn it on, providing a rich, satisfying playing experience that’s both effortless and inspiring.

We love the DS-1, if you want something a little bit special, get the DS-1X while you can.


EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Image

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2

  • ✔ Simple - Can't Get Much Simpler Than Volume & A Foot Switch
  • ✔ Warning - Described As "Very Loud"
  • ✔ Hand Built In Akron, Ohio, USA
  • ✔ Beautiful Design

The EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 distortion guitar effects pedal is modeled after a cranked vintage Model T amplifier to bring the openness, clarity, and crunch a dimed tube amp can provide.

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Measures; 4.75″ x 2.50″ x. 2.25″ with knob
  • Current Draw; 18mA
  • Input Impedance; 50K Ohm
  • Output Impedance; <10K Ohm
  • Power; Standard 9V DC Power Supply w/ 2.1mm Negative Center Barrel

The Acapulco Gold is a dirt-simple distortion device modeled after the sound of a cranked vintage Model T amplifier, bringing the openness, clarity, and crunch that only a dimed tube amp can provide, at a fraction of the size, and without expensive maintenance costs! We also decided to keep the controls of the Acapulco Gold as simple as possible. The footswitch turns the pedal on and off, and the giant knob controls the output volume. That’s it. The rest is at your fingertips.

The big knob sets the output level, sometimes known as Volume. With your guitar’s volume all the way up, the Acapulco Gold roars like a wide-open Model T on the verge of explosion. At just-barely-backed-off, the Gold becomes a raunchy overdrive. At minimum guitar volume settings, the Acapulco Gold delivers a hazy, Nashville-sounding spank to your tone.

The Acapulco Gold is a dirt-simple power amp distortion device that's based on the vibe of a cranked Sunn Model T. You know what's awesome? Vintage Sunn Amplifiers. You know what else is awesome? Simplicity. One button, one knob. How loud would you like it? Just move the knob. This is the spirit of rock and roll. Quit turning knobs and play that guitar like you mean it.

Don’t let the single big knob fool you—a rainbow of dark and dirty fuzz-like tones with massive bass and singing sustain exist within the Acapulco Gold, and dialing in the sounds you want couldn’t be any easier. Get yours today!


Fender Pugilist Image

Fender Pugilist

  • ✔ Dual Gain Engines
  • ✔ LED Backlit Knobs
  • ✔ Beautiful Gold Color
  • ✔ Magnetic Battery Door

Fiery sounding and flexible, The Fender Pugilist Distortion guitar effects pedal is ready to add some heavyweight gain to your rig.

Fender Pugilist - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Dual gain engines
  • Discrete tone controls per channel
  • LED backlit knobs
  • Fender Amp Jewel LED
  • Magnetically latched hinged 9V battery door
  • Lightweight durable anodized aluminum construction

Fiery sounding and flexible, The pugilist distortion is ready to add some heavyweight gain to your rig. This original design features dual gain engines-with independent tone controls for each-letting you select multiple variations of distortion, ensuring this pedal will play well with any rig. Series/blend switch lets you stack channels for thick, cascading distortion, while the bass boost switch fattens up your tone. The blend control mixes the two channels to get the best of both worlds, crafting a sound just for you.

  1. Dual gain engines-with independent tone controls for each-make it easy for you to dial in your sound. A Series/Blend switch lets you stack engines for brutal tone.
  2. The Pugilist Distortion's Blend control mixes your dry and effected signals to taste, bringing out your pick attack to create complex, articulate tone with lively transients.
  3. The versatile per-channel tone controls not only let you shape your sound exactly, they also make it easy to use this pedal with any amp-even one with a Bright switch.
  4. LED-illuminated knobs show your control settings at a glance-even on dark stages.
  5. The exclusive, 'patent applied for', magnetically latched 9V battery door makes it quick and easy to swap batteries.
  6. Every Fender effects pedal is crafted from lightweight, durable anodized aluminum-they'll easily withstand the rigors of touring.

Beyond its wide-ranging overdrive and distortion, every aspect of the Fender Pugilist Distortion pedal is tailored for live performers. LED-backlit knobs show you your settings at a glance, even on a dark stage. Battery changes are fast and easy thanks to the innovative battery compartment design.

So what's the verdict? Fender’s new line of effects impresses for each pedal’s utilitarian functionality, distinct sounds, useful and innovative new features (particularly the magnetized battery compartment door) and most of all for their exceptionally affordable prices.


Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Image

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone

  • ✔ Solid, Strong Build Quality
  • ✔ Amazing Metal Distortion Sound
  • ✔ Hugely Popular Pedal
  • ✔ True Bypass

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.

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • 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 guitar player
  • 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 4x12 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.


MXR M75 Super Badass Image

MXR M75 Super Badass

  • ✔ 100% Analog
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Output, Bass, Mid, Treble & Distortion Knobs
  • ✔ Beautiful Silver Metal Finish

This pedal puts decades of 100% analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum

MXR M75 Super Badass - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Highly responsive full spectrum distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble controls
  • 100% Analog
  • Status LED
  • True bypass
  • Sturdy metal housing

After guitarists play MXR’s new Super Badass Distortion, they’ll find it hard to think of any other words to describe this phenomenal pedal. It may be the best distortion pedal ever in the company’s long and illustrious history.

The Super Badass Distortion puts decades of 100% analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum, from early ’70s low gain overdrive to modern “scooped” metal distortion and every shade of dirt in between. Once you’ve dialed in your desired amount of crunch, you can use the Bass, Mid, and Treble controls to finely sculpt your sound. The Super Badass Distortion features true bypass switching and comes ready for the road with the sturdy housing and durable components that MXR is known for.

With its versatile EQ section and responsive, dynamic gain circuit, the MXR Super Badass is possibly the best distortion pedal that MXR has ever offered.


BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Image

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion

  • ✔ Dual-Stage Distortion Circuit
  • ✔ Ideal For That Metal Sound
  • ✔ Strong Metal Casing
  • ✔ BOSS 5 Year Warranty

Takes the bottom-heavy modern distortion sounds heard in today's new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme.

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • 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.


MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Image

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78

  • ✔ Analog Distortion Pedal
  • ✔ Sturdy Metal Chassis
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Made In The USA

The result of MXR taking a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded it to deliver over-the-top, soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms.

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Analog distortion pedal for electric guitar
  • Controls for output, tone and distortion
  • Selector switch for crunch mode
  • 2 Status LED
  • Robust metal housing
  • Operation with 9V battery or Dunlop ECB-003 AC adapter (optional)
  • Made in the USA

The MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion is a factory-modded pedal that roars with huge amp stack tones and old school tube amp-like distortion.

MXR took a classic rock pedal and hot-rodded it to the next level for over-the-top soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms. With only three knobs, dialing in Badass tone is a cinch. The CRUNCH button allows you to choose between two different modes of diode and LED clipping, boosting the harmonic content of the distortion.

The ’78 Distortion's wide open amp-like sound sounds great whether it's in front of a clean, a slightly dirty, or a full on overdriven amp. Under the hood, this high performance machine features top notch circuitry and hardware meant for a lifetime of use.

If you've got an ear for incredible distortion tones, then the MXR Custom Badass '78 Distortion pedal is for you!


Pro Co RAT2 Image

Pro Co RAT2

  • ✔ Features Distortion, Filter & Volume Controls
  • ✔ Military-Spec Glass-Epoxy Circuit Board
  • ✔ Five Year Limited Warranty
  • ✔ Glow In The Dark Graphics

This pedal will be your go-to distortion guitar pedal for every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz.

Pro Co RAT2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Legendary distortion pedal
  • Used on thousands of recordings in the last three decades
  • Very versatile as a distortion for arena-rock rhythm tones and soaring leads, as a crunch channel for loud amps, or as a boost for solos, and you can still maintain your amplifier's sound at the same time
  • Controls: distortion - filter - volume
  • LED: effect on

The RAT2 will be your go-to distortion pedal for every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz.  This is the standard that all other distortion devices are measured against.  Heard on thousands of recordings, it has helped define the sound of the past three decade’s most influential bands.

The beauty of the RAT2 lies in its versatility.  Used as a primary distortion, it excels at arena rock rhythm tones and soaring leads.  Do you have a powerful amp with too much headroom for the gig?  Let the RAT2 be your dirty channel.  Maybe you already love your amp’s distortion.  Use the RAT2 as a boost for solos and get the extra kick you need.

The RAT2 features the legendary RAT filter control.  Turn it to the right to roll off brittle high-end frequencies.  Having trouble cutting through the mix?  Turn it to the left and allow the natural brightness of your instrument to shine through.

Distortion dials in the perfect amount of gain – from mild overdrive to full out fuzzy assault, and the volume control lets you dial it in just perfectly against your bypassed clean tone.


More Information Regarding Distortion Pedals (2022)

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.

Why Do I Need A Distortion Pedal?

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.

Achieving Clean Gain

Distortion pedals can provide a clean gain into an amplifier. Mimicking an overdrive pedal. Or turn the gain right up and feel the clipped signal roar. Run your distortion effects pedal near the front of your chain for the best sound. Or experiment with different placements throughout your chain. Some even put a distortion pedal in the effects loop.

If you're in the rock or metal genres then getting your distortion pedal right is paramount. It's probably your most important pedal (after your tuner) on your pedalboard. Whether you're using it for live shows or studio recordings, a distortion pedal can make or break your tone. Having the right options when you need them is the name of the game. You might find that more than one distortion pedal is needed. Depending on the situation and circumstance.

Distortion Options

The great thing about distortion pedals currently is that there are loads to choose from. The big brands have fantastic options available to those with the budget. However if you're looking to spend a more modest sum of money there are still plenty of options. All of these distortions will turn your clean amplifier into an earth trembling monster. It's worth noting that distortion pedals generally perform far better when the gain is turned up. When they reach a saturation level they start to come into their own.

Mini Distortion Pedals

As with most pedals these days. Miniature models are available. These often have far less configurable settings involved however that's not necessarily a bad thing. Smaller pedals are easier to transport, weigh less and take up less room on your pedalboard. They can also be far less expensive than the larger alternatives. If distortion isn't a priority then perhaps a small sized distortion pedal would be a strategic purchase. Saving cash and space for other, more important effects.

Conclusion

Whether you're looking for the best distortion pedal for metal and rock. Or you're simply looking for a useful pedal that can give both colored and clean gain. We've got something for everyone in this detailed review of the top distortion stomp boxes on the market place.

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