Best Distortion Pedals On The Market

Top 5 Best Distortion Pedals On The Market (December 2021)

The Best Distortion Pedals On The Market (December 2021)

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.

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

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.


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.

The Best Distortion Pedals On The Market Buyers Guide (December 2021)

  • 1. JHS Sweet Tea V3
  • 2. Revv Amplification G3
  • 3. BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal
  • 4. EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2
  • 5. Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal
JHS Sweet Tea V3 Overdrive And Distortion Pedal 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 Overdrive And Distortion Pedal - 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 Distortion Pedal 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 Distortion Pedal - 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 Distortion Pedal Image

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal

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

The BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion guitar effects pedal sports an all-new design providing a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals.

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal - 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 Distortion Pedal Image

EQ 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 Distortion Pedal - 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 Distortion Pedal Image

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ 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 Distortion Pedal - 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.

More Information Regarding Distortion Pedals (2021)

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.

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