Top 9 Best Distortion Pedals Under $100 (July 2020)
When looking for the best distortion pedal under $100, 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 under $100 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 under $100 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 under $100 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 Under $100?
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 under $100 can be placed anywhere in the effects pedal chain however they are popular at the start of the chain with many guitarists.
MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion Pedal
- ✔ 100% Analog
- ✔ True Bypass Switching
- ✔ Features Output, Distortion, Bass, Mid & Treble Control Knobs
- ✔ Beautiful Silver Metal Finish
- 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 MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Solid, Strong Build Quality
- ✔ Amazing Metal Distortion Sound
- ✔ Hugely Popular Pedal
- ✔ True Bypass
- 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.
Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Features Distortion, Filter & Volume Controls
- ✔ Military-Spec Glass-Epoxy Circuit Board
- ✔ Five Year Limited Warranty
- ✔ Glow In The Dark Graphics
- 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.
BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Dual-Stage Distortion Circuit
- ✔ Ideal For That Metal Sound
- ✔ Strong Metal Casing
- ✔ BOSS 5 Year Warranty
- 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.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal
- ✔ True Bypass Technology
- ✔ Compact Small Sized Chassis
- ✔ Crushing Distortion
- ✔ Singing Sustain With Attitude
- Controller for volume, sustain and tone
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 70 x 115 x 57 mm
- Power supply with 9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply
The Electroharmonix Big muff is a classic overdrive pedal that has captured the hearts and minds of many a guitarist. EHX took the Big Muff Pi circuit and simply shrunk it without changing its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain and sound. The Nano Big Muff Pi works and sounds identical in every way to our classic NYC Big Muff Pi.
The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi has to be one of the all-time iconic pedals, the nano has the same DNA and hits the mark. This perfectly captures the classic sound of the original Big Muff Pi. It has the convenient red indicator light, small size and clean sounding connections to make it even better. If you want that classic Floyd/Gilmour sound, this is the best way to get it on your pedalboard. Get a piece of the pi for yourself!
MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Analog Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Sturdy Metal Chassis
- ✔ True Bypass Switching
- ✔ Made In The USA
- 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 distortion circuit 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 amp, a slightly dirty amp, 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!
TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Feature Gain, Level, Bass and Treble Control Knobs
- ✔ True Bypass Switching
- ✔ Nice Color Scheme
- ✔ Great Pedal For 'Metal' Players
- Phenomenal distortion pedal with an extreme dynamic range gives you highly musical distortion covering a wide soundspectrum
- Vintage-voiced distortion from analog circuits offers a full sound with lively response that can be instantly adjusted to a huge range of tones
- Two-band EQ with active bass and treble knobs lets you really shape your sound
- Voicing switch allows you to toggle between extra bass for a more modern sound or filling your tone with retro vibes
- True bypass allows for optimum clarity and zero high-end loss when the pedal is off
- Four-knob interface for extensive tonal tweaking while remaining highly intuitive to let you focus on playing
Dark Matter is the kind of pedal that you wanna go play for half an hour and end up spending half a day with. It’s musical, covers a super-wide range of sounds but stays true to its base, an all analog-drive circuit that reminisces plexi sounds with both a classic and modern edge.
Hard to imagine now, but there was a time before digital. If you think about it, many of the best distortion sounds stem from that era. Why? Well, it’s the analog circuits, they sound great and got a little more to give when you really punish them – it simply sounds more real, fuller and better. That’s the sound we love: dangerous, on the edge yet thoroughly musical. The sound that begs you to play harder, louder, faster and more.
Distortion is great, but control is key. No one wants the ice-pick to the ears or a mushy bass-laden goo. Dark Matter delivers with bass and treble knobs, perfect for dialing in sounds precisely and lightning fast.
Dark Matter distortion adds extra versatility via a voicing switch that either adds bass for a more modern sound or fills your tone with retro vibes for an old school vintage throwback that oozes classic rock on steroids.
Simply put, the Dark Matter Distortion pedal aims to give you that powerful, super-musical roar of an early plexus – A sound that will satisfy even the pickiest players out there. Well worth considering if you’re looking for that ’80’s metal’ sound.
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
- 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!
MXR M69 Prime Distortion Pedal
- ✔ Rich Distortion
- ✔ Features Tone, Output & Distortion controls
- ✔ High Build Quality & Components
- ✔ True Bypass Switching
Be Advised - Possibly Low StockBuy From Amazon.com
- Big, powerful ’80s arena-rock tone
- Raw, punchy sustain
- Highly responsive to playing intensity
- Low-noise op amps
- 100% analog
- Input Impedance: 1 M?
- Output Impedance: 6 k?
- Nominal Input: -22 dBV
- Max Output: -10 dBV
- Signal to Noise*: 85 dB
- Distortion Range: 27 dB @ 500 Hz
- Tone Control: +/- 4 dB @ 100 Hz, +/- 5 dB @ 2 kHz
- Bypass: True Hardwire
- Current Draw: 4.0 mA
- Power Supply: 9 Volts DC
The MXR Prime Distortion conjures up vintage hard-clipping distortion. This pedal’s warm, articulate sound is easy to dial in with a classic Output, Tone, Distortion control setup. The Prime Distortion is highly responsive to the intensity of your attack, cleaning up when you pull back and packing a huge punch when you dig in. We designed this 100% analog distortion with low noise-op amps, so you won’t get any extra noise added to your signal. Like all MXR pedals, the Prime Distortion comes in a heavy-duty housing with durable jacks and switches for a lifetime on the road.
A little more range on each of the Prime Distortion’s controls could have made it a runaway success, but this is still a lot of pedal for not much cash, and could make a worthy addition to your arsenal – even if it’s not the only distortion pedal you own.
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- MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion
- Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal
- Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
- BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal
- Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal
- MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion Pedal
- TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal
- Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal
- MXR M69 Prime Distortion Pedal