Best Distortion Pedals Under $50

Top 9 Best Distortion Pedals Under $50 (September 2020)

Updated - September 1, 2020

When looking for the best distortion pedal under $50, 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 $50 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 $50 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 $50 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 $50?

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 $50 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 Under $50 - Top 9
    1. 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.
    2. JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal - The JOYO JF-03 Crunch distortion guitar effects pedal has great response and sustain, and the controls make precision fine-tuning a breeze.
    3. Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal - The Donner Morpher distortion guitar effects pedal is High-Gain Distortion, great made and affordable. Sounds like a crossover between MI Crunch Box and Suhr Riot.3 knobs to control Level, Gain and Tone.
    4. GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal - The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion guitar effects pedal's distortion is great. There is a large variety of tones and everything works as expected
    5. Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal - The Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion guitar effects pedal is designed to cover a variety of song styles with two guitar effects in one pedal.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal - The AZOR AP-302 Distortion guitar effects pedal offers all-sided high-gain distortion with excellent dynamic response and definition.
    9. Donner Boost Killer Distortion Pedal - The Donner Boost Killer distortion guitar effects pedal is one that really deserves some attention. In fact, it's so versatile, you could make the argument it's one the best budget guitar pedals on the market.
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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.

JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal

JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Classic British Rock Tone
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Gain, Volume & Tone Control Knobs
  • ✔ Strong Aluminum Alloy Casing
The JOYO JF-03 Crunch distortion guitar effects pedal has great response and sustain, and the controls make precision fine-tuning a breeze.
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  • Features true bypass wiring, quality components
  • A tone monster / arena rock pedal, designed to
  • Replicate sound of the Marshall crunch gain stage
  • Simple design and pedal interface, comes with 9V
  • Tone, Gain and Volume, what more could you need?
  • Color: Red

The Crunch Distortion features true bypass wiring & quality components. Truly it is a tone monster/arena rock pedal. Designed to replicate the sound of a Marshall cranked way up, the pedal delivers in spades. With plenty of gain and volume on tap as well as being massively touch responsive this pedal truly is a hidden secret within the JOYO ranks. Never judge a pedal by its cover..

This pedal has made big (sound) waves in all the online communities; and anyone who’s ever heard hair-band metal and early 80s rock knows that this thing is the real deal. It does what the Marshall heads of yesteryear could accomplish but only when turned up so loud the neighbors called the cops because they couldn’t watch Cheers, Newhart or the Growing Pains!The JF-03 pedal has been heard all over the world now, and more and more people are catching on to the fact that you don’t need a digital modeling amp and complex computer audio for live performances where you want to cover different styles of music.

Lower gain settings produce some brilliant ACDC style tones, mid gain settings and you’re in Guns N’ Roses territory and maxing the gain knob you’re happily hitting classic Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Metallica levels of Gain.

Simple design and pedal interface, comes with 9V battery. Tone, gain and volume controls. Anything from a brilliant clean boost to the sound of a Full Stack cranked up and everything in between, it’s all at your fingertips with the Crunch Distortion!

Just grab one of these and you’ll be head-banging and thrashing in spandex with the best of them! The Crunch Distortion pedal is a bargain and a true dream to work with as a lead guitarist or a rhythm player who requires a second level of gain, particularly for songs featuring sections with multiple distortion sounds. Use your amp’s normal Drive channel for tone A and then when you need that little extra push for the final creshendo or the verse and chorus of your power ballad from Poison, click on the JF-03 — this thing will get you there!

Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal

Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Aluminum Alloy Chassis
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ 3 Mode Toggle Switch - Natural, Tight & Classic
The Donner Morpher distortion guitar effects pedal is High-Gain Distortion, great made and affordable. Sounds like a crossover between MI Crunch Box and Suhr Riot.3 knobs to control Level, Gain and Tone.
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  • 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
  • DC 9V adapter power supply(Center negative)
  • Dimensions: 95mm (D)*44mm (W)*48mm (H)
  • Weight: 240g (with box)
  • UPC:612306303022

Donner’s Morpher is an affordable, well-made, and high-gain distortion pedal. It sounds like a crossover between the Suhr Riot and MI Crunch Box. It is capable of making your tiny fresh tube AMP a louder and fuller sound as the “Full Stack” effect. The Mopher lets you relish your colorful and fun life. It consists of three knobs for controlling the Tone, Gain, and Level, as well as three models: Classic, Tight, and Natural. You can adjust three function knobs and select your desired model to create your music tone.

Let your little fresh tube amp power can be issued full stack speaker tones, full of loud voices. Maintainning sound natural and relaxed sounds structure. There will be no panic frequency, no dull bass, no obtrusive medium and have a good adaptability to the distortion. High-Gain Distortion pedal with excellent dynamic response and definition especially suited for Lead playing. There are three function knobs, namely LEVEL, TONE and GAIN. LEVEL is used to set the distortion volume. TONE is to set the brightness of tone. GAIN is used to set degree of distortion. Three models: Natural,Tight and Classic.

Easy Controls, Wide Flexibilities

The Morpher features an easy-to-use three-knob tone control: LEVEL (output volume), TONE (brightness) and GAIN (distortion amount) for using in different scenarios. Each knob gives you a wide control range.

3-way Tone Switch

  1. Natural: Neutral mode that delivers an organic, natural tone
  2. Tight: A more aggressive tone with enhanced bottoms and edges
  3. Classic: Provides a classic UK-style high gain sound with warm mids

Overall, the Morpher is a mini modern high gain distortion pedal inspired by the huge high gain stack amp sound. By switching it on, the Morpher can transform any gentle clean amp into a high gain monster! Check it out for yourself!

GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal

GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Large Controllable Range
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Sturdy Aluminum Chassis
The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion guitar effects pedal's distortion is great. There is a large variety of tones and everything works as expected
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  • The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion is as the name might indicate an unusual high gain three step rocket of a distortion pedal.
  • The SonicFire offers nice distortion, from crunch to the high gain volume.
  • Built in regulated (+-12V) power supply, to secure the necessary headroom that gives you the great tone.
  • It simulates the Marshall amplifier’s distinctive tone.
  • With a solid metal housing with a true bypass foots witch.

The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion is as the name might indicate an unusual high gain three step rocket of an overdrive. The SonicFire offers nice overdrive, from crunch to the high gain volume. The crunch goes from subtle overdrive to hard rock gain stage, the high gain goes from rock gain stages to absolutely meltdown, with loads of gain and low end, and all in a tone that brings the memory back to the early 80’s high gain guitar hero’s.

The SonicFire has as most Gokko pedals a built in regulated (+-12V) power supply, to secure the necessary headroom that gives you the great tone.

The GK-25 distortion guitar effects pedal is a three-stage rocket pushing your gain levels past the stratosphere. Dial-in some tight and crunchy classic ‘80s dirt or crank everything up to the max for a complete bottom-heavy sonic meltdown. That’s not to say the SonicFire is all noise and fury, though; it also gives you plenty of headroom. Hold back on the Gain knob and this versatile stompbox can dish out a warm, subtle overdrive.

Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ High Quality Components Used To Achieve Awesome Sounds
  • ✔ Designed To Compete With The Big Boys
  • ✔ Durable Metal Chassis To Help Ensure A Long Life
  • ✔ Designed In Germany
The Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion guitar effects pedal is designed to cover a variety of song styles with two guitar effects in one pedal.
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  • Take off with overdrive, distortion or a combination of both effects in one powerful pedal
  • This Behringer product has been designed to compete head to head with leading products on the market
  • Dedicated Level, Tone, Drive and Mode 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
  • 3-Year Warranty Program
  • Designed and engineered in Germany

Some songs call for an edgy modern-crunch; others call for the classic sound of hot and bothered tubes – still others need a little of both. The OVERDRIVE/DISTORTION OD300 has all your bases covered, allowing you to expertly sculpt your tone with the Level, Tone, Drive and Mode controls.

Thanks to the OD300’s Overdrive/Distortion blend dial, you can turn all the way to the left for pure overdrive, or all the way to the right for straight-ahead distortion. In between, you get an infinite amount of options for creating the perfect overdrive/distortion cocktail. And with the dedicated Tone, Level and Drive dials, everything you need to create a signature sound is right at your fingertips.

The LED tells you when the OD300 is working its magic, and the top-quality on/off switch maintains excellent signal integrity in bypass mode. You can power the OD300 with either a 9 V battery or our PSU-SB DC power supply (not included).

Why settle for just overdrive or distortion when you can have both? Set your tone on fi re with distortion, overdrive, or a potent blend of both – with the OVERDRIVE/DISTORTION OD300.

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.

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!

AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal

AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass
  • ✔ Strong Metal Chassis
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Small Sized Pedal Will Fit On Busy Pedalboards
The AZOR AP-302 Distortion guitar effects pedal offers all-sided high-gain distortion with excellent dynamic response and definition.
  • Mini distortion pedal.
  • Level, Tone and Gain controls.
  • True bypass and durable metal enclosure.
  • 3 way selector switch.
  • Takes 9v power only – not batteries.

The Azor Distortion is part of the new Azor range of micro pedals. They’re built by the Caline company as one of their new brands. This means you know it’s going to sound amazing for the price.

The AP-302 is a high gain distortion pedal capable of getting that Full Stack tone. In conjunction with the main knobs you can use the 3 way selector for Natural, Tight and Classic options. It’s true bypass and takes a 9v power supply (not included). The pedal is too small to fit batteries.

Donner Boost Killer Distortion Pedal

Donner Boost Killer Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Strong & Durable Aluminum Chassis
  • ✔ Features Bass, Volume, Treble & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Small Size - Easy To Find Space On Your Pedalboard
The Donner Boost Killer distortion guitar effects pedal is one that really deserves some attention. In fact, it's so versatile, you could make the argument it's one the best budget guitar pedals on the market.
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  • True gain booster, double +/- 15db equalization to make the purest sound with lowest losing
  • Create the rich distortion sound and make it more powerful
  • Whole aluminum-alloy chassis, stable and strong
  • True bypass provide transparent tone
  • LED indicator shows the working state
  • Input impedance: 1M Ohms, 1/4 Mono audio interface
  • Output impedance: 10K Ohms, 1/4 Mono audio interface
  • Working current: 7 mA
  • Power Supply: 9V DC adapter
  • Dimensions: 95mm (D)*44mm (W)*48mm (H)

Often likened to the Xotic RC Booster, Donner’s Boost Killer pedal is arguably one of the most aggressive boost effects available. For a budget-friendly effects pedal, it loads plenty of heat, making it an attractive option. If you are looking to enter the world of boosters, the Boost Killer could be a great starting point. Even with its lightweight and compact enclosure, this pedal features a bit more generous controls than your standard booster design. It consists of Treble, Bass, and Volume controls along with a dominant Gain knob.

It packs a lot of heat for what is essentially an extremely affordable effects pedal. For that reason alone, it’s among the most attractive boost pedals on the market today. Should you decide to wet your feet in the world of boosters, this model could be a great starting point. The chassis is very, very compact despite the functionality, and is made of all-aluminum, so we have no concerns over its durability. There have been some reports of faulty internals on delivery, but these have been rectified quickly.

Those who are able to deal with a less polished package will simply love this pedal. It’s a rugged unit that needs some attention if you want it to reach its fullest potential.

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