Guitarists are always looking for new effects pedals. It becomes an obsession for many tone hungry guitar players. And finding the best gear at the best price makes it all the better. We’ve come up with a list of the top 15 best guitar effects pedals under $100 to help you discover some awesome affordable pedals that you may have missed.
If you’re a beginner guitarist just learning how to play guitar and are ready to try some new sounds, these are some great options to start with. And no, these aren’t second-rate budget pedals either. We’re talking some great pedals from some of the most well-known brands in the business. Or if you’re a veteran of the road, there is a pedal on this list that will make a nice addition your pedal collection.
So here they are, the TOP 15 BEST GUITAR EFFECTS UNDER $100!
15. MXR Dyna Comp
Rounding out our list at number 10 is the MXR Dyna Comp. This classic pedal is the premier choice for more famous Nashville studio players than any other guitar compressor pedal out there. With only two simple controls, the Dyna Comp allows you to fatten up your sound and smooth out the dynamics for a very musical compression sound. This is one those subtle effects that makes a world of difference in sculpting your perfect sound. Whether you’re getting down with some chickin’ pickin’ licks or adding some sustain and even dynamics to your solos, the MXR Dyna Comp is where it’s at. Try one out. Once you hear how your tone comes alive with this pedal in your chain, you may never play guitar again without it.
Performing guitarists know the bane of not being heard in the mix, and a solid volume pedal like the Ernie Ball 6180 VP JR is a surefire essential for on-stage volume control. Whether you’re boosting for solos or just finding the perfect volume level to find your place in the mix, the Ernie Ball 6180 is the rugged companion of choice for volume control. And don’t forget about those smooth volume swells. This volume pedal is relied on by more pro players than any other and deserves its coveted spot on our list. If you’re playing with normal passive pickups, get the Ernie Ball 6180 VP JR. If you’re using pickups that require a 9-volt battery like EMGs or Seymour Duncan Blackouts, get the 6181 instead.
There’s nothing like a good chorus pedal to add depth and movement to your sound. The Boss CH-1 Super Chorus is one of the best, and we really like it’s warm flavor. Whether you want ambient cleans or massively thick stereo metal tones, the CH-1 does it all. And that’s not to mention the tremolo, flange, and Leslie-like sounds this pedal conjures up. A tried and true effect on pedalboards everywhere, the Boss CH-1 Super Chorus is a reliable workhorse. It’s just the right pedal to fulfill your chorusing needs.
The MXR M-101 Phase 90 needs no introduction as its signature sound has come to define just what a guitar phaser pedal should be. Guitarists everywhere have been using the Phase 90 for over 30 years to get that perfect phased sound. Players like Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde even had signature versions made, but we still prefer the more affordable classic orange version. Just set the speed and go. That whooshing phased sound will take your solos to new heights and add unmistakeable character to anything you play. Don’t settle for anything less. After all these years, the MXR M-101 Phase 90 is still the best.
The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster was originally the famous pickup maker’s first guitar pedal. This revamped version works like the original, using it’s multi-position resonance switch to make your Strat think it’s a Les Paul and vice versa. Or it’s simply a great way to add a little clean boost in front of your amp to push it into overdrive. The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster is a modern classic and a great addition to anyone’s rig.
The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor may not seem like much, but its impact on your sound is not to be understated, especially if you’re a high-gain player. Other noise gate pedals may suck the life out of your tone, but the Boss NS-2 only suppresses what you don’t want: noise, hiss, and hum. A vital effect if you play metal or any style of music with tight stops. Your audience’s ears will thank you for adding this to your effects chain. Also, try using the send and return jacks of the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor to tame a beast of a distortion box like the next pedal on our list.
Another long-running classic that made our list, the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi blurs the lines between distortion and fuzz pedal for a signature noise maker that countless guitarists have used to saturate their sound. Want massive walls of Muffed-out fuzzy distortion? Want singing sustain for smooth solos? Nothing sounds quite like a Muff. This just might be your go-to choice for thick distorted fuzz that can only be found in the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi.
Love it or hate, the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone is a classic. Even with successive extreme distortion pedals released by Boss, the MT-2 remains the number one choice for gain-obsessed players who want to carve out their perfect metal tone from a single pedal. It’s all thanks to the MT-2’s dual-stage gain circuit and deep tone-shaping controls. And it’s great to have around if you find yourself with only a clean amp around but want to play dirty. The Boss MT-2 Metal Zone is one of the most popular extreme distortion guitar pedals out there and will be for a long time to come.
The Boss DS-1 Distortion was Boss’ first distortion pedal and is still one of the best affordable distortion pedals you can buy. Just the fact that it’s been in production for so long should tell you something. The DS-1 is excels at kicking a clean amp into distortion territory or even making a dirty amp even more nasty. Used this way, the DS-1 will help you achieve some grinding distortion tones for heavy rhythms and searing leads. Legendary guitar players like Steve Vai and countless others have used this humble little pedal to rock the world. Will you be the next guitarist to carry the torch?
This humble-looking little pedal may not look like much, but the MXR Micro Amp houses a powerful ability to shape your overall sound. Use the Micro Amp to kick an amp into overdrive to wake those tubes up. Dig in and listen to the sound of your guitar come alive with even more harmonic overtones and clarity. Punch it for your solos and fill the room with a natural-sounding boost in volume and dynamics. Few pedals pack as big of a sound as the MXR Micro Amp. It’s one of the best.
Did you really think we’d miss this one? The Dunlop Original Crybaby Wah Wah Pedal is arguably the most famous guitar effects pedal of all time. While there are over a dozen models to choose from, the Original Crybaby is still made to the original Thomas Organ 1966 specifications. This is the sound of wah right here. If you want that famous crying/talking/wah sound, this is the one to get. The Dunlop Original Crybaby Wah Wah Pedal will undoubtedly continue to shape the sound of electric guitar for as long as people continue playing guitar. If you don’t have one, get one.
The Electro Harmonix Soul Food is an affordable take on a legendary pedal called the Klon Centaur. While not a 1:1 replica of the Klon, the Soul Food gets pretty close. What’s more, the Centaur well set you back a grand or two, while the Soul Food costs about as much as a new video game. This pedal has quickly become a legend in its own right and shows that quality overdrive and clean boost tones can be affordable as well. Not only is it one of the best lower priced pedals, but one of the best guitar pedals period.
The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini is a shrunk down version of one of the all-time great overdrive pedals. Ibanez did an excellent job recreating the tones that made the original TS-808 so great in a micro stompbox any guitarist can afford. The TSMINI features the same 3 controls as the originals and even runs on a JRC4558D chip for authentic Tube Screamer tones. This is the classic mid-boosted overdrive sound and a pedal that every guitar player needs in their effects arsenal.
The TC Electronic Ditto Looper has become a modern classic and one of the best-selling pedals available today. It used to sell for around $120, so it wasn’t eligible for inclusion on this list. But since TC Electronic dropped the price below $100, it’s an even better deal than ever. Even if you don’t necessarily need a looper pedal for your live pedalboard, the Ditto Looper makes an excellent jam companion and can even help you come up with new song ideas and harmony parts. Every guitarist needs to have one of these in their pedal arsenal.
The TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Poly-Chromatic Tuner tops our list. Yeah, it’s not an effect per say. But everyone needs a tuner, and this is the one to get. While other companies were busy adding a few more LEDs and marginal increases to tuning accuracy, TC Electronic changed everything we thought a tuner should be. With the ability to detect the intonation of all 6 strings at once, the PolyTune renders all other guitar tuners obsolete. And that’s not to mention the PolyTune’s beautiful screen with over 100 LEDs for the ultimate in on-stage visibility. And tone junkies will appreciate that the PolyTune is 100% true-bypass. The new king of stompbox tuners is here in the TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Poly-Chromatic Tuner.
That concludes The Top 15 Best Guitar Effects Pedals Under $100. Thanks for reading. And beginner guitarists, check out our guide to online guitar lessons.
April 27, 2019 at 3:17 am
Tc electronics mojomojo is such an amazing drive pedal that’s constantly overlooked. For £50 it gives off amazing tones, can sound like a plexi when cranked & cleans up like an AC30. Is also great just as a boost plus it has great eq options & a brilliant bass boost switch. Stack it with a TS & you’ll be seriously impressed.
Anthony Stephen Mendes
March 2, 2015 at 4:50 am
I remember sending an email regarding this, cheap pedals. Glad to see this one. It really helps if you are new to them, and need some insights on their capabilities
Thanks for this list!
November 2, 2013 at 1:26 am
great article, though I don’t think the metal zone should be on any list with the word “best” in the title. Prices of pedals are getting stupidly big, glad to see the cheapies getting some love. I’ve used almost every pedal on here and would recommend almost all of them. Especially the MXR’s and the Big Muff.