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The 11 best mini-pedals for guitarists 2021: our pick of space-saving effects

Whether you've already got a pedalboard and you're short on space, or you're just getting started with building the ultimate effects rig, there are compact options for almost every type of guitar pedal. This guide to the best mini pedals is designed to point you in the direction of our favorite options right now.

Originally, mini-sized pedals were the preserve of budget brands. But two things have happened in the years since their introduction which have changed that. First, we’ve seen increasing innovation by the original manufacturers, trying to improve their brand image and, in some cases, keen to shake the legacy of lawsuits. Second, the adoption of the small pedal format by large pedal companies and boutique makers alike.

Below, we've selected a few of our favorites to highlight the broad range on offer.

Best mini pedals: what you need to know

Buying mini pedals is related to one of two things: budget or space.

Most mass-manufactured pedals that come in a mini format are cheaper than their larger version. If you're looking for a smaller size pedal to fit a gap on your 'board, then the lower cost is likely to be an added bonus.

In some cases, the smaller size means fewer features, for example on TC Electronic's Mini range, where the pedals have fewer controls. On others, like the Ibanez Mini range, the pedals are cheaper and smaller – but there's no other difference, so it's down to taste. It's worth adding that with TC's Tone Print software, you can change parameters 'in the box', and it's only hardware like stereo ins and outs that differs.

For boutique builders, designing pedals that will fit inside smaller enclosures is hard. Designing and then assembling them is more costly than designing around a larger enclosure in most cases. This is why they're not usually seen outside of simple overdrives. There are some exceptions, including the wonderfully complicated Rainger FX Reverb X.

In terms of the choice available in a mini format, it's huge – everything from classic overdrives to multi-effects. As the mini size is what Mooer made their name on, they've been especially keen to drive innovation in the smaller format. First, they brought out a mini power amp and a range of amp-in-a-box style preamps. Most recently, they released the 7 series – complicated digital effects in a mini enclosure that can rival pedals many times their size.

This is great, as it means competitors large and small have to take the format more seriously than ever.

The best mini pedals available today

1. Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Same TS greatness, smaller TS footprint

Price: $79/£70 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.375” x 1.625” | Effect(s): Overdrive

Sounds like the real deal TS

Great warmth, punch and, if desired, squeals

True-bypass switching

Not as versatile as some of the many TS clones on the market

Ibanez’s TS Mini is a downsized version of its iconic Tube Screamer, which since its debut in 1979 has been one of the most recognizable, respected and employed overdrive pedals on the market. 

True to its name, the Mini measures roughly 1 1/2–inches wide and 3 1/2–inches long. Ibanez pulled out all the stops to create this solidly built, all-analog stompbox in a compact design, while retaining the sonic integrity of its acclaimed TS808 Reissue. To accommodate its diminutive size, it features an internal surface mount JRC4558M chip, which is similar to the beloved JRC4558D chip found in the full-sized TS808 pedal. The TS Mini requires an external nine-volt adapter for power, and also features true-bypass switching and controls for Level, Tone and Overdrive.

Performance-wise, the TS Mini sounds so superb you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and its full-sized counterpart in a blindfold test. It works best in front of a tube amp, makes single notes sound fatter and softens your low-end register with warmth and clarity, all while preserving the tonal nature of your amp. Pushing the Overdrive past 12 o’clock adds wicked squeal to pinch harmonics and lets you coax out some righteous musical feedback. All the warmth and punch of Ibanez’s classic TS808 overdrive in a pedal board–friendly size.

2. Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone Micro

The best mini-pedal for great sustain and parallel compression

Price: $119/£139 | Dimensions: 3.75” x 1.5” x 1.75” | Effect(s): Compression/sustain

Noiseless clean sustain

Blend control for parallel compression

Treble EQ for boost or cut

Doesn’t get as “squashy” as some compressions

Pigtronix’s Philosopher's Tone Micro delivers all of the noiseless clean sustain and parallel optical compression of its larger namesake, but in a micro-sized chassis. The mini-pedal boasts volume and sustain controls, as well as a parallel Blend knob that allows users to mix their instrument's original dry tone with the compressed sound effect to their liking. Additionally, a treble control provides up to 6db cut or boost at 2KHz for fine-tuning the frequency response of the effect.

The Philosopher's Tone Micro features true-bypass switching and 9V operation, with internal 18V power rails for maximum clean headroom, even when used with hot pickups and line-level signals. With that combination of boost, compression and extra top-end, the pedal has a role to play beyond just a compressor, notably as a tone conditioner/driver that can elevate your sound for solos. 

3. Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion

"Mini Jimi" boasts the same circuit as its big brother

Price: $119/£99 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 3.5” x 2” | Effect(s): Fuzz

Classic Sixties-style fuzz

Eye-catching color and shape

Pedalboard-friendly housing

Distortion might be too over-the-top for some players

Dunlop’s Fuzz Face Mini Jimi Hendrix offers a circuit identical to that of Dunlop’s JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, based on Hendrix’s own Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face from 1969-’70 and featuring BC108 silicon transistors. The result is the same smooth and even sustain, harmonic overtones and compressed attack of the original, but in a smaller housing – and with a smaller price tag.

The Mini Jimi boasts volume and fuzz controls, true-bypass switching, a laser-bright status LED, AC power jack and easy-access battery door, all of which are presented in the same classic round chassis with the same skip-pad “nose” of the original, albeit at less than one-third the overall size.

Best of all, the new pedal expertly reproduces the classic Fuzz Face square-wave distortion – undeniably over-the-top, but still incredibly warm and smooth. The distortion cleans up nicely when the guitar’s volume control is backed down just slightly, allowing players to easily dial in the desired fuzz effect, from just a touch of hair to full-on fuzz assault at will. So you get all the fuzz, while saving pedalboard space and dollars.

4. TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Mini Reverb

New and improved

Price: $118/£95 | Dimensions: 1.65" x 1.81" x 3.62" | Effect(s): Reverb

Now has 3 controls

MASH footswitch

Tone print enabled

If you have space for the larger version

The Hall of Fame Mini was an already impressive unit. This updated version brings dedicated controls for tone and decay as well as the MASH footswitch. This pressure-sensitive control, found on the larger Hall of Fame, can be used for swells and other expression effects.

Much has been written about the flexibility of the Tone Print software and it really is excellent. That said, while a wealth of options are accessible via Tone Print, if you have space for the full-fat version, it might be worth the upgrade to have it all at your fingertips.

5. Red Witch Violetta delay

A mini delay pedal that (literally) shines

Price: $109 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.2” x 1.8” | Effect(s): Delay/modulation

1,000ms of delay time

Emulates classic tape echo

Tiny footprint

Mini-jack Expression pedal input 

Red Witch’s Violetta boasts a full 1,000ms of delay time, offering up Brian Setzer-esque rockabilly slapback, dreamy, Gilmour-like ambience and everything in between. Better yet, the digital circuit emulates classic tape echoes, with a gradual decay in top-end, plus warmth and clarity to the repeats. There’s also a modulation circuit that can add anything from a subtle shimmer to full-on acid-trip psychedelia.

The mini-knobs provide control over delay time, mix, modulation and repeats. The Violetta also comes with an Expression Pedal jack and a stereo 1/8” to 1/4” adapter for controlling the number of repeats in real time, and the pedal operates with either a 9V power supply or from the internal rechargeable lithium ion battery. What’s more, the Violetta’s looks are striking, from the chrome chassis to the not-just mini, but downright tiny, footprint.

6. MXR Timmy overdrive

The original transparent overdrive

Price: $129/£139 | Dimensions: 2.25" x 1.75" x 3.625" | Effect(s): Overdrive

Classic transparent overdrive

Also functions as a boost

Two clipping options

Decent two-band EQ


When MXR teamed up with veteran boutique builder Paul Cochrane to make a version of his sought-after Timmy overdrive pedal for the masses, they decided they had to improve upon it in some way.

Given the circuit is spartan, not to mention a classic, adding more options was probably a non-starter. Whatever the reason, MXR opted to shrink it down into a mini enclosure. This means you can now have the original – and arguably best – transparent overdrive on the market in a pedalboard friendly size.

7. Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah CBM95

A trio of wah tones in one small package

Price: $99/£109 | Dimensions: 5.25” x 3” x 3.75” | Effect(s): Wah

Three-in-one wah tones

Same pedal feel as original Cry Baby

Heavy-duty design

No LED indicators

One of the most ubiquitous pedals in all of guitardom is now available in mini form, without sacrificing any of its trademark tones – in fact, it offers the user three of them. Dunlop loaded the Cry Baby Mini Wah with three tonal flavors – low, vintage, and the more modern GCB95 – that cover the company’s entire range of wahs and are selectable from inside the pedal. The low position gives you a throaty, resonant tone for synth-y sweeps on lower strings; on the middle “vintage” setting, the pedal's sweep is full and wide; and the GCB95 setting offers a biting upper range.

There’s also true-bypass switching, a Hot Potz potentiometer and a red Fasel inductor. Power comes via a nine-volt battery or AC adapter. And despite its smaller footprint, the Mini Wah is housed in the same rugged enclosure and offers the full-sweep wah pedal feel of its older brother. A must-have.

8. Xotic EP Booster Mini

Add some Page- and EVH-style grit to your tone

Price: $145/£119 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.5” x 1.5” | Effect(s): Boost

20db of boost

Streamlined, one-knob design

DIP switches add options

Not much

Based on the preamp stage of the Echoplex EP-3 – which guitarists like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Eric Johnson used as a booster – the EP Booster will hit your amp with up to 20dB of boost to add a rich tonal character. There’s just a single knob to dial in the level, but internal DIP switches offer options to fine-tune your boost frequencies and EQ settings, from adding more defined low end to more top-end shimmer with another 3db of boost.

Whether you’re looking to add a bit of vintage dirt, richer bass or trebly bite to your tone, the EP Booster has got you covered.

9. Rainger FX Reverb X

For something completely different

Price: $245/£192 | Dimensions: N/A | Effect(s): Reverb

Huge, fuzzy reverb sounds

Igor expression pedal allows for unique sounds

True bypass


If you need a more straightforward reverb

Running reverb in front of your drive pedals – as opposed to the received wisdom of after – is a classic studio trick. It's a mainstay of many shoegaze guitarists, and players like Steven Wilson use it because they prefer the grittier timbre.

The Reverb X is a lo-fi delay based on this idea, boasting a dedicated distortion pot to allow you to control the crazy. It also has a built-in noise gate that can lead to dynamic glitchy and sputtery reverb sounds. Meanwhile, the Igor pressure-sensitive expression pedal allows for momentary activation of the reverb sound, for an even more dynamic effect.

10. TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger

Swirl, swoosh and shimmer up your sound

Price: $99/£69 | Dimensions: 3.7” x 1.9” x 1.9” | Effect(s): Flange

Add new presets via TonePrint

Access a variety of flanges

Analog-Dry-Through technology

No onboard flange “Type” selection

If you’re looking to add some Eddie Van Halen-style woosh to your tone, the Vortex Mini Flanger is for you. The three-knob pedal offers nice classic tape flange, but, like all TC mini boxes, also supports the company’s TonePrint technology, allowing the user to wirelessly beam new presets via an iOS/Android app. You can also edit your own sounds with the PC-based TonePrint Editor and USB connection.

Additionally, there's true bypass, as well as Analog-Dry-Through, which maintains the full integrity of an analog dry signal path even when the flange effect is engaged. A nifty little box to add just the right amount of swirl, swoosh and shimmer to your sound.

11. Mooer E7 synth

Miniature synth without the fuss

Price: $99/£89 | Dimensions: 2" x 1.6" x 3.68" | Effect(s): Guitar Synth

Polyphonic synth

7 modes

Built-in arpeggiator

No special pickups or cables required

None at this price

The Mooer E7 is the synth offering in their 7 series of pedals, which also features an excellent ambient reverb and a delay. For its size, it's astonishing – a polyphonic synth with an arpeggiator that fits in the palm of your hand. It has attack, speed, mix and EQ settings which help you dial in a patch, though it sounds best with the mix dimed.

As you'd imagine, though it's great for pads, especially with the attack pulled back, it has somewhat limited flexibility. It works best when paired with an external delay or reverb, but at this price, it's very hard to find fault with. We still have our old Roland GR-33 synth, which requires a dedicated pickup to use!


The best mini guitar effects pedals 2021: create more room on your 'board

(Image credit: Neil Godwin/Future)


They came to conquer your pedalboard! Like the polar ice caps or Dairy Milk bars, guitar effects pedals are shrinking, and with bona fide classics such as the Cry Baby and Tube Screamer receiving circuit board liposuction, mini pedals going aren't going anywhere but underneath our feet.

There are absolutely tons of them to choose from, all of which enable FX-freaks to jam more pedals on their 'boards, or to help gear hoarders downsize their rig. The best news of all? They're cheaper than (integrated circuit) chips.

Over the following pages, we present our pick of the best mini guitar effects pedals available today – time to step on it…

Don't Miss

• The best multi-effects pedals for guitarists
• How to arrange a mini pedalboard
• Take a look at the best pedalboards for you

Hotone Xtomp Mini

The Xtomp Mini has lost the original’s stereo inputs and outputs, in turn making it slightly smaller with a more compact and pedalboard-friendly footprint. 

The key to using the pedal is an app that provides 140 digitally modelled effects, amp sims and speaker sims (with new models being added twice a month), any of which can be loaded singly into the pedal.

MusicRadar's verdict

"This Xtomp Mini, quite possibly, represents the most practical addition for your ’board out there."

4.5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Hotone Xtomp Mini review

Pigtronix Disnortion Micro

The Disnortion Micro continues the 18-volt headroom achieved by an internal converter from the nine-volt input, but where the original had three independent effects, this version loses the octaver and retains the fuzz and overdrive - both are now called up by a single footswitch.

There’s a new feature, too: where the original fuzz and overdrive worked in parallel, this version also gives you the option of running the two serially with the six-stage CMOS overdrive circuit preceding the diode-clipping fuzz.  

MusicRadar's verdict

"A pocket-sized distortion powerhouse with more options than you’d expect in a box of this size."

4.5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Pigtronix Disnortion Micro review

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro

While losing the Grit knob of the original, the Philosopher's Tone Micro still possesses a Blend knob, which means you can add in gradual amounts of compression in parallel with your dry signal, right up to a fully compressed signal. 

There’s also a Treble control with cut or boost at 2kHz, which is useful if you want an EQ shift with no compression, and really helpful for dialling in an altered tone with compression. 

MusicRadar's verdict

"Easy to slip onto your ’board, this is a great utility pedal for more than just compression."

FULL REVIEW: Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro review

Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini

The Ibanez 850 fuzz is an adorable mini version of its recent reissue of the classic distortion box, the Ibanez OD850. 

The matt orange is gorgeous and the sounds are to die for.

MusicRadar's verdict

"Sometimes the best things do come in small packages."

5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini review

Mooer Micro Preamp Series & Mooer Baby Bomb 30 Power Amp

These astonishingly small units may look cute, but paired with the Baby Bomb 30 power amp, you might blow your neighbours’ eardrums, let alone your own - so treat them with a little caution.

The Fender Blackface model (Regal Tone) comes surprisingly close to a Fender clean tone, while the Vox (Day Tripper) has a similar EQ range to a real Vox, but is difficult to dial in with a classic bright Vox chime.

MusicRadar's verdict

"For the more budget-conscious, these Mooer preamps are a solid option."

4 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Review round-up: pedalboard guitar amps

Keeley Red Dirt Mini

With a large knob for drive and smaller ones for tone and level, the Red Dirt Mini follows the standard TS configuration.

Tucked away under its four-screw baseplate, however, are two DIP switches that allow you to change the clipping diodes for four different modes - distortion, overdrive, crunch and amp.

MusicRadar's verdict

"Robert Keeley designs a better mousetrap that's red not green."

4 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Keeley Red Dirt Mini review

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

The belle of 2015's NAMM ball, the adorable TS Mini is made in Japan and packs the TS808's coveted JRC4558D IC chip: good start.

You know what to expect from a TS, and the Mini will get your mids humping and your single coils beefing up with the best of 'em. It's not the smoothest Screamer we've heard, but it is faithful to the 80s incarnation in that it compresses up a treat and cuts the low-end a little.

Ramp up your amp, cut the TS Mini's gain and up the volume, and it gives distorted tones extra attack – and that's possibly its greatest strength.

Buy it for… Giving your tone a kick in the mids

FULL REVIEW:Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini review

Movall Minotaur

With a name derived from Greek mythology – like a certain Centaur overdrive – this Mini-taur invites you into a labyrinth of quality Klon-inspired tone.

It's hard to believe at this price, but the Minotaur does a fine approximation of the Centaur sound, with an upper-midrange boost that's more open and dynamic than a TS-style overdrive.

It has a mighty gain range, too, from clean boost to fat, amp-like drive, but at higher 'fury' levels, its midrange can get a little part-man-part-bull in a china shop, so for our money, it's best used for a hint of break-up or tonal enhancement.

Buy it for… Adding break-up-style sparkle to your tone

Joyo JF-314 Husky Drive

Based on a famous overdrive by the name of OCD, the Husky Drive doesn't conceal its origins, but we'll be damned if it doesn't sound good for £49.

Not as mid-heavy as the other drives on test, it delivers a huge set of sounds, from the lightest of break-ups to borderline distortion, although it develops a little fuzz-like hair at this point.

If you fancy a little more cut, flicking over to the high-peak setting gives you extra upper-mids and treble, but wherever it's set, the Husky Drive is incredibly dynamic, and with humbuckers, it delivers meat 'n' potatoes rock and blues tones of the highest order.

Buy it for… Chunky amp-like overdriven rhythm tones

FULL REVIEW: Joyo JF-314 Husky Drive review

Xotic EP Booster

Based on the Echoplex EP-3 preamp, as used by Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen back in the day, the EP Booster is super-simple, and adds a rough-around-the-edges flavour to any amp while tightening up dirty tones and adding extra treble bite.

Boost a clean-ish British combo for instant Led Zep I & II tones, then wind your amp up to overdrive, set the EP Booster to max, and you'll nail that tight palm-muted Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love sound. A trio of internal switches adjust the pedal's brightness and give you an extra 3dB of boost, too!

Buy it for… Giving your amp a rough 'n' ready vintage flavour

FULL REVIEW:Xotic EP Booster review

Movall Plexi Troll

This lilliputian pedal does hot-rodded Plexi tones for less than £50 – and no, we ain't trolling.

There’s a ridiculous amount of gain on offer here: 10 o’clock on the aptly named fury control will be more than enough for most players, and beyond that, the pedal gets pretty messy – the same goes for the over-bright tone control.

However, keep each control to their 10 o’clock sweet spots, and the Troll delivers an incredible simulation of an EVH-style modded Plexi, with all the tight articulation, fat mids and high-end attack of those fabled heads.

Roll down your volume knob, and it does a decent AC/DC and Hendrix, too!

Buy it for… Instant access to top-drawer hard-rock tones

Red Witch Ivy Distortion

The Seven Sisters line was released back in 2011, but these beauties won’t need to break out the anti-aging cream just yet: like her siblings, Ivy packs a still-cutting-edge rechargeable lithium battery – making this one of the few mini pedals that don’t require a power supply plugged in at all times.

There’s not a whole lot of control here, but Ivy’s Rat-style fuzzstortion offers a surprisingly broad range of tones, from vintage fuzz-into-cranked-amp style overdrive to spluttery over-saturated grit at full whack.

It’s not one for amp-in-a-box-type sounds, but alt- and noise-rockers will love it.

Buy it for… A fuzzy drive that doesn’t play by the distortion rules

FULL REVIEW: Red Witch Ivy Distortion review

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The 10 best multi-effects pedals 2021: the best all-in-one guitar FX modellers

Owning one of the best multi-effects pedals for guitarists enables you to access a stack of different effects in one single unit. This makes them very attractive to guitarists looking to save space and who might be looking to consolidate a collection that's grown a little out of hand.

Once upon a time, even the best multi-effects pedals were seen as perhaps a more inferior option to having individual stomp boxes. That's changed hugely. Even those of you with the best guitar effects collection might be looking to add something new to your setup, and if so a versatile multi-effects is definitely worth considering. 

Regardless of whether you're starting from scratch with your effects, or you're a hardened pedal-head, big leaps forward in multi-effects technology have seen these units grow in popularity, which means we now have a bigger choice to play with.

It’s worth noting that although many of the products in this guide are also amp modellers, it’s the multi-effects capabilities that we’re looking at today. If amp modelling isn’t on your list of requirements, you’ve still got plenty of options - but if it’s there, why not use it?

Now is the time to start looking at how the best multi-effects pedal could benefit your rig. Don't forget to check out our guide to the best pedalboards too.

If you’d like to read more in-depth buying advice, click the ‘buying advice’ tab above. Keep on scrolling if you’d rather get straight to the products.

Best multi-effects pedals: Our top picks

It was truly difficult to pick out one particular model as the best multi-effects pedal in the world. In terms of pure sound quality, feature-set and reliability it's hard to look beyond the Boss GT-1000. You'd expect the flagship multi-effects pedal from the biggest name in effects to be special, and the GT-1000 certainly delivers. We're huge fans of the pro-level Line 6 Helix, too.  

At the other end of the scale, the Mooer GE200 impressed us beyond our expectations. The ability to load up your own impulse responses gave it a sense of personalisation which we rated, and the effects all sounded like they came from a much more expensive unit.

The Eventide H9, which is another of our top picks for the best multi-effects pedal, also deserves a special mention. Although more suited to studio than stage, the H9 gets a mention purely on account of the included reverbs and delays. Enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up, and well worth the investment alone.

Best multi-effects pedals: Product guide

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1. Line 6 Helix

The best multi-effects pedal for pro guitarists


Price: $1,499/£1,415/€1,585

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal

Effects: 70

Amp models: 41 guitar, 7 bass

Connections: Standard guitar input, standard aux input, XLR mic input, standard main outputs (L/mono, R), XLR main outputs (L/mono, R), standard stereo phones output, 4x standard send, 4x standard return, s/pdif digital in, s/pdif digital out, AES/EBU and L6 Link out, Variax, MIDI in, MIDI out/thru, USB, 2x expression pedal, Ext amp, CV

Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+Comprehensive connectivity+Ace sound from amp models/effects+Innovative visual display features

Reasons to avoid

-Connectivity overkill for some

The dual-DSP-powered Helix combines amp and effects models in a large, rugged floor pedal. There are a massive 1,024 preset locations onboard the Helix, organised into eight setlists that contain 32 banks with four presets each. Each preset can have up to four stereo signal paths, each made up of eight blocks populated with amps and effects. 

With the current count of 41 modelled amps, seven bass amps, 30 cabs, 16 mics, 80 effects and the option of loading speaker impulse responses, there's great potential for sound creation. Line 6 has implemented an easy editing system, complete with a joystick, and - get this - touch-sensitive footswitches offering a shortcut to parameter adjustment; you can even use these with your feet to select a parameter before adjusting it with the pedal treadle! 

There are some great sounds here, especially when you get beyond the factory presets and shape things to your own taste. The Helix's advantage lies in its comprehensive input/output and signal routing ability, which can facilitate just about any guitar-related studio or onstage task you can think of. However, if you don't need all that connectivity, and want to save a bit of cash, there's also the Line 6 Helix LT which features further down this list.

Read our full Line 6 Helix review

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2. Boss GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor

The pedal giant goes high-end with this guitar multi-effects


Price: $1,029/£846/€850

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal

Effects: 116

Connections: Input jack, main output (L/MONO, R) jacks, SEND1 jack, RETURN1 jack, SEND2 jack, RETURN2 jack: 1/4-inch phone type - Sub output (L, R) connectors: XLR type - Phones jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type - CTL4, 5/EXP2 jack, CTL6, 7/EXP3 jack, AMP CTL1, 2 jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type - USB port: USB B type - DC IN jack - MIDI (IN, OUT) connectors

Power: AC adaptor

Reasons to buy

+Impressive amp models+Huge range of effects+Rock-solid build quality

Reasons to avoid

-Not beginner-friendly

After the success of the DD-500, RV-500 and MD-500 units, Boss's GT-1000 floorboard combines all three. Sleek and modern, it's a formidably robust beast. To the rear, there’s the usual array of inputs and outputs, including USB recording out and an input for an additional expression pedal plus jacks to insert two mono pedals, or one stereo external pedal and a nifty send for amp channel-switching. 

In terms of editing, it’s not the most intuitive. For example, when you switch between patches in a bank, you’re not just turning off, say, a ‘Tube Screamer’, but switching to a different chain that doesn’t have a gain block – standard in rack-style processing, but tough for beginners. 

Sounds-wise, the 32-bit, 96khz sampling finds the GT-1000 punching above its weight, and on the effects side, there’s a wealth of modulations, delays, reverbs and drives. If you run a larger, more traditional pedalboard, perhaps the so-called ‘Bossfecta’ of the MD, RV and DD-500 series units would provide more flexibility, but for most players, the GT-1000 is a highly practical solution. 

Read our fullBoss GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor review

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3. Fractal FM3

The new kid on the block from Fractal that can do it all


Price: $999/£1,100/€1,266

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal

Amp models: 265+

Connections: 2x XLR Out, 2x ¼” input, 2x ¼” output, USB in/out, ¼” FX send/return, 2x ¼” pedal inputs, MIDI in/out, ¼” phones out, FASLINK input

Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+Built like a tank+Very portable+Nearly endless amp/effect options 

Reasons to avoid

-Only 3 footswitches 

The FM3 is an all-in-one amp modeller, effects processor and foot controller that takes its cues from the almighty Axe-FX III. Featuring the latest ARES amp modelling technology, the FM3 gets you closer than ever to the sound and feel of a real tube amp, with over 265 different amp models available. 

As a multi-effects unit, the FM3 is packed full of Fractal’s industry leading algorithms. From overdrive pedals, delays and reverbs through to modulation and even an onboard looper, you’ll be struggling to find something it can’t do.

Granted, the FM3 only has 3 footswitches, which might be restrictive for some, but there’s always scope to add more. Using the FASLINK input on the back of the unit, you can add one or two FC-6 or FC-12 controllers to open up the possibilities even further. Bravo, Fractal.

Read our full Fractal FM3 review

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4. Mooer GE200 Multi-Effects Pedal

The best multi-effects pedal for price and performance


Price: $299/£239/€275

Type: All-in-one amp & cab modeller, effects processor, drum machine and looper

Effects: 70

Amp models: 55 amp models & 26 speaker IR models

Connections: Input jack, stereo output jack, control jack, USB, headphones

Power requirements: 9V DC

Reasons to buy

+Easy to use+Great sounds+Support for third party IRs

Reasons to avoid

-Not a lot

The Chinese brand Mooer has slowly but surely built itself a reputation for hitting the sweet spot between price and performance. What began as a brand offering low-cost versions of existing big name pedals has grown to them now being considered a genuine contender at the low-to-mid range. 

The Mooer GE200 is a great example, offering a selection of effects, models and tools that wouldn't look (or sound) out of place on a unit far higher up the effects food chain. The 70 included effects all sound great, and we particularly liked the ability to load your own impulse responses to fine-tune your speaker outputs. Very capable, and definitely worth your attention.

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5. Line 6 HX Stomp

The power of the full-fat Helix in a pedalboard-friendly form


Price: $599/£558/€568

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal

Effects: 300

Amp models: 41 guitar, 7 bass

Connections: 2x input, 2x output, 2x send/return, USB, MIDI in, MIDI out/through, headphones, TRS expression in

Power requirements: 9V power supply, 3,000mA

Reasons to buy

+Helix effects in pedalboard-friendly size+Integrates with MIDI systems

Reasons to avoid

-Not as easy to setup as big Helix models

The HX Stomp contains 300 effects, including the Helix, M Series and legacy Line 6 patches, as well as the amp, cab and mic options of the full-fat Helix. It even supports loading impulse responses, so if you have modelled your own amps, or purchased commercial IRs, they can be loaded as well. 

Cramming not only the sounds of those units, but also a full-colour screen into a unit the size of the HX Stomp is certainly impressive and no mean feat. With MIDI in and out, there’s clearly been some consideration for those that want to incorporate the HX Stomp into a rig controlled by a pedal switcher. In that context, it’s easy to see the attraction. 

Though the HX Stomp is limited in terms of its controls on the front, it’s highly customisable, and offers a broad palette of professional-grade effects to explore. For the guitarist that wants specific modulations, delays or a cab sim on tap ‘just in case,’ the HX Stomp is a smart, compact solution, and the capacitive footswitches make assigning and editing a relatively error-free procedure - it’s unlikely you’ll need to refer to the manual much at all. And if you don't need the amp models and fancy a few more footswitches, there's also the HX Effects.

Read our fullLine 6 HX Stomp review

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6. Eventide H9

Otherworldly, studio-worthy effects from the harmonizer legend


Price: From $399/£355/€419

Type: Multi-effects pedal with app control

Effects: 9 included (additional available to purchase)

Connections: 2x input, 2x output, expression, USB, MIDI in, MIDI out/thru

Power requirements: 9V power supply, 500mA

Reasons to buy

+Effects are in a class of their own+Flexible way to get Eventide sounds+App-based editing works well

Reasons to avoid

-Only runs certain effects at one time

The H9 is a pedal that can run all of Eventide's stompbox effects. All of the effect algorithms (including their associated presets) are available for purchase, but several come already built in - you get Chorus and Tremolo/Pan from the ModFactor, H910/H949 and Crystals from the PitchFactor, Tape Echo and Vintage Delay from the TimeFactor, and Shimmer and Hall from Space - and algorithms are being updated on a regular basis. 

The complex effects algorithms feature loads of editable parameters. The H9 has both wireless (Bluetooth) and wired (USB) connections for the free H9 Control editor and librarian software (iOS app, Mac, Windows) for editing, creating and managing presets, changing system settings and purchasing algorithms. 

This pedal has been designed to take full advantage of this and it works brilliantly, especially so on an Apple iPad where a few finger swipes zap the pedal through thin air to produce instant results. Other one-effect-at-a-time 'chameleon' pedals exist out there, but the H9 pushes the genre's envelope.

Read our full Eventide H9 review

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7. Boss MS-3 Multi Effects Switcher

Guitar multi-effects and switching combined


Price: $559/£407/€374

Type: Multi-effects pedal and switching unit

Effects: 112

Connections: Input, 3x send/returns, 2x outputs, control out, 2x expression/control ins, USB, MIDI out

Power requirements: 9V power supply, 280mA

Reasons to buy

+Excellent pedalboard integration+Near-limitless sonic opportunities

Reasons to avoid

-Screen is a little small

Boss's MS-3 is an ingenious pedalboard solution that gives you programmable loops for three of your own pedals and a host of built-in effects – 112 to be precise. The MS-3 can switch your amp channels, adjust external effects and integrate with MIDI-equipped pedals. Then there’s the built-in tuner, noise suppressor and global EQ. It’s as if Boss looked at everything players could want from a pedalboard controller and crammed it into one compact unit. 

There are 200 patch memories for saving your expertly tweaked sounds, each with four effects or pedals that can be switched in or out at will, or four presets that can be instantly recalled. The MS-3 is rammed with pristine modulations, all the essential delay and reverb types, as well as a load of Boss specials, such as the dynamic Tera Echo and sequenced tremolo Slicer. Then there’s the niche yet useful effects, such as an acoustic guitar sim, Slow Gear auto fade-in and that sitar sim you never knew you wanted. 

The drive tones don’t live up to standalone pedals, but for most players, we’d wager those three switchable loop slots will be used for analogue drives, with the ES-3 handling modulation, delay and reverb. A genuinely exciting pedalboard development.

Read our full Boss MS-3 Multi Effects Switcher review

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8. HeadRush Pedalboard

Top-notch amp modelling, tons of effects and a killer touchscreen


Price: $999/£899/€895

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal

Amp models: 33

Effects: 42

Connections: Standard guitar input, mini-jack stereo aux input, standard main outputs (L/Mono, R), XLR main outputs (L/Mono, R), standard stereo phones output, standard Send (L/Mono, R), standard Return (L/Mono, R), MIDI in, MIDI out/thru, USB, expression pedal

Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+Excellent amp modelling+Touchscreen functionality+Functions as an audio interface

Reasons to avoid

-Limited models/routing options

If you want the best multi-effects pedal that's stuffed with features, the HeadRush Pedalboard is the one. Its quad-core processor-powered DSP platform enables a faster and more guitarist-friendly user interface, reverb/delay tail spill-over between presets, the ability to load custom/third-party impulse responses, a looper with 20 minutes of record time, and more. 

The unit's most notable feature, however, is the seven-inch touchscreen, used to edit patches and to create new ones. In form, the Pedalboard most closely resembles Line 6’s Helix in that it has a treadle and 12 footswitches with LED ‘scribble strips’ showing each switch’s function and a colour-coded LED for each. 

There are several modes available for calling up sounds, easily changed by a couple of footswitch presses. In Stomp mode, the two footswitches to the left scroll through and select Rigs, while the central eight footswitches call up stompboxes within a selected Rig. Then in Rig mode, the left switches scroll through the Rig banks, while the eight select rigs. 

Sound-wise, there's no 'fizz' here, even on higher-gain patches, and the closer you get to a clean amp sound, the more convincing it is. If amps matter to you more than effects, the HeadRush is well worth looking into. And if you're after something with a smaller footprint, there's also the HeadRush Gigboard.

Read our fullHeadRush Pedalboard review

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9. Zoom G5n

The best multi-effects pedal from the FX veteran


Price: $329/£289/€390

Type: Amp modeller and multi-effects

Effects: 68

Amp models: 10

Connections: Input jack, stereo output jack, 3.5mm aux in, control jack, USB

Power requirements: 9V DC

Zoom G3Xn Guitar FX Unit - Massive Sounds Mini Price!

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MOOER: GE100 Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

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