What’s All the Buzz? A Look at 7 Top Distortion Pedals

orange guitar distortion pedal

The distorted electric guitar sound has unquestionably altered popular music. Simply adding one of the greatest distortion pedals to your setup is one method to capture this amazing sound for yourself. Who wouldn’t want the sound of an overdriven and distorted guitar to release thunder in a way that makes other instruments seem archaic and out-of-date, from the early pioneers to current trailblazers?

Many people live in a golden age of guitar pedals, with some small-scale boutique stomp box manufacturers competing against industry titans like MXR, TC Electronic, and Boss.

One of the early uses of dissonant sounds in modern music occurred when John Lennon of the Beatles leaned his electric acoustic guitar against an amplifier, resulting in sonic feedback. The band members loved the sound and asked producer George Martin to include it in the song. He proposed inserting it at the beginning of “I Feel Fine.” It is one of the most readily recognizable openings of the Rock Era.

While overdriven tube amps are still employed to achieve overdrive, particularly in genres like blues and rockabilly, alternative methods such as distortion effect pedals have been created since the 1960s to produce distortion. While the “SoundCloud rap” subgenre of hip hop music and alternative hip hop has benefited dramatically from the use of distorted bass, other genres heavily rely on the growling tone of a distorted electric guitar. That sound can be found in blues, hard rock, punk rock, hardcore punk, acid rock, and heavy metal music.

In fact, it has been a characteristic of many musical genres of the Rock Era for one simple reason. When played correctly, there’s nothing like the howl of an amp getting shredded by a distortion pedal. Let’s examine some of the best choices to unleash your inner rocker.

Top Selections for Distortion Pedals

1. Donner Distortion Guitar Pedal

The Morpher Distortion 3 is the company’s most recognized release. The Morpher provides a massive contemporary high gain distortion sound appropriate for shredding and riffing. It is inspired by the iconic high-gain stack amps and combines a wide dynamic range, excellent definition, and adjustable onboard settings.

The Morpher Distortion 3 contains an integrated noise gate to help control some background hisses that become issues once the volume is turned up. In addition, the dirt pedals are simple enough to use and dial in a snarling distorted tone with their simple control knob arrangement. There is a simple three-knob tone control on the Morpher: LEVEL (output volume), TONE (brightness), and GAIN (distortion amount) for use in different scenarios. You have a wide range of control with each knob.

It’s a fantastic guitar pedal for any metal guitarist’s collection.

Donner Distortion Guitar Pedal

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2. Donner Metal Distortion Guitar Pedal

Metal Distortion is famous worldwide for its sound and superior build quality. Until recently, one tone in their arsenal eluded listeners: a high-gain amp-like distortion. The Filaments distortion pedal does a terrific job of satisfying that area of interest. Donner puts a lot of thought into designing each pedal, which shows how the Filaments react and feel—like adding a high-gain channel to your favorite clean tube amp.

The Donner Giant Metal Distortion Pedal is a metal distortion pedal with an entirely analog circuit. The increase in the high frequency of the pedal clarifies the performance of difficult skills and rich tone color. In addition, it completely increases and enhances the metal’s degree of distortion, creating a strong distortion impact.

The bass and body adjustments let you get the desired low-end bass response even if you’re working with a 10-inch speaker. In addition, you can reduce body management to keep the sound focused and tight. You can also choose from two distinct gain and compression levels with the Boost and Crunch controls to get a suitable edge for your tone. Add to that a treble control that offers you a different range of highs to make your amplifier sing.

Donner is renowned for its premium tone and durability. The attention to detail in stomp box tone, competence in building tube amps, and tough-as-nails build quality guarantee that this new Filaments pedal will rule the high-gain pedalboard. This high-gain tone pedal will give you all you need to take your act on the road.

Donner Metal Distortion Guitar Pedal

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12/05/2023 06:47 pm GMT

3. Azor Distortion Guitar Effect Pedal 3 Modes Natural

The Guitar Effect Pedal 3 Modes, one of Azor’s finest works, pushes the limits of overdrive and distortion. This pedal can generate twice as much headroom compared to the previous model. In addition, the third effects pedal creates a hot and sharp tone. It gives your guitar a gritty crunch due to its tidy drive rather than enhancing the midrange frequencies like many stompbox distortions and overdrive pedals. The diversity you can get by varying the volume, drive, and tone knobs on this pedal is quite broad, so don’t be deceived by its brief 3-knob appearance.

Built-in gain controls can quickly alter your tone and give your output more crunch and bites. That is especially useful if you’re playing live and feel that your electric guitar is not projecting. Just flip the boost switch and immediately have more power at your disposal.

There are three controls, a simple bypass footswitch and an on/off blue LED light. This OD pedal has two outputs that enable you to use it as a signal splitter, so you may play the FX channel out of one amp while sending the clear signal to another.

AZOR Distortion Guitar Pedal

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12/05/2023 07:07 pm GMT

4. Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal

The Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal produces the same sound as warm distortion produced by a tube amplifier. It produces a rich, whole tone that responds well to your touch and playing dynamics. The definition is provided without ever being harsh.

You may use the Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal to achieve either clean saturation or extreme distortion. There are also two modes on the Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal: Low-Peak and High-Peak. The difference between LP and HP is that LP is a transparent overdrive that also functions as a clear boost. HP’s more extreme effect colors your tone and sounds like a typical British solid-state amp.

You can alternate between true bypass and the distinctive Enhanced Bypass with an internal switch. Although true bypass preserves signal integrity, it can have signal loss in the compressor pedal chain and a loud noise every time the effect is toggled. Some producers use buffered bypass to combat this, although this reduces dynamic range and degrades sound quality.

You get the standard trio of dials for tone-shaping settings. The Drive knob restrains the amount of distortion, and the Tone knob lets you selectively eliminate unpleasant overtones. Of course, you already know what the volume does. The diode next to the HP-LP switch is a power light that switches between the two sound profiles.

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal

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5. Kliq Tiny-distortion Effect Pedal for Guitar & Bass

The Kliq is one of the most versatile grime boxes, and its hard-clipping distortion has been a mainstay of pedalboards for the last four decades. The Tiny-Distortion Effect Pedal produces the filthy, harmonic, and wealthy saturation that has graced a thousand influential songs.

It is built of a strong and durable aluminum alloy, tiny and conventional in size. It is finished in red. This pedal will function night after night and stomp after stomp since it is made of durable metal on the exterior and high-quality components inside. 

The pedal will function when you place the cable into the device’s input side (right side). The input in the device’s interior has a switch integrated into it. You are ready to play some music by simply plugging in!

KLIQ Tiny-Distortion Effect Pedal for Guitar & Bass

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6. Behringer Super Fuzz SF300 3-Mode Fuzz Distortion Instrument Effects Pedal

SUPER FUZZ SF300 3-Mode by Behringer One of the most extreme-sounding pedals available includes a superb high-gain distortion pedal called Fuzz. 

 More gain is what every metal-shredding guitarist requires. Unfortunately, the SUPER FUZZ SF300 shows that there can be too much of a good thing. Control the gain beast, which, when overdone, sounds like your amplifier is playing through a layer of mud and takes a lot of fiddling.

It’s common knowledge among Boss Metal Zone fans to avoid using the amplification knob excessively. Hold it between 9 and 12 o’clock as a general guideline. Anything more and things can quickly spiral out of control. Once you find the sweet spot, it unleashes a sound that even Metallica might envy.

The typical excessive and low frequencies are controlled by the left-side management knob, a feature seen on most overdrive and distortion pedals. The right-side controls set the Behringer SUPER FUZZ SF300 3-Mode Fuzz face apart from many of its competitors. The sound selections are advanced thanks to the middle and center frequency adjustments. When you get the low voltage, the options are endless, but it could take some time to experiment with, focusing on the sound you’re happy with.

Behringer SUPER FUZZ SF300 3-Mode Fuzz Distortion Instrument Effects Pedal

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12/05/2023 09:31 pm GMT

7. Lotmusic Crunch Distortion Electric Guitar Effects Pedal

Crunch Distortion by Lotmusic is the sound of Rock n Roll because it is brimming with authentic amp-like distortion tones, pure tube compression, and a rich tonal character. Now combine all that with a small steel enclosure with genuine bypass and serve it up for a price that will undoubtedly please your pocketbook, and you come away with a shiny one-way ticket to rock paradise.

With this distortion pedal, you get the cleanest effect possible because it was designed with a code to lessen noise swells in the Crunch Distortion circuits. The Crunch Distortion guitar pedal is made of a durable aluminum alloy, allowing it to be safely transported.

This Crunch Distortion pedal has a tiny, light body that is perfect for side gigs and is powered by a DC 9V adaptor, which is not included in the package. The tone control ranges from throaty and clear to piercingly sharp, almost like a treble enhancer. The Crunch Distortion Electric Guitar Effects Pedal is also built for a fight in terms of building excellent quality.

On either side of its powerful sustain, its steel casing and true bypass switching let you enhance your tone. 

lotmusic Crunch Distortion Electric Guitar Effects Pedal

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12/05/2023 09:55 pm GMT

What Is the Purpose of a Distortion Pedal?

You Perform Rock or Metal

A distortion pedal will likely be helpful for individuals who play metal or rock. A high-quality distortion pedal should enable you to obtain the true tone characteristics of this style. In addition, it might be easier than fumbling around with your amp to find the right setting.

You’d Like Several Tone Performances

A pedal will likely be helpful when going from a clear tone in verse to a deeper distorted tone in the chorus, solo, etc. The best thing about pedals is that you can quickly change your tone within a song without fiddling with your amp. That is somewhat crucial for people who perform live.

You Desire a More Muscular Tone

The heavier distorted tone that a reverb pedal will produce should still be helpful to folks who don’t play metal or hard rock. It could be helpful in a variety of musical genres. It will allow you to overpower the other instruments if you want to play covers of popular tunes in songs. That is very helpful for lead guitarists.

You’ve Purchased the Incorrect Amp

Lastly, purchasing a distortion pedal is significantly less expensive than buying an entirely new amp to achieve the desired tone if you don’t already own the appropriate amp to produce a distorted sound. For example, if you want a heavily distorted, heavy tone and your amp is an all-arounder, you might not have the correct one. It is also good for those who own a relatively inexpensive amp and don’t want to buy a more expensive one just yet.

Which Distortion Kind Suits You Best?

Each particular distortion has a distinct tone and set of qualities, just as chorus, delay, or reverb pedals. However, the kind of music you wish to play will determine which distortion is best for you.

For example, the ideal distortion pedal for many metal acoustic guitar players produces a profound, saturated distortion with a tight and controlled bass end.

When playing at the extremes of metal, you will need a ton of gain and tone-shaping settings, such as a variable mid-control, to make sure you can dial in the precise sound. Some scenes, like early 1990s Stockholm death metal, centered on a single distortion pedal, the renowned Boss HM-2, which dimmed everything and sounded terrible-yet-great in its particular way.

You could want a more open-sounding distortion for the less severe musical genres, including punk and hard rock. Instead of the scooped mids that metalheads tend to want, you may afford to choose a distortion pedal for these genres that has more midrange punch.

How to Choose a Distortion Pedal

The first factor to consider when selecting the best distortion pedal for you is functionality. If you’re looking for something basic, you can shake a stick at the number of single-button distortion pedals available.

The general shape of the distortion is the next crucial element, and it doesn’t mean the shape of the physical device but rather the sound of the distortion itself.

The Bogner and Friedman are good possibilities if you want something with a more vintage voice. Kirk Hammett’s iconic Dark Blood and the Mesa/Boogie Throttle Box offer exceptional current gain sounds if you require a more contemporary sound. Multi-channel products, blendable drives, and amp-inspired circuits in various price ranges are also offered.

What Is the Most Flexible Twisting Pedal?

The Fender Pugilist is an unbelievably flexible twisting pedal due to its two additional stages and capacity to run them in series or mix them. There’s also a double rendition of the pedal that offers greater adaptability.

The Empress Effects Multidrive is a flexible stompbox that incorporates a contortion, fluff, and overdrive pedal in a solitary pedal. You can switch between various mixes and approach an assortment of flip switches and 3-band EQ.

Who Creates the Most Useful Distortion Pedal?

The most reasonable distortion pedal depends on the style you want to create. It is very impressionistic. However, brands like Walrus Audio, Fender, MXR, Earthquaker Devices, JHS, Boss, and EHX make excellent anti-distortion pedals. 


One cannot simply turn up the volume knob on the guitar to produce the typical distortion sound. You need to choose between an overdrive pedal, fuzz pedal, or the standard current distortion pedal to get the specific sound you want. Many pedals may also have a treble or bass boost switch, but you should choose one that suits your needs.

Remember that cheap distortion pedals may not be the best deal. Budget pedal manufacturers frequently employ low-quality components, provide low-quality testing, provide a shorter warranty, and occasionally the pedal breaks.

This article reviews some of the most popular distortion pedals currently available and, based on our research, represents the best set of pedals for your consideration—or at least the best starting point in your search for the perfect pedal.

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