Best Distortion Pedal 2020: Top Full Review, Guide

Best Distortion Pedal 2020 Top Full Review, Guide

Rock and roll would not exist without any distortion. Where guitarists used to crank their amps into the high skies, hundreds if not tens of thousands of stompboxes perform the job. That is why a distortion pedal is frequently a newcomer’s first-ever effects unit along with a pro’s Holy Grail.

But that also involves settling on a single is hopeless and identifying the best distortion pedal’ about becomes an issue of taste. There is compressed distortion for metal, wide-open tones for blues and rock, strong preamp boxes for studio work, and a couple of wilder ones that experimental and audio musicians will enjoy. Keep reading Fidlar’s post to see our list of The Best Distortion Pedal.

What To Look For In A Distortion Pedal


That can be easier said than done but beware of excessively costly distortion pedals that don’t offer you a good deal. You do not need all the world features, so if your budget does not stretch so much, start looking for something more stripped right back. This may still deliver a sharp distortion so that your transition from verse to chorus nevertheless receives the effect it deserves.

Gain Control

This way of turning up this thing to 11 pushes the overdrive throughout the roof once you spin it right. This can affect the tone. If you would like some, then dial down the gain a bit and play with a few additional dials before settling in your audio.

What To Look For In A Distortion Pedal

The Perfect Combination

By this, we mean you will need to discover a distortion pedal that will match the type of music you want to perform with. Otherwise, your traditional rock sound isn’t likely to do this well with a fuzzy distortion pedal, which is best for death metal noises.

This usually means you have to get a pedal that’s flexible enough to configure the dials to match your taste or merely select one, which is famous for having the ability to recreate the authentic sound of a specific genre.

Some manufacturers, such as Boss, create multiple distortion pedals since they know that the differences between classic rock and heavy metal aren’t exactly subtle.


If you’re in a touring band afterward, the durability of your pedals is critical. They ought to be able to resist the constant loading and unloading and utilize that has a tour.

Most pedals are designed to survive; they need to get stepped on to operate after all. Still, it’s almost always a fantastic idea to test it’s famous for durability so that you are not scrambling for the audio shop halfway through a tour.

What Exactly Does A Distortion Pedal Do?

So, what precisely does one distortion pedal perform if you hit this footswitch? How can distortion pedals do the job?

Most distortion pedals may use various transistors and diodes to boost the guitar’s signal and change the signal waveform. The fostering of the sign is relatively straightforward to comprehend; however, the clipping is more superficial but quite significant, as it generates that sound.

A sign wave typically resembles a smoothly undulating wave, with obviously curved peaks and troughs throughout the range. Distortion occurs when these waves have been trimmed for almost any reason which is the highs and lows of these waves have been cut off and are crucial if the quality’ of this noise is diminished. In regards to distortion pedals, this is, clearly, the desired consequence.

In earlier times, distortion could occur every time a sign was set through an amplifier that could not manage the sound. In case the character was too powerful, then the speaker may have been unable to recreate the highs and lows of the audio wave, making them be cut away.

A distortion pedal is consequently set up to clip the sign wave at a similar method to what could occur if the speaker or amplifier has been overdriven but in a much starker and more critical manner. We are going to cover the principal differences between overdrive and distortion in another segment.

This clipped signal then goes through the amp from the distortion pedal, and you receive the twisted sound, with more grip and a more comprehensive selection of harmonics.

Simple in concept, but there are many different amounts to this clipping completed and how it’s performed, which explains why there are lots of distortion pedals on the market.

Best Distortion Pedal 2020

Best Distortion Pedal 2020

SaleBestseller No. 1
BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, Single Mode (DS-1)
Tone, leveland distortion knobs on face; Super-tough construction; Lets your true guitar tone shine
Bestseller No. 2
Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal Solo Effect Guitar Pedal True Bypass
Whole aluminium-alloy classic, stable and strong; True bypass provide transparent tone, LED indicator shows the working state
SaleBestseller No. 5
Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
Used as a primary distortion, it excels at arena rock rhythm tones and soaring leads; Nails that sweet spot where a tube amp goes from sparkly clean to warm overdrive

1. Wampler Sovereign Distortion

Brian Wampler has packaged a pile of features into a tiny enclosure. The Sovereign could probably struggle from the overdrive class but has much beef in its gain structure, which goes far beyond.

The Sovereign’s controls have altered names during the years by “mid behavior ” into mid shape; however, their hands over the pedal’s most mid-range and highs are reliable. The pedal’s spirit lies in this middle contour.

The even/bright switch allows you to toggle between more mid-heavy audio and top-heavy treble. In contrast, the standard/boost selects between reactive overdriven tones and much more gnarly levels of advantage.


  • Hugely versatile tone control
  • Well-thought-out gain construction


  • Expensive
  • Ome sag with high-output pickups

2. MXR M75 Super Badass ’75 Distortion

Such as the Sovereign, the M75 includes a default voice which talks in British EL34 tube crunch. Keep everything to keep this type of balance, but if you are chasing heaps of ugly-delicious metallic advantage, roll it forwards to two o’clock onwards.

The three-band EQ is all about altering the character of their M75’s profit. Please take out many of these mids for the late’80s Metallica scooped crunch, boosting them for this’70s vibe.

The M75 is a no-brainer that requires seconds to get the tone. You need an indestructible small powerhouse of flexible analog distortion if it comes to the best distortion pedals.


  • Low noise, large output
  • Three-band EQ
  • Produces elastic analog distortion


  • Unconvincing at low and Higher profit extremes

Read More: 

Best Wah Pedal 2020: Top Full Review, Guide

Best Overdrive Pedal 2020: Top Full Review, Guide

3. JHS Modded ProCo RAT ‘Package Rat.’

The DS-1, the ProCat RAT, is the legend, preferred by James Hetfield, Thom Yorke, Dave Grohl. It’s additionally been modded a million times. This Pack Rat version from JHS pedals updates the pedal and runs on the three-way clipping selector for classic, receptive boost, and turbo RAT modes.

The character of this older LMN308 is here, but under the hood that the elements are updated. Even the cheapo capacitors have been all gone, their replacements created from metal pictures and tantalum. There is less noise. But let us not kid ourselves; you can not tame a RAT. Pure grind, wealthy and fizzing distortion expects!


  • The significant update adds tone Choices.
  • Epic sustain/harmonics, filthy profit


  • Near fuzz in the extremes
  • Act quickly; inventory frequently runs low.

4. Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal

The Boss DS-1’s set-up is straightforward: flat, tone, and distortion, using a rubber-topped foot-pedal to change it off and on. The pedal is joyful, adding just a tiny pinch, some excess oomph, but it retains the integrity of your guitar tone stable when dimed.

There is lots of flexibility. The DS-1’s tone knob can tweak your extremities, ideal for pinch harmonics. Dial back it to thicken you up rhythm tone or to fatten up single-coil pickups.

All this tone for under 50 dollars, what’s not to enjoy? Just do not underrate it just as it’s economical and pre-dates that the Sony Walkman.


  • Fantastic Price
  • Timeless gain construction
  • Easily modded


  • Mids can be sparse

5. Empress Effects Heavy

The Heavy from Empress Effects does two things exceptionally well: High control and gain flexibility. There are two stations that each possess a four-band EQ connected, on top of a worldwide “hi” and “non” knob modification that can help you fit this pedal’s tone into your amp’s clear sign.

A tone sounds large, saturated, and thick, yet also, it sounds tight and smooth, even in more extreme settings. Power chords seem responsive and full, while palm-muting gives a different and pleasing chunk.

Stylistically it succeeds. Metal can perform milder styles too. It is a fantastic recording tool and incredibly helpful in a live situation. The only hesitation is the hefty price tag; however, for most high-gain and distortion lovers, that price will be well worthwhile.


  • Dual channels
  • A Great Deal of control
  • Analog
  • The tone quality is Superb.
  • A noise gate is among the Finest in the Enterprise.


  • Expensive

6. Amptweaker TightMetal JR

I have understood James, who conducts AmpTweaker, and he had been kind enough to ship me among those TightMetal Jr. distortion pedals to test out for this particular review. It is the hottest of the three pedals and also the most economical.

I discovered that the TightMetal to become naturally more “competitive” than the majority of the distortion pedals I have examined. By this, I do not indicate that it was thicker or simply “more twisted”; however, the distortion appeared thicker and much more evenly sustained. Feedback would appear faster (at least with no noise gate), and harmonics seemed to ring out to so long as you desired.

Regardless of the maintenance and heavy saturation, the noise was readily refined and tightened if I restricted myself to using just the Benefit and Tight change to achieve that. I discovered that in many circumstances, those were the only two controllers I had to change.


  • The tone sounds fantastic in more massive settings.
  • High-gain configurations are practically noiseless.
  • Plump, smooth, and modern saturationAdded EQ and trimming options
  • True bypass


  • Expensive

7. Diezel Herbert Preamp

The Herbert isn’t a distortion pedal in the purest sense, but it could undoubtedly be utilized as such. Taking the city-leveling tone of this Diezel’s 180-watt lead crystal and placing it upon the ground, this is a sure-fire manner of incorporating high-gain filth for your sign.

This stomp-box aims not cheap. However, the amp it chooses its preamp circuitry is not either, and incorporating the same dynamic EQ alternatives as its namesake; the Herbert has amazing distortion on-tap.

Outputs allow you to send into a clean amp or preferably through a power amp effects loop.


  • Extraordinary Metallic amp tones
  • Switchable mic


  • Is it expensive, overkill?
  • Requires a bit of getting used to

8. TC Electronic Dark Issue

The Dark Issue distortion, regardless of the title “Dark Matter,” sounding deceptive metal, has been assembled by TC Electronic for a distortion pedal that joins classic overdrive tones and contemporary distortion while also maintaining the subtleties of your guitar technique and too blank amp signal.

On low gain settings, the Dark Thing’s tone manages to seem thick and full. It is smooth but also provides you some wonderful crunch in your pick scratches and palm mutes. You get classic and contemporary distorted tones by merely shifting the gain knob.

I enjoy and recommend it for many fundamental distortion requirements or for supplementing an amp-based twisted station.


  • Very Reasonably Priced
  • Voicing switch
  • Can manage both contemporary and classic distortion sounds
  • True Bypass


  • No Sound gate controller
  • Not as thick as the past two choices

9. Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion

The MD-2 Mega Distortion isn’t among Boss’s most well-known pedals, but I have discovered it to be among the more effective, high-value 4. Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal

The Boss DS-1’s set-up is straightforward: flat, tone, and distortion, using a rubber-topped foot-pedal to change it off and on. The pedal is joyful, adding just a tiny pinch, some excess oomph, but it retains the integrity of your guitar tone stable when dimed.

There is lots of flexibility. The DS-1’s tone knob can tweak your extremities, ideal for pinch harmonics. Dial back it to thicken you up rhythm tone or to fatten up single-coil pickups.

All this tone for under 50 dollars, what’s not to enjoy? Just do not underrate it just as it’s economical and pre-dates that the Sony Walkman.


  • Fantastic Price
  • Timeless gain construction
  • Easily modded


  • Mids can be sparse

10. Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

Even the TS808 is a sleek, low-gain distortion impact designed to be not as edgy and scratching, favoring delicate, subtle heat that may even make a good state circuit audio bluesy and tube-esque. I managed to test it using a classic Fender Deluxe tube amp, which I presumed was a practically perfect companion.

As I’ve already touched on, the designs most appropriate to the TS808 would be low-gain.

It disturbs me many tones, even though I do not think Angus Young or Malcolm ever used it.


  • Sounds fantastic with a busted up tube amp
  • Perfectly suited to classic or blues playing fashions
  • Retro aesthetics are a hit.
  • True bypass


  • No Sound gate controller
  • Can not do metal or modern distortion tones

How To Utilize A Distortion Pedal?

A distortion pedal may be used everywhere in your effects chain to provide your tone a new sound; plus, they are quite simple to use. Unlike any effects pedals and other guitar peripherals, there isn’t much difficulty in utilizing one.

Just plug the pedal between your amp and guitar, dial some alterations in, and you are all set to go. After that, it is all about tweaking whatever choices available with your different pedal.

It is worth bearing in mind, of course, there are many, many unique kinds of distortion which you could attain using these pedals. They do not all seem the same, which means it’s possible to use them otherwise.

On most pedals, you will get one knob for controlling the gain or degree of distortion, and it is this you may use for moving involving almost clean audio to some very distorted sound.

There is frequently EQ available also, which can help you to sculpt our tone – perfect if you would prefer a bit more bass, or you would like to glow with a few screeching trebles.

It is almost always a fantastic idea to start with your pedal someplace in the center of the configurations. This way, it is easy to bring things down or up a bit to fine-tune and discover the sound you enjoy or are attempting to replicate.

More profit is not necessarily better, and you could be amazed by how much gap may be created when booted up the volume adjusting a few of the EQ.

At length, distortion pedals are usually blended with other effects such as chorus and reverb, or using wah-wah pedals. This is the way you build an excellent twisted sound, but keep in mind that it’s always worth fine-tuning your tone and degree of distortion, then ultimately effects in addition to that. It is the simplest method of locating the ideal style and ensuring you could replicate it later on.


Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.