and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Best Overdrive Pedal 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

Best Overdrive Pedal 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

If you are an electric guitar player, then the overdrive pedals are an indispensable device for performances. These pedals can produce various sounds, effects, and echoes. But the most important thing is still the connection between the device and the guitar player; the same devices will be very different under the control of different players.

If you are also looking for an overdrive pedal to fit your electric guitar, but you are caught in the middle of hundreds or even thousands of products on the market today, then you have come to the right place. Here, Fidlar has compiled a list of the Best Overdrive Pedal 2021; we have also listed criteria for choosing the right overdrives, using them, and operating them. What are you waiting for without exploring with us?

Things To Consider When Purchasing An Overdrive Pedal

If you are not experienced with overdrive pedals, or you only need to brush up on your desktop knowledge before putting down any money, have a look at the sections below!


The controllers in your overdrive pedal will generally fall into three chief classes: Gain, Volume, and Equalization.

Profit (also known as Drive or Overdrive) controls the quantity of overdrive present on your sign, with reduced degrees including subtle self-explanatory to the tone, whereas higher settings apply more overdrive saturation.

Volume controls the degree of this sign, or just how loud it is.

Equalization controls, frequently known as tone control, command a part of their frequency spectrum. A controller merely labeled: tone naturally changes both non and high-end frequencies.

Some fuzz pedals include controllers that affect specific areas of the range, such as the mid or high-end (these controllers are also generally tagged as the frequency they control).

Ease of Use

Overdrive pedals might not look complicated at first glance, but believe it or not, they could be somewhat challenging to work with based on your equipment and the controllers onto your pedal.

Some pedals have numerous controls. It cannot be easy to dial in a fantastic sound, or the controllers they do have may be counterintuitive. Conversely, also, some pedals have three controllers. A few of the very highly considered pedals ever have three controllers.

You might be asking: If a few of the maximum overdrives of time have three controllers, why should I bother with much more getting more controllers? Well, it depends upon the tone you desire and exactly what you wish to control over. If you would like to sew your style carefully, a much more feature-rich pedal may be right up your street.

The only tradeoff is that it is going to take more time to dial in that tone. Whereas a more straightforward bicycle, it is more of a plugin and play scenario.

Pedals without a slew of controllers might be less flexible. Still, they are also easier to find a great tone than some pedal with more controllers (case in point for all those who’ve read up on various pedals, even the Boss Metal Zone).

Expensive vs. Inexpensive

When looking at equipment, many people assume that more expensive pedals are always likely to be greater than their more expensive counterparts. In practice, this does not still prove to be the situation.

We are not saying that those who purchase costly pedals are many cork sniffers since that is not that circumstance. More expensive pedals may have a selection of benefits, including flexibility and endurance.

Expensive pedals generally arrive with much more controls or are engineered using a high-level of quality to your particular intent.

They could cover more ground sonically, plus they are constructed with (as a general principle ) higher tier parts. They have a propensity to isolate sound better, and therefore you don’t get as much electrical interference.

But, cheaper pedals may nevertheless supply the noise you’re searching for. They might not be as adaptable or be constructed with identical high-quality parts.

A fantastic example is the first Ibanez Tube Screamer. It was cheap when initially introduced, and it moved on to grace the rigs of a number of the greatest guitarists on the planet.

Fulltone OCD V2 overdrive pedal

Best Overdrive Pedals All Time

1. Fulltone OCD V2

The OCD has a reputation among the very best stack-in-a-stompbox overdrive pedals. The rich harmonics and reactive controls make it an excellent overdrive for shooting that hallowed classic-rock noise of an amp pushed into 11. At the same time, its HP/LP switch affords it considerable flexibility.

Twelve years from its first release, Fulltone introduced a fully-fledged V2 that packs an output signal, which prevents the pedal from being affected by stompboxes before or after ita Class A configured separate 2N5457 JFET input segment, which increases input impedance and raises dynamics; and an inner change to change between Improved Bypass and true bypass.


  • Captures classic rock tones
  • Surprisingly elastic
  • Dynamically responsive


  • Somewhat expensive, given the Number of cheap clones

2. Mesa Boogie Flux Five overdrive pedal

For stone and metal players, Mesa Boogie is the golden standard for thick, expressive profit. The Mesa Boogie Flux Five overdrive requires the bigger Flux overdrive and provides in the five-band EQ, as noticed on a few of Boogie’s most renowned amps, leading to a large quantity of control.

It has to be mentioned, not an inexpensive pedal so that it’s probably not a good idea for players looking only to tighten a present tone. However, if it is accurate, accurate control from among the world’s grandest tone homes you are after, then that may be the pedal for you.


  • Iconic Mesa tone
  • Exceptional tone-sculpting


  • Dedicated mid-range controls could have made this ideal.

3. Ibanez Tube Screamer TS Mini

The cute TS Mini is created in Japan and packs the TS808’s coveted JRC4558D IC chip. You know what to expect from a TS, and the Mini can get your kids humping along with your only coils beefing with all the finest of rem.

It is not the most straightforward Screamer we have ever discovered, but it’s loyal to the’80s incarnation since it compresses a cure and cuts the low-end a bit.

Ramp up your amp, cut on the TS Mini’s profit, and up the quantity, and it provides distorted tones additional attack, which is possibly its most significant advantage. This is probably the very best guitar overdrive pedal.


  • Vintage Tube Screamer tones
  • Superb for fostering already twisted amps


  • More versatile overdrives can be found.

4. JHS Dual Barrel V4

Regardless of overdrive being a straightforward notion, there’s unlimited variation possible from one pedal. JHS Dual Barrel proves this by packaging in two of their firm’s famous individual pedals to provide the consumer with a plethora of tone-shaping capability to select from.

Straightforward boosting is potential from the Morning Glory V4 facet, which provides an exact drive and enhanced dynamism to a tone without coloring it. There’s tube-like saturation on the Moonshine V2 facet, which reacts nicely to your picking and guitar’s controls. This is probably the very best boutique overdrive pedal.


  • Two pedals in one
  • Ideal for midnight


  • Overkill for a few
JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
600 Reviews

5. Strymon Sunset Double Overdrive

They say that you get what you pay for, and with Strymon pedals, that appears to ring true. Anticipating every user wants, the Sunset has three distortion pedal choices with various topologies, three improve alternatives, and flexible routing, allowing for a boost or drive.

The two-stage drive cascaded to the Texans, the organization’s take on a Tube Screamer, which can be very strong. And enjoyable.

When compared side by side with a real tube high-gain amplifier, it is difficult to tell which is accurate, and that is the pedal there is not a whisker of dreaded electronic fizz.


  • Phenomenally versatile
  • Convincing drive tones
  • It Covers overdrive around the distortion pedals


  • Pricey

Read More: 

Best Guitar Pedals of all time 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

Best Compressor Pedal 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

Overdrive Vs Distortion 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

6. Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. There’s hardly a more iconic pedal. It’s been on the scene since the 1970s, continuing to progress from model to model with varying amounts of extra features. The TS9 is a reissue of a 1980’s rendition that many guitar magazines have even declared as the best pedal of all time.

Some critics will say there aren’t enough options, but if you click through to Amazon, you’ll see there is a TS9B model that adds an EQ stage and a TS9DX model that foregoes the EQ for a Mode knob offering the classic TS9 setting as well as Hot and Turbo modes. You can even pick it up in a mini/nano size if you prefer.

What is so appealing about the classic model is the simplicity and vintage tone you get. It’s not an overly driven high-gain pedal with no response, but quite the opposite. You’ll have plenty of room to influence the overdrive through your dynamics.

Dig harder, and you’ll get more character. Pick lighter and let the effect fall back a bit. In this way, you can create a lively soundscape that accentuates your skill level. Or you can throw all of that out the window and push the drive knob to 11.

The TS9 Tube Screamer is one of the best guitar effect pedals and can act as a very hard-to-screw-up beginner’s choice. At a price, it’s hard to avoid not getting one of the best options out there to play with, if not become your official pedal.


  • From blues driver to contemporary rock and metal
  • A complete classic
  • Offered in miniature form


  • Some gamers may choose a fuller bottom-end

7. MXR Timmy

The Timmy is the best bass overdrive pedal. Dependent on the Tube Screamer, but without the same compression and with no trademark mid-hump EQ profile, the Timmy is significantly more flexible as a driveway.

All your favorite tricks using a Tube Screamer could be attained, with the bonus the Timmy piles incredibly well with different fosters and overdrives. Funnily enough, it stacks nicely with, you guessed it, a Tube Screamer.

Besides the flatter and more open EQ profile, the Timmy boasts arguably more potent user controls, using a bass clip and a treble cut controller.

Especially for more massive rock sounds, having the capability to eliminate bass is the thing that lets you dial in a driveway tone that is not heavily compacted but is also not woofy and loose.


  • A super flexible drive
  • Stacks well with other pedals
  • Enables Lots of control


  • Not a Tube Screamer

8. Wampler Tumnus

The first Klon Centaur is at the center of the Venn diagram stinks for rare and expensive, but fortunately, there are quite a few high-quality clones on the marketplace, where the Tumnus is among the better components.

Not only can it be a great-sounding, faithful reproduction of their very unobtainium overdrive at the company, it is also housed at a small-form-factor, 1590A-sized enclosure, which means it does not occupy much pedalboard property in any way.

Concerning sounds, the Klon is frequently referred to as transparent, but we have always found it to be colored, decadent in its drive tone in lower gain settings, and dry and crispy together with the advantage up those qualities are even true of this Tumnus.

Even though it might not be exact, it may be utilized as a marginally colorful boost before a tube amp with the gain down and volume up. And while it might be crazy to cover an original device for this sort of usage, using the cheaper Tumnus to crush a tube plug isn’t sacrilege.


  • Cheap Klon clone
  • Compact
  • Colorful tone


  • It is not an initial Klon.

9. Fulltone OCD V2

The Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive is the best boost pedal in existence. The reason for that is that it’s versatile and sounds great.

Several factors of the OCD contribute to its versatility, but the main one is the two switchable modes it has. A small toggle switch at the pedal top lets you select between LP (Low Peak) method and HP mode.

Low Peak is more of a transparent overdrive boost, meaning that rather than sounding like an overdriven monster, it maintains the tone that you have. Switching into High Peak mode delivers a more aggressive overdrive, and this is where you can push this pedal.

You’ll hear a definite jump in volume, along with a boost in the mids and a little bit of growth in the high frequencies. Several users of this pedal, as well as Fulltone themselves, describe the Low Peak mode as a more Finder-like cranked Blackface or Tweed-style, whereas High Peak mode is for a more British vibe. This comparison sounds pretty accurate to our ears as well.

The knobs are your disposal are the typical Volume, Drive, and Tone, and they very touch-sensitive. The Fulltone OCD is quite responsive to your guitar’s volume and tone knobs, as well as your playing dynamics. Play softly to keep the OCD at bay, and dig in to unleash its power.

With the Fulltone OCD, you get many overdrive options for your money, from a boosted clean boost tone to an all-out overdriven-yet-still-defined fashion.

The pedal is very well built, true bypass comes with a 9V battery, and carries a beautiful price tag. We tried it with a few different amps (Fender Bassman, Vox AC15, and Orange CR30R), and the OCD works excellent with all of them.

You can crank the dirt on this pedal, and despite how bass and fat the low end gets, you’ll love how the quality of your tone is still so good and this is the best cheap overdrive pedal. 


  • Up to a TS or even Klon
  • Cheap
  • Distinctive sound


  • Can overtake your amp’s tone

10. Fender Santa Ana Overdrive

The Fender amp overdrive split-tone is respected and desired by guitarists, so we’re excited to find out precisely what Fender’s Santa Ana pedal can perform. The solution is a great deal. You will find a lot of features packaged in here, such as a clean boost.

The Santa Ana is stunning, with a rock-solid enclosure along with a reddish brushed aluminum finish. Blue LEDs on the knobs make them simple to view in dark smoky places. The tool-free flip-out battery compartment is brilliant.

This is a knob tweaker’s delight. If you need flexibility from your dirt pedals, then you will delight in the Santa Ana. It’s a 3-band EQ and a PRES knob to decorate your audio.

Moving a measure further, it’s two voicings – to estimate the guide A works nicely with a traditional Fender clean amp and B using a barrier amp.

Other considerate choices include changing between authentic or buffered skip and picking what purpose you desire the clean BOOST footswitch to do additional drive or much more quantity for solos.

Our favorite setting was maintaining the DRIVE at or below noon and going a lot over, making it seem too cluttered in an unsatisfactory manner.

Fender understands a thing or two about overdriven tube amps, and it reveals. The FET-equipped Santa Ana Overdrive provided a simple driveway flavor and seemed nice on each amp we analyzed it on.

Its high price tag could be somewhat justified by adding a clean boost, and we recommend it if you’re searching for expressing and tone-shaping choices beyond what more comfortable OD pedals provide. It is one of the very best tube screamer pedals.


  • Fat lead tones
  • Perfect for stone
  • Built-in boost


  • Pricey

What’s An Overdrive Pedal Do?

The pure method to attain an overdriven tone is to push the tube to the point of equilibrium where it begins cutting But, doing this isn’t the most sensible, as we do not have tube amps, which we’re able to crank to unholy quantity amounts. Input the overdrive.

Overdrive is essential if you play with genres such as blues driver, classic rock, or stone rock. Nevertheless, it could play several roles in your setup, Irrespective of the genre:

Into your amp’s clean channel: You may keep your amp on the clean track and twist the overdrive to generate the tone warmer and more saturated, which may vary from subtle to more competitive coloration.

This may typically be dialed from a pedal’s DRIVE knob. Even at its most extraordinary settings, the outcomes will be tamer than what you get from a distortion pedal.

Into your amp filthy channel: If your amp has a cluttered channel you prefer, feeding an overdrive into it can be extremely intriguing.

The outcome will ultimately vary in your amp and pedal mix and how you dial on your pedal. Usually, you will alter your twisted sound’s tonal coloration wholly or create your present distorted tone seem even more significant.

Stacking pedals: A frequent usage for overdrive pedals, one of the guitarists who perform heavier genres would stick with an overdrive in front or from a distortion pedal, thus stacking. Much like previously, there are hundreds and hundreds of permutations here, and experimentation is essential.

A quick tip when piling one dirt pedal into a different: Dial the knobs all of the ways down, and work your way upward to determine how all of the parameters influence the sound. If you begin with the knobs cranked, it may be an incoherent mess.

Overdrive vs. Distortion: What Is The Difference?

Remember, the overdrive and distortion are just two sides of the same coin. While a few overdrive pedals may be used to push a guitar’s signal within the edge of separation (and then some), they should not be expected to supply the saturated aggression more often connected with their distortion counterparts.

What overdrives do excel at, mainly, is responsiveness equally to choosing hands dynamics and into a guitar’s onboard potentiometers (i.e., your quantity and control knobs).

Dialing at just the ideal amount of gain increase could give a flat-sounding lead lineup the snack and sustain it requires to sing or add color to a dull rhythm tone. A fantastic overdrive pedal may do all this while maintaining a participant’s raw saying’s dynamics and nuances.

How We Test These Overdrive Pedals

To deliver you the very best clean boost pedal, we maintain current and broadly explore new products. We periodically review and update this list as new pedals have been published.

We run them via different combinations of guitars and amplifiers, considering altering the sign series can substantially affect an overdrive pedal’s sound.

We conducted these distortions via our tube amps, solid-state, as well as headphone amplifiers. Concerning electric guitars, we utilized a wide range of single-coil and humbucker pickups, in addition to solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow-body guitars.

Simply speaking, we listened to all these overdrive pedals in as several sign chains as you can before formulating our views of them.

How To Utilize An Overdrive Pedal

Overdrive, like most kinds of stimulation, is a pronounced effect. That means if you do not use it correctly, your fan base will wonder why you sound overly amateur. You must put it in the ideal sequence on your pedalboard, foremost, and then tweak the knobs properly to find professional audio. But how do this?

Where to Put It from the Signal Chain

There’s a rigorous order all of your forms of guitar pedals should be put in as specified by logic, temperament, and the requirement of different pedals according to their needs and capability to destroy everything. It looks like this:

  • Dynamics, Filters, & Pitch Shifters
  • Boost & Distortion
  • Modulation
  • Time

Overdrive belongs at the next phase, known as the Gain group. That is because it is dependent on a high-gain sign to perform its job. You will want to look after all your waveform shaping, filtering pitch changing before fostering your quantity and sending it into the overdrive pedal. As soon as you do, there is no tweaking of these facets.

And you also would like to distort before you modulate or include reverb pedals and delay pedals. You would like distortion to be part of these effects rather than employed to them, or it is going to seem absurd, muddy, unprofessional, and unnatural. It will, undoubtedly, be noticed if you do not do so correctly.

Knowing the Knob Preferences

Overdrives have not gone the way of additional effects at which the pedal makers are devising crazy names for every single knob and including unnecessary features. It is still fair, and you will typically only see three knobs to utilize. All these are Gain, Level, and Tone.

Gain, which may be known as Drive, allows you to specify the quantity in the input to select how extreme you want the distortion to be. Volume allows you to choose your loudness in the output. The tone is a top-shelf equalizer boost, which you could sweep up and down the frequency spectrum to restrain your brightness.

Some pedals include a switch for a high-pass or even low-pass filter, which alters the tone knob so that you may opt for a darker sound in case you want instead of glowing. And that is it! Pretty easy as soon as you know where to put it from the pedal string.


You’ve just gone through our Best Overdrive Pedals; hopefully, you can find the right pedal for your beloved guitar. You certainly won’t go wrong with any of our listings.

If you plan to invest with a mid-range budget, brands like Mesa Boogie, Ibanez Tube, JHS Dual Barrel are ideal for you to experience; these brands are trusted by many customers, and Use on Amazon does well.

Last update on 2021-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API