The 10 Best Boost Guitar Pedals

Updated March 17, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Boost Guitar Pedals
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're looking to add a little juice to a large pedal lineup that's begun to sap your signal, or you need to cut through the cacophony in that one section where you're supposed to have the guitar solo but your drummer decides to start playing even harder, one of these excellent booster pedals should take your tone to that next level. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best boost guitar pedal on Amazon.

10. BBE Boosta Grande

The BBE Boosta Grande has next to no overdrive or added distortion, even when it gives a big boost. It feels full sounding and even brings out finger picking. Plus, it offers plenty of sustain and cuts well through mixes for front pickup players.
  • doesn't add any noise
  • excellent for acoustic guitars
  • not the most durable build
Brand BBE
Model Boosta Grande
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Andoer Aroma ABR-3

The Andoer Aroma ABR-3 is small enough to put in your pocket for musicians on the go, but it still has a complete interface with three adjustable knobs for level, high, and low. Unfortunately, it gives a lot of feedback and can create a buzzing noise.
  • good option for bassists
  • includes a sticker for your board
  • has a weak spring button
Brand Andoer
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Electro-Harmonix LPB-1

You can think of the Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 as an extra gain stage because you can use it to overpower an amplifier. This pedal is modeled after the original unit that ushered in the age of overdrive in 1968, so it's like owning a piece of music history.
  • dramatically increases definition
  • knob turns with great accuracy
  • not terribly clean
Brand Electro-Harmonix
Model NLPB1
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. MXR M133 Micro Amp

The MXR M133 Micro Amp allows you to add a preset amount of gain with a single control, and is perfect for switching between guitars with unmatched outputs. It's ideal for increasing your signal for lead work and helps solos really cut through and stand out.
  • can also provide permanent effect
  • construction is sturdy
  • not very clean for bass
Brand MXR
Model M133
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Xotic EP Mini EQ

The Xotic EP Mini EQ is a discrete FET preamp with a low impedance output that offers that awesome gritty effect. It boasts up to 20 dB of gain and produces a shimmering tone that adds some high-end sparkle and definition that professionals love.
  • two internal dip switches
  • default set to bright
  • can pop when you turn it off
Brand Xotic
Model EP Booster
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Jim Dunlop MC401

The Jim Dunlop MC401 has an excellent signal to noise ratio and can run off 9 or 18 volts. It can boost an acoustic guitar without coloring the sound, and the music still comes out incredibly clean once it's transferred to an effects loop and played back.
  • plenty of headroom
  • 30 hours of battery life
  • allows for volume boost only
Brand Jim Dunlop
Model 11401000001
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

4. ZVex Super Hard On Vexter Series

Given that it comes from a company known for making exceptional products with very specific outputs, it's no surprise that the ZVex Super Hard On Vexter Series has both a hefty price tag and a very particular tonal signature.
  • can push to a lo-fi overdrive
  • king kong graphic
  • button position is frustrating
Brand Zvex
Model Vexter Super Hard On
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. J Rockett Audio Designs Archer IKON

The J Rockett Audio Designs Archer IKON is a two-in-one pedal that can act as a clean boost when you turn the gain down, but can also attenuate your tone as you turn it up. It offers a great way to play and experiment with your sound.
  • 9 volt negative tip adapter
  • cool gold and red body
  • nice warm overdrive
Brand J. Rockett Audio Design
Model IKON
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Donner True Bypass

The Donner True Bypass will enhance your music for an affordable price and features double +/- 15 dB equalization to make the purest sound with the lowest loss. It can still create that rich distortion, and its whole aluminum-alloy chassis is very strong.
  • offset jacks decrease footprint
  • provides a transparent tone
  • effective bass and treble controls
Brand Donner
Model Boost Killer
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. TC Electronic Spark

The TC Electronic Spark provides a boost of up to 26 dB. With controls for level, gain, treble, and bass, you can add a lot of clean power to your signal, or you can reach in and alter its EQ, adding a little warm drive or a lot of heady crunch.
  • three-way character switch
  • true bypass circuitry
  • gold indicator light
Brand TC Electronic
Model Spark Booster
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Boost Through The Noise

If you’ve ever played guitar in a band with at least one other guitarist (not counting the bass player), you’re likely familiar with the volume dance. As your band sets up to practice, record, or gig at a live event, you generally do a sound check to make sure the levels are ideal. In a perfect world, that would give you punchy vocals, kick drum, and snare drum, with the bass guitar occupying the rest of the low end, and the guitars hovering gently just above the mids. Guitarists tend to have problematic egos, however, and I speak both as an egomaniacal guitarist myself and as someone who worked as a live sound engineer for a few years.

Usually, one guitarist has their amp turned up just a little too loud. Without the oversight of a take-no-prisoners engineer, the other guitarist turns their amp up to compensate. The only problem is that they often go a little too far — or at least that first guitarist thinks they went too far, and then they turn their amp up, and so on and so on, until an arms race of sorts destroys the audience’s ability to hear anything but two competing guitars.

As a quick aside, in addition to protecting your ears from long-term exposure to high-decibel sounds, this dance is another good reason to wear earplugs to small concerts. They do a great job cutting out the higher frequencies put out by overly loud guitars, allowing you to hear a more complete picture of the song the way the band intended it.

For the musicians on stage, there is a simple solution to the problem at hand, one that can give a little extra pep to your picking when it’s your time to shine, and also allow you to rejoin the ranks of reasonable people when your solo ends. We’re talking about the boost pedal.

Boost pedals may seem like utterly simple devices, and that’s because they are. They amplify and condition a guitar’s signal just enough to allow it to punch through the rest of the mix. They’re an ideal tool for solo guitarists who are humane enough to realize that there’s more to the song than their 30 seconds of shredding.

Which Boost Pedal Is Right For You?

Since boost pedals are designed with a pretty simple purpose in mind, many of them appear extraordinarily similar. There’s usually a button you depress with your foot and a volume knob that controls how much extra juice the boost provides. Thinking that you can just grab any old boost pedal and have it perform to your expectations is folly, however. There’s more to these pedals than meets the eye.

A boost pedal will change your tone. Cheaper boost pedals will change it more drastically, and the majority of the pedals on our list will only change it almost imperceptibly. Depending on the amp you’re using and the placement of the boost on your pedal board, this could get complicated pretty quickly.

Some boost pedals own up to the fact that they’re going to have an effect on your tone, and these often come with built-in tonal controls. These controls can appear in the form of something as simple as a tone knob, or something as complex as a multi-band equalizer.

If you don’t have too many pedals in your arsenal, but you want to get a little extra oomph without altering your tone too much, a boost pedal with its own tonal controls is likely the way to go. More obsessive tone controllers may have an additional multi-band equalizer in their setup, and they might be better off with a simpler boost pedal, keeping their EQ work confined to one controller.

Boost pedals will treat amplifiers differently, as well, and knowing how your amp will react to an increase in signal strength is vital. Solid-state amps can take that added signal and compress it the way they compress everything you send in their direction. You may find that you need to push your boost pretty hard to get a significant result, and that the shape of your tone may feel more confined.

If you play through a tube amp, however, your boost is liable to act as an overdrive pedal, as the increased signal strength pushed the tubes toward their natural distorted state. This is a delicate balance, especially if you prefer a cleaner tone, but few sounds rival the smooth, warm crunch of a naturally overdriven tube amp.

The last thing to consider is the footprint of the pedal and its potential placement on your board. Most guitarists put their boost pedals toward the end of their array, giving them the ability to increase the volume of their effects without increasing the signal going through additional effects pedals. This helps give you total control over other effects without unintentionally compressing the boost signal through extraneous pathways.

Additional Ways To Hone Your Tone

Creating a sound that is specifically your own is one of the great joys of writing music for the guitar. Most musicians can listen to ten seconds of players like Clapton, Hendrix, Satriani, Metheny, or St. Vincent, and immediately recognize the sound — not just the style, but the tone. In addition to a boost pedal, you’re going to want a few extra goodies to ensure your sound is uniquely your own.

Installing new pickups in your guitar is the best place to start. Try throwing a humbucker (stacked or otherwise) at the bridge, and a warmer, perhaps bluesier pickup at the neck. You’ll be able to blend anything from arena rock to honky-tonk on a single guitar.

From there, experiment with and lay out your perfect pedal array. In addition to a boost, you’re going to want a reverb pedal (especially useful when recording), a delay unit, and some form of distortion. Chorus pedals have been particularly popular in indie rock over the last few years, as well. Once you’ve got your setup all laid out on a single, powered pedal board, you’ll be ready to rock.

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Last updated on March 17, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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