While hunting for the best boost pedal is a wise choice, it might be one you have put off. Because other pedals have a more drastic effect on the sound of your rig, a boost can get a bit neglected but ask any expert and they will tell you this is a mistake.
Sometimes, the sound you are searching for only needs you to improve the signal or add a little depth to your tone. This, and being able to come to the foreground of the band during a solo means they are a crucial pedal for any guitarist. Because there are so many boost pedals on the market, it can be hard to tell the best from the ones that are best avoided. We have created the following list of the ones worth considering to help you make a sensible decision.
Quick Summary of Boost Pedals
MXR M133 Micro Amp
MXR has created the best boost pedal as it has the best sound but is also great value. If you are looking for a pedal to give your solos a presence at the crucial time then this is an excellent option. Preset the gain then add it to the sound when you feel as though your sound needs that extra boost.
It increases the volume of the signal whilst cleaning the tone so you can easily pick out the subtle notes. Use it with a distortion pedal to bulk the sound when you need to then return to the regular settings when switching back to the verse. There’s nothing overly fancy about it other than that it is effective at what you need it to do for a reasonable price. Any soloist can benefit from this solid boost pedal.
- Easy to use
- Clean tone
- Good value
- Sturdy build
TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal
We always find it impressive when a company manages to pack a lot into a small pedal and this is, even more, the case with this boost pedal. Its convenient size means it is easy to find room for it on your pedalboard and gives you up to 20dB of clean boost whilst holding onto your tone.
There are different modes you can use it in that include the regular on and off function but you can also hold it down for a brief boost then carry on as you were. The level control allows you to add a subtle boost or take your amp to its peak. Because it is a true bypass boost pedal it maintains the clarity and even when not in use it won’t impact your sound, keeping the high-end intact.
- Small footprint
- Can hold it down for a brief boost
- 20dB of clean boost
- No mechanical click noise
- Not as good with distortion as it is clean tones
TC Electronic Spark Booster Effects Pedal (960800001)
With more than a couple of tricks up its sleeve this is one of the best boost pedals for anyone who wants to be able to tailor the sound of the boosted signal. Not only does it give a solo that pickup to stop it from being drowned out by he rest of the band but because you can twist the switch of the bass, level, gain, and treble you can give the sound more character.
There is a tone control knob so you can pick the sound you want, choose from mid, fat, or clean and push the boost to the max of 26dB if you feel the need. Because it is a true bypass pedal you get the added clarity compared to some of the other options and even when the pedal is off you don’t get any high-end loss.
- Lots of tweaks available
- 26dB of boost available
- True bypass for added clarity
- EQ adjustment
- Can take a little getting used to
J. Rockett Audio Designs Tour Series Archer Overdrive and Boost Pedal
This is another versatile product as a little gain can give you a clean boost without sending things to the moon yet add a little of the built-in overdrive and you get a grittier sound. There is output, gain, and treble control to play with as well as a volume control when you need to turn things up a bit.
The robust build makes it a good option for a touring guitarist as it can withstand more than a few bumps and minor accidents. To cut through the mix and can be used to shape the sound rather than boost if you choose. Some people complain about the bass dropoff with some boost pedals but this is one that you won’t experience such an issue.
- Gain, output, and treble control
- Sturdy design
- Overdrive and boost pedal
- Good range of tones
- Some people prefer a higher boost
Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Power Booster Preamp Pedal
It doesn’t get much simpler than this conveniently sized booster pedal and although it lacks the bells and whistles of some of the more complex pedals, it enhances the gain of your amp for a pleasant sound. The boost knob is the only adjustment here but it gives your tone more of an impact, bringing the all-important lead guitarist into the fray when a song needs it.
This neat boost pedal costs a fraction of some of the other brands yet it works well with both bass and guitar and thanks to the true bypass it maintains the clarity at any boost level. Place it a little further down the chain to enhance the saturation but be careful as anything over 9 o clock and you will be giving it some.
- Simple and easy to use
- Sturdy design
- Good for bass and guitar
- No wow factor
Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal
Also Consider (Best Compact)
Although this sits at the pricer end of the scale from our list of the best boost pedals it still doesn’t cost much more than $100 making it affordable for a lot of people. The narrow shape ensures it is easy to find room on your pedalboard and the two internal DIP switches that are boost and bright ensure you get a wide range of tone.
The max of 20dB of boost ensures it gives you enough of a kick and when used sparingly can still give your guitar that fullness that is noticeable as soon as you turn it off. For the presence of those solos need or a clean boost with classic tones, this is a worthy contender.
- Boost and bright options
- 20dB of boost
- Compact size
- Might be a bit pricey for some
Boost Pedal Guide
When looking for the best boost pedal you need to know that this isn’t going to give your sound an all-conquering volume, instead, it adds depth and fullness to what can otherwise be a sound that gets lost among the other instruments. Boost is useful when you want to give a solo some legs and bring it to the foreground but this is only possible when you buy a quality product.
When you know what the best products are capable of, it makes your decision easier which is why we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Boost Pedal
This is part of what a boost pedal should be able to do with ease but by improving the signal it brings your notes to forward so they aren’t lost in the mix. It will ensure you get a better overall sound through your amp bringing out the character of your solo.
The quality of the materials used will be important and influence how long it lasts. Because they are designed to be stepped on they will already be pretty sturdy but any touring guitarist should ensure that the boost pedal they are considering comes with a reputation for being built like a brick.
You might want more than a boost from your pedal and some products allow you to make subtle and major adjustments to the sound that you are boosting. With everything from level, treble, output, and beyond you can ensure your solo has character as well as the presence to make it the focal instrument when selected.
Not everyone has a lot of room to offer a new pedal on their pedalboard and a lot of guitarists forget about a boost pedal until they have purchased some of the more exciting game-changers such as distortion or flange.
If this is the case then you should consider a compact or mini boost pedal. They should still be able to bring your guitar the boost it needs but without such a big footprint.
This is one of the features that a lot of the better boost pedals will brag about. It shows you to what level of boost the pedal can go and anything of 20dB and above is a good amount for performing live and rehearsing.
This is important with a boost pedal as you don’t always have it activated. A true bypass ensures you won’t get any lack of high-end when off but it will also enhance the clarity when used.
What Does A Boost Pedal Do?
Rather than simply upping the volume, a boost pedal will give your sound a lift that allows you to stand out at certain parts of a song. It also gives a full sound to a guitar or bass that can be hard to live without when you use the gain subtly.
It does so without negating tone which is why it is preferable over volume control. It is good when shredding the notes on a solo as you don’t want to blend in with the rest of the band, you want to ensure the guitar gets the attention its stand out part deserves.
A boost pedal is an essential piece of kit for any guitarist that performs live. Because it increases the signal between your guitar and amp it allows for smooth tones amid a clean boost.
How Much Does A Boost Pedal Cost?
The good news is that although they are considered one of the most important pedals for your circuit, a boost pedal doesn’t cost as much as a lot of the others.
You can pick up a decent product for around $80 although spend a little more and you might get a more versatile product. This will likely give you adjustable settings rather than the basic boost or level settings although there is nothing wrong with sticking to the main function.
What Is The Best Boost Pedal?
Overall, we found the MXR M133 Micro Amp to be the best boost pedal available. It has a no-nonsense approach giving you only the simple boost function but it does it remarkably well.
There are clean tones to be found thanks to this easy to use pedal. The gain is easy to love and you don’t need to turn it far to the right to give your guitar the impact you want. It can bulk out the sound when you give it a little gain for a fullness that you will find it difficult to live without.
On top of all this, it is usually available for a reasonable price making it a popular boost pedal with the garage players and touring performers.
Where Should I Put A Boost Pedal In A Chain?
Because there is nothing wrong with seeing how it sounds both before and after your dirt pedals, a boost pedal is pretty versatile and offers you different options for a varying sound.
Use it before dirt pedals and it can clean the tone although not everyone wants this. However, if you place it last it can give your clean leads a pick me up.
It is best to place it before modulation pedals to ensure you still maintain the overall sound without things getting too crazy.
Is A Boost Pedal Necessary?
A boost pedal is more of a luxury for the at-home guitarist although it can enhance the sound of your playing. They are a near essential pedal for any performing guitarist as it will bring their important sections forward.
If you’ve ever been to a concert and wondered why the guitarists solo felt a bit flat, the chances are they have not used a boost pedal.