Best Distortion Pedal for Metal – Buying Guide and Reviews

So you're looking for a distortion pedal. But not just any distortion pedal, you want one that's perfect for metal. 

Look no further.

We've compiled our five favourite pedals for metal below. I've tried to include products from different prices ranges to give you a feel for what's out there.

Ok, let's get down to it. Pedal to the metal, so to speak 😉

At A Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Distortion Pedals For Metal On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

1. Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal

Providing some of the most outlandish, over the top distortion tones around, this MT-2 Metal Zone stompbox is a neat little package for the price. If you don't want to buy (or can't afford) a tube amp, this pedal will get you relatively close to the sound for much less money.

  • Huge mids and lows and an ultra-saturated sound
  • Super-long sustain
  • 3-band EQ with semi-parametric mid control
  • Great mid-boost for solos
  • Small range of distortion
  • Sucks a lot of the tone from your guitar (but hey it is a distortion pedal remember!)

Let's take a look at one in action...

2. Donner Giant Metal Guitar Pedal Boost Distortion Effect (Budget Choice)

Donner Giant Metal Guitar Pedal Boost Distortion Effect 3 Modes

If you're looking for a super affordable metal pedal check out this Donner Giant Metal model. It's simple as you like and gives you three mods: Boost Off, Lo Boost and Hi Boost. 

  • ​Good high gain distortion
  • The 3 boosts give you plenty of variation. The Lo Boost tends to be good for rhythm, the Hi Boost for lead.
  • Solid construction for the price
  • 9V power adapter not included
  • The thing is VERY small (could be a good thing too)

Let's see one in action...

3. Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff Distortion with Top Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff Distortion with Top Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

A firm favourite with metalheads, this Metal Muff Distortion pedal from Electo-Harmonix has a lot going for it. High input impedance buffered bypass, 3 band EQ, foot switchable top boost and more, it's worth checking out.

  • ​All in one fuzz and distortion pedal
  • 3 Band EQ (bass, mid and treble)
  • Top Boost with separate control knob (Foot switchable)
  • Special Top Boost knob allows you to dial in specific frequencies 
  • ​Distortion can sound slightly nasal / tinny once you push knobs past 12
  • 9v battery drains quickly, so need to purchase a 9v power supply

Let's take a look at this product...

4. MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion (Editor's Choice)

MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion

3 band EQ, sweepable mid-range that lets  you get the requisite mids for a classic metal tone, this MXR Fullbore Metal Distortion pedal packs a lot of punch. Includes an onboard noise gate to help your shredding. 

  • ​One of the heaviest sounding metal pedals on the market (more gain than you can shake a stick at)
  • Comes with it's own noise gate onboard
  • Small, easy to operate
  • Looks the part (gnarly)
  • The blue LED is cool and everything, but can be a bit overpowering
  • Gate and scoop buttons could be a bit sturdier

Let's take a look at this product...

5. DigiTech XMM Metal Master-Distortion Guitar Pedal

DigiTech XMM Metal Master-Distortion Guitar Pedal

DigiTech are renowned for making some of the best pedals on the market, and this Metal-Master Distortion pedal is no exception. Incorporating AudioDNATM tech, this pedal uses a single distortion type circuit with tone controls, featuring a morph knob that offers 3 different metal distortion types (see below).

  • The morph knobs offers 3 sounds: smooth high gain tone, scooped midrange tone and punchy mid range heavy metal sound.
  • Solid build
  • Have to buy separate power supply
  • On the pricey end

Let's take a look at this product...


So there we have it, ​5 of the best distortion pedals for metal according to us. Our favourite for both price and sound has to be the MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion.

Everything about this guitar pedal oozes metal. Thanks to the build in noise-gate, the sound is down-right criminal - insane for a box that small. It looks the part too, with its metallic looks. 

Have we missed your favourite?​

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

Leave a Comment