Best Overdrive Pedals Of 2018 – Buyer’s Guide And Reviews

Overdrive pedals are one of the most consistently useful pedals around. A huge part of their fame is with harder genres like metal, but they’ve seen just as much if not more application in the realms of blues, jazz and rock. 

If I was in the market for an Overdrive pedal, and if budget was no factor, I'd go for the Wampler Hot Wired V2. It’s hard to beat the sophistication and exacting quality standards that come with boutique models like this. Not the option for the budget conscious, but you get what you pay for (or so they say).

Our Pick

Wampler Hot Wired V2 Brent Mason Signature Distortion & Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

Sophisticated pedal that works a treat

Wampler Hot Wired V2

What really shines here is the blend controls that allow you to dictate exactly what sound you want

Budget Pick

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

The best value for money

TC Electronic Mojomojo

An excellent budget friendly overdrive pedal. Punches far above its weight class.

If you want something that sounds great, isn’t particularly complicated and works well on a tight budget, look no further than the TC Electronic Mojomojo.

The quality is far better than the price would otherwise suggest.

If having something with more oomph is your style, it’s definitely worth comparing both the Ibanez Tube Screamer and the NKM Dynamic Overdrive pedals. They both have a very different sound from each other. Here too the Wampler Hot Wired V2 shines as well, although it is by far the most expensive of the bunch. 

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Overdrive Pedals 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. 

1. Fulltone OCD Drive

Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal

This pedal is quickly becoming one of the most popular overdrive pedals amongst those who are happy to spend a little extra to guarantee quality. The huge appeal of the Fulltone OCD drive pedal is just how well it mimics the feel of a tube amp, whilst at the same time not distorting your ordinary tone.

Switching between the Low and High Peak modes gives you some control over the tone, although not everyone is a fan of both of these as it’s a very subjective element.

  • ​Closest thing to having a tube amp in a pedal
  • True bypass
  • Battery power option

  • Can unbalance your EQ somewhat
  • You may not like the High Peak frequency boost dynamic

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2. Ibanez Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic

If there was ever going to be a guitar pedal that was used as a picture in the dictionary definition of an overdrive pedal, it’d probably be this one. It’s incredibly popular, and this is well deserved. It works great with either solid-state, tube and hybrid amps.

Like the majority of Ibanez’s pedals, they are particularly favoured by rock and metal artists, but you’ll see plenty of other guitarists using this one too because of how good it sounds.

There are a few different versions you can check out, including one for bass guitar, a mini version which is slightly cheaper and less complex, and an enhanced version with more controls. Unless you need one of the others for a specific reason, there’s no reason not to go with the TS9 version. 

  • ​Tone shaping is effective and noticeable throughout the whole range of settings
  • Can be used as a small booster or for huge distorted overdriven growls
  • Can be battery powered

  • Not true bypass

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3. Wampler Brent Mason Hot Wired V2 Overdrive Pedal (Editor's Choice)

Wampler Hot Wired V2 Brent Mason Signature Distortion & Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

Although you’d be in safe hands with some of the more commonly used overdrive pedals, it’s hard to beat the sophistication and exacting quality standards that come with boutique models.

This pedal is easily one of the best overdrive pedals around. It also doubles up as a distortion pedal and has separate channels for each. The combination is okay, but what really shines here is the blend controls that allow you to dictate exactly what sound you want.

It might seem like cheating to have a two-in-one pedal, but since the two effects are naturally best friends it’d be unfair to discount this pedal because of that.

  • ​Far more hands on controls than you’d expect from an overdrive pedal
  • Top tier components mean it’ll last for a very long time
  • True bypass
  • Battery power option

  • ​As a high end pedal it’s not particularly budget friendly
  • The huge range of settings can be intimidating for those who want a simple pedal

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4. TC Electronic Mojomojo Overdrive Pedal (Budget Choice)

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

You know what’s great? Tone shaping. The more fine-tune control you have over this aspect, the more you can sound like you when playing. The Mojomojo overdrive pedal is one of the few overdrive pedals around that gives you the level of precision you need to craft a truly signature sound.

You get plenty of EQ controls here and two different ‘voices’ that let you brighten or darken the sound as necessary with only a single switch. It’s also one of the best value for money pedals out there.

  • ​The voices, treble and bass controls allow you to craft the exact sound you’re after
  • Very authentic sounding overdrive
  • Extremely underpriced

  • Not compatible with TC Electronic’s TonePrint technology
  • Power supply has to be bought separately
  • No battery power option

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5. NKM Dynamic Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

NKM Dynamic Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal by MC Systems Apollo Series

This overdrive pedal looks like a piece of 1960’s army equipment, and it sounds just as vintage as it looks. It’s a great pedal for old school rock, but you can also get some of the fattest most in your face overdrive you can imagine with this thing.

Turning up all settings to maximum is just like the modern equivalent of including a cannon regiment in your composition. In the sense that it’s awesome and completely over the top. 

  • ​You can rapidly change through different tones of overdrive thanks to the two foot switches
  • True bypass
  • All analogue circuits to better capture vintage tube amp sounds

  • ​Quite large so it will take up a lot of space on a pedal board
  • No battery power option
  • Positioning both input and output at the top can make it a little odd for connecting in a chain if you only use shorter cables

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Image Credits:

Featured image source: Art Bromage / CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

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