Although power supplies may seem like a relatively boring topic, in reality, they are a significant and essential part of your guitar’s effects rig. If you have lots of pedals, it makes a lot of sense.
In this article, we went on a mission to find the best pedalboard power supply. Here’s what we found.
At a Glance: Our Choice of the Best Pedalboard Power Supply on the Market
- Donner Dp-1
- MXR M237 DC Brick>
- Mefe MP-2
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Isolated
- T-Rex Engineering Fueltank Junior
- Walrus Audio Phoenix 15
- Truetone 1 SPOT PRO CS12
- Mooer MPW1 Micro
- Walrus Audio Aetos 120V
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
- Why Use a Power Supply?
- Product Round-up & Mini Reviews
- So, Which Should I Go For?
Why Use a Power Supply?
As your collection of pedals grows, you’re going to have an abundance of wires kicking about. A dedicated power supply sorts all that out and offers one single source of energy for your pedalboard. But it not only helps with your OCD. Initially, purchasing a power supply may seem expensive, but buying one will save you tons of cash in the long run – you’ll be saving money on 9V batteries, cables, etc. If you buy pedals from abroad or get to tour (lucky you) then these units are indispensable too.
Product Round-up & Mini Reviews
Donner Dp-1 (Isolated DC Output for 9V/12V/18V)
The Dp-1 by Donner is by far the most affordable device we mention today, and for the price, you get some pretty useful technology. The best feature of the Dp-1 has to be it’s ten isolated power outputs, all of which run using short circuit and overcurrent protection. This means that a short circuit in one channel won’t stop the others functioning properly.
The LEDs in this unit also have a handy feature, in that the LED lights of short-circuited channels will turn off, while lights in functioning channels will stay on, helping to locate any faults. It also comes with a pack of 10 cables to provide your effects units with 9v, 12v or 18v of voltage, so you won’t need to worry if you have any energy-hungry effects units in your gear collection.
Overall, this unit will suit anyone shopping on a budget, and using several effects units at once. It’s also great for those of you wanting something that’ll fit underneath your pedal board thanks to its small size (150x50x30mm).
- Price – The instructions included with the Dp-1 have some pretty funky spelling and grammar mistakes which can make it hard to understand the setup. However, for the price the technology you get here is pretty decent
- Fuels up to 10 pedals at once – The Dp-1 can manage several units that require 9v, 12v or 18v simultaneously
- Outputs are not truly isolated – only feature short circuit protection.
MXR M237 DC Brick
The M237 can handle eight 9V pedals and two 18V pedals, so there’s enough juice to supply a decent combination of effects units. Another cool feature here is that each 9V output has an LED that lights up if the circuit shorts, so you’re never left struggling to find the culprit. That said, the M237 is built with short-circuit and overload protection, so you don’t need to worry about your equipment getting damaged. Its tiny size also ensures that it’ll fit underneath most pedalboards, or won’t be too much of an eyesore if you don’t have one.
Overall, the M237 is perfect for anyone that needs a portable, lightweight unit at an affordable price — saying that it’s very similar to the Dp-1 we mentioned earlier, which is even less expensive.
- Portable – Small enough to fit under your pedalboard and to cart around in your equipment bag without much effort.
- Variable Output – The M237 can provide both 9v and 18v of energy to your pedals, so you should be able to run a good variety of effects brands
- Outputs not individually isolated – If you’ve got energy zapping pedals in your chain, you’re most likely going to experience some noise in your signal chain.
- Short cables – The output leads are very short, so you may need something longer if you’ve got to reach effects pedals that are far away from the supply.
The Mefe MP-2 is the second most affordable product in our list and is being sold at a similar price to the Donner Dp-1. So, for the slight increase in cost, you get eight true isolated outputs, with overcurrent protection, plus all the cables you need to match up with your pedals.
The best aspect of the MP-2 has to be that it can provide juice to both digital and analog pedals that use 9V, 12V and 18V and that it has a wide range of wall power (from 100–240V at 47–63Hz), for extra headroom. You can also combine the outputs and stack them in series or in parallel – remember that only outputs of the same voltage can be used together and that some pedals may be damaged if the voltage is too high.
The MP-2 also features handy blue LEDs that light up to indicate a good connection or turn red if the supply is overloaded or short-circuiting. All this technology is enclosed in a tough, metal case and weighs in a 1.28lbs, so you probably won’t notice any extra weight when you add it to your gig bag.
Overall, the MP-2 suits guitarists shopping on a budget, that also require different voltages to fuel their pedals, check that the Dp-1 doesn’t cover you first, you may save a little extra cash.
- Price – The MP-2 is exceptionally affordable, so you won’t need to empty your bank account to buy it
- Variable outputs – It can support pedals that run on 9v, 12v, and 18v, so you won’t need to buy separate chargers for each.
- Bright LEDs – Although they are useful, the LED’s on the MP-2 are so vivid you may find it slightly distracting trying to see you effects units – especially if you’re playing a gig in a dark room.
- Overheats – The MP-2 tends to overheat when used at maximum capacity, so it might be worth considering something slightly more reliable if you’re thinking about using every power output.
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Isolated
Handmade in the USA, this unit from Voodoo Labs is an excellent option if you’re going to be playing gigs in different countries as it’s a universal unit, designed to function at 120 volts. Just remember, you’ll need a separate step-up/down transformer for use in countries that do not supply 120 volts from the mains.
The best feature of this device has to be it’s two variable voltage outputs, which can fuel power-hungry effects units such as Boss, TC Electronics and Line 6 Modelers. If you wish, you can even use a voltage doubler cable, to manage several 18V and 24V effects simultaneously.
All together this product features eight completely isolated, filtered, short circuit protected 9V outputs, and a low noise toroidal transformer to ensure a complete noise and hum-free performance.
Overall, it suits those with a larger budget, looking for a completely quiet, reliable source of juice while on tour. If that’s you, it won’t let you down.
- Ultra-quiet – Thanks to its isolated power outputs and low noise transformer, you won’t hear a peep from it.
- 5-year warranty – Comes with a warranty, so you won’t need to worry about buying another for at least five years
- Short cables – The connection cables that come with this supply are only 18″, which might not be long enough to reach some of your effects units.
T-Rex Engineering Fueltank – Junior
The Fueltank Junior by T-Rex is currently being sold at a similar price to the MXR M237 we mentioned earlier; however, it features some slightly different technology. It’s called Junior for a reason – it’s extremely portable, measuring in at 4.1 x 3 x 1.4 inches and weighing 1.16 lbs. Due to it being so small it can only power five pedals with 9 volts. That said, what it does deliver is very clean quiet energy.
The Fueltank can also be used in different countries and has a switch which lets you select the correct input voltage. The 115V setting works in the USA, Canada, and some Asian countries, while the 230V setting should be used in the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
All of this technology comes encased in a solid metal shell, so you’ll never have to worry about it falling to bits while you’re on tour.
Overall this pedal is going to be great if you’re continually gigging in different countries and needs something, light, durable and quiet to manage your effects units.
- Quiet – There’s no noise interference here, thanks to its isolated power outputs.
- Universal – Can be used pretty much anywhere in the world.
- Only supplies five pedals – Designed to be small and portable, so, unfortunately, that means sacrificing some space for outputs.
- Only supplies 9V of power – If you have effects units that run on 12v or 18v, it won’t work.
Walrus Audio Phoenix 15
Walrus Audio’s Phoenix is the priciest product we review in the list, but for the extra money, you get some pretty high-quality technology.
The best aspect of the Phoenix is that all 15 of its power outputs are isolated, and it contains two toroidal transformers which filter electrical noise and provide you with a super clean tone. As well as this, 4 of the 15 power outputs run at 300mA and can be used to fuel larger Strymon effects units, such as the BigSky and TimeLine. Three of the outputs can also be switched to run at either 9V or 12V, so no matter what pedals you use, there should be no issue.
As well as being versatile, Walrus Audio also make a handy pedal board mounting kit that is sold separately, for use with Pedaltrain boards. Saying that the Phoenix is small enough to fit underneath most pedalboards without the need for a mounting kit, so you can probably get away without buying one.
Overall, its best suited for serious pedal fiends, with several units that require different voltages. With all this silencing technology, you’ll be able to rest assured you’re not going to get any interference during a live set.
- Supplies 15 effects units – Can energize a maximum of 15 guitar pedals at once without a sweat
- Silent – Thanks to its toroidal transformers and isolated power outputs, you won’t get any annoying electric hum from this.
- Price – If you need to use 15 pedals at once, then yes the Phoenix is probably a great option. If you’re only going to use 2 or 3 maybe go for something slightly cheaper, like the Fueltank Junior
- Outputs are very close together, which is a bit of problem if you’re going to be using angled leads.
Truetone 1 SPOT PRO CS12 with 12 Isolated Outputs
Truetone’s CS12 is another mid to high-budget model, but it’s still a fair chunk cheaper than the Phoenix we mentioned previously.
For your dollar, you get 12 power outlets: 2 x 18V, 4 x 9V/12V, 4 x 9V, 1 x 9Vac, and 1 x 9V/variable 4V-9V. The best feature of the CS12 has to be its flexibility – There are several, voltage and current variables to play around with here. And it’s far less costly than some of the other big brands out there.
The mid-range price of the CS12 is justified thanks to it’s high-quality, isolated power outputs which ensure that you get silent, buzz-free guitar tone. It also comes with a versatile set of cables and adaptors, so you can support pretty much any pedal you need. It’s worth mentioning that although the CS12 doesn’t come with universal brackets, you can at least mount it via the threaded holes present across its frame.
So, overall, I’d say this best suits those that’ll be using several pedals with different voltage requirements. The CS12 might be a more sensible option if you were considering purchasing the Phoenix for a similar reason, as it may save you quite a bit of cash.
- The most versatile model on the list. So, if you’ve got multiple pedals with different voltage requirements, this device will do the trick
- Mountable – The CS12 has built-in mounting holes so that you can fix it onto your pedal board. This is pretty convenient as most manufacturers make you buy their mounts separately
- Bulky – The CS12 is pretty big and heavy, so consider that when you add it to your pedalboard, it’s going to make it pretty weighty
- Low-quality cables – The cables that come with this model only fit loosely into most pedal jacks, and they’re pretty short and stiff. So, you may end up having to spend a bit of extra cash buying higher quality versions
Mooer MPW1 Micro
The MPW1 by Mooer, is currently being sold at a similar price to the MXR 237, but what do you get for the money?
Well, altogether the MPW1 features eight stable 9V power outputs, each of which processes a maximum current of 300 mA, to meet the demand of most pedals. It’s worth mentioning that each of the outputs has independent short circuit protection so that when one circuit output fails, the others still work just fine.
All of that is great, but the best aspect here has to be that the MPW1 is so portable and sturdy. This unit only measures 4 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches and weighs just 1.15lbs, so you’ll have no issues at all carrying it to gigs. All this technology is contained within a sturdy metal shell, so while you’re on the road, this little beast won’t break easily.
Overall, the MRW1 suits guitarists with standard 9V pedals, looking for something small, robust and easy to transport – For the price, you can’t go wrong.
- Portable – So light and tiny, you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it around.
- Short circuit protection – The MRW1 will continue to work even if one of the outputs short circuits, so you don’t need to worry about any of your equipment getting damaged.
- Not so versatile – Compared to say the CS12 mentioned earlier, it won’t meet the voltage demands of every pedal out there.
- Less output – If you have loads of effects units, you’ll need something more like the Phoenix.
Walrus Audio Aetos 120V
The best thing about the Aetos is that it features eight isolated 9V power outputs and an internal toroidal transformer, to provide a hum free, clear guitar tone. Six of these outputs provide 100mA and two supply 300mA, which is enough fuel for energy-hungry pedals like Line 6 series Modelers and Boss Twin Series Pedals.
Another cool feature here is that the Aetos comes with a 120V AC power cord and a 120VAC complimentary power outlet to allow you to fuel extra accessories if you need to. Also, when you buy one of these devices, there’s a five-year warranty, so you won’t need to worry about anything breaking.
Overall, because the Aetos is lightweight and reasonably versatile, it’s an excellent option for touring guitarists with maybe one or two energy-hungry pedals and a few standard versions.
- Five-year warranty – So you won’t need to worry if anything stops working
- Noise-free – Thanks to its isolated power outputs and a hand wound toroidal transformer, the Aetos will not affect your guitar tone
- Not as Versatile as some – In comparison to say the CS12 we mentioned earlier, the Aetos doesn’t have as many outputs.
- Pricey – Although this unit isn’t the most expensive model we’ve talked about, you may find similar features in cheaper alternatives such as the MPW1, or a lot more from the CS12 for only a fraction more money.
So, Which Should I Go For?
If you don’t want to empty your bank account the Donner Dp-1, MXR M237, and Mefe MP2 are all pretty decent quality units for a low price – but out of these three, the Dp-1 offers the greatest range of output power.
If you’re looking to spend more money on one of these that will not interfere with your guitar tone, Voodoo Labs, Truetone’s CS12 and Walrus Audio’s Aetos will do the job. Just remember that the CS12 is the most versatile output-wise, so if you’ve got effects units that require different voltages, this is your best option.
If you need something small, light and portable then I’d suggest going for either the T-Rex Fueltank or Mooer’s MPW1. Both of these units are tiny, so you’ll be able to pack them away and carry them around with no hassle.
Finally, if you’ve got some serious dollar saved up and want the very best you can get, then the Phoenix by Walrus Audio is the product for you. This beast can manage fifteen pedals, and you won’t hear a peep of electrical interference.
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.