Best Volume Pedals – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

A volume pedal lets you adjust how loud or quiet your guitar signal is via a foot-lever and does so without affecting the signal from your guitar. For this reason, it’s one of the most useful guitar pedals on your board. In this buyer’s guide, we look at the best available.

At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Volume Pedals

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information on Amazon.

Best Volume Pedals Product Round-Up

1

Boss FV-500H

Top Pick

When it comes to volume pedals, the Boss FV-500H is the market leader.

This road-tough pedal has a heavy-duty aluminum chassis with a super smooth pedal movement. The upper layer is made of a non-slip rubber which provides superb grip without feeling like sandpaper. The build quality, as we’ve come to expect from Boss, is excellent too.

There are two versions of this pedal. The one shown here is the Boss FV-500H, a high impedance, mono volume pedal that’s suited to guitars or bass.

Its sibling, the FV-500L, is the low impedance equivalent (the L stands for low, the H stands for high). It’s stereo and is suitable for keyboards, mixers, and line-level connections. 

Both models include an expression output, a minimum volume knob, adjustable pedal tension, and tuner output. 

What we like:

  • Heavy-duty aluminum chassis
  • Super smooth pedal movement
  • Non-slip rubber which provides superb grip
  • Expression output for use with amps (expression-compatible ones), effects, or synthesizers.
  • Two versions of pedal (FV-500H and FV-500L) for high and low impedance

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2

Ernie Ball VP Jr.

Runner Up

This VP Jr. from Ernie Ball features a 250 kilo-ohm resistor, so it will work with both passive and active pickups (though designed primarily for passive).

It has a separate output for a tuner, so you can silently tune your instrument, and is built with excellent construction making it great for gigging.

Its lever/rocker is very thin and sensitive to your movements and will suit those who don’t mind spending a little bit more for something that’s high quality and stylish.

It also comes with a taper switch on the side which lets you pick how it responds to your foot inputs.

What we like:

  • Separate output for a tuner, so you can easily send a clean, silent signal to your tuner.
  • Solid construction, so you don’t need to worry about it breaking.
  • Designed primarily to work with passive instruments.

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3

Dunlop DVP4 X Mini

Best Compact

The Dunlop DVP4 Mini is a high impedance that’s perfectly suited to passive pickups.

It’s also tiny and lightweight so that you can fit it into small pedalboards and there’s an AUX connector to attach a tuner or expression pedal which can be used to control FX parameters.

It will be suited to creative guitarists who might like to use it as more than just a volume controller. It will be less suited to those who want a classic, hard-wearing unit.

What we like:

  • AUX connection for tuner or expression pedal.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Passive, so you don’t need to worry about plugging it in.

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4

Sonicake VolWah

Recommended

The Sonicake VolWah is an active unit, which works as both a volume pedal and a wah.

It’s tiny so that you can fit it inside the most compact of pedalboards, and it has an LED to tell you which of the modes you are using.

As it’s active, it will work equally well with instruments using active pickups, and it can be powered using a 9V DC adapter. The wah feature gives you classic ‘Cry Baby’ sounds so that it will suit any Hendrix fans out there, or those who are just starting to experiment with different creative sounds on their guitar.

What we like:

  • For active pickups
  • Doubles up as a wah
  • It’s tiny, so won’t take up much space on your pedalboard

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5

Dunlop GCD80

Recommended

The Dunlop GCD80 uses mechanics to alter the volume, so you don’t need a battery. It works best with passive pickups so that the impedance matches.

It’s a sturdy build, that looks like a classic wah, which makes it easy to control and a reliable piece of kit to take on the road.

There’s just one input and output, so you don’t need to worry about split signals affecting your tone, and the rocker pedal is all there is to adjust the sound.

With no minimum level control or additional outputs, this is very easy to use which will suit vintage-oriented players or those who like to keep things simple. It will be less suited to those looking for something a little more modern, or lightweight.

What we like:

  • Passive, so you don’t need to worry about using a battery.
  • It comes in a sturdy die-cast casing so it will last forever.
  • Large rocker makes it easy to control slight shifts.

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6

Lehle Mono

Recommended

The Lehle Mono is another active option that uses a magnetic sensor to measure and adjust your volume smoothly.

The voltage-controlled internal amplifier ensures that your frequencies stay the same as they adjust, so there will be no dampening of tone. There’s also a gain control to offer overdriven sounds, and it also works well as a booster.

It will be well suited to those who are looking for the ultimate transparency of tone and require smooth and subtle adjustments, but its quite expensive so that it won’t be suited to musicians on a budget.

What we like:

  • The magnetic sensor allows it to be used without signs of wear.
  • Keeps all frequencies the same, so there’s no dampening.
  • Includes a gain control to offer overdriven sounds.

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7

Hotone Soul Press

Recommended

This is a versatile 3-in-1 volume, expression and wah pedal.

Despite its extensive features, it’s also one of the smallest items on the list and comes at a reasonable price.

There’s a small switch on the side, to choose which effect you’d like and there’s an adjustable minimum level control on the other side. As it’s active, it doesn’t affect your tone or frequencies – and the minimum level control makes it very smooth. It’s super compact, but it’s still pretty easy to use.

It will suit those who want all three features and don’t mind these effects all sharing one unit but will be less suited to those looking for volume only.

What we like:

  • Works as a volume, wah and expression pedal.
  • Active, so it doesn’t dampen higher frequencies.
  • It’s very compact.

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Why Use a Volume Pedal?

Where you put a volume pedal in your signal chain depends on which signal it is that you want to adjust.

If it’s the clean signal, before it’s been affected by things such as delay, distortion or reverb that you may want to reduce at certain points in your playing, it will be best at the start of your pedal chain (immediately after the guitar).

If you want to attenuate your fully-affected signal, it makes more sense to put it at the end of your chain.

Things to Consider When Buying

Pickup Types

Some of these pedals are better suited to active pickups, whereas some are designed for passive pickups (such as single coil and humbuckers).

Some pedals can handle both. Make sure you check before you buy.

Built-in Wah / Expression Pedal

Depending on the model, some pedals double up as expression or wah pedals. If you are starting with your collection, it might make sense financially to get one of these combo jobs. Similarly, if you already have wah and expression controllers, just get a volume only unit.

Stereo Vs. Mono

If you only ever plan to use the volume pedal through a guitar, then a mono one will do just fine, but if you ever want to use in on stereo equipment (with a keyboard for example) then you’ll want a stereo one. It’s worth considering what you’ll likely end up using it in the long term.

So, Which Should I Buy?

Our top pick is the Boss FV-500H, not much dispute there.

Our runner up is the Ernie Ball VP Jr., another versatile little pedal.

Well, if you’re looking for something that doubles up as a wah effects pedal, the Sonicake VolWah is a good option.

Best of luck!

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