The Best Overdrive Pedals - Under $50, $100 & $150

The Highest Rated Overdrive Pedals Up To $150

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Overdrive is an incredibly useful effect. To start with, it gives you familiar rock guitar tones, from subtle grit to crunch.

On more complex setups, it can be used to add girth to an already distorted sound, and give your lead the cutting boost you need to take your solos to the next level.

Here we look at what the market considers as the best sub $150 overdrive pedals, based on the most recent ratings, reviews and expert recommendations.

The Best Overdrive Pedals

Best Cheap Overdrive Pedals Under $50

TC Electronic MojoMojo

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 850+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$49
TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $50 along with the Boss SD-1.

The TC Electronic MojoMojo is a part of TC Electronics analog line. Its defining feature is that it has an active bass and treble EQ, which means that you can both cut and boost treble and bass frequencies. This is a really powerful tone sculpting tool, and is also a huge bonus if you’re looking for a really specific tone (like Eric Clapton’s “Woman” tone).

A bonus of this pedal is that it also comes with a “voice” switch, which allows you to either cut the low-end or boost it. It’s a great way to quickly change the tone of the pedal if you’re switching between different guitars, especially if you’re switching back and forth between humbucker and single-coil instruments.

Features:

  • Controls: Drive, Level, Bass, Treble, Voice
  • Analog
  • True Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Richard Kruspe

Pros
The market response to this pedal is generally positive, with most owners pointing to its warm overdriven tone as its best trait. There are many reports of it sounding great as a standalone dirt pedal, but there are also plenty of experienced users who use this pedal as a supplement to their already overdriven tone. Paul Gilbert among many others appreciate its enhanced low-end response.

Cons
On the flipside, there are some who feel that there's just too much bass frequency, which to their ears makes it sound muddy..

Overall
If virtuosos like Paul Gilbert approve of this pedal, then it's highly probably that you'll end up liking it.

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 2100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$50
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $50 along with the TC Electronic MojoMojo.

The Boss SD-1 is an affordable overdrive that can easily go toe to toe with the more expensive boutique options. The cool thing about this pedal is how simple and versatile it is. It’s easy to dial in a ton of different tones, the range of gain on tap is useful in every setting, and when you turn the gain all the way down you can get a clean-ish (still colors your tone) boost.

It is a bit more aggressive and colored than the more transparent overdrives on this list, leaning more towards the distortion side of the spectrum rather than the organic tube-like overdrive other pedals we’ve featured.

Features:

  • Controls: Level, Tone, Drive
  • Analog
  • Buffered Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • The Edge, Jonny Greenwood, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, John 5

Pros
Users appreciate how easy it is to get a good sound out of the SD-1. And there are plenty reports of it sounding good with various amps from expensive Fender & Marshall amps to more affordable practice amps. There are many who compare it to a Tube Screamer, but with a bit more bite. Its reliability is without question, having been built to the same strict quality standards as other Boss stomp boxes.

Cons
While many appreciate its easy-to-dial classic overdrive flavor, those who want more control and flexibility are not impressed.

Overall
If you're looking for a plug-and-play overdrive that'll work with most amplifiers then check out the Boss SD-1

Best Overdrive Pedals Under $100

Ibanez TS Mini Overdrive Pedal

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 800+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$80
Ibanez TS Mini Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal from $50 to $100.

The Ibanez TS Mini is a streamlined and compact version of the popular Tube Screamer. As such, it is also a more affordable and accessible alternative.

At its core is the same Tube Screamer tone that's responsible for shaping the sound of countless popular guitarists, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Moore, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Eric Johnson and more. But since this one is smaller, it doesn't take much precious pedalboard real estate, making it an easy addition for any setup.

Features:

  • Controls: Tone, Level, Overdrive
  • Analog
  • Hardwire Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery

Pros
This pedal continues to exceed the expectations of many, especially when considering its price and size. Even those who owned older Tube Screamer pedals attest that this compact pedal sounds like the real thing. And much like the original, it is often praised for how good it sounds when used as a boost with good sounding amps.

Cons
There are a few who caution that the pedal is not as durable as the original stompbox, and they recommend a bit more care, especially with its knobs.

Overall
The Ibanez TS Mini gives you the iconic Tube Screamer tone without using too much money or space.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 2150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal

With a long list of big name users, there's really no denying the influence of the Tube Screamer to rock music and guitar playing in general. As such it is a good idea to keep the current production model as close to the original as possible.

They did this by having the TS9 pedal build in the same factory as the original, along with utilizing the same components and distinct green paint on its chassis. This means that you're getting the same pedal as artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn used to craft their immortal tones,

Features:

  • Controls: Tone, Drive, Level
  • Analog
  • Hardwire Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Cliff Burton, The Edge, Buddy Guy, Kirk Hammet, Greg Howe, Gary Clark

Pros
Users have plenty of good things to say about this pedal, and they come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds. And while it does well as a stand alone pedal, the TS9 is more often commended for being a good tone enhancer, be it for tube amps, or for a complex pedalboard.

Cons
The TS9 is not as versatile when used on its own, so it may not appeal to those looking for an all-in-one overdrive pedal.

Overall
The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is as classic as it gets, get it if you're looking for the classic overdrive tone, or if you want to enhance your sound.

Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Pedal

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

The aim of the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is to replicate the bluesy overdriven tone of a vintage tube amplifier, packed in a stompbox. And it does the job pretty well if you look at its many favorable ratings and reviews.

This pedal is also a favorite among "modders", who tweak the components and circuitry of the pedal to their preference, some of these modded versions have even made their way into the pedalboards of famous guitarists.

Features:

  • Controls: Level, Tone, Gain
  • Analog
  • Hardwire Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Billy Joe Armstrong, Prince, Tom Morello, Lincoln Brewster

Pros
Owners of this pedal love its overdriven tone, which many describe as smooth and sweet, without the harshness that other overdrives seem to add. Even with its simple 3-knob interface, It is also often described as a versatile dirt box, from slightly overdriven tones to maxed out gain.

Cons
While there aren't any complains about its performance, there are some who feel that the pedal is a bit too bright sounding for their taste.

Overall
This should be at the top of your list if you're looking for a good tube-like overdriven tone.

Best Overdrive Pedals Under $150

Fulltone OCD V2

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$127
Fulltone OCD V2 Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal

Fulltone’s OCD is a highly regarded overdrive pedal, and judging by user reception, the OCD V2 appears to be a worthy follow up to the line. The cool thing about this pedal is that it manages to perfectly straddle the line between ease of use and versatility.

The pedal comes with four controls: volume, tone, gain, and a hp/lp switch. The gain has a smooth sweep, allowing you to dial in both subtle, lightly overdriven tones as well as more traditional hard clipping distortion (and everything in between). The hp/lp switch (high-peak/low-peak) changes the voicing of the pedal, with high-peak emphasizing high-end frequencies and the low-peak mode retaining more of your initial tone.

Another interesting feature of this pedal is its enhanced bypass, which is essentially a form of buffered bypass which is more transparent (doesn’t impact your signal) than standard buffered bypass. The pedal can be switched to true bypass via an internal switch.

Features:

  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Drive, HP/LP
  • Analog
  • True Bypass/Enhanced Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Keith Urban, James Valentine

Pros
The Fulltone OCD V2 is well loved for its sensitivity to pick attack, allowing for broad dynamic control over your tone. It is also well received for its flexibility, which makes it easy to integrate with various guitar pickup configurations, amps and rigs.

Cons
There are a few who feel that this pedal has a bit too much low end, opposite to the thin sounding complaints received by other overdrive pedals. Goes to show that you really can't please everybody (especially guitarists). There are also some who still prefer the tone of the original OCD, which has been superseded by this new version.

Overall
If you're looking for an overdrive pedal with amp-like attack sensitivity, then check out the Fulltone OCD V2.

Keeley Super Phat Mod Full Range OD Pedal

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Keeley Super Phat Mod Full Range OD Pedal

After gaining popularity for modding existing guitar pedals for various players, Keeley Electronics have become a guitar pedal manufacturer themselves. The Super Phat Mod in particular stemmed from them modding the Boss BD-2 by adding a Phat switch to improve its low end response.

This version now comes with Keeley's own designed JFET gain circuit which enhances harmonic saturation and tube-like response. As the name implies, it also comes with the Super Phat switch that lets you go from Flat (flat response) to Phat (subtle bass boost).

Features:

  • Controls: Level, Tone, Drive
  • Analog
  • True Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery

Pros
This pedal is rated highly for its tone, which is often described as transparent and polished. Touch sensitivity and versatility are also often commended in reviews, impressing even experienced guitarists who have tried more expensive overdrive pedals. Guitar.com's Richard Purvis describes it as a "smooth yet snappy overdrive that sounds totally convincing all the way through its gain range".

Cons
Not many complaints, other than price tag, but most users are happy with their investment.

Overall
The Keeley Super Phat Mod Full Range OD is ideal for those who want a smooth and polished overdriven tone.

Wampler Tumnus

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Wampler Tumnus Transparent Overdrive Pedal

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $150.

When it comes to overdrive pedals, the Klon Centaur is king. The pedal has gone beyond being a piece of gear to being a mythical piece of music history. Unfortunately… genuine Klon overdrives can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000. Because of the pedal’s cost, numerous imitators have come out of the woodwork to try to create a Klon Centaur that’s attainable for any musician. And its hard to name a better option than Wampler’s Tumnus.

The Wampler Tumnus is first and foremost a transparent overdrive, which can be a good or bad thing. A transparent pedal is only going to sound as good as your gear, so its not a good choice if you’re running a beginner’s setup.

Features:

  • Controls: Gain, Treble, Volume
  • Analog
  • Buffered Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter (No Battery)
  • Joe Arick (Session guitarist for: Josh Turner, Hunter Hayes, and Florida Georgia Line), Joe Perry

Pros
Like the Centaur this pedal is based off of, the Wampler Tumnus is also incredibly touch sensitive. And this is reflected in many reviews, with some stating that the pedal is analogous to playing through a driven tube amp, cleaning up and distorting based on pick attack. Guitarworld's Paul Riario concluded his review by saying: "The Tumnus delivered all the hallmarks of magical overdrive: with touch responsiveness that accentuated my pick attack, subtle hints of compression, rich midrange and warm overdrive."

Cons
One thing to know about this pedal is that it’s not true bypass, which may be a deal breaker for some. The pedal uses a buffered bypass, which boosts your signal even when the pedal isn’t engaged. While not as transparent as true bypass pedals, buffered bypass pedals are great if you’re running a long signal chain.

Overall
If you want nothing less than the best rated overdrive pedal in the sub $150 price range, then get the Wampler Tumnus.

Things to Consider When Buying an Overdrive Pedal

If you’re not very experienced with overdrive pedals, or you just want to brush up on your background knowledge before putting any money down, check out the sections below!

  • Controls

    The controls on your overdrive pedal will generally fall into three main categories: Gain, Volume, and Equalization.

    Gain (also referred to as Drive or Overdrive) controls the amount of overdrive present in your signal, with lower levels adding subtle grit to the tone, while higher settings apply more overdrive saturation.

    Volume controls the level of the signal, or how loud it is.

    Equalization controls, often referred to as tone, control a section of the frequency spectrum. A control simply labelled: tone, generally changes both low and high-end frequencies. Some pedals come with controls that only effect certain parts of the spectrum, like the mids or high-end (these controls are also generally labeled as the frequency they control).

  • Ease of Use

    Overdrive pedals may not seem complicated at first glance, but believe it or not they can be a bit hard to work with depending on your gear and the controls on your pedal. Some pedals have so many controls that it can be hard to dial in a good sound, or the controls they do have can be counterintuitive. Conversely, there are also pedals that only have three controls. In fact, some of the most highly regarded pedals ever only have three controls.

    You may be asking: If some of the greatest overdrives of all time only have three controls, why should I bother with more getting more controls? Well, it depends on the tone you want and what you want to have control over. If you want to carefully sculpt your tone, a more feature rich pedal might be right up your alley. The only tradeoff is that it will take longer to dial in that tone. Whereas with a simpler pedal, it’s more of a plug and play situation. Pedals without a ton of controls may be less versatile, but they’re also easier to get a good tone out of when compared to a pedal with more controls (case in point for those of you who’ve read up on different pedals, the Boss Metal Zone).

  • Expensive vs. Affordable

    When looking at gear, many of us assume that more expensive pedals are always going to be better than their cheaper counterparts. In practice this doesn’t always turn out to be the case. Now, we’re not saying that people who buy expensive pedals are all a bunch of cork sniffers, because that’s not that case. More expensive pedals can have a range of benefits including versatility and durability.

    Expensive pedals generally come with more controls, or are engineered with a high-level of quality towards a specific purpose. They can cover more ground sonically, and they’re built with (as a general rule) higher grade components. They also have a tendency to isolate noise better, so you don’t get as much electrical interference.

    However, cheaper pedals can still offer the sound you are looking for, they just may not be as versatile or be built with the same quality components. A good example would be the original Ibanez Tube Screamer. It was affordable when first released, and it went on to grace the rigs of some of the best guitarists in the world.

Best Overdrive Pedal Selection Methodology

This guide was first published on January 9, 2018 written by Mason Hoberg and the latest major update was published on February 4, 2020 written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Mason Hoberg.

Since there are many multi-effects, distortion and fuzz pedals that can also be used as an overdrive pedal - we decided to narrow down our scope to those that are designed primarily (properly labeled) for adding overdrive effect to electric guitars. Being readily available in major retailers is also an important factor that we considered in keeping our scope manageable. And for this 2020 update, we further narrowed down our search to a more accessible price range that doesn't go over the $150 mark. Even with all these limitations, we still ended up with a short list of 23 overdrive pedals - which entailed gathering almost 12,600 reviews, ratings and recommendations. All these data were fed into the Gearank algorithm, resulting in rating scores out of 100 that allowed us to come up with a list of best overdrive pedals that closely represents market sentiments. Finally, we divided our recommendations based on price, including sub $50, sub $100, and sub $150. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

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