The Best Chorus Pedals - All Price Ranges

The Highest Rated Chorus Pedals

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Be it subtle or overtly used, chorus is one of the most pervasive guitar effects, used in dozens of the most famous records ever released.

Here we look at the best chorus pedals in three price ranges, based on the most recent reviews and ratings up to January 2020.

 

The Best Chorus Pedals

Best Chorus Pedals Under $50

While not necessarily rated as highly rated as their more expensive counterparts, the two pedals below let you add a surprisingly good chorus effect to your tone while keeping the cost really low.

Danelectro D5 FAB - Analog

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$14
Danelectro D5 FAB Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Chorus Pedal Under $50.

The Danelectro FAB Chorus is an incredibly cost-effective unit, and as such is many musician’s first chorus pedal.

It is currently widely available, and at under $20 a pop it is really attractive for beginning musicians who can’t afford to drop a ton of money on a single effect.

Features:

  • Control: Mix, Speed, Depth
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: Hardwire Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Battery and Power Adapter (not included)
  • Dimensions: 4.6" x 4" x 2.2"
  • Weight: 0.55 lbs.

Pros
Surprisingly, the casing, jacks, and footswitch are all reportedly pretty solid. Of course the D5 FAB Chorus won’t hold up as well as a Boss pedal, but at the same time the unit is easily gig-worthy. While it's not ground breaking or exemplary in terms of tone,it sounds good enough for many to appreciate, especially when considering its price.

Cons
There are some who report that the effect’s parameters have an uneven curve. At low to mid levels the effect is very subtle, with a dramatic increase in the last 10th of the controls’ motion. The unit also has its controls on the top of the pedal rather than on the surface, which can make adjusting the pedal on stage difficult because they are not easily visible.

Overall
Even with its flaws, its hard to find a chorus pedal that gives you as much value for your money.

Donner Tutti Love - Analog

82
GEARANK

82 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$35
Donner Tutti Love Chorus Pedal

Donner bills the effect as a “mini-pedal”, which as implied by the name means that the Tutti Love is significantly smaller than your average pedal.

An interesting feature of this pedal is that it’s both analog and true bypass, which is rare at the price point this pedal occupies. The tone of the pedal also benefits from its analog construction, because it lends the pedal a warmth that tends to be lacking in this price point.

Features:

  • Control: Level, Rate, Depth
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: True Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter (not included)
  • Dimensions: 3.74" x 1.73" x 1.89"
  • Weight: 0.53 lbs.

Pros
The main appeal of the Donner Tuttie Love Chorus pedal is that it’s affordable and has a small footprint. It is also reported to be pretty stable, thanks to its full metal shell as well as a solid footswitch.

Cons
While the pedal is regarded for its warmth, there are some who feel that it has too dark of a tone. Though to be fair, this actually might be a good thing if you’re using a brightly voiced guitar. It’s also not considered to be very transparent, so expect a bit of tone alteration when using the effect.

Overall
If you're looking for an affordable and space saving chorus pedal, then this just maybe for you.

Best Chorus Pedals Under $100

In the $50 to $100 price tier you see pedals that are of a gigging and recording quality, with the main difference between them and more expensive pedals being their respective amount of features as opposed to their tone.

Mooer Ensemble King - Analog

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$88
Mooer Ensemble King Analog Chorus Pedal

With its compact "mini" pedal form factor, the Mooer Ensemble King Analog Chorus is meant to help you free up some pedalboard space, or to fit into ones that are already packed. As expected, controls are kept to minimum, with the main knob adjusting the rate, and two smaller knobs for tweaking depth and level.

It comes with a conventional footswitch and is housed in a metal chassis, both of which allow it to handle the rigors of regular gigging. And as the label suggests, this pedal is meant to reproduce the sound of analog chorus pedals (warmer sounding).

Features:

  • Control: Level, Rate, Depth
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: True Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter
  • Dimensions: 1.65" x 2.1" x 3.7"
  • Weight: 0.36 lbs.

Pros
Simple yet effective, are two adjectives that sums up how the market feels about this pedal. Most users report that it gets the job done nicely for its size, and they feel that they got more than what they paid for. The tone is described as warm and ideal for adding subtle chorus, which covers how most guitarists use the chorus effect.

Cons>
Those who are looking for a bright sounding chorus may find this lacking, and it also is not meant for those who want more parameters to tweak.

Overall
With its compact size and affordable price tag, the Mooer Ensemble King Analog Chorus Pedal will make a great addition for any pedalboard.

Electro-Harmonix Small Clone - Analog

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$87
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Chorus Pedal from $50 to $100 along with the MXR M234.

Electro-Harmonix’s Small Clone is best known as one of Kurt Cobain’s go-to chorus pedals. The defining tone of the pedal is Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”, though don’t think of it as “The Nirvana” pedal. Even with the controls being limited, the pedal is more versatile than most would initially assume.

The most important thing to know about this pedal is that the depth knob only has two-positions as opposed to the variable switches most pedals have. So basically, you either have a lot of depth or a very subtle chorus. Then, with the rate knob, you control the speed of the pitch modulation. This pedal is both analog and true bypass. The pedal has a very warm, though slightly dark, tone. Unlike the original Small Clones, modern examples of the effect are true bypass.

Features:

  • Control: Depth, Rate
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: True Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter and Battery
  • Dimensions: 5.19" x 1.6" x 3.37"
  • Weight: 1 lb.

Pros
The main draw of this pedal is its simplicity. It covers a lot of the same ground as other chorus pedals, but you won’t have to spend as much time dialing in your tone. The cool thing about this is that it makes the effect really easy to dial in, and the positions available are all really useable.

Cons
With its streamlined controls, this pedal is not for those who want to have more control over chorus effect parameters.

Overall
If you're looking for a straightforward plug-and-play chorus pedal then this maybe a good fit for you.

MXR M234 - Analog

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
MXR M234 Analog Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Chorus Pedal from $50 to $100 along with the EHX Small Clone.

The MXR M234 is an analog chorus pedal, with expanded controls that let you adjust level, rate and depth, along with a low and hi-cut. These controls allow you to shape the resulting tone for a more personalized chorus sound, while its distinctly warm tonality.

Features:

  • Control: Level, Rate, Depth, Low-Cut, High-Cut
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: Hardwire Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter or Battery
  • Dimensions: 5.5" x 2.5" x 4.5"
  • Weight: 0.9 lb.

Pros
According to reviews, the MXR M234 provides exactly what you’d expect from an analog modulation pedal. Many consider the chorus effect to be warm and lush, and while the pedal is obviously going to impact your tone it is still relatively transparent. The MXR234 really is also reported to be durable, the benefits of which should not be understated.

Cons
Something to know about this pedal before you buy it is that it does use hardwire bypass, which can be a deal breaker for some.

Overall
Here is an analog chorus pedal for those who want to more control over the chorus effect.

Best Chorus Pedals - $100 & Above

The pedals below are all phenomenal, though don’t feel that spending more than $100 is a requirement to get a good tone.

Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble - Digital

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$120
Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble Pedal

An interesting feature of the CE-5 is its filter control. This is basically a tone control for the chorus effect, so should you need to you can make the CE-5 sound a bit warmer. It’s not going to make it sound like an analog pedal, but it can roughly approximate one. The first thing that you have to understand about this pedal is that it is pretty digital sounding, which isn’t a bad thing. The great thing about digital modulation effects is that they’re very clear, which allows them to pair well with darker amps and pickups. However, depending on the gear you use the “digital-ness” of the pedal may sound a bit thin.

Another thing to know is that this pedal, like others made by Boss, has buffered bypass. The cool thing about buffered bypass pedals is that they boost your signal. This comes in handy if you’re running a longer chain, though if you’re using a shorter change it may alter your tone somewhat. Lastly, the unit also has a stereo output. This allows you to run the effect through two different amps, which can make it sound wider (you really need to hear the effect in person, as it’s not really something that’s easy to describe).

Features:

  • Control: Effect Level, Rate, Depth, Filter
  • Circuit: Digital
  • Bypass: Buffered Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter or Battery
  • Dimensions: 5.1" x 2.4" x 2.9"
  • Weight: 1 lb.

Pros
The CE-5 Chorus Ensemble is a digital chorus beloved for its flexibility and bright tone. There are plenty of reports of it working well with different musical styles. And like other Boss pedals, it’s also incredibly durable and reliable.

Cons
Aside from being a bit limited in terms of control, there aren't that many complains about with the pedal.

Overall
There's a reliable Boss pedal for every guitar effect need, and like many of their top rated products, the CE-5 Chorus is well worth checking out.

MXR M134 Stereo Chorus - Analog

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$170
MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal

The MXRM134 is a very versatile pedal, capable of covering a huge variety of different chorus tones. The unit has an overall total of six controls; five variable knobs and an on/off bass filter switch.

A key selling point of this pedal is that it can actually cover the tonal range of an analog chorus as well as approximate the brightness you find in digital units, making it a great fit for those of you who are looking to cover a lot of ground. And like other effects made by MXR, the MXRM134 has a durable metal chassis.

Features:

  • Control: Bass, Treble, Intensity, Width, Rate
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: Hardwire Bypass
  • Power: 18-Volt Adapter or 2 x 9V Batteries (No Included)
  • Dimensions: 5.5" x 2.5" x 4.5"
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.

Pros
The MXR M134 is a hit with those who are looking for good analog chorus tone. It is reported to be more than capable of producing that “wet” and pronounced chorus that defines shoegaze genres, and it also works well for adding subtle chorus, as used in modern genres.

Cons
Some users caution that two of the controls of the pedal are not intuitively labeled. The controls in question are: the bass filter and the intensity control. The bass filter (which isn’t labeled) reduces chorusing on the low-end signal, resulting in a much brighter tone. While the intensity knob controls the mix of the dry and chorused signal (should've been labeled as blend).

Overall
This feature packed chorus pedal will make a good addition for anyone who wants a versatile chorus effect unit.

Boss CE-2W Waza Craft - Analog

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Chorus Pedal

The Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus pedal is a combination of the famous CE-2 and the CE-1 (both the vibrato and chorus effects). Right off the bat, the first thing to know about this pedal is that it does a pretty solid job of approximating the tone of these vintage effects.

But the question is: Does this pedal stack up against its modern competition?

Features:

  • Control: Rate, Depth, Chorus/Vibrato Mode
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: Buffered Bypass
  • Power: 9-Volt Adapter and Battery
  • Dimensions: 5.12" x 2.87" x 2.37"
  • Weight: 1 lbs.

Pros
Demos and reviews of theBoss CE-2W Waza put this pedal in a good light. There are many who report that the tone is rich and vibrant, and can work well with various musical styles.

Cons
A possible flaw with the pedal is that there are only two controls: rate and depth. Though to be fair, dozens of albums have been made with pedals that only have these two controls. So it is limiting when compared to pedals that do have these features, but at the same time it won’t prevent you from dialing in a good tone.

Overall
If you want to reproduce the familiar 80s chorus sound, this would be a good pedal to start your search.

Things to Consider When Buying a Chorus Pedal

If after looking through our recommendations you’re still not sure which unit will be the best chorus pedal for your needs, check out the sections below where we go over the effect in more depth.

Budget vs. High End Chorus Pedals

Unlike a lot of other hobbies, instruments and effects don’t have a linear improvement in quality as price increases. Effects pedals in particular are subject to a high rate of diminishing returns, so once you get past a certain price point ($50 generally) you’re not going to be experiencing large jumps in quality.

In the case of chorus pedals, as you spend more money you generally get a couple more features; most notably a time and feedback controls as well as an expression pedal input. Time controls the time it takes for the modulated signal to be heard, and feedback adds in resonance to the tone. An expression pedal allows you to control a parameter with a foot pedal.

Note that you get an increase in features, not an increase in tone quality. If you’re going to use the extra features provided by more expensive units the increase in cost may be worth it, but if you’re not you will generally be better off getting a highly reviewed pedal with a more minimalist control layout.

Digital vs. Analog

The debate between analog and digital has always been a point of contention in guitar playing circles. Some musicians feel that digital effects don’t have an “organic” tone, while others feel that the relatively bright voicing of digital helps their signal cut through the mix.

There is a technical difference between an analog and digital chorus, but it’s incredibly technical. In summation, use your ears to make your decision. Just use the knowledge that an analog chorus will be a bit warmer than a digital chorus to help you narrow down your search.

Buffered vs. Hardwire vs. True Bypass

Something that many musicians are concerned about is the bypass configuration of their pedals. Bypass is the path that your signal follows when an effect is disengaged. A buffered output boosts the signal as it leaves the pedal, and true bypass allows your signal to pass through the pedal without running through its circuitry.

A lot of musicians feel that true bypass prevents tone loss, which is true to some extent. Your guitar signal gradually degrades based on the length it travels, with notable degradation starting around 12 feet of length. So true bypass helps to reduce the distance, which in turn reduces tone loss. Buffered bypass boosts the signal, reintroducing the high-end frequencies that are lost as the signal travels.

The only bypass configuration that’s really limiting is hardwire bypass, where your signal passes through the pedal without being boosted.

Chorus’s Place in Your Signal Chain

The generally accepted order of an effects chain is: compression, filter (wah), distortion/overdrive, modulation (chorus, flanger, vibrato), delay/reverb, and volume pedals. However, many musicians change up the order of effects based on the tone they want.

Think of it this way: you have a continuous signal that it modulated based on the pedal the signal passes through. The modulation used carries through the chain. For example, if you have a distortion before a chorus (and both are engaged) your distorted signal will then be modulated. With so many effects available there are a ton of different configurations available, so in order to really know which order of effects works best for you you’re going to have to experiment.

Best Chorus Pedal Selection Methodology

This guide was first published on August 23, 2017 written by Mason Hoberg and the latest major update was published on January 28, 2020 written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Mason Hoberg.

First, we considered all the standalone chorus pedals that are rating well in the market, and can be readily bought from major online US music gear stores. Then, for this update, we ended up with a short-list of 22, which you can view in the Music Gear Database. We then collected ratings and reviews from online stores, forums, videos and major music gear publications including the most recent ones up to January of 2020. All these data were then processed with the Gearank Algorithm to produce Gearank scores out of 100 for each of them. Over 6,800 sources were used during this process. Finally we broke the list down into price brackets and selected the highest rated ones to recommend above. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Comments

According to the "MXR Bypass

According to the "MXR Bypass List", both the Stereo Chorus and the Analogue Chorus are buffered.

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