The Best Chorus Pedals - All Price Ranges

The Highest Rated Chorus Pedals

Disclosure

We recommend all products independently of 3rd parties including advertisers. We earn advertising fees from:
• • • • •
Sweetwater
• • • • •

Amazon

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
• • • • •

While the use of chorus varies as musical styles change, it is still among the most commonly used effect by guitarists the world over. And it's undeniable impact on guitar tone and music in general, makes it a crucial part of many pedalboards.

Here we look at the best chorus pedals in three price ranges, based on the most recent ratings up to late January 2021. Although we include both analog and digital pedals in our analysis, analog pedals once again dominate the ratings with the Boss CE-5 being the notable exception.

The Best Chorus Pedals

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

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 850+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$27
Danelectro D5 FAB Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Chorus Pedal Under $50 along with the Donner Tutti Love.

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

At under $30 it is really attractive for beginning musicians who can’t afford to drop a ton of money on a single effect. And even with many smaller mini chorus pedals available in the same price range, it is still doing quite well.

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 owners 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, it's hard to find a chorus pedal that gives you as much value for your money.

Stax Chorus Pedal - Analog

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$31
Stax Chorus Pedal

This relatively unknown chorus pedal is another good option among the many lesser known affordable chorus pedals that flood the market.

It is well received for providing good analog style warm chorus sound, and it does so in a small mini-size pedal format.

The main knob lets you adjust rate, while two other knobs allow for tweaking level and depth. And it comes with true bypass.

Features:

  • Control: Level, Depth, Rate
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: True Bypass
  • Power: 9V Power Adapter (included)
  • Dimensions: 3.74" x 1.73" x 1.89"
  • Weight: 0.53 lbs.

Pros
For the price, most of the users of this pedal are satisfied with its performance. Others are pleased at how compact and easy it is to fit into pedalboards. Many are also pleased with it's warm analog style chorus sound.

Cons
There are a few who report that the chorus effect is a little too subtle for their tastes.

Overall
The Stax Chorus Pedal is a good buy for those looking for a mini-size and budget friendly analog chorus pedal.

Donner Tutti Love - Analog

88
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$38
Donner Tutti Love Chorus Pedal

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Chorus Pedal Under $50 along with the Danelectro D5 FAB.

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

An interesting feature 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 Tutti Love Chorus pedal is that it’s affordable and has a small footprint. It is also reported by users 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 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$58
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.

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 adjectives that sum 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 will make a great addition for any pedalboard.

Electro-Harmonix Small Clone - Analog

92
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$96
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal

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.

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 usable.

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

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
MXR M234 Analog Chorus Pedal

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

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, with 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.

At publication time the Boss CE-5, JHS Emperor V2 and Boss CE-2W were the Equal Highest Rated Chorus Pedals Over $100.

Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble - Digital

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$144
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 user 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.

JHS Emperor V2 - Analog

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$199
JHS Emperor V2 Analog Chorus Pedal

The JHS Emperor V2's most distinct feature is its tap tempo footswitch that lets you set the modulation speed to match the beat of the music you're playing.

This version 2 comes with the same features as the original, but packed inside a more compact form factor. At its core is a real 3207 bucket brigade chipset, which gives it vintage tones that are closer to old school favorites.

Controls include knobs for volume, speed, EQ and depth, along with a switch that lets you choose between 3 different waveform shapes that varies the overall sound. All these controls can be used to allow for a wide variety of chorus tones.

In addition, this pedal also lets you switch between chorus and vibrato, which expands what the pedal can do even further.

Contrasting it's vintage style tone are modern features that include switchable true or buffered bypass, and stereo output.

Features:

  • Control: Volume, Speed, EQ, Depth, Waveform Switch, Chorus/Vibrato Switch
  • Circuit: Analog
  • Bypass: Switchable (True/Buffered)
  • Power: 9-Volt Battery and Power Adapter (not included)
  • Dimensions: 5" x 2.1" x 2.5"
  • Weight: 0.63 lbs.

Pros
Users describe the sound of this pedal as clean and vintage sounding, ideal for adding light chorus effect to your tone. It is also often commended for being versatile, able to go from subtle to over the top while retaining good sound quality. Many are also pleased with the addition of the tap tempo switch, switchable bypass and the option for stereo output.

Cons
There are some who wish for a mix knob, but they are easily outnumbered by those who are pleased with the addition of a volume knob.

Overall
Hard to go wrong with the JHS Emperor V2, it gives you vintage style chorus and vibrato effect with modern bypass and output options.

Boss CE-2W Waza Craft - Analog

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$206
Boss CE-2W Waza Craft 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 the Boss CE-2W Waza put this pedal in a great 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 great 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

Here we take a more in-depth look at important factors to consider when buying a chorus pedal, along with a bit more information about the chorus effect in general.

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 Chorus

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.

Chorus in Multi-Effects Pedals

There are plenty of multi-effects pedals and guitar processors that come with different types of chorus effects, along with various other effects types. Generally speaking, stand-alone chorus pedals are expected to sound better, and this is the reason why we decided to focus on them for this guide. But don't count out multi-effects yet because many of them can get the job done, and do so for a lot less - thanks to improvements in Digital Sound Processing (DSP) technology. They can also be a good affordable entry way into chorus effect usage, and effects in general.

Best Chorus Pedal Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the latest edition was published on January 31, 2021.

First, we considered all the standalone chorus pedals that are rating well in the market, and available from major online US music gear stores. Then, for this update, we ended up with a short-list of 24, 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 2021. All these data were then processed with the Gearank Algorithm to produce Gearank scores out of 100 for each of them. Over 8,900 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 our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Produced by Gearank.com using photographs of the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone, Boss CE-5 and MXR M234.

The videos above have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

According to the "MXR Bypass

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

Post a Comment or Question

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.