Best Cheap Overdrive Pedal Choices in 2024 – Under $50 & $100

overdrive pedals

Are you a guitarist on the hunt for the best cheap overdrive pedal? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll explore wallet-friendly options that add warmth, grit, and saturation to your guitar tone.

Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just entering the guitar world, finding the right overdrive pedal doesn’t have to break the bank.

Overdrive Pedal Basics

Before we dive into the pedal recommendations, let’s cover the essentials. Overdrive pedals are essential tools for shaping your guitar sound. They are a kind of distortion pedal that employ more subtle forms of clipping. They add that sweet, harmonically rich saturation that can take your playing style up to the next level. But with so many options, how do you choose the right one?

Key Considerations

  1. Controls: Overdrive pedals typically come with knobs for adjusting gain, tone, and volume. Understanding these controls will help you fine-tune your sound.
  2. Ease of Use: Some pedals are plug-and-play, while others require tweaking. Consider your comfort level with adjusting settings.
  3. Price Range: We’ve got you covered whether you’re looking for pedals under $50 or willing to stretch your budget up to $100.

For more details, check out the Things To Consider section. If you’re looking for other types of pedals, check out The Best Guitar Pedals: Eleven Essential Effects. Lastly, if you need to learn more about Overdrive vs Distortion, click here.

Top Overdrive Pedals Under $50 & $100

Below, you’ll find five highly-rated overdrive pedals that won’t break the bank. Each listing comes with a brief description, specifications, pros and cons. Whether you’re into blues, rock, or any other genre, there’s something here for you.

The Best Cheap Overdrive Pedal Choices – 2024

Author & Contributors

Best Overdrive Pedals Under $50

Behringer TO800

89 out of 100. Incorporating 2700+ ratings and reviews.
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $50.


  • Flimsy enclosure
  • Battery compartment hard to open without tools


  • Distinct TS midrange hump great for blues
  • Surprisingly quiet pedal
  • Affordable

The Behringer TO800 is what is now commonly referred to in the pedal community as a YATS or "Yet Another Tube Screamer". However, the TO800 may predate the term since it was released in the early 2000's when boutique pedal makers were few and far between.

Aside from homemade clones of the TS circuit, the TO800 was the most accessible Tube Screamer style pedal in terms of affordability back then (at least in my neck of the woods).

Similar to the original medium gain overdrive, the TO800 has just 3 controls: Drive, Tone and Level. Drive can range from a nice boost with a mid-bump and lean low end (perfect for boosting a high gain amp), to a warm sounding vintage lead sound all the way.

It won't be doing heavier styles on its own, but a TS style pedal is a go-to for a lot of high gain metal as a tone-shaping boost pedal to tighten up the low frequencies.

It's interesting how a circuit designed to replicate vintage tones is also responsible for some of the heaviest, most crushing metal tones. For metalheads-in-training, the TO800 is still a great value pedal for tightening up amplifiers. The circuitry and components are surprisingly quiet compared to early DIY Tube Screamer clones I had back in the day.

Behringer TO800 Main Shot
The Behringer pedal form factor is reminiscent of BOSS pedals but constructed in plastic.

One thing that is a consistent con for me for this pedal lineup is the plastic enclosure. I remember breaking my Behringer DM100 one gig with one (albeit forceful) stomp during a metal gig. For just a little more, modern affordable pedals are in the market housed in metal or aluminum enclosures.

In the end, there isn't much to say about this little pedal that already has been said for the design it's based after. Purists will say that it sounds different but when you're just starting out, broad strokes are of more value in forming your impression of gear than the finer details.

If you're going for absolute value or want to give the circuit a try without investing too much, the TO800 is (still) a great first pedal. If you're already well-afflicted with "Gear Acquisition Syndrome", then the TO800 might not be for you.


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

TC Electronic Cinders

88 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.
TC Electronic


  • Footswitch reliability is a common problem with TC Electronics pedals


  • Great "BD" guitar tone on a budget
  • All-metal enclosure
  • Slightly warmer tone reflects the BOSS Waza version

The TC Electronic Cinders is a spin off a familiar blue pedal from BOSS known for its clear sounding breakup characteristic. Compared to the mid hump of TS-based designs, the "BD" inspired sound of the TC Electronic Cinders helps achieve a more "glassy" tone for single coils without over-accentuating the icepick trebles.

It has a basic set of controls for Tone, Drive and Volume and that's all it needs. The rest is up to your guitar. I found the tone to be slightly warmer than the BOSS BD-1 when I tried it (expect an extended review later), but over all very similar once you nudge the TC Electronic Cinders' tone knob to 1 o'clock. It's around here that the two pedals sound nearly 1:1.

The interesting thing is, BOSS' own Waza version of the BD-1 sounds a bit warmer than the stock BD-1. Those that have plinkier sounding strats or teles that want a bit of that Waza warmth will be at home with the Cinders.

One con I might have to note is the footswitch. I don't know how long it will hold up but from previous experience with TC Electronic pedals, it's usually the first part to go.

Looking for a BD type overdrive on a budget? Check out the TC Electronic Cinders.


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

Best Overdrive Pedals Under $100

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

94 out of 100. Incorporating 4900+ ratings and reviews.


  • Controls might be too simple for tweaking
  • Noise floor higher than many boutique offerings


  • Adds muscle to vintage amplifiers
  • Good standalone drive tone for blues and indie
  • Rugged Boss housing

The earliest experience I have of the Boss SD-1 was when my guitar teacher was playing through his Marshall stack. I was amazed at the sheer volume and gain from his JCM 800 back then.

Then he tells me "If you liked that, then check this out!" as he takes out a small yellow pedal from a cabinet and sets it up. When he kicked it on, I was beyond floored at the thick, angry sounding tone from his already roaring JCM.

That's when I tried to get my own SD-1 and when I tried it, I was disappointed. Not because of the pedal but I realized that he wasn't using the SD-1's gain to achieve that tone. He was using it to push the JCM's preamp harder. I regrettably sold my first SD-1 because I didn't know better but I found myself wanting to try one again now that I have a tube amp with me.

Compared to many boutique offerings today that are more or less variations of the TS style circuit, the SD-1 by Boss is its own animal. As a light overdrive going into a clean amp, it has slightly less midrange hump versus Tube Screamer type pedals with a bit more grit. For those looking for a standalone overdrive pedal, the SD-1 is a good choice.

As with my experience, it shines the best when paired with a good Marshall amplifier or any "British" flavored tone. Even practice amps get a good kick from it.

One con of the SD-1 that more expensive pedals address is the noise floor. It isn't distracting or unusable but it's the only reason why more expensive pedals have an edge over it. It also lacks the versatility of many boutique pedals that offer controls for many parameters.

Still, if simplicity and long-term durability along with affordability are your priorities, the SD-1 is a perennial favorite that is sure to floor you (and your tube amps) the way it did when I first heard it on that JCM. It's not the most transparent overdrive but it adds a lot of character to an already distorted amp.

If you're into the gritty overdrive tone of blues music, you can go for the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, which shares a lot of similarity with the SD-1, but tweaked for specific tones.


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

Ibanez TS Mini Overdrive Pedal

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1700+ ratings and reviews.
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $100 along with the EarthQuaker Devices Plumes.


  • Smaller moving parts might lead to reliability issues down the line


  • Classic TS tone
  • Small enclosure perfect for "fly rig" setups
  • More affordable than other TS variants

The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini is a streamlined and compact version of the popular Ibanez TS9 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 guitar players, but since this one is smaller, it doesn't take much precious pedalboard real estate, making it an easy addition for any setup.

Many guitarists are now building compact fly rigs with small footprint pedals. The original TS9/TS808 are small, but not as compact as the smallest pedal enclosures today. The TS Mini fills that role (no pun intended) by cramming in everything that makes the TS series famous into a small enclosure.

It still has the signature midrange hump and slight bass reduction as the originals. Nitpicking at the core tone, you might find some differences but they're marginal and the signature Tube Screamer sound is still there, only in a smaller package.

One tradeoff for the smaller enclosure size is the use of smaller, less durable parts like the enclosure, switches, knobs, and potentiometers. This shouldn't be a problem for the light-footed but hard stomping rockers might prefer something more durable like the originals. A compromise of size for peace of mind but it may make all the difference in your decision.

The Ibanez TS Mini gives you the iconic Tube Screamer tone without using too much money or space. If you're building a compact "fly rig" pedalboard, the TS Mini is a must-have. Avoid it if you're looking for more tone shaping options.


  • Controls: Tone, Level, Overdrive
  • Analog
  • Hardwire Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Used by: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Moore, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Eric Johnson

EarthQuaker Devices Plumes

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.
Earthquaker Devices
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Overdrive Pedal Under $100 along with the Ibanez TS Mini.


  • Early models had reliability issues


  • Three distinct sounding modes
  • JFET design augments classic TS circuit
  • High quality components
  • Relatively affordable for a boutique pedal

Before you dismiss the EarthQuaker Devices (or EQD for brevity) as a "YATS" (Yet Another Tube Screamer), do know that instead of the classic TS JRC4558 IC and BJT transistor buffers, the Plumes uses JFETs for lower noise and a bit more sparkle on the treble.

This addresses one of the downsides of the basic TS tone where the midrange bump gives an impression of a muted high end.

Also differing from the classic TS circuit, this dirt pedal features a selectable Audio Clipping mode with 3 options:

Mode 1 is an LED clipping mode which brings British flavor overdrive tonalities with a slightly higher gain. It's similar to how drive pedals like the boutique classic MI Electronics Crunch Box does its clipping.

Mode 2 is a pure clean boost without clipping. Perfect for using it to push the front end of your tube amplifier without much coloration.

Mode 3 is the classic asymmetrical clipping design similar to the original Tube Screamer without the mid hump because of the use of JFETs. It's a great tone for just a bit more sparkle over the standard TS tone.

All in all, there aren't any major flaws to point out with the Plumes. Early units had some reliability issues that have since been fixed. If you plan on getting one, it's best to go brand new to get the latest revision.

I know everyone's tired of seeing the words "Tube Screamer" but the Plumes doesn't just add a twist to the nomenclature, it brings with it a totally new set of tones building on what was already good with the TS. Some have even replaced their distortion channel with it.

These refinements total to a versatile and custom tuned sounding piece of gear at a price point that most intermediate musicians can afford. Its tone shaping options make it highly recommended for guitarists who juggle between different styles like pop, blues, classic rock and more.


  • Controls: Drive, Level, Gain, Clipping mode toggle
  • Analog
  • True Bypass
  • 9-Volt Adapter/Battery
  • Used by: Mick Thompson (Slipknot), Mike Stringer (Spiritbox), ishiwatari Makiko (The Peggies)

Things to Consider When Buying an Overdrive Pedal

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


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. Many of the best guitar 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).

You can get more details, or even pictures of the controls for each pedal by downloading their manual. To be safe, get the manual from the official website.

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. But those that can tweak complex OD pedals like the LA Lady Overdrive are pleased with the result.

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. Many transparent overdrives make do with minimal knobs.

The only tradeoff is that it will take longer to dial in that tone than other pedals - which means more waiting time during setup. 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 (like tube 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 build quality 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. Some premium overdrive pedals like the Klon Centaur have a specific voicing that many aspire for, behaving like a tube pedal in terms of tone and response.

However, cheaper pedals can still offer the valve amp like overdrive 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. Always take into account the reality of diminishing returns when looking for an overdrive pedal.

Best Overdrive Pedal Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2018. The current edition was published on May 28, 2024

Since there are many guitar effects, distortion pedals, 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 overdrive use. This means that some popular dirt pedals aren't considered, like the Electro Harmonix Metal Muff, which is meant for high gain distortion use.

Being readily available from a major American retailer was also a selection criterion. For this edition, we further limited our search to pedals with a maximum street price of $100. We ended up with a short list of 11 overdrive pedals which you can see the list in our Music Gear Database. We then collated over 13,000 review and rating sources which we processed with the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 for each pedal.

Finally, we divided our best cheap overdrive pedal recommendations based on price, including sub $50 and sub $100 and recommended the highest rated in each price category. 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

I don't usually use overdrives since I prefer getting my saturation from my amp. For recording sessions where I need to step up the gain, I typically reach for boosts or overdrives. I use a modified DIY Tube Screamer clone to push my amplifier into higher gain territory. If I had to get a pedal only from this list, I'd pick a Boss SD-1. I had early experience with it when I was starting out and I want it in my lineup for times where I need that Zakk Wylde-esque Marshall overdrive and distortion pedal sound.


Jerome Arcon: Co-Writer and Product Research.
Mason Hoberg: Suplemental Writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: By using photographs of the Boss SD-1, Ibanez TS Mini, and EarthQuaker Devices Plumes.

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 except for the additional Behringer TO800 photograph which was taken by the author.

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