The Highest Rated Wah Pedals of 2021 Review

Dave Mostert
Written by
Last update:

Who would’ve thought that back in the late 60s when The Who were producing some of the most ear-shattering songs known to man (e.g., Pinball Wizard) that they were inspired by a pedal called a Wah.

This is a British term for a sound effect pedal produced by Vox.

It was originally called the Character & Vibration Envelope of Input, which probably wasn’t that well received in the 1960s.

So, they re-named it The Wah Wah, which stemmed from the “Woa-Woaahh” vocalisation that most guitarists made when using the famous pedal (those in the know, anyhow).

Vox subsequently decided to add an E to Wah (to give it the punniest name possible, perhaps) and the rest is history.

The underlying principle is that the Wah pedal gives you the ability to make your guitar track sound like human speech … like we all do when we’re having a good old laugh, for example. In more practical terms, it allows you to add the same vocal-like effects to solos and riffs.

The name of the effect produced by the pedal is a “Wah wah wah”.

NameCategoryProduct
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallDunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Atlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand ChromeBudget PickAtlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand Chrome
Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickXotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal

1. Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

2. Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • This pedal offers absolutely incredible value for your money
  • Features a better and heavier-duty casing
  • Offers a switchable tone filter function
  • It is less prone to problems with the switch than other wah pedals
  • The footswitch has a fast click option to prevent accidental switching
  • It provides an extremely smooth sweep
  • It provides the most intense bite
  • The tone filter is customizable and brilliant
  • The wah pedal is hand wired and hand built by the manufacturer
  • It has a true bypass

Cons:

  • The battery is sometimes difficult to replace because of its tight fit
  • Switching can be a bit tricky for some people
  • The pedal’s price is a bit higher than the other options
  • The battery does not last as much as you would expect it to
  • There are some complaints about the after-sale service

3. Atlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand Chrome

Our rating: 9 / 10

Atlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand Chrome

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect height for serious tinkerers

Cons:

  • Noisy during use
  • Clunky construction
  • Heavy

The Atlas Sound MS-10C stand is designed to provide rock-solid stability for over-sized bass drum microphones, saxophones, electric guitars, and electric basses. It features a heavy-duty round base for stability and a die-cast clamp for secure mounting to the drum riser or floor surface. The height adjusts from 47– to 63– and has an available 9– boom arm.

One of the things we were looking for was rack mounts for our electric guitar and bass. We tried various options including their effects pedal racks, speaker stands and this round base all-purpose mic stand, which actually worked out well for us. With the Atlas Sound MS-10C stand, the possibilities for mounting are essentially endless.

Another thing we wanted to get was a heavy-duty professional-quality mic stand because we frequently record our music in small spaces like basements, bedrooms etc. A microphone stand will ensure that the mic doesn’t get knocked over during a recording session and cause damage.

4. Jim Dunlop JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

Jim Dunlop JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Width of throw
  • Sweep of throw with gentle modulating potentiometer
  • Sound and resonance
  • Unique size makes for a more ergonomic foot space
  • Can be tapped by left foot
  • Accurate reproduction of classic wah sound
  • Full metal, staked construction

Con: * Non-replaceable pot

There’s no denying the presence of the Dunlop JP95 Wah Petrucci signature pedal in guitarists’ pedalboards these days. Even if you’re not a fan of the “Superer” this is still recommended for anyone looking for a great classic wah sound. The sweep of throw has a gentle modulation, which is great for maintaining your signal quality.

5. Cry Baby 95Q Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

Cry Baby 95Q Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The Cry Baby product line is manufacturer by Dunlop
  • The 95Q has the "Q" (silent) mode feature so you can wah quietly
  • Wah effect puts emphasis on the upfront area of notes and chords
  • Tuning fork allows for quick, simple, and accurate intonation
  • Top-mounted power jack
  • True bypass
  • Comes in a variety of colors to match your style and decor
  • Works with 9v batteries or Dunlop ECB-003 AC adapter
  • The Dunlop Cry Baby Wah 95Q includes a limited warranty

Cons:

  • At higher volumes, the pedal’s signal can be very noisy
  • The rubber material will probably wear out quickly
  • Some of the pedal’s functions are hard to get the hang of
  • The Cry Baby wah pedal doesn’t always have the strong wah effect
  • Tuning your guitar might be difficult

6. VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Stock setting sounds fantastic
  • Solid and well-built
  • Easy setup
  • Preset sounds are great quality
  • Fair price

We’re very impressed with the high-quality sounds produced by this wah pedal. It’s also sturdily built, reliable, and comes in a very attractive price range. Most players won’t need anything else to get amazing sounds out of this pedal.

This pedal was manufactured with simple controls that make it easy to change the settings to achieve a sound you’re looking for. The VOX V845 will have you sounding like your favorite musicians in no time!

The most notable features on this pedal are:

7. Dunlop BG95 Buddy Guy Signature Cry Baby Wah

Our rating: 7 / 10

Dunlop BG95 Buddy Guy Signature Cry Baby Wah

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • High-quality wah pedal
  • Extremely versatile
  • Versatile and dynamic frequency controls
  • Compact and easy to use/store
  • 3-year warranty policy

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Some people might find the design of the red LED light distracting
  • LED light can be annoying in a dimly lit room
  • Some people might experience an annoying background hissing sound

The Dunlop BG95 Buddy Guy Signature Cry Baby Wah is easily the most versatile wah pedal out there.

This is essentially the newer version of the old Cry Baby pedals of the 70s, and is actually better in some respects. The Dunlop BG95 is built around a sturdy cast-aluminum chassis and features extremely durable die-cast casters. This makes it particularly easy to carry around, and is not as heavy as many of the older models used to be.

The redesigned potentiometers and input jack help to create a more reliable design while protecting against dust, corrosion, and wear. They’ve also been equipped with a rubber seal at the input to keep everything from getting wet while increasing overall durability.

8. Morley VAI-1 Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah

Our rating: 7 / 10

Morley VAI-1 Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Extremely versatile pedal
  • Can go from the “quietest wah you’ll ever hear to a spaceship taking off”
  • Features a shape knob that allows you to control the sweep of the pedal
  • Fantastic Sound, especially for Blues and Rock
  • 8‼ input / output jacks
  • Made by a legendary guitarist who is still performing
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Takes some adjusting to get the tone you’re looking for
  • Some people find the settings a little bit confusing

The Morley VAI-1 Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah Pedal is the highest rated wah pedal on the market.

Steve Vai was ranked 39th out of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003, so when it comes to wah pedals, we knew that his name and reputation would be an excellent choice. This is a top rated wah pedal regardless of cost and it takes quite a bit of beating on the competition.

9. Dunlop Dimebag Signature Wah Crybaby Pedal

Our rating: 7 / 10

Dunlop Dimebag Signature Wah Crybaby Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The Dunlop Dimebag Signature Wah is one of the best sealed pedals by Dunlop
  • The pedal is heavier at over 2 pounds, which makes it last longer
  • It offers tone-oriented controls to fans of the pedal
  • It offers the classic Dunlop wah at a more affordable price
  • These features are essential in any pedal

Cons:

  • The price is higher than most wah pedals
  • There are no true-bypass switches, but you can always use an external one if you need it
  • Some reviewers have reported squeaking sounds from the pedal

In this Dunlop Dimebag Signature Crybaby pedal review, we will take a deeper look at the pedal’s features and what more it has to offer.

The pedal comes in various different colors, with classic Black and Chrome being two of the more popular ones. Each one comes with several built-in tones that are very useful in a live situation.

The Dunlop Dimebag Signature Wah can be used with almost any amp or any guitar and will still deliver the same quality. There’s no initial need for you to use a separate power supply as you can control the power within the pedal itself.

10. Morley PFW Cliff Burton Tribute Power Fuzz Wah

Our rating: 6 / 10

Morley PFW Cliff Burton Tribute Power Fuzz Wah

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Flat, smooth frequency response
  • Reverb engaged or disengaged with the flip of a switch
  • Touch-sensitive pedal suitable for various kinds of wah use
  • 3-year warranty

Cons:

  • People have had problems with getting their pedals serviced if a problem occurs
  • Noisy when set to high frequency

Morley are known for making excellent wah pedals. However, this one may just be their best yet. The PFW Cliff Burton Tribute has a good size and is also a fairly simple design. The most noticeable change compared to other pedals in this range is the look of the pedal. Being a Cliff Burton tribute, you would expect some kind of Metallica imagery on the pedal, but instead, Morley has gone with a clean white design and this works really well and looks really cool too.

This pedal may be the most versatile wah pedal on the market. It has a unique boost mode that gives you a +10 dB gain which could come in handy if you are playing a small stage. There is also a feature allowing you to use the wah like a standard volume pedal, which can come in handy for some guitarists.

11. Fender FWP-1 Wah Pedal

Our rating: 4 / 10

Fender FWP-1 Wah Pedal

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Simply incredible performance
  • Full metal construction makes it very sturdy and durable
  • Sounds great
  • Unaffected by pick attack
  • Versatile unit that is useful in any style of music
  • Very effective tonal control
  • Inexpensive

The Fender FWP-1 Pro Fusion Wah Pedal is our top pick because in our in-depth review and comparison with other popular wah pedals reviewed, we found it offered the best value for money. It is both versatile, effective, and inexpensive, making it one of the most desirable wah pedals.

Even at half the price (or less) of its more expensive competitors, the Fender FWP-1 boasts an impressive combination of performance and quality that make it a must-have for those looking for a pedal that will last, and will offer excellent sound and tonal quality for a variety of players.

This unit is equipped with a unique floating design that makes the pedal fit snugly in all types of shoes. You will find that the rubber strap fits perfectly and will remain in place even through vigorous movement. Additionally, it features a non-slip heel. You won’t have to worry about the pedal slipping around when you’ve got the heel locked in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which wah pedal is the best?

(back to menu)

Choosing a wah pedal is never easy. There are many factors one must consider besides just budget. Because most of the top Wah pedals are very similar, we encourage you to pay close attention to the specific needs you have in a pedal. This should help you better narrow down your choices.

Honestly, many of the pedals in this category are nearly identical. You might choose the wah pedals based on the size of your pedal board, your musical style, or if you prefer the extra features of models such as Dunlop’s Dual Mode and the Sweet Sound Wah.

Because all the top wah pedals basically function the same, it really comes down to personal preference. However, at the end of the day, we recommend the Dunlop CryBaby 95Q if you are looking for a classic wah pedal.

How can I make my wah pedal sound better?

Although these noise-reducing pedals are an absolute must-have for any guitarist who loves pedals, there is actually some debate about whether or not these pedals actually improve your tone.

Many players think that they just muddy your tone, making it less clear and muddy. To avoid this problem, try turning the volume on your guitar down, depending on the amount of power you give your wah pedal.

In our opinion, the best way to handle this problem is to get a good wah pedal (see our top picks above) and then go for a pedal power boost such as the Voodoo Lab PP2+. This pedal puts out more than twice the amount of power than any other standard pedal and is highly recommended if you use a wah pedal on a regular basis.

Where should a wah pedal go?

The placement of the wah pedal is important for playing accurately, especially in rock situations where you're likely to use it.

Using a foot pedal to control a wah is common with guitarists. The placement of these pedals has become fairly standard. For some reason, placing it at the bottom of the guitar neck is far less common. While a bit unorthodox, it is much easier to play accurately and quickly if you put it on the bottom of the guitar neck. This was the preferred placement for the great Jimi Hendrix and, therefore, this is the placement we support.

Is Vox Wah true bypass?

Most Wah pedals are designed to have a mode by which you can activate the pedal without the Wah being engaged, which allows the signal to pass through without the effect being activated. This mode is referred to as ÊÊtrue bypass.ÊÊ

True bypass produces a colder sound than what you would get when using an ÊÊeffectedÊÊ signal. The normal Wah mode will affect your sound in a way that is more like the old-school pedals that actually drew some of their sound from your signal chain without actually using an effect.

The Wah pedal will, however, have a slight effect no matter which mode you use, because any pedal has to have some affect on the signal chain when it is activated. The difference is merely that in true bypass mode, your normal Wah mode won't have as much effect on your signal, so the pedal results in the cleaner, purer sound.

Conclusion

And while grabbing a wah pedal for next to nothing might seem like a dream come true, you might find yourself with a disposable pedal, and not the type of pedal that allows you to focus on having fun and playing. While the pedal might work for an hour or so, or one gig, if you are a serious guitar player or bass player, something tells us that you’re going to want more from your pedal than that.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallDunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Atlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand ChromeBudget PickAtlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand Chrome
Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickXotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal