Top 10 Rated Fuzz Pedals for 2021

Dave Mostert
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Fuzz pedals are very much a subjective thing. Some people prefer nothing but the flat out distortion, while others swoon for chainsaw overdrive.

If you really want to wail and this means singing leads or those long buzzing or just plain screaming guitars solos, you need a pedal that’s going to be on a hair trigger and is going to react the moment you step on it. This is where all those fuzz pedals totally crushed it in terms of bang for buck, performance and pure fun.

So here you are my top picks for the most creative and best sounding fuzz pedals you can buy.

Don’t overlook an important feature when shopping for fuzz pedals: the filter control. It lets you adjust the cutoff so you can create a smoother sound.

NameCategoryProduct
Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallWampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects Pedal
Valeton Guitar Distortion Effects PedalBudget PickValeton Guitar Distortion Effects Pedal
ZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects PedalUpgrade PickZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects Pedal

1. Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Professional sound
  • Made of materials of the highest quality
  • Compact size
  • Really fun to use

If you are looking for the best fuzz pedals of 2020, this may be one of the best options to consider.

This is a recreation of a classic fuzz pedal. It has several great features that will give you access to different tones. The beautiful thing about this pedal is that it has great touch sensitivity and fuzz volume to show the variations that you feel.

It has 9 volts of power that offers a lot of distortion and noise – just the way you want it. It also offers the ability to work with all of the different kinds of instruments and it has a little tweak that will give you the best sound it has to offer.

2. MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • USA designed and manufactured
  • True bypass
  • Vintage-flavored Fiend Finger Fuzz sounds
  • Accurate controls
  • Nail that vintage 70s distortion sound
  • Extreme fuzz and fuzz boost
  • One of the best fuzz pedals
  • Flat impedance curve let’s you use any guitar with this pedal

Cons:

  • High-gain knob has a small dead zone, covering a small spectrum of possible gain
  • A bit noisy
  • Buttons’ labels may wear off

The MXR M236 Super Badass Fuzz is one of the best fuzz pedals in its price range. In terms of build quality, you get a high-quality USA built effect with a cast metal case with a sturdy, super clicky switch and solid small chunky knobs. The knobs are very responsive and very usable to get everything from a subtle distortion overdrive all the way to a vicious fuzz.

All the parts are true bypass and for a big part they are easily replaceable and there are also many mods available for this. As for the sound, the thing that drew everyone to fuzz pedals in the first place is that gutsy, thick, heavy, smooth and yeah, bad-ass tone and the MXR Super Badass delivers that tone.

3. Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Simple controls
  • Great sounding pedal
  • Useful build features like the clear top
  • Small box size but produces a big sound

Fuzz pedals are known to produce a gritty, raw sound that offers a high amount of sustain. When shopping for one, you’ll find a variety of options to choose from. However, once you’ve tried the Catalinbread Karma pedal, it’s usually difficult to play a fuzz pedal that’s not of the same quality.

The Karma Suture pedal is hand-made in California and serves as a follow up to the most famous Catalinbread fuzz pedal. It features a unique circuit design that gives it several useful build features, including a convenient and transparent top plate. This allows you to clearly see the hand-wired, point-to-point guitar pedal that Catalinbread is known for.

4. Death by Audio Fuzz War Effect Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

Death by Audio Fuzz War Effect Pedal

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Pros:

  • Unique design, not like any other fuzz pedal
  • True-bypass
  • Extremely loud pedal
  • Enormous range of tones

Cons:

  • Very messy design, hard to keep clean
  • Expensive
  • Only 2 knobs to control the pedal

Need a fuzz pedal that’s so crazy that it’s never going to be duplicated?

Death By Audio war pedal is the one for you! This pedal is definitely not like any other fuzz pedal.

This Death By Audio Pedal is a big mess when you get down to business, and it offers a complete meltdown on the front end of the sound spectrum.

5. ZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

ZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • The pedal features two reduction modes
  • Easy to carry around
  • Versatile sound options
  • Decent value

Cons:

  • Doesn’t produce any glitching sounds
  • Some issues with the construction quality

The ZVex effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects Pedal offers a unique combination of tones for guitarists. It features dynamic controls and an absolute transparency in terms of what signal goes in and comes out.

The pedal comes equipped with “woolly” oscillation that creates a chorus effect with your guitar’s input signal. It has two different types of reduction modes “ woolly and healthy ” that allow you to get an additional tone range. It also features a level control that allows you to ensure that the pedal works with your tone.

The pedal is designed to work with most instruments. However, it won’t work very well with acoustic guitars.

6. ZVEX Effects Fat Fuzz Factory Germanium Fuzz Guitar/Bass Pedal

Our rating: 7 / 10

ZVEX Effects Fat Fuzz Factory Germanium Fuzz Guitar/Bass Pedal

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Pros:

  • This pedal is true bypass
  • The switch has an ultra-rare octave up mode
  • The pedal has a bright LED
  • Has two outputs for splitting the signal
  • It has a control for fine tuning the volume on each of the outputs
  • You can add more sustain
  • You can achieve a Gibson tone
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • You cannot use the pedal as a preamp
  • Costs more than any other pedal on our list

Germanium transistors used in the ZVEX Fat Fuzz Factory are very responsive to experimentation. You can change the clarity of the octave and you can also vary the pitch of the pedal. You can use this effect pedal for an overdrive, or as a boost accompanied with other pedals.

From a sound perspective, this is totally worth it. If you are on the lookout for a fuzz pedal, then this is one of the best that you can get in the market. There are many different versions of fuzz. Let us talk about a few of them.

7. Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII Guitar Effects Pedal w/(2) 6" patch cables

Our rating: 6 / 10

Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII Guitar Effects Pedal w/(2) 6" patch cables

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Pros:

  • Great variety of controls to shape the tone
  • Great tone range
  • Effects are easy to use and sound great

Sometimes it’s worth adding a splash of color to your sonic palette. When it comes to a wide variety of fuzz tones, the Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII guitar effects pedal is a great choice for blues, stoner rock, and classic rock.

The variety of controls allows for shaping the ultra-saturating, juicy tone of this pedal. You can adjust the tone of the bucket brigade chip, gain, sensitivity, voltage, and diode switches to get your ideal sound.

Effects are easy to use and sound great. It’s not incredibly hard to get your desired sound, and the tone is very tight.

8. EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverberation Effects Pedal

Our rating: 6 / 10

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverberation Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Unique design
  • Very versatile
  • Built-in integrations let you add plug-and-play functionality
  • Incredible sound quality

Looking for a pedal alternative that cuts out the middle-man? If so, check the Afterneath from EarthQuaker Devices out. This true analog reverb pedal can be used as an overdrive, a boost, or even as digital reverb with a press of a footswitch. This pedal gives you the ability to fine tune and tweak your tone to perfection.

This pedal is a unique take on the classic spring reverb, with an even more tamed, smooth response.

It features a larger, deeper, and richer tone, which is perfect for musicians who want to drench their tone in a more vintage reverb. By utilizing the “pre-delay” function, you can emphasize and highlight the signal coming in from your guitar or other instrument. Also, by tweaking the “tail” and “mix” function, you can get the perfect mix of wet to dry tone to create an ambient or cavernous sound.

9. Mooer EQ Effects Pedal

Our rating: 5 / 10

Mooer EQ Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Solid built quality
  • Low electricity usage
  • Self-powered when off, but also requires a 9V battery when on
  • Generates a warm tone
  • Reasonable price point

Cons:

  • Battery life is average at 2-4 hours
  • Active mode doesn’t work if you don’t place the pedal at the end of your signal chain

Mooer is a Chinese manufacturer that makes pedals based on classic designs. The Fog is a pedal that focuses on the bass, with a slightly trebly sound.

It includes one active EQ-band, with a frequency of 64 Hz to 8 kHz and a boost/cut of +/- 15 dB.

It is ideal for bass, but can also be used with other instruments.

10. Valeton Guitar Distortion Effects Pedal

Our rating: 4 / 10

Valeton Guitar Distortion Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Wide range of sounds and controls
  • Durable; good for live performances
  • Will keep up with an amp in terms of volume
  • Good instructions are available

Cons:

  • Complicated controls
  • Pedal maxes out at 1 octave

Guitar players looking for the best fuzz pedals will find what they are looking for in the Valeton COD-1. The wide range of sounds and controls means that there’s almost nothing the Valeton COD-1 can’t do.

Like any guitar pedal, the Valeton COD-1 requires you to connect it to an amplifier via a guitar cord, but it also has its own internal battery that allows you to plug directly into a mixer or a recording device. The various knobs allow you to control the tone, boost, and volume. The tone knob controls the gain level, the boost knob controls the amount of gain, and the volume knob controls the overall output volume.

The COD-1 can do just about anything you’d want it to do, but the fact that it can do so much can make it a little bit difficult to use. There’s a manual that comes with the COD-1 that has clear pictures, which can help you figure out all the knobs if you get confused.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where should a fuzz pedal go?

The decision of where your fuzz pedal goes is the most important part of a fuzz pedal setup. It may be tempting to insert your fuzz in between your guitar and the preamp. However, this setting is actually an awful place for it. Remember, your fuzz pedal is meant to distort the sound of your fuzz. Placing in this location makes it much more difficult to actually hear that distortion. You want to hear the fuzz distort before the signal gets to your amp.

Is the proco rat a fuzz pedal?

The ProCo Rat is a distortion pedal. It was the first distortion pedal to be on the market. The ProCo Rat helped to define overdriven guitar in a similar way that the Marshall amp helped to define rock and roll. Essentially, the ProCo Rat is not a fuzz, but it can produce a similar sound when used in conjunction with the right amp.

If this is your first pedal purchase, let me suggest that you keep your eyes peeled for a fuzz pedal. Fuzz pedals are unlike distortion, overdrive, or compression. They are their own thing. The first people to play fuzz were guitarists who wanted to replicate the sound of a trumpet. Don't believe me?

Check out a video of Jimi Hendrix playing 'Foxey Lady', and then, after watching him use the pedal, consider the trumpet sound you hear. Are you thinking about it now?

What does an octave fuzz pedal do?

The fuzz pedal is the iconic fuzz machine. When you think fuzz, you think of the tone that Hendrix, May, and the like used on classic rock tracks in the 60s.

Fuzz pedals are designed to distort your guitar''s signal much like a distortion pedal. But where a distortion pedal increases the gain on one frequency (the higher the amount of gain, the more the higher frequencies get boosted), the fuzz pedal increases the gain on a much wider frequency range.

As a result, a fuzz pedal will sound much thicker than an overdrive amp will. It will also not produce as much gain, so the resulting octave is not as sharp or as cutting.

Which Boss distortion pedal is best?

The ultimate Boss distortion pedal is the DS-1 Distortion pedal. You may not be surprised to learn that this is probably one of the most used distortion pedals in the industry. It gives guitarists instant access to a high-gain distorted sound that is really beefy. Plus, this pedal can also be tweaked to have the power amp clipping of a tube amp. In other words, you can get really powerful, high-gain sounds with the DS-1.

Conclusion

Fuzz pedals are something we’ve found ourselves going back to again and again over the years, and we’re sure that they’re going to be pretty much as popular as ever in 2021. We’ve created a list of the best fuzz pedals available right now, and if we were relying on our own experience alone, this is the list we’d have chosen. It’s based on user ratings, ratings from experts, and the cost to quality ratio of each pedal, and we’re pretty confident that you’ll be impressed too.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallWampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects Pedal
Valeton Guitar Distortion Effects PedalBudget PickValeton Guitar Distortion Effects Pedal
ZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects PedalUpgrade PickZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Effects Pedal