The 10 Top Rated Compressor Pedals 2021

Dave Mostert
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There’s no doubt that it’s always been the goal of guitarists to produce quality sound. And for many years, various artists have done just that.

However, it is undeniable that there is an unending quest to develop a technology that would make the guitar sound crisper, clearer and generally much better. It is only natural that with the advancement of technology, it is now possible to amplify the sound of your guitar easily, using transformer pedals or compressors.And we’re providing the best list of compressor pedals reviewed here today for your needs.

NameCategoryProduct
Wampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallWampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,GreenBudget PickBehringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,Green
Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickElectro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects Pedal

1. Wampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

Wampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Available in various colors
  • Easy to dial in a nice tone and adjust the gain as required
  • Solid construction quality
  • Higher capacity battery
  • Loop function is a nice feature
  • Great customer service
  • Easy to use and versatile

Cons:

  • The true bypass switch has been reported to be incongruous
  • The design does not allow for a true bass-only output option
  • A bit expensive

It’s easy to appreciate the Wampler Ego compressor pedal. While it’s not the best sounding compressor we’ve ever heard, it definitely allows you to dial in some nice tones – it’s versatile enough for various styles of music.

You can use this compressor effect pedal for more than just bass – pretty much any guitar sound can benefit from a little (or a lot of) compression. It’s also easy to dial in a nice tone and adjust the gain as required. Another thing we like is the fact that this compressor pedal is designed to sound great without having to compromise. We also appreciate the fact that the makers opted for quality of tone and bypass integrity over an additional frequency control.

2. MXR Dyna Comp Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

MXR Dyna Comp Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Adjustable compressor
  • True bypass
  • Rugged and built for the long term
  • Quite affordable
  • One of the most popular compressor pedals
  • Easy to use

The MXR Dynacomp M102 is a cheap and effective compressor pedal. A great option for people that don’t want to spend a lot of money on a pedal, but do want a nice quality. It’s available in a few different colors, although the black is the most popular.

This compressor pedal is basically an analog version of the famous Mu-Tron III Envelope Controlled Tube Dampener.

It has the tube-like compression effect that really opens up your guitar sound. One of the things to love about the MXR Dyna comp is how easy it is to use. It’s a great choice for beginners as well as experienced users.

3. Xotic SP Compressor

Our rating: 8 / 10

Xotic SP Compressor

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Pros:

  • Great versatility
  • Good sounding compressor effects
  • Easy to maintain
  • Comes with a power supply

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • May not be good to use live

The Xotic SP Compressor is unique in that it is able to create three distinct compression types: 2:1, 1:1, and gain boost. This pedal was created after the company’s Steve Kooner and his team went to great lengths to create a streamlined and easy-to-use compressor that sounds amazing. It has three compression modes and some independent tone shaping controls.

There’s a Hi/Lo input switch that lets you switch between different high-frequency ranges, and if you’re using the clean channel of your amp, you can boost the low frequencies with the EQ control. You can also get a mild clean-boost along with the compression to keep your signal from bottoming out. You can also shape the compression with the attack settings, which also helps with the overall amount of compression applied to the signal.

The Xotic SP can create tones that range from subtle to extreme compression. This versatile pedal can breathe new life into many different guitar sounds. It has a vintage tone that’s gritty and warm and a simple yet robust experience all in one package.

4. JOYO JF-10 Dynamic Compressor Guitar Effect Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

JOYO JF-10 Dynamic Compressor Guitar Effect Pedal

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Pros:

  • It’s really pedal steel,phaser,flanger,and tape echo simulator.
  • High quality and durable
  • You will get all kinds of sounds from the unit.
  • It will become a high-quality effects pedal as long as you use.

5. TC Electronic EQ Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

TC Electronic EQ Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Effect knob allows for easy filter adjustments with little configuration
  • True bypass circuitry
  • 3-band EQ allows you to really fine-tune your tone
  • Solid construction with metal casing
  • Comes with a target tone setting

Cons:

  • An EQ is a dedicated tone control and lacks versatility
  • Not good for live use

This compact effect pedal is best used for studio work, as it comes with a lot of options for you to experiment with. The unique effect knob allows for easy filter adjustments with minimal configurations. It comes in a metal casing with true bypass circuitry.

For its price, it provides great overall sound quality. The TC Electronics EQ offers a variable low-shelf filter that is adjustable from 100Hz to 1kHz. It also has a variable high-shelf filter that is adjustable from 2 kHz to 8 kHz.

There’s a boost button available as well, which allows for a 10-dB gain. There’s also a master level control that is convenient for overall output. You can control the output of this pedal with a wet/dry knob, allowing you to adjust the balance between the dry and wet sounds.

6. Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer Pedal

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Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Plug and play solution to adding sustain to your guitar
  • Works with both electric and acoustic guitars
  • True bypass function

7. Empress Effects Compressor Analog Compression Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 7 / 10

Empress Effects Compressor Analog Compression Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Tons of controls
  • Best compressor pedal for use with a power supply
  • Cool vintage design
  • Easy interface
  • Extremely versatile compressor
  • Built-in booster
  • True bypass

Cons:

  • Noisier than most compressor pedals
  • Less compression than expected
  • Very heavy

When selecting a new compressor pedal, you’ll find that there are tons of models available. There are also many factors to consider such as style, weight, and design. We scoured the market to find the best option for you.

We tested a lot of compressor pedals for this review, and the Empress one-knob TrebleBooster mode gave us the best results. The Empress pedal is a favorite amongst guitarists, and for good reason.

This compressor pedal was designed with professionals in mind, and features a whopping 12 modes that can be used for various applications ranging from cleaning up your sound to rocking out on stage.

8. Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher Compressor/Sustainer Pedal

Our rating: 7 / 10

Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher Compressor/Sustainer Pedal

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Pros:

  • Groovy design
  • Excellent performance
  • Great price point
  • Suitable for beginners

If you’ve wanted a compressor pedal that’s colorful, functional, and fun to play around with, the Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher is the obvious choice.

This pedal has four knobs and is easy to use, even if you don’t have much experience with pedals and their functionalities. The Gain knob controls how much compression you receive, while the Level knob lets you adjust the overall volume. There’s also a Compression knob, which controls the overall amount of compression you receive. There’s also a Tone knob, which is meant for you to configure your settings to suit the type of sound you’re going for.

This pedal from EHX uses a low-noise design that’s quiet enough for you to use it in recording sessions. However, you may not want to use this compressor in a live setting due to its lack of noise suppression as there are other options that meet that need much better. However, for the price, you can’t really beat this compressor pedal.

9. Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 7 / 10

Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Great and realistic sounding effect
  • Great tone for all kinds of music genres
  • Extremely useful effect for guitar players
  • Saves on space in the pedal board
  • Registers your settings and remembers your favorite sound

Cons:

  • It is not as realistic as recording samples
  • It might require some setup

This pedal is one of the best guitar effects pedals for its sound retention capabilities. It can hold up to 23 seconds of high-quality decay. For those who love experimenting, this is one of the best pedals in the market. It is easy to use and has a plethora of different sound effects. It can add the songs you perform to the mix and still keep it recognizable to the people listening.

The sound quality of this pedal is definitely top notch. If you love to experiment with sound effects, this is a great pedal for you to experiment. It will allow you to add high quality effects and still make audible sound for people to listen. It is definitely one of the best compressors on the market. The pedal looks well-made and sturdy. You can depend on it to last long.

10. Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,Green

Our rating: 6 / 10

Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,Green

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Pros:

  • 3-band EQ that’s very easy to use
  • Compressors
  • Sustainer
  • Tone
  • Added reverb
  • Noise gate
  • True bypass switch
  • 10/20 dB buttons
  • Extra output jacks
  • Low-Z and high-Z inputs

Cons:

  • The instructions aren’t very clear and can be hard to understand for beginners
  • The top of the compressor pedal does get really hot

Our Editor’s Pick for the best cheap compressor pedal is the Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400. It comes with everything you need to start you on your journey to becoming a great musician.

It is loaded with all you need to get started. The pedal has 3 bands, limiters, a noise gate, compressor sustainer, delay, chorus, reverb, low-Z and high-Z input ports as well as balanced and unbalanced output ports, pulse width, and EQ distortion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best compressor pedal?

Compressor pedals are widely used in genres like country, pop, and rock. It's a good, useful effect to have in your toolset, and one that will enable you to create unique sounds.

While we've done our best to find pedals that specialize in different forms of compression, there are many compressors out there that do a good, all-around job.

When people are shopping around for compressors or pedals that provide some form of compression, they ask a lot of questions. Some of the most common questions we receive revolve around what the differences are between the various pedals that provide compression, and what makes one better than the other.

The goal of this guide is to help provide answers to some of the more common questions people have. We'll provide tips on how to use specific pedals to give you the most out of your compression pedal, and we'll provide reviews of some of the most popular pedals that offer compression.

Where should a compressor pedal go?

Well, I want to be clear about one thing: a compressor pedal can go anywhere you want it to. Many pedals can be set up to fit your needs, and the most common placement is on the top of your board…but it isn't the only possible location.

Compressor pedals can be used in many different ways depending on personal preference and style. For instance, they can be placed behind the front truck to act as a bushing press, or they can be placed behind the back truck to act as a grip reduction system.

Really, though, the most popular placement, at least for longboarders, is on the top of the board, just behind the front truck. Aside from the traditional placement, I’ve also seen a few stories about people using side/back/top-of-deck mounted compressors and using them for bushings press, as well.

When should you use a compressor pedal?

If you have grown up playing guitar, you probably aren't aware of the existence of compressor pedals. If you're a topper beginner, you probably already have a pedal and use it frequently.

But, if you've been playing a few years and don't have much of a clue about what a compressor pedal is, then you've come to the right place.

Generally, compressors are used in sustained notes and are very helpful to beginners and intermediate guitar players. They are an absolute lifesaver for guitarists who have just recently begun to use them.

Here's the deal. Musicians often have trouble keeping notes sustained when they first start out playing the guitar. Because they don't have a lot of control over their strings, there is a high probability that they will slip up on a note.

While this occurrence can be a lot of fun on occasions, it does make for some great experiences and a crappy playing experience on other occasions.

Do you really need a compressor pedal?

In most cases, you will need a compressor pedal unless you are planning to play at the same volume level all the time.

Do you play in a band with a singer? If this is the case, then you most likely won't need it. Most singers are accustomed to working from a rhythm section. The bassist or drummer will be playing with the band, and when there is a break in the melody, the singer will begin.

This is the same situation when practicing. A guitarist will play into a microphone, and it only bothers the bandmate when they are trying to hear themselves to change something on their guitar. Always make sure you are wearing headphones when practicing so that you don't bother anyone else or vice versa.

Conclusion

In the following article, we’ll guide you in the right direction for your needs with a variety of compressors for all different kinds of uses. There are two major types of compressors you’ll want to look at, the in-home compressor and the one that’s built into amplifiers and speaker cabinets.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Wampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallWampler Ego Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,GreenBudget PickBehringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal,Green
Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickElectro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects Pedal