When you ask a guitarist if they have a boost pedal in their rig, most of them will ask you, “Why do I need a boost pedal when I have distortion, overdrive, fuzz, and wah?”
For a minute, that may seem ignorant. But it is understandable because not all guitar players understand what a boost pedal could do to a guitar, rig, or amp if he or she buys one.
Boost guitar pedals, although forgotten by most players, is a pedal that takes your guitar signal to another level. It provides a clean boost and an extra drive, but it does not distort the sound in any way.
Typically, the best way to explain how they function is this way:
Assume you have a single coil pickup guitar and the amp. When you play solos or chords, you find that the signal is a bit dull. Now, to make that tone sound brighter, you need to place the boost pedal between the amp and the guitar. That way, the signal is more robust and more vivid than before you have the boost apparatus in your rig.
Apart from that, your boost pedal can be the solution to your rig, primarily if certain parts of your guitar rig provides weak signals. For instance, you can place the boost pedal after your distortion pedal, and voila. You will notice that distortion produces a punchier signal.
If you are looking for a boost pedal for your guitar, you have come to the right place. We are going to review the ten best boost pedals for your guitar rig in this article.
Top 10 Best Boost Pedals For Your Guitar 2021
1. TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal
On top of our list is the TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar pedal. Many reviewers commend this boost pedal because of the numerous qualities it provides to a guitar when you connect it to your rig.
Right out of the box, you will notice that the pedal comes with a simple design. Nothing complicated to it, and it is ready to use out of the box. It features an analog level knob to control the volume, a metal casing, a true bypass footswitch, and a vintage design on the top to enhance its appeal.
On the side, you will find the input and output ports fitted on each side, respectively.
The reason the Spark Mini is a top booster pedal is that it provides a 20dB boost. And the other good thing is that the boost is clean. Meaning, you can place it anywhere on your rig to boost those pedals that deliver weak sound signals.
Its true bypass footswitch has a new feature that most pedals in this price range lack, a prime time feature. What this setting does is determine whether you want a permanent or temporary boost. For instance, if you want it to be permanent, you hit it once; however, for situations where you would like to emphasize certain tones, you hold on to it.
For players who might have a small space on their pedalboard, this boost pedal does not consume so much space. It is also a proper pedal for people that would love to strengthen the signals from other pedals without distorting the sound.
2. Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 Booster Pedal
The Electro Harmonix PB-1 booster pedal is one of the earliest booster pedals to be released in the market. It has surpassed so many generations, and there is a reason for that.
The manufacturer built the pedal with the guitar player in mind. It comes with a robust die-cast casing. Also, it has rounded corners, which ensures that it does not consume pedal space.
On top of that, you will find the volume knob and the footswitch, which is a true bypass.
If you are looking for a booster pedal that will deliver articulate sound for a long time, then this is what you need to buy. Adding this to your rig provides an instant change when you turn it on.
You will notice the different tonal changes, even on low volumes.
When the knob is past 12 o’clock, the volume becomes louder and goes it somewhat of overdrive. Overall, this pedal boosts all tones from the low ends to the high-end frequencies.
Other than providing clean tones and the overdrive, you can place this pedal anywhere on your rig. If you set it next to your distortion rig, it will enhance the distortion but not alter it in any way as long as the knob is below 12 o’clock.
3. Fender Engager Boost Pedal
As you write songs, you will notice that each song demands a particular tone. And for you to achieve that, you need a mix that can adapt quickly to those changes, either within sections of a song or different songs. The Fender Engager Boost pedal can help you achieve that.
Unlike the usual boost pedal, the Engager Boost provides more frequency bands. Its casing features iodized aluminum casing with a shiny look; it has a battery compartment with a magnetic attachment for quick battery changes; four bands including bass, treble, level, and mids; and a frequency toggle switch for your mid ranges.
The footswitch offers both buffered and true bypass. You can switch between the two. Each knob has LED lighting, which you can switch on and off.
When it comes to sound, this boost pedal does not disappoint. It offers up to 20dB of volume, and with the different knobs, you can tweak the sound to fit your momentary need. As in, the Engager Boost is that customizable.
Besides that, the middle mid-frequency toggle switch allows you to include more mids if you want. However, you can switch it off if not need.
Apart from that, we also loved the LED backlight. You will see your setting at one glance, especially if you are in a dark lit room.
For guitarists who use different sounds in their performance, this boost pedal is a must-have. It also sits anywhere in your rig. You can place it before your amp or next to any pedal, which needs some boost.
4. Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal
Musicians who would love to add some brightness and drive to the guitar signal, the Xotic EP Booster does the work perfectly.
At first glance, this guitar offers a simple mini design. It is small; it does not consume much space on your pedalboard, which is a plus for many. It has a true bypass footswitch and volume knob at the top. When you open the rig, you will find the bass boost and bright tones internal switches.
The sound quality provided by this booster pedal is fantastic. Primarily, by switching it on, you provide your guitar with a clean tone while the gain knob is at zero. At 12 o’clock, the sound changes into some form of drive, and when it is up, the guitar will sound more saturated.
Overall, the guitar provides up to 20 dB of boost.
Since the boost pedal offers a variety of tones to your guitar, you can use it to brighten the sounds of a guitar that provides more of the darker tones. Also, it could work well when you need to give a bass boost.
It functions ideally with all kinds of instruments, and that is why you should think about purchasing it.
5. J. Rockett Acher IKON Boost Pedal
For players looking to saturate their guitar sound more, then the J Rockett Archer IKON boost pedal is a worth try.
Note that there are two versions. The market offers a silver one and the gold one. All are similar, but players tend to prefer the golden one. It features a gold casing and three knobs, including gain, output, and treble.
It also has a bypass footswitch, which does not interfere with the sound of the guitar when switched off. For you to power the pedal, you will require a 9V battery. Note that the manufacturer does not provide a power adapter.
The boost pedal is famous for giving guitar signals a brighter sound. When switched on, the pedal offers a clear signal path as long as the gain control is down. As you increase gain, it saturates the sound, giving you that extra punch you require for your solos and interludes.
Overall, you will sound full and professional.
Since the boost pedal offers both overdrive and clean tones, you can use it on stage and use it across diverse playing styles. The pedal will also fit into any setting. It will also saturate the sound from any of the pedals on your rig articulately.
6. MXR M133 Micro Amp
If you are noticing a slight drop off in your pedal chain, you should try this boost pedal right here. The MXR M133 comes at an incredibly, budget-friendly price and offers that boost that you need for your rig.
The boost pedal features a gain knob at the top and a true bypass footswitch. The casing has round corners, thus, it consumes less space on your pedalboard.
You also have a red LED light in the middle to indicate when the pedal is on and when you switch it off.
The MXR M133, in our opinion, offers a boost in terms of the gain only. It might not have more bands to tweak the signal, but the gain button suffices. When the gain knob is at zero to noon, the pedal offers clean tones. As it goes past the 12 O clock mark, the sound starts to break to provide that extra drive.
If you notice that your chain signal is dropping off, this pedal can act as a boost, and you can place it anywhere you discover the problem.
Players with guitars that sound dull on the low end should also use this pedal. It will boost those frequencies and offer you brighter tones that you need for your solos. You can also use it as overdrive, or you can place it next to your overdrive pedal if you have one to give it that extra push and saturation.
7. Donner Boost Killer Pedal
The Donner Boost Killer Pedal, right out of the box, is an excellent boost pedal for people who are on a budget. It comes with great qualities in terms of design, appeal, and the tone it can help you achieve.
Primarily, the boost pedal is small. It is a space saver, which provides extra room for other pedals if you are in the course of upgrading your chain. The boost pedal features an aluminum casing, which brings stability and strength required to last long.
The controls feature a Gain knob, and three other knobs for bass, volume, and treble respectively. It also comes with a true bypass to keep your signal real when you switch it off.
The Donner Killer offers up to a +-15 dB boost. You will feel the difference immediately you switch it on even when the gain knob is at zero.
As you go up, the sound becomes more saturated, and even though the manufacturer says this is a distortion pedal, it is not. It, on the other hand, offers an extra drive to your signal. You can also boost the bass of your instrument using the bass knob.
The boost pedal can sit anywhere on your chain rig. You can use it to boost your clean tones, achieve overdrive sounds, or add some bass and treble to your instrument. Like any other boost pedal, the Donner Boost Killer offers an extra punch to distortion pedals.
8. Wampler Tumnus V2 Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
At first, we were a bit skeptical about listing this on our top ten best boost pedals. However, we noted that the Wampler Tumnus V2, though not a common household name, provides an extra push to your guitar sound.
The Wampler Tumnus V2 gives your pedalboard a vintage appeal. It features a brownish finish on its casing with three knobs: the volume, gain, and treble. It also comes with a buffered footswitch and requires a 9V power adapter to power it.
Typically, most of the pedals have a true bypass. They have their benefits and limitations too. With the buffered footswitch, it assists in giving that extra push to the sound even when the pedal is off, unlike the true bypass.
Hence, the boost pedal remains part of your chain rig even after switching it off. Buyers should take note of that.
If you have an instrument that sounds dull on its own, this pedal offers that extra crunch to the signal. Similar to most boost pedals, it also provides overdrive when the gain knob is past ‘noon.’
The boost pedal does a perfect job in boosting any dropping off signal. It can sit anywhere in your chain rig. You will also experience brighter tones with this preamp.
9. Catalinbread Galileo Booster Guitar Effects Pedal
If you love Rock music, then you probably know Brian May. And if you love him, then you probably know how his guitar sounds. The Catalinbread Galileo is a boost pedal built with Brian May in mind, and comes with exceptional qualities that you will love.
Primarily, the boost pedal comes with a metal casing, which is black. It features a bypass footswitch, and three knobs, mainly for volume, gain, and tone. In the middle of the three knobs is a LED lighting that indicates when the pedal is functional and when it is not.
If you have heard Brian May play his guitar, then you will notice he loves mid-range sounds. And that is what this guitar helps you achieve. With the three knobs provided, you can twitch the pedal to realize those mid ranges in your solos and chords.
As soon as you push the gain knob away from zero, the signal becomes crunchy, which is excellent for your lead tones. You can also tune the treble and bass notes using the tone button.
Note that the volume button provides bright sounds on the output.
The boost pedal is an excellent gift for people that want to achieve brighter sounds for their lead tones. You can as well set it near your distortion pedal if your desire is to accomplish an added saturation to your solos.
10. TC Electronic Spark Booster Effects Pedal
The TC Electronic Spark Booster pedal is a bigger version of the TC Spark Mini booster, which sits on the first position in this list. Players who want to boost their instrument using a boost pedal that achieves balanced tones; this is the pedal to use.
At the front, the pedal features a true bypass, bass, treble, gain, and level knobs. Just between the gain and level, you will find a three-way switch for fat, clean, and mid tonal characters. The aluminum casing is strong and durable and provides a modern appeal for your pedalboard.
The boost pedal does not just offer one kind of boost. You can tweak it two offer you an added bass, treble, and achieve those mid frequencies that most electric guitars lack.
With this pedal, you can achieve up to 26 dB of boost. As you increase the gain, the signal becomes more saturated, giving you that extra tone for your overdrive. You can also use the three-way switch to provide those dense frequencies for your solos.
If you are looking for a boost pedal that can sit anywhere and provide all kinds of tonal boosts, then this is the pedal to buy. The pedal also will fit your pedalboard snuggly and will not consume so much space since it is small.
Best Boost Pedals Buying Guide
The primary function of any boost pedal is to add brightness to weak signals. Many experts refer to them as pre-amps because it lies between a pickup and an amplifier. It then amplifies the signal before it gets to the amp.
You can also place these pedals next to distortion pedals. When in this position, they add some drive to the wet sound of the pedal.
Over the years, manufacturers have been producing these pedals; in fact, pre-amps were among the first tone manipulation devices. And so, if you want to buy a boost pedal, you’ll have to consider certain factors to make sure that you go home with the right one.
What are some of the factors? In this article, we are going to help you know how to select the best boost pedals in the market.
What are your needs?
In the introduction, we highlighted that boost pedals are vital because they pump the sound, especially from a pickup that is not quite loud, for instance, a single-coil pickup.
Most people will buy a boost pedal to boost their clean signal. However, you can use the pedal to pump up your distortion. It adds some saturation to the wet signal and makes it even louder.
Because of this, you need to know what function the boost pedal will have on your rig to help you make the decision beforehand.
The types of a boost pedal
After you discover your needs, the next thing is to start shopping for the right pedals. Up until now, you might not have an idea of what you should buy, especially if it’s your first time doing so. But, at least, you already have an idea of what the boost pedal can do for your rig.
When you start researching, you will come across two main types of boost pedals. The first one has several knobs to give you a variety of tone-shaping abilities. And the second one may only have one knob.
Other than the prices, one-knob boost pedals are vital for players who only want to boost clean signals only. They don’t have any drive added on to them. If you’re going to add some dirt to your tone, buying a pedal with different tonal bands is what you should consider.
Should you go for a bypass pedal?
Just like any other pedal for guitar, brands also provide boost pedals with bypass options. But not all of them have this option. The bypass is good because you don’t have to shut down the pedal when you want the signal to bypass it.
The boost pedal’s headroom
A boost pedal’s headroom determines how much loud the guitar can be when you tweak the sound. For anyone who wants to use this type of pedal, you would like a pre-amp that can be as loud as it gets.
Typically, manufacturers indicate a boost pedal’s headroom in terms of dB. Hence, ensure that the headroom is right for your needs. And if the pedal has several equalization bands, you can test out each of them to find out their headroom, and the effects they have on the overall signal output.
Pick the right size
The good thing about boost pedals is that they all come in different sizes and shapes. Manufacturers offer different sizes because of one main reason, a musician’s pedalboard size.
If you have a large pedalboard, any size can do if you have enough space. On the other hand, if you have a small pedalboard, then you may need to buy a small one to save on space. Nevertheless, if you don’t mind placing the boost pedal down, you may as well buy a bigger option and sacrifice on aesthetics.
As you buy, also take note of the required power voltage. That’s important because most musicians install a power supply unit to power all the pedals available uniformly. On the other hand, if your pedal uses a battery, it’s also good. Just know the right type of cell to purchase beforehand.
Last But Not Least…
There you go, friends. It’s not going to be easy selecting out of the numerous options you are going to get while you shop. However, if you use the guidelines that we highlight in this article, it’s going to get easy as you continue being aware of how the best boost pedals operate.
The above are the top ten best boost pedals that you need for your rig. By now, you have noticed that these pedals come in different sizes and shapes. Hence, it is up to you to consider the best pedal that will fit into your pedalboard, your budget, and what tonal qualities you would like to achieve.
We can also conclude that even though most guitarists may find these boost pedals not necessary, you already have a clue of what they can help you achieve, especially if you pick the right one.
Our top pick, among the ten, is the TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal. The pedal has received so many positive responses because of the qualities it brings to any rig. And even though this pedal comes at a low price, this unit is a badass. You will not regret having it on your mix.