As you become a guitar enthusiast, you will realize that you need more than an excellent guitar for you to sound professional. You also understand that your guitar needs specific enhancements like guitar effect pedals to make your instrument sound pleasant and brighter.
One pedal that guitar players across all genres have on their rig is a compression pedal. These pedals have significant benefits to your chain rig.
For instance, you will notice that each guitar produces strong signals and high signals with a signal pluck or strum. What a compressor does is create a limit for both and ensure that they are even. Therefore, with it on, the guitar will sound balanced and controlled at the same time.
But that is not all it provides.
A compressor also creates sustain. If you have distortion, and you notice that the sustain level on it is low, then a compressor pedal boosts that. And not only do these pedals create this effect on notes but on chords as well.
Therefore, having this on your rig is very important. You need one of these.
If it is your first time looking for a compressor pedal, finding the best one for your rig is difficult. Because remember, compressor pedals have more functions than one; and guitar players use them to solve diverse needs.
So, in this article, we are going to highlight the ten best compressor pedals for your guitar. Each is distinct in its way; hence, make sure that you choose the best one depending on the value it can add to your pedal.
Top 10 Best Compressor Pedals 2021
1. Xotic SP Compressor Pedal
Beginners out there who want to invest in the right compressor pedal, there is no better way for a good start. The Xotix SP compressor is our top pedal because you may never outgrow this pedal. Professionals also use it because of the various capabilities it brings to your guitar.
The Xotic SP compressor pedal from the look of things features a simple design. It is quite small but offers the pedalboard a level of versatility that you need for your rig.
The control panel features only two knobs: volume, and blend. Besides these knobs, there is a hi-lo three-toggle switch. It is also a true bypass; hence, the tonal value remains the same when bypassed.
You will need a 9V battery or a power adapter to power the unit.
The volume determines the compression value, and the blend gives you a mix of the dry and the compression value of the pedal.
The Xotic SP also does an excellent job in compressing the sound, brightening weak signals, and bringing everything into balance. Be assured that this pedal will not choke your guitar sound when it’s working.
The compressor pedal is ideal for all guitar players. It maintains your tone and helps you magnify those light touches, such as harmonics. Any player (whether beginner or elite) can use this pedal for recording and live performance. You can also place it next to your distortion pedal or overdrive to provide that sustain and balance needed.
2. BOSS CP-1X Compressor Pedal
Second on our list is the BOSS CP-1X compressor pedal. For guitarists who have guitars that have noisy pickups or that deliver weak signals, this is the pedal to buy.
The pedal provides a next-generation unit with all the new qualities you would want to see in a compressor. Its body is similar to most BOSS pedals.
On the interface, you will find chrome hardware, which features four knobs: level, attack, ratio, and compressor. Each of them has a distinct purpose in delivering the kind of tone your output needs. On the interface, it also has a LED compression meter to help you know how high or low your compression is.
It operates on a 9V battery or a power adapter to power this compressor pedal.
The BOSS CP-1X provides the clear sound qualities you would like to achieve. Primarily, the user interface is easy to use, and with each tweak on each knob, you will accomplish a difference in the sound.
Other than that, we also noted that the pedal offers clarity, and there are no noises since it is a digital pedal. Hence, it gives the player more than one ways to express their musicality.
Professionals around the world use this compression pedal to provide that extra sustain for their rig. They also depend on it for boosting distortion and overdrive. Note that the pedal fits almost all situations and genres; therefore, an excellent unit to take to a studio and stage.
3. MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compresor Pedal
Although a small compressor pedal, the MXR M102 is one of the most dynamic pedals you will come across. Players across many genres have been using this pedal for years.
It is still surprising how you can get a versatile compressor pedal that offers more than what you would see on the outside. At the top, it has two knobs. The first one is the volume control, and the second one is the sensitivity control. It also has a true bypass switch and an LED indicator.
The pedal operates via a 9V battery or an AC adapter.
Once connected to your rig, you may hear some noise since it is an analog compressor pedal. However, the buzz completely disappears when you start playing.
The MXR M102 squashes your clean tone to bring the sort of balance that both your lead lines and chord progressions would love. We also noticed that the level of sustain provided by this pedal is top-notch.
Most of the elite players have used this compression pedal. Although vintage, this is an excellent unit for your next recording session. You will enjoy the balanced tones it brings to your guitar. By the way, because of the uncompromised sound, most players leave it on so that it can boost other pedals.
We also believe that this pedal is ideal for blues players among other genres.
4. Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal
When we set our eyes on the Fender The Bends compressor pedal, we knew that this was a worthy pedal for any player that wants a compressor pedal with additional tweakable options to accommodate different situations.
It is difficult to ignore the appeal that this pedal brings to your rig. The black casing offers four controls, including drive, recovery, blend, and level. It also features a Fender Amp Jewel LED light and a true bypass switch.
Each knob has an LED backlight. However, you can switch it off to save on battery energy. Operating the pedal requires a 9V battery, which you fit at the magnetic latch compartment, or a power adapter.
The Bends compressor pedal provides you with additional options for tweaking sounds to achieve different sound qualities. Its drive offers the level of compression while the recovery determines the level of sustain required.
Its Blend control is ideal when you need to have a mix for your natural guitar sound and the wet compressed sound from this pedal. Level, on the other hand, controls the overall volume.
Unlike other pedals within its price range, this one right here offers your pedalboard both modern and vintage styles in one unit. It is suitable for most stage settings. And regardless of your playing style, this thing will bring the best out of your guitar.
5. Wampler Ego Compressor V2 Pedal
One concern that most guitarists raise is that compressor pedals can take away the brightness of your guitar. But here is a compressor pedal that ensures your guitar sounds excellent, whether bypassed or on.
Primarily, the Wampler Ego Compressor offers extra tweaking abilities since it features up to five control knobs, which include sustain, tone, attack, volume, and blend.
It also has an LED light at the center and a true bypass footswitch. The pedal operates via a 9V battery or power adapter like most compressors.
Another quality that makes this compressor attractive is its sparkling blue casing.
You can achieve so much with this pedal. First, for people who still want to hear the guitar tone can restore that function using the tone control. The blend button provides a mix of both dry and wet sound qualities, and the attack determines how much of the compressed signal you would like to hear.
Because of the numerous tweaking options available, this compressor pedal does provide clarity on the clean and compressed tones. With you tweak the blend option to almost zero, you will not notice the difference, whether it is on or off.
We also noticed that players depend on the pedal for an extra boost on distortion or any other weak signals in the chain. Hence, this pedal can survive in almost all situations.
6. JOYO JF-10 Compressor Pedal
Beginners who want an easy to use and budget-friendly compressor pedal should purchase the JOYO JF-10. We reviewed pedals in its price range, and we found out the reasons why this pedal wins.
From its appeal, the JOYO JF-10 looks like an expensive pedal. Luckily, it is not. The construction used on the casing is resilient and compact. It also does not consume much of your pedalboard space.
The user interface features three controls, which include attack, sustain, and level. At the bottom, you will find a true bypass footswitch and an LED light.
Other than the resilience of the pedal, this device offers clean tones for your guitar. It compresses the strong signals and still maintains clarity regardless of whichever guitar you are using.
The attack control determines how much of the compressed signal you would like to hear; the sustain controls the sustain or delay, while the level controls the overall volume of the effect produced.
With this pedal, your guitar signals will never be the same again. You can use them to brighten up your rhythms and solos as well as boost up other signals in your chain rig. Even though it comes at a low price point, a professional can as well use the guitar pedal to bring a balance in their instrument or apparatus.
7. Behringer CS400 Ultimate Pedal
Here is another budget-friendly compressor pedal that both beginners and professionals can use. The Behringer CS400 provides you with the ultimate sound quality that both your chain rig and guitar needs.
Behringer is one of the competitive brands in the pedal market. And with this pedal, the manufacturer did an excellent job of providing a pedal with a modern design. The green casing features a user interface with level, tone, attack, and sustain. At the top is a LED light to indicate when the compressor is on.
You require a power adapter or a 9V battery to operate the pedal.
With most compressor pedals, you will notice that the guitar loses its tone when you increase the compressor level. The CS400 features a tone control to help brighten up the notes and chords even when the compressor levels are high.
Also, the attack control provides the level of compression you would like to hear; sustain offers that extra delay in the decay of the sound, and the level provides overall volume control for the rig.
If you have an instrument where some strings provide weak signals, then this compressor should lift that signal and bring it to an even level with the more energetic or louder output. The pedal is also useful in helping pedals that deliver weak signals in your chain rig. Hence, the pedal adapts to any setting, whether stage or a studio, since it does not degrade the original sound.
8. Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer Pedal
Both elite and beginners dig the Boss CS-3 compressor pedal. For its price, this pedal offers exceptional compressing abilities and boosts when you require them.
If you are the kind of player that loves modern designs, then this is the pedal to buy. It comes with a robust housing for extended use. And on the user interface, there is a true bypass and four controls. The controls include level, tone, attack, and sustain.
Like any other BOSS product, this pedal requires a 9V battery or power adapter to operate.
Since it has a true bypass, the BOSS CS-3 provides the change you need the minute you power it. It starts to compress the high signals and boost those weak ones from your guitar or rig.
We also noticed something unique about this pedal. It offers another level of sustain, which might not be familiar with other pedals of its price range. Hence, it operates as a compressor and sustainer at the same time.
The BOSS CS-3 does not struggle to fit in. Regardless of whichever guitar you are using, this compressor pedal will give it the right amount of boost it requires. However, I would not recommend this pedal to bassists because it delivers more of the high and mid ranges for electric guitars.
With the different controls, you can tweak your sound to suit any musical style. Use the level to control the overall volume, the tone to facilitate brightness lost when compressing sound, attack to increase the compression level, and the sustain to provide the extra decay and sustains on the output.
9. JHS Pulp N’ Peel V4 Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
Multi-talented players who may have more than one instrument should buy the JHS Pulp N’ Peel V4 Compressor Pedal. With it, you can achieve so many sound qualities with different instruments.
When it comes to appealing, this pedal comes with an exciting orange shade that brightens the look of your pedalboard. On the user interface, you will find four controls, which include volume, compression, EQ, and blend.
It also comes with a true bypass/ buffered footswitch. You can switch between the two using the switch on the side. On the left, you will find an XLR port to connect to your recording console or mixer. Beside the XLR port, you will find a ground lift to eliminate any buzz from the XLR port.
The manufacturer also includes an output for connecting to your pedalboard.
The JHS Pulp N’ Peel V4 Compressor Pedal provides the guitarist with the opportunity to tweak the sound to adapt to any situation. Each control offers a different sound output.
The volume controls the overall sound from the pedal; the compressor control adds the quality of compression you would like; The EQ acts as a tone control for cutting or boosting bass and mid-ranges, and the blend provides a mix for both raw sound from the instrument and the pedal.
Overall, the sound produced is quality and uncompromised.
Primarily, the compressor pedal can act as a standalone pedal. You can also connect it to your pedalboard. If you are a bass player, too, you can use this pedal to balance out the sound of your guitar.
10. Donner Compressor Pedal
The Donner Compressor pedal is ideal for guitarists on a tight budget but who would like something that keeps the original signal intact.
The Donner compressor pedal is a small but compact device. Regardless of its size, it features a blue casing and easy-to-use user interface. On it, you will find a compressor, a level, and tone controls. It also comes with a two-way toggle switch for brighter and darker signals.
At the bottom of the interface is a true bypass footswitch. It keeps the signal clean when you bypass it.
When turned on, this compressor pedal brightens up any guitar from the first strum or pick. You can use the compressor control to add the value of the compressed signal and the level control to alter the overall volume of the signal. The tone can act as a blend and ensures that the original signal remains undistorted.
Although the gadget is a low-end compressor pedal, you can be sure that you will be using it for a very long time. Both professionals and beginners will enjoy the smooth tones it offers; hence, you can use the pedal for recording, live performance, and boosting signals from your chain.
More About Pedals:
Best Compressor Pedals Buying Guide
Compressors have been in the market for years now. And the thing is, musicians who want to go big and professional in sound will invest in one of these units.
But buying a compressor pedal is not as easy as you think. As soon as you start searching, you’ll come across many models from different brands. If you are a beginner, this plethora of options can confuse you.
So, how do you choose the best compressor pedal?
We will show you how you can end up having a compressor pedal that solves your musical needs.
The compressor’s function on your rig
Primarily, the pedal’s role is to squash the signal. It brings all types of signals to almost the same level.
Now, you can use the compressor pedal for different purposes. For instance, if you have a Stratocaster, the sound can be a bit dull. Meaning, some signals are audible, while others aren’t. In this case, the compressor will brighten the tone, and the result is that you can now hear the softer notes.
Also, if you are using a telecaster or humbucker pickup, the compressor helps to bring the exaggerated loud tones and reduce humming on the pickup.
Other than this, a compressor pedal can be placed on any location on the pedalboard. You can use it to boost clean signals or distorted sounds from overdrive and fuzz.
Examine the pedal’s control panel
Compressor pedals come in different sizes and shapes. Some are bigger than others are, while some are quite small and compact.
Small pedals may have a few controls, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying it if it solves your needs perfectly. If a pedal has more control knobs, it means that you can tweak each tone individually.
Brands typically include different control knobs on their pedal. However, the five most common knobs, in our opinion, include threshold, attack, release, and ratio. All these have their distinct functions, so be sure to test each to determine what effects they bring to your guitar.
Note that brands have different terms for threshold. They can use sustain, sensitivity, and compression in place of this term. Regardless of whichever term used, all of them are the same.
Bypass or buffered?
As you do your research, both of these terms can confuse you. Each has its pros and cons.
For instance, a bypass is ideal for musicians who wouldn’t want signal interruptions when the pedal is off. A buffered compressor pedal means that as long as the pedal is on the rig, it has a significant effect on the signal output. Some musicians love this because it suits their playing style.
Therefore, choose depending on what result you’d like.
Whether to pick a Battery operated or power supplied pedal?
Each musician has his or her individual preference when it comes to this. Battery operated pedals might be an expensive option, but it has its rewards as well. You don’t have to worry about electric supply if you are in a venue where getting an adapter can be a problem.
If your pedal is not compatible with your pedalboard’s supply unit, you can use the battery.
Vintage or modern
The benefit of compressor pedals is that they have been in use for years. And so, while shopping, you’ll come across old compressor models. If you are okay with them, you can go to them.
But the issue is that you may not get the right kind of effect that a modern device might offer. Also, if any electronic needs replacement, the required spare parts may lack.
Note that technology is improving. And if that’s the case, modern ones have extra additions that add value to the effects.
On the other hand, you can still find modern compressor pedals with a vintage style looks. So, be sure to know which year the manufacturer released the pedal into the market.
Last But Not Least…
With a compressor pedal, your solos will never be the same. They will change everything and bring your guitar to life, whether you are performing, recording, or practicing.
For this reason, take your time while selecting the best compressor pedals. Also, put your priorities ahead as you consider the factors we state in this article.
The above ten pedals are the most sought after best compressor guitar pedals. And note; the ones we’ve highlighted above are suitable for guitars only, not for bass guitars. Bass compressor pedals deliver different frequencies, especially on the low-end. Thus, it is essential to note that.
It is also important to understand how your compressor pedal works. Get to understand what qualities it is capable of bringing to your rig. Otherwise, you will be like most users who complain that their compressor pedals could not deliver the kind of balance they needed. Learning also helps you understand the full potential of your pedal and guitar as well.
Note that each pedal we highlighted in this article is superb. But in our opinion, the Xotic SP Compressor pedal sits at the top of our list for its marvelous contributions it brings to your tone, pedalboard space, price, and the fact that it is easy to use.