2024 Best Overdrive Pedal Selection

We have updated our selection of the best overdrive pedals, and added tips on how to find the right one that fits your taste and tone shaping needs.

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This guide is sponsored by Sweetwater so you can click through to get the full specifications, the latest price, and purchase any of the Overdrive Pedals stocked by Sweetwater that we have recommended.

Overdrive pedals can have distinct tonal characteristics. And this makes direct comparisons challenging.

But particular OD (Overdrive) pedals stand out for their excellent tone, reliability, and intuitive design. And out of the lot, we showcase the top few that deserve closer inspection.

Overdrive Pedals vs Distortion and Fuzz Pedals

Overdrive pedals are sometimes confused with fuzz and distortion pedals. This is understandable, given the similarities, but there are important distinctions.

Overdrive pedals push the signal to a warm natural breakup, similar to a cranked tube amp. This is what makes ODs sound more transparent.

They preserve more of your core tone and playing nuances. And this expressiveness is essential in many musical styles, including blues, rock, pop, and more.

On the other hand, distortion and fuzz pedals apply aggressive clipping, which gives them their thicker and more saturated sound.

Clipping the signal consequentially compresses the sound, which improves sustain – but at the cost of less dynamics.

This is the reason why distortion has a very aggressive yet uniform sound. Fuzz takes the clipping up a notch with heavy saturation and the characteristic fuzzy tone.

To keep this list focused, we did not include hard-clipping fuzz pedals, and we also stayed away from distortion pedals with their compressed sound.

You’ll see pedals with top-notch soft-clipping overdrive tones here. But don’t be surprised if some cross into fuzz or distortion territory without compromising quality.

Why Choose an Overdrive Pedal?

Overdrive pedals are primarily used for their transparent tone. This transparency makes them great for low to medium-gain tones.

Because of how transparent overdrive pedals are, they can be used in several ways. You can use them as a standalone effect. Or you can use them to drive an amp or boost another dirt pedal. This versatility has made O.D.s a staple in many pedalboards.

So even if you already have great-sounding tube amps or distortion pedals, there’s room for a good quality transparent overdrive. So do keep an eye out for good overdrive pedal deals.

The 11 Best Overdrive Pedals

From affordable workhorse pedals that produce classic overdrive sounds to bigger stompboxes with extensive shaping capabilities, here are the overdrive pedals that we highly recommend.

Image Link to Sweetwater Short Description Long Description
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamert

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

Many have tried to clone or “improve” on the T808 circuit, but they can’t take the place of the original. Made popular by blues-rock legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Tube Screamer is still as gritty and expressive today. See our detailed review below
Boss BD-2

Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

The BD-2 is an overdrive pedal that sounds much like a tube amp. But at high-gain settings, it can cross over into distortion territory with good compression. See our detailed review below
Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive

Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive

Once known as Visual Sound, True Tone continues to build their reputation around quality and versatility. The Truetone VS-XO exemplifies their ability to pack quite a lot of features into a compact pedal. See our full review below
EHX Crayon Full-Range Overdrive Pedal

EHX Crayon Overdrive

The EHX Crayon proves that you don’t need to spend too much money on a space-hogging pedal to get more control over your sound. The extra two knobs that this pedal carries give you unprecedented control over the bass and treble frequencies for fine-tuning your tone. See our extended review below
Strymon Sunset Overdrive

Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive

What’s better than a good overdrive? More overdrive that can be stacked together. Strymon knows their math and designed the Sunset with two independent overdrive channels and six overdrive modes. See the full review below
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood and U2’s The Edge are just two of many guitarists who prefer the simplicity and classic tones of the SD-1. While comparable to the TubeScreamer, the SD-1 has more grit and presence. See our full SD-1 review below
Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

Electro-Harmonix was quick to admit that this pedal is their attempt at reproducing the “Klon Centaur” at a much more reasonable price, in response to requests for an affordable alternative. See our full review below
JHS Andy Timmons Drive V2

JHS Andy Timmons Overdrive V2

A premium signature pedal that can reproduce iconic British amp tones in a compact stompbox format. For something so compact, this pedal can churn out JCM 800 to Hotrodded and Jubilee tones, and do so with minimal tweaking. V2 comes with an independent boost channel. Extended review below
Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive

Wampler Dual Fusion Overdrive

Wampler overdrive units continue to get more popular, thanks to great reviews and recommendations from artists and users alike. The Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive showcases what Wampler can do, combining incredible sonic flexibility with top-notch sound quality. See our full review below
MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

This pedal gives you classic overdrive sounds with modern tone shaping enhancements, including a 100Hz cut and boost knob that lets you fine-tune the sound, as well as a bump switch that gives you a separate voicing that emphasizes the lower midrange. See our full review below
Behringer Vintage Tube Monster

Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999

The super affordable Behringer VT999 Vintage Tube Monster has surprised many guitarists with its tube overdrive tone, thanks to its genuine 12AX7 preamp tube circuit. This hidden gem sounds even better when you replace the factory installed tube. See our full review below

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

Many years after it was first introduced, the Ibanez Tube Screamer is still the top overdrive pedal in the market. It has stood the test of time and continues to be the most sought-after and most copied overdrive pedal.

As proof, many of the mass-produced and boutique pedals today are inspired by the TS808, with some even directly cloning the pedal. And since many overdrive pedals owe their existence to the iconic green tube screamer, giving it the top spot is only proper.

The TS808 is still popular among blues and rock players today. And it’s because of its impressive ability to preserve dynamics.

And with so many modern overdrive pedals that claim to provide better control and flexibility, it is an incredible feat for the Tube Screamer to be still relevant and thrive.

Among the long line of artists that use the Tubescreamer, the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn, with his aggressive playing style, is the most prominent. He exemplified how an overdrive pedal can be put to great use, which is driving an already distorted amp. And to this day, many continue to follow his example.

If pedalboard space is an issue, you can check out the Tube Screamer Mini, which is a compact version of the original TS808.

You can get the latest Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

Boss BD-2

The Blues Driver is technically an overdrive pedal, but it is just as good when used as a distortion pedal, so much so that we recommended it as one of the best.

This pedal adds smooth compression to the tone at high gain settings while retaining tube-like dynamics and feel. This makes it perfect for medium to high-gain lead work in rock, blues, and similar styles.

Lowering the gain delivers a classic blues overdrive sound, mellow and responsive to pick attack and volume changes. It gives tube-like grit and expressiveness, even at very low gain levels.

The BD-2 became even more popular when Robert Keeley introduced a Phat switch mod for the pedal. This gain toggle switch added a voicing with a more aggressive low end that livens up the sound.

This mod was so well received that Keeley made their own pedal out of it. And Boss themselves released a special version with their own “mod,” called the Boss BD-2W.

These modifications worked because of the original Blues Driver’s good core tone. And this is the reason why the Boss BD-2 continues to be among the most recommended overdrive pedals.

This is the O.D. to get if you seek a versatile overdrive/distortion pedal for blues and rock.

You can get the latest Boss Blues Driver price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com.

Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive

Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive

Formerly known as Visual Sound, Truetone is known for great-sounding knob-infested pedals. The VS-XO Dual Overdrive represents them in this list with its incredible sound quality and versatility.

It combines two overdrive pedals inside a single stompbox unit, with each overdrive section having its own independent set of control and input/output ports.

Designed for experienced players, this dual overdrive allows for complex setups and gives you in-depth control over your overdrive sound.

Since each channel has independent control knobs, you can set the two overdrives differently and place them in different places in your signal chain, allowing for incredible flexibility. You can also use one to boost the other channel or overdrive pedals.

And it’s not just about complexity because the mid-focused tone of this pedal has excellent clarity and dynamics, great for classic rock and blues applications.

If you’re looking for a versatile dual overdrive pedal to satisfy your tone-sculpting urges, then get the Truetone VX-SO.

You can get the latest Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Electro-Harmonix Crayon

Electro-Harmonix Crayon

Electro-Harmonix knows how to add valuable features without going overboard. And the EHX Crayon is an excellent example of this. As the name implies, this overdrive pedal lets you color your tone in a variety of ways with four knobs. It is a versatile unit that stays within the standard pedal size.

The first two knobs let you adjust gain and volume like any other dirt pedal. Instead of a single-tone knob, this pedal has two knobs for basic E.Q. control.

At first glance, the Treble and Bass knobs may seem lacking at first glance, but they sweep at the right frequencies, complementing the pedal’s voice well.

Instead of muddying your sound, the bass knob beefs up your lows nicely, while the treble adds presence and air.

The E.Q. works with the sensitive gain knob and the volume knob to conjure subtle to modern overdrive voicings. What makes this pedal special is its balance of features and pricing, making this an affordable pedal that packs quite a lot of punch for the money.

It also helps that the pedal looks cool and doesn’t take up too much pedalboard space.

You can get the latest Electro-Harmonix Crayon Overdrive Pedal price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal

Strymon Sunset Overdrive

Strymon is widely known for premium pedals with high build quality, sound, and versatility. This design philosophy applies to the Strymon Sunset, a super versatile dual overdrive pedal.

As the name suggests, this pedal lets you use two overdrive pedals simultaneously, with each one having its own dedicated level, drive, and tone knobs.

But you’re not limited to just two voicings because each channel has an overdrive mode selector switch. This switch gives you access to 3 different overdrive effect modes for the two channels.

The three modes for Channel A include:

  1. Ge reproduces the sound of a Germanium Diode-based overdrive. This is a more traditional voicing similar to the uber-expensive Klon Centaur.
  2. Texas is based on the soft-clipping TS-808 Tube Screamer, which was widely used in Texas-style blues rock.
  3. Treble is a clean boost that emphasizes the highs and is the most transparent of all the modes. This is the mode to use if you are into transparent overdrives.

The three modes for Channel B include:

  1. 2stage gives you both soft or hard clipping (for higher gain settings). This is the setting that allows the Strymon Sunset to hop into the distortion arena.
  2. Hard mode has a hard-clipping distortion circuit, similar to the Boss DS-1 and Pro-Co Rat.
  3. JFET is based on the preamp section of the Echoplex EP-3. It behaves like a boost with a bit of mild clipping.

The six modes are plenty enough, but the pedal gives you a chance to mix and match the modes of channels A and B. And this expands the versatility of this pedal by a significant margin. This is not for those who want a simple plug-and-play overdrive pedal. But if you wish to have multiple overdrive voicings in one pedal, then this is for you. Being a Strymon pedal, this one is costly. But those who bit the bullet have mostly good things to say about their investment.

If you’re looking for a versatile but more accessibly priced pedal, then check out the Fender Santa Ana Overdrive.

You can get the latest Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com.

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Thanks to its affordability and accessibility, the Boss SD-1 has found its way onto countless pedalboards. Its plug-and-play operation and smooth overdriven tones have satisfied many.

This pedal is used by a whole range of guitarists, from hobbyists to big-name artists like The Edge and Johnny Greenwood. Although comparable to Ibanez’s TubeScreamer, the SD-1 has an angrier tone with more presence.

It is popularly used to drive tube amps to produce singing lead tones by setting the drive low and increasing the level. It also works great as a standalone; you can add subtle grit or increase the drive to add more crunch.

The pedal’s ability to preserve pick attack and dynamics is well-loved, especially considering its cheap price tag.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly overdrive pedal, we highly recommend the Boss SD-1.

You can get the latest Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

The Klon Centaur is the equivalent of Dumble amps in the world of pedals. It is an overdrive pedal surrounded by so much hype and mystery that it sells for an unbelievably high price.

Since the Klon is only accessible to the privileged few, we decided to feature a mass-produced clone of the Klon (pun intended), the EHX Soul Food.

Electro-Harmonix was quick to admit that this pedal is their attempt at reproducing the Klon Centaur at a much more reasonable price. It was their response to requests for an affordable alternative. And based on the many favorable reviews, it looks like Soul Food, with its impressive definition and headroom, is a success.

Soul Food’s impressive touch response and dynamic transparency shine best when working with an overdriven amp or another overdrive pedal.

Affordable alternatives like Soul Food are welcome because it helps keep the price of pedals in check.

You can get the latest Electro-Harmonix Soul Food price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

JHS AT Andy Timmons Overdrive

JHS Andy Timmons Drive V2

Of the many JHS branded overdrive pedals, the Andy Timmons Signature Overdrive has the most amp-like tone and feel. And the same goes for the updated AT V2.

This pedal is voiced to mimic the British amps that Andy uses to get his overdriven tone, and they did so at a very high level, considering the size of the pedal.

The gain and volume knobs are designed to behave much like the amps, while the E.Q. and Air knobs give you control over the resulting sound’s tone and presence..

What makes this pedal even more remarkable is the headroom selector switch, which morphs the gain and response of the pedal to follow after that of 25-, 50-, and 100-watt amplifiers.

This feature gives you different sweet spot thresholds, with the 100-watt having the most clarity, while the 50-watt adds some compression to simulate a cranked amplifier.

Finally, the 25-watt setting makes the pedal sound like a cranked boutique amplifier, with distortion-like compression for increased sustain.

The V2 update adds an extra gain stage, which lets you add more gain to your tone as needed. This has a dedicated knob and footswitch.

While the price tag for this pedal is a bit on the high end, those that invested in this pedal have great things to say.

If you’re looking for a compact and great-sounding amp-in-a-box solution, save up for this one.

You can get the latest JHS AT+ price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive

Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive

Wampler is a longtime player in the boutique pedal scene, but their overdrive units continue to get more popular in the mainstream, thanks to great reviews and recommendations from artists and users alike.

The Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive showcases what Wampler can do, combining incredible sonic flexibility with top-notch sound quality.

And to achieve this, they teamed up with virtuoso Tom Quayle and blended two popular overdrive pedals, the Wampler Paisley Drive and the Wampler Euphoria.

As the labels on the footswitches suggest, the Dual Fusion gives you vintage and modern overdrive effects in one unit. Both channels are based on actual Wampler pedals, so there’s no need to skimp on quality.

Users and experts alike are impressed by this pedal’s transparency. And this applies even in high-gain settings.

You don’t have to be Tom Quayle to want the nuances of your guitar playing to come through. And this is precisely what this pedal does with your riffs and solos.

Each channel has independent controls and signal routing, which behave like two distinct pedals. This allows for a variety of combinations to play and experiment with.

Voicing switches let you sculpt the tone further. This adds up to even more voicing options.

The only downside to this pedal is its premium price tag and bulk, but given its quality and 2-in-1 configuration, you’re getting more than your money’s worth.

You can check out the Wampler Tumnus Overdrive if space and budget are limited.

You can get the latest Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion Overdrive price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

The MXR Custom Badass Modified O.D. gives you classic overdrive sounds with modern tone-shaping enhancements.

It features a 100Hz cut and boosts knob that lets you fine-tune your sound and a bump switch that enables you to emphasize the lower midrange.

It provides excellent sustain and gain without hurting your natural guitar tone and gives you more room to tweak the sound.

This versatile overdrive pedal comes in a compact form with a boutique-like appearance that matches its tone’s quality.

This is the ideal pedal for adventurous guitarists that want to stay within classic tones. It also works well when paired with other overdrive and distortion pedals.

You can get the latest MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999

Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999

Behringer is known chiefly for affordability, but don’t count them out when it comes to quality because they have several products that can top others priced twice or more. One such product is the Vintage Tube Monster VT999, an overdrive pedal with a genuine 12AX7 vacuum tube within its preamp.

And for a genuine tube-equipped pedal, it is priced lower than the average unit, easily beating out every overdrive pedal out there regarding value for money.

While tone snobs may quickly dismiss this pedal because of its brand, those who tried it genuinely liked it. They are impressed by the pedal’s organic tone and decent tone shaping options via a 3-band E.Q.

In addition, more experienced users have found a better use for this pedal by replacing the factory-installed Bugera tube with Mullard or Telefunken tubes. While it works great as your main overdrive pedal, the VT999 works wonders as a preamp for an actual amplifier. It is great at warming up the sound of overdriven amps.

At just under $50, this tube overdrive pedal is an easy pick that will not hurt your wallet.

You can get the latest Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999 price and customer reviews at Sweetwater.com

Things to Consider When Buying an Overdrive Pedal

  • Size and Pedalboard Space
    • Pedalboard space is an ever-dwindling resource. If your board is already full, you’ll have to either remove some gear or supersize your board. So before you even go through the list below, asses the available space on your board.
    • Thankfully, manufacturers have been miniaturizing many of their popular pedals, including overdrive effects, but the controls on these “nano” or “mini” pedals are usually limited.

    Voicing and Tone Shaping

    • Traditional overdrive pedals are usually voiced to be transparent. They often have more emphasis on the mids to let your signal cut through a mix better.
    • Modern ones will give you more control over the resulting sound with their E.Q. knobs; some may even use compression for higher gain settings.
    • If your overdrive pedal is your main dirt unit, you’ll want flexibility and gain range. On the other hand, if you’re looking to drive your tube amp or supplement another pedal, you’ll want a transparent overdrive pedal.
    • While tone-shaping features are generally good, avoid falling into the trap of judging O.D. (Overdrive) pedals based on the number of knobs, instead find the one with just the right controls to inspire you to play better and make great music – and not to spend too much time tweaking.

    Budget

    • The price of overdrive pedals is generally accessible, but some can be expensive, especially modded and boutique overdrive pedals.
    • Those with picky ears would be willing to invest in more expensive units because they may find the difference in sound quality and transparency to be worth the added cost. Others will find the difference subtle and not worth the extra cost.

    If there’s an overdrive pedal you feel should be in the top 11, please share your opinion in the comments below.

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11 thoughts on “2024 Best Overdrive Pedal Selection”

  1. I've played almost all of
    Anonymous

    I’ve played almost all of these pedlals and the Bad Monkey is by far the best.

  2. OCD vs. Joyo Ultimate Drive
    Mike

    I’m not sure why this article insists that there was a failure in the Ultimate Drive to sound like a tube amp, and that the pedal sounds solid state – you can look all over YouTube and see side-by-side comparisons of it and the OCD and the tone from the pedals is indistinguishable.

  3. For Anon. If you pull the
    Anonymous

    For Anon. If you pull the first knob of the Fulldrive up, it cuts the compression and you get bags of boost. Very nice it is too.

  4. Fulldrive 2 is for deaf children
    Anonymous

    The fulltone fulldrive is a waste of money. No real boost at all when engaged. Makes any amp sound like it has paper cups for speakers. No thanks. I haven’t yet found a match to the original Ibanez TS-808.

  5. I definitely put the Xotic
    Andy

    I definitely put the Xotic AC + Plus in there… and near / at the top

  6. Well put. Props to O.P.
    Anonymous

    Well put. Props to O.P. Anyone reading an article about pedals is most likely familiar with lovepedal and analogman, but for most people they’re just not attainable. I like that the list was populated with pedals that are a little farther outside the box (pun intended once more). If you were making a list of the greatest basketball players ever it would basically be understood that MJ is number one, just like Klon and blah blah blah are the most sought after OD pedals. I thought it was nice to see a list that used those indisputable ones as a jumping off point and went a little deeper from there.

  7. best od's
    cormac

    my best od is the one that never leaves my board, that being the Lovepedal Provalve … it has two different channels and i usually use the B which to my ear has a tighter, rounder sound (i know, ’round’ is an odd tone word but it’s what i hear … this might be a bit more compressed i’m not sure) … the A channel is more an open gain sound, ‘wider’ … again, a wider tone is odd but it’s all i can come up with … this is the pedal i use 80 percent of the time probably …

    using this with the Clapton Woman Tone gives me a super silky-smooth fuzz sound that convinces me that Clapton never (or rarely) used a fuzz as so mainly people assume during his years with Cream … i think his rig was simply whatever Gibson he was using (the famous ‘Fool-painted’ SG, the ‘Crossroads’ ES-335, etc), the Marshall stack, Rangemaster Treble Booster as his only stompbox … using the Woman Tone (he cites the neck pickup in a vintage video interview i saw but it works well with either pickup … volume guitar must be on 10 and the tone knob is turned all the way down to zero getting that creamy sound on ‘Outside Woman Blues’ – from whence its name comes – and most famously, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, among others … using the neck pickup this way will give you a lower tone but using the bridge pickup in the Woman Tone setup gives you a higher tone, of course … using them together is a nice alternative and having the neck pickup set on Woman Tone and the bridge pickup set on regular, volume on 10 and tone on 10, is a nice way to give your Woman Tone solos a little boost and bit more edge by using both pickups together) …

    so while i get lots of ‘you’re an idiot’ replies when i mention these thoughts, i don’t really care … it’s my humble opinion and if you try it, you’ll find it is indeed a very nice alternative for a fuzz box … if you’re on a tight budget or just starting out, it’s a great way to get a lot of textures to your playing without investing a lot of cash

    also, and i know this is blasphemy, i think the tube screamer, in all it’s variations thru the years, is overrated … there are better ODs out there, the lovepedal provalve is one … i think the Marshall Bluesbreaker stomper is one that can match or better the tube screamer any day of the week … i had one for many years before i came across the lovepedal and believe me, it is a sweet pedal … and it is built like a tank so if you’re a dad looking for a stomper to get your child whose garage band is starting to get gigs but fears that it might not be able to survive the ‘youthful exuberance’ of a youngster that age, the marshall bluesbreaker will not break … or it will take one helluva lotta effort to break it … it is a beast and has that super-rich marshall sound … an outstanding pedal and perhaps the best OD under $100

  8. You've got to be joking right?
    Anonymous

    No Marshall Bluesbreaker, Or 1st Gen Guv’nor
    No Lovepedal Eternity
    No Mad Professor
    No Zendrive
    No Wampler
    No Zenkudo
    No Dave Barber or Brad Jetter products
    No Klon

    A BAD MONKEY???? REALLY??????????

    (sigh)

    1. Boutique
      Alexander

      Those are some good boutique OD pedal choices. We were considering the Zendrive, but we had to make room for some affordable pedals that are more readily available, and yet have great quality.

      1. wrong title
        martin bakker

        So it should not have been called “the 11 BEST……..” then.

        1. It is called the 11 Best...
          Alexander

          But it is “The 11 Best”… Value for money and accessibility are realistic, and critical factors when getting pedals. While tone is important, it can be subjective – so we included measurable and reliable information in coming up with this list, which include price tags, sales performance and user feedback.

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