The Best Distortion Pedals on Reverb

The most popular distortion effect pedals on Reverb, updated daily.

Distinguishing between overdrives, fuzzes, and distortions in the dirt box family can be murky territory with plenty of overlap, but honing in on what defines a distortion comes down to one rule of thumb: gain, gain, and more gain.

Distortion pedals make such natural companions for the metal crowd (and anyone after big tone) because they’re designed to blow the roof off your rig so you can get heard in the sonic battle royale of a loud mix. Not just a tool for ramping up volume, distortions totally transform a clean signal and outfit it with stacks of sustain and sweet harmonic saturation for shredding nirvana.

From the classic design of the ProCo RAT to the single-knob destruction of the EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold to the expansive tone-sculpting capabilities of the Empress Heavy, a world of crushing tones is yours for the taking. See the most popular distortions of the year right on this page.

The list below updates daily and reflects the most popular distortion pedals on Reverb according to buyers on the platform. Click on each entry for more info and check out the bottom of the page for details to consider when buying the right distortion pedal for your rig.

What to Consider When Buying a Distortion Pedal

Overdrive or Fuzz or Distortion?

First and foremost: Do you actually need a distortion, or will a fuzz or an overdrive with a wide gain spectrum suit your needs? If your aim is adding more “crunch” or tube-like warmth to your setup, a Tube Screamer or Big Muff is in order: if you want that instant gain-fueled sear, then you’re in the market for a distortion.

EQ Section

The simplicity and ease of use of a three-knob operation like the RAT or Walrus Audio Iron Horse make for streamlined operation, but some tone chasers want more shaping options in their distortion. Enter the EQ. This will be invaluable for players after that classic mid-scooped sound used by legends like Kirk Hammett and for dialing in your own signature sound.

Analog or Digital

As with most areas in the gear world, analog holds a place of respect as the warmer, more “organic” option. These pedals, like the ProCo RAT or EarthQuaker Devices Palisades, give you that injection of gain by overdriving chips and/or transistors to achieve the shriek and snarl we associate with distortion. However, recent technology like Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and improved algorithms have made digital options like the Strymon Sunset and Positive Grid BIAS increasingly popular choices.

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