Best Guitar Multi-Effects Pedals – 2019 Round-up Review

There are so many varieties of guitar pedals out there that your pedal chain may soon start to look like a pedal boat. If you’re a guitarist that plays a lot, you probably have at least 4 separate pedals all dedicated to one thing, but there is a way that you can eliminate all that and go with one pedal…the multi-effects pedal. 

In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the most important things to know when you begin your search for the best guitar multi-effects pedal.

We will also dive deep into our top picks of the year. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Guitar Multi-Effects Pedals

Product

Rating

Price

BOSS GT-100

BOSS GT-100 Guitar Multi-effects Pedal

Best Overall

BOSS ME-80

BOSS Multiple Effects Guitar Pedal with Looper (ME-80)

Runner-up

DigiTech RP500

DigiTech RP500 Integrated-Effects Switching System

Best for the Money

Zoom MS50G

Zoom MS50G MultiStomp Guitar Pedal

Best Under $200

DigiTech BP90

DigiTech BP90 Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

Best Under $100

VOX StompLab 2B

VOX StompLab 2B Multi-Effects Modeling Pedal with Expression for Bass Guitar

Best Bass Multi-Effects Pedal

What is a Multi-Effects Pedal?

This pedal is a one-stop-shop for effects and other presets. Typically, multi-effects pedals allow you to use a combination of these effects and presets to craft a sound that is unique. You will often find these pedals including effects like distortion, flanger, reverb, and a whole slew of other effects. 

These units offer the guitarist a slimmed down kit, but not a trimmed down sound. Many of them also come with access to editing and recording software that can help the musician have a full studio feel without actually having a studio.

Are Multi-Effects Pedals Important While Playing Guitar?

While you don’t have to use a multi-effects pedal when you are playing guitar (in fact, you don’t have to use pedals at all), the inclusion of any pedal can be quite beneficial, especially if it is this type.

Here are a few of the advantages you may be able to benefit from by adding a multi-effects pedal to your gear:

Less Power

With the streamlined pedal chain that you get from using a solitary pedal, you will be able to use just one plug and, therefore, save on energy consumption. This may not be a big concern to some, but, if you are eco-conscious, this may be a big selling point. Plus, one plug means less money spent on that power bill. It's always good to save money.

Options

Though each pedal will come with a different amount of effects, amps, cabinets, and presets, one thing is for sure - you will be able to craft your sound to your own liking with all of the options a multi-effects pedal brings to the game.

Presets

Speaking of presets, this can help you save time and allow you to start playing your guitar quicker. Not only will this pedal come with presets, but many of them allow you to craft and save your own, as well. This will give a cohesive nature to all your musical endeavors.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Pedals

Now that you see all the benefits that come with using a multi-effects pedal, you are probably ready to dive into the research that will begin the decision-making process. Before you do that, we have created a list of some of the features and functions you need to look for as you make this decision.

Effects

You will want an idea of the sound you are looking for because some of the multi-effects pedals you will look at will have their own focus. Some will be concentrated on effects types, like modulation or distortion, while other units will pay more attention to recreating the sound of vintage amps. One thing is for sure, finding the model that offers you the most of what you are looking for plus a few extras, like a drum machine or tuner, is the way to go.

Simultaneous Use

This is a key feature that you may want to look at closely. Some pedals will only let you use one effect at a time, while others will allow simultaneous use of multiple effects. This can build and personalize a sound that is all your own.

Control of Effects

There are different layouts that are available, and you should look for one that gives you just the right amount of control. Some will be controlled via software, whereas some will have knobs and sliders for each effect.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best guitar multi-effects pedals:

  1. BOSS GT-100
  2. ​BOSS ME-80
  3. DigiTech RP500

Review of the Best Guitar Multi-Effects Pedals

The buyer's guide and information above will help you peruse our carefully curated list of the best guitar multi-effects pedal below.

Best Overall:
BOSS GT-100

BOSS GT-100 Guitar Multi-effects Pedal

PROS

  • Editing system is easy to use
  • Unit is easy to use and set, making it very user-friendly
  • It is fitted with enhanced amp modeling for better quality sound
  • Pedal offers the guitarist a wide variety of sounds to choose from
  • Pedal is constructed to afford optimized control over the signal chain

CONS

  • External memory is non-existent
  • Looper is not as powerful as other models
  • Many would like a graphical editor instead of the Software librarian

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have a lot to say about this pedal. They seem to really appreciate the quality of the effects, as well as the durability of the unit. Although there are a few reports of the line-in being weak on volume for most of these, guitarists that have added it to the kit say this multi-effects pedal is a great choice.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The ability to create patches that will save your sounds is a great addition to any pedal, and this unit offers that. That, combined with the ability to replicate classic tones from vintage maps, makes this model have a lot of versatility, and that is why we had to choose it as our best overall pedal in this category.

Who Will Use This Most

The inclusion of an easy-to-use editing software makes this pedal a perfect option for the guitarist working in a home studio. It is compact and fitted with a lot of effects that help make this unit even more versatile.

Bottom Line

The unit offers a wide dynamic range and an even wider range of sound capabilities, which makes this a high-performance pedal. All of the amazing features are wrapped in a durable build and an easy-to-use layout. All of these features combine together to give us our best overall multi-effect pedal.

Runner-up: 
BOSS ME-80

BOSS Multiple Effects Guitar Pedal with Looper (ME-80)

PROS

  • Pedal has a simple-to-use layout and interface
  • Built-in delay and modulation effects have a nice sound to them
  • Pedal has a lightweight and compact design for enhanced portability
  • Unit is programmed with a wide range of sound production capabilities
  • The interface doesn’t make you sort through a long menu to browse for effects

CONS

  • There is no power supply included with the unit
  • There is a digital quality to some of the effects and high gain distortion

What Recent Buyers Report

When you read the reviews from guitarists that have added this to their kit, they have a lot of great things to say. They love the build and its durability, as well as the number of options that are available to craft their sound. The knobs may not be as dynamic while editing as some, but you can overlook that when you see what you get.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit offers a simple-to-use layout. This layout includes access to a wide range of effects that can be used to customize your sound. Along with the programmed effects, it is also designed with a manual mode that gives the pedal a stompbox on/off functionality.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal would enhance any guitarists' sound, but it would be especially useful for the guitarist that plays a lot of live shows. The actual layout is very stage-friendly and easy to switch between the effects. Setting up for your set is easy with a menu that is easy to navigate and that makes getting to the music so much easier.

Bottom Line

BOSS is known for its quality products in the music industry, and, with the ME-80, they do not disappoint. The quality build of the unit is only amplified by the spectacular versatility of the effects that are built into the pedal. That is why we had to make it one of our best choices.

Best for the Money:
DigiTech RP500

DigiTech RP500 Integrated-Effects Switching System

PROS

  • Interface is easy to use and well-designed
  • Amount of value you get for the price is nice
  • Versatility of sound production makes this a flexible pedal option
  • Unit is constructed with high-grade materials that enhance the pedal's durability
  • Pedal is built with a wide range of amps that will help with precision sound crafting

CONS

  • Expression pedal is awkward and uncomfortable to use
  • There is no drum machine included in sound options, which limits versatility

What Recent Buyers Report

Guitarists that have recently purchased this pedal have found the manual hard to read, but, after they got over that, they took a look at the features and functions that this pedal comes with before they forgot all of that. The built-in tuner is awesome, and the noise gate is excellent. That’s why they rave about this pedal.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The affordability is what really stands out with this model from Digitech. The combination of all the effects and the build of this unit is something that is found in higher-end products quite frequently. To be able to take advantage of an amp with a budget-friendly price tag is something you just can’t overlook.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal is a great choice for any guitarist, but, if you are a gigging musician on a budget, this model will definitely bring something extra to your sound. It is lightweight and compact, but it is not fitted with as many features as other pedals. That being said, this is the perfect option for the guitarist that plays a lot of live shows.

Bottom Line

With this high-performance option from DigiTech, there is absolutely no reason to compromise performance when you are dealing with a tight budget. The easy-to-use interface and the precision sound crafting features are well worth the investment.

Best Under $200:
Zoom MS50G

Zoom MS50G MultiStomp Guitar Pedal

PROS

  • It is built with an easy to read LCD display
  • Pedal is designed to be easy to use and set up
  • It comes with a wide variety of effects to choose from
  • Unit has the ability to use one or multiple effects at the same time
  • Pedal has a lightweight and compact design, which improves portability and space management

CONS

  • Price versus value is an issue to some
  • Adapter does not come with the unit

What Recent Buyers Report

There are a lot of things that recent buyers admire about this pedal. The price, of course, is impressive, but there are also upgrades to the software that is available, making this a unit that gets recommended quite frequently. The manual may be hard to read, but that is the hardest thing about this unit. That is why it gets such amazing reviews.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Zoom MS50G offers a wide variety of effects and functions that can be used to craft a precision sound. Though those are good reasons to love this piece, the feature that stands out to us is the capability to use up to six different effects simultaneously.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit offers so many additional features, including a chromatic tuner, that many guitarists would get quite a lot from this pedal. However, the beginning guitarist would get the most. It is easy to use and offers a wide range of effects that will help the novice begin to form their sound.

Bottom Line

This pedal is a lightweight, compact option that, with its 50+ programmed sound effects, brings with it a wealth of creativity. This creativity is gained with a price tag that seems like quite a steal. That is why we chose this as one of the best pedals on the market today.

Best Under $100:
DigiTech BP90

DigiTech BP90 Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

PROS

  • It is lightweight and compact for better portability
  • Built-in tuner makes this pedal even more versatile
  • Pedal is constructed with a USB connection port for access to digital devices
  • Unit has 90+ memory locations to help create patches for future performances
  • There is a wide number of effects to choose from for improved sound versatility

CONS

  • Display screen is small and hard to read due to the compact build
  • Pedal is constructed with plastic, so it may be less durable than other models

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit is easy to tune quickly as you play your guitar. That is what recent customers say about this pedal. There are a few issues with the footswitch hinge being flimsy, but when you realize that you can access all these effects, including a built-in expression pedal, recent buyers feel that you will be happy with this pedal.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The BP90 from DigiTech is a feature and function-rich multi-effects pedal, but there are a few things that really set it apart. Perhaps the biggest is the inclusion of 40+ drum beats that can be used to help keep the beat while you shred your tracks over the top.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal is perfect for two different types of guitarists. The first guitarist is the novice. It is easy to use and offers drum tracks that can be used to help the guitarist fine-tune their skills. The other guitarist that will get the most from this is the guitarist that only gigs every now and then. With the ability to save patches, they will never lose their style.

Bottom Line

DigiTech is a well-known company that produces high-quality products that are affordable. This model accomplishes just that. There is so much versatility with this unit that any guitarist would be able to improve their sound with just a few flips and turns of the controls.

Best Bass Multi-Effects Pedal:
VOX StompLab 2B

VOX StompLab 2B Multi-Effects Modeling Pedal with Expression for Bass Guitar

PROS

  • Pedal offers enhanced direct sounds for improved clarity
  • Quality of tone is exceptional for such an affordable pedal
  • It is equipped with a high-grade battery that extends the life of use
  • Unit is constructed with high-quality materials for improved durability
  • Unit is fitted with multiple models for improved ability to craft your sound

CONS

  • Some effects may have a tendency to be a bit shrill
  • Some bassists have taken issue with the compact size saying it is hard to play

What Recent Buyers Report

Many reviews of this pedal have a lot of great things to say about the features and capabilities. Most users feel that the ease of use and the number of options are all you have to look at to see what an investment this pedal is. Though there are some reports of the battery cases overheating, the majority of guitarists really feel this is a great option.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are several features that we could discuss here that make this unit stand out above the rest, but there is one that really caught our attention. The 60+ modeling effects that are programmed into this multi-effect pedal is something to be talked about.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal is lightweight and compact, which makes it perfect for the traveling bassist. The traveling bassist will be able to transport this pedal easily and then hook it up and make some amazing music. All of this makes it a perfect gigging pedal for the bassist looking for versatility.

Bottom Line

The pedal may not be from one of the big names of musical instruments and devices, but it definitely has the features and capabilities of them. There is a lot to love about this pedal, and, with the wide variety of effects, as well as space to save your presets, this pedal gives the bassists a lot to work with.

Pros and Cons of Multi-Effects Pedals

These pedals have changed a lot since they made their first appearance on the market, and they just keep improving. Many of the better models don’t even sacrifice tone anymore. These units will take a digital signal and process it in the blink of an eye, rather than sending it through a ton of systems that only end up changing the tone in a way that you don’t want. 

These units will use a DSP, and, though there are a lot of advantages you can benefit from when using a multi-effects pedal, there are also some disadvantages.

Here are the pros and cons of using a multi-effects pedal:

Pros

  • With a simple turn of a knob or switch, you have access to a wide range of effects
  • You will have multiple types of effects that fall into the same categories (i.e. digital delay, tape delay, etc.)
  • You have access to effects that you wouldn’t normally just go out and buy
  • Experimentation of effects combination is easier and less expensive
  • Editing software gives you more versatility and control over the sound

Cons

  • Most units come with a small LCD/LED screen that is hard to see
  • Presets are standard and will need to be calibrated and edited to taste

How to Connect Multi-Effects Pedal to Amp

After you have chosen your multi-effects pedal, the first and most important thing to know is how to set it up - not only the programming aspect but also the physical set-up to your amp. Below, we will take a look at this process to help you out even further.

Tools Needed

Connection Steps

Once you have all the tools you will need, it will be time to set up your system. The process is not hard, but you should definitely take your time to ensure that all cables are connected to the right jacks before turning it on and rocking out.

Here are the steps to use:

  • Step 1: Connect your guitar to the input of the multi-effects pedal.
  • Step 2: Next, take another cable and connect your pedal’s external loop and send it to the amp's input jack.
  • Step 3: Now, you will want to connect the amp’s effects loop and send it to the pedals’ external loop return.
  • Step 4: Use another cable to connect your multi-effect pedal’s output to the amp's return jack.

Now, you should be all set physically. To set up your pedals programs and presets, as well as the software, just follow the instructions that came with it, and you will be ready to go in no time.

Conclusion

A multi-effects pedal is a great addition to your sound if you want access to more digital editing software and a plethora of effects and presets. With the information that we have gathered together for you and the options we looked at, you should be well on your way to finding the right pedal for your musical stylings.