Best Overdrive Pedals 2024 Round-Up: Essential Pedals To Consider

An overdrive pedal can have a significant impact on your guitar sound, and would be the first choice of many guitarists if they could have only one pedal in their rig.

The sound of an overdrive pedal can range from a gentle boost to full-on distortion, and the model you choose can define your tone. With the multitude of options out there, selecting the right pedal can be a daunting task.

Guitar Effects Pedals

That's why we've put together a list of the ten best overdrive pedals available in 2024. We've taken into consideration tone, build quality, versatility, and price into our selections, and there is something for all styles at all price levels.

Whether you’re looking for something that can give you a light, bluesy crunch or a pedal that will propel your solos into hard-rock territory, our guide is designed to help you make an informed decision.

Join us in our quest for the perfect overdrive…

Note that there are affiliate links in this article; if you click on a link and subsequently make a purchase, we may earn a small commission. This does not affect any of the opinions voiced in the content of the article in any way.

What’s your favorite overdrive pedal? Are there any great overdrive pedals we’ve overlooked? Share your views in the comments section at the bottom of the page!


TL; DR – Best Overdrive Pedals 2024: Top Three Choices

There are a lot of overdrive pedals on the market, and we’ve listed ten of the best further down the page.

For those in a hurry, we’ve selected three a “top three” list of overdrive pedals. Any of the pedals below would be worthy of a place on your pedalboard:

The Boss SD-1 and Ibanez TS9 are tried and tested classics; the Joyo JF-02 is a cheaper option that may interest guitarists on a budget or those searching for a first overdrive pedal. You can find out more about these and other overdrive pedals further down the page.


What Is An Overdrive Pedal?

Guitar Overdrive Pedal
Guitar Overdrive Pedal

An overdrive pedal aims to mimic the sound of a tube amplifier being driven to the point of distortion. This effect is achieved by increasing the gain of the signal, causing the waveform to softly clip, producing a warm, rich, and slightly distorted sound with tube-like characteristics.

An overdrive pedal can be used as a stand-alone tool to alter your overall sound; an additional boost channel for louder passages; or in conjunction with existing overdrive or distortion, either from another pedal or the amp itself.

Overdrive Vs Distortion

Overdrive is typically warmer and more natural than the harsher sound produced by distortion pedals. The effect is subtler, enhancing the natural sound of the guitar and amplifier.

If you want a heavy metal sound in one pedal, a distortion pedal is your best choice. If, however, you want anything between a touch of drive for fattening up an electric blues tone to a crunchy, AC/DC-style rock sound, then an overdrive pedal is something you’ll want to check out.

Many metal guitarists use an overdrive pedal with a distortion pedal (or a distorted amp) to provide extra thickness to the overall sound, or to give their sound an additional boost for soloing / riffing.


Best Overdrive Pedals 2024 List

1. Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive Bundle with Roland Power Adapter, Instrument Cable, Patch Cable, and BOSS Picks
  • Unique asymmetrical clipping circuit produces tube-like overdrive characteristics
  • Mild-to-moderate drive tones with focused midrange and tight low end
  • Ideal for use with clean and slightly driven amps. Also works great for bringing tightness and definition to high-gain amp tones
  • Stacks well with boost, overdrive, and distortion pedals
  • Bundle includes the Roland PSA series power adapter, the recommended power supply for products including all new BOSS compact and Twin pedals, multi-effects and more. A premium 10-foot instrument cable is included, as well as a 6-inch Patch/Pedal cable. We have also included a 3-pack of Boss celluloid guitar picks in varying thickness, so you can start playing right out of the box!

The Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive pedal is a staple among guitarists seeking warm, natural overdrive. It's renowned for its creamy, tube-like drive sound, which enhances playing dynamics, and lacks the harsh mid boost characteristic of the TS9 (although a degree of mid-boost is present).

With its simple three-knob interface—Level, Tone, and Drive—it's versatile for blues, rock, and beyond, perfect for pushing tube amps into rich saturation.

Metal guitarists such as Zakk Wylde use the SD-1 to add further gain to their distorted sounds.

See price & reviews of the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive at Amazon

2. Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Sale
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic
  • Classic tone Tone, drive, and level controls
  • Tone, drive, and level controls give you access to warm, amp-like overdrive that's touch sensitive and ready to rip
  • The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is a reissue that's just like the original in so many ways
  • Same factory, same components, same housing, same famous seasick-green paint, and the same crankin' overdrive that made the original one of the all-time classic pedals
  • Guitar Player called it the best

The original TS9 Tube Screamer pedal was released in the 80’s. Although much the same internally as the earlier TS-808, slight changes in the later pedal’s design gave it a brighter, but less smooth tone than its predecessor.

The TS9 soon found favor with guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lee Ritenour and Gary Moore, and has been used on countless recordings since its introduction.

Today’s reissued Tube Screamer replicates the sound of the original, and is slightly cheaper than the also reissued TS-808.

The TS9 is well-known for its characteristic mid-boost, which can help a guitar find its place in a mix. There is a medium amount of gain available, and the unit is said to be slightly harsher than the ultra-smooth TS-808.

With a single-coil guitar, you’ll have no problems reproducing Hendrix or dirty blues tones. With a humbucker-equipped axe, AC/DC crunchy rhythm sounds are at your fingertips.

See price & reviews of the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer at Amazon

3. Ibanez TS808 Tube screamer Reissue

Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal
  • Overdrive, Tone and Level controls
  • Delivers that warm, natural tube overdrive sound previously unattainable by conventional units.
  • Zine die cast construction and rugged rubber stopper assures durability.
  • LED indicator shows status of effect and battery condition.

Ibanez’s original Tube Screamer, the TS-808, was introduced in the late 70’s as a rival to popular overdrive pedals of the time, including the Boss OD-1. Since then, the Tube Screamer has had numerous iterations / re-designs. Today, several varieties of Tube Screamer are on the market.

The current TS-808 claims to be a faithful reissue of the original Tube Screamer, and features the same JRC4558D IC chip and analog circuitry. It is known for its warm, smooth, natural tone and is a fixture of guitar players’ rigs the world over.

See price & reviews of the Ibanez TS808 Tube screamer at Amazon

4. Joyo JF-02 Ultimate Drive

JOYO Overdrive Distortion Pedal Rich Bordering-on-Distortion Overdrive for Electric Guitar Effect - Bypass (Ultimate Drive JF-02)
  • JOYO Ultimate Drive gives you rich bordering-on-distortion overdrive, surpassing what a diode tube amp can provide.
  • It's great for feedback, picking out your guitar's natural harmonics effortlessly and the high/low switch will give you that extra kick without having to change your settings.
  • Whole aluminium-alloy housing classic stoving varnish finish, stable and strong, with small LED flash indicator shows the working state.
  • JOYO is over decade of brand reputation, with the most popular budget pedals, amplifiers, wireless systems, controllers, metronomes, tuners winning the love of global guitarists and inspiring people's music dreams.
  • Before playing, please make sure the guitar is fully connected with the pedal. in order to make JOYO pedals work properly and avoiding unexpected noise, we recommend you to purchase an extra JOYO original power adapter, or choose the other reliable brands and make sure it meets the working current requirement of single pedal.

Joyo are a Chinese company that produce a range of vintage-style effects pedals at low prices. The Joyo JF-02 is currently priced at under $35, and has found favor with many guitarists wishing for a vintage sound without the inflated cost of “name” brands.

As well as the standard gain, tone and level controls, this versatile pedal has a high and low switch for added tonal control. With plenty of gain available, the JF-02 is part-way between an overdrive and a distortion.

Some reviews criticize this budget overdrive pedal’s build quality. However, if you want a lot of sound for not a lot of money, the JF-02 may be a good entry point into the world of overdrive and distortion.

See price & reviews of the Joyo JF-02 at Amazon

5. MXR M77 Custom Badass Modified O.D.

Jim Dunlop Custom Badass Modified O.D
  • 100Hz cut and boost control allows tonal fine-tuning
  • Bump switch engages alternative voicing for a low and mid-range boost
  • Classic overdrive circuit with modern modifications for improved performance and versatility
  • True bypass
  • Model Number: M77

Like all MXR pedals, the M77 is a well-made, solid unit that feels likely to stand the test of time. The Custom Badass features a classic overdrive circuit that has been modified with two additional controls: a 100 Hz cut/boost knob and a “Bump” button.

The 100Hz cut/boost serves either to thin out the bass end of the guitar’s sound, or to give it a big, boomy boost. The bump button provides a subtle boost in the mid-low range.

With an interesting range of sounds, including a nice heavy overdrive, the MXR M77 is worthy of a soundcheck at your local music store.

See price & reviews of the MXR M77 Custom Badass at Amazon

6. Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal

Strymon’s Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal is essentially two overdrive pedals in one, as it has two channels that can be used either individually or together.

In fact, the unit could even be viewed as six pedals in one, as each of the pedal’s two channels has three different circuit options, each of which produces a different type of overdriven sound.

Either of the two channels can be used independently. The channels can also be used together, in the following configurations: channel A feeding into channel B, channel B feeding into channel A, or both channels running in parallel.

Depending on the setting you select, you’ll find tones reminiscent of a barely-overdriven tube sound, through to an overdrive that is verging on distortion.

While more expensive that a typical overdrive pedal, the Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal offers a huge amount of flexibility and tonal variation, and is well-worth considering if you have a little extra to spend.

See price & reviews of the Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive Pedal at Amazon

7. Fender Santa Ana Overdrive

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Fender Santa Ana Overdrive Pedal
  • This pedal draws more current than a typical stomp box. Make sure your power supply can handle a 130mA DC draw
  • FET Technology for tube-like performance
  • ‘A’ and ‘B’ overdrive voicings
  • Led backlit knobs
  • Magnetically latched hinged 9V battery door

Fender’s Santa Ana overdrive pedal is a premium offering in a nicely-built red case with six main knobs, four switches, and two footswitches.

The left footswitch is the standard effect on/off switch, while the right footswitch is used to boost either the level or the drive, depending on the position of a switch on the back of the unit.

The voice switch switches between a trebly sound and a smooth mid-low focused sound. Bass, mid, treble and presence knobs provide useful amplifier-style controls

The unit’s illuminated knob level indicators (which can be switched off) are perhaps a bit of a gimmick, but they do give the pedal a nice high-end look. This unit consumes a lot of power, so running via a main adapter rather than from a battery is recommended.

Fender’s Santa Ana overdrive is a versatile pedal that delivers a range of classic overdrive tones. However, you pay for the name, and the Strymon perhaps offers more in the way of tonal variety for not much more. Give them both a test run to see which you prefer!

See price & reviews of the Fender Santa Ana Overdrive at Amazon

8. Joyo JF-16 British Sound

JOYO Overdrive British Rock Amp Simulator Pedal Brit-Rock Era Bluesbreaker Overload for Electric Guitar Effect - Bypass (British Sound JF-16)
  • JOYO British Sound guitar effect pedal get tones inspired by the Mashall amplifier and whether it's the Bluesbreaker overdrive to Plexi Roar, it easily reach for them.
  • The British Sound delivers that 60s and 70s warmth and harmonic overdrive you hear on so many classic records, it allows you to replicate the sound of these incredible amps.
  • Level and Drive controls add incredible range, with it's full 3 band EQ and voice knob you can easily dial in any tone you can think of. Adjust for shaping EQ and overdrive response, it can simulate many kinds of Amps.
  • JOYO is over decade of brand reputation, with the most popular budget pedals, amplifiers, wireless systems, controllers, metronomes, tuners winning the love of global guitarists and inspiring people's music dreams.
  • Before playing, please make sure the guitar is fully connected with the pedal. in order to make JOYO pedals work properly and avoiding unexpected noise, we recommend you to purchase an extra JOYO original power adapter, or choose the other reliable brands and make sure it meets the working current requirement of single pedal.

The Joyo JF-16 is slightly different to the other overdrive pedals on this list, as a) it aims to emulate a specific amplifier sound; and b) it can be fed straight into a mixing desk or DAW.

The "British Sound" in the pedal's name hints as to the type of amp it aims to simulate; the Joyo JF-16 is ostensibly a Marshall in a box. The company claims it replicates "everything from Bluesbreaker to Plexi roar".

If Marshall isn't your thing, Joyo have you covered: the JF-13 simulates a Vox AC30 amplifier; the JF-14 a Fender 57 Deluxe amp; the JF-15 a Mesa Boogie MKIIl; and the JF-22 an Oxford amp.

See price & reviews of the Joyo JF-15 British Sound at Amazon

9. Boss OD-3 Overdrive

Boss OD-3 Overdrive Pedal
  • Overdrive Pedal f Guitar Bass
  • Dual-Stage Overdrive Circuit offers a level of sustain and compression unmatched by any overdrive pedal
  • Dynamic, non-muffled tones reminiscent of classic overdriven stack amps
  • Increased dynamics yield a bigger sound than any previous BOSS overdrive pedal

Often overshadowed by its better-known stablemate the SD-1, the OD-3 offers a slightly different flavor of overdrive, producing a natural sound that lacks the mid-range character of pedals such as the SD-1 and TS9.

The OD-3 can produce a range of overdriven tones, from a clean sound on the edge of breaking up, to a heavily overdriven sound approaching distortion.

Whereas the SD-1 is commonly used as an additional boost to an already dirty sound, the OD-3 works well with a clean amp sound, or one with only slight distortion.

The pedal has a trebly, slightly fizzy sound that is perhaps better suited to guitars with mid to high output humbucking pickups rather than low-output single coils, in which case the treble may be a little too much.

See price & reviews of the OD-3 at Amazon

10. Boss JB-2 Angry Driver Overdrive Pedal

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver Overdrive Pedal
  • Overdrive/Distortion Pedal for Electric Guitar with BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver
  • JHS Angry Charlie Voices

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Boss compact pedals, the company, in collaboration with JHS, produced this unique, two-in-one overdrive pedal. The JB-2 combines Boss’s BD-2 Blues Driver pedal with JHS’s Angry Charlie distortion pedal, giving the player a wide range of tones from barely-overdriven to heavy-metal-style distortion.

Players can select from either of the pedals working independently; the JHS feeding the Boss, the Boss feeding the JHS, and both effects working in parallel.

Unsurprisingly, the JB-2 can deliver a wide range of tones. Some of this versatility is hampered by the unit itself; some guitarists may find the dual-function knobs (the top half of the knob controls the JHS, the bottom half the Boss) slightly fiddly, and you’ll need to attach an additional footswitch to gain full foot control over the various overdrive combinations. This pedal may have worked much better in a dual-pedal configuration, such as that seen in the Strymon Sunset Dual overdrive.

See price & reviews of the Boss JB-2 Angry Driver at Amazon

Best Overdrive Pedals 2024 Conclusion & Our Personal Choices

On this page we’ve rounded up ten of the best overdrive pedals on the market, but there are many more available. If there are any great pedals we’ve missed, let us know in the comments section below.

Our personal favorites from the pedals listed above would be the Tube Screamer TS9 for the classic overdriven sound, and the Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive for its versatility and premium feel. If we could have only one overdrive pedal, it would likely be the Strymon.


Overdrive Pedal Controls

Overdrive isn’t the most complex of effects, and having a huge array of knobs is often overkill. Many of the best overdrive pedals have just three knobs, relying on the intrinsic sound of the unit to achieve a given sound rather than offering a limitless range of sonic possibilities.

Controls typically found on an overdrive pedal are:

  • Gain: The gain control knob simply adjusts the level of overdrive. Lower settings provide a slight boost and a touch of grit, while higher settings increase the intensity of the overdrive until it verges on distortion.
  • Tone: Many overdrive pedals also have tone controls to shape the high-frequency content of the signal. This allows for further customization of the sound.
  • Volume: A volume or level control is usually present to set the output level of the pedal, allowing it to be used as a boost for solos or to match the level of the bypassed signal.

Other controls found on overdrive pedals usually provide additional control over tone, usually in the form of simple EQ-style bass/mid/treble knobs. Some overdrive pedals may have switches to select from two or more types of overdrive.


What Are Overdrive Pedals Used For?

Overdrive pedals are versatile and used in a variety of music genres, including blues, rock and hard rock. They can provide anything from a subtle fattening of a lead sound, to a crunchy rhythm sound that could otherwise only be achieved by turning up a tube amp to full.

They're often used to push a tube amp further into its natural overdrive, to add warmth and sustain to clean amp settings, or to provide a foundation for other effects.

An overdrive pedal can either be left on throughout a song for a crunchy rhythm sound, or used as a boost for playing a solo. It can also be used complement either a distortion pedal, or the natural overdrive / distortion of an amp.

A key feature of overdrive pedals is their dynamic response to playing intensity. Lighter playing produces cleaner tones, while harder strumming or picking results in more pronounced overdrive.

There are limits to what an overdrive pedal can achieve; most won’t be able to supply the full-on distortion required in heavy metal. However, many metal guitarists employ an overdrive pedal to provide an additional volume / gain boost for soloing.


Further Reading

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