7 Best Distortion Pedals for Metal Heads – Our Top Picks & Recommendation

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Our #2 Rated
Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Our #2 Rated
Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
Our #1 Rated
Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar
Our #4 Rated
JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
Our #5 Rated
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
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Perfectly positioned knobs for easy access
Comes with responsive knobs
Comes with a noise gate to reduce noise and tighten tones
Professionally sounding effects
Offers a crushing distortion for more sound variation
Ideal for any gigs
Top rated distortion pedal for metal
Allows fine tuning the sound
High quality construction
Easy to access tone and volume knobs
Can work as a standalone overdrive
Delivers superior British overdrive tones
Ideal for gigs and practices
Allows mode selection that activates a component of each unit
Comes with True Bypass
The versatile distortion pedal for metal
Professional build and quality distortion pedal
Perfect for those looking to produce the ideal tone
Best bang for the buck for the 9 overdrive pedals
Great value for its whole load of features
Our #2 Rated
Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Perfectly positioned knobs for easy access
Ideal for any gigs
Can work as a standalone overdrive
The versatile distortion pedal for metal
Our #2 Rated
Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
Comes with responsive knobs
Top rated distortion pedal for metal
Delivers superior British overdrive tones
Professional build and quality distortion pedal
Our #1 Rated
Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar
-
Comes with a noise gate to reduce noise and tighten tones
Allows fine tuning the sound
Ideal for gigs and practices
Perfect for those looking to produce the ideal tone
Our #4 Rated
JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
Professionally sounding effects
High quality construction
Allows mode selection that activates a component of each unit
Best bang for the buck for the 9 overdrive pedals
Our #5 Rated
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
Offers a crushing distortion for more sound variation
Easy to access tone and volume knobs
Comes with True Bypass
Great value for its whole load of features

OUR #1 RATED BEST DISTORTION PEDAL FOR METAL HEADS

Achieving that perfect tone in metal music can be harder than you’d initially expect if you don’t have the best distortion pedals for metal.

 
  

So if you’re a budding rock artist that wants to get more of your practice sessions or performances, you might be confused and challenged to choose the right distortion pedal for metal.  For help, check out this guide below.

What to Know about Distortion Pedals For Metal

Check out the following for what to know about distortion pedals for metal and later the latest picks to help you decide which to choose.

best distortion pedal for metal

Difference between overdrive and distortion

According to Spinditty.com, the overdrive produces a warmer and milder effect, while the distortion delivers a heavier and thicker effect.  It’s the simplest way of categorizing the two.

In addition, the overdrive can produce a more natural sound but a brash one with a distortion.

Another thing to remember is that overdrive pedal can modify the sonic effect that you’re already producing.  So if you’re playing classic rock, you might want to choose an overdrive pedal.

Easy Access Controls in Performances

Gibson.com advises to consider a pedal that will let sound dialing and modifying as quickly as possible, and that applies whether you’re planning to use it in jamming with friends or performing in an event.

Choose pedals that beautifully commands both overdrive and distortion

If you’re looking for more value out of the distortion pedal for metal, you might want to opt for pedals that offer switching between overdrive or distortion patches easily while you’re playing.

Looking for a do-it-all unit?

If you’re searching for a more versatile pedal, you might want to use a high-end stompbox designed with potentiometer controls.

There you the basics to know about a distortion pedal and a couple of differences between an overdrive and distortion that you might want to know.

Here’s a useful video I found on how to choose and achieve desired tone on your distortion pedal for metal.

 

7 Best Distortion Pedals For Metal

#1 Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar

Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar
28 Reviews
Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar
  • Volume - Extra headroom. 6 on the Precision drive is equal to 10 on other drives.
  • Attack - Dial in the perfect amount of punch without compromise.
  • Drive - From tight rhythms to glassy lead tones.
  • Bright - Control your cut in the mix and fine tune your sound.
  • Gate - Built-in adjustable noise gate for tight tones and noise reduction.

If you’re looking for the best distortion pedals for metal, you might want to consider the Horizon Devices Precision Drive. It is a specially designed overdrive for metal.

For those who love metal sounds, this distortion pedal for rock offers us with tons of settings through the Attack Rotary switch that can eliminate any unnecessary mud in the low end.

It also includes the integrated Noisegate, offering quiet sound through suppressing any additional sound due to more gain. On the other hand, I liked that it can also function to deliver an effect with a higher setting.

With the Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar, you won’t have to worry about perfecting your tone again.

This reliable distortion pedal for metal offers a great overdrive but for much less the price. I also liked that the distortion pedal offers different levels of attack, allowing for that perfect punch without compromising sound quality.

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Pros
  • Allows controlling your cut in the mix as well as fine tuning your sound
  • Comes with a built-in noise gate for noise reduction and tight tones

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Cons
  • Not the best-looking distortion pedal
  • Pricey

 

#2 Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
69 Reviews
Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Designed to be a versatile addition to any setup, any style
  • Use with other pedals to shape the total gain, as a stand alone overdrive, or as a slightly dirty boost to push the front end of your amp
  • Can even be used as a buffer because this pedal is not true bypass
  • This pedal contains a buffered bypass tone legendary in its own right
  • The streamlined 3 control knobs (Volume, Gain, and Tone) allow you to quickly dial in your tones no matter what the gig calls for

The Wampler Tumnus V2 is one of the perfect additions to your set up no matter your style.  And if you love metal, you can better rock the show with perfect sound effects to engage your audience further.

I liked that this distortion pedal offers versatility for more functions.  You can use it with other pedals when shaping the total gain.

More so, I’d like to recommend this distortion pedal because it can function as a standalone overdrive.  Aside from that, you’ll appreciate that it can be used to push your amp’s front end for a dirty boost.

As it is also not a true bypass, it can also be used as a buffer. The pedal also has a buffered bypass tone in itself.  In addition, this model has three easy to access knobs for gain, volume and tone.

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Pros
  • Can be used in combination with other pedals to shape the total gain
  • Allows quick dialing in the tones with three control knobs

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Cons
  • A bit bulky
  • Might take a little getting used to at first

 

#3 Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

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Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
41 Reviews
Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Authentic British Overdrive Tones
  • Volume, Gain, Tight, Bass, Treble and Presence
  • True Bypass Switching
  • Can be powered between 9-18VDC (no battery)
  • Assembled in USA

The Friedman BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal is one of the top-rated distortion pedals around and for reasons.   One of things that users love about it is its genuine-sounding British overdrive tones, which are pretty impressive.

I also would like to recommend this effects pedal because of the included True Bypass switching,   adding to its functionality and versatility.

The BE OD is also able to capture every tone of the BE-100 amplifier.

I love that the BE OD is also able to deliver supreme tube-amplifier sound with coming from a pedal along with the controls required to shape our tone that include tight, volume,  gain, presence and treble.

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Pros
  • Great amp sound capture
  • Can run between 9 an d 18 V direct current without battery

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Cons
  • Controls might be hard to access at first
  • Might have to buy the BE-100 amplifier for the best tone produced

 

#4 JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

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JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
83 Reviews
JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
  • The Bonsai is our tribute to one of the greatest pedals ever created, the Tube Screamer
  • A simple rotary knob switches through nine classic, vintage, rare, or hard to find variations of the Screamer
  • The Bonsai does not emulate these pedals, it is exact replications of these nine units all housed in one box
  • Choosing a mode on the Bonsai rotary actually activates components specific to each unit

The JHS Bonsai 9-Way Screamer is one of the top picks in the category. If you’re looking to feel the screaming valves of overdrive, you should check out this distortion pedal.

You’d like that it lets you produce some mid-bump grind or dirty boost. Both of these features allow for more flexibility in your music style.

I also like to recommend the effects pedal that it’s able to boasts the same components as the sources using the rotary control.  All in one package, you’d get nine different overdrive pedals, too.

It is also easy to control. Just by choosing a mode on the Bonsai distortion pedal, we can activate the specific components that are also particular to each unit.

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Pros
  • Comes with 9 different overdrive pedals
  • Includes an easy to control rotary knob

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Cons
  • Can be hard to control at first
  • A bit bulky

 

#5 Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal

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Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
100 Reviews
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Singing sustain with attitude
  • Crushing distortion
  • Adjustable tone
  • True bypass
  • 9 Volt batteries required (included, best with Polaroid 9 Volt batteries), Optional 9DC-100 power supply available

Performing on gigs or practicing, you’ll gain more confidence with a reliable effects pedal.   You might want to take a second look at the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal.

I noticed that the effects pedal for metal is user-friendly. You can easily access the volume knob that allows you to control the output level. So whether you want it louder or not, you can easily set it using the volume knob.

When it comes to the tone, the Electro-Harmonix is designed with a tone knob, offering a host of sounds.  A few of these include a deep bass or a high treble. Whatever sound effects you want it to produce, you’ll get it.

I also liked that it comes with a True Bypass feature that makes it even more versatile.

With the distortion pedal, you can mind the singing and playing and the device will help sustain it with an attitude for the sustain knob that adjusts the level of distortion and sustain.

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Pros
  • Beginner-friendly knobs’ placement and design
  • Easy to access volume knob to adjust output level

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Cons
  • Might have to replace batteries from time to time
  • Expensive

 

#6 MXR EVH5150 Overdrive

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MXR EVH5150 Overdrive
65 Reviews
MXR EVH5150 Overdrive
  • Designed in close collaboration with Eddie Van Halen
  • Features multi-stage MOSFETs, 3-band EQ, Boost switch, and Gate
  • Extremely versatile

MXR has a long legacy in the music world, and even pro musicians that perform on concerts have proven its reliability. It keeps up with its commitment to quality of its music devices, such as the MXR EVH5150.

One thing I’d like to note about the MXR EVH5150 is that it was designed in collaboration with Eddie Van Halen. And the result was a distortion pedal that delivers a host of hyper-driven and powerful saturation within your reach.

I noticed its nicely positioned controls for output and gain, allowing us to set both distortion and volume levels.

This model also allows us to shape our sound based on our preference with the 3 EQ band section.  

It also includes a boost switch that can activate it into a high gear tone that has compression and extra gain.  This feature makes the musical device more versatile and ideal for those looking to get more of what they’d dish out for it.

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Pros
  • Ultra versatile and value for money
  • Comes with a boost switch and multi-stage MOSFETs

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Cons
  • Heavier than other models in the same category
  • Might not be beginner-friendly

 

#7 EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Power Amp Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Power Amp Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
75 Reviews
EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Power Amp Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Modeled after a cranked vintage Model T amplifier to bring the openness, clarity, and crunch that only a dimed tube amp can provide
  • Designed to keep the controls as simple as possible; the footswitch controls power, and the knob controls output volume
  • This device can be powered conveniently by a 9V battery or a standard 9-volt DC power supply
  • Made with care by human hands in Akron, Ohio
  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL! The Acapulco Gold is extremely loud!

The Acapulco Gold V2 is another distortion effects pedal to choose from and use if you’re looking for a versatile and reliable one.

One impressive characteristic of the pedal is the easy to access big knob that allows us to set the output level conveniently.  It delivers the output level for which you set it.

For instance, expect that it will roar as if it is a wide–open Model T if you set the guitar’s volume high. There is no doubt as it’s designed after the Model T amp, which delivers clarity and openness that a tube amplifier can supply.

Overall, the EarthQuaker is a decent choice for those looking for a versatile distortion pedal that comes with strategically positioned controls.

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Pros
  • Can run on either 9 VDC power supply or 9V batteries
  • Strategically positioned controls

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Cons
  • Footswitch might break in time
  • Pricey

OUR TOP CHOICE FOR THE BEST DISTORTION PEDALS FOR METAL

For today’s review on the best distortion pedals for metal, our top pick is the Horizon Devices Precision Drive Modern Overdrive Pedal Electric Guitar.

It offers a host of benefits for the aspiring rock artist and has the unmatched versatility. This distortion pedal for metal is designed with easy to access controls for convenience during performances and practices.

It also comes with a noise gate that effectively reduces noise and produces tight tones. The product has the performance functions and features we’re searching for in a metal distortion pedal.

Buy it today!

  

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