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Fuzz pedals have been a staple effect on guitarist’s pedalboards for many decades. The highly saturated tone they produce can instantly transform a riff, solo, or chord sequence.
In years gone by, effects pedals were pretty expensive and it was difficult for guitarists to access high-quality fuzz effects. With an abundance of affordable fuzz pedals manufactured today, this is no longer an issue.
In this guide, we’ll present the best budget fuzz pedals that have the potential to inject power and energy into your guitar’s tone. Regardless of the genre or style of guitar, you like to play, you’ll find the perfect option in our list.
In a Rush’ Round-Up
How We Tested
To find the best budget fuzz pedals, we ran the devices through several tests. Firstly, this involved assessing how effective the various controls that are installed on the pedal were at impacting the sound it produces.
Then, we subsequently tested the pedal’s ability to saturate a guitar signal without producing unwanted noise such as humming or buzzing. Finally, we looked at the build quality of the pedals, and how likely they are to last for a long time. In the best guitar fuzz pedal reviews below, you can see the findings from these tests.
Affordable Fuzz Pedal Reviews
Some of rock music’s most iconic guitarists have used the Big Muff Fuzz Pedal to add thick fuzzy distortion to their pedalboards. The likes of Hendrix, Santana, and many more used the pedal extensively.
This affordable fuzz pedal is essentially the same as the original model from the early 1970s. It features the same simplistic three control layout, which allows you to tweak the Sustain, Volume, and Tone of the fuzz effect.
Bu adjusting these three parameters, it’s possible to create a surprisingly diverse range of fuzzy tones to suit all genres of rock music. You can crank up the sustain to make your riffs more aggressive, or dial in the tone to produce a lo-fi sound.
Another standout quality of this cheap fuzz pedal is its durable construction. Electro Harmonix is known for its roadworthy pedal designs, and the Big Muff Pi is a fine example of this.
- Tone, sustain, and volume controls
- Durable metal chassis
- Can be powered by a 9V battery
- Based on the iconic original from the ‘70s
- Wide range of saturated tones
- Simple control operation
- Wide dimensions
The Pro Co RAT has enjoyed many decades of popularity and has been used by guitarists who play metal, hard rock, heavy blues, and other genres. This affordable, compact pedal obliterates a guitar’s signal instantly.
The saturation produced by the Pro Co RAT 2 Fuzz Pedal is very similar to the original, however, Pro Co has improved the sound in some noticeable ways. For example, the low-end, which was slightly weak with the original model, now sounds thick and full-bodied.
In terms of the control layout, the new edition is identical to the original. By tweaking the Filter control, you can adjust the harmonic content of the fuzz effect, and make the pedal sound more or less musical.
This affordable fuzz pedal works best when you push it to its extremes, but it can also provide subtle overdrive if you dial in the parameters and turn down the gain on your amplifier.
For such a small and simple pedal, it’s impressive how many sounds you can get out of the second version of the Pro Co RAT, and therefore this pedal is certainly amongst the best cheap fuzz pedals on the market.
- Distortion, filter, and volume controls
- Status LED
- Durable footswitch
- Warm, aggressive fuzz tone
- Also produces distortion and overdrive effects
- Compact design
- Limited connectivity
Behringer keeps the cost of its stompboxes down by using a plastic enclosure rather than a metal chassis. This inevitably means the pedals are less robust, and more likely to break.
Nevertheless, if you take good care of a Behringer pedal, like this SF300 Super Fuzz, there’s no reason that it can’t last for a long time. And, in terms of the quality of the effect, it rivals pedals that cost considerably more.
Onboard the SF300 are three main fuzz presets, which consist of Fuzz 1, Fuzz 2, and Boost. The two fuzz settings can be categorized as vintage, and modern sounding, with the Fuzz 2 producing a polished distorted tone and the Fuzz 1 sounding warmer.
Having a boost installed on the pedal is a very useful addition. It means that when the time comes to play a solo, you can use this setting to ensure that your guitar is heard over the rest of your band.
Additionally, the pedal offers a 2-band EQ in the form of treble and bass controls. Once you’ve found the right amount of saturation, you can use these controls to get the ideal tone.
- Two fuzz modes
- Two dynamic controls
- 2-band EQ
- Vintage fuzz tone
- Simple operation
- Great for blues and rock guitar
- Has a plastic enclosure
The OP-amp Big Muff Pi is ideal for psych-rockers, grunge musicians, or any other guitarist that likes to combine modulation with distortion.
This mini fuzz pedal was created as a collaboration between Electro Harmonix and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, who modified his ’70s Big Muff, when recording the band’s classic album, Siamese Dreams.
Although the pedal is considerably smaller than most Big Muffs, it is impressively versatile, and you can achieve a wide range of fuzzy tones by tweaking the three onboard rotary controls.
In the center of the pedal, you’ll find the feature that makes this device stand out. The OP-amp switch is designed to replicate the 1970s original and it does so by delivering a rough, scratchy fuzz tone.
This pedal is highly compatible with any modulation effect, and it sounds equally as good when you use it with single coils or humbucker pickups.
- Volume, sustain, and tone controls
- Robust die-cast housing
- True bypass switching
- Compact and conveniently sized
- Minimizes noise issues
- Fat, fuzzy tones
- Low-end is slightly weaker than other frequency bands
One of the main things I love about JHS pedals is their minimalistic designs. This may lead you to believe that the pedals have limited capabilities for producing wide ranges of sounds, but that’s simply not the case.
The affordable 3 Series Fuzz Pedal is a fine example of JHS’ ability to create diverse sounds from a limited number of controls. Each parameter included on the pedal serves an important purpose and has a transformative effect on your guitar’s tone.
The Bias control is particularly important to the overall effect, as it changes the coloration of the fuzz, and can make the pedal sound thicker or thinner depending on your preferences.
Under the Fuzz knob, which increases or decreases the prominence of the saturation, there is a toggle switch. When you push this switch down, it instantly fattens up the effect, boosting the power of the low-end and midrange frequencies.
The pedal also has an onboard LED indicator so that you can see the on/off status even if you’re playing on a stage with minimal lighting.
- Volume, bias, and fuzz controls
- Fat toggle switch
- True bypass switching
- Combines modern and vintage fuzz tones
- Simplistic design and layout
- Preserves signal clarity
- The fat boost switch must be hand operated
If you compared the full-sized Fuzz Face pedal and this mini version, the only difference you’ll find is their size. Somehow, Dunlop has managed to condense the powerful saturated effect of the original into a compact size.
The convenient design of the Dunlop Fuzz Face Mini means that it can slot onto your pedalboard without taking up too much space, which is ideal if you already have a lot of pedals.
Dunlop has used true bypass switching to keep signal issues to a minimum, and there is a bright LED indicator located in the center of the pedal so that you can tell when it is active.
The circuitry used to create the Fuzz Face Mini’s unique flavor of distortion is very similar to the original, which was used by icons like David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix.
The only issue guitarists found with the original Fuzz Face was that it was prone to some noise problems, but Dunlop has addressed that by deviating from the Silicon transistors and going back to a Germanium-based design.
- 2-control layout
- Status LED
- Vintage circuitry
- A compact version of the classic ‘60s original
- Produces Hendrix-style fuzz tones
- Great for fuzzy riffs and chord patterns
- Limited controls
Budget Fuzz Pedals Buyer's Guide
There comes a time in every guitarist’s development when they begin to wonder whether they need a fuzz pedal. There’s something so satisfying about obliterating your signal with fuzz and blasting out crunchy riffs or wailing solos.
Fuzz pedals have been used to create some of the most recognizable and iconic guitar parts of the past sixty years, and they continue to be a mainstay of most guitarist’s pedals in the modern day.
Although fuzz is undoubtedly more straightforward to use than many other effects, there is still a lot to consider if you want to find the best affordable option for your particular style and needs.
The controls, additional features, and other qualities all impact the way that the fuzz effect will make your guitar sound. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the compatibility with the other pedals you already use.
We’ll discuss this and more in the detailed buyer’s guide below.
Things to Consider When Buying Fuzz Pedals
Fuzz pedals generally have fewer controls and parameters than other effects. Volume, sustain, and tone controls are often included, but if you want more options, look for the filter, boost, and EQ controls.
Signal chain placement
If you already have a considerable collection of effects pedals, it’s essential to consider how a fuzz pedal will slot into your signal chain and whether it will work with your other devices.
Some affordable fuzz pedals work best with tube amplifiers, as they can be used to push the tubes into overdrive. Others may work best with solid-state amplifiers.
The more inputs and outputs a fuzz pedal has, the more options you will have when adding it to your signal chain. Some may have two outputs for signal splitting, or they may have additional inputs for expression pedals.
What Makes an Affordable Fuzz Pedal Worth Buying?
There are two problems that most guitarists will encounter at some point if they use affordable effects pedals. Firstly, the build quality can cause them to break more efficiently, and secondly, they can be prone to producing noises that aren’t desirable.
Unfortunately, many guitarists experience one of these problems and decide that affordable pedals aren’t worth using from that point onward.
As we’ve proven with the fuzz pedals featured in this guide, you just have to look a little harder to find a quality, affordable stompboxes.
Fuzz is arguably one of the most accessible effects for a manufacturer to produce, so there’s not much of a gulf in quality between high-end and affordable models.
The key to creating a good fuzz effect is having reliable circuitry. This will ensure minimal unwanted noise when the gain is added to your guitar’s signal.
It’s also a good idea to look closely at how the pedal is built. If it seems flimsy, you’ll need to be extra careful when using it, storing it, and transporting it to avoid breaking it.
Silicon vs. Germanium Fuzz Pedals - Which Should You Choose?
Fuzz pedals can be placed into two main categories – those that use silicon transistors or those that use germanium transistors. Knowing the difference between these types is essential, as they significantly impact the pedal’s sound.
Although fuzz isn’t a particularly complex effect, many guitarists underestimate its versatility. A broad spectrum of fuzz sounds is suitable for different guitar playing styles.
When fuzz pedals were first introduced, they all had germanium transistors. This led to a cult following, as these transistors were used in many of the early iconic fuzz pedals played by pioneering guitarists.
The sound of germanium-based fuzz pedals tends to be warmer and thicker than their silicon counterparts. They have a pronounced midrange, which is great for creating rock-n-roll riffs.
On the other hand, silicon transistors are used in a lot of modern fuzz pedals. The advantage of these pedals over germanium fuzz is that they are more reliable.
Despite their desirable sonic qualities, germanium fuzz pedals are renowned for being unpredictable. They often produce random frequencies, and the dynamics can fluctuate.
As time progressed, manufacturers turned to silicon transistors for fuzz pedals, producing a similar sound without more stability. However, many guitarists still prefer the authentic sound of a germanium transistor fuzz pedal.
Affordable fuzz pedals are unlikely to include an array of adjustable controls, but there are still some key ones that you should look out for. A gain control will allow you to add more saturation to the signal, and there’s also likely to be a master volume control.
The most impactful control you’ll need to shape the sound of your fuzz pedal is tone control. This affects the frequencies subjected to the fuzz effect and increases the pedal’s versatility.
Budget Fuzz Pedals FAQs
Where Should Fuzz Go In The Signal Chain?
Signal chain placement ultimately comes down to personal preference and the tone you’re aiming for, but there is a conventional order that is an excellent place to start. This involves placing a fuzz pedal towards the front of the chain.
Fuzz interacts better with the other effects in the signal chain if positioned at the front end, which will avoid it sounding muddy. Commonly, fuzz is placed after dynamic pedals like EQ and compression and before modulation pedals like chorus and phasers.
What Is The Difference Between Fuzz and Distortion Pedals?
Fuzz and distortion pedals share many similarities, which leads to them often being confused for one another. There are, however, some key differences between these two gain-based pedals.
Fuzz is essentially the most extreme version of a gain-based pedal you can quire. It causes the signal to clip aggressively, which creates a thick tone with minimal dynamic range. Distortion is slightly less saturated, giving it a more musical sound.
Can You Use Fuzz and Overdrive Pedals Together?
Fuzz and overdrive pedals can be used together, but you’ll probably need to tweak the settings of both devices to avoid over-saturating your tone. Using overdrive subtly with fuzz is a great way to add more warmth to a guitar tone.