So what exactly is a Flanger pedal? Is it another name for a Phaser?
Whilst there are many similarities, they are not quite the same thing. A Phaser works on the principle of a delay in the phase of the note. A Flanger works by delaying the time, so it becomes out of sync.
Many people attribute the invention of the Flanger to Les Paul, but we can take you back a bit further than that, to 1693 and a Dutch mathematician Christian Huygens. He discovered what would happen if you played two notes but slightly delayed one. The principle that exists in the Flanger effect pedals today.
It really arrived in the semi-psychedelic era of the mid to late 60s and was heard used on albums by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. The first successful commercial use of the Flanger was in 1967. Working at Olympic Studios in London, Glyn Johns applied Flanging to the Small Faces song ‘Itchycoo Park.’ And also later in smaller doses on other tracks on their album ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.’
Common use now, of course, and all the pedal manufacturers all have their versions. So. let’s have a look at the best Flanger pedals currently available and find the perfect one for you…
Top 8 Best Flanger Pedal You Must Buy 2021 Reviews
1 Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress Chorus/Flanger Pedal
Electro-Harmonix makes some great pedals. Based in New York, they were established in 1968 and are now a well-respected manufacturer of top-quality pedals. The Flanger effect being one of them.
As with all Electro-Harmonix pedals, it has a tough build. Its all-metal construction ready to handle the rigors of life on the road. Likewise, the footswitch is made to endure some use. It has a glowing LED in operation light. The Electric Mistress is a follow-up to a previous Flanger effect with some extras added on.
Perhaps the biggest change has been the addition of Chorus. Previous Electro Harmonix Flanger effects had not had Chorus. The addition in this pedal opens up a range of new sounds that are possible. With the new pedal, you can also take your signal and add flange manually to suit your taste. When using the two effects together, they produce some amazing sounds.
Controls are quite basic and easy to use. They feature depth controls for Flange and Chorus individually and the rate of effect for both.
This pedal will give quite outstanding modulated tones. The Flange and Chorus may be used independently or together. You achieve a real stereo effect that, at times, is quite surprising when you have a deep sweep setting in operation.
At 8.5 by 3.8 by 4.2 inches, it is no miniature model and will take up a little space on your best guitar pedalboard, but it is as we have said a tough build. Just out of interest, we have a vintage mid-1970’s Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress in the office, and that would take up your whole pedalboard, so the size, although not small, is a definite improvement.
It requires 9v batteries and does get through them quite quickly. You might be better off using the mains lead, which is recommended.
This is not a particularly cheap pedal at all, but it certainly gives you the opportunity of being in control of some great sounds. It’s going to be a contender for the best Flanger pedal.
- Tough, rugged build.
- Some great sounds with the added chorus effect.
- Not cheap.
2 MXR M117R Flanger
Founded in 1972 in New York and now owned by Jim Dunlop, MXR has spent a long time making some great pedals. In the world of the Flanger pedal, Dunlop is probably best known for his association with the Van Halen sound of Flanger and Phasers.
The M117R is a typical MXR product. All of the pedals they produce are efficient and easy to use. They tend not to load them down with too much tech. If they make a Flanger, then that is what it does. They usually like to avoid too many bells and whistles. We think there are a lot of guitar players that respect that approach. Make it good, and keep it simple.
The build is solid with a tough metal box and footswitch. The four controls are simple and well-placed featuring Manual, Width, Speed, and Regen for feedback control. Nothing particularly new in those when compared with other Flangers.
One thing that is a variation is the Manual control giving you far more possibilities with sound production. That sweeping sound common to the flanger effect can be bypassed if you choose.
Each of the control knobs has a decent range, and this allows you to really develop an individual sound. The pedal includes a true bypass switch and runs on two 9v batteries or on the power supply. It is a versatile pedal and will work well with bass, keyboards, and even vocals.
This is a well-designed and manufactured and rather old school. It will take some criticism we are sure for its apparent lack of extra features, but its performance as a Flanger effect is what it does – and it does it well. Sounds can be shaped and produced, and that is usually enough for most people.
Not particularly cheap, but it is a decent buy — and one to consider for the best Flanger pedal.
- Well made and tough build.
- Basic simple design and operation.
- Some will want more features.
3 TC Electronic Vortex Flanger Pedal
TC Electronic is a Danish company set up in 1976. They specialize in designing and building high-quality effects pedals, audio interfaces, and bass amplifiers. They are as a company very creative in their approach to pedal design and the functions that are included.
As a pedal, it has a tough, road-ready design metal casing and sturdy switch. It is quite small compared with other such pedals at 5 by 3 by 4 inches. Won’t take up too much pedalboard space.
This Flanger offers a new range of sounds and possibilities. The controls will give you everything from a mild, easy sound to a wild flange. It has four basic controls, Speed, Depth, Feedback, and Delay. There is also a TC toggle switch.
The controls are self-explanatory, but the feedback has an interesting feature. Using this, you can use both positive or negative feedback. This will generate completely different sounds. The sound shaping possibilities then are wide, and this pedal offers something a little different. It has true bypass for when it is not in use and stereo in/out.
We mentioned the toggle switch. It offers three optional settings. You can switch between two varying flanger styles from a classic old-style tape warble to the modern sounds. The third option offers access to one of the tone print styles offered by TC Electronics. These can be downloaded to your Vortex via USB. They feature presets created by well-known players.
As with most pedals, to get the sound you are looking for takes a bit of time. You rarely get it ‘straight out of the box.’ Time well spent with this little pedal, we think — nice price for a pedal with so many options. With its tone print options, it will be a contender for the best flanger pedal.
- Well made with a tough build but not too big.
- Access to Toneprint options.
- There is a slight increase in instrument volume when the pedal is turned on.
4 Mooer Eleclady Classic Analog Flanger
Mooer is a guitar effects manufacturer based in China. They produce a range of budget-priced effects and accessories for guitars and are especially known for their Micro series. These are a range of pedals whose dimensions are much smaller than the average pedal size. This allows you to get more on a pedalboard.
The Eleclady Flanger is a good example. It is a well-made pedal with a metal shell with a rugged footswitch. And is therefore built for the rigors of live stage work. It has input and output sockets that are all ¼” jack.
Mooer products are often built to be basic and simple to understand, the use, and this pedal is exactly that. It has three basic controls, Colour, Range, and Rate, which will determine the type and the amount of the effect applied.
It delivers that classic Analog Flanger effect, a sound so reminiscent of the psychedelic era. There is also a toggle switch to take you between Filter and Normal modes. Normal mode gives you a light sweeping sound that is quite familiar. Filter, however, is far more intense and dramatic.
This is a Flanger that will contradict the view that if it is cheap, it can’t be any good. It sounds like it should really cost a lot more than this its price tag, which is extremely modest. The sounds are warm and inviting. If you’re looking for a simple to use Flanger effect that recreates some of the analog sounds from years ago? This goes very close to those early days. It is an excellent pedal.
Well-built and strong and easy to use and is great value for money. Like most well-designed pedals, it has true bypass. And if you have an already packed pedalboard, this could be the answer. This must be a contender for the best Flanger pedal.
- Tough metal construction and easy to use.
- Produces some great sounds.
- Some will not like the micro size.
5 JOYO JF-07
We quite like the Joyo pedals we have reviewed in the past. They are quite well made and simple to operate and are very cost-effective. More than that, they actually sound really good. They are based in China and are starting to make a name for themselves in the affordable pedals marketplace. This Flanger is certainly one of their best products to date. If you are on a tight budget but need the sound, then this is one to look at.
This Flanger pedal has a diecast metal body that is quite hard wearing and a good solid control button. It is a pedal that could withstand the rigors of life on the road. Just why there is a graphic of a Harrier jump jet we don’t know? Could be to do with Jet Flanging? But why a Harrier??
There are four basic controls, Delay, Time, Width, and Regen for feedback control. You will need to figure out how they work and how they affect the sound, but that isn’t a problem. They are quite self-explanatory.
The performance is good, and if you are asking, can you really buy a cheap pedal worth its money? Yes, you can. It is a digital pedal, so it does have that almost clinical sound, but it comes close to creating those analog tones. Tweaking the controls will get you very near. It has true bypass.
It is able to create those wave-like sounds and the sweeping sounds of the original pedals, and you can adjust them to suit your own taste. And it does that without the background hum you often find with budget pedals.
If you are expecting a Flanger effect that has a price tag of four times this price, you will be disappointed. If you except it for what it is, a great basic, low-cost pedal, you will be happy.
- Nice build with decent sounds.
- Very cost-effective price.
- Some will want more features.
6 Donner Jet Convolution Flanger
Donner is another company producing budget-priced effects pedals for those who may be on a tight budget. Like Mooer, they produce micro-sized pedals that take up less space on pedalboards.
This Flanger by Donner has a sturdy and strong aluminum alloy build with a rugged footswitch. It has three control knobs, Color, Rate, and Range, which will dictate the sound as you adjust them. They will give you variations of depth, speed, and the width of the sound. This will give you either a very basic Flange effect, a classical rolling analog sound, or something a bit more varied.
There are two modes of operation Filter and Normal. It has true bypass so as not to disturb your signal if it is not in use. There are ¼” input and output jack sockets and an LED status light.
It is interesting to note that this pedal seems to be a clone of the Mooer Eleclady. They are both very similar in size and functions, and the control knobs and functions are the same.
It works quite well, considering it is a budget pedal. There are no frills or extras, just a Flange effect with a few sound shaping options.
- Sturdy build.
- Cost-effective price
- Some may want more sound control options.
7 Boss BF-3 Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal
Of course, Boss will be here with an offering for a Flanger effect. Boss has been producing some of the best effects pedals since 1979. Their first Flanger came a year later in 1980. Since those early days, they have established themselves as one of, if not the, most recognized brand.
Always quality, always a great sound, rarely difficult to operate. They know what guitar players want, and they provide it at a reasonable cost. Some would say their name is a good description of them.
The BF-3 Flanger effects pedal is a typical Boss product and is easily recognizable from its design and style. Heavyweight build, built for anything you can throw at it. And that trademark footswitch/pedal all prominent.
This is an upgrade of the BF-2 that is so well-respected and widely-used. Even in the same color style and control layout. All the great sounds are still there plus two new modes. Added have been New Ultra and Gate/Pan modes that give a bigger flange sound. Sounds that swirl and sweep all around you in spellbinding fashion.
BF-2 has been a classic Flange effect for 20 years. Its unique sound created by taking the original signal and mixing it with a slightly delayed electronic signal. The process is still relevant. In fact, it has just got better. And with a fatter sound.
Not only for guitar, but it also produces a bass effect that we have not heard before. Bass and guitar have their separate inputs into this pedal.
It is, though, still easy to use, setup, and operate. One of the Boss trademarks. The four controls easily visible and self-explanatory in what they do. There is a momentary mode that brings the Flange effect into action immediately, and its tap tempo is operated through the pedal.
Yes, it’s good. Yes, it is certainly going to take some beating as the best Flanger pedal.
- Boss build and design.
- New upgrades make it better than its BF-2 predecessor.
- It might be expensive for some on a budget.
8 NUX MOD Core DELUXE Chorus/Flanger/Phaser/Rotary Guitar Effect
Nux is an effect pedal manufacturer that has only been developing their products for less than ten years. That makes them the new kids on the block in many ways. They are based in China and are owned by Cherub Technology.
You could say they have focused their development strategy in defined areas. They do not have a huge range of effect pedal products and quite often combine different effects into one pedal.
It is well made with a strong outer case and a rugged footswitch. The controls are neatly placed and consist of four control knobs. These are Rate, Depth, Tweak, and a selector for which of the effects you want.
It actually has eight modulation effects in one pedal. The Flanger being one of them. The others are Chorus, Phaser and Tremolo, U-Pan, Rotary, U-vibe, and Vibrato. There is also a three-way toggle switch.
A good feature of the toggle switch is Tone lock. This allows you to lock the function you are using at any time. This prevents you from accidentally changing by mistake. It features two In and two out ¼” jack sockets, one set with stereo capability.
It has 32-bit digital signal processing and a USB port to update the onboard effects. And features true bypass circuitry.
It is a budget pedal, but it has quite a lot built-in and is good value for money. A bit more than just a Flanger, though.
- Competitive price.
- Has a lot of sound options built-in
- With so much tech onboard reliability might be a problem
Best Flanger Pedal Buyer’s Guide
“It’s All Too Beautiful…” Picking the right Flanger effect
The Flanger is a great effect and almost unique in its sound-shaping potential. The Phaser, of course, is close, but there is a difference in sound. If you’re interested in Phasers, please check out our reviews of the best phaser pedals currently available.
But What Sort Of Sound Are You Looking For?
Do you want to go back to the days of ‘Itchycoo Park’ or early Pink Floyd and capture that swirling sound? Maybe you want something a bit more modern and digital sounding. The options for creating sounds are almost limitless and even include the creation of what sounds like a jet engine.
Most Flanger effects will include their attempt at the old analog sound. The advantage now is that you haven’t got to create crazy ways to get the sound. No more having two machines with the tape of one coming off the machine, round a broomstick or the leg of a chair and back on the other spool. That created a delay between the two signals. Itchycoo Park’s drums were never the same after that.
You will be looking for a pedal with true bypass so that your basic signal is not disturbed when the Flanger is not in use.
Do you want a pedal that offers more than just a Flanger but other effects as well?
There are a lot of options, even for those with a tight budget or an already packed pedalboard.
Finally, What Will You Use It For?
Is it for live work on stage? If it is, then it needs to have a pretty tough build and be able to stand a few knocks. However, if it is just for the home or the studio, then maybe the build is not so important.
If you are planning to use it with anything but a guitar, then check carefully. Some will take the best bass guitars very well. Most will take vocals, but it will be important to check performance levels when using microphones. A bad performing pedal will give you a bad sound in an area where you need real clarity.
There are options we have looked at that cover all scenarios.
So, What’s The Best Flanger Pedal?
When you’re choosing a product like this, an effects pedal you need it to do what it says it is going to. There are some good options, but we are going to go with one of the ‘big boys’ who we know are going to give us absolute quality.
Our choice then for best Flanger pedal is the…
It’s Boss, there’s little more that needs to be said!