Anyone who plays electric guitar and likes effects pedals has noticed the trend. That is, the increasing number of mini or compact pedals. In the past, with the exception of MXR pedals, most mini pedals came from boutique pedal manufacturers. Now, nearly every effects maker has introduced some kind of mini guitar pedal.
In fact, some of the most popular guitar effect pedals are mini versions of widely used and well-known pedals. For example, the mini Cry Baby Wah pedal.
In light of all the mini effects pedals on the market, we thought we should take a closer look. If you’re interested in a compact mini effects pedal, we have you covered.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Best Mini Guitar Pedals and find the perfect one for you…
Top 8 Best Mini Guitar Pedals For All Budgets In 2021 Review
1 Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini – Best Value for the Money Guitar Pedal
One of the most imitated guitar pedals of all time now comes in a compact size. The original Tube Screamer is still considered one of the greatest pedals ever made. This miniature version captures all the glory of its fore-bearer, just in a smaller package.
The ultimate overdrive…
At its core, this is an overdrive pedal. It is full of growling richness in the midrange. Furthermore, it has excellent touch sensitivity. In other words, it is responses to your playing and attack with dynamic details. Therefore, the harder you play, the more drive is added to your sound, especially in the midrange frequencies.
Guitarists from SRV to Carlos Santana to Kirk Hammett have all used the Tube Screamer. If you have ever listened to music made after 1965, you have heard the Screamer.
A tiny tough guy…
The compact design offers an easier fit for your pedalboard. But, don’t worry, the reduction in physical size has not diminished the power, growl, and scream of the original.
The all-metal housing is durable and strong. This pedal is ready to rock and will endure years of romping and stomping. It also includes a tough footswitch and features True Bypass. However, it can only be powered by a 9V transformer that plugs into a mains outlet.
Simple and straightforward…
With just three control knobs, you can shape a wide range of tones. There are two small knobs that control the Tone and the Level. In the middle is a big, vintage-looking knob for the Drive. And while there are no numbers, you can tell this pedal goes up to “11”.
For anyone who wants to get the most from their guitar and their tube amp, the Ibanez Tube Screamer is a can’t miss.
- Same sound quality as the original Tube Screamer.
- Dynamic and growling midrange.
- Wide variety of tones.
- Durable and well-built.
- True Bypass.
- No battery power option.
- Some claim it lacks the warmth of the original.
2 TC Electronic HOF Mini Reverb Pedal – Best Beginner Mini Guitar Pedal
A high-quality reverb pedal powered with the enormous versatility of the Tone-Print app. For newbies to the world of guitar effects, this pedal is a great place to start.
This compact pedal comes pre-loaded with TC Electronics legendary hall reverb. With just the hall reverb, you will find a spacious and vibrant reverb effect that fills a room.
But that’s not all…
Along with a distinct preset hall reverb, you have near infinite sound possibilities with the Tone-Print app. Simply download the app and beam signature, and prest reverb sounds right to the pedal.
The app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Create your own reverb settings and save them in the app. Likewise, you can also choose from a large selection of reverb presets to match your style.
Tone quality assured…
Featuring True Bypass and Analog-Dry-Through, this compact pedal keeps your tone clear and accurate.
Regardless of whether the pedal is active or not, the dry signal passes straight through. This means your tone remains constant and uncolored.
Shaping your reverb sound has never been easier. This mini effect pedal has a single control knob that controls the amount of the effect added to your signal. When not using the Tone-Print app, this control knob handles the level or amount of the preset hall reverb.
For even more convenience, the footswitch also acts as the Tone-Print kill switch. In our opinion, that is a very useful feature that makes the Tone-Print app more effective and versatile.
Looking for more reverb options? If so, take a look at our reviews of the Best Reverb Pedal.
- Tone-Print enabled.
- TC Electronics hall reverb.
- Super-easy single knob control.
- True Bypass.
- Not a pure analog reverb.
- Uses up batteries very quickly.
3 Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal – Most Powerful Mini Guitar Pedal
One of the simplest and useful effects pedals ever created, now with a compact and discrete footprint. Boost pedals are a must-have for any lead guitarist for enhanced solo guitar playing.
Simple but effective…
The idea behind a boost pedal is simple; boost the output. So simple, but also amazingly effective. A boost pedal gives you more gain without having to actually change the levels on your guitar or amp.
This particular boost pedal features a preamp based on the one used in the legendary Echoplex Analog Delay. A notorious echo box that influenced everyone from Eddie Van Halen to Jimmy Page with its sweet sound.
So, how does this pedal match up?
The Xotic EP uses a low impedance FET preamp. It is surprisingly robust despite its discrete size. As we mentioned, it is modeled on the legendary Echoplex preamp known for its incredible tone shaping and subtle tape echo effect.
There are switches for Bass Boost and Bright Boost. Either setting will deliver up to +20 dB of gain. The default setting is Bright On and the Bass Boost Off.
Add strength where it is needed…
The Bright Boost gives you loads of additional sparkle on darker sounds. As well as lending some serious shimmer to the existing high-end frequencies. Furthermore, the Bass Boost delivers low-end heft that is balanced and clear. The Bass Boost is especially useful for single-coil pickups.
Likewise, by turning off the Bright and the Bass, you get a full boost across all the frequency ranges.
Rise above the band…
Overall, a dynamic mini pedal that works well for solos and lead guitar riffs. Just bear in mind, the best use for any boost pedal is for live performances in a band.
Want more Boost options? Then check out our reviews of the Best Boost Pedals you can buy.
- FET preamp based on Echoplex preamp.
- Classic tone.
- Bright and Bass Boost.
- Up to +20 dB of gain.
- Easy to use.
- Not ideal for practicing at home.
4 Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah – Best Budget Mini Guitar Pedal
Back in the day, exposure to the sounds of a Wah Pedal was one of the main motivating factors for getting an electric guitar. Making a guitar “talk” the way the original Cry Baby did was irresistible.
And it certainly helped raise an entire generation of guitarists who experimented with and innovated a wide range of effects combinations. Think the Funk-era of Parliament and Curtis Mayfield.
Now, auto-wah has obscured one of the most enjoyable guitar pedals ever invented. Why learn how to actually use the subtleties of a manual wah pedal when you can just program it?
Kids these days just don’t know what they are missing.
A chip of the old block…
The Cry Baby Mini is 100% based on the original. The only real differences are the compact size and a few different voicings.
At the heart of this pedal is the legendary Fasel inductor. As a result, there is no shortage of tone-shaping and versatility.
Cry and croon…
The inductor provides a full sweep range. Therefore, you can coax some wild variations in tone and get your guitar “talking” all over the place. Furthermore, this pedal features three distinct voicings. There are Low, Vintage, and Modern wah voicing options. Each setting offers subtle tone differences that accentuate certain frequencies.
The range of tone possibilities is one of the main reasons this pedal remains so popular. Also, we think this pedal is great for novice players. This is because it trains your ears to recognize variations in tone.
Won’t back down…
One of the other main selling points of the Cry Baby Mini Wah pedal is its strength. It is one tough little pedal. The chassis is solid and stable, ready for repetitive use and abuse.
Plus, it tracks particularly with any and all sweeps. Wiggle it wildly, and you will find no lag or muddying of the tone fluctuations.
With True Bypass included, you can rest assured your dry signal remains unimpeded.
Wah pedals of any size are near standards on a pedalboard. This mini wah with a great price point should, therefore, easily be considered one of the Best Mini Guitar Pedals you can buy.
- Fasel inductor.
- Full sweep range.
- Incredibly durable.
- Three voice settings.
- Responsive and detailed.
- Great beginner pedal.
- True Bypass.
- Not ideal for people with large feet.
5 Pigtronix Guitar Compression Effects Pedal – Most Versatile Mini Guitar Pedal
This is probably the most “technical” mini pedal on our list. Therefore, it must be stated that this pedal is not meant for beginners. This is a pedal designed for more experienced guitarists. Especially live performance artists. So, novices can expect a lengthy learning curve.
Understanding compression and knowing how to use it effectively is not easy. Unlike other effects, compression requires a keen pair of ears. Having said that, those with the knowledge and hearing will find this a wonderful pedal.
Clean and enduring sustain…
This mini guitar pedal has triumphed where many others have only scratched the surface. A long-lasting sustain that is uncolored or distorted. This is where the Philosopher’s Tone pedal excels. Not only can it deliver a wonderfully clear sustain, but it also adds powerful optical compression to the mix.
One way this pedal can achieve that is the Treble control knob. The Treble control knob lets you cut or boost the 2,000 Hz frequency by 6 dB. This allows for some serious fine-tuning in the frequency range that is often the target of compression effects.
In addition to high-frequency sound-shaping, there is a Blend control knob, which allows you to adjust the mix between the dry signal and the compression effect. As a result, you can shape your sound in subtle and sublime ways.
The Blend is not to be confused with the Volume control knob. Volume controls the overall amount of compression. Therefore, you can use the Volume and Blend control knobs to dial in your own individual tone and sound.
Practical and versatile…
This pedal is certainly versatile, but it is also discrete in its application.
If you’re intrigued by compression, learn more in our in-depth review of the Best Compressor Pedals you can buy.
- Noiseless clean sustain.
- Optical compression.
- Versatile sound-shaping.
- Great for hot pickups.
- Blend control of dry and effect signals.
- Maximized headroom from 18 volts of internal power.
- Treble EQ boost or cut.
- True Bypass.
- Not intended for beginners.
- Requires a knowledge of compression.
- Slightly pricey.
6 MXR Timmy Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal – Best Premium Mini Guitar Pedal
Next up, we have a real premium guitar pedal. This little overdrive was designed in tandem with Paul Cochrane. For those unfamiliar with the name, he is a veteran pedal designer who is highly regarded in professional music circles.
For a point of reference, his first pedal was the now legendary Phase 90. It was the first pedal that MXR sold and pretty much launched the company.
Over the edge…
This mini overdrive pedal delivers full and responsive tones that are textured and gritty. Furthermore, it does so by enhancing your amp rather than masking it. Adding to the sound versatility are the clipping modes. Three clipping options are using the toggle switch.
The left position delivers moderate saturation and slight compression. The middle position is light saturation, high headroom, and high definition. And the right position offers heavy saturation and low headroom. Each clipping mode maintains a transparent tone and rich responsiveness.
One unique feature of this pedal is the cut-only EQ. The Treble and Bass control knobs work in reverse. Whereas similar control will boost those frequencies, this pedal cuts them.
The idea behind the cut-only EQ is to easily tame or eliminate certain frequencies rather than simply push everything over the top. The result is exceptional dynamics and keeping your guitar’s and rig’s tone uncolored.
If you’re looking for an excellent full-sized overdrive option, then take a look at our JHS AT Andy Timmons Signature Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal Review.
- Designed by Paul Cochrane.
- Wide range of tone possibilities.
- Three clipping modes.
- Transparent drive tone.
- Separate Gain and Volume controls.
- Expressive and responsive.
- Bass and Treble controls are cut-only, but this could well be a Pro depending on your outlook.
7 Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion – Best Signature Mini Guitar Pedal
Here is another very straightforward mini guitar pedal. Albeit one, with an unusual shape for a compact pedal.
Are you experienced?
It was Jimi Hendrix who popularized the fuzz effect. Listen to “Foxy Lady” for a perfect example of fuzz. It is not distortion, nor it is overdrive. It is, well… fuzz.
The fuzz effect is intense and uses a larger amount of gain than either distortion or overdrive pedal. The result is a lot of overtones that deliver a full and expressive sound. One that fills the space with gritty metallic tones.
While the original Fuzz Face pedal was not the first fuzz pedal, it was the one Jimi settled on using. The rest, as they say, is history.
A miniature clone…
The Fuzz Face Mini uses the same circuit as the one Jimi Hendrix used. That being the Jhf1 circuit. It delivers the same tones and sounds like the original. The only real difference is size. Plus, this mini version also has a battery-powered option.
And much like the original, this pedal is easy to use. There are only two control knobs. Volume and Fuzz. And honestly, you do not need much else for a great fuzz effect.
We mentioned this pedal has an unusual shape. As far as guitar pedals are concerned, it is unusual. The Fuzz Face Mini is circular, and most guitar pedals are rectangular because they line up easier on the pedalboard.
While the circular shape is small, it does present its own issues. First, despite the compact size, it does not fit well on already crowded pedalboards. Second, if you stomp down hard on the footswitch, it does not offer the same stability as a rectangular pedal. However, as is obvious, the shape does not affect the sound in any way.
Superb classic fuzz tones…
But, it’s the sounds this pedal produces that makes it one of the Best Mini Guitar Pedals currently out there and why it’s in our review.
Need even more FUZZ? Our reviews of the Best Fuzz Pedals will give you all you need!
- Legendary Jhf1 circuit used in the original pedal.
- Fat, full, and powerful sounds.
- Easy to use.
- AC and battery power options.
- Good price point.
- The mini circular shape reduces position stability.
- Awkward fit on small or overcrowded pedalboards.
8 TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger Guitar Effect Pedal – Best Mini Guitar Pedal for Beginners
For those new to guitar effect pedals, there is no better starting place than a flanger. This effect is incredibly fun to play with, and by its nature, offers some serious lessons in sound-shaping.
The Vortex Mini flanger pedal is dynamic and diverse. Plus, it is very easy to use since, like the HOF we reviewed earlier, it is also enabled with the TonePrint Editor.
The flanger effect is a mainstay in every genre of music. It has been added to drums, vocals, and even violins. Flanging is one of the most distinct effects but is also capable of incredible subtlety and versatility. A shortlist of songs that feature flanging includes “Bold as Love,” “Barracuda,” “Listen to the Music,” “A Forest,” and “Kashmir.”
In fact, the flanger effect helped bands like Pink Floyd and The Cure develop their own style and sound.
Classic tape mode…
The primary flanger effect is based on the classic tape flange effect. It offers a vintage psychedelic flanger effect from the 1960s. Rich in tone and authentic-sounding vibrato-tape flanger sounds. Whether you want a sparkling swirl or a roaring soaring jetliner type of flanger, it is all right there in the pedal.
Additionally, this pedal works to maintain a clear and accurate tone. With the help of optimized headroom, Analog-Dry-Through, and True Bypass, your tone is maintained with integrity.
While there are simple controls with this pedal, TonePrint adds a huge selection of presets. This will definitely appeal to some. However, you can still use the manual control knobs to dial in a sound all you own.
If nothing else, this is an enjoyable little pedal at a decent price point.
If you’re interested in more excellent Flange options, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Flanger Pedal.
- Classic tape flanger effect.
- True Bypass.
- Optimized headroom.
- TonePrint enabled.
- Not a true analog flanger effect.
- The flanger effect is not as powerful as on larger format and more expensive pedals.
Best Mini Guitar Pedals Buying Guide
Mini effects pedals have their pros and cons. However, there are a few things common to the majority of mini pedals to keep in mind before buying one…
How is it powered?
One of the most important things to remember about nearly all mini effects pedals do not have batteries. They are simply too small for any kind of battery to be included.
This means that anyone in the market for a mini pedal will need to have some kind of power supply unit (PSU). These are typically 9 volt DC adapters, but it is always important to check the specs on mini pedals since some use different power settings.
Therefore, one thing to look for is if the mini pedal you are interested in comes equipped with a PSU. Unfortunately, many do not. As a result, you will need to factor in the purchase of some kind of power supply unit.
What if it breaks?
Another point to consider is that many mini pedals are “boutique” or semi-boutique pedals. In other words, a large number of them are not made by the big name-brand manufacturers. Since these are made by small companies producing “unique” mini pedals, if the pedal breaks or is defective, it can be hard to get it serviced or replaced.
For this reason, it is important to check for warranties and if there are places near you that can make repairs. Otherwise, you may have to send the pedal in the mail and will likely end up paying for the shipping and being without the pedal for a while.
There are some really cool and diverse custom presets on the TonePrint app. Likewise, you can create some distinct settings all your own. However, we have a criticism in that the app takes away from learning how a certain effect actually works. There is something lazy about it in our minds. But that is a purely personal opinion.
Some may like the convenience of the app. But as with presets on any pedal, learn why they sound the way they do and what adjusting the parameters does to the sound, then you will be able to create any sound you want, whenever you want, on any pedal without the need for ‘magic’ technology.
Looking for some more superb pedal choices?
Not much point in having a great mini-pedal without a board to put it on, so check out our reviews of the Best Guitar Pedalboards currently available.
Plus, if your new mini-pedal is feeling kind of lonely on its new pedalboard, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Analog Delay Pedals, the Best Delay Effects Pedals, the Best Phaser Pedals, the Best Tremolo Pedals, and the Best EQ Pedals you can buy in 2021.
What are the Best Mini Guitar Pedals?
Now that we have looked at the very best mini pedals, we need to pick the best of the best. And to be honest, it was not easy. Each of the pedals we reviewed had distinct uses and advantages.
For us, we want a pedal that is easy to use, has a great tone, and really adds something to the sound. Plus, it should be affordable.
With all that in mind, our top pick is the…
This mini guitar pedal is a faithful recreation of its bigger predecessor. And it maintains all the power, energy, and tone of the original.
For guitarists at any skill level, this little pedal will add a whole lot of punch to your tone and sound.
Until next time, may your music make you merry.