To find the Best Volume pedals, you need to first appreciate their value. There are a lot of effects pedals, most of which contribute to the tone of the instrument. There are overdrives and distortions, delay, reverbs, and a dozen others. They quite often define the sound of the artist or band. But then you have some pedals that are far more subtle.
One of those is the Volume pedal. In the hands of the experienced, dare we say, mature musician, they will apply it to redefine the sound. Their importance is quite often overlooked or just ignored. One of its purposes is to provide a swell to the whole signal chain. Swells and other effects, of course.
Yes, but not to the same effect. Using the guitar volume can cause problems. It reduces the level of the signal, hence the sound at its source. Some pedals rely on that signal, a distortion pedal, as an example. Feed a less powerful signal in, and you will get a weaker signal out. Not what you want. The quality is lost, and it becomes weak and ineffective.
You can put a volume pedal anywhere in the chain. Put it after the distortion, and you can adjust the whole sound without reducing the signal to that pedal. This maintains its power, and it is reduced in volume, not quality. You can put it anywhere, and it gives you flexibility with the subtle control you can exert over the total sound.
Of course, it doesn’t come without its sacrifices. They tend to be much larger than simple stompboxes courtesy of the rather important pedal itself — a necessary sacrifice in many ways. So, let’s take a look at these underrated additions to your pedalboard and find the Best Volume Pedals for you…
Top 10 Best Volume Pedals In 2021 Reviews
1 BOSS Volume Pedal (FV-500H)
If we are going to look at an effects pedal, then there are few better places to start than Boss. They have a worldwide reputation for building workhorse pedals, with a tough build. They do the job with very few fancy tricks and just get on with it. And what they produce is really rather good.
This is a heavy-duty volume pedal with an aluminum die-cast body. It is built in a traditional Boss style – Road-tough and ready to be used. It has a rubber floor fitted to the pedal so that your foot won’t slip while operating it.
The pedal action itself is very smooth and accurate, with no excess slack in the motion. The feeling in the motion of the movement, the torque, can be adjusted. It is a mono, high impedance pedal and being a passive pedal it doesn’t require batteries or AC power
For years the Boss 300 was a standard amongst musicians, and this newer 500 version has raised the bar a little further. It has two modes, as a volume pedal and an expression pedal. They can actually work together if required. But it is no small unit, measuring 14.2 inches by 5 by 3.5 inches.
At three and a half pounds, it is no lightweight either. That is, in our opinion, is a good thing. It is going to stay where you put it and isn’t going to go for a walk. If we are to find a tiny fault with it, sorry people at Boss, it is the jack sockets on the back. They are going to work better with straight rather than angled jack sockets — just an observation.
This shouldn’t detract from the fact it is a very good pedal. And it is sure to be considered as one of the most durable volume pedals on the market.
This is a typical Boss pedal – Tough with a nice design and good at its job. It is set at a great price point.
- Tough build with a good design.
- The action of the pedal is smooth and can be adjusted.
- Probably needs straight jacks not angled.
2 Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 250K Potentiometer
This pedal from Ernie Ball is designed to deliberately be a little smaller. Maybe the idea is that it will fit easily on a pedalboard. From what we have seen lately, there isn’t a lot of room on modern-day pedalboards. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to make it as compact as possible. It measures just 10 inches by 3 by 4.5 inches and weighs just 1.32 pounds.
This pedal has a good strong build and is predominately metal. The main shaft is stainless steel running through nylon bushels. There are Kevlar cables and stainless steel springs controlling the pedal movement.
It as a resistance of 250k ohm, which makes it suitable for passive instruments. There is a taper switch that will allow switching between the two rates of volume swell. There is also a tuner output. This will permit you silent tuning if you put it in a held down position.
As mentioned, this pedal that it is for passive instruments; there is another model designed for active instruments. Being passive requires no batteries or power supply. It is a simple pedal in that it is not designed to alter your tone, and it just acts as a volume pedal.
Unfortunately, it appears that it does have an effect on the tone of your instrument. It has a tendency to alter the overall sound when in use and especially at lower volume levels.
Ernie Ball usually makes very good pedals, but this one appears to have one or two minor problems. This isn’t the case with every pedal we must say; some perform as they should do with no problems. This indicates to us there is a quality control issue in the factory. It is set at a reasonable price point, so in its well-tested form, it is a good option.
- Very strong and tough build with good materials.
- Designed specifically for passive instruments, so no batteries are required.
- Some units have a problem with tone kill.
3 Dunlop Guitar Volume Pedal (DVP4)
Size is one of the problems faced by manufacturers who make effects pedals that need to rock forwards and backwards. It is the nature of the beast, really. Dunlop brought out a smaller sized version of a wah pedal which met with some approval. And now, they have now taken their DVP3 Volume pedal and given us the DVP4, which is about half the size.
This is a bold attempt at trying to make these pedals fit somewhere on already packed pedalboards that just won’t take the full-size versions. It is a very compact pedal measuring just 6 inches by 3.5 by 3.5 inches; it is also lightweight weighing 1.3 pounds.
It is well-made with a toughened footplate that has a rubberized covering. And has a smooth action and is built to be robust and durable. It has a built-in aux output that can work with a tuner or as a control for expression effects. There is an added control that allows you to have a minimum value for an expression pedal. It is a high impedance pedal that is passive and therefore requires no power source.
It can be a very good idea to try and solve the space problem, but it doesn’t always work. One of the problems is the range or the distance the pedal can actually travel to create swell. This is automatically reduced a little by its size.
The second issue is that it will not fit comfortably under an adult’s foot. Therefore there is going to be a large overlap. Some will see that as a problem, others may not. The pedal is set higher than most other pedals on the board. It is, therefore, not going to be disruptive in terms of its small size. However, being so small, you are unlikely to get the same sort of effect that you will with a full-size pedal.
It is a nice idea and will work for some, but not others. The price point is set well, so it is an attractive option.
- Well-designed and robust build.
- Smaller in size to fit packed pedalboards easily.
- Some will not like the smaller size.
4 Boss FV-50H | Tuner Out Jack High Impedance Volume Pedal
Back to Boss again for another volume pedal. But you must make sure not to confuse this pedal with the BOSS Volume Pedal (FV-500H) that we have already looked at.
This has the usual rugged Boss build with a metal base and a toughened plastic footrest on top. It looks like most Boss pedals – like it is ready to go to work. And has been designed to be placed at the end of the effects chain and has some useful additions.
It is a stereo pedal and has two inputs and a pair of outputs. This might not seem significant to some players. But the stereo set up does let you plug in stereo effects pedals, such as delays or reverbs. You can then send the signal to two amps for that glorious stereo wide sound spread! Yummy!
It also has a tuner jack socket so you can connect your tuning device for use whenever you may happen to need it. And it is a smaller pedal than the (FV-500H) pedal and measures in at 9.3 inches by 4.1 by 2.8 inches and only weighs one pound.
It has a very good feature built-in using a Minimum Volume control. With this, you can adjust the higher or lower volume levels. It gives you a lot more control over the depth of sound than on pedals that don’t have this. A good feature that, along with its overall build and quality, places it into consideration to be one of the Best Stereo Volume Pedals currently available.
As a pedal, it works well, and the design does a good job of ensuring the accurate use of the pedal. It is smaller than other pedals. But it is still easy to place your foot comfortably and not feel like you are interfering with adjacent pedals. The strong pedal covering ensures that your foot is stable while it is being used.
A Boss pedal is always a sound investment, and this volume pedal is no different.
- Very strong and rugged build.
- Made to be a little smaller than usual but still easy to use.
- Stereo operation for the best use of stereo delays and reverbs.
- Allows you to split the signal to two amplifiers.
- None at this price point.
5 Mission Engineering Vm-1 Volume Pedal
Sometimes you come across a product by a manufacturer you are not familiar with. Established in 2009 in California, they have grown quickly on the back of some quality products. In 2015 they acquired Stagecraft in St. Louis, who now build the cabinets for their speakers and amps.
In terms of some of the big boys, they might still be a small company. But they can certainly produce a good product. It is not often that the smaller boys get recommended in with the big guns. In this case, they are certain to be considered as one of the highest quality best volume pedals around. It does fall into the higher end of the market at its price point, but can it justify it?
It is built using a metal casing that is robust and ready to be used. And is good-looking as well as durable. It is about the usual full-size for such a pedal measuring 12 by 5 by 5 inches, but it is quite a heavy pedal at 3.6 pounds.
Being on the heavy side can be a good thing with a pedal like this. It means it is going to do what it’s told and stay in one place. The 500k impedance makes it suitable for passive guitar pickups.
This is a mono pedal with just one input and one main output. It has been kept very simple — no bad thing. There is a second output jack socket, which you can connect up to your tuner if you wish. The tuner can be used by pushing the mute button on the front. Very useful for stage work.
We do like pedals to be simple to use. As we just said, they don’t come much simpler — no flashing lights or fancy controls just a solid unit that does its job. The only extra, if you can call it that, is a mute button.
But the most important thing with any of these pedals is its performance. This unit does very well. And one of the important issues with a volume pedal is the pedal itself. In this case, it is smooth, and the action feels accurate. The sweep is linear, and it feels like it is attached to your foot, the movements are so precise.
This is an excellent pedal from a smaller manufacturer. A little more expensive than some, but certainly, if you are looking for the quality, it’s worth a look.
- Well-made with very good materials.
- A solid build and a pedal that is easy to use.
- Some may think as it is a brand without a big name, it is expensive.
6 Electro-Harmonix Expression Pedal
Founded in 1968 in New York, Electro-Harmonix work in the higher end of pedal manufacture. They have built a respected name for themselves because of the quality of their products.
Known as being innovative, this is a good example of how they like to develop ideas. This is called an Expression pedal by Electro-Harmonix. There isn’t a lot of difference between this and a volume pedal. A volume pedal has in and out jacks with a variable attenuator and an expression pedal works, in the same way, using a TRS jack.
The interesting thing about this firstly its high-tech looks. It looks like the pedal Hans Solo might use. But more than that, it is that it has no moving parts. Not only is it a volume/expression pedal, but it will also act as a pan control or can control many other settings on more advanced effects pedals if they are compatible.
There are some basic things about it. It is a mono pedal, one input, one output, but it does use an instant bypass switch. This allows no audio interference at all. For control, it offers a Range dial. This will allow you to set the level of the sweep. There are also further controls for activation and calibration.
Essentially it is still a volume pedal in that its main job is controlling the volume. It measures 10.2 by 2.4 by 4.1 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds. There are no footswitches or gearing to break, and it is made to be quite tough.
But yes, the feel of it is not, like you might expect a pedal to feel. It will take some getting used to.
A further problem is fitting it to a pedalboard. There are no fittings included. You can buy as an optional extra, a cradle that uses Velcro. The cradle attaches to the pedalboard, and the pedal sits inside it. There is a velcro strap that holds the unit secure when you close the board up.
All a bit cheap as fittings really when you consider the effort gone into the pedal itself.
It is not an expensive option, and the sound it produces is very good. It is certainly rugged, and we have seen videos of them being run over by cars and still work.
- Produces good sound at an affordable price.
- No moving parts that can break.
- A different playing experience.
- Lack of ways to secure it.
7 Valeton Surge EP-1
This pedal from Valeton is a dual function effect that operates either as a volume pedal or as a wah. An understandable combination given that they both need a rocking pedal motion. It is a very compact pedal and measures just 5.98 by 2.72 by 2.09 inches. It operates from a 9-volt battery.
Valeton works more towards the budget range of pedals, but they do have a wide variety on offer. They have a lot of experience in producing decent quality pedals. The two separate operations of this pedal make it a very attractive buy at the price point.
Switching between the Volume and Wah functions is very easy and operates simply by clicking the footswitch. There are LED lights that indicate which mode the pedal is in at any time.
This is a very cost-effective pedal. The vintage wah sounds are quite nice without being top of the range, and the volume works smoothly and efficiently.
If we have to find the reason that this is such an affordable option, then it is in the quality of the build. There is a lot of plastic involved, which doesn’t make it the most rugged. It will need a little care and won’t take too much rough stamping on. However, treat it well, and it is a good pedal at a nice price.
- Dual-purpose volume and wah pedal at an affordable price.
- Compact size and easy to use
- Not as strong a build as some.
8 BEHRINGER Amplifier Footswitch (FC600)
We expected Behringer to produce a pedal for the marketplace. They produce a range of pedals for just about every requirement. But, they are not often at the top end in terms of performance. However, they are always well made and offer great value for money.
This particular pedal really has two functions. It serves as a volume control for high impedance instruments, guitars, bass, etc. But it also acts as an expression pedal and modulation control for keyboards.
It has a tough build with its die-cast aluminum body tat will clearly take a few knocks. However, it is not what you might call a compact unit measuring 11.7 by 4.4 by 2.8 inches. It weighs three and a half pounds. Suffice to say it is going to stay where you put it and isn’t going for a walk halfway through a performance.
There is a rubber pedal surface that will give you a good grip but also allows you a degree of feeling how much pressure to apply. The pedal movement itself is very smooth, and there is no staggering in operation. The movement of the pedal is adjustable, and you can either tighten up the torque or release it a little. You can, therefore, really create some big deep swells of volume.
There is a control to adjust the minimum required volume and a separate output for connection to a tuner.
This isn’t a top of the range pedal. However, we are going to include it in our choices as one of the Best Volume Pedals based on the quality of the build and the sound. This makes it a very good buy if you are looking for a cheaper pedal with a bit of variety.
Designed in Germany and made in China.
- Nice strong build with good materials at an affordable price.
- Good sounds and will work with a variety of instruments.
- At this price point, nothing at all.
9 Hotone Soul Press 3 in 1 Mini Volume/Wah/Expression Effects Pedal
Hotone has come up with a solution to those guitar players with more pedals than there is room on the stage. They have combined the volume with an expression pedal with a wah. They have all been included in an easy to use operation. Not only that, but they have achieved that in what can only be called a minuscule pedal, it measures just 5.4 by 2.5 by 2 inches
Whilst we are particularly interested in the volume pedal aspect, the wah effect is very good. Based on the sound of the Cry Baby, it has some nice harmonics and a classic wah sound. It is a passive pedal, but it has an active circuit when in Volume mode. This is not going to suck the tone out of your instrument, as some pedals can. It also has a Range control for the volume allowing you to set a minimum value.
Being passive does not need a battery or power supply when used in expression mode. A 9v battery is required for the wah and the active element of the Volume pedal. It will support keyboards as well as guitars and bass. And it has true bypass.
Certainly not a cheap option, it performs well and provides you with plenty of sound varieties. It is also very small, which will make it a little hard to operate accurately. The compact size will suit some but not others.
- Three in one pedal that provides a lot of sound possibilities.
- Will support a variety of instruments
- Some will think it too small.
10 Donner 2 in 1 Viper Mini Passive Volume Expression Guitar Effect Pedal
We quite like Donner pedals. We know they are not the top of the range by any standards, but they fill a niche in an already overcrowded marketplace, especially for those on tight budgets. They come in for a lot of criticism, much of it unfair, in our opinion.
They are a budget range of pedals, and what you see is what you get. Don’t complain if you don’t get the Boss strength of build or sound quality. You’re not paying Boss money.
This Donner pedal is both a Volume and Expression in one unit. It is made of hard-wearing plastic, which makes it very lightweight. The surface of the pedal has a rubber padding to make sure your foot doesn’t slip. It is a compact unit measuring just 6 by 2.7 by 2.4 inches and weighs only eleven and a half ounces. It has a comfortable action in whatever mode you use it.
Being a passive pedal it does not require a battery or mains power. It is a mono pedal, so has a simple one input and one output. Because of its size, the actual sweep of the volume is not as wide as bigger units, but that is to be expected.
On the whole, it is a typical Donner pedal. Nothing fancy, no fashionable designs; it just does its job. It is very cost-effective, so if you are looking for an affordable volume pedal, this is worth trying out.
- Simple design and use.
- Dual function pedal at an affordable price.
- As this is plastic, some may just want a higher build quality.
Best Volume Pedals Buyers Guide
Using The Subtle Volume Changes
To the discerning musician, a volume pedal is an essential piece of kit. It is something that can alter the complete context of the sound of what you are doing. If you are in a band, it changes their sound as well.
Deciding which pedal to buy can often come down to what you want to use it for. Some are going to want just a pure volume pedal. Nothing more, nothing less. Some may want it also to have the facility to be an expression pedal as well. Particularly if you are, you are using it to control effects parameters on more advanced pedals or keyboards.
It can offer great options with regard to the use of modulation, especially if you need it while both hands are busy playing your instrument.
Need a Wah?
Some manufacturers go a stage further and include a wah pedal. As the action with the foot is exactly the same, why not? It certainly takes up less room on the pedalboard.
Talking of Pedalboards, What Size Pedal Are You Looking For?
You can get what are essentially full-size pedals, but there are also scaled-down versions. These smaller pedals can often be a little difficult to use effectively. They quite often have less of a sweep or don’t allow a greater range in volume. This is to be expected because of the virtue of their size.
Not usually a problem with these pedals, as most are set at about the same price range. There are some cheaper, budget-conscious pedals. With these, you might not get the build or quality of performance that you might get from more expensive units. If you are on a budget, there are some very good pedals that will fit the bill.
With every pedal we looked at, there was something that was good or creative about it. They won’t all suit everyone. But that is the advantage of being able to sit a consider what you want before getting the credit card out.
Some Nice Pedals To Go With Your New Volume Pedal
Need some more pedals for your Best Guitar Pedalboard? If so, check out our reviews of the Best Flanger Pedal, the Best Fuzz Pedals, the Best Reverb Pedal, the Best Analog Delay Pedals, and the Best Compressor Pedal on the market.
So, What Are The Best Volume Pedals?
Just lately, we have been bucking the trend with our recommendations on what products we would choose. Sometimes you just come across a product that might not be so well-known but is just very good. And at a very good price.
With effects pedals, it is hard to see further than Boss sometimes. They are simple, but they do the job very well. But this time we are not going down the Boss road. And our choice is the Mission Engineering Vm-1 Volume Pedal
A very good pedal that excels in performance and build quality.
Our choice of the Best Volume Pedal currently available.