5 Best Multi Effects Pedals 2024

Once only common with amateur players and bedroom guitarists, guitar multi-effects pedals have come a long way. Even the budget pedals today are capable of producing some pro-tier tones. However, with this abundance of choice comes another challenge: choosing the best multi-effects pedal for the price. 

With so many choices, it can be difficult to find the perfect product, but some definitely stand out. In this post, I will break down 5 of my top picks for the best multi effects pedals.

This post may contain some partner links, which means I receive a tiny commission – at no extra cost to you. Don’t worry, this partnership doesn’t affect my recommendations whatsoever. It just helps me keep the lights on.

Best multi effects pedals for 2024

  • Boss GT-1000 (Best overall multi-effects pedal) 
  • Zoom G1X FOUR Guitar Multi-Effects Processor (Best budget option)
  • Fender Tone Master Pro (Best user-friendly interface) 
  • Boss GX-100 Guitar Multi-effects Pedal (Best mid-price option)
  • Line 6 Helix (Honorable mention)

1. Boss GT-1000 (Best overall multi-effects pedal)

BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor...
  • BOSS's AIRD Tube Logic technology
  • 116 effects including BOSS's back catalogue of effects
  • 10 Footswitches and an Expression Pedal
  • USB/Audio interface for Computer-based Recording and Editing

Specs

  • Effects: 116
  • Inputs: ¼-inch guitar, 2 x ¼-inch return, 3 x ¼-inch expression and control, MIDI in, USB type B
  • Outputs: 2 x ¼-inch mono and stereo, 2 x XLR stereo, ¼-inch headphones, 2 x ¼-inch send, MIDI out 
  • Power source: 9-volt DC power supply
  • Pedals: 10 footswitches and one expression pedal

What’s great?

  • Great deal for the price
  • Very practical and easy-to-use interface and controls
  • Connections are sufficient and not too complicated

What needs improvement

  • Some higher-gain settings don’t sound as good compared to other products

Effects

Apart from the ultra-reliable, sturdy Boss build, the GT-1000 comes loaded with an abundance of features, effects, and models. However, above everything, the GT-1000 is an incredibly accessible and easy-to-use multi-effects processor.

This multi-effects pedal is packed with a total of ten footswitches and one expression pedal. There’s a large display for navigation and presets.

You can switch banks easily and choose five individual presets for each bank. There are also three additional switches for more functionality.

Sound

One of the things that Boss prides itself on the most is the use of AIRD technology. Without getting into too many geeky details, it uses some of the company’s own impulse responses to make the effects sound realistic and present. 

There’s a total of 116 effects onboard the GT-1000. But what matters more than actual numbers is that they based them on Boss’s critically acclaimed pedals, such as the OS-2, DS-1, DD-500, or MD-500. So, this pedal presents authentic tones and is packed full of versatility.

The GT-1000 is an incredible piece of technology. However, if we’re putting it against some of the top-tier modelers, it may just slightly lack in sonic qualities for certain settings.

Price

While a price tag of around $1,100 may seem steep, to be perfectly honest, it is more than fair for an advanced piece of gear like the GT-1000. In fact, it is not as expensive as some of its competitors, such as the Line 6 Helix. You’ll get Boss’ reliable operation, ease of access, and superb tone quality.

Overall thoughts

Boss is the brand that never disappoints. With literal decades of experience making some of the best stompboxes, the company is also known for its modeling and guitar multi-effects pedal stuff. However, GT-1000 is just something else, taking things up a notch.

This is a pro-grade unit designed to replace bulky amps and effects rigs. If you’re looking for your first multi-effects unit that’s not just another fun little beginner-oriented piece, this will be a stepping stone into professional territories.

Head over to my review of the Boss GT-1000 for an in-depth breakdown of the product.

2. Zoom G1X FOUR Guitar Multi-Effects Processor (Best budget option)

Zoom G1X FOUR Guitar Multi-Effects...
  • 71 built-in guitar effects and 13 amp models
  • Free download of Zoom guitar lab Mac/Windows software
  • 30-Second looper
  • 68 built-in rhythm patterns

Specs

  • Effects: More than 70
  • Inputs: ¼-inch guitar input, 1/8-inch aux, USB Micro-B
  • Outputs: ¼-inch out, ¼-inch headphones
  • Power source: 9-volt AC adapter or USB bus power
  • Pedals: Two effects toggle pedals, one expression pedal

What’s great?

  • Super-affordable and a great deal for the price
  • Easy to use and beginner-friendly
  • Comes with an onboard looper

What needs improvement

  • It’s lacking in features compared to other models

Effects

This budget multi-effects pedal comes packed with a surprising amount of features. The Zoom G1X FOUR has a collection of 50 presets and 70 different effects, some of which are referred to as “boutique” effects. However, we’re looking at all the usual stuff that you’ll see in pretty much any average multi-effects pedal. Anything from EQ, modulation, dynamics, and atmospheric effects like reverb and delay. What’s important is that you can use up to five effects at once, which is more than enough.

There’s also an on-board looper with 30 seconds of high-quality recording. With that also comes the bedroom guitarist’s best friend, the onboard drum machine with 68 built-in presets.

You could take all this to another level by connecting it to your personal computer and tweaking your tones using the Guitar Lab software. 

Sound

The best thing about Zoom G1X FOUR is that you’ll get a surprisingly great tone at just a fraction of the price of most of the effects processors on the market. And no, it’s not an overstatement to say that it actually sounds good. Of course, you can’t expect to get super-realistic-sounding effects. But, with some patience, you’ll be able to actually get decent presets that would even handle a full-blown live gig. Additionally, the amplifier and cabinet models do an outstanding job at replicating real amp tones through your average PA system.

Price

With a price tag of just under $120, this is one of the most affordable multi-effects pedals on the market. While you can certainly find other cheap options at this price point, the Zoom G1X FOUR stands out.

Overall thoughts

There are so many cheap multi-effects units that you can find today. And, to be fair, most are pretty decent for the price you pay. But with better sound quality, a very accessible design, and a variety of features, the chances are that you’ll find G1X FOUR to be the best deal in the category. Of course, don’t expect a pro-tier tone, but you’ll be surprised how awesome it is.

It would be odd to critique this piece seriously since it’s obviously made for simple bedroom use. That said, it always feels better to have more switching options or at least allow external controllers. 

3. Fender Tone Master Pro (Best user-friendly multi-effects pedal)

Fender Tone Master Pro Multi-effects...
  • Multi-effects Guitar Wkstation with Amp Modeling
  • Song/Set List Mode
  • Effect Modeling
  • 7" Touchscreen

Specs

  • Effects: 89
  • Inputs: ¼-inch guitar, 1/8-inch aux, ¼-inch/XLR combo input, MIDI in, USB type C, 4 x ¼-inch return, 4 x ¼-inch expression and control
  • Outputs: 2 x ¼-inch stereo, 2 x XLR stereo, 4 x ¼-inch send, MIDI out, headphone out
  • Power source: Regular AC cable for integrated power supply
  • Pedals: Six footswitches

What’s great?

  • Extremely intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Customizable presets are easy and fun to make
  • A great choice of microphone sims and positions
  • Top-notch sound quality

What needs improvement

  • It is an expensive, premium option
  • Does not come with an expression pedal

Effects

Although not among the first to hop onto the standalone modeling units, Fender developed amp simulation technology a while ago with their Tone Master combo amps. So it’s no surprise that the guitar manufacturing giant eventually created their own multi-effects pedal.

There’s an abundance of effects in all categories and, most importantly, a collection of 27 amps, 26 cabinets, and seven different microphones that come in 32 digitally simulated positions. 

What’s more, the onboard ten footswitches come with their own displays that show the function of the button in your setup. The switches also serve as knobs where you can turn them to control parameters.

Sound

This multi-effects pedal is one of the best-sounding units I’ve ever used. In fact, if I heard a recording of a player using this unit, I wouldn’t be able to tell they were using digital effects. Fender really hit the nail on the head when designing this premium multi-effects pedal.

Price

The price of the Tone Master Pro is undoubtedly on the higher end, so this multi-effects pedal is best for professional gigging or recording artists. And while it’s certainly one of the best multi-effects units out there, its high price tag definitely makes it out of reach for most players.

Nonetheless, the price tag of around $1,700 is far from unreasonable, considering the advanced interface, sound quality, and number of effects and features.

Overall thoughts

All eyes and ears were on Fender when they finally unveiled their amp modeling and multi-effects unit. Although everyone was wondering whether it would be a flop since the market is already full of high-quality stuff, the Tone Master Pro didn’t disappoint. 

From the get-go, it’s obvious that this product is designed to bring the best possible user experience. It might not be the first ever multi-effects pedal with a touchscreen display, but it brings things to another level. In other words, crafting one of the hundreds of onboard user preset slots has never been more fun.

One obvious downside is that it doesn’t have an expression pedal. Considering its price, you’d expect one, but it may not be that big of a deal since you can always use an external one.

Fender may be new to the game of standalone modeling and multi-effects units, but Tone Master Pro is now a worthy competitor on the market. Some of its features are not only mind-blowingly advanced but incredibly useful, making this one of the most exciting pieces of guitar gear I have ever used.

4. Boss GX-100 Guitar Multi-effects Pedal (Best mid-price multi-effects pedal)

Sale
Boss GX-100 Guitar Multi-effects Pedal
  • Guitar/Bass Multi-effects Pedal with Amp/Effects Modeling
  • USB Recding Interface
  • Expression Pedal
  • Col Touchscreen

Specs

  • Effects: 154
  • Inputs: ¼-inch guitar, ¼-inch return, MIDI in, 2 x ¼-inch expression and control, USB type B
  • Outputs: 2 x ¼-inch stereo and mono, ¼-inch send
  • Power source: 9-volt AC adapter
  • Pedals: 8 footswitches and 1 expression pedal

What’s great?

  • Excellent value for money
  • Same sound quality as GT-1000
  • Really easy to use

What needs improvement

  • Just like with the GT-1000, it may lack in quality on some high-gain settings
  • Fewer footswitches than other options

Effects

Essentially, the GX-100 is the smaller, more affordable, and stripped-down version of the GT-1000. This means that it also comes with Boss’ AIRD technology. On top of that, there’s even a touchscreen display for creating your virtual rigs. All of this comes with a total of 300 presets. You can use any of the 154 effects, up to 15 effects at once, and one of its 23 AIRD amplifier models.

The list includes all the usual effects categories, of course. However, once again, Boss replicates their classic effects digitally. Although there are not as many options compared to the GT-1000, this one will get you more than enough stuff for tone shaping.

Sound

In terms of tone quality, the GX-100 brings the same level of performance as the GT-1000. Even with the lower price tag, you can expect the same sound quality.

Price

GX-100 is listed at around $600, making it a much cheaper option compared to most units with some of the same features. After testing this product, I can definitely say this is a steal.

Overall thoughts

If there ever was a great deal in the guitar market, then it has to be Boss GX-100. For its price point, you can’t find anything better.

With this being Boss, the build quality is more than impressive, and the expression pedal is as sturdy and reliable as it can be. On top of all this, you can also use its onboard looper, and more importantly, there’s the option to use the Tone Studio app for tone shaping.

To be honest, there’s nothing bad to say about GX-100 considering its price. Sure, like the GT-1000, the tone quality may be just slightly off in some higher-gain settings. But there is little else to complain about.

5. Line 6 Helix (Honorable Mention)

Specs

  • Effects: Over 200
  • Inputs: 1 x ¼-inch for guitar, 1 x aux, 4 x ¼-inch return, 1 x XLR, ¼ for external amp switch, 2 x ¼-inch for expression pedals, MIDI in, USB type B, Coax, RJ45
  • Outputs: 2 x ¼-inch mono and stereo, 4 x ¼-inch send, 2 x XLR mono and stereo, Link out, Coax, 
  • Power source: Regular AC cable for the integrated power unit
  • Pedals: 12 footswitches and an expression pedal

What’s great?

  • Incredible sound quality, realistic amp models
  • Abundance of connectivity options for any setting
  • Abundance of presets
  • Footswitches with additional controls

What needs improvement

  • It may be a little too complex for some users
  • Pricey effects pedal

Effects

One of the most impressive things is how accessible the preset making and tweaking is using the display layout and controls. You can store up to 1,024 presets on the Line 6 Helix. They’re packed into eight setlist groups, each with 32 banks, and each bank holding four foot-switchable presets. 

The Helix brings an insanely realistic tone with its 41 guitar amp models and seven bass guitar models. On top of that, you can even load your own impulse responses. 

Apart from amp models, Helix comes with an abundance of effects, a total of over 200 with the newest firmware updates. And honestly, you can get any category of effects that comes to mind and even get some of those very realistic analog vibes.

Sound

You can expect the top-notch sound quality with the Line 6 Helix. This unit uses some of the most advanced multi-effects pedal technology on the market, so it sounds nothing short of excellent.

Price

The price of the Helix is usually around $1,499. While this may seem expensive, it’s worth every penny. In fact, it saves you money by allowing you to have countless rigs within one unit. Yes, it’s that good!

Overall thoughts

If you want one simple solution for everything that would give you a professional-grade tone while replacing your entire rig, then Line 6 Helix is the way to go. Right off the bat, you can have countless amp models, effects, and, most importantly, meticulously made presets. 

The connectivity is more than impressive. You could use it as your regular straight into the mixing board unit. However, with all the XLR ins and outs and all the other connections, you get new options for monitors, control rooms, and elaborate setups. 

Each of the footswitches comes with an individual display. It’s not only user-friendly but also practical for darker stages. On top of that, the footswitches come with touch-sensitive operation, allowing for quicker on-the-spot tweaking. 

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Line 6 Helix in any of its forms. If you need advanced connectivity and a professional-grade piece of equipment, this is the way to go. 

Although this is everyone’s dream-come-true all-in-one digital unit, some of its advantages can, weirdly enough, be its downsides. Most notably, the abundance of connections can feel overwhelming. Some have also complained about the layout of these jacks and the power supply. 

How I Selected the Best Multi-Effects Pedals

As you can probably already see, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the best multi-effects pedals. When testing products, I looked at the number of effects, amp models, and features, the actual quality of the sound, and, of course, the price.

Effects and features

One thing to bear in mind is that having more features and functions won’t necessarily make a device better. While it can be useful to have more stuff, the main question is whether you need it. Sometimes, additional inputs and outputs and effects loops may be overkill. The same goes for an additional onboard looper or, for instance, optical cable connections.

On the other hand, make sure that it has the fundamental stuff. Is the tuner pedal easy to access? Or does it come with helpful features like software for tone shaping? And, more importantly, does it come with an expression pedal that allows you to use volume, wah, or other effects controls?

In short, make sure that you know what you need. If it’s a multi-effects unit for professional live shows, make sure that it has proper connectivity, like balanced XLR outputs, and that all the necessary stuff is visible on dark stages. 

Sound quality

As with any guitar accessory, you want your multi effects pedal to sound good. Although tone quality is subjective, there’s an obvious difference between lower-end stuff and professional-grade sound. The amp models don’t necessarily have to be perfect replicas of some legendary guitar amps. But a simulated Marshall should have those crunchy Marshall tones available. 

Apart from tone, a great multi-effects unit or a modeler has a more “organic” response. If you pick your string a certain way, it should react in the same way an actual tube amp does. Of course, it won’t be perfect, but make sure that it can help you with getting a nuanced dynamic performance. 

Price

Like it or not, it all comes down to the price. Fortunately, these days, there are plenty of great options in all price categories. Set your budget and bear in mind that, as usual, cheaper stuff won’t get you as far as some high-end products.

If you need a pro-tier unit that would create super-realistic tones and have tons of functionality, then you can’t really go below $1,000. In a lot of cases, you may need to go past the $1,500 mark as well.

However, you could also find stuff between $500 and $1,000 that brings some of the high-end traits. Of course, these will be lacking in some departments, but these will be good enough for most players.

Finally, we have the lowest price categories, and some multi-effects pedals can even go below $100. But although it’s mind-blowing how great some of the tones of cheaper stuff are, don’t expect it to get you that far. It can be fun to use, and it can even handle some gigs with the right presets. 

However, there’s the obvious lack of realistic-sounding sonic qualities. With this in mind, you should always try to find the balance. 

FAQ

Are multi-effects pedals worth it?

If you need an all-in-one solution, multi-effects pedals are very useful. Even some of the famous guitar players are using these units. There are many price categories, and objectively, they are worth the price in almost all cases. 

Should you use multi-effects or individual effects?

Multi-effects vs pedals debate comes down to your personal choice and the kind of tone you prefer. Neither is better or worse, depending on what you really need. And with technological advancements, digital units can do a really great job today. 

Can I use multi-effects pedals with other pedals?

Yes, you can. In fact, most multi-effects units even come with effects loops (send and return connections) that allow for a more precise signal chain control. 

Wrapping up

We’re fortunate enough to live in times when there’s so much to choose from. But with guitar multi-effects pedals, this can be both a blessing and a curse, especially knowing how hard it is to pick the right one for you. Hopefully, I cleared things up for you so that you can choose the right one for you and your needs!

Last updated 2024-04-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API