Buyer's Guides

Best Multi-Effects Pedals: Replace Your Rig with One Pedal!

Some guitarists love nothing more than having at least a dozen guitar pedals for their set-up, with trip-hazard cables spewing out all over the place. Some, however, have given thought to going more minimalist in their live rig, to make sound checks less heart attack-inducing and gig travel less nightmarish. This is where multi-effects pedals come in, which can replace your rig and pedalboard entirely.

In the year that is 2024, there is an abundance of these making the claim to be the best guitar effects pedal all-rounders. But does buying a multi-effects pedal mean spending the equivalent of a full array of smaller pedals? Nope! Our first entry will set you back less than £/$200. Or, if our later entries take your fancy, you can splash the cash on those costing above £/$1000. Different strokes for different folks! Let’s sift through all the amp-modelling, reverb, delay, chorus and other goodness and we search for the best multi-effects guitar pedal.

NUX MG-400

As touched on earlier, the best guitar effects pedal needn’t set your bank account on fire. A wonderful example of this is this number from NUX, also known for making electronic drum kits, amplifiers and everything in between, at affordable prices. The MG-400 is our most affordable pedal at sub-£/$200, yet it houses the sounds of 25 guitar amps. The ability to create ‘snapshots’ within a preset is a deft move from NUX — many guitarists can attest to the pain of taking photos of their dialied-in effects and then struggling to recall it later. This is a very powerful pedal at a ridiculously reasonable price tag.


Mooer GE200 Multi-Effects Pedal

Our next best claimant to the best guitar multi-effects pedal is made in China, with the Shenzhen-based Mooer’s GE200, which you can grab for around £/$200. It is home to 70 fantastic-sounding effects, which include drives, noise gates, EQs, modulation, pitch, filters, delays, compressors and reverbs. A fab feature is creating personal impulse responses, so your speaker outputs are just how you want them.


Boss GX-100

It’s not Bruce Springsteen, but it is the boss when it comes to the best guitar multi-effects pedals. Anyone who knows their distortion pedals from their reverb pedals will have heard of Boss. The GX-100 is their ‘guitar effects processor’, containing 23 amplifier types — certainly not the most on this list, however, it does back this up with 150 effects, so a fantastic option if you’re leaning more that way. It’s intuitive and easy to get going with, and you’ll have a swell old time when you take advantage of tweaking the effects and stacking them on top of each other.


HeadRush MX5

A compact unit that you can carry around in your backpack or gig bag, HeadRush’s MX5 is presented very nicely indeed as a black pedal with a multi-coloured display. It’s astonishing how HeadRush has managed to fit an expression pedal, plus all the effects and amp models into such a diminutive multi-effects pedal. They’ve also done an impressive job of making the amp sounds so close to the real thing, while the delays and reverbs can really level up a guitarist’s sound.


TC Electronic Plethora X5

Good old TC Electronic have put out a plethora of beloved guitar pedals. And their Plethora X5 is something of a greatest hits of their TonePrint pedals combined into one unit. You can chain up to five pedals together, including some of their most popular pedals such as Flashback and Hall of Fame. Customisable configurations aplenty also, stored as 'scenes', which offer big creative flexibility. Additional pedals can be added via firmware updates, so what you see isn’t all that you get straight out the box. A definite hall of famer in the best guitar effects pedal conversation.


Eventide H9 Harmonizer

The Eventide H90 Harmonizer is the successor to the renowned Eventide H9. Which is so favoured by many professional guitarists that it comfortably slides into the best guitar effects pedal conversation. Designed with sonic explorers in mind, it combines conventional delays and reverbs with innovative pitch-shifting effects. Also on offer are extensive routing options, it integrates wonderfully into any guitar setup, allowing you to choose effects placement before or after your amplifier. With its powerful capabilities and versatile editing app, the H90 is ideal for both live performance and studio use.


Line 6 Helix LT

As we clear the £/$900 mark, it’s a line that’s crossed justifiably with the Line 6 Helix LT. It ranks among the best guitar effects pedals on account of being so stage and studio friendly — it’s a stonking unit, with excellent amp emulation, microphone simulation, and a range of effects. While presented as a condensed pedal compared to some others, it still has a fantastic expression pedal, and its users adore its lovely interface. Fractal Audio’s Axe-FX III is bundled, and, whisper it quietly, that usually costs three times the price of this effects pedal.


Kemper Profiler Stage

Right, that’s it, ladies and gentleman. The £/$1000 mark has been cleared, all hell breaks loose. But that’s okay, because our next contestant is so much more than just one of the best guitar multi-effects pedals. There’s an argument to be had that Kemper’s Profiler Stage is the rig-killer, providing almost every effects and amp combo you can conceive of. The effects and amp model presets are truly superb. Throw distortion, chorus, delay at your guitar, and it all sounds epic. As you’d hope, it’s not cheaply built at all, with a rugged outer body that’s ready to say ‘what goes on tour stays on tour!’


Neural DSP Quad Cortex

The DSP Quad Cortex ain’t cheap either. But running off the power of a 2GHz Quad-Core SHARC DSP (try saying that twice fast), nor should it be. This multi-effects guitar pedal is an absolute stunner, with effects and amp modelling that may even bring a tear to your eye. It even gives you the tools to model your own gear, for those extra-tecchy guitarists out there. It’s one of those digital bits of gear that is so brilliant, it challenges the sound of the original amps and effects pedals it seeks to emulate. Listening with your eyes closed, you may struggle to tell the difference. To add to that, it’s one of the most portable-sized pedals in this list, which is an amazing feat and makes it convenient to take around with you.


How much should I really spend?

The higher-end multi-effects units offer the greater abundance of features such as loopers, chassis options, and the most enhanced connectivity. Several now integrate with smartphone apps to give you in-depth parameter editing. They even often double up as audio interfaces or amp modellers, compatible with top music production laptops for recording into DAWs like Ableton Live or Pro Tools. The best advice is to zone in on exactly what you are individually looking for in one of these pedals to save you the headache of overspending, or trying to save money but coming away without a vital feature that you needed to begin with. Focus on your actual requirements and budget, avoiding unnecessary features unless they align with your preferences.

Further reading:

Best distortion pedals

Best virtual guitar amps