Best Volume Pedal Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
If you don’t have the patience or the time to go through all the volume pedal reviews, this guide should help you find the best volume pedal out there after a quick read. Our team worked hard to critically analyze some of the most sought-after pedals and after looking into the quality of their sound, the ease of use that they offer and other aspects, they found out that the Boss FV-500Hl pedal is the one that you should consider. It’s a great choice because it is highly durable and you can stomp it as much as you want. It also offers a smooth feeling when being operated, due to an adjustable resistance. Furthermore, the rubber padding it has on top makes sure your foot doesn’t slip away. If you are unable to find our first recommendation, maybe you should try the Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Our Top Choice
Volume pedals should be strong and last a long time, and this pedal does that. The operating regime is also smooth and gives a nice feeling. Rubber padding has been placed on top of the pedal to ensure a good grip. The resistance is fully adjustable and it offers the possibility to set the pedal as you wish.
Being so sturdy, it’s also on the heavy side, and takes a lot of space on your pedalboard, limiting other options.
You can’t expect more from a volume pedal. It’s solid and offers the right feeling, albeit it feels bulky.
In terms of size, this pedal does well to keep things compact and weighs only 2.6 pounds. It also comes with a tuner output that can be used during live performances. It has a smooth operating system that actions with no latency. It thus offers a quick response, ideal for those working with fast-paced music.
It is a mono pedal, meaning that you won’t be able to connect more instruments to it and that is a bit limiting.
It’s a simple and reliable pedal that is compact, light and doesn’t take up too much space on your pedalboard.
Unlike other models, this pedal keeps its quality electronics in a compact shape, letting you have more room on your pedalboard. It also has an AUX output which lets you experiment more by connecting a stompbox of your choice to activate the expression function. The rocker is fully adjustable.
Being so small means that the device is also not that sturdy and people complain it breaks too fast.
Weighing only 1.3 pounds, the pedal offers all the effects needed, but you will have to treat it with care.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
We made a top of what we consider to be some of the most impressive volume pedals and wrote a short review about each of them. All of these models are considered to be a good choice by professionals, they have good reviews from general users, and they are also some of the most popular models.
Right from the start, you can tell that this is one of the most durable and strongest volume pedals out there. The body is made of heavy-duty die-cast aluminum and that provides sturdiness, and the operation regime is surprisingly smooth for something this strong.
To make sure that the player’s foot stays firmly placed on the pedal, the upper part has been secured with rubber padding. The device uses a single output and one input, making it a mono pedal and that allows you to connect only one instrument to the pedal, which is fine for most players.
There is also a tuner output that can be used to connect a guitar tuner to it so you can keep your instrument in good tonality during a live show. Despite being a bit bulky, the pedal is smooth and that is because the resistance is fully adjustable.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($107.71)
Ernie Ball VP Jr.
This device offers everything needed in a volume pedal in a relatively compact size. The overall weight is 2.6 pounds and the shape and dimensions have been measured purposely to fit the majority of pedalboards.
Being a mono device, the Ernie Ball volume pedal offers one input and one output, along with a tuner out that can be used to keep your guitar in shape during longer performances. In terms of controls, this pedal is as simple as volume pedals can be. You can control the volume with it, depending on where you place it on your board.
In terms of performance, it shines over other models. It offers you the control you would expect and does that providing a smooth feeling and more importantly with zero latency or lag. It also does well to stick to the player’s foot, allowing for precise movements.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($73.95)
Coming from the company that made pieces of equipment beloved by many musicians including Jimi Hendrix, this Dunlop volume pedal is a very compact one, compared to other pedals of its type. Generally, volume pedals stand out as massive, sturdy devices. This one doesn’t look like that, as it’s a small volume pedal, but it is still a durable one.
It doesn’t offer too much in terms of features, keeping things simple. Thus, it has one input and one output, but it also provides an AUX output which adds a bit more flair to it, letting you connect a stompbox of your choice to activate the expression function. This Dunlop mini volume pedal uses a low-friction band drive for smooth operation.
The device only weighs 1.3 pounds and it’s surprising how such a mini volume pedal can incorporate a rocker tension that is fully adjustable. Being able to adjust the rocker as you wish, you will feel that this pedal is smooth and strong.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($119)
The manufacturers of this BOSS volume pedal have chosen solid metal for the base of the pedal and that offers a solid foundation. For the actual pedal, they went with plastic, which is not as durable but considerably reduces the pedal’s weight. Unlike other models in its category, this pedal offers a stereo sound, featuring two outputs and two inputs.
These can be used for capturing signal from two instruments or for delivering the signal to two separate amplifiers or sound systems. A tuner out jack is also put at the player’s disposal for quick tuning. The all-black look is something that catches the eye, as well as the blue logo on it.
The pedal has a minimum volume knob that sets the lowest starting volume that the pedal can reach. This allows for better control, in case you don’t want your guitar to be muted at all. With the actual pedal resembling a tire, the device does a good job of keeping your foot firmly placed on it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($45.99)
The body of this pedal isn’t made of metal as you would expect, but rather of heavy-duty aluminum. While not offering the same sturdiness as metal, aluminum is better at keeping the weight down, although the device still weighs 3.17 pounds. It is a fairly versatile pedal and can be used for guitar, bass or even keyboards.
You can also connect it to the expression pedal input of your controller so you can adjust the modulation. It has an adjustable torque that lets you tailor the resistance to your style. Additionally, the top of the pedal is rubberized and that makes it both comfortable to use and also good at maintaining a good grip with your shoes.
As other pedals do, this one also lets you adjust the volume range, so you don’t find yourself in the situation where your guitar is totally muted. It has a tuner out, to allow you to silently tune it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($63.99)
Morley PLA Steve Vai
In terms of looks, this pedal certainly impresses with the matte black finishing and the carefully designed green logo on it. And the device isn’t smooth when it comes to looks only; it’s also great at operating smoothly. Offering a simplistic feel, the pedal only offers a mono sound, due to the single input and output it has.
As the name suggests, this Morley volume pedal has been made following precise instructions from the guitar virtuoso Steve Vai and as a result, the sound it offers reminds of his style. The controls are basic, just what is needed for a volume pedal, but a minimum volume knob is included. This is a good feature for heavy stompers that tend to go too hard on the pedal for extra sound volume.
Even when multiple effects are chained together with the pedal, the signal is not interrupted and the response is a natural and immediate one.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($79)
Mission Engineering VM-1
This pedal is proof that smaller or local companies can produce a device good enough to compete with the well-known brands on the market. If you like local companies you can check the Hilton volume pedal as well. As simple pedals do, this one offers a mono sound, with a single input and a single output. Although not essential, the pedal also offers a tuner out, for quick tuning.
Weighing a rather impressive 3.6 pounds, the pedal has a classic metal casing that is painted in an eye-catching red. This casing makes the pedal strong and durable. Instead of focusing on flashy knobs and tweaks, the manufacturers put more emphasis on the quality of their construction and provided this pedal with good inner circuitry.
You can purchase an optional LED indicator that is used for showing if the pedal is in mute mode. What’s interesting is that the device is totally passive, meaning that it requires no power source to work, you just need to plug it in.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($129)
Yearly Guide & Report
Volume pedals are the ones that don’t affect the end sound so much but are essential to any guitar player. They need to be reliable, to work smoothly and probably most important to allow the player to have the control that he or she needs over the sound.
Here are some aspects that influence how a volume pedal performs and that can help you in finding the best guitar volume pedal.
Mono vs stereo volume pedal
This is a basic choice that doesn’t require much experience. If you decide to have 2 inputs and 2 outputs you will have the possibility to plug in 2 instruments into the pedal. And this gives room for more diversity in the sound. Another benefit is that 2 outputs mean that you will be able to transmit the signal to more than one amplifier.
This stereo effect is very useful when you are trying to play with different sounds like the ones produced by a wah volume pedal. A good volume pedal will let you pan the mix of your signal between two amps and that adds a new dimension to your guitar’s sound.
It seems obvious that stereo is better, but most people don’t want the extra small benefits that stereo offers for a bigger price. Also, if you use an Electro-Optical Circuit, you won’t be able to employ a stereo system. Using a mono pedal is much easier than its counterpart.
Minimum volume control
The main function of a minimum volume setting is to adjust how low you want your pedal to set the volume to. Without such a function, you can end up in situations in which you have no volume at all. And you might not want that.
If you, for example, never want to get under 30% volume at any time, you can use the minimum volume to set the pedal like that. This will make it physically impossible for your guitar to be totally muted. Thus, if you want to have the possibility to make your guitar quiet but not turn it completely off, you should get a pedal with minimum volume control.
Powered or passive
Keep in mind that a powered volume pedal will require a constant supply of 9V batteries. Either that, or you will need a 9V power adapter that plugs into it. And that wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but it will take up more space.
Furthermore, most brands use their unique adapters, as it is not a one size fits all situation and you will have to spend some more to get the adapter you need. If you have more pedals on the board, maybe 5 or 6, things start to get too complicated.
Fortunately, there are saving power adapters that can power more pedals at the same time, using only one power source. They even come with extensions. If, however, you decide to give no power to the pedal, some might still work just fine.
But that is not the case with the ones that have the minimum volume function. In order to get the minimum volume setting to work, you need to power the pedal. Passive pedals that offer just the basic volume functions are always a decent choice if you aren’t looking for anything too fancy.
Electro-optical circuit vs potentiometer
In simple terms, a potentiometer is a resistor that lets you adjust certain aspects of a signal based on its resistance. When talking about volume pedals, this means a potentiometer controls the volume that the pedal puts out. But being a piece of precise electrical engineering, the potentiometer is prone to wear out in time.
When potentiometers (or pots) wear out they produce an annoying sound that gets worse with time, as you try to control the pedal’s volume. One good thing about pots is that you can find them in most pedals and they are easy to find.
On the other hand, some pedals use Electro-Optical Circuit, a newer and more advanced piece of technology that is also more reliable. They are better suited to be used in a pedal and last longer because there is no moving mechanical part in such a circuit. Instead of using analog technology to give volume to the pedal, such a circuit uses optical technology to give the sound the volume needed.
The big disadvantage with such a technology is that not many manufacturers use them. The company that most uses them is Morley. They are thus hard to find and hard to replace if damaged. There is not much difference between the sound of an Electro-Optical Circuit pedal versus that of a potentiometer one, so unless you want more durability, there is no actual need to choose the Electro-Optical Circuit.