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The Best Cheap Guitar Pedal Brands You Can Buy In The UK

On this page we'll take a look at some of the most popular inexpensive pedal brands out there. You'll likely have heard of a lot of these brands, but hopefully there may be some new ones in the list for bargain hunters. Only manufacturers that build their own stuff are featured, or this page could go on forever...

If you want to jump right in and take a look at some of the best cheap pedals currently available, then we sell 3 of the brands mentioned - Caline, Biyang and Electro Harmonix. You can sort by price for the cheapest ones from each manufacturer. 

One thing you'll notice about these pedals is that a lot of them are clones. Why? Because R&D costs a lot of money. Taking something that already works and adding minor adjustments is a lot easier than coming up with new designs and concepts. The majority of them, with some exceptions we'll point out, are made in China because of the cheaper manufacturing costs.

Caline

Pedals based in the £25-80 price range.

Based in China.

Full disclosure - we sell Caline pedals so we're probably biased. But in our opinion they offer the best value for money. Their pedals have fully metal enclosures, true bypass, good reliability and most importantly, they sounds great. They've got a pretty big range of 80+ pedals, so you're bound to find something to suit the style of music you play.  

They offer a range of pedals based on classic circuits, see our article here to have a look at some of the original pedals they're based on. In terms of faithfulness to the original tone, you can basically get 90-99% of the way there. That's at the stage where most beginner or intermediate players won't be able to tell the difference. Recently they've started combing two of their previous pedal designs into one pedal (The DCP range). For example a compressor and overdrive in the case of the DCP-05 Key West.

Since we sell these we can talk relatively confidently about reliability. Are they as reliable as £200 pedals? No of course not, however they're not too far off. 90% of the time, if there's a reliability problem, it's something which is apparent straight away. That usually means something slipped past quality control. A quick replacement usually solves that.

Behringer

Pedals based in the £<20-60 price range.

Based in Germany, made in China.

Behringer are a German company who make a lot of audio equipment - their pedals are insanely cheap. The cheapest is about £17 (including delivery) for a distortion pedal, which is just insane. How do they make them at that price?! Think about it - the factory, distributor and retailer have taken a cut. 20% of that cost is is VAT, plus another few £ for postage. So for the price that they're charging, of course they're a good deal. 

However, the enclosures are plastic, many are not true bypass and as you'd expect they sound distinctly average. Reliability issues are exacerbated with plastic enclosures and understandably they won't be using the highest quality control standards and components.

Joyo

Pedals based in the £35-100+ price range.

Based in China.

Joyo were one of the first cheap pedal companies. They kick started the cheap pedal revolution and are still a great choice. For example, their JF-01 was an excellent clone of the Tubescreamer and used to cost around £29.99. Prices seem a bit higher these days, now it costs approximately £38. Hopefully that means they've improved their reliability - they certainly feel durable and offer true bypass. They have also sold a lot of these pedals so will have refined their designs over the years.

Recently they've started releasing more expensive models in the £80 and above range. This is an interesting approach because it puts them in the realm of other brands like Electro Harmonix and Boss. So a lot of people would probably prefer to pay say £10 more and get a brand they're more familiar with. However it all depends what you're after - if you're after a certain tone, and Joyo make a similar pedal, then they're still a great choice.

Joyo have also released a range of low cost amp heads in the last few years.

Mooer

Pedals based in the £45-100+ price range.

Based in China.

Mooer started off the mini pedal craze which is still going strong. These days Mooer have evolved, from simply cloning pedals, to creating their own unique pedals and amps. A lot of these involve advanced amp modelling and multi effects.

However their original core range was unashamedly based around offering mini versions of established pedals. They weren't subtle about it either - they released marketing material saying the exact pedal their version was cloning. They have a huge collection of around 60 pedals - clones of classic pedals as well as amp in a box type pedals.

Mooer are pretty widespread these days - you can see them in numerous stores up and down the country, which is quite unusual when it comes to clones. So like Joyo, their pedals are tried and tested.

Boss, Electro Harmonix & TC Electronic

Pedals based in the £55+ price range.

These guys are some of the biggest pedal companies in the world, so using the economy of scale, it means they can really push down the costs and fall into the sub £100 "cheap" category. Despite the massive production scale, reliability is still very good since they're not trying to build pedals as cheaply as possible. From our sales data, they are more reliable than the Chinese brands, but not by as much as the anti cloning brigade would have you believe. 

Big well known brands keep their resale value too, so definitely consider these pedals if you're on a budget. While they do sell expensive pedals, you may be surprised at how much some of their flagship pedals cost.

Boss are based in Japan, EHX the US and TC Electronic Denmark. The pedals are usually constructed in a range of countries. We believe EHX and Boss source their parts from Taiwan and TC Electronic do the same from Thailand. With EHX final assembly and quality control checks do take place in the US.

These days you can get a Nano Big Muff for £65, Boss DS1 for £55 and TC Ditto Looper for £65. All 3 brands do plenty more sub £100 pedals - that's not just distortion or boosts either - there's delay, octave, reverbs, noise gates and modulation.

Those Identical Mini Pedals

Pedals based in the £25-35 price range.

Made in China.

Ok, we didn't want to list every single brand of the cheap pedals you get on Amazon because a lot of them are identical. We're taking about the following brands to name a few examples, but there are literally hundreds of brands:

Donner, Mosky, Sonicake, Rowin, Muslady, Kokko, Valeton, Tom's Line, Amazon Basics, Musiclily

There's a lot of speculation as to whether these pedals are all made by Mooer. They're undoubtedly all made by the same factory somewhere in China. If you know the right person, anyone can get their own brand of mini pedals made.

They used to be sold on Amazon only. However, recently we've noticed that some big UK retailers have started offering their own versions of these pedals under brands they've created. The pedals themselves seem to be good for the money, and again are based on existing circuits.

Biyang

Pedals based in the £35-60 price range.

Based in China.

Biyang are a company who have been around for a while - their company also makes excellent quality tube amps under the Wangs brand name. We like Biyang because they don't just completely clone other pedals - they try to actually improve upon them. Take their Metal End Pro you may think "that's just a metal muff" but wait what's that? An amp simulator, a modern, normal and classic mode, a high cut and a normal, bright and warm setting. Also the OD-8 may seem like a Tubescreamer at first. Look a little deeper and you'll see that it has two extra chips you can place in the back and experiment with.

They also did a weird, but in our opinion underrated modular pedal system called the Livemaster.

Unfortunately sales were never great, but it was a really good idea, and likely down to not enough advertising spend as opposed to poor engineering. Their branding "Biyang" is perhaps another reason for this.

NUX

Pedals based in the £50-100+ price range.

Based in China.

NUX have been around for quite a while now, their pedals are perhaps towards the more expensive end of the clone scale. However, in a similar way to Biyang, they try to do something a little different, like adding stereo output and adding more modes and switches on their TS clone. They've also got pedals which combine 2+ popular pedals in one device, and pedals which are their own unique creations. For example they have a modelling effect processor which is about £300. Not a cheap pedal, but cheaper than other modelling pedals.

Raygun FX

Pedals based in the £20-100+ price range.

Based in the UK. Made in the UK.

Unlike other pedals in this list, Raygun FX are built in the UK and are priced in the £40-90 range. Towards the higher end of that scale you get duel foot switches and extra functions, and the lower end tends to be single effects. You can even get amp foot switches for under £20!  This is insanely good value for quality pedals hand made in the UK. We're seriously not even sure how they're priced as low as they are. Their branding and overall design looks a lot better than the other pedals mentioned on this page. They certainly don't look as budget friendly as they are!

Hotone

Pedals based in the £45-100+ price range.

Based in China.

Hotone pedals have a love it or hate it type design; they're a bit bigger than the standard mini pedals, usually with a single large knob at the back. Their mini range are again clones of popular pedals. For example they have their own versions of a Blues Driver and a Metal Zone. They also sell a range of mini solid state 5 Watt amp heads which are based on classic amps. The amps retail under £100 and most of their mini pedal range is £50-60. They have moved on to some really interesting stuff now based on pedal and amp modelling. They are quite a lot more expensive, however still much cheaper when comparing like for like products available on the market.

Tonecity

Pedals based in the £40-65 price range.

Based in China.

We really like the simple design of these pedals - colourful and modern. Although they may look very similar to the mini pedals mentioned above, we believe they manufacturer them themselves. They have a slightly different design with their glowing knobs, and a lot of their clones are unique - no other manufacturers make them. Certainly not in a small enclosure. For example they make their own versions of a Mad Professor Deep Blue, Analogman King of Tone and a Carl Martin AC Tone.

Others

There are a few other low cost brands too which aren't as well known. Caline also produce mini pedals under the Azor and Movall brand names. We have tried a few of these, and like Caline pedals, they seem great quality for the price.

There's a line called Aural Dream based in China. We've not had experience with them, but they do seem to sell a good range. Reviews on Amazon seem to be a bit mixed, they also looked like they were designed in the 90s. However, they could be worth more research if you're after synth, organ or octave pedals.

TC Electronic have released a super cheap (£30) range of pedals which seem to have been well received. The consensus seems to be that they're good for the money but obviously not as high quality as the more expensive TC Electronic pedals, often introducing a touch more noise. 

Danelectro seem to have released a brand of plastic pedals in the last few years in the £65 price range. We believe it replaces their old range of plastic pedals which were very good (think a higher quality version of Behringer pedals).

Moen Pedals seemed to be very popular a few years ago with an excellent copy of a Univibe - their Shaky Jimmi. We can't find many of their pedals available online these days so aren't 100% sure if they're still around or not.

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