Are These the 10 Most Popular Guitar Pedals of All Time?

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Have you ever wondered what the best-selling guitar pedals of all time are? Us too! Which is why we decided to do a little research and see if we could find the answer. Though it took a while, we think we’ve come pretty close to the top 10 best-selling pedals. 

From wahs and fuzz to tuners and loopers, there are some expected and unexpected entries on this list. So let’s take a look at the 10 most popular guitar pedals of all time. 

The 10 Best Selling Pedals

Before getting started, it’s important to clarify where this information comes from and how this list came about. In 2022, Josh Scott from JHS was given access to Sweetwater’s pedal sales data. From this, he made a video covering some of their best-selling pedals. 

However, he didn’t actually disclose the full top ten. He went through the list, picking and choosing highlights. That said, he did provide three of the top ten. He also briefly named the other pedals/pedal types that make up the top ten. 

Our list was cobbled together using that information. As a result, some placements are exact while others are educated guesses (marked by an asterisk) based on the other information provided. For example, Josh said there were multiple volume pedals in the top ten; we chose two of the most popular ones and placed them in spots that seemed appropriate.  

So while going through the list, keep in mind that some of these placements are not exact. Those marked with an asterisk are estimations/educated guesses, while those without an asterisk are exactly where they should be according to the data. That said, this should be very close to Sweetwater’s real top ten best-selling pedals of all time.

And of course, this is Sweetwater’s top ten best-selling pedals. This doesn’t include pedals sold on other platforms, so it’s very possible a certain pedal has sold more—just not on Sweetwater. But pedal sales data is nearly impossible to come by, so this is as close as we could get. And since Sweetwater has been a staple for decades, we think their data is probably pretty close anyways. 

10. Dunlop Cry Baby Wah

It should be no surprise that a wah is in the top ten, and the Dunlop Cry Baby is a perfect fit. Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, and more have all used the Cry Baby. It’s just one of those pedals that everyone knows about.

Wah is certainly one of the most popular and iconic guitar effects, and it turns out that the Cry Baby is the best-selling of them all. We’d tell you to go try one out, but you probably have one already—or else it wouldn’t be on this list!

9. TC Electronics Ditto X2*

If you really think about it, it makes sense that loopers would be in the top ten. Nearly everyone has one, and it’s often one of the first pedals guitarists buy. There’s nothing quite like getting a loop going and having fun jamming over it. 

According to Josh, there are three loopers—including two Dittos—on this list. We figured the more expensive and feature-filled Ditto X2 would be lower, however, which is why it’s down at number nine. 

That said, this is one of our favorite loopers on the market. So if you’re looking for a stage-ready looper with some cool features (like reverse, halftime, and a separate stop switch), give this one a shot. 

8. Pro Co Rat

Ah, the Rat. Did you really think there wouldn’t be a Rat on this list? Hitting mass production in 1979 and still costing under $100 today, the Rat has some advantages that helped it get this high on the list. 

Besides that though, the Rat is just a great pedal. From Kurt Coabin to James Hetfield, the Rat has been used on countless beloved records. It’s an incredibly versatile distortion that can dial in a wide range of great tones. And it comes in a nearly indestructible housing, making it a touring-ready pedal. 

It’s been over 40 years and the Rat is still going strong. We suspect you could make this same list in another 10-20 years, and the Rat would still be in the top ten. 

7. Ernie Ball Volume Pedal*

According to Josh, there were multiple volume pedals in the top ten. He didn’t name them, however, so we had to take some guesses. But it makes sense that volume pedals rank this high; they’re pretty essential, and there aren’t nearly as many options as other pedal types like distortion. 

The Ernie Ball volume pedals are incredibly popular, and you can find them on pedalboards all over the world. When it comes to volume pedals, the Ernie Ball has to be one of the most popular. However, we gave the higher spot to another volume pedal due to the Ernie Balls being a tab bit more expensive on average. 

6. TC Electronics Polytune*

Josh didn’t confirm there were any tuners in the top ten, but there were some open spaces on the list after including the other pedals he mentioned. And given that he said everything in the top ten he didn’t discuss were utility pedals, it only seems logical some of those open spaces were tuners. 

So, we gave one of those spots to the TC Electronics Polytune. This is one of the standard tuning pedals, and they’re super common. However, it got a lower spot due to the other tuning pedal’s fame and ubiquity. 

5. Dunlop Volume Pedal*

We decided to include the Dunlop Volume pedal as well since Josh said there are multiple volume pedals in the top ten. Like the Ernie Ball, these volume pedals are super common and can be found all over the place. 

However, the Dunlop volume pedals are a tad cheaper, so we gave them the edge in sales. In reality though, we’re just taking a guess. It’s very possible that the Ernie Ball (or even the Boss volume pedal) is actually the better seller.

4. TC Electronics Ditto Looper*

Josh said there were two Dittos on the list, and the standard Ditto is almost certainly the best seller out of the Ditto lineup. At just $99, the Ditto is a simple and straightforward looper that does one thing—loop. 

It’s small, cheap, and does exactly what you need it to. For those who need a barebones looper that won’t take up too much pedalboard real estate, this is one the best choices. And that’s why it’s one of the best-selling pedals of all time. 

3. Boss TU-3 Tuner*

You knew this one was coming. Josh didn’t actually confirm this pedal (or any tuner for that matter) was in the top ten, but there’s no way the Boss TU-3 isn’t on the list. 

This has been the tuner for decades now. These pedals are absolutely everywhere, and you probably can’t go to a local show without seeing one.

Like the Ditto, it’s cheap and does exactly what you need it to. They’re near indestructible, are easy to see/use on-stage, and just work. Whether you’re a bedroom guitarist or a pro recording in world-class studios and touring arenas, you can’t go wrong with the Boss tuner. 

2. Boss RC-1*

There are three loopers in the top ten per Josh—two Dittos and an unnamed third. What could that third one possibly be? Well, we think it’s the Boss RC-1

Boss pedals have been industry mainstays since the 70s, and they’ve built a reputation as making high-quality, reliable, and affordable pedals. And if you’re involved in the guitar community, you know how common Boss loopers are.  

The RC-1 is relatively cheap, pretty simple, and easy to use. It’s got plenty of recording time and all the basic features you want, all in classic Boss form factor with the durability you expect. This may not be the most feature-filled looper of all time, but it’s certainly one of the best-selling. 

1. Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz

Last but not least is the Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz. You might be thinking, “Really? Not the DS-1 or a Big Muff?” But there are a couple of good reasons this pedal is the best-selling pedal of all time on Sweetwater. 

First off, the Super Fuzz is $29. I repeat—$29. I can’t even fill my gas tank for $29 dollars. That is stupid cheap for a pedal, especially in a world where boutique pedals often are $200-300+. That said, there are lots of cheap pedals these days. Nearly all of Behringer’s pedals are around that price, so what’s the deal with the Super Fuzz?

The Super Fuzz is based on the Boss FZ-2, which is based on the Univox Super Fuzz—which is a highly sought-after fuzz that can cost well over $500. So the Super Fuzz is a $29 copy of a beloved but incredibly expensive pedal. Now it’s starting to make sense. 

According to Josh, the Super Fuzz sales figures are “absolutely insane” and “more than double the other stuff.” 

Though Behringer pedals may not be as sturdy as Boss or as fancy as boutique options, the Super Fuzz is a cheap and competent recreation of an iconic and expensive fuzz. This pedal earned the top spot by being an affordable pedal that sounds great, making it perfect for just about everyone—from beginners looking for a cheap fuzz to experienced players who don’t want to break the bank for an original Univox Super Fuzz.  

The Best-Selling Pedals of All Time

And there you have it, the best-selling pedals of all time—according to Sweetwater, and with probably a heaping dose of recency bias. While we’re surprised some classics like the DS-1 and Big Muff didn’t make the list, it makes sense that most of the top ten are utility pedals like tuners and loopers that make sense on boards from every genre and skill level.

Every pedal featured on this list is a true classic found on boards all over the world. They all earned their place by being reliable (TU-3), having a great sound (Cry Baby), being affordable (Super Fuzz), or all of the above (Rat). So if you’re in need of some pedals, try out some on the list; they’re the best sellers of all time for a reason. 

4 Responses

  1. The best Tuner is one that’s road worthy and my choice is the Shure Guitar wireless which includes a tuner. Price is second to performance for me. My saying is “buy the best and cry once.” Thanks for the article and your great strings 🎶👍

  2. I’m very surprised there’s no CHORUS pedal. The guitarists that I’m friends with who are making records tell me that the best one is built into the Mixing Board. They all say that all Chorus Pedals take too much of Direct Sound away and it’s very difficult to get a good blend of Chorus and Direct. They all agree that the Chorus that’s built into the Board is the best.

  3. I was hoping for a more representative dataset than one megastore who wasn’t selling in the good old days. Boss OD1, DS1, CE2. Ibanez TS1, MXR Phase 90 and flanger? That’s just of the top of my head…

  4. There are no “phase shifters “ on this list? For years they were everywhere. But I have not seen or used one for a while so maybe I’m over reacting.

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