As guitar players, we’re constantly in search of new and exciting pieces of musical equipment. So it's no surprise that a good quality pedalboard power supply can take a back seat to a shiny new reverb pedal or yet another overdrive. Whether you’re an effects pedal connoisseur or simply use a handful of utility pedals, investing in one of the best pedalboard power supplies may be the greatest decision you make for your rig.
It may be time to finally ditch the cheap and cheerful daisy chain or generic multi-output adaptor in favor of a unit that can handle any pedal you throw at it. While you're at it, you may want to give your pedalboard a spring clean - if it's anything like ours, it will need it!
Best pedalboard power supplies: Our top picks
Our top pick for larger pedalboards has to be the Truetone 1 Spot CS12. The competitive price, voltage switching, and wide range of outputs make this an ideal power supply for the gigging musician.
This unit is also a viable option if you need to power any Digitech pedals with an AC-in requirement, as it's slim pickings out there to find a power supply to do that as well as DC. The Truetone 1 Spot CS12 uses “switching power supply technology” meaning you don’t need to worry about your high-current digital pedals. For guitar players with a smaller set-up, the CS6 may be the better option. These have been designed explicitly for low-profile pedalboards.
Do you have a smaller board but looking to expand? Then the Strymon Ojai is precisely what you’re looking for. Strymon has always been innovators when it comes to pedals, so it makes sense they would extend that thinking to their power supplies. Designed with the Nano or Metro Pedaltrain in mind, this power unit will fit on most pedalboards, and when the inevitable happens, and your pedal collection grows, it's easily extendable with extra units, eliminating the need for multiple plugs.
Best pedalboard power supplies: Product guide
Surprisingly cheap given the performance on offer, the One Spot Pro range, which consists of the CS7 and CS12, are fully isolated power supplies with a number of nifty features.
On the CS12 there are six 9V outputs from 100mA - 250mA, one 4-9V variable output, two high-draw 9V outputs, and two 18V outputs that can be used for distortions or overdrives that can take 18V for higher headroom.
Uniquely to the CS12, there's also a 9V AC output, which can drive older Whammy and Digitech pedals. Although the rated output is too low for a Whammy, the reality is that a Truetone Pro can deliver up to its maximum current draw, which is the sum of all its outputs, meaning it can flex up if you're not at the maximum for all the other outs.
The Strymon isn’t messing around when it comes to the best pedalboard power supplies. Designed to supply the Strymon line, their default current delivery is a whopping 500mA on every output.
The Ojai in particular has a really interesting USP – a growing pedalboard can be accommodated using the 24V through connector to connect additional Ojai units, without the need for extra plugs to the wall.
In addition, it comes in an R30 variant which is essentially a low-profile version to fit under tighter or smaller boards like the Pedaltrain Nano series.
The Voodoo 4x4 has long been the weapon of choice for the guitarist running a number of power-hungry digital effects, as it has four standard outputs, rated at 100mA, as well as four 400mA outputs, with two switchable up to 12V. The Mondo is an even larger version, for players with even more pedals.
Both the 4x4 and the Mondo have a temperature controlled fan to stop the unit overheating in difficult conditions, like a hot festival show or basement gig.
The Mondo as the even bigger brother, has more outputs, features and two additional 'sag' outputs that emulate the reduced headroom and voltage supply of a dying battery.
The Iso-Brick is the isolated version of MXR's diminutive, but expensive non-isolated power supply the DC Brick.
The Iso-Brick's ten outputs are fully isolated, and there's a variety of different current draws on offer to drive even the most hungry digital pedals, as well as two 18V outs for higher-headroom distortions and two variable outputs, which can be used to emulate starved-battery sounds on fuzzes.
Read the full MXR Iso-Brick review
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As the name suggests, the Trutone One Spot CS6 is a six-output power supply in the same line as the CS7 and CS12. Like its larger brothers, it can distribute up to its maximum current across all its ports, meaning that usually it has a lot more current on offer than its competitors.
Two of its outputs can be switched up to 12V, and two can be upped to 18V, for extra headroom on drive pedals that support the higher voltage.
What sets apart the CS6 is that it fits under low-profile pedalboards cleanly, unlike the more chunky CS7 and CS12.
The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Digital is a power supply exclusively aimed at powering high-current digital pedals, so if you're in need of a second or extension power supply and you find that you've got a number of high-current digital effects to power, then it could be a good fit.
Nowadays, most power supplies support high current pedals to some extent, which means that you'll probably only need this as a second supply for a very large touring board. In particular, the Truetone options can deliver up to their max specified current across all outputs, meaning that they tend to have plenty of current spare if they're powering say, drive pedals as well as digital pedals. These sorts of innovations mean that the USP of the Digital isn't as relevant as it once was.
It’s taken a long time for effects pedal power supplies to catch up, but finally, you can power your pedalboard via USB, courtesy of Mission Engineering’s new 529 USB power converter. The supply functions from any USB power cable, as well as a portable USB battery pack, laptop or a car’s USB charging port.
Mission sells its own USB battery pack, designed to fit under a Pedaltrain Nano and offering over eight hours of use. Four isolated 150mA 9V outputs are onboard the 529, as well as a high-current 500mA 9V offering. For smaller ’boards, or setups with only one or two high-current devices, it could prove a convenient solution indeed.
At a competitive price point, the Mooer Macro Power offers a combination of isolated and non-isolated outputs in a compact package. It has over-current protection, and although there's no specific high-draw output, if you box clever you can simulate one.
The non-isolated outs share 400mA combined, so if you connect 4 pedals to the isolated outs, and then a single high-draw pedal to one of the daisy-chained outputs, it should have more than enough power in the 400mA chain to operate.
Best pedalboard power supplies: Buying advice
If you’re sick and tired of unwanted noise in your signal chain, then you really should be thinking about upgrading your power supply. More often than not, hum or buzz is caused by power-line noise. Obviously, some of that noise can be from your amplifier - but you don't have to live with noise from your pedals, most of it can be removed!
Individual pedals, especially distortions and digital delays, are likely to have some kind of power-line filtering, but without an isolated power supply - that is, one where each output powers one pedal only, and the power lines do not cross - it's possible to pick up noise from other pedals sharing the same power source.
Another benefit of isolated outputs is knowing that the current delivered to a pedal will be consistent - particularly important with digital pedals. Isolated power units will send a specified amount of current to each output, ensuring that each pedal receives exactly what it needs. On the other hand, Daisy-chain, parallel, or non-isolated supplies divide the current produced between the outputs, meaning the current between pedals can be variable.
So why is the current draw such an important issue? Well, certain pedals - especially multi-effects - require a lot of power to operate, and by using a daisy-chain power supply, your pedals might not be getting enough current, and therefore won't work as they should. Some pedals like to break the mold completely. Take Tom Morello's favorite - the Digitech Whammy. This pedal requires a whopping 1.3A and requires AC rather than the far more common DC. So always check what your pedals need before buying a power supply.
Common to almost all power supplies is a general assumption that most pedals will draw around 9V of DC and accept a centre-negative tip on the power lead.
Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to make an informed decision on the best pedalboard power supply for you. So go forth, hook up all your pedals and make some noise!