Reverb is one of those effects that’s a must-have on any guitar player's pedalboard – it's essential and inspiring. Use it to subtly add warmth, or just launch your guitar tone to the far reaches of the cosmos, but no matter what style of music you play you’ll find a use for this effect. The best reverb pedals combine ease of use, tweakability, and most importantly, great sound. It’s one of the most popular effects not just for guitar, but for music as a whole.
A reverb pedal simulates a space for the sound of your guitar to occupy. When you clap your hands in a large room, you’ll hear the sound of your clap bouncing off the walls and surfaces of the area around you. A reverb pedal does the exact same thing for your instrument, artificially recreating the sound as it if it were happening in that space.
There’s a ludicrous amount of reverb pedals available, doing everything from warm room tones and period-accurate spring reverbs, right through to ambient modulated synth sounds that reverberate infinitely. Choosing the best reverb pedal for you can be tough, so it’s important to do your research before pulling the trigger, especially as the majority of the pedals are relatively expensive.
If you’re looking for more knowledge before you pull the trigger, then head down to the bottom of this article for some of our expert buying advice. If you just want to get started, keep scrolling to see our top picks.
Best reverb pedals: Our top picks
It’s a legend in the world of reverb and even though it's over a decade old now, you’ll still see the Strymon BigSky on many a pedalboard whether you’re gigging a local venue, or watching an arena tour. Combining top-quality algorithms with deep editing there’s a breathtaking array of sounds available on this pedal, a modern classic.
If you need something a little more wallet-friendly, then we’d definitely recommend TC Electronic’s Hall of Fame 2. For pure value for money, you won’t do much better than this little red stompbox. It’s got 8 reverb sounds plus three slots for custom tones, making it a versatile option for the player on a budget.
Best reverb pedals: Product guide
The BigSky has fast become the weapon of choice for many pro players and, will undoubtedly be the best reverb pedal for you if you're in a position to stump up the considerable funds. Why? It's flexibility is astounding and considering the borderline academic nature of Strymon's research, you'd be disappointed if the BigSky sounded anything less than extraordinary.
All that homework paid off: the 12 on-board reverb machines are as natural or fantastical as you want. The atmospheric settings have made it a favourite among the post-rock crowd, but this is a pedal that is capable of endless adaptation – and convincing with it, too.
The functionality is staggering, but it's the sounds that will make your jaw drop and your playing soar – and it's that which helps Strymon justify the lofty asking price. If you're looking for 'the one', this is it.
Read our full Strymon BigSky review
The original Hall Of Fame reverb pedal adopted a kitchen-sink approach with multiple options and the addition of TonePrint (which enables you to download user-made profiles for other reverbs) for even greater functionality and flexibility.
The Hall Of Fame 2 picks up where it left off, bringing a new shimmer octave reverb mode to the table and adding a ‘MASH’ footswitch that functions somewhat like an expression pedal. What remains are the quality of reverb sounds, which are simply fantastic and cover all the bases you could wish for.
Read our full TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 review
When it comes to premium digital emulations of classic studio and amp reverbs in one portable place on your 'board, this Universal Audio pedal sets the standard. Three different choices in each category of spring, plate and hall reverbs can be found here, channeling the company's plugin prowess into pedal form for the first time.
In addition to the nine onboard algorithms including those based on classic Fender spring reverb tanks and the EMT 140 plate reverb, users can download three more (two additional 224 plate and chamber reverbs) via the UA Control app.
The level of control over frequency response is great for maintaining clarity in a mix and the scope of the predelay allows players to fine-tune their picking attack in the context of gorgeous, detailed reverb emulations that would cost thousands in their original hardware form. If you need these tried and true kinds of reverbs in your recordings and live sound, the Golden Reverberator is worth the investment.
Read our full Universal Audio UAFX Golden Reverberator review
The Boss RV-6 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, offering all-new algorithms and a totally updated DSP. We’ve had one of these on our ‘board for years now, and considering the number of reverb types you get for the money, it’s without a doubt one of the best reverb pedals out there.
We particularly love the shimmer mode with its angelic chorus of octave-up voices adding a synth-like quality to your guitar tone. The modulated mode is fantastic as well, adding a dark, warm wash with a lovely movement to it to your sound. You get a dynamic mode that responds to your playing touch, and even a nice delay plus reverb to throw in the mix.
The expression pedal input is really handy for adding swells or controlling the amount of ‘verb on the fly, and the whole thing is in a standard Boss casing that’s rugged and reliable. The spring mode is a little splashy we’ll admit, but considering how good the rest of the reverbs are, it’s a small price to pay.
Read the full Boss RV-6 review
Given the price, you might not expect much of the Oceans 11, but don’t underestimate it. There’s a plethora of settings, from mod and shimmer, to the wild polyphonic octave, but also a rogue’s gallery of standard options like echo, plate, spring, hall and reverse.
While reverse has been out-of-vogue on compact pedals, the demand from shoegazers has remained, and the 11 is likely to be a hit based on this mode alone. It’s a brilliant effect, whether you’re playing psychedelic music or just looking to throw in a wacky solo. The core hall and plate sounds are excellent, too, so it’s not just a one-trick pony.
Read our full Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb review
We found that this is one of the most comprehensive spring reverb pedals out there. It recreates the glorious sound of a spring vibrating inside of a reverb tank that helped define the sound of rock and roll in the early days. It can be used as a subtle, always-on pedal that will work for any style of music or player, or as a wild, in-your-face reverb effect. What’s great about the Spring Tank is that you can have both of these settings dialled in, and switch between them via the additional footswitch.
The pedal allows you to choose the length of the reverb tail, and also the size of the ‘room’, plus you have the ability to cut some of the high frequencies, and boost your signal above, or below the reverb trail.
There’s even an effects loop built into the pedal so you can add modulation to your reverb tails for some really unique sounds. However you use it, this is one of the best spring reverb-style pedals around.
If Strymon's multiple presence in our choices doesn't make it clear, the US company are now proven masters when it comes to designing inspiring digital reverb pedals that withstand the tests of time and demands of players. The Cloudburst is the latest, smallest and its Ensemble modes are the most stunning yet.
The first mode is an expansion of the Cloud algorithm in Strymon's BigSky, and the expanded decay scope now makes it more versatile for room reverb as well as huge cavernous ambience in the other extreme.
But the primary drawer here are two Ensemble modes that generate harmonics in response to your playing and tone. It's really sensitive to your playing, in a good way, and it can sound like an orchestral bed under your playing or a full-on swelling strings conduction that is unlike anything we've heard from any one effects unit before.
Read our full Strymon cloudburst Ambient Reverb pedal
What you get with Space is 12 effects from the Eventide H8000FW and Eclipse V4 rackmount processors. Some of them are pure reverb, but others are combinations where it's paired with delays, pitch-shifting, tremolo, modulation and spatial effects.
If you want a stompbox for reverb and other ambient effects, we found that the Space is the most comprehensive around and if you have a home studio, you'll get tons more out of this in stereo.
The price may be high, but rather than compare the Space to other stompboxes, think instead of how much a rackmount reverb processor or the best quality plug-ins cost, and suddenly it doesn't seem that bad a deal, especially when Space sounds so good.
Read our full Eventide Space review
In the Ventris, finally we have a pedal with a relatively modest footprint that contains two totally independent reverbs that can be used singly or combined in parallel, in series or Left/Right - with various modes of mono and stereo operation being available.
There are 12 distinct reverb engines available from the front panel but, like previous Source Audio pedals, there are more available via the Neuro software. The outstanding impression of hearing the Ventris in action for the first time is the quality of its reverbs, but we also really like its pedalboard-friendly footprint and easy hands-on functionality.
You can get as complex as you like with the Neuro editing app, but if you want simplicity it’s there straight out of the box.
Read our full Source Audio Ventris review
The Mercury7 is a contribution to the high-end digital reverb market from Meris, whose team includes a founder of Strymon. The pedal offers a choice of two algorithmic reverbs, Ultraplate and Cathedral, with a host of sound adjustment features including pitch and modulation parameters.
Capable of mono and stereo operation, the pedal has two sets of parameters for each of its six knobs, the second set accessed by pressing Alt. As such, it's a knob-twiddler's dream and you can dial up awesome reverb with many dimensions.
If altered ambiences are your thing, this pedal does a wide range of them incredibly well.
Read our full Meris Mercury7 review
The Slöer follows the Slö and ambient reverbs that add additional features each time; this time its stereo width control, two additional reverb algorithms, two additional modulation wave shapes and the ability to edit the sample rate. That takes the already impressive Slötvå with its onboard presets to a new level.
This pedal is really about inspiration; if you're looking for workhorse digital spring, room and hall algorithms it's not going to be your thing. Instead it opens up cinematic sounds that might give birth to new creatvity, rather than colouring existing parts.
It can be dialled in more subtlety to but the enhanced parameters and new modes here really encourage you explore the depths.
Despite actually being a dual delay/reverb pedal, the Keeley Caverns V2 merits a place in this article thanks to some incredible reverb algorithms. The delay side is great of course, but it’s the reverb side where things get really tasty.
You get three different modes with shimmer, spring, and modulated offering their own unique flavor of reverb. The shimmer mode is outstanding, offering an angelic octave-up effect that lets your riffs and chord work really soar. The spring reverb is fantastic as well, sounding just as good to our ears as the real thing.
You’ve got a lot of flexibility for signal chain thanks to the dual TRS inputs, perfect for running a wet/dry rig or experimenting with routing. The huge range of controls means you can dial in any sound from space rock and shoegaze right through to more vintage-inspired surf and traditional rock tones.
The Strymon NightSky takes everything that’s great about the BigSky and makes it much more experimental. Perfect for the sonic explorer, this reverb workstation is not your average pedal, it’s almost an instrument in its own right.
Whilst the presets are a great way to get started, you’ll still be finding new sounds months into owning this pedal. Being able to control every aspect of your reverb tail thanks to the individual sections means that the only limit to the sounds you can create is your own creativity.
The sounds on this pedal will suit those who are into experimental music. Whilst it can do traditional spring and room sounds, to be honest, you’d be wasting its potential using it for that. From the cinematic shimmer tones to the step sequencer function, if you want sounds that no one else is using, look no further.
Read the full Strymon NightSky review
This compact pedal manages to pack in a lot of different sounds, whilst keeping the user interface simple and easy to use. There’s no menu-scrolling here - just three knobs, one of which is used as a push button to cycle through the reverb types.
There are six reverb types within the small confines of the M300, all of which sound phenomenal and are incredibly usable in a number of scenarios. The spring, room and plate settings are great for dialling in your classic, texture-adding ‘everyday’ reverbs, and the pad setting conjures up dreamy and ambient, almost synth-like sounds.
One of the best reverb pedals for those who want multiple high-quality reverb options, laid out in a simple way.
Read the full MXR Reverb M300 review
The RV-500 can be thought of as Boss' take on a BigSky-like one-stop reverb toolbox - and we found it to be a definite contender. With three footswitches, 12 reverb modes and digital delay options, not to mention a massive array of editable parameters, you won't run out of tonal options any time soon.
We get the classy reverbs of all varieties that Boss/Roland is capable of but they have also thrown in a Space Echo multi-head tape delay emulation for extra flexibility and an alternative to the delays with the reverbs.
There’s plenty to be explored in this immensely practical pedal that brings reverb and delay together. With all that memory and the various footswitching options it’s the perfect tool if you need different ambiences for different songs.
Read our full Boss RV-500 review
Earthquaker Devices is responsible for some truly weird and wonderful pedals, which is why the relative simplicity of the Dispatch Master came as a surprise. Combining a fairly basic - albeit high quality - reverb and delay into one pedal, the Dispatch Master won't have you fiddling for ages to find the right sound.
We liked the Flexi-Switch function. Essentially, by holding the switch down you can access the pedal's tones for short bursts, making it perfect for those minor creative flourishes. Build quality is rock solid, and despite the overall minimal approach to tweaking, the Dispatch Master is a success in our eyes.
Read the full Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master review
The Fender Dual Marine Layer reverb pedal gives you three great reverb tones, with two presets and a sustain switch. This makes it a useful pedal for the gigging player, particularly if you love a more traditional reverb tone.
Reverb types 1 and 2 are classic room and hall sounds that are very usable thanks to the parameter controls you can tweak. Cover your tone in a dark warm wash, or sprinkle it with a smattering of modulation to add some movement to your sound, you’ll find these tones to be top quality.
We particularly loved the type 3 tone which offers a different take on the traditional shimmer setting, giving you less of a high-octave tone and more of a natural, choral effect. Add in the useful infinite sustain feature that lets you play over a chord, and two presets for saving your tones and you get a pedal that’s versatile enough to gig with.
Best reverb pedals: Buying advice
How do I choose the right reverb pedal?
Buying a reverb pedal can be a serious investment, so it's imperative that you consider what it is you want to get out of it. Are you a vintage-inspired player that wants the tones of classic rock records? Or are you an experimental type that wants something completely unique? Some of the pedals in this article will do both of these things well, whereas others specialize in one particular sound.
How does a reverb pedal work?
A reverb pedal digitally simulates a space for your guitar sound to occupy. Similar to when you clap your hands in a large space, the sound is reflected back off the walls and into your ears, creating a sense of size. Whether it’s a small room with a short reflection or a huge hall with a big one, a reverb pedal can artificially give your guitar tone the same effect as if it was actually being played in that space.
You could use this to just add a slight sense of warmth and depth to a basic clean tone, or you could make it sound like it’s being blasted into your ears via the depths of the cosmos. It’s an incredibly versatile effect, and you’ll find it on the pedalboards of pretty much every guitar player.
Where should my reverb pedal go in the chain?
There are no rules on how you should order your pedals and experimentation is one of the best ways to go about creating a signature sound. That said, for the most part, guitar players put their reverb pedals at the end of the chain, so it's usually the last pedal before it goes out to the amplifier.
This is because reverb is a time-based effect, so putting it in front of other effects can make your whole signal sound like it’s really far away. This might be a cool effect you could use for a certain style of music and some guitarists like to put reverbs ahead of their fuzz or distortion pedals to create unique, droning guitar tones.
What is the difference between digital and analog reverb pedals?
Reverb is typically a digital effect, and this is because the sound of an analog reverb is created with a physical space. Original plate reverbs required large sheets of metal that were vibrated. Analog spring reverbs use metal springs to create their unique tone. Echo chambers required that sounds be played into a physical space, captured with a microphone, then input back alongside the dry signal to create the sense of space.
This is why you won’t find many analog reverb pedals. Unless you wanted to cart around a bunch of metal plates with you there would be no physical way to actually do it! There are some pedals that have a physical spring inside them, like those from Danelectro and Gamechanger Audio, but these are few and far between. For the most part, if you want an analog reverb sound, you’ll either need to rely on an amplifier with a spring reverb built in, or stick to digital.
Are there any affordable reverb pedals?
Reverb is one of the more expensive effects out there. That’s because they are created through the use of algorithms and powerful computer chips. Carrying out the myriad amount of calculations required to accurately simulate your guitar tone occupying a space, in real-time with no latency requires tremendous processing power and that’s before you start adding in modulation and octave effects to the tails. There are some reverb pedal bargains out there, but for this type of pedal, you really do get what you pay for.
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How we chose the best reverb pedals for this guide
MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.
Here at MusicRadar, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing, creating and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything music gear related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.
When choosing what we believe to be the best reverb pedals available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.
First and foremost, we are musicians, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best reverb pedals on the market right now.
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