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Best multi-effects pedals 2022: 10 of the best all-in-one guitar FX modellers

Line 6 Helix multi-effects propped up on a wooden floor
(Image credit: Future)

Adding one of the best multi-effects pedals for guitarists to your rig enables you to access a stack of different effects in one single unit. It’s this reason, among other things, that makes them look and sound so attractive to guitarists looking to adopt a more streamlined setup. 

As recently as in the last decade, even the best multi-effects pedals were seen to be the annoying, awkward sibling of the individual stompbox. Thankfully, that annoying sibling has grown up and learned some manners, and now the multi-effects market is looking better than ever. Even those of you with some of the very best guitar effects on your ‘boards should be paying attention, as there are some incredibly versatile multi-effects around that are definitely worth considering. 

Regardless of whether you've never used effects before and want somewhere comprehensive to begin, or you're a hardened pedal-head, big leaps forward in multi-effects technology have seen these units grow in popularity, which means we now have a bigger choice to play with.

The majority of the multi-effects pedals in this guide - and most options on the market - also double up as amp modellers. That said, it’s just the multi-effects features we’re thinking about today. Even if you’re not interested in an amp modeller, you’ve still got loads of options to choose from. That being said, if it’s there why not use it? 

Now is the time to start looking at how the best multi-effects pedal could benefit your rig. Don't forget to check out our guide to the best pedalboards too.

If you’d like to read more in-depth buying advice, we've got plenty of that at the bottom of the page. Or, keep on scrolling if you’d rather get straight to the products.

Best multi-effects pedals: Our top picks

It was truly difficult to pick out one particular model as the best multi-effects pedal in the world. In terms of pure sound quality, feature-set and reliability it's hard to look beyond the Line 6 Helix (opens in new tab). You'd expect the flagship multi-effects pedal from one of the biggest names in effects to be special, and the Helix certainly delivers. We're huge fans of the pro-level Boss GT-1000 (opens in new tab), too.  

At the other end of the scale, the Mooer GE200 (opens in new tab) impressed us beyond our expectations. The ability to load up your own impulse responses gave it a sense of personalisation which we rated, and the effects all sounded like they came from a much more expensive unit.

The Eventide H9 (opens in new tab), which is another of our top picks for the best multi-effects pedal, also deserves a special mention. Although more suited to studio than stage, the H9 gets a mention purely on account of the included reverbs and delays. Enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up, and well worth the investment alone.

Best multi-effects pedals: Product guide

The best multi-effects pedal for pro guitarists

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal
Effects: 70
Amp models: 41 guitar, 7 bass
Connections: Standard guitar input, standard aux input, XLR mic input, standard main outputs (L/mono, R), XLR main outputs (L/mono, R), standard stereo phones output, 4x standard send, 4x standard return, s/pdif digital in, s/pdif digital out, AES/EBU and L6 Link out, Variax, MIDI in, MIDI out/thru, USB, 2x expression pedal, Ext amp, CV
Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+
Comprehensive connectivity
+
Ace sound from amp models/effects
+
Innovative visual display features

Reasons to avoid

-
Connectivity overkill for some

The dual-DSP-powered Helix combines amp and effects models in a large, rugged floor pedal. There are a massive 1,024 preset locations onboard the Helix, organised into eight setlists that contain 32 banks with four presets each. Each preset can have up to four stereo signal paths, each made up of eight blocks populated with amps and effects. 

With the current count of 41 modelled amps, seven bass amps, 30 cabs, 16 mics, 80 effects and the option of loading speaker impulse responses, there's great potential for sound creation. Line 6 has implemented an easy editing system, complete with a joystick, and - get this - touch-sensitive footswitches offering a shortcut to parameter adjustment; you can even use these with your feet to select a parameter before adjusting it with the pedal treadle! 

There are some great sounds here, especially when we got beyond the factory presets and shaped things to our own tastes. The Helix's advantage lies in its comprehensive input/output and signal routing ability, which can facilitate just about any guitar-related studio or onstage task you can think of. However, if you don't need all that connectivity, and want to save a bit of cash, there's also the Line 6 Helix LT which features further down this list.

Read our full Line 6 Helix review

The pedal giant goes high-end with this guitar multi-effects

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal
Effects: 116
Connections: Input jack, main output (L/MONO, R) jacks, SEND1 jack, RETURN1 jack, SEND2 jack, RETURN2 jack: 1/4-inch phone type - Sub output (L, R) connectors: XLR type - Phones jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type - CTL4, 5/EXP2 jack, CTL6, 7/EXP3 jack, AMP CTL1, 2 jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type - USB port: USB B type - DC IN jack - MIDI (IN, OUT) connectors
Power: AC adaptor

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive amp models
+
Huge range of effects
+
Rock-solid build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Not beginner-friendly

After the success of the DD-500, RV-500 and MD-500 units, Boss's GT-1000 floorboard combines all three. Sleek and modern, it's a formidably robust beast. To the rear, there’s the usual array of inputs and outputs, including USB recording out and an input for an additional expression pedal plus jacks to insert two mono pedals, or one stereo external pedal and a nifty send for amp channel-switching. 

In terms of editing, we didn't find it to be the most intuitive. For example, when you switch between patches in a bank, you’re not just turning off, say, a ‘Tube Screamer’, but switching to a different chain that doesn’t have a gain block – standard in rack-style processing, but tough for beginners. 

Sounds-wise, the 32-bit, 96khz sampling finds the GT-1000 punching above its weight, and on the effects side, there’s a wealth of modulations, delays, reverbs and drives. If you run a larger, more traditional pedalboard, perhaps the so-called ‘Bossfecta’ of the MD, RV and DD-500 series units would provide more flexibility, but for most players, the GT-1000 is a highly practical solution. 

Read our full Boss GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor review

The new kid on the block from Fractal that can do it all

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal
Amp models: 265+
Connections: 2x XLR Out, 2x ¼” input, 2x ¼” output, USB in/out, ¼” FX send/return, 2x ¼” pedal inputs, MIDI in/out, ¼” phones out, FASLINK input
Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+
Built like a tank
+
Very portable
+
Nearly endless amp/effect options 

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 3 footswitches 

The FM3 is an all-in-one amp modeller, effects processor and foot controller that takes its cues from the almighty Axe-FX III. Featuring the latest ARES amp modelling technology, the FM3 gets you closer than ever to the sound and feel of a real tube amp, with over 265 different amp models available. 

As a multi-effects unit, the FM3 is packed full of Fractal’s industry leading algorithms. From overdrive pedals, delays and reverbs through to modulation and even an onboard looper, you’ll be struggling to find something it can’t do.

Granted, the FM3 only has 3 footswitches, which might be restrictive for some, but there’s always scope to add more. Using the FASLINK input on the back of the unit, you can add one or two FC-6 or FC-12 controllers to open up the possibilities even further. Bravo, Fractal.

Read our full Fractal FM3 review

4. Mooer GE200 Multi-Effects Pedal

The best multi-effects pedal for price and performance

Specifications

Type: All-in-one amp & cab modeller, effects processor, drum machine and looper
Effects: 70
Amp models: 55 amp models & 26 speaker IR models
Connections: Input jack, stereo output jack, control jack, USB, headphones
Power requirements: 9V DC

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Great sounds
+
Support for third party IRs

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a lot

The Chinese brand Mooer has slowly but surely built itself a reputation for hitting the sweet spot between price and performance. What began as a brand offering low-cost versions of existing big name pedals has grown to them now being considered a genuine contender at the low-to-mid range. 

The Mooer GE200 is a great example, offering a selection of effects, models and tools that wouldn't look (or sound) out of place on a unit far higher up the effects food chain. The 70 included effects all sound great, and we particularly liked the ability to load your own impulse responses to fine-tune your speaker outputs. Very capable, and definitely worth your attention.

The power of the full-fat Helix in a pedalboard-friendly form

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal
Effects: 300
Amp models: 41 guitar, 7 bass
Connections: 2x input, 2x output, 2x send/return, USB, MIDI in, MIDI out/through, headphones, TRS expression in
Power requirements: 9V power supply, 3,000mA

Reasons to buy

+
Helix effects in pedalboard-friendly size
+
Integrates with MIDI systems

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as easy to setup as big Helix models

The HX Stomp contains 300 effects, including the Helix, M Series and legacy Line 6 patches, as well as the amp, cab and mic options of the full-fat Helix. It even supports loading impulse responses, so if you have modelled your own amps, or purchased commercial IRs, they can be loaded as well. 

Cramming not only the sounds of those units, but also a full-colour screen into a unit the size of the HX Stomp is certainly impressive and no mean feat. With MIDI in and out, there’s clearly been some consideration for those that want to incorporate the HX Stomp into a rig controlled by a pedal switcher. In that context, it’s easy to see the attraction. 

Though the HX Stomp is limited in terms of its controls on the front, it’s highly customisable, and offers a broad palette of professional-grade effects to explore. For the guitarist that wants specific modulations, delays or a cab sim on tap ‘just in case,’ the HX Stomp is a smart, compact solution, and the capacitive footswitches make assigning and editing a relatively error-free procedure - it’s unlikely you’ll need to refer to the manual much at all. And if you don't need the amp models and fancy a few more footswitches, there's also the HX Effects.

Read our full Line 6 HX Stomp review

Otherworldly, studio-worthy effects from the harmonizer legend

Specifications

Type: Multi-effects pedal with app control
Effects: 9 included (additional available to purchase)
Connections: 2x input, 2x output, expression, USB, MIDI in, MIDI out/thru
Power requirements: 9V power supply, 500mA

Reasons to buy

+
Effects are in a class of their own
+
Flexible way to get Eventide sounds
+
App-based editing works well

Reasons to avoid

-
Only runs certain effects at one time

The H9 is a pedal that can run all of Eventide's stompbox effects. All of the effect algorithms (including their associated presets) are available for purchase, but several come already built in - you get Chorus and Tremolo/Pan from the ModFactor, H910/H949 and Crystals from the PitchFactor, Tape Echo and Vintage Delay from the TimeFactor, and Shimmer and Hall from Space - and algorithms are being updated on a regular basis. 

The complex effects algorithms feature loads of editable parameters. The H9 has both wireless (Bluetooth) and wired (USB) connections for the free H9 Control editor and librarian software (iOS app, Mac, Windows) for editing, creating and managing presets, changing system settings and purchasing algorithms. 

This pedal has been designed to take full advantage of this and it works brilliantly, especially so on an Apple iPad where a few finger swipes zap the pedal through thin air to produce instant results. Other one-effect-at-a-time 'chameleon' pedals exist out there, but the H9 pushes the genre's envelope.

Read our full Eventide H9 review

Guitar multi-effects and switching combined

Specifications

Type: Multi-effects pedal and switching unit
Effects: 112
Connections: Input, 3x send/returns, 2x outputs, control out, 2x expression/control ins, USB, MIDI out
Power requirements: 9V power supply, 280mA

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent pedalboard integration
+
Near-limitless sonic opportunities

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen is a little small

Boss's MS-3 is an ingenious pedalboard solution that gives you programmable loops for three of your own pedals and a host of built-in effects – 112 to be precise. The MS-3 can switch your amp channels, adjust external effects and integrate with MIDI-equipped pedals. Then there’s the built-in tuner, noise suppressor and global EQ. It’s as if Boss looked at everything players could want from a pedalboard controller and crammed it into one compact unit. 

There are 200 patch memories for saving your expertly tweaked sounds, each with four effects or pedals that can be switched in or out at will, or four presets that can be instantly recalled. The MS-3 is rammed with pristine modulations, all the essential delay and reverb types, as well as a load of Boss specials, such as the dynamic Tera Echo and sequenced tremolo Slicer. Then there’s the niche yet useful effects, such as an acoustic guitar sim, Slow Gear auto fade-in and that sitar sim you never knew you wanted. 

The drive tones don’t live up to standalone pedals, but for most players, we’d wager those three switchable loop slots will be used for analogue drives, with the ES-3 handling modulation, delay and reverb. A genuinely exciting pedalboard development.

Read our full Boss MS-3 Multi Effects Switcher review

Top-notch amp modelling, tons of effects and a killer touchscreen

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller/multi-effects pedal
Amp models: 33
Effects: 42
Connections: Standard guitar input, mini-jack stereo aux input, standard main outputs (L/Mono, R), XLR main outputs (L/Mono, R), standard stereo phones output, standard Send (L/Mono, R), standard Return (L/Mono, R), MIDI in, MIDI out/thru, USB, expression pedal
Power requirements: Mains power (IEC lead)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent amp modelling
+
Touchscreen functionality
+
Functions as an audio interface

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited models/routing options

If you want the best multi-effects pedal that's stuffed with features, the HeadRush Pedalboard is the one. Its quad-core processor-powered DSP platform enables a faster and more guitarist-friendly user interface, reverb/delay tail spill-over between presets, the ability to load custom/third-party impulse responses, a looper with 20 minutes of record time, and more. 

The unit's most notable feature, however, is the seven-inch touchscreen, used to edit patches and to create new ones. In form, the Pedalboard most closely resembles Line 6’s Helix in that it has a treadle and 12 footswitches with LED ‘scribble strips’ showing each switch’s function and a colour-coded LED for each. 

There are several modes available for calling up sounds, easily changed by a couple of footswitch presses. In Stomp mode, the two footswitches to the left scroll through and select Rigs, while the central eight footswitches call up stompboxes within a selected Rig. Then in Rig mode, the left switches scroll through the Rig banks, while the eight select rigs. 

Sound-wise, there's no 'fizz' here, even on higher-gain patches, and the closer you get to a clean amp sound, the more convincing it is. If amps matter to you more than effects, the HeadRush is well worth looking into. And if you're after something with a smaller footprint, there's also the HeadRush Gigboard.

Read our full HeadRush Pedalboard review

The best multi-effects pedal from the FX veteran

Specifications

Type: Amp modeller and multi-effects
Effects: 68
Amp models: 10
Connections: Input jack, stereo output jack, 3.5mm aux in, control jack, USB
Power requirements: 9V DC

Reasons to buy

+
Broad range of effects
+
Great value
+
Ideal for beginners

Reasons to avoid

-
MIDI connectivity would be ace

The slightly older among us will remember the classic Zoom 505 unit from the '90s. With that, Zoom introduced cost-effective multi-effects units to a new generation, and that heritage is evident in the Zoom G5n. 

Packing in 68 digital effects, 10 amp and cabinet emulators and a stereo looper with up to 80 seconds of looping time, the Zoom G5n is a worthy option for beginners or anyone looking to expand their options. The USB audio interface is a welcome addition, although we'd have liked to have the option to sync the device with MIDI. For this price, however, that's a minor gripe. 

Read our full Zoom G5n review

Need a huge range of effects from a small pedal? Zoom in on this

Specifications

Type: Compact multi-effects pedal with amp models
Amp models: 22
Effects: 100+
Connections: 2x input, 2x output, USB
Power requirements: 9V power supply, 200mA

Reasons to buy

+
Compact size
+
Surprisingly intuitive interface
+
Ace modulations, delays and reverbs

Reasons to avoid

-
Power supply isn't included

Following a raft of recent updates, the MS-50G now boasts over 100 effects and 22 amp models, six of which can be used simultaneously in any order. Add a chromatic tuner into the equation, and you're looking at a pedal for all seasons. 

The very playable amp models cover the popular options: there are three Fenders ('65 Twin Reverb, '65 Deluxe Reverb, Tweed Bassman), a Vox AC30 and a Marshall Plexi. You also get a Two-Rock Emerald 50, while a Diezel Herbert and Engl Invader cover the high-gain side of things. 

Effects include modulation, filter, pitch shift, distortion, delay and reverb. Most are generic, but some, particularly in the overdrive/distortion category, are modelled on well-known devices – the Big Muff and TS-808, for example. Each patch can be constructed from a chain of six effects blocks, each with a modelled amp or effect, DSP permitting. It all adds up to the most practical, cost-effective way to expand your pedalboard by adding a single pedal.

Read our full Zoom MS-50G MultiStomp review

Best multi-effects pedals: Buying advice

Best multi-effects: HeadRush Pedalboard

(Image credit: Future)

What should I look for in a multi-effects pedal?

If there's one thing you've got when choosing the best multi-effects pedal for you, it's a wide selection. As with anything, your allocated budget will dictate which end of the spectrum you'll end up at, but there’s plenty of choice, from enormous 'studio-in-a-box' type units, to small form-factor pedals that pack a handful of essential effects onto your pedalboard. Here are some things to consider.

How many effects is too many?

We've all seen examples of someone firing up a multi-effects unit, blasting through the presets like a kid in a sweetshop, but it’s crucially important to consider the types of effects you'll actually use. 

Be realistic with yourself, because it’s likely you’ll settle on a small handful of the best guitar effects. Would you be better served looking for a smaller, more capable unit to handle the effects you use the most? Or do you absolutely need the spaceship-looking behemoth full of wacky sounds?

The alternative theory is that, occasionally, you can stumble on something you've never used before and it can spark your creativity. This definitely happens, and is a happy side benefit of having so many effects at your beck and call. For a beginner, the sub-$200 range has plenty to get you excited.

If packing in as many effects as you can into a single box is your aim, you'll find plenty of options to choose from at all ends of the price scale. From budget options like the smaller Zoom pedals, through to entry-level versions of the pro models from the big names in effects like Boss and Line 6.  

Best multi-effects pedals: Line 6 HX Stomp

(Image credit: Future)

What do I get if I spend a bit more?

As you move up the range, you'll start to see extra features and functionality like loopers, hardened chassis models and extra connectivity. It's not uncommon now for multi-effects to link with apps on your smart device, where you can get in for deep editing of parameters and settings. 

Also common nowadays is for a multi-effects unit to double up as an audio interface or amp modeller. These USB-enabled devices can be plugged into one of the best laptops for music production, allowing you to record songs into a digital audio workstation (DAW) like Ableton Live or Pro Tools. 

As ever though, our advice is simple. Work out what you'll realistically want, need or use. Be clear on your budget. Don't be distracted by extra bells and whistles - unless that’s what you want.

How do we test a multi-effects pedal?

Testing out a multi-effects pedal is a fairly straightforward procedure, and similar to testing a standalone stompbox. Although the quality of pedals is subjective - like many pieces of musical equipment - there is a set of criteria that every pedal should meet before we recommend it to anyone.

We'll first start with the build quality of the enclosure, controls and footswitch. Pedals are designed to be stood on, so we need to ensure that the enclosure and footswitch feel robust, solid and able to withstand being stamped on. We then check the quality of the dials, making sure that they have a smooth action with enough resistance to reduce accidental movement.

We also check to see how well spaced out and easy to use the footswitches are. We'll also check the expression pedal if there is one, and make note of its action and usability. Multi-effects pedals are here to make your lives easier, after all.

We then test the pedals sonically, and much like our amp testing procedures, we start with every dial in the middle '12 o'clock' position. We then tweak each dial towards a tone we would usually go for - and make sure that we experiment with the full range of sounds on offer. We'll then check any amp or effect emulations or presets. We'll cycle through those, while editing a few as we go to see how easy the process is (or isn't).

Read more about how we test music making gear and services at MusicRadar.

I’m one of MusicRadar’s Junior Deals Writers. Along with the rest of the eCommerce team, I write, manage and update buyer’s guides, as well as bringing you deals on the latest and coolest gear. I’m a drummer and guitarist and I’ve worked in various parts of the industry for the last four years including online music distributors RouteNote, and local music store Modern Music where I was the drum department manager for nearly two years. I’ve also toured the UK and Europe with my old band Hypophora. When I’m not matching players with their perfect gear, you’ll find me getting very nerdy about coffee, writing songs, or on the beach with my dog. 

With contributions from