If you have a few guitar effects pedals in your arsenal, and you haven't already, you're probably thinking about getting a pedalboard. In the first instance (if you're anything like us), you might be thinking about cobbling together your own pedalboard from an old suitcase or some wood offcuts, but investing in one of the best pedalboards listed below is well worth it.
These ready-made boards or panels act as a container for all of your guitar pedals – whether that's delay pedals, reverb pedals, tremolo pedals or others – and they vary in terms of size, weight, features and price.
We've tried out a wide range to cover most bases, so all of the heavy research has been sorted for you.
With Black Friday on the horizon, it could be worth holding off on picking up a new pedalboard until the Black Friday music deals start emerging. We'll be reporting on the best offers right through to Black Friday itself.
- Manage your power with the best pedalboard power supplies
- Add one of the best guitar tuners to your ‘board
- Take a look at the best guitar effects pedals in all categories
What is the best pedalboard right now?
If you have no set budget and you can afford a custom board, or you're a touring musician with a tech, then the Schmidt Array board is, quite literally, the best that money can buy. Of course, being so solid means it's bulky and heavy, so if space is at a premium and you don't have roadies to move your gear for you then something lighter might be more appropriate.
For the majority of us, the well-regarded Pedaltrain range is the best option around. A little pricey but solid, without being too over-the-top in terms of cost or weight, there are a variety of case options available, and even the light soft cases can take a reasonable beating.
The Nano series are small enough that the case can be slung over your shoulder, and assuming you've got a guitar at your destination, you can even cycle to a jam or to a gig.
Finally, we simply have to give a shoutout to an innovator in the space. If you want a small board that can be expanded later, then the Aclam Smart Track S2 is an excellent, flexible solution.
How to buy the best pedalboard for you
Factory-produced pedalboards can not only help to neaten your setup, but also make it more portable. Some of the boards featured here come with an over-the-shoulder carry bag, and most of the common big-name brands will have an option for a hard flight case, for if you're going on longer tours or overseas.
Even if it's just intended to be used as a home or studio board, having everything logically laid out and accessible is better than a mass of pedals skidding about on the floor. It's very satisfying to grab a board that's ready to record with and plug it straight in, rather than faffing around with choosing and connecting your 'go-to' pedals.
As with most things guitar-related, there's a range of different options, from budget to high-end custom – the Schmidt Array custom boards featured here are not only achingly beautiful, but expensive too.
With most of the options we've listed below, we've chosen roughly equivalent sizes, starter models or practical mid-sized boards. It's worth noting however that almost every manufacturer offers multiple sizes and accessories, so if the one we've focussed on here is either too large or too small for your needs, it's worth checking out the full range to see if there's one that's spot on.
The best pedalboards you can buy right now
The de-facto standard for pedalboards, the Pedaltrain series has more different options and models than you can shake a stick at.
The Classic series has a number of different sizes, with risers available if you need to improve the ergonomics of pedals on higher rails. The JR is a decent size for a grab-and-go board, or something that you need to take on public transport, fitting up to about ten pedals.
The regular Pedaltrains have options for their brand of power-supply, but most brands will fit comfortably underneath, as will cable-runs and I/O connectors.
The Pedaltrain Nano is a compact, soft-cased board that accommodates only a single row of pedals, but it’s a great option if that’s all you need and you’re craving a tidy solution.
Because of the tight space under the board, you'll have to raise the rear feet by DIY means, or buy a specific compact power supply. Luckily Pedaltrain, Strymon and other brands offer super-slim supplies that will fit - for a price.
Part of the latest trend toward modular, extendable pedalboard solutions, the Aclam boards have a number of interesting features. First is that you don't need to fix your pedals using Velcro. Instead, the Smart Track fasteners allow you to firmly fix pedals to the board without any adhesive.
Another cool feature is the ability to switch out the main bed of the board, which means you can substitute a smaller set of rails for a larger one if your collection grows. Like the Pedaltrain line, the Aclam comes with a softcase as standard for maximum portability.
Finally, in addition to the expected kits for attaching power supplies to the underside, there's the option of an extender kit for the board feet to increase the pitch of the board.
Gator offer an overwhelming array of options, from Pedaltrain-style boards which will take power and cable runs on the underside, to heavy-duty options where everything sits topside between large carry handles.
As well as soft-cases, there's flight case options for most of the range. There's some particularly wild board and case combinations at the more esoteric end of the range, too. For example, there's the Gigbox, which has integrated power and a case that can be used as a guitar stand for three guitars, and the Mega Bone, a single-row board with space for two wah-sized pedals at either end that curves around the user like the Holeyboard.
The Warwick Rockboard is another modular option that offers custom-level specs at non-custom prices. While it's still not cheap, you can easily put together something robust and tailored for your specific needs.
Boards come as standard with a softcase, and then you can pick a patchbay to slot into the rear for I/O, power supply and buffer options that work for you. There's also a variety of mounting accessories available for you to customise to your heart's content.
Diago's line, which includes the venerable Gigman, Showman and Tourman, are decent options if you want an integrated hard-case for your pedals.
They also offer accessories like risers that you can use to rearrange the order or ergonomics of your pedals within the case.
However, cable runs and power supplies can't be stowed away, and space is lost as a result. They're also not cheap, at least compared to the non-custom options on offer.
- The 10 best reverb pedals: our pick of the best effects for guitar
- Get creative with the best chorus pedals
A fine first board, the BOSS BCB also has a number of useful features like I/O connectors, send and return jacks, a power supply and space at the top for miscellaneous odds and ends.
It's a decent feature set in a highly portable and robust package, but the main drawback is that the foam inserts to brace the pedals are modelled on the BOSS form factor, meaning that if you want to have a different set of pedals than 4-6 BOSS products, they might not fit so well.
Another 'board that doesn't force you to use velcro is the Temple Board. With gaps above pedals for cable runs and power supplies, pedals are fixed via zip tie or the company's proprietary Quick Release Pedal Mounts.
The 'boards themselves are modular, with a number of different end-panel options that range from plain to complex, with integrated I/O and power connectors.
They're stylish, but the layout of larger holes might be an issue on 'boards containing a large number of pedals with side-mount, rather than top-mount, jacks.
With a wide range of different sizes, shapes and models, the Holeyboard has come a long way from its original wooden incarnation. Now made of lightweight aluminium, there's a variety of options for stylish-looking and robust carrying cases and bags with more than a touch of hipster flair to them.
The main reason they have found themselves on this best pedalboards list is the highly ergonomic form-factor, with the original having space for a wah or Whammy on the right, and then two layers of stacked pedals to the left, with space for a power supply under the shelf.
The whole board is curved, offering the user maximum access to the pedals, which can be routed more efficiently. The holes serve a practical purpose too, both lowering the weight of the board and offering a way of affixing pedals using zip ties.
Proving that not all the options need break the bank, Thomann's own brand Harley Benton line has some decent Pedaltrain alternatives, with a variety of sizes under the Spaceship moniker.
They're competitively priced, come with a soft case as standard, and as a neat feature boast adjustible feet at the rear so that the pitch of the board can be easily adjusted.
These stunning pedalboards are made to measure, and can be built with multiple different options, finishes, I/O connectors, shelves and sizes.
As they're built as integrated hard cases, they're not the lightest, but they're absolutely guaranteed to both perfectly fit your needs and turn heads wherever you go.