Do you have numerous stompboxes haphazardly laying at your feet while you're trying to practice or perform? Well, our pick of the best pedalboards will most definitely help you to contain the chaos. Putting together a pedalboard is almost a rite of passage for a guitar player nowadays, and while you may be tempted to get the power tools out and make your own from some scrap wood, investing in one of the professional 'boards listed below may be a wiser decision.
These ready-made pedalboards are designed to house all of your effects in one place, making it easier to turn off and on your pedals in the middle of an energetic performance on stage. We've got our hands on various 'boards from all different price points and feature sets. So allow us to walk you through our top picks for the best pedalboards out there right now.
With most of the options we've listed below, we've chosen roughly equivalent sizes, starter models or practical mid-sized boards. However, it's worth noting that almost every manufacturer offers multiple sizes and accessories, so check their entire range to see they have a size that fulfils your requirements.
Best pedalboards: Our top picks
For us, the best option all around would be the highly-regarded Pedaltrain range, with a size option for almost every application. These durable, well-built units are a go-to for many electric guitar and bass players. Also, the light soft cases can take a reasonable beating, which is essential when your bandmates are loading the van! Our favourites have to be the Pedaltrain Classic JR (opens in new tab) and Pedaltrain Nano.
If money is no object, then we would have to recommend the Schmidt Array custom pedalboards. These are a favourite of professional and touring musicians around the world. These are incredibly sturdy and built to last. Of course, being so solid means it can be bulky and heavy, so if space is at a premium and you don't have roadies to move your gear for you, something lighter might be more appropriate.
Finally, we have to mention the innovative Aclam Smart Track S2. This modular and extendable pedalboard is a very flexible choice for the guitarist who changes pedals more than changing their clothes.
Best pedalboards: Product guide
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.
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.
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.
Read the full Warwick RockBoard review
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.
Voodoo Lab sure knows a thing or two about effects pedals and is the go-to pedalboard power supply company for many touring guitar players. Voodoo Lab has used its expertise in the field to produce a lightweight pedalboard solution that can incorporate its famous power supplies.
The Dingbat pedalboard comes in three different sizes, with the medium board able to house up to 10 pedals. However, this may vary depending on the size of pedals you use.
As well as a heavy-duty tour grade padded gig bag, this pedalboard also comes with the usual adhesive hook-and-loop tape and a variety of zip ties to ensure everything stays nice and tidy.
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.
Okay, so imagine this scenario - you've just spent months getting the perfect board together, from choosing the pedals to arranging them into the most user-friendly order and filling up every inch of your new 'board. But wait, you've stumbled upon a new overdrive pedal that you just know will allow you to achieve tonal greatness, but you can't possibly remove one of the stompboxes already on your 'board.
Well, if you've found yourself in this tricky situation, the D'Addario XPND is the pedalboard for you. This telescopic pedalboard will grow with your pedal collection, meaning you don't need to buy a brand new pedalboard every time you get a new stomp.
This clever 'board also features a unique cable management system and comes with loop Velcro fitted straight out of the box. However, we have to mention that the pedalboard comes unassembled, so you need to put it together yourself.
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.
Best pedalboards: Buying advice
Is a pedalboard necessary?
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While it's true, you don't need a pedalboard to use guitar effects pedals (opens in new tab), a good quality 'board certainly helps to keep them in order. These factory-produced pedalboards give you a surface in which you can attach a whole manner of delay (opens in new tab), reverb (opens in new tab) or tremolo pedals (opens in new tab), keeping them wired up and always ready to rock - drastically reducing set-up time.
This can make it easier to get straight into playing the guitar whenever inspiration strikes. Of course, nothing hinders creativity, quite like getting your pedals out, connecting the power supply (opens in new tab), finding your patch cables (opens in new tab), and hooking everything up, and by that time, that epic riff idea is gone.
Another added bonus is that, as the pedals are housed inside a case, unable to move during transit, it reduces the risk of damage on the way to a gig or practice session.
How much does a pedalboard cost?
A good quality pedalboard doesn't have to cost a fortune, with many low-cost options coming in well under the $/£100 mark. That said, we believe it's all relevant. If you have a minimal set-up - say, a tuner, drive pedal and a delay - then you don't need a fancy 'board. A basic unit such as the Pedaltrain Nano would undoubtedly do the job.
On the other hand, if your current rig looks more like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise - with more high-end boutique pedals than you can shake a Vulcan at - then you may want to invest in something more substantial.
What size of pedalboard do I need?
Size is the most crucial factor to consider when picking out a pedalboard. Not only does your new board have to fit your existing pedals, but we recommend giving yourself room to expand. You will most likely purchase more pedals in the future, and you don't want to buy a new pedalboard each time.
Also, don't forget about your power supply. The power unit needs to go somewhere, and whether that's underneath or on top next to your pedals, remember to account for the space it will take up.
What style of carry case is best?
When deciding on what type of case to choose, think about the application of the pedalboard. The over-the-shoulder carry bag is ideal for general pub gigs and travelling to and from the practice studio. The lighter weight means they are a breeze to carry around, and the smaller form means they fit easily in most vehicles.
Most of the common big-name brands will also have an option for a hard flight case, these are perfect for longer tours or overseas travel. Bear in mind that this will mean the pedalboard will be significantly heavier and take up more room.
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