Do you have numerous guitar effects pedals haphazardly laying at your feet and need a way of containing the chaos? Well, putting together a pedalboard is almost a rite of passage for a guitar player. You may be tempted to get the power tools out and make your own from some scrap wood or an old suitcase, but investing in one of the best pedalboards listed below may be a wiser decision.
These ready-made boards are designed to house a myriad of pedals. Whether you have delay pedals, reverb pedals, tremolo pedals - or any other type of pedal for that matter - you can find a board to contain them. We've got our hands on a variety of pedalboards 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.
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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 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 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.
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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.
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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.
The SKB-PS-8 Powered Pedalboard differs from most of the other entries on this list by ditching the standard wood or aluminium construction, favouring injection-moulded eco-friendly rubber. The result is a very lightweight and durable pedalboard that can comfortably fit up to eight standard-sized pedals.
Not only can you fit eight pedals on the board, but the SKB-PS-8 will also power them, with the built-in 9VDC outputs. As the entire pedalboard section is covered with hook-and-loop fastenings, arranging pedals couldn't be easier.
There may be more elaborate boards on this list, but as a first step into the world of pedalboards, this is a great option.
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.
Best pedalboards: Buying advice
Factory-produced pedalboards can not only help to neaten your setup but can also make it easier to get straight into playing the guitar whenever inspiration strikes. Nothing hinders creativity quite like getting your pedals out, connecting the power supply, finding your patch cables, and hooking everything up, and by that time, that epic riff idea is gone.
We have put together some handy advice to help you choose the best pedalboard for you.
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.
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.
So there you have it, now hit the ‘product guide’ button above to see our picks of the best pedalboards out there right now.