Best Budget Distortion Pedal

Only have a limited budget but want a killer distortion pedal? Look no further than this list our our favourtie budget distortion pedals.

by | Sep 5, 2018

The second in our series of budget guitar pedals, the first one on reverb pedals can be found here, and our delay pedal post here. This time we concentrate on the best budget distortion pedal. We will cover 10 different pedals all with their own unique sound and features. The top rated pedal on this list is the Marshall GV-2 Guv’nor, scroll down for more on this.

With a maximum price of £60 there are certainly some great options in this price range. There has been a big influx of Chinese made mini pedals at this price point so we will be adding a couple of these along with some classic pedals that have been and are still being used by some of the biggest bands around. Let’s try and determine what is the best budget distortion pedal…

Here are the top 4 budget distortion pedals

Boss DS-1

Absolute classic pedal from the kings of pedal making – Boss.

Marshall GV-2 Guv’nor Plus

Solidly constructed pedal from one of the best names in the business.

Belcat The Eyes

Amazing looking pedal with great functionalty.

Behringer HD-300 Heavy Distortion

An absolute steal for heavier sounding distortion

Product Description

It’s very likely that if you have bought a distortion pedal in the past then this is already on your pedalboard. Boss make truly fantastic pedals and have done for decades, and the DS-1 is seen as an industry standard. Famously used by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana fame among many many others, you’re unlikely to find a better built, better sounding pedal in this price range. It is also my go to distortion pedal.

With simple controls, Tone, Level and Distortion, you won’t be fiddling around for ages trying to get that perfect sound, just dial in the amount of distortion, adjust the tone and level and get to work.

Made with a sturdy metal chassis and classic looking metal knobs, this is a no nonsense pedal that will last and last. Powered by 9v adapter or battery.

Overall this is the go to pedal for many artists, and while it won’t give you the heavy metal sound of such bands as Metallica for instance, it will provide that great grungy sound that many garage style bands are looking for these days. An absolute must and a shoe in for our best budget distortion pedal list.

  • Distortion, Level and Tone Controls
  • Metal chassis
  • 9v and battery operation
  • LED
Pros and Cons

Great brand name

√ Solid chassis will last years

√ Fantastic grunge sounds


× Not as heavy sounding as some distortion pedals

  • Design 95%
  • Functionality 95%
  • Cost 93%
  • This Sound Rating 94%

Marshall GV-2 Guv’nor Plus

Check price on Amazon

Product Description

Marshall make some great audio equipment, obviously their amps are used by some of the greatest bands on the planet. But don’t overlook their pedals, with great construction and killer sounds, these should definitely be on your shopping list.

Featuring Volume, Gain, Deep Bass, Mid and Treble Controls, it easy to dial in that great distortion sound that you are looking for. 

Different to the Boss pedal, this will create some hard hitting distortion sounds, but dial it back and you can also create wonderful chiming controlled crunch sounds.

Marshall have produced some great pedals over the years and this is no exception, with a solid construction and fantastic looks to go with the killer distorted sounds, this is definitely one to check out.

  • 4 knob interface
  • Metal chassis
  • Great array of sounds
  • Battery or 9v power
Pros and Cons

Fantastic retro look

√ Solid metal chassis

√ Great brand


× Not a vast array of settings

  • Design 94%
  • Functionality 97%
  • Cost 95%
  • This Sound Rating 95%

Belcat The Eyes

Check price on Amazon

Product Description

Belcat’s The Eyes Pedal is a re-routable dual distortion pedal offering a switching of distortion and overdrive effects back and forth.

The Eyes not only looks great in brushed metal but sounds top notch too. Featuring a full set of tone, level and distortion controls on each channel for full control over your sound. 

When both pedals are on together there is a nice sounding heavy fuzz, the overdrive producing cleaner tones and the distortion is full and fat.

Belcat are often overlooked but for this price range you really should be adding this pedal to your list. Check out the youtube video below and see for yourself.

  • Dual Sound Twin Pedal
  • Black Painted Metal Chassis
  • Solid Construction and Great Components
  • 9v power
Pros and Cons

Offers both distortion and overdrive

√ Great array of sounds on offer

√ Great value


× Not as popular as some brands

  • Design 87%
  • Functionality 92%
  • Cost 90%
  • This Sound Rating 90%

Behringer HD-300 Heavy Distortion 

Check price on Amazon

Product Description

Behringer have long been producing these rock bottom priced pedals and while the construction is plastic and for some reason they have used a striking pink colour, the sound of this pedal is deep and crushing producing some fantastic heavier distorted sounds for modern metal and rock guitarists.

Behringer have a great knack of competing with the top branded products in the range sound wise. The pedal features a dual distortion with gain boost circuitry to give a thick full sound with fantastic endless sustain.

The main feature that we love on these pedals is the foot switch. Instead of a tricky metal button type switch this provides the user with a good whole bottom of the pedal to kick it into gear, similar to the Boss pedals, which certainly does help in a live situation.

These may not be for everyone with the plastic construction and bright pink colour, but for £17.00 you literally can’t go wrong. These pedals do last, and they sound absolutely fantastic.

  • Gain Boost, Distortion, Tone, Bottom and Level Controls
  • First Class on/off Switch
  • High Quality Components
  • 9v Power or battery
Pros and Cons

Absolute bargain

√ Fantastic array of sounds

√ Easy to use interface


× The plastic construction and pink colour may put some people off

  • Design 85%
  • Functionality 94%
  • Cost 98%
  • This Sound Rating 92%

But which is our favourite?

We have to go with our hearts on this one, and here at This Sound we often choose the pedal that we use the most, so for us it has to be….. Boss DS-1
The Marshall is probably the better all round distortion pedal and used more by bands than any other on this list, but here at This Sound we just love the 90’s grunge sound that you can get from this pedal, and we have a special place in our pedalboards for Boss Pedals, they just seem to make the best in our opinion.

Distortion Vs Overdrive Vs Fuzz

Buyers Guide

When it comes to purchasing a new pedal there are a few things to consider…
How much to spend
As you can see from our list, you can pick up a great reverb pedal for as little as £17.00 and can even go as high as £200 or more. The great thing about getting a budget distortion pedal is that you can always swap it out if the sound isn’t to your liking. The more expensive the pedal, in theory, the better the components and build quality will be, but more than often you are paying for the brand name. Any of these budget pedals would be a great addition to a pedal board. We will concentrate on the higher priced pedals in a different article.
What type of distortion sound do you want?
This is all down to personal preference. You may want a pedal to sound like something Metallica would use, or Nirvana, or even something much cleaner and low key like Paul Weller would use. The best thing is to check out all the videos that we have posted next to each product and determine which sound is right for you. The best pedal in our opinion that covers a multitude of sounds would be the Marshall one, but again, check them out and see what works for you.  
9v or Battery, or both?
It stands to reason that having both options is always the best way to go. If you are only ever given the choice of one or the other then 9v power supply is the way forward. Most pedalboards these days use a chained power supply meaning you only need to plug the main power supply at the end of the chain into the plug socket to save the hassle of plugging each pedal in individually, and of course batteries run out..
Construction Material
Most pedals these days are constructed of metal whether cheap or not, which is a great thing in my opinion. Pedals don’t just look better in metal, but last longer too. We have added one plastic constructed pedal to our list above, and while we would usually sway away from plastic, the pedal more than makes up for it in it’s functionality. It’s also important to get a good solid stomp switch and quality knobs.
We have seen an influx of smaller pedals from China over the past few years meaning the ability to add a good number of them to a smaller pedal board. Be aware that you may not get on with small pedals, it can be tricky to get them to stay on a pedalboard sometimes, and can also prove a little harder to stomp on than the larger pedals. Distortion pedals can go from the very small all the way up to the very large, and depends on budget and preference.


As you can see there are plenty of options available at this price range and it really is worth considering opting for one of the newer Chinese made pedals, they really do design them well and use quality components. So if you are looking for the best budget distortion pedal it all depends on what type of sound you are looking for, so our favourite pedal may be totally different to yours based on needs. Take your time to check out the youtube videos for each model to get an idea of the sound each of them will produce. Please let us know if there are any pedals you think we have missed out on and we will do our best to update this list regularly.
John has been in and out of bands all his life, toured and recorded in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues and studio’s. Also worked on stage with some of the world’s biggest acts setting up amps and breaking down stages.

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