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The Best Pedalboards 2021: 9 Of The Best Budget-Spanning Pedalboards To Help Organize Your Effects

The Best Pedalboards 2021: 9 Of The Best Budget-Spanning Pedalboards To Help Organize Your Effects
(Image credit: Future)

Buying yourself one of the best pedalboards is a modern rite of passage for any guitarist. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, you’re going to need to find some way of taming your sprawling pedal collection. That could mean repurposing an old suitcase, finding an old slab of wood, or in our case, a nice shiny new purpose-built pedalboard. Confining your pedals to a ‘board makes traveling a lot easier, as well as aiding general set up and ease of use. 

When it comes to pedalboards, the options are mostly those of personal preference. Long gone are the days of just small, medium and large, with custom companies popping up around seemingly every corner. It’s worth asking yourself whether you want a simple pedalboard to make your everyday life just that little bit easier, or is your pedalboard a truly pornographic, all-cables-tidied status symbol? Either of those answers, as well as any others, are totally fine - one way or another, every pedal-head will be judging you. 

We’ve included some expert buying advice at the end of this guide, so click the ‘buying advice’ tab above if you’d like to read more. If it’s just the products you want, then keep scrolling - you’re nearly there.

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Best pedalboards: Our top picks

Picking the best pedalboard is a nigh-on impossible task, but our favorite ‘do-it-all’ option has to be the Pedaltrain Novo 18. It’s lightweight, big enough to fit a serious amount of pedals on, tall enough to mount a power supply underneath and comes with either a soft or hard case - so your prized collection will stay safe and secure. For those who just want really solid build quality at a reasonable price, the Novo 18 is our choice.

For those who’ve got the cash to splash, there are many routes you can take - but we think your best bet is a Boss BCB-1000. The suitcase-style design makes transport super easy, and the heavy duty molded outer offers lead-lined-refrigerator levels of protection. Small, thoughtful touches like an I/O junction box and space underneath for cable management and a power supply make this option from Boss a firm favorite. 

Best pedalboards: Product guide & reviews

Best pedalboards: Pedaltrain Novo 18

(Image credit: Pedaltrain)

1. Pedaltrain Novo 18

The best pedalboard for value for money

Price: From $129/£105 | Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum | Weight: 1.8kg | Case: Yes, soft case & hard case available | Dimensions: 45.7cm x 36.8cm x 8.9mm

Ample space for most pedal rigs
Lightweight aluminum construction 
Hook & loop included 
Mounting some power supplies underneath can be a task 

The Pedaltrain Novo 18 sits within Pedaltrain’s mid-range selection of pedalboards. It’s a five rung, aircraft-grade aluminum construction, so capable of taking between 8-10 standard sized pedals, depending on how brave you’re feeling. The all-aluminum construction also makes the Novo 18 incredibly lightweight, so even loaded up with your pedals, transport is the least of your worries. 

If over-stretching your feet and ankles to get to a pedal at the back is of major concern, then Pedaltrain has a selection of pedal risers available. Luckily, they’re fairly inexpensive and can offer valuable assistance when trying to avoid mashing buttons and other controls. 

One thing to take into consideration is the power supply situation. Some power supplies will mount underneath with absolutely no problem. In fact, Pedaltrain even sells a power supply bracket for various different brands and models. However, if you don’t own one of those, then it may be time to get creative - or just mount it on top. Doesn’t look quite so pretty, but does the job nicely.

Best pedalboards: Boss BCB-1000

(Image credit: Boss )

2. Boss BCB-1000

Playing a show or going on vacation?

Price: $399/£262 | Material: Aluminum & ABS plastic | Weight: 6.7kg | Case: Suitcase style hard case | Dimensions: 55.8cm x 35.4cm x 19.4cm

Room for loads of pedals
Suitcase wheels are very convenient
Well built  
Overkill? 

It's only right that the pedal experts themselves get to have a go at pedalboards, and Boss do not disappoint with the BCB-1000. It's by no means the first BCB pedalboard we've seen from them, but perhaps the best to date.

Made from a combination of aluminum and ABS plastic, the BCB-1000 offers maximum protection to your prized pedals, all while remaining fairly lightweight. Granted, it's heavy compared to some of the other 'boards on this list - but just look at it. It's not designed to be the slight, slender option. Boss has designed the BCB-1000 for artists who travel, and throw their gear in and out of vans, planes, cars and venues for fun. It's even been designed to fit on any flight as hand luggage, so TSA won't feel the need to demolish your signal chain. 

We would usually say that this kind of pedalboard is a little bit too much, a bit excessive, perhaps - but we kind of feel like that's the whole point. It's for those who feel like that a great big metal flight case just isn't obvious enough. This offering from Boss however, is still lighter and easier to transport than many flight-cased alternatives.

Best pedalboards: Temple Audio Solo 18

(Image credit: Temple Audio )

3. Temple Audio Solo 18

Don’t like velcro? This is the ‘board for you

Price: $89/£74 | Material: Aluminum | Weight: 0.82kg | Case: Optional | Dimensions: 45.8cm x 21.6cm x 6.6cm

Looks fantastic
Perforated panel reduces weight massively 
Very affordable 
No case as standard 

Temple Audio has pulled it out of the bag here with the Solo 18. With the ability to fit up to 10 effects, the Solo 18 is again the perfect size to host most rigs. Made from strong, durable aluminum, the Solo 18 weighs less than a kilo - so you won’t be suffering after load-in. 

The perforated top surface means that hook & loop probably won’t do the trick of holding your pedals, but Temple Audio has come up with a brilliant solution - the ‘Pedal Plate’. Just mount the plate to the bottom of your pedal, position it as you wish and then screw in the thumb screw. This is ideal for a few reasons, one being that your pedals won’t have tape residue all over the back, and that your board won’t collect all the dust, pet hair and other grossness that hook & loop seems to accumulate. 

The Solo 18, like all Temple Audio ‘boards, features slots on either end. These are designed to accommodate for Temple Audio’s optional extra ‘modules’ which include buffered and non-buffered inputs and outputs, a DI module, power supply module and a power amp module among others. It frustratingly doesn’t come with a case as standard, but they are available separately or as part of various bundles.

Best pedalboards: Pedaltrain Nano Plus

(Image credit: Pedaltrain)

4. Pedaltrain Nano Plus

Big possibilities with a small footprint

Price: $69/£39 | Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum | Weight: 0.3kg | Case: Soft | Dimensions: 50.1cm x 15.8cm x 11.4cm

Compact and lightweight
Comes with a case
Really affordable 
Not enough clearance underneath for power supplies 

Pedaltrain’s second appearance in this list, the Nano Plus is a much more compact option - as the name would suggest. Not quite the smallest ‘board in the range, the Nano Plus will accommodate five or six pedals - ideal for those who like to keep their rigs simple. Another aircraft-grade aluminum offering, the Nano Plus is tough and durable, but still lightweight. 

One of the Nano Plus’ biggest selling points for us is the fact that it is so damn cheap. A pedalboard, case AND extras for the price of a second hand Boss pedal is impressive to say the very least, and makes the sometimes exclusive world of pedals and pedalboards very accessible for those just starting out or working on a smaller budget.

The only downside of the whole Nano range is that they aren’t angled like the larger Pedaltrain ‘boards. This makes mounting power supplies underneath a pretty challenging task, as you’ll either need to do some DIY, or spend extra on a slim power supply.

Best pedalboards: MONO Pedalboard Small

(Image credit: MONO )

5. MONO Pedalboard Small

The latest offering from the lords of durability

Price: $179/£168 | Material: Anodized aluminum | Weight: 1.24kg | Case: Gig bag | Dimensions: 45.7cm x 31.2cm x 9.3cm

Looks slick
Angle is greater than some other ‘boards
Lightweight 
 Quite expensive for a small pedalboard 

As soon as you hear the name MONO, you know you’re in for a treat. Best known for exceptionally hard-wearing and protective cases, the MONO pedalboard continues that bloodline of strong, sturdy and reliable gear. 

You can fit between six and eight pedals on the small pedalboard (the one we're referring to), and it's lightweight anodized aluminum construction and included MONO soft case means that it's a pleasure to transport, with the knowledge that it'd take a lot to damage any of your prized possessions within.

The downside is that compared to options like the Temple Audio Solo and Pedaltrain Novo, it's pretty pricey. For what is essentially a sheet of metal bent a few different ways, you're definitely paying more than we'd hope or expect. That being said, the included bag is by far the best on this list - so it may not be so unfairly priced after all.

Best pedalboards: Friedman Tour Pro 1525

(Image credit: Friedman)

6. Friedman Tour Pro 1525

One of the most aesthetically pleasing ‘boards around

Price: $279/£269 | Material: Aluminum | Weight: 2.72kg | Case: Soft | Dimensions: 63.5cm x 38.1cm

Looks smoooooth
Riser included for wah or exp pedal
Comes with a gig bag
More expensive than similar 'boards

Friedman is obviously an iconic name in electric guitar and guitar amplifier manufacturing, and if they can do that well? Well, we can certainly give them a chance to prove themselves with the Tour Pro 1525 pedalboard.

Most of the time, organizing your pedalboard is a straightforward and joyous experience - that is until you try and fit a wah on there. The 1525 is a two-tier setup, so would usually be considered a wah user's worst nightmare - but it includes a detachable riser to allow you to position your wah or volume pedal with relative ease. 

Friedman has also provided various different bundles and other optional extras to help you make this pedalboard truly your own. Options include the ultra-transparent Friedman Buffer Bay 6 for an extra $70, while you can get that plus a Power Grid 10, powering up to ten effects and designed as an extra riser, all for $569. It's a hell of a lot of money, granted - but you won't be left wanting or needing any more. Potentially because you can't afford any more, though.

Best pedalboards: Voodoo Lab Dingbat Medium

(Image credit: Voodoo Lab)

7. Voodoo Lab Dingbat Medium

A solid choice for those that like a mounted power supply

Price: $199/£179 | Material: 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum | Weight: 4.54 kg | Case: Soft | Dimensions: 55.9cm x 34.3cm

Has dedicated power supply mounting
Really solid build
Can be shipped with a power supply 
Gig bag has no compartments to store extras 

The Voodoo Lab Dingbat is available in three different sizes, although we’ve gone for the ‘medium‘ here. It’s the perfect size to fit six to 10 pedals (depending on what you’ve got in the signal chain), making the ‘medium’ a fantastic choice for most. Using the hook & loop provided, your pedals will be bank vault levels of secure, and the durable soft bag included makes transporting your pedals a stress-free experience.

Power supplies can be mounted on top or below the Dingbat, and Voodoo Lab offers a few different bundles with power supplies included. You can go for either the eight-output Pedal Power 2 Plus and Pedal Power 4x4, or a 12-output Pedal Power MONDO. All of these options can be mounted underneath the ‘board using the mounting hardware included - but you’ll need a screwdriver. 

Although offering easy transportation and a decent amount of security, the provided gig bag doesn’t include any pockets to store extra patch cables, power supply cables and other accessories. Not a huge deal, we know - but something to take into consideration if your guitar case also suffers from a lack of storage compartments.

Best pedalboards: Schmidt Array SA450

(Image credit: Schmidt Array)

8. Schmidt Array SA450

For when only the best will do

Price: $495 | Material: Wood | Weight: 4.7kg | Case: Integrated | Dimensions: 45cm x 14.4cm

You will turn a lot of heads
Dual-layer setup is very cool
You'll be part of a pretty exclusive club
Hard to get hold of
Expensive

Schmidt Array pedalboards are considered to be some of the finest in the business. They're boutique units that are made to measure, and can be built with many different options, finishes, I/O setups, shelves and sizes. 

The SA450 is a great medium-sized option, and can be customized to fit around your signal chain - whatever you've got on your 'board. If you use a wah or volume pedal in your rig, Schmidt Array can offer decks with cutouts to allow you to use your rig as desired. They'll also provide you with just an upper or lower deck, in case your setup changes and the cutouts are no longer required. The upper deck is angled slightly in order to make things a little easier to get to, and the inner area has room for power supplies, and even extra pedals - which is especially useful if you use a pedal switcher.

The Schmidt Array SA450 is unfortunately very expensive, but you get one hell of a pedalboard for your money. They're useful, utilitarian pieces for those who want a solid pedalboard that they can rely on, but they're also incredibly fancy looking and will get attention wherever you take it. 

Best pedalboards: Gator G-Tour Large

(Image credit: Gator)

9. Gator G-Tour Large

Accessory veterans level up their pedalboard game

Price: $329/£215 | Material: Plywood & aluminum | Weight: 5.4kg | Case: Tour-grade flight case | Dimensions: 71.1cm x 39.4cm x 19cm

Retractable trolley handle
Solid flight case
Extra space underneath the board for cables and accessories
Massive, and pretty cumbersome

Gator's G-Tour Large is exactly that. With space for up to 14 regular sized pedals, this offering from Gator has a larger pedal capacity for those that need a few too many pedals in their chain. It's a super solid, durable pedalboard with two heavy-duty carry handles on either side, and although it runs the risk of looking pretty crude, the G-Tour Large does exactly what it needs to do - no more, no less.

Internally, the 'board and your pedals are caressed with shock-absorbing EVA foam to make sure that your setup can withstand even the most rigorous of touring schedules and situations. Underneath the 'board there's ample space to store extras and other accessories, which is something that is not often taken into consideration with hard cases. Knowing that you've got everything you might need in one incredibly secure and durable case is a definite bonus. 

The G-Tour Large is like we said, large. Very large, in fact. If you're driving to your own gigs, have a band van or just have an incredibly large amount of patience with public transport, then you shouldn't find too much of an issue with the size - but you can dream on if you think you're getting this into the cabin of an aircraft. Prepare for TSA to have a field day on your prized possessions. 

 

Best Pedalboards: Buying advice

Best pedalboards buying advice: Boss pedals and pedal switcher on a black and silver pedalboard

(Image credit: Boss)

What is the point of a pedalboard? 

Pedalboards serve one very important and obvious purpose - keeping your pedals nice and neat and all in one place - but using one of the best pedalboards to neaten up your rig can have some significant knock-on effects to your playing.

Convenience 

Our first (and possibly the most important) point is that using a pedalboard to organize your pedals is just downright convenient! There’s nothing more frustrating than having to set up your pedals one by one, arranging them on the sticky floor of some dive bar. Your pedals are not only an important part of your tone, but they’re also probably the result of your hard work - and they deserve to be kindly mounted on a purpose-built platform, high above the beer puddles. 

Having all of your pedals ready to go also streamlines your setup time, leaving more time for warm ups or grabbing a drink - whichever is your pre-gig ritual.

Will a pedalboard make me sound better? 

This might be a little more farfetched, but bear with us. We’re not saying that a Pedaltrain has better tone than a Friedman, but more the fact that you might sound better with a pedalboard than without. This mostly comes down to the stress that constant setting up and packing down can have on cables, power supplies, and the jack sockets on your pedals themselves. Less plugging in and unplugging means less potential wear on your gear, and therefore you’ll achieve a better connection, with less signal degradation. 

Will a pedalboard make me play better?

We all know that playing a show isn’t just about nailing your parts. It’s about putting on a performance for those in the audience - and you’re much more likely to do that if you’ve got more confidence in your gear. If you’re worried about your pedals slipping around, getting unplugged or damaged, then you won’t be focused on your performance - and that can let the whole show down. At the end of the day, having ultimate faith in all of our gear can allow us to play to our full potential.  

Various pedals on a pedalboard on a grey concrete floor

(Image credit: Future)

Why are pedalboards so expensive? 

Pedalboards, although seemingly pretty simple things, can set you back a lot (and we mean a lot) of money. Like most accessories within the world of guitar playing, spend more and you will usually get more - whether that’s more space for pedals, higher quality components, or just something that looks better than others. 

There are many variables that could see your pedalboard bill racking up well into the hundreds (or even thousands), so here are some things to consider when you find yourself shelling out more than you expected.

What’s a pedalboard made from? 

You’ll find that most pedalboards (and certainly most on this list) are made from aluminum. Not only is it incredibly durable, but also doesn’t cost the earth - making it an ideal choice for some of the best pedalboards on the market. Some of it is spot welded, some is seamless and some cold-rolled - but it’s all largely the same in terms of strength. 

Pedalboards like the Schmidt Array we mentioned earlier are mostly a wooden construction - and as with most boutique or handmade pedalboards, they’re as much about flexing your pedal enthusiast muscles as they are about keeping your pedals in one place. There’s no shame in that, though - we’d all have one if we could afford it. 

What extras does a pedalboard come with?  

Most pedalboards will come with everything you need to get going. The majority of the ‘boards mentioned above come with a case - either a soft gig-bag type getup or a tour-ready hard case. A few rolls of hook & loop tape (or Velcro) are usually included too, as well as a few zip-ties, in the case of Pedaltrain. It might seem excessive, but once you’ve covered your pedalboard and the pedals you’re using - including the odd spare ones that are waiting for a space in your signal chain - you’d be surprised at how much you get through. 

Some pedalboards, albeit the more expensive ones such as the Friedman 1525, can also include a power supply. Yes, it’s another thing to buy - but a good isolated power supply can be the difference between a clean and pure signal chain, and one that is hissy and full of interference. We’ve tried to limit our pedalboards in this guide to ‘boards only’ - but the option is out there for those who want to be sure that their power supply is up to the job.