20 best fuzz pedals to buy today

Things are about to get a little hairy on your pedalboard.

Fuzz is just as cherished today as it was when Keith Richards stomped on a Fuzz-Tone all those decades ago. It was one of the first-ever effects to appear in pedal form, and, even in 2019, you’ll still find brands both big and small releasing fuzz units every week. From clones of iconic pedals to nasty, speaker-ripping devices, it’s never been a better time for the fuzz faithful.

So if it’s fuzz you seek, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of 12 of the best fuzz pedals around in 2019 for any type of guitarist, whether you’re a beginner hoping to match Smashing Pumpkins’ fat octaves or someone with a penchant for Keiji Haino’s ear-splitting tones.

1Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz

With a combination of high-gain fuzz and heavy bandpass filters, this green stomper is capable of some stinging drive tones.

The pedal lets you sculpt fuzz with three main controls of loudness, filter and sustain. Loudness lets you crank the Swollen Pickle up to amp-clobbering levels, Filter satisfies your glitched-out drive needs, while diming Sustain pours in doomsday levels of fuzz. If you want to tame the Swollen Pickle, however, as you can make use of the crunch mini knob to modify the fuzz’s compression intensity.

And should you wish to further dig into your fuzz tone, taking apart the Swollen Pickle reveals two internal mini controls: voice and clip. The former manages the external mini scoop knob’s mid-cut intensity, while the latter provides you with two clipping diode choices: smooth and opened fuzz sustain.

2Fuzzrocious Knob Jawn

fuzzrocious knob jawn

It’s hard to dismiss the importance of octave fuzz pedals to rock ’n’ roll history, what with Jimi Hendrix’s legendary Dunlop Octavia responsible for some of the most iconic riffs ever. With the Knob Jawn, Fuzzrocious has taken a famed recipe and manipulated it in a refreshing way.

The pedal’s star feature is its bottle cap-like blend control, which lets you go from a full analogue to full digital signal while visiting all the points in between. The analogue side can be tapped on for a dirtier, monophonic octave fuzz, while the digital side can be employed for cleaner polyphonic octave glitches.

Things get more interesting when you combine the blend knob with a -/+ octave control. For instance, setting blend to the digital signal and turning the octave control to + gets you a range of glitchy textures akin to those heard in vintage Nintendo games. You can also combine the blend control with the dry:wet control, which gets you intriguing textures such as sputters and “boiling” sounds.

Check out our review here.

3Fulltone ’69 MkII

With its vintage vibe, versatile drive tones and great feel, it’s little wonder this re-introduction of the fabled Fulltone ’69 is said to have “everything you’re looking for in a fuzz pedal”. A key ingredient of the MkII is its matched pair of hand-picked germanium transistors, a combination which primes it for rich Fuzz Face-like tones and vintage Fender amp sounds when your guitar’s volume is rolled down.

The MkII’s controls are very much similar to its predecessor, comprising four knobs of volume, fuzz, input bias and contour. Of note are the input bias and contour controls: the former mitigates the ‘woofiness’ of your fuzz when reduced, and the latter lets you fine-tune mid-range, harmonics and sustain.

4JHS Pedals Muffuletta

Multi-voice fuzz/overdrive pedals are far from a unique concept, considering there are more than a handful of versions available. Crazy Tube Circuits’ Constellation, Subdecay’s Vector Analog Preamp and JHS’ Multi-Screamer are all decent options, but when it comes to Big Muff tones, the JHS Muffuletta is our go-to.

The stomper features five classic Big Muff voices, namely The Civil War, The Russian, The Pi, The Triangle and the ’73 Ram Head – the characteristics of which echo the originals. Needless to say, these already cover a wide variety of fuzz tones, but JHS shoehorned a sixth voice into the Muffuletta: The JHS 2015. A fresh take on the Big Muff sound, this one delivers a fuzz that dials back on compression, provides plenty of mids and ramps up the power. This variety, combined with an uncomplicated control system and a pedalboard-friendly enclosure, makes the Muffuletta a huge win with us.

5RYRA Fuzz-A-Matic

RYRA – or Rock Your Repaired Amp – is a compact operation based out of a workshop in Texas. It might be well known for its beloved Klone overdrive, but its Fuzz-A-Matic is not to be sniffed at. Described as a Russian Germanium Fuzz Face with a twist, this handbuilt yellow (or white, depending on the graphic design you choose) stomper will serve all your fuzz needs, from peppering your bluesy leads to gritty, full-pelt noise.

At the heart of the Fuzz-A-Matic are NOS germanium transistors which give your tone an unmistakable old-school quality. The pedal’s a little more responsive to your guitar’s onboard controls than its sibling, the Tri-Pi Muff, and it’s less gainy too. It cleans up better than most fuzz pedals we’ve tried. As mentioned, the noise level jumps up a fair bit with the fuzz cranked up, but that comes with the territory. If you’re looking for a fuzz pedal that’s handbuilt, versatile and germanium transistor-based, we can’t recommend this one enough.

Check out our review here.

6Orange Fur Coat

If you’re in the market for an octave fuzz, the Orange Fur Coat is one of your best options at the moment. The Fur Coat – as described by Orange – is “loosely” based on the 1971 Foxx Tone Machine, an octave fuzz pedal which was known for its “fur coat” enclosure.

Without diving too much into its history, the Foxx Tone Machine has inspired other similar units like the Danelectro French Toast, MXR La Machine and so forth. The Fur Coat, however, has a neat little trick up its sleeve: an adjustable octave.

Unlike the Foxx Tone Machine and most of its clones, the Fur Coat allows you to blend in a high octave effect as necessary. With just the fuzz circuit engaged, the pedal delivers an archetypal fuzz: warm, thick and smooth. Kick in the octave though, and things immediately get blistering. It gives pure power chords a viciously cool edge, but the effect is most noticeable when playing single notes up around the 12th fret. The resultant sound is spiky, psychedelic and – needless to say – not for the sonically conservative.

Check out our review here.

7EarthQuaker Devices Hoof

EarthQuaker Devices makes some of the wildest stompboxes out there, and the Hoof has been a fan favourite since its inception. It’s based on the legendary vintage green Russian Big Muff Pi, but calling the Hoof a “clone” would be doing it a disservice. That’s because, with a suite of interdependent controls, it’s capable of so much more depth and versatility.

While there are countless Muff clones out there, this pedal stands on its own (cloven) feet. It nails the creamy, harmonics-rich sound of the Sovtek Muff, but thanks to its hybrid germanium-silicon design, offers a much wider swathe of tones. The Hoof does 90s grunge and alt-rock very well, yet has the bite and punchiness for modern sounds, too.

That versatility shines through the Hoof’s four controls: level, fuzz, tone, and Shift. What truly sets this pedal apart is the latter knob, which lets you tweak your middle frequencies, going from classic scooped to boosted. Shift works in tandem with the tone knob – the former sets the centre frequency of the latter.

Similarly, the level and fuzz controls play well together. Set the former on low and the latter around the three o’clock mark to produce a singing, compressed distortion ideal for lead lines – or playing in quieter conditions. And, unlike the Sovtek unit, the Hoof remains smooth and musical even at low volumes.

8Beetronics Royal Jelly

beetronics royal jelly

If we were rating pedals on looks alone, the Royal Jelly would top our list, but happily its beauty is more than skin-deep. The pedal’s overdrive and fuzz circuits run in parallel, giving you the potential to create a massive array of dirty tones by blending them together with the ‘Queen’ and ‘King’ controls. Both are footswitchable, meaning that you can have two blended sounds on tap, or have all fuzz on one, all overdrive on the other, and all stations in between. It offers a positively massive level of versatility, and when you factor in the ability to blend in your dry sound as well, it makes the Royal Jelly something very special indeed.

Check out our review here.

9MXR Classic 108 Fuzz Mini

This is a titchified version of the Classic 108 Fuzz, which is itself a miniaturised version of the silicon-powered evolution of the Fuzz Face, made between the late 60s and late 70s.

There are just two controls for output level and fuzz plus a buffer switch – not for bypass this time, but for the fuzz circuit itself. This is intended to overcome impedance-mismatch issues with wah pedals.

Leaving the buffer off and the dirt control set low, we unfortunately get a tone as weak and muddy as estuary water. It’s only with fuzz past four o’clock that this pedal really comes to life, with a smooth and beefy sound that gets brighter as you turn it up towards full.

Fully cranked, it goes right to the edge of Velcro buzziness, but still cleans up admirably on the guitar’s volume control without undue loss of top end. Now switch on the buffer, and there’s an extra edge to the attack of every note that won’t always be welcome; but pull the fuzz back down to around two o’clock, or even lower, and the murkiness that we experienced before is miraculously cured.

Check out our review here.

10Keeley Electronics Fuzz Bender

Keeley Fuzz Bender shot on black surface

The Fuzz Bender promises to hit the sweet spot between intricate and simple. It features a combination of two modern silicon and one vintage Japanese germanium transistors, and an intuitive five-knob layout.

It’s Muff-like in character, but with more definition than the average Pi. Rotating the Bias knob to the right brings out more spluttering synthetic flavours that work particularly well with a bridge humbucker. Things become increasingly random the further you go on the dial, with tail spins and throttled sounds leaving your notes clawing for the safety word. This is not a gate as such – instead, it regulates the shape of your sound from square wave overload to spikey, saw-tooth chaos.

Check out our review here.

11Stone Deaf Fig Fumb

This parametric high-gain fuzz pedal might never get quite as silky as a vintage Big Muff, but it’s not far off. And while the complex inter-dependency of all those controls (six knobs and two footswitches) can take a while to master, a fair approximation of pretty much every classic fuzz tone you can imagine is in here somewhere. That does include Fuzz Factory-style ‘Velcro’ noises – and yes, it also does the phaser/wah/death-ray thing.

Check out our review here.

12Supro Fuzz

Supro’s reference points here are the Big Muff, Tone Bender and Fuzz Face. It uses a combination of germanium and silicon transistors, and has a two-knob EQ section – and you can use an expression pedal to control the treble.

We didn’t enjoy the sound of this one at low gain levels, but then low gain isn’t the reason you buy a fuzzbox, is it? Things start happening around 10 o’clock on the dial, and when the distortion comes it’s as smooth and furry as a bucket of chinchillas. Don’t expect tonal transparency or aggressive bite here – your guitar’s midrange spikes are gone, replaced by the ‘boopy’ signature of a classic fuzz with whispery top and ample bottom.

Check out our review here.

13Bigfoot Engineering King Fuzz

Bigfoot Engineering King Fuzz

With just big ol’ gain and volume dials on its canary-yellow chassis, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a fuzzbox with a limited range, but you’d be wrong. Hand-built in West Sussex by Bigfoot main man Rhys Stubbs, the King Fuzz was inspired partly by the vintage fuzz tones of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Step on the pedal and ride your guitar’s volume control for everything from small-valve-amp-style break-up to visceral, Jimi-style fuzz that’s rich in midrange attitude. You won’t want to switch it off.

14Death By Audio Fuzz War

Death By Audio Fuzz War

When you call your pedal ‘Fuzz War’, you’re letting people know that you’re not messing around – and as soon as you plug in, Death By Audio’s creation is taking no prisoners. There’s no space for subtlety and nuance in this three-knob box of dirt: instead, what you get is a bludgeoning onslaught of glorious noise. It’s a versatile beast, however – every minor tweak of the knobs jolts you into a new world of aural aggression. Okay, it’s not the most polite pedal around, but for purveyors of uncomplicated havoc, this wins the battle every time.

15Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi

EHX Op Amp Big Muff Pi

The original 1970s EHX Op-Amp Big Muff has long been revered by fans of grunge and alternative rock for its uniquely aggressive and biting fuzz style compared to transistor-based Muffs – as used famously and devastatingly by Billy Corgan on some of the Smashing Pumpkins’ biggest hits. Now, however, EHX has revived the pedal in compact form, and even got Mr Corgan onboard to ensure that this new model delivers all those classic 90s alt-rock sounds – and a whole lot more besides.

Check out our review here.

16Fender The Pelt

Fender The Pelt

It’s always seemed strange that Fender never quite managed to nail the effects-pedal thing, but its latest range of effects – first released in early 2018 and expanded later in the year and again at NAMM 2019 – has (finally) established the company as a major player. The cream of the second drop was The Pelt – an affordable one-stop solution for a wide variety of contemporary fuzz sounds, paired with excellent build quality and clever design.

Check out our review here.

17Old Blood Noise Endeavors Alpha Haunt

Old Blood Noise Endeavors Alpha Haunt

OBNE isn’t the first indie pedal company to specialise in weird and esoteric artwork mixed with wigged-out product descriptions, but the Oklahomans do it better than most, and the sounds that are produced by the Alpha Haunt are equally potent. With EQ sliders and a low-pass filter, the Alpha Haunt gives you massive flexibility for tone sculpting, which in turns leads to lashings and lashings of smooth fuzz sounds – from fluffy to fiendish.

Check out our review here.

18Thorpy FX Fallout Cloud

Thorpy FX Fallout Cloud

Adrian Thorpe’s second bomb-proof pedal release was a take on the early ‘triangle’ Big Muffs built between 1969 and 1973. Because it doesn’t suffer from the overcooked distortion levels of some modern Big Muffs and Muff-derived circuits, the Fallout Cloud makes it possible to retain a great deal more control, and stays responsive to picking-hand dynamics. The active treble and bass controls also make it much more versatile, making this a beast that can do anything from Floyd to QOTSA and everything in between.

19Zvex Effects Fuzz Factory Vexter

Zvex Effects Fuzz Factory

For over two decades now, the Fuzz Factory has been the crowning achievement of Minneapolis effects wizard Zachary Vex and has since been adopted by scores of experimental guitarists with a passion for chaos, including Matt Bellamy, Stephen Malkmus, Nels Cline and J Mascis. What makes the Fuzz Factory special is its ability to warp the classic fuzz effect via a series of highly interactive controls, and conjure up unique and unholy chimeras of greasy oscillating demonic distortion, too. The Vexter version retains everything that made the classic Fuzz Factory special while dropping the price – an unbeatable combo.

20Walrus Audio Janus

Walrus Audio Janus best fuzz pedal

With its joystick controls, the Walrus Audio Janus may seem bizarre at first, but don’t let the quirky design fool you. The pedal combines a high-quality fuzz and an equally brilliant tremolo in one. And, to top things off, it provides effect sculpting like no other, thanks to those joysticks.

The right one controls the fuzz – lateral movements affect “hairiness” while vertical movements tweak tone. The left joystick on the other hand, manages the trem. Manoeuvring the joystick left to right adjusts the depth, while pushing it up or down affects the rate. Both of these combine to create landscapes of different textures, and better still if you’re playing with loops and have two free hands to fiddle with the joysticks in real time. This may even be more fun than a video game.

And check out our picks for best reverb, overdrive and distortion pedals, too.