Eight best wah pedals in 2019

Put the treadle to the metal with our guide to the best wah pedals in the business.

Large or small, sweet or aggressive, cocked or sweeping – whatever you’re looking for in your wah pedal, you’ll find your perfect match here.

1Vox V846-HW Wah

Vox V846-HW

The company that started it all is still making wah pedals, and this hand-wired version of the V846 is its top-of-the-line model. The circuit is constructed on a turret board with carbon composite resistors and polyester film capacitors. There’s a halo-style inductor, too, but the only concession to modernity is the true-bypass switch. This one is high on vintage mojo, but light on features – and it’s battery-only.

Retails for under $200.

2T-Rex Shafter

t-rex shafter

Offering a much wider frequency sweep, quiet operation, greater durability and three distinct wah settings, this T-Rex pedal claims to have addressed “all the weaknesses of the classic wah point by point”. Features include custom coils and inductors, boost and slope knobs, a hot spot switch for classic or ‘heel-to-toe’ sweep, and potentiometer-free operation.

Retails for under $200.

3Jim Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini

Dunlop Cry Baby Mini

Traditional wahs are hard to attach to pedalboards – and they take up plenty of real estate. Enter the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Mini. It may be half-sized, but it’s loaded with a Fasel inductor and a three-way voicing switch for subtle, vintage and modern tones. It has true-bypass switching, too.

Retails for $99.99.

4BYOC Wah Kit

This kit is basically a Clyde clone with a halo, BC108 transistors, true-bypass switching and a CTS potentiometer. There’s an optional output buffer and the gain, bass, mid and Q resistors are replaced with trim pots so you can tune the tone.

Retails for $99.99.

5Xotic Wah XW-1

xotic wah xw-1

Launched back in 2016 and based on the famed McCoy wah from the 1960s, this compact and lightweight treadle pedal features a quartet of micro pots – bias, wah-q, treble and bass – for near limitless tonal capabilities. If that wasn’t enough, it also features four internal dip switches plus a trim pot to set your input gain. You won’t have trouble coaxing a good wah sound with this many features on board.

Retails for $250.

6Dunlop CBM105Q Cry Baby Bass Mini Wah

dunlop cry baby bass mini

Similar to the standard mini Cry Baby from Dunlop, this bass version shrinks down the 20-year-old 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah to a more affordable and pedalboard-friendly form factor. Don’t be fooled by its size, though. With a rugged aluminium design and external pots for even more tweaking, this pedal is the perfect gateway to unleashing your inner Bootsy Collins.

Retails for $119.99.

7Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah

Fulltone Clyde Wah Standard

In case the name hasn’t given it away, here’s another wah that’s heavily based on the Clyde McCoy pedal. The Fulltone Clyde Standard uses the exact same wiring found in those historic Vox wahs, but adds hand-wound components such as the MU-80 shielded 500mH inductor.

Retails for $191.

8Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah

EHX Wailer Wah

Despite being the cheapest wah pedal on this list by some distance, the EHX Wailer definitely holds its own. Placing the Crying Tone Wah circuitry into a lighter enclosure has allowed the NYC brand to drastically drop the price point while still featuring a wide sweep and the ability to nail that cocked wah sound.

Retails for about $60.

Find out more about the history of wah pedals and how they work in our exhaustive guide on the popular effect.