The best reverb pedals to buy in 2023: 14 top options for guitarists

Need some ethereal ambience or some dripping springiness? We’ve got you covered.

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If you’re getting a little bored of your amplifier’s onboard reverb, then we have good news for you. The world of reverb pedals in 2023 is a vast ocean to get lost in: surf the crashing waves of spring reverbs, or dive into an unexplored abyss of out-there ambience. Ready to find the best reverb pedal for you?

Why use a reverb pedal instead of amp reverb?

When amplifiers have onboard reverb, it’s most often either a spring reverb tank or a set of digital algorithms. Both of these have limitations: switching the reverb on or off with a footswitch isn’t always possible, and control over the sound is limited to one, maybe two, knobs.

Switching to a reverb pedal opens many more sonic avenues, from recreations of, and improvements on, old-school plate, hall and spring sounds, to wild, characterful and creative effects.

The best reverb pedals to buy in 2023 at a glance

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

Real springs are rare in reverb pedals. In fact, there are only two bonafide spring reverbs on this list, and for good reason – spring tanks are large, unwieldy, expensive, and for the sonically adventurous their sound can be a little limiting. Luckily Gamechanger Audio has again lived up to its name and achieved an impressive technical feat.

Traditional spring sounds can be accessed, but thanks to the pedal’s unique sensing methods – optical sensing alongside physical transducer sensing – things can get weird very quickly. There are a number of effects that add a lot of colour to the sound, such as tremolo or harmonic overtones. If you’re looking for a clean ambient reverb, maybe give this one a miss. The nature of the physical, vibrating springs means that decay time is inherently limited, and there’s always going to be some sort of clanging nature to the sound.

Price: £299 / $379

Today’s best deals on the Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

Walrus Audio Slötvå

Walrus‘s Slötvå is a minor variation of its classic Slö reverb pedal. It features the same controls and layout as the Slö, with controls for decay, filter, mix and modulation depth, as well as an ‘x’ knob which changes function depending on which of the three sounds you have selected: Dark, Rise or Dream. Each of them offers some excellent soupy ambience to get lost in, with the focus being on pretty yet characterful sounds.

Slötvå’s primary evolution from the Slö, though, is the preset function, which allows you to cycle between three pre-assigned settings to change sounds on the fly. This is extra-handy for those who like to explore the myriad controls in-depth, but don’t want to lose the sounds they spent an afternoon dialling in. The presets are also great for adding some variance into some looping soundscape creation.

Price: $229 / £209

Today’s best deals on the Walrus Audio Slötvå

Catalinbread Cloak

Shimmer reverb is a divisive effect. The octave-up sound is to some a perfect ambient effect, invoking a heavenly, ethereal space. To others, it’s an overused cliche – the clean, digital-string-section of toothless ambient rigs.The Cloak, however, makes a good go at satisfying both camps.

As the shrouded figure on its enclosure suggests, the cathedral in which your guitar signal is bounced around is a haunted one rather than a heavenly one. Adding to the darker nature is a high-cut-control, which lets you smooth out the brittle, digital sound that a shimmer reverb into a clean amplifier can create.

Even if you want to forgo the shimmer entirely, the Cloak is an excellent room reverb with a huge range of decay time. But it shines (or, well, shimmers) best when you need a darker twist on an ambient classic.

Price: $209 / £169

Today’s best deals on the Catalinbread Cloak

Fender Dual Marine Layer Reverb

Despite being made by a brand most associated with old-school spring sounds, the Dual Marine Layer Reverb offers three reverb modes with no springs, simulated or otherwise, in sight. There are three modes: hall, room and an ambient, shimmer mode. However, the shimmer is a subtle effect that, similarly to the Cloak, shaves off the digital harshness that can come with the territory.

There’s a huge set of controls for each reverb channel, including the useful damping control and the more out-there Mod control. The sustain footswitch also offers something for the drone-inclined, letting you bloom your notes into an infinite blast of decaying noise.

The dual-channel switching nature of the pedal offers presets of a sort, so if you need two drastically different sounds throughout the set then this might be the perfect reverb box for you, just as long as you have the pedalboard space to spare.

Price: $249 / £199

Today’s best deals on the Fender Dual Marine Layer Reverb

Strymon NightSky

It’s safe to say that if a pedal calls itself ‘a reverberant synthesis workstation and hands-on experimental sound design platform’, then you’re in for some massive, stereo ambience that evokes the hugeness of, well, the night sky.

This big blue box from Strymon is loaded with three core reverb textures, each of which can all be modulated with tape-esque pitch wobbles, reverberant LFO sounds or wah-like filter sweeps to the tune of five different waveforms, or an envelope that follows your playing dynamics.

A pitch-shifted shimmer voice can either add ethereal sparkle or an intimidating rumble. In fact, the shimmer section has a full selection of intervals to choose from, meaning you can shift your trails up or down by a second, fourth, fifth or octave.

Notably, there are separate controls for the wet and dry signals, and the ability to morph between two completely different sounds via an expression pedal. MIDI support also opens up 300 presets in total, or alternatively eight accessible via illuminated buttons on the pedal’s face.

Price: $429 / £439

Today’s best deals on the Strymon BigSky

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath V3

The latest version of EQD’s Afterneath uses a tried and tested digital reverb algorithm that’s chock full of ethereal spaciness and pitch-shifting oddness – but with a few extra additions.

The pedal’s big selling point is the interaction between the Mode control and the Drag control, with the former adjusting the latter’s behaviour. The Drag control, now adjustable via an expression pedal, sweeps your reverb trail up through a certain set of pitches. The Mode control introduces varying amounts of quantisation, meaning you can have completely smooth drifting all over the place, or some arpeggiation locked to a certain scale.

It’s no ordinary reverb sound, but a healthy amount of controls means you can tame things before your pitch-shifted trails completely eclipse your playing. And if that’s precisely what you want, there’s a good chance you’ve already put the Afterneath V3 in a cart by this point.

Price: $199 / £199

Today’s best deals on the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath V3

Walrus Audio Mako R1

Walrus Audio’s Mako R1 is something of a Goldilocks pedal. While this stereo reverb stompbox has all the trendy high-end bells and whistles – stereo support, huge present banks and powerful signal processing – it’s quite compact and rather fetching in its stepped enclosure. It even packs in a tap-tempo footswitch. Not bad for a pedal that measures less than 8cm across.

At its core are six reverb sounds: three traditional, three less so. The spring, hall and plate reverb all offer hi-fi recreations of the classic types. The other three ( BFR, Refract and Air) are all better suited for soundscapes.

Also handy for soundscape purposes: delay time that can extend effectively forever (or, literally forever, if you use the infinite press-and-hold footswitch), extensive modulation options, and how you can hide your note’s attack with the swell control.

Price: $349 /£319

Today’s best deals on the Walrus Audio Mako R1

Eventide Blackhole

A standalone version of the Blackhole algorithm found on Eventide’s famed H9 and H9000 multi-effects processors, this pedal’s name should give you an indication of spatial tones it offers up.

Its voice is unapologetically modern, but that’s not to say it can’t do the more ‘vintage’ sounds. The Size knob, at lower settings, will happily give you some room reverb tones that almost resemble slapback delay sounds. But when increased beyond the nine-o-clock mark, things start to get big, with sprawling trails that evoke the pedal’s namesake.

The pedal’s also firmly in the ‘workstation’ category, with five onboard presets, and 127 accessible via MIDI. An expression pedal can also blend between heel and toe presets for smooth transitions, or just some inspiring, unexpected sounds.

Price: $249/£279

Today’s best deals on the Eventide Blackhole

Electro-Harmonix Oceans 12

The EHX Oceans 12 adds a few extra controls and features to its predecessor, the Oceans 11, which is already an absurdly feature-packed little pedal. It’s a “dual stereo reverb”, meaning that housed within its bigger enclosure are two reverb engines – both are completely stereo and can be run in series or parallel.

The Oceans 12 also has stereo inputs and outputs, so it should slot happily anywhere into an existing stereo rig. It can, of course, function fine in mono, too. There’s even an effects loop to add in more effects to the mix.

The biggest appeal of the Oceans 12 is the sheer number of options available. There are 12 core reverb sounds – most of which have two modes, some three – and then there are two reverb engines at work. The tones themselves range from drippy spring reverbs to shoegaze-friendly reverse reverbs to huge shimmering ambience. If you’re indecisive about the reverb tone you need at your feet, then the Oceans 12 keeps your options open.

Price: $269/£229

Today’s best deals on the Electro-Harmonix Oceans 12

EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny

This reverb is based around the shimmer sound – that is, when reverb trails are shifted an octave up or down. Per EQD fashion, however, there’s some weirder stuff at play here with several modes for a variety of reverb voices as well as in-built chorus modulation. The voices range from standard octave up or down shimmers, to stranger things such as the Astral mode, which cascades your pitch-shifted trails into themselves for blooming, chaotic ambience.

It’s versatile enough as a ‘set-and-forget’ sound to add some pitch-shifted ambience to your sound. But with the momentary Stretch footswitch, you can suddenly double the decay time of the reverb and thus warp the pitch of your repeats, an effect that’s highly interactive depending on the mode you’re in.

The Astral Destiny’s focus on one style of reverb is both a pro and a con – while it might not cover the same reverb ground as a multi-reverb stompbox (no old-school spring sounds here), it dives deep into its sound niche and discovers some exciting, cosmic sounds.

Price: $199/£205

Today’s best deals on the EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny

Keeley Caverns Delay Reverb V2

Delay and reverb are a great combo, and so it’s no surprise that Keeley’s Caverns, which combines them both into one versatile stompbox, has become one of the brand’s most celebrated pedals.

The delay side of things offers a modulated tape echo style, although the modulation is totally optional and quite tweakable. There’s a rate knob for the speed of the modulation, and a toggle switch to choose between two different depths – or turning it off entirely. There are also controls for time, mix and repeats, with the latter being able to push the pedal into self-oscillating bliss.

Price: $199/‎£199

Today’s best deals on the Keeley Caverns Delay Reverb V2

Meris Mercury7

The Mercury7 has a space-related name, so it’s no surprise that it’s offering up some galactic-sized ambience. In this case, the reverb space comes in two flavours: Ultraplate and Cathedra. The former has a fast attack but a more understated size and frequency character. That means it still sits as a lush, spongy layer beneath your tone.

Cathedra, on the other hand, has a much more present ‘architectural’ character, rather than Ultraplate’s abstract one. It’s got a slower attack to reflect the size of an actual space. And for further tweaking and balancing there’s a set of low- and high-pass filters.

It’s perhaps refreshing to see this much power and tweakability applied to a pared-down selection of two core voices. If pedals like the Oceans 12 give you option paralysis, but you’re looking for something more outre than a spring-reverb-in-a-box, the Mercury7 strikes a great balance.

Price: $299/£299

Today’s best deals on the Meris Mercury7

Boss RV-6

Fitting into Boss’ famed compact form factor, the RV-6 offers a huge number of features for its size and price. Similar to the Oceans 12, it’s packed with a huge range of core sounds, from spring and plate emulation to modulated and shimmer reverbs. These sounds can be tweaked via level and tone controls, which is great if you just want a variety of sounds straight out of the box.

The RV-6 should also pique the interest of wet-dry-rig enthusiasts for two reasons. Firstly, the pedal remains completely analogue dry-through, so no phase issues should arise if you’re using two amps. And secondly, by using just the ‘B’ input, the pedal outputs a 100 per cent wet signal, meaning it can slot happily into more complicated rigs.

Price: $169/£149

Today’s best deals on the Boss RV-6

Strymon BigSky

The BigSky is another reverb pedal staple, and for good reason. It offers 12 reverb types, with the stalwart spring, plate and hall sound well catered for. Where it’s found the most favour, however, is in its proprietary ambient sounds, such as Bloom, Chorale and, especially, Cloud.

These extremely tweakable sounds are fine-tuned for enormous ambience, creating synthesiser-pad-like drones and airy highs that make full use of the pedal’s stereo support.

With the number of MIDI presets and depth of controls, it’s certainly a reverb for those serious about their sound. It’s the reverb nerd’s reverb pedal, one which you might find yourself lost in. The price tag certainly reflects this, but given how ubiquitous it is across pedalboards everywhere, the Strymon BigSky has certainly earned its reputation.

Price: $479/£449

Today’s best deals on the Strymon BigSky


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