10 Best Phaser Pedals – Add Soft Sweeping Tones to Your Songs!
Last updated: May 13, 2020
55Hours of Research
Phaser pedals were invented to sound like rotating organ speakers, but players soon found they were capable of a lot more. Their filters can change the frequency of a note and able to create soft sweeping sounds. The psychedelic sounds are perfect for ballads, reggae, and funk but can be used in many other types of music.
We’re here to answer the question: “What is the best phaser pedal for guitar?” To find the best guitar phaser pedal, we have reviewed 37 models out there and picked the top 10 of them. For us, the MXR M101 Phase 90 Phaser Pedal stood out above the rest. It’s easy to use, offers true bypass and gives a warm analog tone. We have nine other products in this list that have slightly different controls and functionality, and they may be more to your taste.
Top 10 Phaser Pedals Review 2020
If you want to find the best phase pedal, there are few key features to think about. Each has different controls and bypass, and there are also some specifications to consider, such as power supply, dimensions, and weight. With our 55 hours of research, we have done all the hard work for you. We have also found several expert sources to ensure you’re getting only the best information. To make all this info easy to digest, we’ve created a comparison table, followed by detailed reviews of each product. Also, don’t forget to check our buying guide and FAQs. Let’s get started!
If you’re looking for the best analog phaser pedal, then this is going to be it. It is able to give you that perfect warm tone with easy speed control. It has long been used by thousands of guitarists all around the globe.
Whether you’re looking for a subtle shimmer or full-on swooshing, this phaser pedal will be able to do it for you. It has all that while being compact with a small footprint that doesn’t take up a lot of space on your pedalboard.
Other pedals on this list have a higher level of functionality. Therefore, this may not be ideal for those looking for total control. For many guitarists, its simplicity is what they’re looking for, due to its incredible sound quality.
It’s very easy to use with a bright LED light. It also comes at an average price, and many users like what they’ve got for that sum. If you’re not too bothered about the likes of depth and resonance control, this pedal would be perfect.
If you wish to get that amazing sound of vintage phasers, then this is going to be perfect. It gives you that classic sound that many people love, while doing it with a high quality of performance.
The quality of that sound is made possible by the true bypass, although there is a little bit of hissing that can be found. Overall, you’ll be very impressed with the sound and the type of effect you’ll be able to put on your guitar.
The pedal is fairly compact, and it would be a great fit for your pedalboard. It doesn’t have any other controls, but the speed adjustment is very good. Some will love that simplicity as they’ll love just how easy it is to play.
While having an advanced level of quality, the way the pedal is set out makes it ideal for beginners. That being said, it is also perfect for advanced guitarists looking for a simple, effective, and affordable phaser pedal.
Are you looking for the ultimate in phaser pedal control? If you are, then you don’t have to look any further because you can’t go wrong with this one. The amount of versatility that you get here is remarkable, and you’ll have a great time experimenting with the sound.
All of that functionality does come at a significant price. For anyone looking for a high-quality budget phaser pedal, this isn’t it. If you have a high budget, and you’re looking for the highest level of sound quality, then this would be a great option.
It’s not just great sound quality that you get here but awesome build quality too. It’s a phaser pedal that you’re going to be able to rely on for many years. That warm analog sound will never let you down.
All of these qualities help to make this the perfect phaser pedal for guitar experts. If you get this model, then you’re never going to have to upgrade. Having multiple switches, knobs and expression pedal input also helps to make it a truly brilliant phaser.
BOSS has been able to make a phaser pedal that strikes a perfect balance between affordability and functionality. It makes it perfect for those looking for a high-quality phaser pedal that isn’t going to break the bank.
The pedal is digital, which may turn some people off, especially those who want to be able to have that analog sound. In reality, you’re not going to tell the difference here, as it is able to compete with even the best analog phaser pedals.
You can immediately change the tempo, and there is also an expression input if you need it. The rate, depth, resonance and stage controls are going to give you a lot of customization to get the perfect effect you need.
One of the key aspects to note here is that the pedal doesn’t have a true bypass. It’s great for those times when you have a long signal chain, or you need a long lead. It’s able to give you the advantages of a buffered bypass without any noticeable negatives.
Here, we see another pedal that has four control knobs but a slightly different selection. Speed, depth, feedback, and mix are all available, but the great functionality of this phaser pedal doesn’t stop there.
You can also change the type of phaser that you have with TonePrint and Smooth options available but also a Vintage mode as well. It means that you can get this to make any type of phaser sound that you’re looking for.
If you want to be able to three-dimensional tones with your instrument, then you’ll love this model. It has stereo output and input to add to the long list of other great functions it has available.
If you’re already an accomplished guitar player and care deeply about your sound quality, then you’ll like this option. It is digital, but it’s another that is so well-made that you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between this and an analog model. However, a few owners didn’t like the lack of depth with the Smooth mode.
EarthQuaker has been able to make a phaser pedal that not only looks great but also shows a very impressive level of performance. It is a little pricey, but many see that as worth the money invested.
Part of the reason for that is the ultimate speed control it has. Not only does it have a sweep and rate knobs, but also there is a switch with three different settings that change the rate.
Added to that, there are depth and resonance controls. It also has a switch that will let you go between a Phase setting and Vibrato. It’s those types of adjustments that help to make it such a sought-after pedal.
Aside from all that versatility, this model boasts a very high level of build quality to ensure long-term durability. One thing to note is that the input and output ports are at the top of the pedal, which can be seen as a good or bad thing depending on your preference.
Whirlwind has been able to make a pedal that has simplistic elegance. The true bypass you get here is very good, and you’re not going to see any drop-offs in sound quality while you are using it.
The overall performance is very good as this pedal simply focuses on speed without having any other effects. The switch is very easy to use, and as soon as it’s on, you’re going to be able to enjoy the smooth and warm modulation it gives.
In terms of size, it’s on the larger end of the scale, and, therefore, it’s best to double-check that it’s going to fit on your pedalboard comfortably. It’s not oversized, but other models we see here are a little more compact.
The lack of depth control may put a few users off this pedal, but for those looking for simplicity, you can’t go wrong. It’s very easy to use, especially with the LED indicator, and this modern pedal would be a welcome addition to any board.
If you’re a traveling musician, you’ll know the value of durability. This Electro Harmonix model gives you exceptional quality. That’s seen by the die-cast metal chassis it has, which will withstand plenty of knocks and bumps.
Like other phaser pedals on this list, it does have a limited number of controls, but along with the rate knob, there is also a color switch. It takes either a 9V battery or an adapter, which will give you plenty of options on how to use it.
It’s very easy to travel with, and when it comes to sound quality, you’ll appreciate the warm swooshing tones that you get. The cosmic sounds are reminiscent of the old ’70s and 80’s phasers that many musicians wish to achieve.
As well as being a great pedal for electric guitars, this is a dynamic pedal that can also be used for bass, synthesizers, and keyboards. It’s another great option and one you’d be very happy with.
Struggling for space on your pedalboard? If so, this pedal is going to be perfect for you. It’s by far the slimmest model we’ve looked at here at just 1.8 inches in width. Despite that size, it loses very little in terms of performance.
Except that compact size, this model is incredibly light, making it very easy to travel with. The sound quality is impressive, and you’re not going to get any of the hissing sounds that can be associated with some other pedals.
The tones that you will get are rich and deep. A wonderful aspect of this pedal is that you can switch from Modern to Vintage mode. That’s perfect for those that may be a little nostalgic about those old pedals.
One of the drawbacks of this pedal is that it does have limited headroom, and the sound can break up a little if you take it to the extremes. Aside from that, it is very good, and the compact size makes it very appealing.
This great-looking phaser pedal is another model that has a range of brilliant qualities. As well as the rate control that you’d expect with such a pedal, you also get a mix and depth knobs for customizing that tone.
The sound quality that you get from this phaser isn’t the highest around, but you have to consider that with the price. It’s incredibly cheap, and, therefore, it’s a great choice for beginners.
While the sound quality may not match the very best models we have looked at here, it is still better than most pedals in its price range. Only expert guitarists are probably going to tell the difference.
You also get a lot of durability with the solid metal shell it has. If you’re on a budget, then this and the other pedals in the Kokko’s range are going to be an excellent choice and a good introduction into the world of phaser pedals.
Low price tag
Durable metal shell
Great for beginners
Provides plenty of customization
Not premium sound quality
Trying to find the best guitar phaser pedal can be tricky. They are all a little different, and there are many factors you have to take into account. In this section, we’ll look at all the key features in more detail to allow you to make an informed decision. By the time you get to the end of the guide, you should be happy and confident with the right model that is going to be perfect for your needs.
How to pick the best phaser pedal?
Before you purchase a phaser pedal, it’s essential to know what type you’re looking for. There are simple ones here with just speed control and others that offer a lot more versatility. There are also plenty of other features that will form your buying decision, such as sound quality. In this section, we will go through all of these features, and as we do, it’s a good idea to take some notes of how important each one is to you. When you do this, you’ll get a clearer picture of exactly what you should be looking for.
Quality of sound
With a pedal, the sound is always going to be the primary concern. This should be the first thing that you look for, which is why you should get a trustworthy and dependable model. All the models that we’ve looked at here are able to demonstrate a high level of sound quality with subtle differences between them.
Each model is going to have a light difference on how it alters the sound. In terms of sound quality, true bypass and analog tones are often seen as the best ways to get a great sound. This is exactly what you can get with our Editor’s Choice model, the MXR M101 Phase 90 Phaser Pedal.
Whichever phaser pedal you get, make sure that you have read some reviews as some cheaper models don’t have the effects that you’re looking for.
Analog vs. digital
One of the biggest decisions that you have to make is whether to go for an analog or digital model. The analog signal is uninterrupted, and traditionally this has been seen as a better option as it has been able to produce a clearer sound. Many guitarists will swear by analog pedals for their entire pedalboard.
Digital pedals, however, have improved a lot over the years, and often now you can’t tell if a pedal is digital or not. This has brought their other qualities into play. Often with digital pedals, you can get a higher level of functionality. For some guitarists, this has made digital phaser pedals a better option than their analog rivals. If you are looking for a digital model, it’s hard to look past the TC Electronic Helix Phaser Pedal.
Controls and effects
There are numerous controls and effects that you can have. Here, we are going to look at the most common of them.
Rate/Speed – For some, this is the only control they need, and the only one you’ll find on every model. It makes the sweep faster or slower and is by far the most important control.
Depth – This knob will give the sweep more or less intensity.
Resonance – Works by adding or cutting off lower frequencies to emphasize the tone.
Modes/Stages – When you have this on a phaser pedal, it can imitate the effects of different phasers pedals of the past.
Level/Mix/Wet-Dry –This is the amount of the wet pedal effect applied vs. the dry input signal.
Feedback – This controls the amount of output signal being sent back into the input.
True bypass is often seen as important to guitar pedals as it ensures the sound is as clear as possible. It works perfectly in a short signal chain, which is what most guitarists will be playing with. The problem with true bypass can be found when you’re using a longer chain and/or a long cable.
There are times when the tone of a true bypass can be drained, which is why you will need a buffered pedal to restore the signal strength before it gets to the amp. However, this can affect the sound quality, which is why it isn’t preferred in a short chain.
All the pedals we’ve looked at here offer true bypass with the exception of the BOSS PH-3 Phase Shifter, which is a brilliant pedal with buffered bypass.
Before you buy a pedal, it’s a good idea to check the power supply to make sure that it’s suitable for your needs. If you have all your pedals work with 9V batteries to make your pedalboard as independent as possible, then it would make sense to get a pedal that works with the battery as well.
Some run on a 9V battery, others require an adapter, but the majority of pedals, including the Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII, are able to work with them both to give you more flexibility.
Size and weight
For most guitarists, size and weight are not going to be an issue, but for those traveling with a full pedalboard, all those pedals can soon add up. Some of the pedals that we have looked at here are very compact and don’t require much space on your board, such as the Mooer Ninety Orange Mini Phaser.
You need to balance up your needs as larger pedals can be easier to use, and often, they will have more versatility. The best size and weight for you are going to depend on your needs solely. You want to asses these needs before you choose a phaser pedal.
All of these pedals have an input and output that you obviously need, but other pedals are going to be able to offer you a little bit more functionality.
The likes of the TC Electronic Helix Phaser Pedal will offer you a stereo input and output, along with the regular input and output. This enables you to split two different signals, but it will also enable you to connect to two amps.
Another added level of functionality, as seen with the BOSS PH-3 Phase Shifter, is having an input for an expression pedal if you wanted to be able to have more control over your effects. If you don’t have a need for these extra inputs and outputs, then you can just get a simpler phaser pedal.
As we’ve seen here, there can be a big difference between some of these pedals. You shouldn’t just get a phaser pedal with loads of controls just for the sake of it.
Some guitarists like to keep their phaser pedal simple as you just want the speed setting, or perhaps you have other pedals on your board.
It’s important to find a phaser pedal that is in your price range, and we have a few different options available here.
If you don’t mind paying the premium price for a high-quality pedal, then the Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII, with its vast range of functionality, is available at around $350. With this, you are getting nine controls, two switches, and an expression/CV input jack and a TAP/MIDI output jack.
Phasers work with a series of filters that are able to change the frequency of a note. The aim of this was to get the same wavy effect you’d get from a speaker spinning round. Early phasers did this quite simply, and as technology has progressed, more customization is now possible. For this to be done, the phaser splits the signal and then shifts one of the split signals. The pedal then blends these two signals back together. This causes that sweeping sound that many people love. Modern pedals can alter the sound further to get precise effects.
A flanger has a more metallic sound than a phaser, which others would describe as a lot more organic. Those warm swooshing and swirling sounds are symptomatic of a phaser pedal. This is because the two mixed signals cancel each other out, causing that wavy sound. With a flanger, the dry signal is blended with a swaying delayed signal. When this is fed back into the chain, it then creates harmonic feedback. This makes the two similar in how the effects are produced but different in sound, with the flanger having those metallic qualities.
As with most guitar pedals, the phaser is not something that you’re going to have turned on throughout the whole of a song. In rock and metal music, the phaser pedal has often been used to add a subtle swirling effect and girth to the tone of solos. In other forms of music, such as reggae and funk, the phaser is used a lot more heavily in between clean chord progressions. The phaser is perfect for being able to add something a little different to clean chords.
All the pedals that we have looked at here are of the highest quality. In terms of overall ratings, we feel that the MXR M101 Phase 90 Phaser Pedal is the best choice. It’s very well priced with perfect sound quality and is very easy to use.
If you’re looking for a simple introduction to phaser pedals, the JOYO JF-06 Vintage Phase is an awesome, affordable option.
Although the previous model doesn’t have a lot of functionality, you can find it with the Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII, which would be a great choice for someone looking for versatility.
We picked three there, but you can’t go wrong with any of these models. They are all a little different, so make sure you’re choosing one that suits your needs. All that’s left to do is pick the best phaser pedal you love and enjoy the wonderful sounds it can create.