If you are a guitarist that is looking to express yourself to the fullest, the best kind of pedal that we can recommend is the Wah. From funk to rock and roll, wah pedals create one of the most iconic guitar effects of all time.
From the heel-down to the toe-down, wah pedals are surprisingly quite different from one another.
Getting the right kind of “wow” comes down to the pedal that you decide to get. To make sure that you get the best wah pedal, we’re here to break it down.
Here are some of the top wah-wahs on the market today!
- 1 10 Best Top Rated Wah Pedals
- 2 Simplicity Vs. Flexibility
- 3 Optical Vs. Mechanical
- 4 Durability
- 5 Wikki Wikki What?!
10 Best Top Rated Wah Pedals
Even beyond the unique white design that sets it apart from most wah pedals on the market, the Xotic XW-1 is one of the best-sounding wahs on the market with an incredible amount of flexibility.
It provides guitarists with a large set of unique parameters to adjust so that the tone can be infinitely shaped.
Unlike many wah pedals out there, the Xotic Wah XW-1 goes far beyond that “sweet spot” that limits full wah expression. Throughout the entire sweeping range, the pedal feels totally responsive and feels insanely smooth.
On the side of the pedal, you have a couple of different controls. There is a bass and treble control so that you can adjust the overall EQ of the pedal, a bias control, and a “Q” control to narrow in on certain frequencies or spread it wide.
Even after all the flexibility that Xotic gives you with the XW-1, the pedal is built like a tank. It is 100% ready for the road and will last you a lifetime if you take care of it.
Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a warm, versatile, and durable wah pedal, that is at the top of the market, there is no better pedal than the XW-1.
For what it is, the Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah is an incredible value. It is a good wah pedal for guitarists who want something simple to work with.
The Wailer Wah provides guitarists with the sound and feel of a Cry Baby with a few modern mods. One of the best modifications is weight reduction, which makes the Wailer Wah so much easier to carry around.
The tone has been adjusted a bit from the classic Cry Baby as well. While Cry Baby pedals typically have more of a high-end sweep that pokes at your eardrums, the Wailer Wah has a smoother and rounder tone that transitions between bass and treble like butter.
All of this is done with an old-school mechanical design that you can feel as you press down into your toe.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an old-school Cry Baby sound with a smoother transitional tone, the Wailer Wah is one of the best out there. It is simple and affordable as well.
When it comes to pure design, the Morley VAI-2 is one of our favorites. All you have to do is step on it to start it up, as it doesn’t come with your typical wah switch. There are two different modes on the pedal, including Contour Wah and Bad Horsie mode, each of which is easy to select by using your foot.
Bad Horsie gives you a regular wah sound while the Contour mode allows you to change the frequency that you want to narrow in on. There is a Clear Tone buffer circuitry that allows you to maintain the overall level of your signal, whether it is engaged or bypassed. No matter what, you’ll be sure to get a far clearer tone that doesn’t feel blocked.
Furthermore, we love the fact that they’ve added LED indicators on the face, as it can be difficult with cheaper wah wah pedals to tell if they are on or off.
Bottom Line: The Morley VAI-2 is an excellent wah for guitarists who want to mess with different modes and functionalities. It is easy to use and provides a bit of added versatility.
Compared to the other pedals on our list, the Fulltone Clyde is built like an absolute tank. Yes, it may be a bit bulkier and heavier than many of the pedals we’re talking about, though you’ll never have to worry about it getting busted up.
On the inside of the Fulltone Clyde Standard is an internal resonance control mechanism that allows you to mess with a variety of different wah tones. The beauty is, the sounds are always very clear, and you can even adjust the gain to make sure that your volume stays consistent when the pedal is engaged.
When compared to a lot of simple wahs on our list, the Clyde has a wonderful response time. You can easily toggle between different tones with incredible speed. It may seem a bit expensive for what it is, though it’s a pedal that will truly last forever.
Bottom Line: The Clyde Standard is one of the meanest pedals on our wah list, perfect for those who need a durable device that can go beyond the scope of your standard wah pedal.
Vox has been making some of the best wah pedals for quite some time now, and to this day, they are still making their instant classics.
Though a lot of guitarists seek out the V847 and V846 models, we love the V846HW the most, as it is hand-wired for absolute tone perfection.
The circuit on the V846WH is built on a turret board that uses polyester film capacitors and carbon composite resistors. The pedal also uses a halo-style inductor as well, giving it the classic sound that we all know and love.
One thing to note is that it does use a true-bypass switch, which sets it apart from a lot of the vintage wah pedals back in the day. Also, it is a battery-only pedal, which is a bit strange, though we guess it adds to the overall mojo of the pedal? Groovy baby.
Bottom Line: For lovers of vintage tone or pedal collectors of the world, the Vox V846HW is one of the best wah pedals around.
The Dunlop Q95 is basically your standard Dunlop Cry Baby pedal with a few small upgrades for those seeking a modem functionality.
One of the main upgrades includes the Q control, which allows you to adjust the shape of the frequency range that you are affecting, essentially giving you more control over the tone of your wah from top to bottom. The control gives you a 15dB boost to add a bit of gain to your signal.
Beyond that, the Q95 provides guitarists with a tone that is very reminiscent of the old-school Cry Baby. The chassis is built like a tank, perfect for taking with you on the road.
Bottom Line: The Dunlop Q95 is perfect for those who are seeking out the classic Cry Baby tone with a slight upgrade in terms of control.
While Vox is probably most famous for the amps that they manufacture, Vox wah pedals have also been at the top of the game for a very long time. The V847A is a durable and easy-to-use wah pedal for beginners and experts alike.
It’s a pretty simple pedal overall with two quarter-inch jack locations and a small case for a 9V battery, which can power the pedal for a whopping 100 hours of use! It has the 1960s written all over it! From the black and silver face, which sports a large VOX logo, to the unique feeling when you press your toe towards the top, it
In terms of the overall design, it comes with a very sturdy enclosure that can be taken on the road. It is very simple as well, providing beginner wah users with an entry-level interface and beautiful tone.
Bottom Line: The Vox V847A is one of the top pedals in the Vox wah pedal line, perfect for both lovers of simplicity, as well as seekers of classic tone.
The Fender FWP-1 Is a beautiful wah pedal that is designed with a sturdy cast-metal chassis and a non-slip treadle. For people looking for rich and classic sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, the Fender FWP-1 is an excellent choice. The foot feel is incredibly smooth, giving you a buttery response from heel to toe.
There is an internal switch that allows you to toggle between a buffered or classic output, giving you a bit more flexibility when it comes to where you want to put the pedal on your board.
Fender is one of the most reliable music brands around, and their wah pedal is a true testament to the brand.
Bottom Line: Though the wah pedal might seem like a basic unit from the outside, it has a delicious sound that provides subtle flexibility and smooth response.
When it comes to classic wah pedals, it is kind of hard to beat the Dunlop GCB95. Though many pedals have surpassed it over the years in terms of versatility and tone, there is something special about the nastiness of a Cry Baby that keeps it alive today. Beyond that, it is incredibly affordable.
One thing to note with the Dunlop GCB95 is that it does not use true bypass circuitry. With that said, it produces a unique tone that is far from clean, though nostalgic to the ears. It generates the classic wah sound that we all know and love. If you are someone that grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix or just about any rock music of the 1960s, this is the pedal that will help you to emulate those tones.
Of course, the GCB95 isn’t versatile whatsoever, as it doesn’t provide you with any switches or parameters for EQ or tone, though it gives you the proper “wow” that has been the pinnacle of rock and funk stardom for so long.
Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a classic wah sound, there is nothing better than the Dunlop GCB95.
Best Budget Option
Even with all of the versatility that the Behringer Hellbabe provides, it is still one of the cheapest wah pedals on the market, perfect for shredders on a budget.
When it comes to the look of the pedal, it is not as sleek as some of the top pedals on this list, though the tone is quite good, providing you with a clear and crisp wah sound without the additional coloring. It uses a switchless feature to get going, meaning all you have to do is start working the pedal and it gets going.
Surprisingly enough, no matter how hard you get this pedal going, it doesn’t add nasty noise.
Bottom Line: The Behringer Hellbabe is the best wah pedal for guitarists prioritizing affordability. It sounds excellent and is strangely versatile for the low price.
Simplicity Vs. Flexibility
Choosing between a simple wah and a flexible wah depends on how often you are going to use it and what you’re going to use it for. Most guitarists don’t need much control from their guitar wah pedal, so one that has a simple pedal design without added controls will do.
However, guitarists who do want a bit more control might opt for flexible features like EQ settings, volume control, frequency control, and more. Of course, you will have to pay more for a more flexible pedal, so the simplicity is a tradeoff.
Optical Vs. Mechanical
Optical and mechanical wahs are pretty much the same in what they do, though the main difference is the internal process.
An optical wah uses lasers that will help the pedal decide where the frequency should shift when the pedal is pushed down or up.
Mechanical wah pedals use potentiometers and other gears to help the pedal respond to the shift under the foot.
❗️Bottom Line: If you’re shooting for longevity, we would highly recommend an optical wah, as you don’t have to worry about the gears or pots wearing out or dying on you.
Pedals work with your foot and take quite a bit of abuse, especially from expressive guitarists. This is why you never want to cheap out when buying a guitar wah pedal. A cheap, plastic wah wah pedal will eventually break on you if used a lot.
Beyond the body and housing, wah pedals with cheap potentiometers and other gears will also need replacement more often, meaning you’ll likely spend more money getting the pedal repaired in the long run.
Wikki Wikki What?!
By now, we hope that you are inspired to grab your own wah pedal to add a little bit of spice to your lead and rhythm playing. No matter what genre of music you play, the wah is a classic effect that is a must-have.
So what is the best wah pedal for guitar?
Though we love all of the pedals on our list, if we had to choose one, we’d pick the Xotic Wah XW-1. From versatility to durability to tone, it’s got it all.
Now turn on some Zappa, Jimi, or Clapton, and get your wah on!