Chorus pedals were introduced in the ’70s and attained vast popularity in the 80s. Over time, this sound lost favor and became somewhat of a pariah among many guitarists and sound engineers.
However, it has regained its place in music, and manufacturers know this. As a result, there are many models on the market today. They vary from simple to complex and run the gamut from analog to digital, with different editing and processing options.
Legendary musicians from across all genres have used chorus effects and this sound is part of their identity. Names like Kurt Cobain and jazz fusion master Mike Stern come to mind. Today, we give you the 7 best chorus pedals on the market, so you can make a wise decision that is right for you. Read on.
- Top 3 Best Chorus Pedals
- Best Chorus Pedals: Individual Reviews
- How To Choose The Best Chorus Pedal
- Final Thoughts on the Best Chorus Pedals
Top 3 Best Chorus Pedals
The Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus Pedal is our Top Pick. This fantastic pedal combines two legendary chorus effects with improvements. It is built with the proven durability and ease of use that Boss is known for.
The Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus is our Budget Choice. This is a great pedal for the money. It gives you full control over your chorus sound and can go from subtle to intense on a whim.
Finally, the Strymon Mobius Multidimensional Modulation Pedal is our Editor’s Choice. This pedal gives you immense versatility as it provides 12 modulation effects with superior sound quality and profound editing possibilities as well.
Best Chorus Pedals: Individual Reviews
An enhanced recreation of two classic effects.
Boss is one of the most respected effects pedal makers in history. This pedal recreates two of their renowned chorus effects and puts them in one stompbox, with proven Boss functionality and durability.
The Boss CE-2W Waza Craft chorus pedal re-creates the chorus sound featured on the classic CE-1 and CE-2 pedals. Both of these models are still sought after today by detail-oriented guitarists.
The CE-2 is the successor of the CE-1 and both models feature premium all-analog circuitry. With the CE-2W Waza Craft, you can seemingly switch between the classic CE-2 sound and the CE-1 chorus and vibrato effects by just flipping a switch. This pedal features analog bucket brigade technology which produces superior modulation effects.
Besides combining both pedals in one, the CE-2W goes a step further by offering stereo output for the CE-2 effects as well as variable depth for the chorus of the CE-1.
We really liked how simple this pedal’s design and operation are. It features two knobs (rate and depth) and a three-way switch that let us easily choose between the CE-2 chorus and the CE-1 chorus and vibrato.
In our tests, we started by trying the CE-2 sound with our Strat plugged into our Twin reverb amp. We got a lush chorus sound that guitarists fell in love with four decades ago.
We then moved on to the CE-1 chorus and got an authentic recreation of this classic sound. We really liked how our open chords sounded with the CE-1 with both the rate and depth knob at around 10 o’clock.
On all of its settings, this pedal gave us spot-on recreations of the original effects. However, we also got less noise and a consistent tone at all times, surpassing what the originals offered.
In short, a fantastic pedal that recreates two of the most legendary chorus effects in history.
Verdict: The Boss CE-2W Waza Craft chorus pedal combines the classic sounds of the legendary CE-1 and CE-2 effects. This stompbox is built with simplicity and quality in mind and features the traditional Boss form factor.
A big chorus sound that is truly affordable.
Behringer has made a name for itself by offering solutions for musicians at a low budget. This pedal is further proof of that, as you get a good and versatile chorus sound that you can easily tweak.
The Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus offers everything you’d expect from a chorus pedal but on a budget. You can dial your ideal chorus sound via its four dedicated knobs: Level, Tone, Rate, and Depth.
This rugged stompbox also comes with a blue LED that functions as an indicator for when the effect is engaged and doubles as a battery check. In case you want that massive chorus sound, the UC200 is equipped with two 1/4″ outs. While Out A is for mono operation, you can easily plug Out B for stereo.
We started our tests but setting all the knobs in the middle and playing some chords on our Strat. We got a nice and filling chorus that was quite good for the price of this pedal.
For soloing, we took the rate up to 2 o’clock and dialed down the tone and Depth knob to about 10 o’clock. Here we got a nice spacious tone that was right on the edge between jazzy and experimental. We particularly liked it when our strat was on pickup positions 4 and 5.
This pedal can give you everything from a classic type of chorus to an all-washed-out tone to experiment with. Dialing different sounds was a breeze, as all the knobs are self-explanatory and this pedal is easy to operate.
For convenience, the ultra chorus runs on a 9 V battery. Or if you would rather incorporate it into your pedalboard, you can also opt to buy a separate DC power supply.
In short, a fantastic choice for folks that are on a tight budget but want a chorus pedal to complete their pedal setup. Here you get a durable, intuitive, and easy to use pedal for very little money.
Verdict: The Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus gives you control of your chorus via its four simple knobs, so you can go from classic tone to experimental. This is a great option for folks that are short on cash and want a durable chorus pedal.
12 Modulation types in the ultimate chorus/flanger machine.
Strymon has been at the forefront of quality pedals for the modern guitarist. The Mobius is yet another example of superior design, construction, and functionality in a fantastic modulation pedal.
The Strymon Mobius Multidimensional Modulation pedal features 12 different kinds of modulation as well as comprehensive editing possibilities. This unit offers 200 onboard preset slots to store your edited effects for immediate recall.
Besides offering traditional modulation effects such as chorus, flanger, and phaser, the Mobius pedal also comes with accurate re-creations of renowned vintage tones. This unit is powered by a SHARC DSP that offers superior audio quality.
With this pedal, you can also go well beyond regular modulation effects. Strymon designed the Mobius with very effective tone-shaping capabilities that give the user full control over how far to take these effects.
The front plate features two parameter knobs that can be individually assigned in order to control different aspects of each preset. Right next to it there is the effect type knob that lets you select among the 12 possibilities: Vibe, Phaser, Filter, Formant, Vintage Trem, Pattern Tem, Autoswell, Destroyer, Quadrature, Chorus, Flanger and Rotary.
We started our tests by going straight to the chorus effect with the speed and depth knobs at about 11 o’clock. We got a beautiful and lush chorus that can be used in a variety of situations, from open chords to jazz lines a la Mike Stern.
We tried several other effects and loved how versatile and varied this pedal is. One of our favorites was Destroyer, which allowed us to get experimental and get lost in open textures, especially at high speed and depth levels.
This pedal also features fantastic I/O capabilities, including stereo connection, MIDI control, and a plug-in for an expression pedal. In short, a very versatile pedal that handles all modulation needs in an effective and logical way is ideal for the dedicated professional.
Verdict: The Strymon Mobius Multidimensional Modulation pedal features 12 different kinds of modulation as well as comprehensive editing possibilities. This unit offers 200 onboard preset slots to store your edited effects for immediate recall.
A unique, simple and beautiful chorus pedal.
This is a very unique chorus unit that builds on the legacy of the MkIII pedal but reduces its size to better fit a pedalboard setup. Its all-analog circuitry provides a traditional chorus sound that can go from subtle to wild and experimental.
The Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo Analog Chorus belongs to this company’s series of reduced-size stompboxes. This analog chorus is based on the legendary blue-boxed chorus, which was renowned for its washy 80s textured sound and Leslie speaker character.
This pedal offers bucket-brigade chorus and vibrato on a simple and streamlined design with two knobs and one switch. Speed and Depth are self-explanatory for a chorus pedal. We started our tests by trying out how far these knobs can take the modulation.
At first, we dialed in a subtle but gorgeous chorus sound a conservative setting on both knobs. The sound we got here can be used in a variety of contexts and situations. We played some clean rhythm guitar and some lines as well, with the nice open nature of a good chorus tone.
We then turned both the Speed and Rate knobs all the way to 3 o’clock and got tape-like wetness that is ripe for more experimental settings and situations.
Besides offering beautiful to experimental chorus, this pedal also offers a vibrato setting with the simple flip of a switch. Here we got a shimmering classic vibrato sound that can work wonders in several contexts from rock to jazz and beyond.
This pedal also features a blinking blue LED as well as true hard-wire bypass switching, for ensuring your tone’s integrity when the pedal is disengaged. In short, a great pedal for musicians that value analog sound and simplicity. Folks that like to have more control over their tone, may want to consider a different model.
Verdict: The Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo Analog Chorus is a bucked brigade chorus pedal that also doubles as a vibrato unit. This all-analog chorus pedal features hard-wire bypass switching and is a great option for folks that favor traditional chorus and vibrato tones.
A great sounding pedal with unique features.
Walrus Audio is a renowned builder of unique effect pedals, that appeal to folks looking for something different. With a great build and fully capable of nice traditional chorus and vibrato tones, this pedal excels in the experimental department.
The Walrus Audio Julia V2 is an analog chorus pedal built with hand-wired circuitry. It comes with rate and depth controls, and a mini-toggle switch that allows you to choose between sine and triangle LFO waveforms.
Add to that a D-C-V knob that lets you set it on Dry, Chorus, or Vibrato. In typical Walrus Audio fashion, this pedal goes the extra mile by offering a lag knob. Here you can control the center delay time that the LFO effect modulates from, so you can go from traditional to unusual textures.
To make it even more unique, Walrus Audio included updated artwork from Adam Forster, the original designer of this pedal’s visuals.
We started testing this pedal by dialing in a subtle chorus sound, with the rate knob at 9 o’clock and the depth at 10 o’clock. We also placed the lower knob on C and the lag knob at about 9 o’clock.
Here we got a conservative but beautifully sounding chorus that can be used in many rock and pop contexts. When paired up with our Tube Screamer pedal on overdrive, we got a nice tone for soloing in a bluesy or even jazz context.
We then moved on to explore this pedal’s most unique feature: the Lag control. This function lets you control how much “swing” each LFO sweep has. We dialed it at around 1 o’clock and also played around with more aggressive settings on the depth control.
This gave us a unique realm of modulation that is ideal for folks looking for something out of the box. We experimented with different levels of wetness on this pedal for truly experimental textures and sounds.
In short, this is a great-sounding pedal that is ideal for folks that want to get really experimental, while also having access to typical chorus sound. However, it may be a bit too futuristic for more traditional guitarists.
Verdict: The Walrus Audio Julia V2 is a truly unique analog chorus pedal that comes with a Lag knob that makes it one of a kind. It is capable of a nice traditional chorus, but its strength is being able to take you into a modulation journey unlike any other pedal on the market.
A robust chorus pedal with a unique design.
This pedal offers plenty of modulation possibilities for the user. From a gorgeous 80's chorus to psychedelic flange swirling, this pedal is quite fun to use and very durable as well.
The Eventide TriceraChorus Pedal combines three chorus effects on a vintage-inspired stompbox that is quite sturdy. Designed with a bucket brigade-style chorus effect, this pedal also features Eventide’s MicroPitch detuning.
From traditional and watery chorus and all the way to all-out psychedelic flanging, the TriceraChorus is truly versatile and can even provide Univibe-style tones.
You also get tons of editing power via the Eventide Device Manager software. You can use this tool to edit via Mac or PC as well as load additional presets.
This pedal also features a unique control layout that combines some common choices for chorus pedals with Eventide’s Left, Center, and Right chorus voices. These three knobs allow you to power can be fully detuned for adding greater depth to your sound.
The 3-phase LFO lets you modulate delay times for all three chorus voices. As a result, this creates movement across the stereo field for a very unique tone.
In our tests, we started by combining all three modulated delays. We got a dreamy chorus that was reminiscent of the 80s but can be employed in plenty of modern contexts. This sound was fantastic for open chords and even with a bit of overdrive.
We then tried the Chorale mode and got a vintage chorus tone with a nice warble and dreamy character. We also liked the Vibrato setting with the detune knob at about 10 o clock, where it was perfect for certain rock and modern jazz contexts.
The Swirl switch on this pedal was quite fun to play with! We used it with different settings and it would send our chorus effect into a storm of psychedelic flanging, ideal for experimental contexts. In short, a unique pedal that will appeal especially to different players, but may be too complex for some.
Verdict: The Eventide TriceraChorus is a vintage-inspired stompbox for the modern player that seeks quality and versatility. It is built like a tank and features a unique set of controls and features that can go from traditional to whacky modulation.
A well-designed chorus pedal for the traditional player.
Fender offers its take on a chorus pedal that offers traditional choices combined with features that enhance authenticity via the player's touch. Built with proven Fender durability and streamlined design, this pedal can easily fit in a cramped pedalboard.
The Fender Bubbler Analog Chorus provides an enhanced chorus experience via its switchable slow and fast speeds in combination with independent Depth and Rate controls.
This pedal allows you to choose between traditional sine and triangle waveforms via a toggle switch. The Sensitivity control on the Bubbler Chorus makes it possible for the pedal to respond to your playing dynamics and affect the modulation rate.
This pedal features Fender’s unique approach to building in a sturdy box that is sure to last you for years. We truly liked how rugged this pedal is.
It features an anodized aluminum chassis that can take a beating but is lightweight at the same time. In our tests, we were able to dial in a beautiful wavering chorus in no time. It was also very intuitive to use, as we easily could control how much modulation we applied.
In short, a good pedal that is easy to operate and offers tried and true Fender functionality and build quality. However, for what it offers at this price range, there are plenty of other options to consider.
Verdict: The Fender Bubbler Analog Chorus features slow and fast speeds for an enhanced chorus effect that works in tandem with traditional Depth and Rate controls. The Sensitivity control on this pedal is a fantastic feature that lets you alter the modulation rate based on your playing, for a more dynamic experience.
How To Choose The Best Chorus Pedal
Chorus is a modulation effect created when your guitar signal uses a delay line and is split into two parts and an LFO detunes one of them. The affected part is referred to as “wet” while the unaffected is referred to as “dry”. The blending of both parts produces the chorus effect.
Other modulation effects such as flanger, vibrato, and phaser also employ a delay line and LFO. You can get vibrato with a prominent detune by increasing the wet/dry mix.
Chorus vs Flanger
To understand the difference between chorus and flanger, we have to look at the delay time. Flanger usually relies on a delay that is below 25 ms, while chorus goes beyond that number.
Chorus pedals, as opposed to a flanger, do not have a feedback control to add further resonance, which is why their timbre tends to be smoother. This may arguably be the reason of chorus’ popularity over flanger.
Analog vs Digital
Chorus does not escape the eternal analog vs digital debate. In all honesty, it is hard to say which is better, as it all depends on your taste and criteria.
As expected, tonal purists gravitate towards analog models. Among these, the models that employ a Bucket Brigade circuit are beloved among analog lovers. This is the sound that many relate to the golden era of chorus in the ’80s. This type of chorus sound is in high demand today as well.
On the other hand, there are the folks that prefer digital chorus. Convenience and reliability are two of the criteria for digital models. Many contemporary digital stompboxes can accurately emulate analog choruses and offer flanger at the same time.
The best advice is to try some chorus pedals and see if you prefer analog or digital. Some very dedicated players appreciate both analog and digital chorus pedals and use them according to the situation and context.
Price is always a concern for most of us. Just like most pieces of gear, chorus pedals come in a variety of price points, from below a hundred dollars for some truly inexpensive models, to hundreds of dollars for premium pedals.
Although there are good choices for all budgets, you typically get what you pay for. Pricier chorus pedals give you not only a better-sounding chorus effect but also versatility and vast editing options.
Some even offer modulation effects that go beyond chorus. For instance, you can get flanger, phaser, and vibrato in order to have even more tools at your disposal.
More expensive models will also give you different levels of chorus, from subtle to experimental. Again, it is up to you to decide what your needs are and plan your budget accordingly.
If sound is your main criteria, then running a good chorus pedal in stereo will produce a gorgeous sound that cannot be obtained on mono. You will fill up the room with stunning detail in a way that only a stereo chorus setting can provide.
Naturally, this implies that you need two amplifiers, which may be inconvenient, to say the least. Again, here you have a choice to make. Stunning sound or convenience (and perhaps a sore back)?
Final Thoughts on the Best Chorus Pedals
The chorus effect has had a resurgence in recent years, after its steep decline in popularity following the 80s. There are plenty of uses for this type of effect and many companies building all kinds of chorus pedals.
Like most things guitar related, the ideal chorus pedal for you will depend on your needs, genre, styles, and overall approach to the instrument. Regardless of that, we’ve provided you with 7 of the best models in the market in this article.
To recap our choices, the Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus Pedal is our Top Pick as it includes two legendary chorus effects from decades ago but does away with the noise and other issues.
The Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus is Budget Choice, offering you complete control over your sound while also remaining versatile at a low price.
Finally, the Strymon Mobius Multidimensional Modulation Pedal is our Editor’s Choice. With 12 modulation effects and superior sound quality, this pedal is for the dedicated professional that demands the best.