The best clean boost pedals are great for bringing your sound to the forefront and making your tone stand out when need be. With a simple and straightforward design, boost pedals can not only give you the spotlight for a solo or main melody lines, but also enhance your tone. In some cases, these tools can also help shape your sound and be that secret weapon on your pedalboard.
In simple terms, boost pedals are used to increase the volume of your guitar signal. Besides giving you a nice transparent tone, the best clean boost pedals can also push your tube amp beyond the breakup point in order to achieve a great tone. These tools can also make up for lost frequencies, especially with longer cable runs.
Boost pedals have been around for decades and have been used by most legendary guitar heroes. You can also stack your boost pedal with other effects units in order to achieve your desired tone. There are plenty of boost pedals out there in the market, and in this article, we’re going to help you decide which one to pick. Keep reading.
Features: JFET Design, Metal film resistors and caps, Internal power supply boost
Benefits: Creates tube like sensitivity, Delivers exceptional headroom, Hands free gain ajustment
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Features: One knob control, All metal construction, LED on/off indicator
Benefits: Ultra simple control, Rock solid construction, Super transparent boost
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Features: True bypass, 20dB clean gain, All metal housing
Benefits: Rugged construction, User friendly operation, Extremely affordable
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- Best Clean Boost Pedals: Out Top 3
- Best Clean Boost Pedals: Individual Reviews
- How to Choose the Best Best Clean Boost Pedal for You
- Final Thoughts on the Best Clean Boost Pedals
Best Clean Boost Pedals: Out Top 3
The JHS Prestige Buffer is our Top Pick for this list. This is a rugged one-knob mini pedal that offers you a clean boost and will likely fit in any pedalboard. With a simple design and great built quality, this pedal offers three ways to boost your tone.
The TC Electronic Rush is our Budget Choice. With a straightforward design, this pedal comes in a very durable enclosure and is a great choice to boost your sound with 20 dB of clean boost on an affordable unit.
Finally, the Keeley Katana Clean Boost is our Editor’s Choice. This is a versatile boost pedal with a side-mounted speed knob that you can turn with your foot to adjust the gain in order to carry out real-time adjustments in the middle of a song. A fantastic choice for discerning players.
Best Clean Boost Pedals: Individual Reviews
An effective and elegant solution for clean boost.
JHS is a respected pedal company out of Kansas City, Missouri, with highly desirable models of all types. The Prestige Buffer brings that level of quality and functionality into a simple yet effective boost pedal that is sturdy and convenient to use.
The JHS Prestige Buffer is a rugged one-knob mini pedal that gives you a clean boost and is sure to fit in any pedalboard. On its small front panel, right below the only knob, there is a drawing of a top hat with some rabbit ears coming out. Besides being cute, this small doodle is an accurate representation of what this unassuming pedal offers.
We used our Fender Strat in conjunction with our Twin Reverb amp for this review. At simple sight, this may look like a simple boost pedal, but the real trick is how it boosts. When we set the knob at some point between zero and 25% and got a transparent boosted tone. We then switched to a long 20-foot cable and noticed a loss of high-frequencies when the pedal was on bypass. However, when boosted at around 20%, we were able to recover some of the lost frequencies.
When we turned the knob up further, we naturally got a greater tone boost. We found that the sweet spot of this pedal is with the knob turned to somewhere between 25 to 50%, where we got a great boosted tone for solos or for carrying a melody line.
Finally, the remaining 50 to 100% gave us a nice clean drive, great for pushing our tube amp just beyond the breakup point. Here is where we’d go into some grittier bluesy territory. And although the Prestige Buffer is a clean boost, it paired nicely with our Ibanez Tube Screamer, as well as our EHX Big Muff.
In short, a fantastic clean boost pedal that is truly simple and straightforward, but can be used in creative ways to get the exact boost you need depending on the application and context.
Verdict: The JHS Prestige Buffer is a well-built mini pedal that offers you a clean boost. It can be used for bringing back some lost frequencies on long cable runs, or even to push your tube amp beyond its breakup point, hitting that sweet tonal spot.
A sturdy choice booster for transparent boost.
TC Electronic is one of the top brands for offering quality tools for musicians, and this booster pedal is no exception. Besides featuring durable construction, you get a clean boost at an impressively low price.
The TC Electronic Rush is a straightforward boost pedal that comes in a very durable enclosure, with a bit of a vintage flair to it. We put it into our signal chain while using our Fender Strat guitar and Twin Reverb amp to test it out.
We tried this pedal at first by playing a series of chord progressions and then stepping on the switch to simulate a clean solo situation. With a nice and clean 20 dB of boost, the TC Electronic Rush let the true quality of our Strat shine through for single lines on clean.
While boosted, we also tried a few double stops and spacious arpeggios and liked how this pedal responded across the entire frequency range. From our bass notes on the lower strings all the way to high notes way up on the neck, we felt that this booster is far better than its small price tag suggests.
We then paired it with our Boss Super Chorus pedal and added a bit more reverb directly from our amp. We really liked the boosted tone we got. The Rush Booster can be your go-to pedal for a clean boost, as it delivers a transparent tone and also pairs well with other effects units.
Although this is a clean boost pedal, we liked how it sounds when combined with our Ibanez Tube Screamer, offering a great solution for rock or blues solos. We tried this combination with overdrive as well as more aggressive distortion and got great results for a variety of contexts. In short, a simple clean boost that gets the job done in style.
Verdict: The TC Electronic Rush is a plain boost pedal that features a very durable metal enclosure, and has a vintage look and feel. This pedal offers you a transparent boost with great build quality, and for a low price.
A superior clean boost pedal for the discerning musician.
Keeley is regarded as one of the best pedal makers, with unique designs that excel in quality. The Katana Clean Boost is further proof of that solid reputation and comes with a unique design feature as well as great tone and fantastic build quality.
The Keeley Katana Clean Boost is a versatile boost pedal with an elegant and seamless design in a rugged enclosure. It comes with an Internal Power Supply Boost that turns your 9V into 18V for high headroom.
We tried this pedal with our Gibson Les Paul going into our Twin Reverb amp via our pedalboard. After stepping on the single switch to activate the unit, we moved the side-mounted speed knob with our foot in order to adjust the gain. This unique design feature gave us real-time and hands-free control that can be of great use during a song, without the need to bend down or stop playing for gain adjustments.
We loved how smooth and progressively this knob increased our gain, with no bumps or unpleasant surprises. Although it took us a few tries to get used to moving the knob around with our foot, we got a good feel for it after a few minutes to take full advantage of this great feature.
Besides giving us a great clean boost, the Keeley Katana can also go into saturated territory. We got a taste of this by pulling out the speed knob with our hands, where the boost went up to 30 dB. This was a great feature to kick into sustained solos in the middle of a show while making sure you are truly cutting through on the mix.
This pedal also comes with metal film resistors and caps, which gave us ultra-low-noise operation at all times. The Keeley Katana also offers true bypass switching and operates via a 9V battery or DC adapter. In short, a fantastic boost pedal for discerning professionals that value quality.
Verdict: The Keeley Katana Clean Boost is a versatile boost pedal with an elegant and seamless design in a rugged enclosure. It comes with an Internal Power Supply Boost that turns your 9V into 18V for high headroom.
A classic booster with tons of flexibility.
Xotic is a respected pedal maker based in California. They released a limited run of the RC Booster to celebrate its twenty years. This pedal is truly versatile and gives you tone-sculping options not commonly found in clean boosters.
The Xotic RC Booster Classic 20th Anniversary Pedal marks the two-decade celebration of an iconic boost pedal. It comes with its original black-and-white design and four knobs to give the user versatile boost options for a variety of uses and contexts.
We plugged the Xotic RC Booster Classic into our Twin Reverb amp while using our Strat and got 20 dB of transparent boost with the Gain set low. One of our favorite features on this pedal is the adjustable ±15 dB two-band EQ, which makes it stand out from other boosters. By using the dedicated treble and bass knobs, we were able to fine-tune our sound depending on the use and context.
To push the versatility of this boost pedal even further, Xotic included a Gain knob. Past the 12 o’clock mark, we were able to get some fatter tones, ideal for thicker rock or blues soloing. We also liked how the Gain knob acted when we paired this pedal with our Tube Screamer, as it added another layer of punch to our sound.
The Xotic RC Booster Classic also got the job done when we used to send our amp into rich overdrive. Besides, this booster also paired up well with just about any pedal we combined it with, making it a good choice for players of any style.
This clean boost pedal comes with true-bypass switching and runs via a 9V battery or AC adapter that you must purchase separately. And to keep it truly special, Xotic only produced 1000 units of the RC Booster Classic. In other words, act fast!
Verdict: The Xotic RC Booster Classic 20th Anniversary Pedal is a limited-production pedal that celebrates an iconic booster. With its original black-and-white design, two-band EQ, Volume, and Gain knobs, this pedal gives you a transparent boost and is a versatile choice for all types of guitarists.
A simple booster that delivers great tone and convenience.
TC Electronic is one of the go-to companies for guitarists, particularly when it comes to effects. The Spark Mini Booster offers you a transparent boost in a very compact, well-built, and affordable mini format.
The TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster comes with PrimeTime switching, TC Electronic’s own technology. This particular feature gives the option to either have the switch permanently on (latching) or to keep it on while you hold it down (momentary).
This mini pedal gives you 20 dB of clean boost, and we loved how simple and unassuming it is. We were able to fit in our very cramped pedalboard, as this pedal is tiny. However, don’t confuse small with weak, as this pedal showed us how sturdy and well-built it is from the moment we held it.
We tried this pedal with our Fender Stratocaster going into our pedalboard and then to our Twin Reverb. We used it in conjunction with several of our other effects, including various chorus, flanger, and reverb stompboxes. The Spark Mini Booster gave a strong signal and transparent tone at different levels.
While playing with some tracks, this pedal was a great tool to go from playing rhythm parts to the main melody and soloing, all in clean. We particularly liked it paired with our TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb on a funk track, in position four of our Strat.
In short, a sturdy and compact pedal that can give you a transparent boost that is useful in a variety of situations. This pedal offers a straightforward boost and nothing else, so if you need extra features, consider other options.
Verdict: The TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster comes in a compact form factor and gives a simple single-knob design that gives you up to 20 dB of boost. It comes with TC Electronic’s PrimeTime switching, so you can use it in either latching or momentary mode, and also gives you true bypass switching.
A booster that allows you to fine-tune your tone.
Fender needs no presentation among musicians. With over seven decades of excellence, this company is a relatively new player when it comes to mass-produced pedals. The Engager is a great booster for folks that like to take control over their tone, with the quality and tradition that this Fender provides.
The Fender Engager is a durable and convenient clean booster that allows you to shape your boosted tone any way you want it. The first thing we liked about this pedal is how sturdy it felt, with a light, anodized aluminum enclosure. Besides, it features an ingenious and convenient 9V battery compartment that makes it easy to quickly swap batteries.
We plugged the pedal into our Roland JC-120 amp while playing our Strat and got 20 dB of clean boost. This pedal allowed us to go a bit further for conveniently sculpting our boosted tone thanks to its 3-band EQ. Each gives you 12 dB of cut or boost on each frequency band, which significantly enhances the versatility of the Engager Boost.
It also comes with a mid-frequency toggle that allowed us to sculpt our tone even further. For instance, to change our midrange at 800 Hz, all we had to do was keep the toggle in the up position and then use the knob to either boost or cut. On the other hand, we placed the toggle on the down position to boost or cut at 400 Hz.
One of our favorite uses of the Engager Boost came when we combined it with our EHX Big Muff Pi fuzz. We place the boost pedal in front of the fuzz in order to be able to fine-tune our tone and have greater control over it. This application was perfect to kick into gritty solos with a more sculpted sound.
With selectable true/buffered bypass and LED-backlit knobs, this booster is a good choice for folks that are more detail-oriented with their sound. However, some users may want to opt for a simpler and smaller unit.
Verdict: The Fender Engager is a well-built and convenient clean booster that enables you to shape your tone with a 3-band EQ and switchable toggle for selecting the middle frequency. With a sturdy aluminum enclosure and ingenious 9V battery compartment, this pedal gives you great tonal flexibility and 20 dB of boost.
Clean boost that gives you a fat low end.
Dave Friedman has been at the forefront of rock amplification for well over two decades. With clients such as Eddie Van Halen and Jerry Cantrell, Friedman is considered a true guru and has now brought us a boost pedal that delivers that same level of detail and know-how.
The Friedman Buxom Boost Pedal is a well-designed and well-built clean boost that gives you plenty of choices to dial and enhance your tone. It comes with a 3-band EQ that allowed us to shape your tone perfectly for different contexts and uses.
Using our Strat in our Twin Reverb, we got a powerful clean boost that stayed true to the character of our instrument. We used different combinations on the three-way EQ and then flipped the EQ Bypass switch to completely remove the dialed tone and go back to transparent performance. We found this feature to be very useful, as we got two settings that can be used with the simple flip of a switch.
One of our favorite features on the Buxom Boost is the Tight knob. With a simple twist, we got punchy lows that added a lot of depth to our tone. We found this to be perfect for solo performers as it adds a defined fatness to enhance the overall tone of the instrument. We tried this feature with both our Strat and Les Paul, and although it sounded well with both, we liked how it paired with the forward twangy character of our Fender the best.
The Tight Knob was also great when we paired the Buxom Boost with our Tube Screamer. With higher distortion settings, we got a tone that was punchy with tons of defined low end that was perfect for heavy riffing. In short, a fantastic boost pedal for folks that like to go in deep.
Verdict: The Friedman Buxom Boost Pedal is a clean boost that gives you a transparent boost while allowing you to dial and enhance your tone. It is especially good for handling and sweetening your low end, and comes with a 3-band EQ, offering great flexibility.
How to Choose the Best Best Clean Boost Pedal for You
A good clean boost pedal is a simple yet extremely useful way to make your tone stand out when needed. Many of these units typically feature a single knob that provides up to 20 decibels of extra volume. Others offer greater control over your tone and may appeal to guitarists that like to go into the nuts and bolts of tone, frequencies, and more.
Regardless of the type of clean boost pedal, these tools can be useful for a variety of uses and scenarios. The most obvious is to provide a boost for a solo, melody line, or any other moment when the guitar needs to rise above all else and deliver a musical statement.
Besides that, clean boosts can also help you restore some of the frequencies that commonly get lost with long cable runs. Furthermore, clean boosts can also be of special use when stacking them with other pedals. This makes clean boost that much more useful, as some of them combine particularly well with distortion units.
There are plenty of clean boosts that come in a single-knob design and nothing else. This makes them some of the most compact and simplest pedals you could ever have. But even with one knob, a good clean boost pedal can give different useful results depending on where on the dial you set the knob.
Although not an official category for clean boosters, we’re using the term versatile designs to include any clean boost pedal that offers more than a single knob operation. There are clean boosters that also allow you to have control over the EQ, and may come with other useful features like a buffered and true bypass.
Clean boost pedals that offer you a two or three-band EQ give you the option to dial the sound just the way you want it. Some models even allow you to pick between set frequencies and the boost or cut them in order to offer greater control, particularly in the mid frequencies. Other booster models give special attention to the low end, which may appeal to many players.
Like always, it is imperative to ask what kind of boost pedal you need and if you prefer simplicity or the ability to make detailed tonal changes on your boosted tone.
Final Thoughts on the Best Clean Boost Pedals
Clean boost pedals come in different configurations and sizes that will appeal to different types of players. Whether you want a straightforward design that does nothing but boost your signal or you want to have great control over your boosted tone, there is something for you in this list.
To recap our choices, The JHS Prestige Buffer is our Top Pick for this list. With a rugged construction and one-knob design, this mini pedal offers you a clean boost and is quite convenient to fit even in cramped pedalboards.
The TC Electronic Rush is our Budget Choice. With a simple design, this pedal gives you 20 dB of clean boost on an affordable unit and comes in a very durable enclosure.
Finally, the Keeley Katana Clean Boost is our Editor’s Choice. This is a versatile boost pedal that features a side-mounted speed knob to adjust the gain with your foot and alter your tone in real-time and is a great option for discerning players that value quality.