7 Best Flanger Pedals (2023) The Art of Modulation

From adding a subtle shimmer to the guitar tone all the way to creating extreme, psychedelic soundscapes, the best flanger pedals can be used in various ways and become a powerful tool in your arsenal.

These pedals can vary greatly, from basic units all the way through to high tech models that give you endless options to dial in the perfect tone. Simply said, flanger can add a very valuable tool on your pedalboard, which you can use for a variety of genres and musical situations.

In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ve picked 7 of the best flanger pedals and we are confident that you will find the one that is right for you.

While reviewing these pedals, we primarily looked at build quality, features, and of course, tone, and to ensure consistent results, we used the same American Fender Strat with HSS pickups, and a Fender Blues Jr to test every pedal. 

So, if you’re in the market for a flanger pedal that works for you, you’ll definitely want to keep on reading.

Editor's Choice
MXR EVH117 Eddie Van Halen

MXR EVH117 Eddie Van Halen

Features: Original Bucket Brigade design, All metal housing, Analog circuitry

Benefits: Authentic Van Halen flanger tones, Versatile controls, Excellent sound quality

Best Value
JHS 3 Series Flanger Pedal

JHS 3 Series Flanger Pedal

Features: Tape switch, Blend Rate & Intensity controls, 9v DC power

Benefits: Vintage & contemporary tones, Easy to use, Low noise operation

Best Budget
Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX

Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX

Features: Stereo in/out, Power on LED indicator, 9v & Battery power options

Benefits: 5 Additional FX, Easy sound shaping, Attractive price

Our Top 3

The JHS Series 3 Flanger is our Top Pick. It was designed to offer the user an array of sounds based on vintage flangers but with the price tag of a single flanger pedal. 

Next up, The Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal is our Best Budget Pick. It comes in a straightforward design with four useful knobs and in Behringer’s familiar stompbox form factor.

Finally, the MXR EVH117 is our Editor’s Choice for this list. It was built as a collaboration 

between Dunlop and the master himself, Eddie Van Halen. It provides the legendary guitarist’s classic flanger tone and comes in a bucket brigade design.


Individual Reviews

Top Pick
JHS Series 3 Flanger

JHS Series 3 Flanger

Effectiveness and simplicity with great sound.

JHS set out to build a pedal that delivers a history of flanging in a single unit with the price of a regular stompbox. The Series 3 Flanger Flanger pedal takes inspiration from vintage flangers and combines them in a unit that offers plenty of flange tones while providing an intuitive and straightforward user experience.

The JHS Series 3 Flanger was designed to offer the user a collection of sounds based on vintage flangers like the Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress, Tycobrahe Pedalflanger, and the MXR M117. Naturally, all of these sounds would come with the price tag of a single flanger pedal, and we were very excited to test how close JHS got to this goal. 

We started by playing with the Blend, Rate, and Intensity controls, in order to achieve different levels of the effect. We got everything from a mild flanger to intense modulation that took us to the experimental level once we dialed the Rate and Intensity control passed the 2 o clock mark.

Setting the desired level of the effect was a very intuitive process. With just three knobs and a switch, we were able to quickly dial any level of flange we wanted. Although we really liked the more subtle flanger tones we got, we still loved some of the more extreme sounds we were able to squeeze out of it. 

We particularly liked this unit when the switch was flipped downward to engage the Tape mode. Here we got that warm and organic analog flange that had a real vintage tone. With Tape mode on and the Intensity and Rate knobs at lower levels, we got a flanger sound that we were able to use  in a wide variety of modern styles.

Overall, the JHS Series 3 Flanger put up a very strong performance, but then, we’d expect nothing less from one of the most popular pedal brands in the US.

Verdict: The JHS Series 3 Flanger offers an ideal blend of quality and feature from vintage and celebrated flanger units. This pedal delivers great versatility at a fantastic price, and is a great tool for the current guitarist that likes the sound of classic flanger but applied in a modern way.


Budget Choice
Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal

Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal

Affordable and well designed Multi-effects.

The Behringer FX600 features Flanger, chorus, phaser, delay, tremolo, and pitch shifter in a well-built and easy to use stompbox. This pedal stays in line with Behringher's reputation for providing tools to musicians on a tight budget, and is a great choice for beginners  looking for a basic flanger.

The Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal features a simple design with four knobs and is powered by a 9 V battery or DC adapter (sold separately). It’s just one of many awesome low cost pedals from Behringer, and if you’re trying to fill up a pedal board without breaking the bank, it’s a great way to go.

To start our tests, we first selected Flanger on the right-hand knob and used the other three knobs to the left to dial in our desired level of flange. Labeled Level, Param 1, and Param 2, these controls were very easy to figure out and we had our flange on point within seconds. 

The quality of the flanger effect on the FX600 was good for the price of this pedal. We were able to get steady and consistent flange modulation that we found useful for a variety of styles, and we liked how it sounded on both lead as well as rhythm parts. 

The cool thing about this pedal is that it wasn’t just a flanger, it also included chorus, phaser, delay, tremolo, and pitch shifter effects. Considering the low price of this pedal, we really thought this added exceptional value. Beginners that need to get several effects for the price of one will love this Behringer pedal and all it offers. 

Verdict: The Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal is a great choice for beginners looking for their first flanger pedal. With useful features, an easy to use design and good build quality, this pedal is a perfect gateway into the flanger effect.


Editor's Choice
MXR EVH117

MXR EVH117

The Signature Flanger from Eddie Van Halen.

This pedal was built as a collaboration between Dunlop/MXR and guitar icon Eddie Van Halen. The result is outstanding, and the EVH117 really delivers on the “master's” legendary flanger tone that made songs like "Unchained," and "And the Cradle Will Rock," such Van Halen classics.

Prefacing the review of the MXR EVH117, we had a tough time choosing between this pedal and the Strymon Orbit dBucket for the Editor’s Choice. Both were frankly amazing, but in the end we went with the MXR as its historic relevance and EVH connection just gave it the edge.

The MXR EVH117 puts a new spin on Eddie Van Halen’s classic flanger tone, which influenced scores of guitar players all over the world. With a bucket brigade design for traditional analog flanger tone, this pedal also features a paint job with Van Halen’s signature stripes from his Frankenstein guitar.

We found that this pedal was incredibly similar to the original MXR flanger (made famous by Eddie Van Halen) in tone and feel. In other words, the EVH117 produced a fantastic flanger tone, with the wide ranging sweep and whoosh that so many love. 

Unlike the original MXR flanger, the EVH 117 came with a switch labeled EVH. We tuned our guitar to drop D, cranked the amp, and pressed the switch to get a detailed replication of Van Halen’s tone in his classic tune “Unchained”.This sound was a product of setting the flanger speed to sweep up on the beginning of the riff and then back down, creating a roller coaster type of sound.  This particular feature on this pedal was the icing on the cake, and can be used for a variety of modern musical situations in several genres, the most obvious being rock.

Verdict: The MXR EVH117 is an update on MXR’s Flanger pedal, the one used by Eddie Van Halen. We loved the flanger sound on it and how it reproduces the iconic tone of “Unchained”, which can be used in many modern situations. Simply said, this is a fantastic flanger pedal that delivers a stellar tone, MXR’s durable Die-cast housing and Van Halen’s tone on one of his most beloved classics.


Also Consider
Strymon Orbit dBucket

Strymon Orbit dBucket

Amazing analog flanging with vast control options.

The Strymon Orbit dBucket is a super advanced flanger with tons of controls to dial in the sound you are after. With its fantastic analog tone, and tank-like build quality, this pedal is well worth the price, and is a great choice for discerning guitarists looking for a high end flanger unit.

The Strymon Orbit dBucket flanger pedal came loaded with useful features to give the user a highly customizable tool with fantastic analog flanger tone. With three Feedback Types, three LFO Types and stereo operation, this pedal allows you to dial in your tone just the way you want it.

We started our tests by playing with the manual knob in order to set the delay time of the effect. We then combined that with a bit of tweaking of the top section of the pedal which controls the LFO. 

Both the Speed and Width knobs allowed us great flexibility with each of the three LFO options, which we selected via a small switch. We also loved the Regen knob (regeneration) which gave us everything from a milder effect at lower settings, to tons of effect and resonance past the 3 o’clock point. 

Strymon included a Mix control on this pedal, which is not a common thing to find on flangers, but a very useful one. With this knob, we were able to adjust the intensity of the effect. We also liked the three options provided on the feedback switch that work in tandem with the Regen knob, which allowed us to set how much of the signal was cycling back to the device to increase the effect. 

We were able to spend a good amount of time tweaking this pedal, as it is highly customizable and can get any imaginable flanger under the sun. Strumon also included a switch labeled Favorite, where we were able to store one of our carefully tailored flanger sounds. 

Verdict: The Strymon Orbit dBucket gives the user a customizable way to use the pedal and fantastic flanger tone. Flexible and packed with useful features, this pedal allows you to get just the tone you want.


Also Consider
Walrus Audio Polychrome

Walrus Audio Polychrome

Warm analog flanger on a durable stompbox.

This stompbox offers the user quality flanger that actually doubles as a vibrato pedal. With fantastic build quality, you get quality analog flangers from one of the best new companies in the game.

The Walrus Audio Polychrome is an analog flanger pedal that also includes vibrato on a retro-looking design. 

We started by placing the D-F-V knob on “F” for flanger. The other two positions are D for Dry/no effect and V for vibrato. Once we were set on Flanger, we then tried the first of two voicings available via the 2-way. The first voice gave us a more conventional, full-frequency flanger that was great for a variety of styles, from adding spice to rhythm parts to coloring our leads. The sound was warm and fully analog and paired nicely with our Les Paul on both pickups.

With the second voicing we got a more intricate flange effect that was notched and a bit lighter on the low end. It was precisely here where the tone got got a bit more experimental, especially when we pushed the rate and depth knobs above. 

We also loved how rugged and durable this pedal felt. It had a die-cast metal construction that should really be able to handle anything you throw at it. Although the Vibrato effect on the Polychrome was good, it may be a turn-off for anybody looking specifically for a flanger effect in this price range. 

Although we liked this pedal, We felt that it is not that simple to use and therefore not a good choice for beginners.

Verdict: The Walrus Audio Polychrome is an analog flanger pedal that comes with a retro-looking design and also offers vibrato. Because of its flexibility, ease of use, and durable construction, we found it to be a good choice for musicians of nearly all genres that want a quality pedal at a good price.


Also Consider
Boss BF3 Flanger

Boss BF3 Flanger

Classic style stompbox with legendary Boss tone.

The BF3 builds on the legacy of Boss' previous flanger pedal, the BF-2. while adding two new modes. And just like its previous version, the BF3 features the timeless Boss form factor, with a durable chassis and classic-looking stompbox that defined generations of guitarists.

The Boss BF3 Flanger came with four flanger modes including Ultra, Standard, Gate Pan, and Momentary. We went through all four of them, but our favorite by far was Standard, as it gave that classic Boss flanger tone that really pairs well with other effects. 

In terms of construction quality, the BF3 was built just like every other Boss pedal – the phrase ‘tank-like’ sprang to mind! It had a solid metal enclosure, built to withstand the stomping of even the most leaden footed guitarists. It was able to be powered either by 9v battery, easily accessible with a hand tightened screw, or, with a 9v dc power adapter (sold separately).

We also like the Ultra Flange mode –  with the Depth and Rate knobs past the one o’clock position, it was definitely “out there”, but it never felt overwhelming. 

One of the coolest features of this pedal was the momentary mode, which engages the effect immediately, but (as you can probably guess) momentarily

This pedal also comes with a tap tempo feature, as well as a Gate/Pan mode. Also, at this price range, having stereo connectivity may be a bit overkill.

Verdict: The Boss BF3 Flanger builds on the BF-2 and offers four flanger modes and delivers nice flexibility with great ease of use. This pedal comes in standard Boss stompbox form factor and delivers good tone and great durability, and is a great option for beginners.


Also Consider
Ibanez Flanger Mini Pedal

Ibanez Flanger Mini Pedal

A fantastic option for reduced spaces and budgets.

This pedal ismust for anybody looking for a flanger effect but have almost no space on their pedalboards. With less than two inches in height and with, and just 3.5 inches deep, it is nearly assured that it will fit on any pedalboard while providing quality Ibanez flange.

The Ibanez Flanger Mini Pedal featured all-analog circuitry with flanger and phaser effects. With a normal size Speed knob occupying most of its tiny control surface, this pedal also came with far smaller knobs for controlling Depth and Regeneration, as well as true bypass switching. We understand that this is a compact pedal – but anybody with bigger fingers might have a tough time adjusting these controls accurately.

We were pleasantly surprised at the warm flanger tone we got considering the size and price point of this pedal. We haven’t really tried many Ibanez pedals outside of the Tube Screamer series, and this flanger made us realize we might be missing out.

When paired with a Tube Screamer and a TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb, we got some fantastic results. The sweep was distinct, but not overpowering, and sounded particularly good when played clean with no overdrive or distortion.

Verdict: The Ibanez Flanger Mini Pedal offers analog flanger and phaser effects at a reduced and convenient size. Because of its reduced size, some compromises were made, especially on the lack of options to have deeper control over our tone. That said, this Mini Flanger is a good option for anybody looking for a basic flanger that delivers quality analog tone and has the ability to fit in very tight spaces.


How to Choose the Right Pedal For You

There are a few factors that really separate good flanger pedals from great ones.,. Below we share the key features to take into account. 

Sound Quality 

Flanger pedals can produce a range of different sounds, so it’s essential to listen to audio samples of what you like. If you like a particular artist’s tone, try and find out what model they use as a starting point.. Look for a pedal that delivers the sound you’re after, whether that’s a subtle, vintage-style flange or a more pronounced and modern effect.

Controls and Features

Take into account the control options provided by the pedal. Look for parameters such as speed, depth, and regeneration, as well as any additional features like tap tempo, expression pedal inputs, or stereo capability. Ensure the pedal offers enough versatility to achieve the desired flanger effects.

If you’re a beginner, pick something that is more simple to use. On the other hand, if you feel you’re ready for a challenge, get a pedal that allows you to dial in your tone with pinpoint accuracy

Build Quality and Durability

Flanger pedals, like any other guitar effects pedal, should be well-built and durable to withstand regular use. Look for pedals made from sturdy materials like steel or aluminum and with solid construction. There are plenty of models that offer rugged enclosures that are all but guaranteed to last you a lifetime. 

Budget

 Like most guitar gear, flanger pedals can vary significantly in price, from budget-friendly options to high-end boutique pedals,and here, you truly get what you pay for. Determine how much you are willing to spend and what you really need so you can narrow your search within a given range.

Versatility

Think about whether you want a flanger pedal that specializes in a particular type of flange effect or if you prefer a pedal that offers a broader range of modulation options – the Donner Mod Square is a great example of a multi modulation pedal. Some pedals can also create chorus and vibrato effects, providing additional tonal flexibility.

Size and Portability

If you plan to use the pedal for gigs or frequently move it around, consider its size and portability. Compact pedals are often easier to transport, while larger pedals may offer more control options.

Also, chances are that you already have several pedals before you even think of a flanger. Make sure you have enough space on your pedalboard for the model you’re considering before buying it.


Final Thoughts

Like most things guitar related, picking the best flanger pedal is a very personal endeavor. Whether you want a classic sound like Van Halen, go for more experimental tone, or a bit of both, there is a flanger pedal out there for you.

In this article, we’ve shared seven models that are different, in the hopes that one fits you well. 

To recap our top choices, the JHS Series 3 Flanger is our Top Pick. It is built to offer the classic sounds of vintage flangers for the modern player, comes in a durable chassis and with great ease of use. 

The Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-FX Pedal is our Best Budget Pick. With a simple and effective design, this pedal features four useful knobs and comes in Behringer’s typical stompbox form factor.

Finally, the MXR EVH117 is our Editor’s Choice. It was built as a partnership between Dunlop and Eddie Van Halen and provides the iconic guitarist’s classic flanger tone and comes in a bucket brigade design.

Author

  • Rodrigo Sanchez

    Rodrigo is an award-winning songwriter (Best Popular Song Of 2018 for Ibermúsicas), and has worked with the prestigious EMI Music Publishing Latin America. He has production credits on artists such as Descemer Bueno, and has also composed alongside Grammy and ASCAP award-winners such as Sebastián De Peyrecave and José Luis Morín.