Best distortion pedals 2024: the top 11 high-gain stompboxes for guitarists

Distortion – most of us can't imagine guitar without it. There's something about turning pristine cleans into delicious dirt that still thrills us every time. Luckily then, we live in a golden age of guitar pedals, with all kinds of small-scale boutique stompbox manufacturers facing off against industry titans such as MXR, TC Electronic and Boss, meaning if you're looking for the best distortion pedal to help you achieve tonal bless, there's more choice than ever before. 

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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