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10 best pedalboards 2020: organize your guitar effects with these budget-spanning ‘boards

10 best pedalboards: organize your guitar effects with these budget-spanning pedalboards
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So you've bought a distortion pedal, a reverb, a chorus... You’ve clearly got the bug, so let's be honest, you’re not going to stop at three guitar pedals, right?

Sooner or later you’ll want to organize these stompboxes rather than having them daisy-chained and lying around loose on the floor or stage. That’s where a pedalboard comes in.

Sure, you could make your own pedalboard, set yourself a wood shop project or cannibalize your pop’s Samsonite briefcase. Or you could buy one of the many readymade options from the likes of Pedaltrain, Voodoo Lab, and more.

These pedalboards deliver a variety of features at various price points, and they’ll help you get the best from your effects.

Amazon Prime Day is just around the corner. If you're looking for a new pedalboard then it could be worth waiting until the Prime Day guitar deals start landing.

What is the best pedalboard?

10 best pedalboards 2020: how to organize your guitar effects

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If you're looking for a customizable yet nicely priced pedalboard, the three-rail Pedaltrain Metro 16 pedalboard is super-portable, built from lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum and easily carried in the soft shoulder case that’s included in the $80 street price. A flight case will cost you $70 extra.

The three rail design makes it hugely configurable for small pedal collections and it makes the most of its small footprint.

The RockBoard TRES 3.1 is a really high-quality 'board, too - it’s neat, configurable and affordable. It comes with a soft case with a shoulder strap but you can spend an extra $60 for a flight case. The height of the pedalboard is easily adjusted and there is space for mounting a pedalboard power supply underneath the unit. It’ll mount up to 10 pedals, too.

It's worth noting that both of these designs come in a huge range of sizes to suit your pedal collection, no matter how enormous it gets.

How to buy the best pedalboard for you

You want your pedalboard to make life easier. Arranging and then fitting effects with different sized enclosures should be simple. Once you have worked out where you want to put them, affixing them to the pedalboard is the next step. Most commonly, this is done with Velcro. Having a spare couple of spots for aggressive expansion or even just for swapping in a pinch-hitting pedal is also a nice option to have. 

Pedalboards typically ship with rolls of Velcro - or non-trademarked “hook-and-loop fasteners” - tape for you to stick on the ‘board and pedals for a solid connection. Others, such as the Aclam model listed here, have bespoke fittings. So long as the pedals stay put, that's the main thing.

A bag or case for carrying is a positive, too, and look for some brands who offer the option of spending a little more for a flight-case - an essential upgrade for the touring musician. If the case has extra storage space for additional guitar cables, cable ties, tape and your picks, then all the better. 

Other features to look out for include the pedalboard’s power solution. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if they don’t, but having an onboard 9V/18V power supply and connections, or the space to specifically mount one, can come in mighty handy when you have a whole heap of pedals to run. 

Slanted designs commonly allow you to mount a power supply beneath the pedalboard, allowing you to use the full expanse of its top-side.

The best pedalboards available right now

Best pedalboards: Pedaltrain Metro 16 pedalboard

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1. Pedaltrain Metro 16

The best pedalboard when when your tour bus is the actual bus

Launch price: $79 | Dimensions: 406x203x35mm | Weight: 1.06kg | Construction: Aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes (Pedaltrain Spark or Volto supplies)

Good value
Pedal arranging is easy
Most non-Pedaltrain power supplies too big

The Metro 16 is a really great pedalboard for mounting around five to eight effects pedals, throwing them in the nylon shoulder bag and running out the door to practice. Even if you only have three or four right now, the extra space will come in handy when you inevitably size up the floor show.

For an extra $70 you can get a super-tough tour case, and the Metro 16 is small enough to take as a carry-on item with most US airlines.

Pedals are attached with Pedaltrain's “professional-grade, hook-and-loop pedal fasteners” and it comes with plenty of cable ties. You’ll need to buy your power brick separately. 

Best pedalboards: RockBoard TRES 3.1 pedalboard

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2. RockBoard TRES 3.1 Pedalboard

Seamless aluminum design and super-light

Launch price: $119 | Dimensions: 510x236x37-71mm | Weight: 1.2kg | Construction: Cold-rolled aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Great construction
Good bag/flight case option
Power supply mounting
Narrow rails at front and back

The TRES 3.1 sees RockBoard improve upon already solid past designs with a seamless, folded aluminum construction with a powder-black finish, and plenty of routing for cables and a sturdy support beam down the middle. It makes the most of its board space so mounting up to around eight to 10 standard sized pedals shouldn’t be a problem.

It comes with a gig-bag with shoulder strap and all-important accessories pocket, but an extra 60 bucks gets you a flight case if you need something more rugged.

Power supplies can be mounted on the bottom of the unit and you can easily adjust the height to your preference.

Best pedalboards: Aclam Guitars Smart Track S2 pedalboard

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3. Aclam Guitars Smart Track S2

Say bye bye to tape gunk

Launch price: $249 | Dimensions: 584x419x114mm | Weight: 3.63kg | Construction: Anodized aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Nice clean mounting 
Useful accessories sold separately

The big draw with the so-clever-they-called-it-Smart Track pedalboard from Aclam is that, instead of the Velcro, hook-and-loop style tape that most other ‘boards use, the Smart Track S2 uses its own Smart Track fastening system. These rubber-coated, screw-in fasteners keep your pedals free of that sticky tape residue and swapping them in and out is easy as pie.

This pedalboard takes between eight and 10 pedals and you can adjust the slope of the unit for easy access to the pedals at the rear and mounting a power supply underneath. Also, should you suddenly start buying more pedals - and why wouldn’t you? - you can get a wider set of rails for upsizing the unit. Pretty smart indeed, folks.

Best pedalboards: Gator GPT-PRO-PWR pedalboard

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4. Gator GPT-PRO-PWR

A big ‘board in a big bag with a power supply included

Launch price: $199 | Dimensions: (w/bag) 445x800x152mm | Weight: 7.94kg | Construction: Plywood with 600-denier nylon padded gig bag | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Ease of cable routing
Onboard power supply
It’s really heavy
Only ships with one 18V power connector

The GPT-PRO-PWR is a hefty ol’ beast but it can house and power up to 11 stompboxes. It may even squeeze some more onto its Velcro-covered space if your rig is packing a lot of mini-stompboxes.

It comes with a pre-mounted G-BUS-8 power supply that has eight 9V and three 18V outputs. There is room to mount another G-BUS-8 should you need it.

It’s really heavy but the built-in handle on the pedalboard can take the weight, and the roomy accessory pockets on the gig-bag will come in handy. It comes with plenty of Velcro tape for fastening pedals.

Best pedalboards: Voodoo Lab Dingbat Medium

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5. Voodoo Lab Dingbat Medium Pedalboard

Easily configurable with a variety of power options

Launch price: $179 | Weight: 4.54kg | Construction: American 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Easily configurable, great construction
Power supply mounting
Bag lacks storage options for accessories
Screwdriver required to mount power supplies

This Dingbat comes in three different sizes. The medium is the happy option for mounting eight to 12 pedals - size depending - with the adhesive hook-and-loop fasteners.

Power supplies can be mounted on top or below the pedalboard and Voodoo Lab offers bundles with supplies included. Shipped with Pedal Power 4X4, powering up to eight pedals, it’ll cost around $300, and and an extra $100 buys you the Pedal Power Mondo, powering up to 12 pedals.

The slots make for easy arrangements with plenty of space to tidy the cables underneath the unit. A bag makes it easy to transport.

Best pedalboards: On-Stage GPB3000 pedalboard

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6. On-Stage GPB3000

Mount up to 10 standard-sized pedals

Launch price: $89 | Dimensions: 559x356x152mm | Weight: 3.63kg | Construction: Aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Non-slip rubber feet
Great value
Power supply mounting
Routing the cables could be tricky

This is a great ‘board for the money. It has a clean construction with routing across the middle of the board for threading cables through. You should be able to fit around 10 pedals on this, more if you are using minis.

Pedals are mounted using the usual hook-and-loop tape and a roll is included with the unit. The setup should make it easy to arrange your pedals however you like them.

Despite the lightweight construction, non-slip rubber feet will keep this firmly in place on the floor. And... the gig bag has pockets and a shoulder strap. Hooray!

Best pedalboards: Boss BCB-60 pedalboard

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7. Boss BCB-60

The best pedalboard for first-timers

Launch price: $119 | Dimensions: 670x370x100mm | Weight: 3.8kg | Construction: Molded resin | Case: Integrated | Power supply mounting: N/A

Cheap, rugged, portable
Contains patch leads and connectors
No 18V power supply
Some pedals won’t fit 

The BCB-60 comes in a sort of over-sized, bullet-proof lunchbox carrier and opens out to an easily configurable layout including onboard AC power supply for up to seven pedals, with bundled patch cables and I/O connectors, and send and return jacks for running your pedalboard through your amp’s effects loop or to a tuner outside of your signal path.

The inside of the case is foam, cut out to fit your stompboxes. The one obvious problem here is that the inserts are cut to fit Boss pedals and those of “select manufacturers”, so fitting some of your more bespoke-sized enclosures could be tricky, but you could always cut the foam to fit.

Best pedalboards: Outlaw Effects Nomad M128 Rechargeable pedalboard

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8. Outlaw Effects Nomad M128 Rechargeable

A rechargeable pedalboard option for the buskers

Launch price: $199 | Dimensions: 489x279x133mm | Weight: 3.18kg | Construction: Aluminum | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: N/A

Rechargeable, battery power
Plenty of cable output options
You have to remember to charge it
Battery life dependant on voltage draw from pedals

Is this the tidiest power solution on the market? Quite possibly. The Nomad is powered by an onboard lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 12800mAh - which translates to over 10 hours of power after around three hours of charging.

As far as DC outputs go, the Nomad is pretty versatile, with seven 9V outputs, a pair of 12V outputs and one switchable between 18 and 24V.

The unit comes in a soft bag with a whole bunch of cable ties, hook-and-loop fasteners and DC connector cables. Just plug it all in and play.

Best pedalboards: Friedman Tour Pro 1520 pedalboard

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9. Friedman Tour Pro 1520 Pedalboard

A two-tier approach with detachable riser for expression pedals

Launch price: $249 | Weight: 3.18kg | Case: Soft | Power supply mounting: Yes

Great construction
Two-tier design is a game changer
Onboard buffer option

Oftentimes, your pedalboard is easy to arrange until you try and fit a wah or volume pedal on there. But the Tour Pro 1520 has an ingenious two-tier solution, with a riser allowing you to sit the wah on there above the rest of your pedals. 

The riser is detachable, you can buy supplementary risers should you have a volume or whammy pedal, and is screwed to the board.

Options include the ultra-transparent Friedman Buffer Bay 6 for an extra $70, while you can get that plus a Power Grid 10, powering up to ten effects and designed as an extra riser, all for $569. 

The wiring options are hugely configurable and eliminate the signal issues you can get with complex signal chains. This latter “platinum option” is not cheap but it has all the bells, all the whistles.

Best pedalboards: SKB PS-8 8-port pedalboard

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10. SKB PS-8 8-port Pedalboard

The best pedalboard if you want a plug in and play option

Launch price: $119 | Dimensions: 590x300xheight variable (mm) | Weight: 2.33kg | Construction: Eco-friendly rubber modified styrene | Case: Nylon | Power supply mounting: N/A

Ease of cable routing, arranging
Lightweight and affordable
Power supply could be better
The nylon bag is a little cheapo

This injection-molded, plug-in-and-play pedalboard from SKB moves away from the aluminum and wood construction paradigm to bring you a board that can power up to eight pedals.

There might be a bit of a cram getting all eight if you have many large-enclosure models, but attaching and arranging your effects should be a cinch. Like the Gator, the whole pedal-mount section is covered with hook-and-loop fastenings.

There are other, more luxurious options with better-shielded power supplies but for a first pedalboard that’s affordable and easy to cart around, you could do a lot worse.