Identifying the best pedalboard power supply for your setup might not rank among the most exciting aspects of building your rig, but the right unit goes a long way toward facilitating some of those more fun parts of gear acquisition - namely, adding new pedals to your effects line-up.
In fact, as your pedalboard grows, you’ll find that a good power supply is a necessity. As the number of effects in your rig increases, it will become clear that merely daisy-chaining all your pedals together will lead to increased hum or buzz. The benefit of a power supply - and in particular a supply with isolated outputs - is noise reduction in your signal chain and a cleaner, more intuitive pedalboard operation overall.
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Isolated outputs also ensure that the current delivered to a pedal is consistent, which helps when dealing with distinctions between lower-draw effects and more powerful digital stompboxes and multi-effect units.
As with anything else in the gear world, there’s plenty of variety to be found in the power supply market, from size to features to price point. With that in mind, Guitar World offers up this list of 10 of the best pedalboard power supplies available today.
The best pedalboard power supplies: buying advice
The main decision you need to make when buying a pedalboard power supply is whether you need isolated outputs. Essentially, isolated outputs supply each pedal with its own individual power source, which removes hum from the equation - something you may experience when running digital and analog pedals from the same daisy chain. Unless you’re only running a handful of analog units, we’d always recommend an isolated power supply wherever possible.
You also need to assess your pedals’ power requirements: do they all require 9V, or are some running at 12, 15 or 18V? Many of the power supplies below offer switchable voltages, and some can even ‘sag’ below 9V to yield dying battery sounds from fuzz pedals.
Then there are mA requirements: while some drives and fuzzes might only draw 10mA, contemporary digital and multi-effects can draw anywhere from 100-1,000mA. In these instances, you’ll need to look at power supplies that can output higher mA from each output.
Other things to factor in are DC vs AC power - most pedals these days are DC, but some older pedals, most notably the now-discontinued DigiTech Whammy IV, run on AC. And finally, if you’re a touring pro, you’ll want to make sure you can use your chosen power supply around the world – in that case, switchable input voltage is a must.
The best pedalboard power supplies you can buy
1. Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12
A 12-output powerhouse
Launch price: $269/£195 | Type: Isolated power supply | Isolated outputs: 12 | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: 2.34 pounds | Features: Mounting kit, 1 4-9V output, 2 18V outputs, 2 high-current outputs, 1 9V AC output
A true powerhouse, the Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12 boasts 12 fully isolated outputs – six 9V outputs from 100mA - 250mA, one 4-9V variable output, two high-draw 9V outputs and two 18V outputs. Additionally, there’s a 9V AC output, which can be used to power older Whammy and DigiTech pedals.
Furthermore, outlets three through six are switchable between 9-volt and 12-volt operation, and individual toggle switches on the bottom of the power brick allow the user to set up any combination of power values.
You also get a variety of cables in lengths from 21” to 26,” three adapters for pedals with reversed polarity or different jack types and a 9-volt battery adapter cable. A power supply that should cover all your needs.
2. MXR Iso-Brick
A fully isolated version of the terrific MXR DC brick
Launch price: $214/£199 | Type: Isolated power supply | Isolated outputs: 10 | Switchable voltage: N/A | Features: 2 9V DC 100mA outputs, 2 9V DC 300mA outputs, 2 9V DC 450mA outputs, 2 18V DC 250mA outputs, 2 variable 6-15V DC 250mA outputs
The Iso-Brick boasts 10 outputs, making it possible to run a wide range of pedals with noise-free DC power. The outputs are fully isolated and extremely quiet, and accommodate a variety of voltage and current requirements – two 9V outputs at 100mA, two 9V outputs at 300mA, two 9V outputs at 450mA, two 18V outputs at 250mA and - in one particularly cool feature - two 6-15V variable voltage outputs that can emulate voltage “sag.”
Beyond just doing its job - and rather well, we might add - the Iso-Brick offers additional thoughtful touches, including a recessed, right-angled power cable for easy pedalboard placement and glowing LED indicators on each output to keep the user up to speed on the status of the connected pedal. It all adds up to a pedalboard power supply that will quickly become an essential part of your 'board's operation.
3. Strymon Ojai
Small box, big power
Launch price: $149/£149.95 | Type: Isolated power supply | Isolated outputs: 5 | Switchable voltage: Automatic | Weight: .29 pounds | Features: Chain additional units
The Strymon Ojai is a powerful, compact box offering five high-current outputs that offer a massive 500mA on each output. The five outputs are also individually isolated, ultra-low-noise and have their own dedicated regulators and custom transformers. And if five isn’t enough, additional Ojai units can be added on via a 24V Thru jack, without the need to plug into a wall outlet.
There’s also two stages of isolation, eliminating ground loop and AC line noise issues, as well as automatic worldwide power compatibility for ease of use on stages anywhere in the world. What’s more, the Ojai comes in a low-profile R30 version for smaller boards, as well as a larger, nine-output Zuma model (the Zuma, meanwhile, also comes in its own low-profile iteration, the R300).
4. Mooer Macro Power S8
The best pedalboard power supply for partially isolated power on a budget
Launch price: $98/£79 | Type: Partially isolated power supply | Isolated outputs: 4 | Outputs: 4 | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: 2.47 pounds | Features: 1 9/12/15/18V DC 200mA output
The Macro Power S8 boasts a combination of eight isolated and non-isolated outputs – one switchable 9V, 12V, 15V and 18V at 200mA, three independent 9Vs at 200mA and four parallel 9Vs that share a total of 400mA.
While the non-isolated 400mA isn’t a huge amount, it’s substantial enough to handle most digital pedals. If not, there’s a handy LED that switches off when a pedal requires more power than the output has available. There’s also overcurrent protection and voltage switching for worldwide use, making the Macro Power a versatile and extremely handy unit – especially at its price point.
5. Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Digital
Handle high-current effects with ease
Launch price: $139/£165.60 | Type: Isolated power supply | Isolated outputs: 4 | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: N/A | Features: Temperature-controlled fan
The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power boasts four 9V isolated 400mA outputs designed for high-current, DSP-based pedals. Two of the outputs also feature a 12V option. Other features include linear regulation and a toroidal transformer, switchable voltage and a temperature-controlled fan.
Straightforward, well-built and easy-to-use, the unit is an ideal option for dealing with power-soaking, high-output digital effects.
6. Mission Engineering 529
Bring USB power to your pedalboard
Launch price: $155/£199 | Type: Isolated USB power supply | Isolated outputs: 5 | Outputs: 4 150mA 9V outputs, 1 500mA 9V output | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: .25 pounds
Mission Engineering’s 529 power converter makes it possible to power a pedalboard via USB. You can power up to four standard and one high-powered pedal (via four 150mA and one 500mA outputs) using a phone charger, laptop or any USB port. There’s also an included USB dual wall power supply.
Conveniently, the 529 can be connected to a portable battery pack, and you can also daisy chain two units together to power up to 10 pedals. Even two 529s don’t take up a lot of space – the box stands just an inch tall and weighs a quarter pound.
7. Walrus Audio Phoenix
A 15-output isolated clean power supply
Launch price: $279/£182 | Type: Isolated DC power supply | Isolated outputs: 15 | Outputs: 8 x 100mA outputs, 4 high-current 300mA outputs, 2 switchable 9-volt/12-volt outputs, 1 switchable 9-volt/18-volt output | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: N/A
The Walrus Audio Phoenix is an absolute beast, giving you isolated power that can handle 9, 12 and 18V power in a total of 15 different pedals. Four 300mA outlets are available and made to handle larger pedals while keeping your signal clean and noise-free. Toroidal transformers assist in this process by providing noise filtering and clean power.
Additionally, the unit comes with 15 – 2.1mm barrel black power cables, 2 – 2.1mm barrel red (center positive) cables and a detachable IEC cable.
8. Joyo Power Supply 2 JP-02
A range of output options at one low price
Launch price: $59 | Type: Isolated DC power supply | Isolated outputs: 10 | Outputs: 7 x 100mA 9V outputs, 1 x 500mA 9V output, 1 x 100mA 12V output, 1 x 100mA 18V output | Weight: N/A
The Joyo JP-02 boasts 10 filtered outputs, with power options for 9V, 12V and 18V effects. Each output is at 100mA, with one 9V output at 500mA. Each output also has an isolated short circuit and overcurrent protection. Additionally, there are bright blue LEDs that serve as handy short circuit warning indicators.
The unit comes in a slim-design rugged steel casing and, best of all, is available for a low, low price tag.
9. T-Rex Fuel Tank Junior V2
Streamlined and wallet-friendly unit is a great small-board solution
Launch price: $145/£110 | Type: Isolated DC power supply | Isolated outputs: 5 | Outputs: 5 x 9V DC 120mA outputs | Switchable voltage: Yes | Weight: 1.15 pounds
A small and simple power solution, the Fuel Tank Junior (the most compact of T-Rex’s four Fuel Tank units) boasts five isolated 9V DC outputs, with all necessary cables included. Each output puts out up to 120mA, and you can also use two of the outputs to power an 18V pedal - or even power five pedals from one output - with a max of 24mA each. There’s also switchable 115V/230V operation for international use.
Overall, a great - and affordable - unit, especially if don’t need to power more than a few pedals at once.
10. Pedaltrain Volto V3
Straightforward power at a super low price
Launch price: $99 | Type: Rechargeable power supply | Isolated outputs: No | Switchable voltage: Yes **Features:** 6,200mA output
If you’re tired of being tethered to a wall outlet and would rather not throw money away on 9V batteries, Pedaltrain has the solution for you. The Volto is a rechargeable pedalboard power supply that outputs a whopping 6,200mA of power.
The Volto’s outputs aren’t isolated, but for guitarists who only use a handful of analog pedals, it will provide hours of play before a recharge. This latest version is more durable, with up to 25% more battery life and fits underneath any Pedaltrain pedalboard, making it easy to integrate into your rig.