The Best Pedal Power Supply Options for pedalboards of all sizes! We discuss the best way to power your pedal board
It is hard deciding which power supply is the best for your pedal board. Whether you are looking for a cheap PSU to power one or more guitar effects, or a power bank that powers your whole pedalboard, we can help you decide on the best pedal power supply for your needs.
WHY USE POWER SUPPLY INSTEAD OF BATTERIES?
When you have a pedal board full of effects, changing batteries regularly can be expensive over time. It might be more cost effective to invest that money into a power supply that has many benefits over using batteries.
Some pedals do not perform at their best if they do not have enough power being supplied. So for that reason, it is highly recommended to use power supplies if you're using multi-fx pedals, delay, reverb pedals or loop pedals. They're known for consuming 9v batteries pretty quickly.
If your battery is starting to get low, your pedal might start to sound a bit dull and could completely ruin your sound! The right power supply will consistently deliver the optimal amount of power, so that you are always sounding as best as possible.
Batteries can be unreliable - imagine running out mid-song and having to find your spare. Or even worse - not having a spare!
BUT... DON'T THROW AWAY THOSE 9v BATTERIES, YET!
Even though in most cases using a power supply does indeed provide an advantage for the guitarist, in some cases a 9v battery will do just fine, for example, when it comes to fuzz pedals, they can actually be better than a power supply!
For instance, wah pedals take batteries rather well - there's no need to plug one to a power supply, as battery can last ages on a wah. It'll also free one output of the power supply, for a pedal that may need it more!
And Fuzz pedals are widely believed to sound better when using batteries rather than power supplies! They actually interact with the battery, which can change the tonal quality of the fuzz. This is especially true of vintage-style fuzz pedals, such as Tone Benders or Fuzz Face models.
Most guitarists agree that carbon zync batteries make a fuzz pedal sound better than an alkaline battery, and some guitarists will tell you they can even tell the difference when using different brands of alkaline battery, which can give more, or less, high-end definition.
But that's not all: there's tonal differences generated across the life span of a battery, affecting and ever changing the sound of your fuzz pedal. Some guitarists actually prefer the tone of a fuzz pedal with a nearly flat battery, such as Duane Allman, who was said to use a nearly-dead battery on his Fuzz Face, for a "voltage sag" tone, providing a lighter, "creamier" fuzz. However, if you're a gigging musician, the best way to ensure you can rely on your pedals is to use a power supply!
CHEAP PEDAL POWER: THE "DAISY CHAIN"
The cheapest way to power your pedals would be to:
- Find a cheap 9v guitar pedal power supply such as the TOURTECH 9V DC Power Supply.
- Connect a Daisy Chain cable to your PSU - you will now end up with enough plugs to power 5 guitar effects.
- Double check the back of your pedal and make sure it is compatible with the power supply. If so, plug and play!
If you daisy chain too many pedals from one power supply then it might not power some pedals correctly. Ensure that your power supply has enough mA (milliamps) to exceed the total mA of all your pedals added together. If you are unsure, feel free to drop us a question at the bottom of the page.
Pros: Cheap, compact, easy to setup.
Cons: Can't use non-standard pedals, power drain throughout the chain, so you're pedals might not sound amazing.
WARNING: you can easily find multi-voltage power supplies on the high-street, but you must avoid those - they were not made for fx pedals and can often cause unwanted hum or potentially damage your pedal.
POWER BANKS - THE WAY OF THE PROS
If you want to power more than 5 pedals or use pedals that demand special requirements, then a power bank is the best way to go. Pretty much 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10!!!) professional artists can be seen using power banks on their pedalboards. This is because they're extremely reliable and supply your pedals with the right amount of power so they sound how they should do!
Most pedal banks have at least 5, and often more than that, of outputs to power different pedals. Usually, the outputs are for fx pedals that require 9v (the standard, as featured on Boss pedals). However, as pedals that require different voltages become more popular (usually by "boutique" brands) some power banks now feature extra voltage outputs.
For example, the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus FX Power Supply offers different popular milliamp combinations with 9v, 12.3v, 14.5v, 12v and adjustable 4v-9v . Perfect for powering demanding effects such as some Strymon, Eventide, Line 6 and TC Electronic pedals. The MXR DC Brick is always a very popular and reliable choice for many guitarists.
All of the outputs are isolated, meaning any unwanted noise creating by chaining different effects together is removed completely.
If you want the best performance out of your pedals with no extra noises, a multiple output power supply is definitely the way to go.
Pros: Isolated Outputs, Versatile, Best Performance, Reliable.
Cons: Expensive, Large.
WHICH MULTI-POWER SUPPLY IS BEST FOR ME?
After a quick look at the two different methods, it all comes down to your own needs.
Daisy Chain -style: If you are powering less than 5 pedals and want to save money, go for a daisy chain. However, we wouldn't recommend this for professionals as the power to each pedal won't be isolated and could result in a slight hum.
Power Bank -style: If you have any non-standard pedals, use more than 5, or want optimal performance out of your pedals then an all-in-one power supply is the best. There is no doubt that they are superior compared to daisy chaining your pedals, and are an essential for professionals.
Here are our 8 best pedal power supply options:
1. Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus FX Power Supply
The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus FX Power Supply is an industry standard pedal power supply, used by everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Queens of the Stone Age. You need to be able to rely on your pedals at all times and the pedal power 2 plus is one of the most most reliable power banks ever. With 8 outlets, you'll have more than enough space to power your board. The cool thing about this pedal power supply is that you can not only power 9v pedals (most pedals are 9v powered) you can even power 12v, 12.3v and 14.5v pedals and even combine two 12v outlets to supply power to any 24v pedals you may have - ideal for those with vintage Electro Harmonix deluxe memory man delay pedals. You can also change the amount of power running to two of the outlets from 4v to 9v - perfect if you have a fuzz pedal and want to enjoy that power sag sound. If you're looking for a reliable power supply to power your pedals - this is a great starting (and ending) point.
2. MXR M237 DC Power Brick
Another extremely reliable pedal power supply comes in the form of the MXR M237 DC Power Brick. Another industry standard pedal power supply that not only allows you to enjoy hum free power, but will actually alert you via the LED lights when something is wrong with one of your pedals. This means you can quickly address a problem on or offstage and get your board back up and running quickly. There are 8 x 9v outlets and 2 x 18v outlets so you can power a variety of different pedals safely. Each output is isolated too, so each pedal has the correct amount of power flowing into it ensuring you get the best sound.
3. Strymon Ojai Power Supply
Current (mA) plays an important factor when it comes to setting up your guitar pedals. As a general rule, most pedals such as drive, fuzz and distortion can function correctly with a lower current - somewhere around the 20mA mark. If you have too much current flowing into your pedal, it won't really make a difference as the pedal will draw what it needs from it, however if you don't have enough mA to power your pedal, the pedal will either sound weak or may not turn on at all. Strymon pedals require a higher current (mA) than others to run correctly so rather than making people carry around separate mains operated plugs the team at Strymon put together this little wonder.
The Strymon Ojai Power Supply is a high current power supply that provides your pedals with more than enough current to operate correctly. Each pedal gets 9v and 500mA of juice flowing into it ensuring your pedals sound exactly how they should do. You can power up to 5 pedals at a time, including the likes of the Strymon Timeline, Big Sky reverb or any other 9 volt powered pedal in full confidence it'll sound how it's supposed to. Touring musicians will appreciate this power supply too as it's got an automatic international power compatibility built-in. This means you can enjoy perfect sounding pedals anywhere in the world. In addition, if you have a small selection of Strymon pedals, this is the best power supply for you.
4. Pedaltrain SPARK Power Supply
The Pedaltrain SPARK Power Supply has been designed for Pedaltrain pedalboard users who are fed up with dying batteries! The good thing about the SPARK is that has been designed to fit underneath the likes of the Pedaltrain Nano and sit snugly without the need for any special tools or drilling.
This is easily a contender for best power supply for those who have a small amount of pedals and perfect for those who need isolated power to a range of different high draw pedals. There are 3 x 100mA 9v power outlets for regular pedal such as Boss etc and 2 x 500mA 9V pedals for higher draw pedals such as Strymon – so you’re all set! Best of all, you get a set of brackets that clamp automatically to your Pedaltrain board and all the cables you need to power your pedals.
5. MXR M238 ISO Brick Power Supply
We love the MXR M238 ISO Brick Power Supply as it provides 10 outputs with varying current and draw capabilities so you can power a variety of different pedals including 6, 15, and 18-volt pedals – best of all you can adjust the outputs to suit your needs so you're not limited to these voltage outputs! For those who like the sound of a “sag” fuzz, you’ll love the ability to emulate voltage “sag,” as the 6 Volt setting gives you a drained battery effect. There’s also a range of your regular 9V power outlets too, so you’re covered for regular 9V pedals!
If you’re on a limited budget and have a selection of different styles of guitar pedals this is one of the best power supplies for your pedal board as it’s not only quiet, with noise free operation thanks to the isolated outputs, but it’s also just over £130, so it won’t break the bank.
6. T-Rex Fueltank Junior 9v Power Supply
Next up we have the T-Rex Fueltank Junior 9v Power Supply. This nifty little power supply is extremely budget friendly clocking in at just under £100, and powers up to 5 9V 120mA pedals – which covers almost all your regular 9V pedals! Best of all, it’s been designed to accommodate travelling to different countries as you can switch between 115v and 230v – ideal for travelling musicians! It’s very small, features isolated power and it only weighs 0.47 so it won’t add unnecessary weight to your board. A great pedal power supply for those on a budget and with a small amount pedals!
7. Strymon Zuma Power Supply
When you have a lot of pedals which require higher draw, the Strymon Zuma Power Supply is easily one of the hardest working power supply options and the best power supply if you have multiple Strymon pedals or a selection of pedals with 500mA.
The Zuma is actually designed for Strymon pedals which require up to 500mA of current, but you can still use it for any other pedals 9V pedals you have as well as 2 x 12 or 18 V pedals thanks to the adjustable switches.
Each of the 9 outlets are isolated providing clean, noise free sound at all times and there’s also the option to expand your system due to the 24V Out jack which has been designed to accommodate the Strymon Ojai – should you need more pedals on your board. You get all the cables you need included, so you’re ready to go straight out of the box!
8. T-Rex Fueltank Goliath Power Supply (3000mA)
The T-Rex Fueltank Goliath Power Supply (3000mA) is another fantastic pedal power supply designed for those who require a selection of different output options. You have 7 isolated outputs all of which provide clean, noise free power. 5 of the 9V outlets can actually be switched to 12 V DC outlets, making it quite versatile for older pedals. You also have 1 x 12V AC outlet and 1 x 18V DC outlet, plus the ability to select voltage from 115/230v so you’re good to go should the gigs take you overseas.
Please check our selection of POWER SUPPLY FOR FX PEDALS, to see a full range of the best pedal power supplies available, including those designed for non-standard pedals.