At BeginnerGuitarHQ, we like to keep our learners at the top of their game tonally as well as technically. This means we can guide you towards some incredible gear, from guitars, to guitar strings, to amps, to effects pedals. Each of these will help to turn your ability to play guitar into an incredible feast for the ears.
In this important guide, we’ll talk you through the then best flanger pedals on the market.
If you’re looking to get yourself a flanger pedal, then look no further…
First Things First
What is a flanger pedal? Good question. The actual process of flanging happens when two identical sound sources are mixed together. While the chorus effect is achieved by very slightly detuning one of these signals, but the flange effect comes from a microscopic time discrepancy.
To create the unique sound of a flanger (sort of like an aeroplane engine whirring) the signals have to be offset in timing by a very small, and ever changing, amount. This creates an effect like a comb filter in which the frequency spectrum is being manipulated at all times, with the ever changing timing being shown by the sweeping effect that moves up and down the sound.
In a VST, the specifics of the flanger effect can usually be manipulated. This means the intensity of the sound can be controlled based on how much the signals are mixed, and how far apart the time delay is, and how quickly it sweeps through the signal. In pedal form, this effect is likely to vary in how much it can be manipulated, hence this guide being able to talk you through what might work for your needs.
The pedal itself will almost always be a simple stomp box. This means you can press down on the pedal and activate the effect. When not activated, your signal won’t be impacted at all, and when it is, you’ll hear that unique sound.
BOSS BF-3 Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal
As is typical with these lists, Boss take a prominent, proud position with their version of the flanger pedal. The BF-3 is actually an updated version of a well-loved model of the past, the BF-2. Of course, as with most of Boss’ output, this is a digital pedal, so if you want the warmth of analogue then don’t bother reading on. However, if you’re happy with a realistic and impressive tone that comes from the digital world, then this is about as good a flanging sound as you’re going to get.
The first thing to notice about this pedal is how thick you can get the flanging sound. The controls for depth and rate mean you are able to determine this yourself, and if you take the controls to their extremes then you’ll be able to create an impressively huge sound. Put a small rate and a small depth and the impact will simply be a subtle way to thicken your texture; crank both of those up to full and your guitar tone will be running in every direction, creating a really experimental feel.
There are also a few pre-set modes: ultra (which does what it says on the tin), standard (which is pretty average) and gate/pan, which creates a stereo sound that can feel like it is floating around you if you’ve got the right speakers.
The pedal does have an option to lock to a tempo, which is especially important when playing live and basically essential when recording, but it is a little hard to get to grips with. The general idea is that you hold the pedal down for two seconds, but there is a lot more to getting the technique than that.
Donner Jet Convolution Flanger Guitar Effect Pedal Mini Compact Size True Bypass
If you’re looking to reduce both the price and the complexity after absorbing all that Boss pedal has to offer, then look no further than the Donner Jet Convolution Flanger. This is one of the cheapest pedals on our list, and if flange isn’t a big part of your sound, then its compact size will allow it to slot into a tiny gap on your pedal board.
It doesn’t give you the option to match the effect to a tempo, but it does give you the true warmth of an analogue pedal. Donner themselves provide a bold description: “feels like the blue sky and white clouds, the glittering sunshine refraction”.
The editability is simple and straightforward. Your true bypass footswitch is exactly where you’d expect it, and the larger knob in the middle allows you to control the most important part of any flanging signal- the rate. Smaller controls allow you to take a more detailed approach by changing the colour (which is actually just depth) and the range. This is a great pedal for those on a budget.
JOYO JF-327 Raptor Flanger Mini Guitar Effects Pedal Ironman
The thing JOYO nail from the start is the look and feel of the pedal. The sound of a flanging signal is often seen as a hard, heavy, metallic sound similar to the aircraft noise that it is reminiscent of. This pedal is built with an industrial grey colour in mind, with a hardy metal to keep it solid. In fact, it has a special flap that is able to be brought down over the editable elements of the pedal, keeping them safe on journeys as well.
In terms of sound, the pedal is deep and rich in tone, despite being a digital emulator. As with pretty much every pedal on this list, it has the option to control both the delay and the speed, which means you can customise the specific flanging tone you’re looking for. However, it has a couple of more unique options as well.
The width setting is pretty self-explanatory, allowing you to boost the size and grandeur of your output. However the ‘regen’ setting (no idea why it’s rather confusingly called that, though) is pretty much just an output gain. Crank that up and the signal your pedal outputs will be just that little bit crunchier. Obviously, if you have an actual overdrive pedal then don’t bother with this feature, but if this is all you’ve got then it’s a great addition.
SONICAKE 5th Dimension Digital Modulation Guitar Effects Pedal
The thing that differentiates the SONICAKE pedal from every other pedal on this list is that it encompasses so many different effects. The Boss pedal sees you looming towards a higher price for a great flanger, but only a flanger. This pedal is mid-budget, but includes phaser, chorus, tremolo, vibrato and auto-wah. An impressive package.
Now, obviously, there is a slight compromise made here. If you’re sitting on a price that low, your tones are going to suffer a little. This isn’t a pedal made for millionaire bands selling out stadiums or recording number one albums, we know that. However, that probably isn’t you, right? You’re playing in your bedroom, maybe recording a demo and doing a show at a pub? Then this is the perfect pedal.
Use the knob in the middle to move between each of these exciting effects, with a bit of room at the top of the pedal to edit the output signal as well. Depth and Rate are editable, with both of these parameters being relevant to a lot of the other effects the pedal has, giving you a wide range of controls over a wide range of effects.
In terms of specifics, some of the best sounds the pedal has to offer include the Jet Flanger (a huge, thick flanger sound) and the Cryin’ Bot (a strangely impressive auto-wah, even if there is no foot pedal to control specifics).
TC Electronic Thunderstorm Flanger Vintage Style Pedal
TC Electronics’ surely win the competition for Clearest Display In A Flanger Pedal with their effort. A sleek purple rectangle with the most symmetry and obviousness you’ve ever seen.
The true bypass sits at the bottom, with the four controls in an easy-to-understand layout above. Rate and Depth are, as ever, at the top. The one thing a lot of these pedals are missing are specifics. I’d love it if they explained how much I’m increasing the rate and depth by, rather than just having to feel for it through experimentation. The feedback and manual controls beneath are just extra treats from TC Electronics.
The best thing about this pedal is its ability to recreate analogue sounds. It may well be digital, but there are times when playing with this sounds like you’re feeling your guitar straight through a tape, with those EQ sweeps giving an impressively nostalgic feel.
Dunlop MXR Micro Flanger Pedal
When Dunlop describe this pedal as ‘micro’ they aren’t joking. The tiny pedal only has rate and regen (making a reappearance from early with much better results here) options, with the true bypass taking up about half of the pedal.
You might be a little concerned about the price of this particular pedal, as it trumps the ones we’ve already looked at by quite a way. However, look closely, and you’ll notice we’re in analogue territory. This is a bold claim, but if you’re only interested in analogue flangers and have the budget for it, then this is the pedal you should choose. This model is a reissue from a well-loved piece of kit from the 1980s, and all of the warmth and retro feel is present as you play.
Considering its small size and lack of customisability, there is a lot you can do to your tone thanks to that ‘regen’ option, with one of its most valuable assets probably being its size. It provides one of the best flanger tones available without taking up much of your pedal board at all.
Electro-Harmonix Neo Mistress Flanger Pedal
It might be a bit garish in terms of design, what with the crazy pinks jumping out at you and the early-2000s font above the footswitch making perhaps too much of statement, but for those with a bigger budget, then Electro-Harmonix have got you covered with their entry into the market.
You’ve got everything you could need from a small, simply pedal: true bypass, rate and feedback (which basically controls the way the filter sweeps through the input signal). However, they’ve chucked in an extra treat that might take your fancy. The Filter Matrix Mode allows you to freeze the sweep in place, thus giving you full editability and control over exactly what your pedal is outputting. If you want full control over your tone, then this is a great option.
The overall sound is luscious and dense, giving that shimmering quality to your tone in the exact what you want it to.
JOYO JF-07 Classic Flanger Guitar Effect Pedal
The second attempt from JOYO in this list is a much more high-end, complex pedal. Unfortunately, it does away with the cool little flap that protects the editable settings during a journey, but it replaces that with a much better tone that is easier to edit with more detail. The result is a complex tone that simulates various classic flanger tones with immense precision.
Of course, the delay time and speed are in there so you can dial your tone to exactly where you need it. However, as with only a couple of other pedals on this list, you can add even more depth, size and intensity to the sound by cranking up the regen and width. This turns this output from this pedal into a warm, but huge sound when you need it to.
They explain that the pedal “might as well be called the “007” pedal because it’s as stealthy and intriguing as agent bond himself”. It’s quite a strange description, but I can sort of see where they’re coming from. You can get some truly subtle but incredibly tone-altering sounds with this pedal if that is what you need, but they can also pack a massive punch when required.
TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger
The second effort from TC Electronics on this list is their tiny purple pedal. It might not be as stylish as their previous effort, but if you’re looking to save some space with an interesting take on that classic analogue sound of the 60s, then look no further. The colour scheme has already taken you halfway there anyway.
True bypass, speed, depth and feedback are your editing options, but we knew that. The thing about this pedal is its sound. It is basically designed to bring out a psychedelic 1960s feel by default, but there are a practically infinite ways to get different sounds through this pedal. It is connected to a system called TonePrint, which allows you access to everything from subtle nuanced tone shifters, to the biggest and fattest replicas of the tone of various famous guitarists from throughout history; Hendrix to Van Halen.
Considering the price tag on this one isn’t actually too big, this is an impressive way to develop upon what you may expect to be a limited sound, due to the size of the pedal. One thing TC Electronics are keen to remind you of, is that this pedal doesn’t need to be limited to guitar. A swirling effect on the drum kit can be particularly disorienting (in a good way), which laying this over some vocals can be thickening and wide.
Behringer FX600 Digital Multi-Effects Pedal
The final pedal on our list comes from Behringer, and it’s certainly the ugliest and most complex pedal we’ve seen so far. They seem to have chosen the worst colour, then layered some industrial looking control knobs at the top and forced us to use the worst kind of footswitch available. However, the tone is spot on. And that is all that matters, really.
The main thing Behringer seems to be going for with this pedal is competition with studio effects. They aren’t trying to blind us into thinking this is competition for the retro warmth of an analogue pedal, especially at that price, but they’re doing a good job proving us that they can craft a great tone. The high resolution sound is good pretty much across the board, but I haven’t even told you the best part.
This is a multi-effects pedal. You’ve got an impressive flanger built in, which is why is makes its way onto our list. However, there is a chorus, phaser, delay, tremolo and pitch shifter in there as well. This means that, despite not even focusing directly in on modulation effects, Behringer have still managed to create a pedal with great tones from every angle.
It might be ugly, but if you’re looking for a compact multi-effects unit that focuses in particular on a great flanger, then this is one of the best pedals you can invest in.
A Flanger pedal is a cool bit of kit, but you need to make sure not to overuse it. Remember that you often won’t want to use a pedal in the studio, so if that would be your only purchasing reason, then maybe invest in a great digital, VST flanger plugin instead of a physical pedal.
Furthermore, if you only want your flanger for practice, then you’re able to stick to the lower end of the budget with more ease. This is because you’ll be able to get the general outline of the sound for experimentation, with the higher end pedals only really being necessary if you’ll be taking the pedal out at live shows where your sound quality truly matters.