10 Best Wah Pedals For Guitarists In 2021 – Buyers Guide 🥇

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In this article, we’re going to be discussing and reviewing the top 10 best wah pedals available in 2021.

This guide will be slit into several sections, first we’ll explain what exactly what a wah pedal is and how to use it. Secondly, we’ll provide an easy table of our top 10 pics (in no particular order), then we’ll take you through each pedal in detail with videos and recommendations. To finalise, we’ll provide you with our top pics depending on your experience and budget. Lets get started!

best wah pedals

What Is A Wah Pedal?

Wah pedal have been around since the 60’s, essentially right at the beginning of the effects pedal boom that has shaped music ever since. It’s an unmistakable effect that become a focal point for many a legendary guitarist such as Jimmy Hendrix. Classic manufactures of the wah include Vox and Jim Dunlop, who’s variations of the effect you will find heavily involved on our list today. Since the early days, wah pedals have been foot controllable, allowing you to change the sweep sound in real time.

The wah effect is a type of filter, commonly known as a band filter, that combines low pass filters and hi pass filters. As you sweep the pedal, the audio from a set frequency band is allowed to pass and frequencies that are either higher or lower are filtered out. On the classic wah pedal, which is a foot controlled sweep mechanism, a resonant peak is found at the upper cut off frequency. This subsequently gives the effect of a ‘wah’ wound when the pedal is closed to an ‘aah’ sound when the pedal is open.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the wah in comparison to other effect pedals is that it’s essentially an extension of the instrument, meaning the guitar player has the ability to add expression to their playing. Whilst not all guitarists use a wah pedal on their pedalboard, it’s a great tool to get that stand out tone for big guitar solos or funky rhythm. Let’s begin the roundup of the 10 best wah wah pedals..

Best Guitar Wah Pedals

Our Number One Choice
Cry Baby Standard Wah (GCB95)
Our Premium Choice
Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal
Best Value For Money
VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Summary
The ultimate classic and has yet to be emulated or surpassed in terms of quality
Offers so much versatility its simply staggering and no surprise that so many pro guitar players use it
It’s super affordable but a true classic tone, no complex controls or EQ settings
Dimensions
102 x 254 x 64 mm
9.8 x 4.4 x 3.4 inches
102 x 75 x 252 mm
Power
9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply
9V Battery or 9V DC power supply
9V Battery or 9V DC power supply
Prime
Our Number One Choice
Cry Baby Standard Wah (GCB95)
Summary
The ultimate classic and has yet to be emulated or surpassed in terms of quality
Dimensions
102 x 254 x 64 mm
Power
9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply
Prime
Check Price
Our Premium Choice
Xotic Effects Wah XW-1 Guitar Effects Pedal
Summary
Offers so much versatility its simply staggering and no surprise that so many pro guitar players use it
Dimensions
9.8 x 4.4 x 3.4 inches
Power
9V Battery or 9V DC power supply
Prime
Check Price
Best Value For Money
VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Summary
It’s super affordable but a true classic tone, no complex controls or EQ settings
Dimensions
102 x 75 x 252 mm
Power
9V Battery or 9V DC power supply
Prime
Check Price

Xotic Effects Wah XW-1

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Xotic Effects Wah XW-1

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Let’s kick off this list with a bang! The Xotic effects XW-1 is a fully cusomtizable wah pedal that allows you to shape the tone of the exactly how you want it. This is due to the four control knobs on the side of the pedal that allow you to alter the tone anytime. These controls are: bias, wah-q, bass and treble.

Originally based on the 60’s Clyde McCoy wah pedal, this classic wah sound can be altered to your taste, mainly due to the power of the ‘bias’ control. This essentially produces a loverly transparent sound when turned down and a more pronounced tone when turned up. Not to mention a slight output boost when the knob is fully turned up. As expected, the wah can also be altered with the ‘wah-q’ knob which alters the width of the filter.

One feature that is really critical to the quality of Xotic effects XW-1 is the treble/bass controls. This allows you to add or cut +/-15dB to sculpt the perfect sound that suits your guitar tone. Not only that, internally this pedal includes a +6dB boost switch which provides extra input gain should you need it. We’ve never seen a wah pedal with so much control.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Simply put, the XW-1 is an excellent wah pedal and pretty much comes on top of the list for tone, versatility and quality build. Understandably, it’s a higher price than a standard wah pedal so may suit gear fanatics and more experienced guitar players more. However, if you’re serious about implementing wah to your rig and want the best of the best, this is the pedal for you.

Customer Review Rating

The Xotic effects XW-1 has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby

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Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95

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The GCB95 is considered the classic wah pedal offering by Jim Dunlop, inspiring the moto they use which is, ‘if it ain’t broken then don’t fix it’. This pedal has stood the test of time in becoming the most classic wah tone which has served a countless number of guitar players over many generations.

The original Cry Baby has no cusomtisable controls onboard the pedal and quite frankly doesn’t need any. Once you activate the pedal with your foot, the full effect of the GCB95 hits you will a wide scope of wah effect with a wonderful tone and perfect balance of bass/treble. Once the pedal is deactivated, it’s true bypass which is essential to eliminate any interference from the pedal when you’re not using it.

Let’s take a quick look at the legendary guitarist who’s tone you can emulate with this offering from Jim Dunlop. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and David Gilmour have used this pedal (just to name a few) and you can get the exact same tone.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The classic Dunlop GCB95 is the most commonly used wah pedals for guitarist across the world. We fully recommend that you try out this pedal no matter what your preferred musical genre is. The tone its great, build quality is fantastic and the price is really tempting. Our pick as the best wah pedal on the market for the every day guitarist.

Customer Review Rating

The Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

VOX V845 Classic Wah

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VOX V845 Classic Wah

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The Vox V845 is another classic specification wah pedal that is still a massive player on the market to this day. Some consider the original to be the best wah pedal of all time, so it’s fitting that the new version is essentially the same pedal in terms of sound and build. Not only that but this new wah-wah from Vox boasts a more sturdy chassis and a very affordable price.

The build quality on this pedal is really good and the pedal itself seems almost indestructible. This is something that should never be overlooked if you plan on stomping regularly on your pedals. An AC power connector is also fitted to save on having to use batteries to power the pedal.

Believe it or not, the VOX V845 was originally designed in the 60’s to emulate the sound of a muted trumpet, which was considered an important sound at the time. Despite this, what happened afterwards with the wah-wah has simply revolutionised classic guitar sound. It’ has wonderfully characteristics within the tone and is considered a must have effects pedal.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

If you’re searching for a wah pedal that delivers so well in terms of classic wah tone, the V845 may well be the pedal for you. We have recommended this pedal as our best value for money pick as it’s super affordable and a great choice as your first wah pedal. The build quality is also really good so it’ll be a great choice for live musicians.

Customer Review Rating

The Vox V845 Classic Wah has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

MXR MC404 CAE Dual Inductor

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MXR MC404 CAE Dual Inductor Wah

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The MXR MC404 wah was created by the legendary Pedalboard guru Bob Bradshaw and essentially a ‘pimped’ version of classic wah sounds tones, something that pedal enthusiasts used to do in order to alter their wah for a unique sound. The mods included are: adjustable boost and dual switchable fasel inductors.

Whats interesting to us is the switchable duel fasel inductors which provide two different voicing for the pedal. This allows you to switch between wah-wah tones adding some versatility to an already very good pedal. Additionally, a MXR MC401 Boost is build into the pedal giving you that extra output if required.

This pedal also features bright LED’s which indicate the pedals operational status, the first pedal on our list to do so. The reason why this is important is because wah pedals can be hard to distinguish whether the pedal is on or off. The MC401 is also 100% true bypass.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

At its price point, the pedal is suited for more experienced players or guitarist with a little more in their budget. Whats really good about this wah pedal is the customizable controls which really allow you to dial in a specific tone. This will appeal to the guitarist who likes to get a very precise sound out of their pedals.

Customer Review Rating

The MXR MC404 has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini

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Dunlop CBM95 Crybaby Mini Wah

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So we’ve already talked about the genius wah pedal that is the Dunlop GCB95, now allow us to introduce the CBM95, which is the mini version of the pedal. The purpose behind the mini’s creation is the fact that guitarists are trying to carry less around and generally don’t have much spare room to play with on their pedalboards. Wah pedals are generally large and heavy.

Luckily the mini version is just as good and doesn’t loose any quality in tone or performance. The sweeps are still as good with a wide range of filter and the build quality is excellent considering the CBM95’s size. Of course Dunlop have got their measurements just right and the pedal is still a good size for your foot to comfortable control the pedal.

An addition to the range sweep, the Cry Baby Mini also has an internal switch to change between three voicings. The ‘low voicing’ produces a more subtle tone whilst the ‘vintage’ setting replicates the classic vintage tone heard throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The Dunlop Mini is a really practical wah-wah pedal which will appeal to a lot of guitar players who have to carry their gear around a lot. The standard size of a pedalboard is often awkward to house a wah pedal, so if this applies to your situation, this is the pedal for you. The price point is also great so beginner guitar players wont have to bust the bank to get their hands on a mini wah.

Customer Review Rating

The Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah

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BOSS (AW-3)

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The Boss AW-3 adds a slightly different flavour to our list as it is indeed a Dynamic wah pedal as apposed to a conventional expression sweep foot pedal. This pedal will give you a range of classic wah tones automatically produced by altering the knobs to your specific settings. The controls are: decay, manuel, sens and mode.

An incredible feature of this pedal is it’s ‘Humanizer’ mode, which allows you to incorporate human voice-type sounds to emulate vowels. However, you can of course use the AW-3 to switch between wah sounds, plus a Tempo Mode and resonant synth-like Sharp Mode.

The functionality that Boss have added to this pedal simply doesn’t end there. You can add an external expression pedal if you wish to use the AW-3 with you own control. Essentially this allows you to have a classic wah pedal but with all the unique and advanced setting that Boss have provided within the compact pedal. This is by far the most sophisticated auto-wah pedal ever created.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

There are a few guitar players who will love the AW-3. Firstly, Boss pedal lovers will want to add this pedal to their collection as it truly a unique pedal that offers loads of sounds for experimentation. If your looking for an auto wah, then this pedal is a must have. Additionally, if you’re looking for tones of versatility in a wah pedal than Boss have provided the goods for you once again.

Customer Review Rating

The BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah

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Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby

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Lets take a look at yet another Dunlop wah pedal, this time its the Cry Baby 535Q Multi Wah. This pedal offers everything that you would expect from the classic Cry Baby with some additional shaping to the tone. The main control that we want to mention is the ‘width’ control.

This is a frequency control which allows you to switch between a wide sweep and a narrow sweep depending on your preference. Often described as the ‘Swiss army knife of wah pedal’ the 535Q allows full control over its parameters which allow you shape the perfect wah wah tone at ease.

This is Dunlops answer to guitar players who perhaps wanted a very controllable wah pedal with an added boost feature. When the boost is activated, it brilliantly holds a note and will sustain whilst you allow it to. The new circuitry used in this pedal consumes less power and eliminates unwanted distortion.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The dunlop 535Q is a more advanced wah pedal that will appeal to guitar players who need full control of their tone. We particularly like the its frequency control which allowed us to switch between a subtle wah to a more distorted sustain machine. Build quality is excellent and the tone is suburb. Well worth the price!

Customer Review Rating

The Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi Wah has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

VOX V847A Wah

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VOX V847A Wah

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Next on the list, we take a look at another offering from Vox, this time its the V847A. It’s essentially a reissue of the classic pedal that burst onto the scene in the 60’s and changed the effect pedal game ever since. The additions from the original are AC power capability and a buffered input to make the pedal true bypass.

Vox have redesigned certain aspects of the pedal, including the inductor which provides better tone whilst maintaining the original sound that makes the Vox wah so notable. The build of the pedal is really well made and the finish is very appealing to the eye. Most importantly we found the components of the pedal to be really well made so its a very sturdy wah to say the least.

Whilst Vox provide battery power for the V847A, which last up to 100 hours, a AC adaptor can be purchased to ensure the wah wah is ready to go at all times and will kick in once the pedal is activated. Whilst legendary tone is often quite expensive for guitar players, this pedal is certainly an exception.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

When it comes to the classic wah pedals, its essentially a toss up between the Vox and Jim dunlop for which you prefer. The Vox is considered by many as the original classic wah and the V847A emulates the old tone to near perfection. We fully recommend this pedal to any player who heavily involves Wah in their sound and also to beginners looking for an affordable yet classic pedal.

Customer Review Rating

The Vox V847A Wah has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Hotone Soul Press Mini

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Hotone Soul Press

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Now its time to take a look at something a little different in the expression pedal world, the Hotone Soul Press Mini. This pedal combines three function in one, volume, expression and wah. No other pedal on the market really has the capability to do, especially considering the convenient size of the chassis.

The wah setting unleashes a sweep that is clearly modelled on the Cry Baby wah which is covered within the top 10 list. Switch the pedal to ‘VOL’ mode and you essentially have a volume pedal that keeps your guitar sound incredibly well and simply makes it louder. This is a clever addition to the pedal and works especially well when its time to kick into a guitar solo.

Of course you can use the Soul Press Mini as a handy expression pedal by switching to ‘EXP’ mode. This pedal really covers all bases and opens a lot of possibilities for guitar players on stage. The fact its a mini pedal is very useful as this keeps your pedalboard compact and leaves space for other pedals.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Considering this pedal has three functions in one, anyone looking for a lot of pedal for their money will certainly enjoy what the Soul Press Mini has to offer. For the more experienced guitarist, you may want to look elsewhere for your wah pedal and the Hotone doesn’t provide the absolute best wah tone. Having said that, the price is insane and fully worth it on the balance of play.

Customer Review Rating

The Hotone Soul Press Mini has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Dunlop KH95 Kirk Hammett Signature

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Dunlop KH95 Kirk Hammett Signature Cry Baby

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To conclude our list of the 10 best wah wah pedals for guitarists, we’ve included the Kirk Hammett signature model Cry Baby, the KH95. This pedal is a little specific however it will appeal greatly to those of you who are looking for the Ideal Metal wah pedal. Its thought that Kirk Hammett himself was heavily involved in the spec of this pedal, so theres no surprise that It emulates his tone perfectly.

In order to create this specification, Dunlop took Kirk’s EQ, volume and tone settings to create his ideal wah sound which is iconic for 80’s metal solos. We found the pedal to also be exceptionally responsive and full of dynamic range, something which epitomizes a Dunlop Cry Baby wah wah.

What you will have noticed about the Cry baby KH95 is the incredible art work on the pedal itself which makes it unmistakable as a signature wah pedal. The build of the pedal is also very solid and the performance very responsive. Overall this is a fantastic twist on the original Cry Baby.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Well if you play heavy metal or love the tone of Kirk Hammett, this is of course the pedal you need for the job. It’s specifically designed to work with distorted amps and has a really classic metal tone about it. Due to the fact its a signature model, the price point is a little on the high size. However this wah delivers on all fronts for high gain players and will take your solos to the next level.

Customer Review Rating

The Dunlop KH95 Kirk Hammett Signature has a rating of 4.5* on Amazon, Check Customer Reviews.

Our Number One Choice

Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95

We’re going with the Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby as our number one pick for guitarists. This wah is the ultimate classic and has yet to be emulated or surpassed in terms of quality. Yes there are pedals with more versatility then the GCB95 but we realise that not every player wants loads of controls that need manually attending to. Taking the price into consideration, this is the best wah pedal that will suit both beginner guitarists all the way to professionals.

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Our Premium Choice

Xotic Effects Wah XW-1

The Xotic effects XW-1 is perhaps our favorite wah pedal on the list, but due to its slightly higher price point, we’ve awarded it our best premium pick. This pedal offers so much versatility its simply staggering and no surprise that so many pro guitar players use this pedal on their board. The ‘bias’ control allows you to completely switch between different wah sounds and the EQ controls are very responsive. You simply wont be disappointed with this wah pedal!

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Best Value For Money

VOX V845 Classic Wah

The Vox V845 is our pick as the best value for money wah pedal on the market today. It’s super affordable but a true classic tone. Theres no complex controls or EQ settings making this a perfect wah pedal for beginners to plug in and activate. It’s also one of the best pedals in terms of build quality and therefore a asset for your pedalboard. Vox certainly haven’t disappointed with this one.

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if you found this roundup of the 10 best wah pedals both enjoyable and informative. Comment below your own review or any questions you may have regarding this product.

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Last update on 2022-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API