Best Phaser Pedals: Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Phasers
How to find the best phaser pedal for you
Phaser pedals are incredibly popular with so many guitarists because they can add so much life and energy to your tone. Since phaser pedals first came available to guitarists in the 60s, guitarists from a range of different styles have been using them to come up with iconic tones and songs.
Finding the best phaser pedal for you depends on what you want from a phaser pedal, your budget and what you plan to do with the phaser.
In this guide we’ll look at some of the most popular phaser pedals as well as a pick for the best phaser pedals in different categories.
If you want to learn more about phaser as well as all other types of common guitar effects, check out Guitar Gear Finder’s Guitar Effects Course here. The course digs deep into all common types of guitar effects and how to use them.
Best Phaser Pedals Shortlist
While there’s no one best phaser pedal, there are a few phasers that tend to show up again and again. Look through any list on phaser pedals and you’ll come across these:
- MXR Phase 90 or MXR EVH90 Phase 90
- EHX Small Stone Nano
- BOSS PH-3 Phase Shifter
- Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon
- TC Electronic Helix Phaser
- Empress Effects Phaser
There are plenty more excellent quality phasers out there, but the above are incredibly popular.
Songs Using a Phaser Pedal
If you’re new to phasers, have a listen to the video below to hear a range of different sounds a typical phaser can offer you:
Here are some well known songs that use a phaser pedal:
- Eruption – Van Halen
- Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix
- Paranoid Android – Radiohead
- Soma – Smashing Pumpkins
- Shattered – The Rolling Stones
Have a listen to some of the above songs to get a feel for how a phaser can be used in different ways to enhance a song. Some songs use a phaser with a clean tone, others with a drive tone. It’s an incredibly flexible effect that can also sound great in combination with other effects.
Best Budget Phaser Pedal
Joyo produce super low cost guitar pedals and many of them have a surprisingly high quality sound. The Joyo phaser pedal is ugly with a terrible logo design, but it delivers an excellent vintage phaser.
It’s pretty clear that the Joyo JF-06 Vintage Phase is a knock-off of the classic MXR Phase 90. The only knob on the pedal is a speed knob, just like the Phase 90. This is the only big downside of the Joyo – you have no control over the phaser apart from speed. For many guitarists speed is the only thing they care about controlling, but you may want to consider a pedal with more control. Check out the other pedals in this guide to get a feeling for what’s missing from the Joyo (or the MXR Phase 90).
Is the Joyo right for you? If you’re not sure whether a phaser is right for you or you’re looking for a cheap phaser pedal that still delivers a good tone, it’s hard to go past the Joyo Phaser. It’s less than half the price of the next cheapest pedal on this list, so if you’re in doubt on whether a phaser is right for you, it’s a cheap way to try one out.
Best Classic Phaser Pedal
If you’ve read anything about phasers before, you would have already seen or heard about the Phase 90. When it comes to phaser pedals, the MXR Phase 90 is iconic. The orange pedal with the one knob has been inspiring generations of guitarists.
Script vs Block: When people talk about the Phase 90, you often hear them talk about the ‘script’ version and the ‘block’ version. This refers to the font used for the ‘Phase 90’ text on the pedal. The more modern pedals with the block style text have a different feel or color compared to the original script logo pedals. Some people love one and some love the other so it’s hard to recommend one over the other.
David Gilmour uses a Phase 90 on many iconic tracks and live and a big part of Eddie Van Halen’s ‘brown sound’ is a Phase 90.
Speaking of Van Halen, he uses the Phase 90 so much that he has his own signature pedal that is almost as popular among guitarists as the original Phase 90. So if you’re a Van Halen fan, or want a bit more flexibility compared to the standard Phase 90, you might want to check out the MXR EVH90:
It still only gives one control knob, but you’ll notice a small ‘script’ button on the top left. This button allows you to change to a more classic phaser tone.
Is the Phase 90 right for you? If you’re looking for a very basic phaser pedal that will still give you an excellent tone, the Phase 90 is a solid choice. You won’t get any flexibility with the effect, but if that’s not important to you, go for the Phase 90.
Best Boutique Phaser Pedal
The Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon Phaser not only has a really long and confusing name, but is a confusing pedal as well. It’s a phaser and tremolo pedal with three control knobs: velocity, trajectory and cosmology…
It’s a unique pedal and the only phaser-tremolo hybrid I can think of. If you’re looking for something a little different than the norm when it comes to phasers, check out the Deluxe Moon. I haven’t had the opportunity to try one yet, but from what I’ve seen and heard from other guitarists, it’s a pedal worth the boutique price tag.
Is the Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon Phaser right for you? this isn’t a typical phaser, so if you’re after a straight-forward good quality phaser, this might not be the best choice. But if you’re looking for something to spark some creativity, you’ll definitely get it with the Red Witch…Moon…Deluxe..something.
Looking for an alternative boutique? Check out the Keeley Phase 24 for a phaser that allows you to toggle between two or four stages.
Best Phaser Pedal for Flexibility
TC Electronic’s modern pedals give guitarists a lot of flexibility thanks to TonePrint. The Helix Phaser is no different and offers guitarists a very modern set of features for a phaser. Through TonePrint you can essentially come up with any sounding phaser you like with up to 12 stages. Even without TonePrint the pedal offers more flexibility that most other phasers.
It’s also a proper stereo pedal unlike almost all other phasers available. It’s a solid performer that offers far more than a typical pedal for a pretty good price.
Is the Helix Phaser right for you? If you’re after a modern pedal with typical modern features and a lot of flexibilty, the Helix offers much more than most other pedals on this list.
Best Phaser Pedal for Quality
Empress Effects produce some stunning guitar pedals. While on the pricey side, one look at the pedal and you know you’re getting something amazing.
The Empress Effects Phaser gives you ultimate control over the effect with a massive range of features as you can see below:
You can toggle between stages, set resonance, switch modes and even change the waveform. This pedal is a stark contrast to the Phase 90 and other pedals that don’t give you control over the effect. If you want to be able to craft the perfect phaser for any situation, it would be hard to look past the Empress Phaser.
Is the Empress Phaser right for you? If you want the best and don’t care about cost, this is one of the best choices available. Of course other people will still swear by their Phase 90, but you can do things with the Empress Phaser that isn’t possible on most of the pedals on this list.
Getting Started With a Phaser Pedal
If you want to get the most out of a phaser pedal and learn how they work, how to use them and combine them with other effects, check out the Guitar Effects Course here.
The course will give you a complete overview of all main types of guitar effects and how to get the most out of them. Whether you’re just getting started with guitar effects or want to learn more, check out the course.