The Best Compressor Pedals: The Ultimate Guide for Guitarists in 2023

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Compression is essential for electric guitarists looking to achieve that signature sound. From rock and blues to country and jazz, the best compressor pedals can transform your tone into something truly special.

With the wide range of compressors out there, picking the right one can seem daunting at first – but don’t stress! We’ve got you covered with our list of the top 10 compressor pedals. Whether you’re after a classic vintage sound or something more modern, these pedals offer a variety of tonal options for all styles and genres.

Discover the Best Compressor Pedal Deals on the Market

best compressor pedal

We get it. There’s a vast sea of devices out there. If you don’t know where to begin, start with our top-rated compressor, the Keeley Compressor Plus. It’s one of the most popular and versatile guitar pedals in the industry. Those willing to splash the cash should check out our premium option, Origin Effects Cali76, and if you’re a beginner on a budget, we can’t recommend the Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher enough.

But there are so many more guitar compressor pedals to discover. From Wampler pedals to Boss, find the best one for you and your style.

  1. Keeley Compressor Plus
  2. Boss CP-1X Compressor
  3. Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal
  4. Xotic SP Mini Compressor Pedal
  5. Fender The Bends Compressor
  6. TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor
  7. MXR M228 Dyna Comp
  8. JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel Compressor
  9. Origin Effects Cali76
  10. Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher

1. Keeley Compressor Plus

The Keeley Compressor Plus is an improvement on their 2 and 4-knob compressor line, coming in with a range of new features that will help fill out your sound.

Our Top-Rated Compressor Pedal

Keeley Compressor Plus

Keeley has slated their Compressor Plus pedal as one of the most popular boutique compressors in the world. And with 95,000 pedals under their belt, we’re inclined to believe them.

Why We Love It:
  • Acts as both a regular compressor and a sustainer
  • Packed with new features
  • All for an affordable price


  • Release switch
  • Tone control
  • Blend control
  • Expander/sustainer
  • True bypass


Try the super simple release switch on for size. This feature is specially tuned for humbuckers and single coils, giving your guitar sound the punch and attack it needs while retaining definition.

The tone control will find those weaker, more sensitive harmonics and bring them to the forefront so you don’t lose any of the nuances of your playing. This design has been taken from Keeley’s amazing analog delays and vintage models to help you control your tone.

If you want to sweeten your sound, try the blend control. This will offer you the flexibility you need to handle any instrument. That’s right – we’re not just talking about guitars.

This guitar compressor pedal also acts as both a regular compressor and a sustainer, giving more gain to fading notes. Like many other pedals, it also boasts a true bypass feature, so your tone remains clear and strong even when the pedal is switched off.


Not only is the Keeley Compressor Plus packed full of features – they all come at an amazingly affordable price. We can definitely see why Keeley boasts that this device is one of the best compressor pedals in the world.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

This is one of the best compressor pedals for musicians looking to add subtly to their music. From ambiance to shimmer, this pedal will fill out your sound without giving you a processed tone than often comes with other devices.

2. Boss CP-1X Compressor

This multiband compression pedal is designed to preserve the tone, nuance, and character of your instrument – no matter what type of guitar you’re using. Whether you’re fingerpicking on your acoustic or rocking out on the electric guitar, this guitar compressor pedal will deliver heavy rhythms, mellow phrases, intricate solos, and so much more, offering detail, definition, and transparent sound, no matter your playing style.

A Pedal with Versatility

Boss CP-1X Compressor

If you’re looking for versatile compressor pedals, the Boss CP-1X has it all. Slated to support all playing styles and suit all guitars, this one comes with a range of high-end features that’ll take your sound to the next level.

Why We Love It:
  • High-end features
  • Optimized for all types of guitars
  • Suits all playing styles


  • Rich musical tone
  • Intelligent processing
  • Intelligent circuitry
  • Four-knob interface
  • Gain reduction indicator
  • 18-volt input electronics
  • Five-year warranty


This pedal features intelligent processing and circuitry, which can analyze you as you play, helping to provide advanced control over your sound without muddying it – the problem that sometimes comes with other compressors. That’s right; get that natural, unprocessed feel whether you’re onstage or in the studio.

Experience the power of this pedal’s gain reduction indicator, which will show you how much compression you’re applying at a quick glance, keeping things simple.

And speaking of keeping things simple, the four-knob interface makes it easy to dial in your sound in seconds, giving you room to focus on your music.

You also get a five-year warranty when you purchase this guitar compressor pedal, which just proves how much trust Boss has in their equipment.


The Boss CP-1X Compressor is suitable for a range of guitars, including electric guitars and seven and eight-string instruments, offering amazing compression without losing the detail and definition from your original music.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

This is a great compressor pedal if you want to preserve your tone as much as possible. It will carve out a detailed and dynamic sound, no matter your genre. We’d also recommend the Boss CP-1X for those who play a range of different guitars, as this mighty monster can support them all.

3. Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal

The Wampler Ego Compressor is a “modern classic,” leveling out your dynamics, fattening tone and offering a transparent boost to suit any guitarist and playing style.

Get Complete Control

Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal

Many musicians regard this as the industry standard for compressor pedals, and with complete control, a plethora of tone-scaping features, and a clean blend, it’s not hard to see why.

Why We Love It:
  • A modern classic compressor
  • Designed to suit a wide range of guitarists
  • Industry-standard


  • Clean blend
  • A wide array of controls
  • For a range of styles
  • High-grade components
  • Top-mounted output and input jacks
  • Relay true bypass


This pedal gives you a clean blend by blending the original signal back into your sound and increasing sustain where you need it. But it’s not just all about the blend control. Get absolute control over your sound with the attack, release, tone, and volume controls, and sculpt your style how you see fit without losing any details from your original guitar sound.

Although compression is often used in country music, this compressor pedal is perfect for a whole range of styles and genres. Other features include a relay true bypass and top-mounted in and outs.

Not only that – it’s built to last forever. The Wampler Ego has been perfectly designed to become a permanent fixture on your pedal board. Once you purchase this beauty, why would you need to look anywhere else?


The Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal is regarded as the industry standard for compressor pedals, and it’s not hard to see why. This little beauty will transform your sound without losing the detail of your guitar tone.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

This is one of the best compressor pedals for those who like to experiment with music genres, as it’s built to suit a range of playing styles.

4. Xotic SP Mini Compressor Pedal

The Xotic SP Compressor may be simple, but it still comes with a range of features that’ll help you sculpt the sound you want, no matter the genre you play.

Startling Simplicity

Xotic SP Mini Compressor Pedal

If you’re looking for a simple compressor pedal that sounds great, the Xotic SP Compressor might be just what you need. There’s a reason why guitarists of all genres love this mini pedal model.

Why We Love It:
  • Based on the Ross compression circuit
  • Compact size
  • Simple to use


  • Great transparency
  • 3-position compression switch
  • Variable blend control
  • Internal dip switches
  • Hi, mid, and low-compression settings
  • True bypass switching


The controls on this pedal work harmoniously together to shape your sound, evening out your dynamics without sacrificing your signal.

Use the blend knob to add tone back into your sound, so you never have to sacrifice nuance. The internal dip switches are another amazing feature that will help you further dial in your tone. There are also high, mid, and low compression settings and a true bypass switching feature to preserve your signal even when the pedal is switched off.


Sometimes simplicity is key. The Xotic SP Compressor is a simple and compact model that will fit nicely into your pedalboard.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

This is one of the best compressor pedals for musicians who want something compact and simple to fit easily into their pedalboard that still offers amazing sound. We’d also recommend it for beginners who have never purchased a compressor before.

5. Fender The Bends Compressor

The best thing about this compressor pedal is that it delivers studio-quality sound, evening out the tone without compromising on your sound.

Studio-Quality Tone

Fender The Bends Compressor

Fender are known mostly for their range of high-quality guitars to suit all budgets, but their music equipment is storming the industry, as well. The Fender The Bends Compressor exhibits the amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail Fender is known for.

Why We Love It:
  • Stage and studio compressor pedal
  • Well-loved and trusted brand
  • Built for professionals


  • Blend control
  • Amp Jewel LED
  • LED backlit knobs
  • Dual audio paths
  • High current control path
  • Anodized aluminum construction
  • 9V battery door


Dial in the perfect amount of compression and extend the sustain through the drive and recovery knobs. Use the blend knob to mix in the dry signal and ensure you keep the natural nuance of your original tone. The dual audio paths will eliminate extra noise from your signal, so all you have is your original authentic tone, and the high current control path will tame and calm volume spokes, so that doesn’t interfere with your music either.

The LED-backlit knobs are a great feature if you intend to take your new compressor pedal out on the stage – they’ll light up even in the darkest of venues, so you can always see exactly what you’re doing. This pedal also features an amp Jewel LED to let you know when the compression circuit is engaged.

The battery door is magnetic for quick battery changes in high-pressure situations, and this pedal’s components are housed in an anodized aluminum construction that’s durable enough to brave even the more rigorous of tours and gigs.


With the range of amazing features this pedal offers, it’s clear to see that the Fender The Bends Compressor is made for professionals.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

If you’re a touring professional, this is one of the best compressor pedals for you. It’s durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of touring life, but it still offers a studio-level sound that will leave audiences wanting more.

6. TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor

The TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor not only looks stylish on your pedalboard, but it also features three modes to help you sculpt your sound. Add some old warmth to your tone with the vintage mode, and make your music sound like it’s come from decades gone by.

For a Vintage Sound

TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor

Whether you’re subtle shimmers to your sound, or heavy, straightjacket tone, the TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor has got you covered.

Why We Love It:
  • State-of-the-art multiband compressor
  • Boasts a stylish design
  • Get access to the TonePrint app


  • Three modes
  • Warm vintage mode
  • TonePrint Editor
  • Optimized headroom
  • True bypass
  • Buffered bypass
  • Kill-dry on/off
  • Analog-dry-through


It also features a technologically superior engine that can tailor your compression, leaving you with more of a transparent tone than other standard compression pedals.

But the best thing about the TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor is the TonePrint app. This app offers customized compression right at your fingertips, letting you “beam” a range of amazing effects straight to your pedal, allowing you to push the boundaries of your tonal landscape. The app also doubles as an editor, which means you can tweak your parameters and control your compressor pedal right from your phone – adjusting your sound has never been easier.

Other features include optimized headroom, a true bypass or buffered bypass switch, kill dry on/off, and analog-dry-through, all used to preserve your signal and ensure your dry sound is passed through the pedal without distortion.


There are so many things to love about the TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor, but the feature we’re impressed by the most is the TonePrint app. Turn your compressor pedal into a versatile effects machine.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

If ease of use is the name of the game, this is one of the best compressor pedals for you. The TonePrint app makes everything so much easier, whether you’re on the stage or in the studio. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a vintage sound.

7. MXR M228 Dyna Comp

This versatile pedal comes with an incredibly quiet operation that’s perfect for in-studio use. With a range of controls, you can tweak your sound to get the rich, dynamic tone you’ve been looking for.

For Versatility Seekers

MXR M228 Dyna Comp

The MXR M228 is based on one of the most popular and well-known compression pedals of all time: the classic CA3080. With great features, this pedal will take your sound from good to great.

Why We Love It:
  • Based on one of the most popular pedals of all time
  • Delivers the classic Dyna Comp sound
  • Quiet operation


  • Classic “metal can” circuit
  • Greater transparency
  • Great dynamic range
  • Attack switch
  • Tone control
  • Clean control
  • Sensitivity knob controls
  • Output


Use the attack switch to choose slow or fast attack times, and fine-tune your sound with the tone knob. The sensitivity control knobs will adjust the length of your sustain to however you want it, and the clean control will blend your dry sound into the compressed signal, ensuring your sound is authentic and real.

Whether you’re looking for 70s-style compression or dynamic control, the MXR Dyna Comp Deluxe retains your authentic sound while helping you tweak the controls to get the perfect tone.


The MXR Dyna Comp is an excellent compression pedal with absolute control, quiet operation, and excellent transparency.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

The Dyna Comp is one of the best compressor pedals for those working in the studio. Its quiet operation means you can get your head down and work on tweaking that tone.

8. JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel Compressor

The newly updated Pulp ‘n’ Peel Compressor may offer more of a vintage design, but it still retains the amazing, great tone of previous models, complete with a range of features that will make sculpting your sound effortless.

Rich, Natural Compression

JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel Compressor

This compressor pedal is an update of the popular Pulp ‘N’ Peel compressor pedal, offering the same great sound and natural compression while keeping your tone intact.

Why We Love It:
  • Classic vintage design
  • Amazing compressed sound
  • Can be used as a boost


  • Great headroom
  • EQ control
  • Parallel overdrive circuit
  • Blend control
  • XLR DI output


The updated model comes with more headroom, so you can easily use this pedal as a boost. It also features an EQ control that retains your desired frequencies.

Use the blend knob to fatten your tone, adding sound back in a way that sounds authentic and real. You can also experiment with the parallel dirt control to give your sound some grit.

If you play the bass guitar or acoustic instruments, you’ll appreciate the XLR DI output.


The JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel Compressor Pedal is a simple update on a classic model. This vintage-style pedal offers excellent effects to help you shape your sound. It also has an eye-catching design that’ll look great on any pedalboard.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

This pedal is a little bit on the expensive side, so we wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. But if you’re a professional looking for something stylish that sounds great, this is one of the best compressor pedals for you.

9. Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe

The Origin Effects Cali76 offers natural, musical compression and a sound you’ve likely heard on many other classic and popular albums. It adds definition, punch, and sustain to your sound.

Perfect Analog Sound

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe

Designed and built in England, the Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe is the epitome of class. This studio-grade model has everything working professionals need.

Why We Love It:
  • Studio-grade compression pedal
  • Analog recreation of the Urei 1176 Studio Compressor
  • Delivers an unmistakable sound


  • Class-A, low-noise circuitry
  • Dedicated parallel compression control
  • Dynamic control
  • Attack and release controls
  • Compression ratio, input, and output controls
  • Three-colour gain reduction meter
  • Buffered bypass
  • All-metal construction
  • 9 to 18V operation


Experiment with the attack and release controls. This pedal also features a dry-level control that will blend your uncompressed ‘dry’ signal into your compressed tone while retaining the authentic and dynamic sound of your original tone. You can also get even more precise with a compression ratio, input, and output volume knob.

Other features include an intuitive three-color gain reduction meter, 9 to 18V operation that offers even more headroom, a high-impedance buffered bypass that offers silent switching, and an all-metal construction to handle the rigors of touring.

This pedal comes with Class-A, low-noise circuitry.


What can we say? The Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe is an all-analog premium option that will sculpt your sound to the max.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

If you’re a touring professional who spends most of your time on the road and you need a reliable piece of equipment that can deliver unmatched sound night after night, this is a fantastic compressor pedal for you.

10. Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher

This compact sustainer compressor pedal features variable parameters that will allow you to adjust your sound the way you want – whether that’s with subtle or extreme adjustments.

For Down-to-Earth Musicians

Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher

When all you want to do is make music, sometimes simplicity is key. The Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher features everything you need in a compact pedal.

Why We Love It:
  • A compressor and sustainer combo
  • Affordable price for all budgets
  • Simple and down-to-earth


  • Two knobs
  • 3-way toggle switch
  • Sustain control
  • Volume control
  • True bypass
  • Die-cast chassis
  • Included 9V battery


The Soul Preacher features two knobs (to adjust the sustain and volume) and an attack toggle switch that gives you three attack settings – fast, medium, and slow. Get aggressive with the fast attack’s 20mS rise time, or try the slow attack for a 100ms rise time.

Other features include true bypass, a die-cast chassis that’s tough enough to withstand whatever you throw at it, and a 9V battery.


The Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher may be simple, but it sure packs a punch with its attack switch, sustain knob, and volume knob. And with compact and durable casing, it’s built to last a lifetime.

This Pedal is Perfect For:

We’d recommend this pedal for musicians who don’t want to fork out endless dollars on too many bells and whistles. The Soul Preacher is perfect for dialing in the tone you want without confusing you in the process, making it great for beginners.

Best Compressor Pedals Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Compressor Pedal

guitar and pedals

Compressor pedals are some of the most versatile tools available for guitarists, providing them with a wide range of effects and sounds. The best guitar compressor pedals can take your sound from good to great. Our buyer’s guide will take a look at what compressor pedals are, the different types available, how they work, and how to find the best one for you.

Compression Pedal Breakdown: What is a Compressor Pedal?

A compressor pedal is a device that adjusts the volume levels of your guitar signal. It works by reducing the dynamic range of a signal — in other words, it quietens any sudden loud surges in volume while allowing the softer parts of your playing to come through. The result is a more balanced sound that’s less likely to be drowned out by other instruments or background noise.

compressor pedals

Types of Compressor Pedals

Compressor pedals come in all shapes and sizes, but they can generally be split into two categories: analog and digital.

Analog compressors offer a warmer sound with lots of character but may require more tweaking and adjustment to achieve desirable results.

Digital compressors offer precise control over compression settings but may not offer as much character as their analog counterparts. However, it’s important to note that they tend to be the most versatile compressor pedals, offering effects and features you likely won’t find on an analog option.

Compressor Pedal Effects

Many compressor pedals provide various effects depending on how they’re adjusted. At their most basic level, they will even out volume spikes in your playing and keep everything sounding consistent. But beyond this basic function, compressors can also be used for creative purposes such as adding sustain or creating unique tonal changes with envelope filters or sidechain compression techniques.

The most obvious effect of using a compressor pedal is that it helps to even out your playing, making it easier for listeners to hear your notes clearly without any sudden changes in volume. They can also add sustain to your notes, allowing them to ring out longer than they would without compression. Additionally, compression can help reduce noise in your signal chain—especially if you’re using high-gain distortion pedals or other noisy effects. Many guitarists use compression as part of their tone-shaping routine; subtle amounts of compression can help smooth out harsh frequencies in your sound while adding body and warmth.

pedal 1

How to Find the Best Compressor Pedal for You

With so many options available, it can be hard to know which compressor is right for you. Here are some tips that can help narrow down your search.

Determine Your Needs

Before buying any pedal, it’s important to make sure you have an understanding of what type of sound you’re trying to create. Otherwise, you might end up spending money on something that won’t do what you need it to do. 

Consider what style(s) of music you play and what effects would best suit those styles best before making any purchasing decisions. Luckily, most compressors will suit a range of genres and playing styles but it’s always wise to double-check the product description on the website.

Think about features that will help you sculpt your sound. Common features found on classic guitar compressors include an attack knob, an output knob, and more. Expensive compressor pedals are likely to have a lot more features. Do you need a big pedal packed with all the bells and whistles, or will a mini pedal suit you better? These are all things to consider.

Read Reviews or Ask Around

Once you know what kind of compressor pedal will work best for you, it’s important to read reviews from trusted sources (or even ask fellow musicians) before making any purchases. This will give you an idea of which models have a good build quality and a great sound without trying them out yourself first-hand.

Read Reviews or Ask Around

However, if you can try a compressor out first, we highly recommend it. This way, you’ll know exactly how each model sounds before committing financially. Most music stores will allow customers to test different pedals before making their purchase, so take advantage of this if possible!

electric guitar


What is the best use of a compressor pedal?

Compressor pedals give your tone more consistency and control. By controlling the dynamic range of your instrument, you can maximize the sound while keeping it balanced. For example, if you’re playing a lead solo on guitar, you can use a compressor pedal to keep your notes even and powerful without subjecting your audience to unnatural peaks in your music.

Compressors also have the bonus of creating more sustain in your notes. This can be especially helpful when playing chords or multiple notes at once. Compressors can help smooth out any unwanted noise in your signal chain while giving you a fuller sound with more presence and body.

All in all, a compressor pedal is an invaluable tool for any musician looking to get more control over their tone and make their music stand out from the rest.

Do I need a compressor pedal?

The answer to this question depends on your musical setup and what sound you’re hoping to achieve. A compressor pedal can be an invaluable tool for guitarists, bass players, and keyboardists – especially those who use a lot of effects.

Compressor pedals are versatile, making them effective for live performances and recording applications. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and how much you wish to use a particular effect.

What compressor does John Mayer use?

John Mayer uses two compressors for his guitar sound: the Analog Man Mini Bi-Comp and the Strymon OB.1.

Final Thoughts

Compressor pedals are incredibly versatile tools for musicians who want control over their sound without sacrificing creativity or dynamics. Whether you’re just starting out or already have years under your belt, having at least one compressor pedal in your arsenal can help take your guitar playing from good to great.

Just make sure you consider all factors, including your budget, playing styles, genre, and desired effects, so that when it comes time to buy, there won’t be any surprises.