10 Best Chorus Pedals for Guitar in 2021: Top-Rated Recommendations

We tested ten products and found the EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine V3 to be the best chorus pedal for guitar.

As guitarists ourselves, we bring decades of experience to the table, and dozens of chorus pedals have made their way across our pedalboards in that time. From the bargain box to the boutique, we have an intimate knowledge of what makes an excellent chorus effect and how you can best use the effect in your music. 

The Sea Machine from EarthQuaker is our favorite because it offers the best blend of performance, features, and build quality. This is a “boutique quality” pedal that’s hand-wired in the United States by top technicians, and you can hear that commitment to quality in everything this pedal does. 

Chorus is the perfect companion to add richness and color to clean parts and character and nuance to your lead playing. Once you familiarize yourself with the controls, you’ll be able to coax a variety of unique tones from your pedal. 

Read on as we cover everything you need to know about the best chorus pedals, including our top ten list of the best models around. 

best chorus pedals

Our Best Choruses for Guitar Players

  1. Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine V3 – Best Overall
  2. Danelectro D5 FAB – Best Vintage Style
  3. Donner Tutti Love – Best on a Budget
  4. Electro Harmonix Small Clone – Best for Rock
  5. Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble – Best for Versatility
  6. Boss CH-1 Super Chorus – Best Value
  7. MXR M134 Stereo Chorus – Best Stereo Chorus
  8. MXR M234 Analog Chorus – Best Analog Chorus
  9. Boss CE-2W Waza Craft – Best Boutique Style
  10. TC Electronic Corona Mini – Best for Small Pedalboards

Best Chorus Pedal Showdown: Our Top 10

Without further adieu, let’s dive in and examine the best pedal options for chorus on the market today. These pedals represent the best of the best. You’ll find them on the pedalboards of some of the greatest guitarists on the planet. 

EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine V3 - Best Overall

  • Type: Digital
  • Controls: Rate, depth, intensity, dimension, animate, and shape
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

This version of the Sea Machine is EarthQuaker’s third design, and it’s been reimagined with a variety of exciting new features. 

This pedal features true bypass construction for enhanced tonal clarity, and it employs relay-based switching so that it’s as silent as a buffered pedal when you engage it. You’ll find the standard controls like rate, depth, and intensity (level) on the front of the pedal. 

You’ll also find proprietary controls called dimension, animate, and shape. The dimension control alters how much spatial regeneration is present. Animate controls how far the wet signal oscillates from its lowest to the highest point. Shape controls the shape of the waveforms and affects how smooth or angular the effect sounds. 

These controls and features meld together to create a chorus that’s incredibly nuanced and unique. It’s also easy to use, and you can dial in incredible chorus tones in just a few seconds. Depending on the settings, this one stompbox can also achieve reverb and echo-like tones that help you get even more mileage for your money. 

Whether you prefer to run the pedal on batteries or with a 9V outlet, you’ll be able to do either with the Sea Machine. 

Given the level of control you have over the effect, and the incredible tone it produces, the Sea Machine V3 is our pick as the best chorus pedal.

Danelectro D5 FAB - Best Vintage Style

  • Type: Digital
  • Controls: Mix, speed, and depth
  • Bypass: Buffered bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

With plenty of vintage style and tone, the D5 from Danelectro is a great choice for players looking to capture the sounds of the vintage chorus pedals from the 70s and 80s. Plus, you can add one of these to your pedalboard without breaking the bank, as it’s one of the most affordable options on the market.

While it’s a digital chorus, the D5 achieves a decidedly vintage flavor that’s perfect for adding a warm and responsive chorus pedal to your sound. At the back of the pedal, you’ll find a standard control array for mix, speed, and depth. 

The FAB chorus provides Danelectro’s classic styling, which is steeped in 50s nostalgia. The diminutive D5 looks a bit like a spaceship, and it’s the ideal size for cramped pedalboards as it doesn’t occupy much space. 

The D5 can be powered with either a 9V DC power adapter or 9V battery, so you’ll be able to decide on the best configuration for your needs. 

Donner Tutti Love - Best on a Budget

  • Type: Analog
  • Controls: Mix, rate, and depth
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: 9V power supply only (not included)

Guitarists on a budget don’t have tons of choices when they’re looking to add a new effect to their pedalboard. Most affordable effects either sound cheap, or they’re built poorly and prone to breakage. Donner is a fairly new player, but they’re making a reputation as one of the best choices for quality and affordability. 

The Donner Tutti Love chorus pedal boasts all-analog circuitry and true bypass construction, so there’s nothing to take away from the vintage warmth that this pedal dishes out. Controls for mix, rate, and depth allow you to achieve everything from a slight chime to far-out warble effects. 

Donner manufactures this pedal in a micro-housing, so it’s perfect for guitarists who are already low on pedalboard real estate. The caveat is that the condensed circuitry means there’s no room for a battery compartment. This pedal must run with a 9V battery (not included). 

The Tutti Love pedal is ideal for guitarists on a budget looking for a vintage-style chorus to add to their pedalboard. If you’re looking for a modern-style chorus pedal with plenty of bells and whistles, this one probably isn’t for you. 

Electro Harmonix Small Clone - Best for Rock

  • Type: Digital
  • Controls: Rate and depth toggle
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

The Electro Harmonix Small Clone looks relatively unassuming, but underneath its chassis lives the framework of perhaps the most storied chorus pedal in rock history. You’ve heard this pedal

before on some of Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr’s biggest hits, including the otherworldly intro to “Come As You Are.” 

Unlike other pedals, which offer an array of bells and whistles, the EHX Small Clone couldn’t be more simple. You’ll find a large knob to control the rate and a single toggle switch for selecting a depth mode. That’s it! For guitarists looking for a truly “plug and play” option, you’ll be able to unlock incredible chorus tones in seconds flat with this pedal.

This analog chorus pedal offers a decidedly vintage flavor that’s reminiscent of the original Roland Jazz Chorus. There’s also a specific nuance to this pedal that Electro Harmonix was able to accurately capture. It’s difficult to describe, but you’ll know it when you hear it.

If you like to fiddle with tons of knobs, you may be disappointed by the lack of control you have over this pedal. Still, most players who want to spend hours tinkering with their tone love the SC. It might not be the most customizable, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a chorus pedal that delivers a more iconic tone.

Boss CE-5 Stereo Chorus Ensemble - Best for Versatility

  • Type: Digital
  • Controls: speed, depth, effect level, concentric EQ
  • Bypass: Buffered bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

The Boss CE-5 chorus ensemble has been one of the most popular pedals on the market for decades. This pedal offers a tried-and-true blend of features and value, which has made it a staple with guitarists everywhere.

Compared to the Small Clone, this is a knob-tinkerer’s dream. The front panel offers the typical controls for speed, depth, fx level, and there’s also a dual-function EQ filter. The filter knob is concentric, so you can control the high and low filters independently using only one knob. Stereo outputs allow you to unlock even more tones from your CE-5. 

With plenty of parameters to control, you’ll have no trouble coaxing a variety of tones from your CE-5, and the effect level knob allows you to adjust just how aggressive or subtle the effect is. This pedal might not have it’s own signature sound the way the Small Clone does, but only the best chorus pedals can rival the versatility of the CE-5. 

Boss guitar pedals are built like tanks, and the CE-5 stereo chorus pedal is no different. The circuitry is built into a rugged stompbox that’s built to stand up to years of damage. Boss stands behind this pedal with a five-year warranty, so you’ll be covered if anything goes wrong. You can run this pedal off either a 9V DC power supply or battery, so it’s versatile enough to handle all situations.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus - Best Value

  • Type: Digital
  • Controls: speed, depth, effect level, EQ
  • Bypass: Buffered bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

The Boss CH-1 from Boss is the perfect pedal for anyone looking to add a Boss chorus’s reliability and performance to their pedalboard while also saving a few bucks in the process. 

The CH-1 is incredibly similar to Boss’ wildly popular CE-5 chorus pedal, and it offers almost all of the same functionality, with one key difference. While the CE-5 has a concentric 4th knob that allows the player to control the filter EQ independently, the CE-1 only has a standard knob for controlling the EQ, so it isn’t quite as versatile in that regard. 

The concentric EQ is a fantastic feature in the studio, but most guitarists don’t miss it when they’re on stage. Considering the CE-1 is virtually identical to the CE-5 in practically every other way, it’s a solid choice for players who demand Boss tone and reliability on a budget.

MXR M134 Stereo Chorus - Best Stereo Chorus

  • Type: Analog
  • Controls: Level, rate, width, bass, treble, and bass filter
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: 2 9V batteries or 18V power supply (included)

MXR has been producing some of the most unique and unforgettable sounding pedals since the 60s. There’s an army of devotees who rely on MXR effects for their signature tone. Perhaps the most outstanding pedal in their catalog is the M134 Stereo Chorus. 

This pedal takes the essence of a great sounding chorus from the 80s and adds some modern sensibilities to take it to the next level. You’ll find the typical controls for level, rate, depth (MXR calls it width, in this case.) There’s also EQ controls for bass and treble and a unique bass filter button that applies the chorus effect only to higher frequencies. 

The stereo outputs allow you to run the pedal into two different amps or simulators. If you take advantage of stereo operation and use the bass filter, you can pump out some serious arena quality tones.

As for the M134 stereo chorus sound, it does a solid job of nailing classic tones, but it hits its stride with more creative applications. You’ll be able to dial in incredibly unique and angelic tone that is ideal for everything from shimmering cleans to far-out leads. It also provides stereo operation, allowing you to dial in an arena’s worth of shimmering choral beauty for your playing. 

Unlike most pedals, which require 9V of power, this powerhouse needs an 18V power supply. You’ll break the bank by running this pedal off batteries since it needs two at a time. Thankfully, this pedal includes a dedicated 18V power supply, so you can avoid the batteries altogether.


MXR M234 Analog Chorus - Best Analog Chorus

  • Type: Analog
  • Controls: Rate, depth, bass cut, treble cut
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

The MXR M234 analog chorus pedal from MXR scratches an itch that many guitarists have. For years, you had to choose between a warm and lively analog chorus that provided little room to shape your tone or a digital chorus that provided plenty of tone-shaping but none of the vintage warmth. 

Fortunately, the M234 manages to deliver both. This chorus pedal offers all-analog construction with Bucket Brigade circuitry to provide the warmth, and shimmer analog chorus’ are so well-loved for. You’ll find the controls rate and depth, along with two frequency cut knobs that allow you to cut high or low frequencies from your sound.

The end result is an incredibly warm and easy to use chorus pedal that provides tons of vintage sensibility without losing focus on what modern guitarists need. Plus, it’s built into a mini housing, so it’s ideal for guitarists who don’t have much real estate left on their pedalboards. 

Boss CE-2 Waza Craft - Best Boutique Style

  • Type: Analog
  • Controls: Depth and rate
  • Bypass: Buffered bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

Whoever coined the adage “they don’t make them like they used to” certainly wasn’t talking about the Boss CE-2W Waza Craft. These pedals are made in Boss’ Japanese factory to exacting specifications, and they deliver an incredible range of tones that most pedals in this price range can’t begin to replicate. 

Despite its tiny standard stomp housing, this pedal performs the work of three separate stompboxes. With the flip of a switch, players can choose between the classic Boss CE-1, CE-2, or tremolo. The CE-1, in particular, will delight anyone who remembers Boss’ original chorus, as well as players who have an ear for vintage chorus. 

Simple depth and rate controls give access to all of the tones this pedal can dish out. The Boss CE-2W chorus features all-analog Bucket Brigade circuitry to provide all the vintage warmth of Boss’ original chorus that’s been delighting guitarists everywhere for almost 50 years.

Best of all, as a Waza Craft piece, this pedal takes Boss’ already well-known craftsmanship and kicks it up to the next level. It’s like they take all the classic tones of the CE-1 and CE-2, polish them into the best versions of themselves, and hand them off to you. The Boss CE-2W Waza Craft provides all the classic Boss tone you want, with less noise and more clarity than ever before. 

TC Electronic Corona Mini - Best for Small Pedalboards

  • Type: Digital with analog dry-through
  • Controls: Level, rate, and depth
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Power: Battery or power supply (9V)

TC Electronic has been making excellent pedals since the 70s, but they’ve turned up the heat in the 21st century with tons of exciting new pedal designs, including the Corona Mini chorus. Most shops have either low stock or no stock of this popular unit.

The TC Electronic Corona chorus offers familiar level, rate, and depth controls. But, there’s much more going on underneath the hood than what the controls suggest. This pedal features analog true bypass construction and a completely analog dry-through. When the pedal is off, there’s no color being added to your sound. 

This pedal features the TonePrint engine, which allows you to unlock a world of chorus effects inside your tiny TC Electronic Corona Mini. There are hundreds of different chorus effects available from the TC website that you can download directly to your stompbox. 

Choosing a setting is as simple as opening the TC Electronic Toneprint app, selecting a tone, and holding your phone next to the pickups. As if by magic, the sound you selected beams out from your Corona chorus. 

You’ll find models of classics like T.C.’s vintage SCF and Tri-Chorus, the Roland Jazz Chorus, and much more. Plus, you can also create your own presets with the help of the Toneprint editor app. 

The Corona chorus might not be able to stand toe to toe with the top-of-the-line boutique chorus’, but there’s still a lot to like. Between the true bypass switching, analog signal thru, and the Toneprint app’s myriad of tones, this chorus is a clear winner in the “bang for your buck” category.  

Chorus Pedal Buying Guide

Before you decide on a pedal from the list above, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with many different features and characteristics of this effect. Once you have a better idea of what to look for, you’ll be able to select the perfect model for the way you play.

How Does the Chorus Effect Work?

Pedals like chorus, vibrato, phaser, and flanger fall into the modulation effects category, and they all work to affect your sound in similar ways. Modulation effects take your raw guitar signal and split it into two identical parts. One part is left alone, and the other is set on a slight time-delay from the original. 

This premise is how all modulation effects work, and subtle differences in how the time delay is applied can result in wildly different effects.

In the case of chorus effects, modulation is applied to the signal’s timbre and pitch, and it’s set on a slight time delay. The small difference in pitch doesn’t sound out of tune when it reaches our ears; it sounds like a wall of guitarists playing the same part together. 

What Does Chorus Sound Like?

Chorus adds an unmistakable richness and fullness to your tone as if you have a chorus of other guitarists playing behind you. The effect is similar to the sound of a 12-string guitar. The tones they produce add an otherworldly, almost heavenly sound to your playing, and it lends itself incredibly well to clean guitar passages. 

The effect first appeared in the mid-1970s, and it enjoyed immediate popularity. Through the 80s and 90s, chorus was a staple on some of the day’s most significant rock records, including Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” 

Chorus was such a widespread effect that it became oversaturated, and it fell out of favor with many guitarists in the 2000s. But, since what is old will come back new, the chorus is experiencing a renaissance with guitar players everywhere. 

Analog vs. Digital

Chorus pedals are defined by their circuitry, which can be either analog or digital. 

Analog choruses are the original, and they’re prized for their rich and warm tone that has a vintage sensibility to them. These pedals do one thing very well, which is to deliver nuanced and character-rich chorus sounds. But, compared to digital pedals, they’re one-trick ponies. 

The best chorus pedals offer much more versatility thanks to additional features. Some digital choruses can provide multiple effect modes, secondary effects, and other extras. But, they don’t achieve the same tonal warmth that an analog chorus can. 

There’s no right answer to the question of which is better. You’ll need to decide if your playing calls for a vintage style analog chorus or a more versatile and dynamic digital pedal. 

Buffered vs. True Bypass

Another critical question is whether to opt for a pedal with buffered or true bypass. The bypass of a pedal affects your guitar’s signal path, and most guitarists have an opinion on which style they prefer. 

True bypass pedals completely bypass the pedal’s circuitry when the pedal is not in use, allowing the signal to travel through the pedal unimpeded. Audiophiles argue that this provides the most transparent and most “true” sound of the guitar.

True bypass pedals are generally noisier than their buffered bypass counterparts, and there is also an audible “pop” sound when the stompbox is engaged. 

Another issue that is affected by pedal bypass is signal quality. There’s noticeable signal loss when the signal has to travel longer cable distances. After a cable run of about 12 feet, you start to lose some signal. Pedal makers set out to address this issue and figure out a way to prevent this loss of signal, and the buffered bypass is how they do it.

Buffered bypass pedals have a buffer inside the pedal, which boosts the signal strength before sending it along the signal chain. This feature eliminates the signal loss issue that’s common with longer cable runs.

Buffered pedals are also usually less noisy, and there’s no noise when the pedal is engaged. However, a buffered bypass will add some level of color to your tone, whether the pedal is off or on. 

Bypass style is another matter of opinion, and your playing and style will dictate whether a buffered or true bypass is best for you. 

Standard Controls on Chorus Pedals

Most chorus effects have somewhere between two and six knobs you can adjust to change the tone of the pedal. Here’s what the standard pedal controls do to your sound. 


The level knob allows you to control how much of the effect is present in your signal. Sometimes, manufacturers refer to this control as mix instead of level. 

When you play with effects pedals, your signal splits into two parts: a dry signal and a wet signal. Before the signal is sent through the rest of the signal chain, the two halves are recombined, and the level knob controls how much of each is added into the mix. The lower the level control is set, the more subtle the chorus effect will be. 


The rate control affects how far apart the original signal is from the wet signal. Greater distance between the two signals results in a faster “pulsing” sound than if the rate control were set lower. 


The Depth controls how intense the effect sounds by controlling how wide the frequency range of the modulation is. Higher depth settings result in a dramatic “warbling” tone, while lower settings produce a more subtle effect. There are plenty of sweet spots between the low and high settings with this knob, and the depth control is the secret to dialing in a thick and creamy chorus effect. 

Additional Knobs

Every manufacturer has their own “special sauce” they bring to their pedals, and it usually manifests itself in the form of additional bells and whistles. It’s common for manufacturers to add an extra knob or two to control other aspects of the effect that are less traditional than the three standard controls above. 

These controls are unique to the manufacturer, so you’ll have to see what the manufacturer has to say about how those additional controls work. 

Final Verdict

Each of the chorus pedals on our list is a solid choice for any guitarist looking to add a chorus sound to their pedalboard. Depending on who you ask, any one of these could be the best guitar chorus pedal. 

Still, one pedal, in particular, earns the top spot as our choice for the best chorus pedal for 2021. The Sea Machine V3 is our pick, as it offers more features, versatility, and tone than any of the other pedals on our list.

This pedal is built by hand in Akron, Ohio, by some of the best technicians in the game. The attention to detail the staff at Earthquaker pays to each pedal is evident when you plug into the Sea Machine. If you’re looking for the last chorus pedal you ever need to buy, this one certainly fits the bill. 

Take a closer look at our top chorus pedal, the Earthquaker Sea Machine V3.

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