10 Best Noise Gate Pedals for Guitar in 2021 [Buying Guide]

They say that an unsung hero is a person that performs incredible deeds for the greater good but receives little or no accolades for their work. While we usually reserve the title of an unsung hero for people, there may be no better way to apply this term than the humble noise gate pedal. 


Noise gates don’t have the same sex appeal that other pedals, such as an overdrive, chorus, or wah might. Plus, the better a noise gate is, the easier it is to forget it’s even there. While these pedals might not garner much attention, they’re a handy addition to any guitarist’s rig, primarily if you use lots of pedals or play a high-gain style of music. 


Shopping for the right noise gate has always been a bit more complicated than shopping for other pedals. Most of the best noise gate pedals have limited features and are only genuinely differentiated by how well they’re able to reduce noise when you’re playing in a live environment. 


Fear not because we’re here to help you cut through the static and select the best noise gate pedal for the style you play. We’ll also take a closer look at ten of the best noise gate pedals on the market today.

best noise gate pedals

What Do Noise Gate Pedals Do?

Unwanted noise is a cost of doing business when you’re making music. Between your gear, the room you’re in, and external stimuli like lighting or environmental noise, there are tons of noise sources that can get in the way of your sound. While some of them are impossible to control, a noise gate pedal can dramatically reduce the noise that your rig and external factors generate.


It’s helpful to think of a noise gate in its most literal terms. In effect, the pedal is acting as a gate, preventing unwanted guitar noise from passing through the gate and into your signal. 


A guitarist sets the noise threshold on their pedal, which allows the pedal to differentiate between unwanted noise and your actual guitar playing. The gate removes any noise that sits below the noise threshold, which blocks it from traveling to your amplifier. Sound which is loud enough to exceed the threshold (i.e., the notes you’re playing) passes through the gate unimpeded.


A typical noise gate in a studio setting has four different parameters that control the pedal’s function: threshold, attack, release, and hold. Noise gate pedals are usually slightly more simple, often espousing this array of controls for a two-knob configuration with threshold and attack. 


Some pedals provide all four controls, and they’re also helpful in a studio setting. Here’s what each parameter does:

Threshold – Sets the noise floor which controls the opening and closing of the gate

Attack – Controls the speed at which the gate opens

Release – Controls the speed at which the gate closes

Hold – Controls how long the gate stays open before closing again


Should I Use a Noise Gate Pedal?

One of the most common questions guitarists have is whether a noise gate is a piece of gear worth spending the money on. There are tons of pedals out there vying for precious space on your pedalboard; is it worth adding one to your setup when you could just as easily spend that money on a pedal that does more to affect your sound? 


Like many gear questions, it boils down to a matter of personal opinion. One thing that can help make your choice more straightforward is to ask yourself a few questions about how you play. If you’re answering yes to more questions than you’re answering no to, it may be time to add one of these guitar effects pedals to your pedalboard.

Do you rely on lots of pedals for your sound? 

Do you play metal, punk, or other aggressive styles? 

Do you regularly play under stage lighting? 

Do you use single-coil pickups? 

Pretty much, if you’re playing music anywhere besides the comfort of your bedroom, you can benefit from adding a noise gate pedal to your rig. How much you can benefit and how badly you need one will depend on your specific situation. But, most players should have at least one noise gate pedal on their pedalboard.

How To Choose The Best Noise Gate Pedal

Before you rush out to purchase the first pedal that catches your eye, there are several things you’ll want to consider before pulling the trigger. Read on as we share the few crucial considerations you’ll need to make before selecting the right one. 

Simplicity vs. Control

Most noise gates fall into one of two categories. Some are simple, providing very little room for user adjustment, while others offer a more comprehensive array of parameters for you to control. 


The best type for you will depend on the way you play. Many guitarists prefer a pedal they can throw onto their board and never pay any mind to. A noise gate with a single threshold knob is usually ideal for these players.


Meanwhile, many players prefer more exact control over the settings of their gate. If you fall into this category, you’ll want a pedal that offers control over things like the gate’s attack and release. 


Some pedals also offer different gating modes for you to select from, which change the effect profile to deliver a more natural or more aggressive gating style.

True Bypass vs. Buffered Bypass

The bypass of a pedal is one of the most significant concerns for many players, as it can affect how your pedal performs as part of your rig. 


As guitarists began incorporating more pedals into their rigs, some minor issues became apparent with their effects. Guitar players running multiple pedals began to notice a loss of their signal quality, especially if they ran long cables. Electric guitars with passive pickups generate a very weak electronic signal, and as the signal travels longer distances, there’s a noticeable quality loss. 


To combat this, pedal manufacturers began incorporating a buffer into their circuitry to amplify the signal before reaching the pedal, eliminating signal loss. It does, however, add a certain color to your sound, which you have no control over.


What’s concerning for many players is that even when the pedal is off, the buffer is still on, adding color to your sound. If you’re a tone purist, you don’t want anything getting in between you and your guitar tone. Plus, if each pedal has a buffer, that’s an awful lot of circuitry impacting your guitar tone. 


That isn’t to say that buffers are inherently bad; it’s just something that most guitarists like to have control over. Tone aficionados generally stick with true bypass pedals and add one standalone buffer to their pedalboard to ensure a consistent input signal for all their pedals without all the additional buffering.

Build Quality

A noise gate is not a pedal you should have to replace. If you’re happy with its performance on the day you buy it, you should be equally satisfied after it’s been part of your rig for years. With that in mind, you want to choose a pedal that’s exceptionally rugged and well built. 


Avoid pedals made from plastic or thin aluminum. Heavy die-cast pedals made from one piece of metal are your best bet, as they’ll be able to stand up to anything the road dishes out while also protecting the delicate circuitry within. 


The Top 10 Best Noise Gate Pedals

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for when shopping for the best noise gate pedals, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 pedals on the market so you can select one of the best. 

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

Best Noise Suppressor Pedal

The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor pedal has been arguably the most popular noise reduction stompbox on the market for well over two decades. Countless guitarists rely on the simple and reliable Boss NS-2 to handle all their noise control needs, whether they’re dealing with some single-coil hum from stage lighting or trying to eliminate feedback in front of their full stacks. 


The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor is quite simple, with controls for the threshold and decay, so you’ll be able to dial in the exact threshold you need to kill noise and then adjust the decay to provide the most musical and transparent response possible. 


There’s also a mode knob on the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor pedal that allows you to choose between reduction and mute modes. In reduction mode, the pedal behaves like a traditional noise suppressor to address any feedback, hum, or noise in your guitar signal. 


The mute mode of the Boss NS-2 provides similar functionality, with an additional quirk that’s ideal for modern metal styles. In mute mode, the pedal is constantly on to suppress unwanted hum and feedback. But, when you engage the footswitch, it acts as a killswitch, completely cutting your signal to silence. The mute feature is handy during rhythmic passages with lots of space between notes.

Features & Specs

Decay and threshold controls

Two-mode operation

Effects loop

Bypass: buffered bypass

9V battery or power supply

Die-cast construction

Who Should Use This?

The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor is the ideal pedal for guitarists who want a reliable pedal that manages to mitigate noise without adding too much additional color to your tone.

Behringer NR300 Noise Reducer Pedal

Best Noise Reduction Pedal Under $30

As long as Boss has been crafting top-quality stomps for every conceivable style of playing, Behringer has been ripping them off with bargain bin versions of all of their pedals. Virtually all Boss stompboxes have a Behringer equivalent, and the NR300 Noise Reducer is their version of Boss’ popular NS-2 Noise Suppressor.


Like the Boss NS-2, the Behringer Noise Reducer NR300 pedal offers controls for decay and threshold, two-mode operation (reduction and mute), and an effects loop. It also provides reasonably rugged construction, and it should stand up to any punishment you can dish out. 


The similarities between the Boss NS-2 and Behringer pedals end as soon as you turn them on. Sure, this pedal does mitigate hum and feedback in your guitar signal, but it leaves its fingerprints all over your guitar tone in doing so. There’s noticeable tone loss when you engage the NR300, which is enough to send most guitarists running. 


The average gate pedal costs five times what the NR300 does, so you can only expect so much from this budget pedal. But, if you can afford to, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. 

Features & Specs

Decay and threshold controls

Two-mode operation

Effects loop

Bypass: buffered bypass

9V battery or power supply

Who Should Use This?

The NR300 is by far the most affordable gate on the market, so it’s a good choice for players on a shoestring budget that need a pedal for unwanted noise control, even if it’s flawed.


TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

Best Noise Gate Pedal For Guitar

The TC Electronic Sentry noise gate pedal is one of the most effective and versatile gates on the market, and it’s also more affordable than several of the top gates on the market today. 


The Sentry offers controls for threshold, damping, decay, and a mini-switch for choosing between the three-pedal modes. The regular mode relies on TC Electronic’s Series 6000 multiband reduction circuitry to squash 60-cycle hum and buzz. There’s also a hard gate mode that is ideal for modern metal, and a TonePrint mode allows you to tap into hundreds of available presets via the TonePrint app. 


This gate also offers an onboard effects loop for mitigating especially noisy pedals and a switchable bypass, so you can choose between a buffer circuit or true bypass, depending on your needs. 

Features & Specs

Threshold, decay, and damping controls

Three effect modes

Effects loop

Bypass: switchable

9V battery or AC adapter power supply

Who Should Use This?

The TC Electronic Sentry noise gate is an ideal pedal for guitarists on the hunt for a versatile, effective, and affordable pedal to quell unwanted hum and feedback.

ISP Technologies DECI-MATE Micro Noise Reduction Pedal

Best Guitar Noise Gate Pedal For Metal

A staple on the pedalboards of some of metal’s most influential guitar players, ISP Technologies is notorious for the whisper-quiet operation their pedals provide. The ISP Technologies Decimator II is a legendary pedal among modern metal guitarists. Their latest, the DECI-MATE Micro, is ideal for guitarists who need tight and aggressive gating in the most compact form possible. 


From a user standpoint, the easy-to-use DECI-MATE is unbeatable. The threshold level is the only control you need to control unwanted noise, and it allows you to tamper down everything from a slight signal hum and white noise to uncontrollable feedback with minimal impact on your tone. 


Like the ISP Technologies Decimator II, this noise gate guitar pedal also features true bypass circuitry and a completely analog signal path, which helps ensure near-complete transparency whether the pedal is on or off. When you engage the pedal, it uses ISP Technologies’ Adaptive Tracking to provide the most accurate damping possible without sounding artificial, which is a must for modern metal.

Features & Specs

Single control for threshold level

Nano housing perfect for tight pedalboards

Analog circuitry

Bypass: True 

Die-cast construction

9V power supply (not included)

Who Should Use This?

The ISP Technologies Decimator Micro is the perfect gate for modern metal and prog guitarists who need a responsive and transparent pedal to completely crush unwanted noise. 

MXR M135 Smart Gate Pedal

Best noise gate guitar pedal overall

A rugged noise gate that provides plenty of versatility and control while maintaining a pedalboard-friendly size, the MXR M135 Smart Gate is one of the best options for all guitar and bass players. 


The easy-to-use M135 offers a single control that sets the noise threshold for the gate. Several mini-switches allow you to control other aspects of the pedal. One switch allows you to select from full, medium, or low noise damping, and another engages the Hi Trigger Range mode for extremely noisy situations. 


The hiss (low) setting and medium settings are ideal for most guitar and bass applications, while the full mode is best for applications where there are lots of low-end hum from lights, AC line noise, or inline dimmers. 


The MXR M135 Smart Gate also offers adaptive gating, adjusting the attack settings intuitively depending on what you’re playing. This feature ensures whisper-quiet operation without affecting the musicality of your playing.

Features & Specs

Single control for noise threshold (trigger level)

Mini housing takes up less space than a standard stompbox

Intelligent gating automatically changes attack response

Three gating modes

Hi Trigger Range button 

Bypass: hardwire

Rugged die-cast construction

Who Should Use This?

The MXR M 135 Smart Gate is an ideal pedal for modern metal and prog guitarists who need a versatile and effective noise gate that offers intelligent gating. Bottom line, the Smart Gate is our choice for best overall. 


Electro-Harmonix The Silencer Noise Gate

Best Noise Gate Pedal Value

Offering the ideal blend of performance and value, the Electro-Harmonix Silencer noise gate is perfect for players on a budget who can’t afford to sacrifice performance for a low price. This EHX noise gate offers all the features and functions you’d expect from a top-of-the-line pedal for considerably less coin.


The EHX Silencer offers controls for threshold and release as well as a reduction control for fine-tuning the ideal amount of gating to quell noise without getting in the way of your guitar tone. This pedal also offers a dedicated send/return with a buffered output for sidechaining or running your entire pedalboard. 


The reduction control feels a bit redundant initially since it seems to offer similar functionality as the threshold control. Still, it’s an excellent tool for fine-tuning your noise gate’s response once you find the sweet spot where the pedal is removing all the noise you need it to. 


The pedal nestles nicely into a mini enclosure, so it doesn’t hog too much space on your pedalboard, and it offers die-cast construction with a rugged finish on the outside, which protects the pedal for years to come. 

Features & Specs

Controls for threshold, release, and reduction 

Buffered send/return

Mini housing takes up less space

Bypass: buffered 

9V battery or power supply (not included)

Who Should Use This?

The Silencer from Electro-Harmonix is an intelligent noise gate that’s the perfect companion for guitarists who need a professional quality noise gate without breaking the bank. 

Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger Hum Eliminator Pedal

Best Noise Pedal For Single Coils

Noise gates are an indispensable tool for modern metal guitar players, but they often fall short for guitarists who rely on single-coils. If you specialize in the blues or classic rock, good luck finding a noise gate or suppressor that’s going to cut through your hum issues without slicing through your tone in the process. 


Thankfully, that’s where the Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger comes in. EHX designs this noise suppression pedal specifically for single-coil guitars, and it’s incredibly effective at cutting through 60-cycle hum and stage interference. Unlike a gate, which aggressively cuts your signal when it doesn’t detect your playing, the Hum Debugger constantly scans your signal for instances of hum and removes only the frequency with hum. 


The result is a crystal-clear signal devoid of all the hum and interference that are so common with single-coils. Most importantly, the Hum Debugger does its job without degrading your tone or cutting into your sustain, which is especially critical for blues guitarists. 


This guitar pedal offers true bypass circuitry and includes a power supply. You’ll want to take extra care of that power supply as it’s an odd size that would be difficult to replace if you lose it, and powering this pedal with batteries isn’t an option. 

Features & Specs

Noise suppression for single coils

Normal and strong noise reduction modes

Die-cast housing

Bypass: true bypass

Includes 7V power supply

Who Should Use This?

The Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger is the ideal noise suppressor for any guitarist who relies on single-coil pickups to deliver their signature sound.

Mooer Noise Killer Micro Noise Reduction Pedal

Best Two-Mode Noise Gate Pedal

A relative newcomer to the pedal space, Mooer has been making waves with their nano-size stompboxes that are equal parts effective and affordable. The Mooer Noise Killer is their answer to the frontrunning ISP Technologies DECI-MATE noise gate, and it performs admirably given its affordable price point. 


This stomp offers a single threshold knob, which allows you to set the threshold of noise you’re willing to tolerate in your audio signal before the gate switches on. There’s also a mini-switch that will enable you to choose between a soft or hard gate mode. 


The two gate modes have different attack, decay, and release settings and are a simple way for guitarists to adjust their noise gate to their style or a specific song. The soft mode is more musical and ideal for rock and blues players who can’t sacrifice sustain in the name of taming noise. The hard mode is suitable for the demands of modern metal. 

Features & Specs

Single control to set the threshold

Hard and soft gating modes

Nano-size housing

Bypass: True bypass

Requires 9V power supply (not included)

Who Should Use This?

The Mooer Noise Killer is a solid choice for guitarists on a budget looking for a nano-size pedal they can squeeze into a tight pedalboard. 

TC Electronic Iron Curtain Noise Gate Pedal

Best Noise Gate Pedal Under $50

Sleek, stylish, easy to use, and affordable are all terms that come to mind when describing the new TC Electronic Iron Curtain noise gate. If you’re looking for an effective noise gate for a bargain price, this could be the one for you. 


The Iron Curtain offers threshold and decay knobs, which control the volume level necessary to engage the gate, and the speed the gate engages. This allows you to take a more granular approach to craft your sound, allowing you to dial in the most musical sound possible without sacrificing noise reduction. 


This effects pedal offers true bypass construction, a solid metal housing, and eye-catching graphics that help differentiate it from other pedals on the market. For the money, you can’t beat the performance of these effects pedals.

Features & Specs

Controls for threshold and decay 

Analog circuitry

Top mount I/O to save pedalboard space

Bypass: True bypass

Cast-iron housing

9V battery or power brick (not included)

Who Should Use This?

The TC Electronic Iron Curtain noise gate is an ideal stompbox for musicians looking for an analog, true bypass noise reduction pedal for the best price possible. 

Donner Noise Killer Guitar Effect Pedal

Best Cheap Noise Gate Pedal

Like Mooer, Donner is another relative newcomer to the effects pedal space. Both companies’ products are suspiciously similar, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if both manufacturers were building pedals from the same factories with the same components. Like the Mooer Noise Killer, the Donner Noise Killer is a simple and affordable noise reduction pedal in a nano housing. 


This noise gate pedal offers a threshold knob and a mini-switch for choosing between hard and soft gating modes. The softer mode is less aggressive, ideal for blues, rock, and single-coil guitars, while the hard mode is more inline with the demands of modern rock and metal. 


Beyond these features, there isn’t a whole lot of ground to cover with these effects pedals. It’s a middle-of-the-road pedal with a middle-of-the-road price point. There’s something to be said about a quality stompbox for around half the price of the big guys. Still, with Electro Harmonix and TC Electronic both releasing incredibly effective noise gates for under $75, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to choose the Noise Killer.

Features & Specs

Threshold control

Hard and soft gating modes

Bypass: True bypass

Requires 9V power brick (not included)

Who Should Use This?

The Donner Noise Killer is another option in the sub-$75 category, but it’s likely not your best one at this price point. 

How Do Noise Gate Pedals Affect Tone?

If a noise gate pedal is working efficiently, it should not affect your overall tone. When you engage the guitar effects pedal, you should notice a dramatic reduction in feedback and noise and nothing else. 


Of course, any time you add a pedal into your setup, it’s going to have some impact on your tone. Noise gates tend to impart a more mechanical feel to your playing, as the pedal’s attack and decay settings can suck some of the “life” from your tone. 


Setting the parameters on your noise gate is critical, as you’ll need to strike a balance between the pedal adequately removing noise without gating your signal so aggressively that it’s noticeable when you play. 

Noise Gate Pedals In The Signal Chain

While you’ll want to adhere to some rules of thumb when organizing your signal chain, where to place noise gate pedals is a bit more nuanced. Generally, you want to put your noise gate directly after your noisiest pedals. 


Gain effects like distortion, overdrive, or fuzz are typically responsible for the lion’s share of noise in any signal chain. Start by placing your noise gate after the last gain effect in your chain, and see if that solves your noise problem. If not, keep moving the guitar effects pedal further back in the chain until the noise is manageable. 


If you use time effects like reverb or delay, make sure your noise gate is before these pedals, as the gating will negatively affect how these pedals respond.

What is the Difference Between a Noise Gate and a Noise Suppressor?

Noise gates and suppressors both aim to provide noise reduction, so what’s the difference? 


With noise gates, the pedal “shuts off” your signal whenever it doesn’t detect you playing. Noise suppressors aim to remove the frequency bands that are most responsible for noise from your sound without affecting your audio signal.


Noise suppressors effectively reduce things like 60-cycle hum and general electronic noise, and they tend to be more musical than noise gates, as they don’t suck the life from your tone the way a noise gate stompbox does. However, these noise reduction pedals are significantly less effective at eliminating the signal noise and feedback common inherent with high-gain setups.

Are Noise Gate Pedals Worth It?

As with any other pedal, how worthwhile a gate will be for you depends mainly on what you play and where you play it. So what’s the bottom line? If you’re a gigging musician specializing in aggressive styles like metal or prog, a noise gate is a practical requirement. For other players, it boils down to a matter of personal preference. 


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