In this post, I will share my subjective opinion on pedal companies. Obviously, every company has exceptionally good / bad pedals. The list below contains my impression of their average / common products.
Multi-effect units typically lack a high quality sounds; therefore, this article is limited with single effect pedals that I have personally used or tried.
The list is built from a bass players perspective.
Radial, ISP and Origin are in my list of the best pedals. They make very high quality and dependable products, and do their best to protect your tone and prevent hum/noise. If you can afford them, they are second to none.
Darkglass makes high quality modern pedals. If you are after modern distortion sounds, look no further. For vintage lovers (like me), Vintage Deluxe is also a very good option – especially with a P-Bass.
Aguilar pedals are typically high quality and good sounding units. Their distinctive shape makes them easy to chain with other Aguilar pedals and saves a lot of pedal space. Currently, I have a Fuzzistor, Grape Phaser and Chorusaurus on my bass board.
MXR is good. What I like particularly is, bass pedals of MXR typically gives you an option to set clean / wet levels independently. Blending clean signal is crucial for bass players, and having separate volume knobs makes settings easier (compared to blend knobs).
Boss is also OK because they provide a similar functionality on most of their bass pedals. I have a soft spot because of the (unfortunately discontinued) OC-2 octave. No other octave gets close in terms of tracking speed and sound purity, IMHO (including OC-5).
Electro Harmonix is producing some of the most unique pedals on the market; some of which I use on my atmospheric pedalboard. However, they require 9.6V of power; they hum otherwise. You either need to use their original power adapter / a big power brick, or use your standard 9V power and use an isolator; such as Diago PS09. Batteries are fine as well – if you have free personal headspace for battery life management (which I don’t). I dislike crowded boards and hum equally, so I avoid EHX if possible.
Keeley is another brand I typically avoid. I used their Compressor Pro and D&M Drive; unfortunately, both suffered from high noise due to picked radio signals or EMI. Keeley may have better pedals, but I won’t be spending any more money on that brand.
Strymon and Pigtronix are among the strong players on the market. However; they typically need 12/18V and/or high mA rates for high quality & silent operation, which may lead to complicated pedalboards because common 9V stuff just don’t work.
Many of their pedals are also notorious for tone sucking – your tone degrades even if you turn the pedal off.
That being said, some professional artists that I know use Digitech & Zoom pedals here and there.
Beyond the brand, you might wonder which type of pedal to get – check my effect pedal purchase guide