7 Reasons to NEVER Use 9 Volt Batteries with Guitar Effect Pedals
This is a pedal insider rant. I can't tell you how many customers write saying their pedals are not working or acting weird. But it turns out that it's an issue with their 9V battery not working well with their pedal. I would say 50% of customer complaints are due to batteries!
Please for the love of God people. Let's stop using 9V batteries in pedals. Manufacturers stop making them an option, and customers stop using them.
- 9V Batteries Are Not Needed. It's the 21st century. Not 1916. There are a plethora of cheap reliable and better pedal power options. You have inexpensive wall adapter, isolated dedicated power, even portable rechargeable ones that can power your whole board remotely.
- 9V Batteries Are Unreliable and Dangerous. Ever leave a battery in some device for a few months then come back and voila the acid has leaked out and started to corrode possibly damaging your expensive gizmo?
- Different Pedals Will Behave Differently With The Same Battery. Did you know different pedals behave differently with the same battery? Overdrive pedals generally are ok with voltage drops due to an older battery. But delays are not. Delays are very sensitive and huge power vampires that will start making ghastly noises or no noises at all if they are not getting enough juice.
- Some Pedals Drain Power When Off. So don't be surprised if your "new" battery suddenly isn't new.
- Rechargeable Batteries Lose Charge Over Time. Rechargebles become less and less reliable with age. Bad for musicians who need reliable power on stage.
- 9V Batteries Are Expensive. Does it make any sense to buy a $3-4 battery every few hours of playing? Save your money and time.
- 9V Batteries are Bad for the Environment: Batteries contain acid and heavy metals that go in landfills and into our water and soil. You owe it to the earth to stop using them.
I disagree somewhat. I’m a bedroom player right now and don’t play a whole lot like I used to, but I do have good power supplies and do use them. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to have alot of wires all over and find power strip space. I have the Godlyke daisy chain style and a few single ones including an 18 volt for a Fulltone unit. Usually if the battery is good I never have a problem, the only thing I’ve had a problem with is my Digitech Digiverb which eats batteries in half an hour (it consumes just enough to stop the pedal from working, but the battery is still good. Digitech really missed the mark on that. My vintage fuzzes and some of my Roger Mayer fuzzes don’t have PS jacks anyway, however, a good pedal design will have the battery at least several inches away from the circuitry such as Roger Mayer, ProCo, etc.
May 11 2016
Hi Scott appreciate the input. I know some people like not having power cables everywhere. That’s a good point. Now about some old pedals not having power inputs, there actually is an 9V batter adapter cable (that we sell) that adapts from a normal plug in power source to a battery clip so you can power those old pedals without doing any mods or anything.
May 12 2016
Totally agree, and now we have so many options: new fuzzes, fonts that can emulate batteries, adapter cables to plug fonts into battery conectors.
The environment issue is enough to make this matter very relevant. People could just be less anoying to complain about having some power cables. Whats the big deal about it? In a good pedalboard you can easily hide it all.
May 13 2016
Hello, I think that you are right with what you’re saying. 9 volt batteries sucks
But what is the solution?
Should we take off the 9 volt battery of our pedals and just plug them to the power adapter? Will they work the same?
Thanks for the information and I’m looking forward to your answer :)
Greetings from Spain! :D
September 12 2016
There are a number of reasons to use a fresh battery/battery pack VS the Plug into the AC/wall adapter.
#1). AC Ripple on the DC output into the Pedal. These 9vdc power supplies are really not what you would call quality. You can purchase one for $25-$135 that is a pure DC Source, but if you look at the output with an oscilloscope, vs what is on the battery terminal you will see what I mean. This AC not filtered being introduced in your signal stream can cause Noise if the pedal is not designed to filter it out.
#2). In between paying solo gigs, I like to do Open Mic. Most of the time I only bring the Acoustic Electric, and my big mouth, but often I like to introduce a pedal, Looper, Beat Buddy or Mosiac 12 string effect and some people use a harmonizer, then taking time to find an AC source on stage, or having to bring an extension chord, is too much bother, so I went to Radio Shack, and bought the necessary 8 AA or 8 AAA battery holder and power connector for the Pedal,,,(Negative in the center) and made a portable supply, which in the case of the Beat Buddy, did over 2 Three Hour Solo Gigs using just the 8 aaa pack with no issues. So for three to four songs at Open Mic, this works great.
#3). Batteries do not introduce Ground Noise as well.
As for the environment,,, if Americans are dumb enough to elect any Republican politician, (Trump,you’ve got to be kidding), then there is nothing you or I can do to save the environment, science be damned.
November 04 2016
Hello. I agree wholeheartedly. I power all my pedals with a voodoo labs pedal power 2 plus. I have also removed my onboard bass preamp and placed it into an external box. The 9v still connects into a guitar battery box to power the preamp, just as it did in the bass guitar. However, I haven’t been able to find a cable adapter to use the pedal power 2 plus to connect to the bass guitar battery box. I have found a 9v dummy battery, although I guess I’d have to splice it to one of pedal power cables with the barrel connections to get it to work with the pedal power supply. Any thoughts or suggestions? Cheers.
August 25 2017
The first effect pedal I ever had was a wah pedal and one of the first things I did was rig up a 9V adapter to it. This was before most pedal came with AC power, ’79 or so.
September 08 2017
What are your guys’ experience with using AC adapter battery clips on a wah pedal (Vox v847)? should there be no difference in tone, noise, etc? Or do these pedals get finicky with different power supplies?
May 21 2018
Why do idiots have to spew their political opinions where they do not belong (Bruce Shaftlicker) this is about pedals and batteries, keep your Trump bashing to yourself!
January 12 2019
I see the sense but often want to noodle or practice in a room where I’d have to have a power lead trailing right across the floor. Is there such a thing as a powerbox into which you can fit only your battery/batteries and then have that close to hand to power a pedal using a very short cable to link the two?
April 02 2019
To the lazy people that insist on using batteries- WTF? It’s 2020 we all know what kind of damage is done to the environment, why keep adding to it because you’re a lazy ass. Use a power supply especially if you’re at home. If you absolutely have no choice at a gig to use batteries at least recycle them properly. Most public libraries have drop offs.
January 23 2020
I’ve got 7 reasons to use a 9v battery with the ONE (yes, one!) guitar pedal you brought: 1) It’s your turn up at a blues jam and no one wants to wait on you to set up a bunch of elaborate nonsense. 2) It’s your turn up at a blues jam and no one wants to wait on you to set up a bunch of elaborate nonsense. 3) It’s your turn up at a blues jam and no one wants to wait on you to set up a bunch of elaborate nonsense…
February 21 2020
I totally appreciate your input and am with you on all cases. Right now, I am not at the point where I have my pedalboard set up, so I have to wire and unwire everything every time I want to play some bass (at the moment, something like 7 pedals). Takes me about 10-15 minutes set up and set down. Annoying af, yet I do it. Every time.
Now, I got a new pedal (Cheap bass compressor) which just makes sooo much noise when powered through the power brick…. even worse with a direct power supply. It does NOT make any noise when connected with a battery. Works completely fine. for that reason alone, I am wondering to use this pedal only with battery. But before I decide that, I will try out some other options. Am even considering to return the pedal for that reason. not decided yet.
Do you have any idea how I could fix the issue without using a battery?
March 30 2020
If you’re using batteries that leak after a few months, that’s your own fault. Quit being cheap and buying $0.89 batteries. You’re leaving out, and likely purposely, a whole bunch of info on this page. And if not purposely, then you’re way too ignorant of the subject to even be attempting to advise other people.
Pedals that run batteries down when they’re off ONLY do that, when you leave a cord plugged into the input jack. Come on dude. This is just ridiculous. Not even going to go through the entire thing because I’m sure there’s ple Ty more that needs addressed.
March 09 2021
Bennie, you’re an idiot lmao. Trump bashing? He said “(Trump? Are you kidding)”?
Where’s the bashing? Oh right. You’re a chump humoer and will defend him even, when no one is bashing him lmfao. Enjoy the next 4 years. Lmfao. Your ex-cheetoh-in-chief is outta here in 2 months 🤣
June 28 2021
You all are trippin. Big time.
June 28 2021
Standard dry batteries – 9v, 1.5v cells, whatever – are very recyclable – so much so that to do so is genuinely profitable, unike many other recycling initiatives. Ironically, this is because they contain such a high concentration of toxic but useful substances that it’s worth extracting them for re-use. If you have battery recycling facilities near you (some electrical stores also have a battery recycling bin), you’re good.
So yes, you’ll have guessed that I use them! Several reasons: 1. One less AC connection to make. 2. Less spaghetti surrounding the pedals. 3. The pedals on my board are constantly being switched around and changed for others, so that process is simplified (I don’t even Velcro them onto my board, for the same reason). 4. I occasionally perform with just 2 or 3 pedals just loose on the floor; power cables are a liability under those circumstances.
June 28 2021
You bring up some good points, but there is a third option. I use rechargeable batteries for most of my pedals. They don’t leak because they are lithium ion as opposed to alkaline batteries. It avoids the ground loops that some power sources have. Some pedals behave differently with a battery that is running low on power- it lowers head room- some people like that. I do get annoyed that I have to plug/unplug the inputs on all my pedals to save the battery power each time that I use my board.
I am still a novice musician. If I ever get good enough to gig, I will definitely upgrade my board and get an isolated power source like from MXR or Strymon. Some power sources can send adjustable voltage to the pedals that will imitate a dying battery. It will be more convenient for me to plug in one or two isolated power sources vs. recharging batteries and plugging/unplugging inputs.
Big Ups for the photo of the style battery that comes with EHX pedals :p
March 09 2021
Let me add 8, and with 8 you don’t need the other 7. You are running (most likely) an amplifier that is plugged into a power socket. Guess what, if you lose power to your amp, we can’t hear your guitar or your effect chain. Game over man (or woman).
March 09 2021
I find using plug in powered pedals compromises sound. I ONLY use the 9v battery option for perfect sound.
March 09 2021
I’m a bedroom player only. I just pulled all the batteries out of my pedals.
June 28 2021
it drains power because the cables are still plugged. when you “turn off” your pedal you are actually just activating standby mode, so, if you want your battery to last longer when not using it, just unplug it.
July 31 2021
Most of DC 9v adaptors produce humming which ruins our guitar playing. If we don’t use 9 volt battery, we may use a USB 5 volt to 9 volt step-up adaptor plugged into a mobile phone powerbank. I got this idea from a youtuber. I have tried it and it works.
July 31 2021
do behringer effects pedals drain batteries when the power indicator is off
September 20 2021