How Long Do 9V Guitar Pedal Batteries Last? (Real-Life Testing)

Using batteries to power guitar pedals is a popular option, but it can work out expensive if you keep having to replace them. I did a test to figure out exactly how long 9V batteries actually last in guitar pedals, and will be deep diving into the different types of pedals and why this matters.

If you’re just looking for the quick answer, here it is…

On average, a 9V battery in a guitar pedal will last for 15-30 hours. Reverb, delay and looper pedals usually only last around 5-10 hours on a 9V battery. Overdrive, modulation, fuzz, compression and boost pedals usually last around 50 hours.

Guitar Pedal Battery Life Experiment

I tested 5 different guitar pedals to find out how long they lasted with a 9V battery:

  • Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
  • Boss OS-2 Distortion Overdrive
  • Boss Chromatic Tuner
  • Boss Digital Reverb
  • Boss Chromatic Tuner

Current Draw

Each of these pedals have a different current draw. The amount of current the pedal requires affects how long the battery lasts. Here’s the current draw specification provided by the manufacture for each pedal.

PedalCurrent Draw
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer8 mA
Boss OS-212 mA
Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner30 mA
Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb95 mA
Boss RC-5 Loop Station170 mA

As you can see from the table above, the current draw for different pedals ranges considerable, so the battery life of different pedals also varies massively as well.

Batteries Used

I used Duracell 9V alkaline batteries for this test which have a capacity of 550 mAh.

Most decent 9V alkaline batteries have a capacity of roughly 500-600 mAh, so I though the Duracell ones would be a good option for the test and seem to be one of the most popular choices worldwide.

Some 9V batteries have more than this (e.g. Energizer Ultimate batteries which have a 750 mAh capacity) so consider this when choosing pedal batteries.

The Results

I recorded how long the battery lasted when the pedal was active rather than just plugged in. If your guitar pedals are plugged in but not actually active, the battery will drain but not as quickly and will be much closer to the expected battery life.

Here is a table showing how long the batteries actually lasted, and also how long they should have lasted according to the current draw specification given above. To calculate how long the guitar pedals were expected to last I divided the battery capacity (692 mAh) by the current draw.

As you can see, the actual battery life was less than the expected battery life which is no real surprise. Some pedals did better than others in terms of their expected vs actual battery life.

PedalExpected Battery LifeActual Battery Life
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer68.8 hours60.2 hours
Boss OS-245.8 hours40.8 hours
Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner18.3 hours18.2 hours
Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb5.8 hours4.8 hours
Boss RC-5 Loop Station3.2 hours2.3 hours

Do Guitar Pedal Batteries Drain When Plugged In?

Guitar pedal batteries will drain if they are connected to the amp in the signal chain, even if they are not activated. It is important to always turn off and unplug your guitar pedals after use.

I worked this out pretty quickly when I left my tuner pedal plugged into the amp and guitar so I didn’t have to plug everything in the next day and noticed the new 9V I had just put in had totally drained.

Batteries vs Power Supplies

So when should you avoid using batteries and opt for a mains power supply (using an AC adapter, or DC power supply) instead.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of using batteries to power pedals as they work out more expensive in the long run and are not good for the environment.

Let’s work out the cost.

Say you have 4 pedals which on average draw 30 mA. This means you’ll be able to use each pedal for around 15 hours in practical terms before replacing the 9V battery in each of them. A 4 pack of 9V Duracell batteries costs around $10. So after every 15 hours of playing you’ll be spending $10 on batteries.

A good isolated DC power supply like this TrueTone 1 Spot CS7 (Guitar Center link) costs $132 and powers 7 pedals. If you don’t add any more pedals and just stick with your four pedals then you’ll break even after 200 hours of playing.

Check out my guide to the different methods of powering guitar pedals for a comparison of the alternatives.

Pedal Types and Battery Life

There’s a big variation in the current draws and hence, battery life for different pedals.

In the tables below I’ve listed some of the most popular types and models of pedals and their expected battery life.

I couldn’t test every pedal like I did in the experiment described above, but you should anticipate that the pedals will last less than this. The tables below state the maximum battery life using a 9V battery with a 550 mAh capacity.

Overdrive, Fuzz and Distortion

Fuzz and overdrive pedals have a fairly low current draw in comparison to other pedal types so the battery typically lasts longer. On average, fuzz and distortion pedals last for approximately 60-80 hours using a 9V battery.

Distortion pedals are usually more power hungry than overdrive pedals and typically last for 15-20 hours with a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
Boss Blues Drive BD-261.1 hours9 mA
Fulltone ODC Drive68.8 hours8 mA
Wampler Tumnus27.5 hours20 mA
ProCo Rat 2183.1 hours3 mA
Boss Metal Zone MT-218.3 hours30 mA
Fender Pugilist6.3 hours88 mA
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff183.1 hours3 mA
Jimi Dunlop Fuzz Face161.8 hours3.4 mA


Most reverb pedals will not take batteries as they require too much power. Very few reverb pedals use 9V batteries. Some that do are the the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2, and the Boss RV-6, however they typically drain a 9V battery in just a few hours.


Delay pedals use a lot of power and drain 9V batteries quite quickly. On average, delay pedal usually last for 5-10 hours on a 9V battery. This is often why delay pedals are powered using a DC power supply or AC adapter into the mains as opposed to batteries.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
TC Flashback6.4 hours86 mA
Ibanez AD936.7 hours15 mA
Boss DD-88.4 hours65 mA


Compressor pedals usually last 20-50 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
Behringer CL918.3 hours30 mA
Wampler Ego39.3 hours14 mA
Xotic SP110 hours5 mA


EQ pedals typically last 30-50 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
Joyo JF-1136.7 hours15 mA
Boss GE-755.0 hours10 mA
MXR M109S37.9 hours14.5 mA


Boost pedals typically last upwards of 50 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
TC Electronic Spark 34.4 hours16 mA 
Electro-Harmonix LPB-1550.0 hours 1 mA
Xotic EP-3110.0 hours 5 mA


Wah pedals use very little power and can last hundreds of hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
Dunlop Cry Baby GCB95550.0 hours1 mA 
Vox V847-A 550.0 hours1 mA 
Boss PW-3 22.0 hours 25 mA 


Modulation pedals typically last 40-80 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
MX4 Phase 90 110.0 hours 5 mA
Boss BF-3 Flanger 11.0 hours 50 mA
Electro-Harmonix Neoclone Chorus45.8 hours12 mA
Boss TR-2 Tremolo27.5 hours20 mA


Octave pedals generally last 5-12 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
 Electro-Harmonix Nano POG 22.0 hours 25 mA
 Boss OC-510.0 hours  55 mA
T-Rex Quint Machine  4.4 hours 125 mA


Tuner pedals typically last 5-15 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
 TC Electronic PolyTune 3 5.5 hours100 mA
Donner DT-1  6.1 hours90 mA
Korg Pitchblack  27.5 hours20 mA

Noise Gate

Noise gate pedals usually last 25-35 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
MXR Smart Gate  36.7 hours 15 mA
Electro-Harmonix Silencer  25.0 hours 22 mA
 Boss NS-227.5 hours  20 mA


Looper pedals typically only last 4-7 hours on a 9V battery.

PedalMaximum Battery LifeCurrent Draw
 Electro-Harmonix 360 6.1 hours 90 mA
TC Electronic Ditto7.2 hours  76 mA


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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