Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: May 23, 2021
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If you have ever come across a piano, we bet that you have been curious as to what the pedals are for. The pedals have various functions that they accomplish musically. One of these pedals is the sustain pedal that is usually positioned on the far right. The task that this pedal accomplishes is to allow the notes being played to be longer and more melodious. The best sustain pedal accomplishes this by lifting dumpers off the strings and therefore allowing them to continue vibrating thus the longer notes. If you have a digital keyboard, guitar or vibraphones then there is a high chance that you need a sustain pedal to play a wide range of musical notes.
Admittedly selecting the right unit can be confusing but once you consider the size of the unit, polarity, warranty, cord length and other factors, you will be able to differentiate the good from the bad.
We poured time into researching what the best sustain pedal in the market had to offer. After an exhausting search, all the information gathered was compounded and displayed in the comparison table, detailed reviews and buying guide. By the time you are through finding the best sustain pedal will be a breeze.
The Roland DP-10 is an affordable 1.69lb unit that can be purchased to work with compatible keyboards. Since the unit lacks a polarity switch it may be incompatible with some keyboards. Keyboards that have polarity switches will work well with the unit as they will be able to convert to the unit’s negative polarity.
Even for affordable units, durability is crucial because it determines how long the unit will be in use. In usual fashion, the pedal itself is made from metal and the rest is made from plastic which allows the unit to manage everyday use. The metallic area has been given a smooth finish to help maintain its appearance.
This unit offers a half-damper function that gives the player control over the musical notes. Like most of the dampers being offered in the market, the keyboard in use has to be compatible with the half-damper feature. If not the user will have to contend with the full damper functions.
The unit is equipped with a ¼ inch input connector which serves as the industry standard. The cable provided is approximately 7.2ft to allow multi-keyboards to be set up. It also comes with a warranty for 90-day parts and 1- year labour to serve any concerns that appear.
The M-Audio SP-2 is a unit built to work with the kind of keyboard that you have. This is because the pedal is designed to feature a polarity switch. Whether the polarity of your keyboard is positive or negative, the pedal works just fine. The pedal is designed to imitate the sustain pedal that is found in acoustic pianos. This means that it will respond to the amount of pressure asserted by the user. If the user needs the half-damper effect then the unit will register the effect if only the keyboard is compatible with the feature.
Since sustain pedals get stepped on a lot, the material used has to be durable. As always the pedal in itself is made from durable metal with a chrome finish and surrounded by a plastic shell. The solid construction of the unit is heavy enough to keep the unit stable while being supported by the non-slip rubber feet. The unit measures 10.5 x 3 x 2.5 inches, weighs 14.1 ounces, and it comes with ¼ inch input jack. The cable provided is 6foot allowing you to connect and play freely.
For peace of mind, the unit comes with a 1-year limited warranty. If the product gets damaged within the warranty period, contact the supplier for solutions.
What stands out?
Has polarity reverse switch for keyboard compatibility
Feels and performs like an acoustic sustain pedal
Solid build with non-slip rubber feet
Accompanied by a 1-year limited warranty
Comes with a long input cable
Affordable price for the quality offered
What cons did we manage to find?
Polarity may be switched accidentally due to polarity switch location
The Studiologic SLP3-D is a bit different from the other sustain pedals due to its design. This unit comes with three pedals under one structure to give the user unlimited music expression. There is the una corda pedal on the far left, the sostenuto pedal in the middle and the half-damper function on the far right. Both pianists and keyboard enthusiasts can appreciate the services of this unit.
In typical Studiologic fashion, the unit is well constructed to avoid quick wear and tear. The plastic parts can sustain an impact without breaking and the pedals are responsive as needed. This unit is not designed to work with all keyboards but rather it is designed to be compatible with the SL88 Studio Midi applications and the Studiologic SL88 Grand. Any other units may prove problematic for the user.
The unit is accompanied by a 2- year limited warranty that will handle any qualms with the product. Like all the sustain pedals in the market, it comes with ¼ inch input connection. The cord supplied with the unit is 2m to ensure that all the devices are connected without pulling on the cable. The unit measures 10.3 x 8.7 x 2.6 inches and measures2.2lbs, it has a non-slip surface to keep the unit stable as the player engages it.
What stands out?
Provides a range of pedals for musical
Solid build with non-slip feet
Quality of sound is good
Compatible with Studiologic Midi controllers
Good value for money
What cons did we manage to find?
Maybe incompatible with other non- Studiologic keyboards
The Yamaha FC4 is a high-quality pedal that offers you more than the average model. It offers the same function as an acoustic sustain pedal with additional functions such as the ability to act as an F5 controller. This is applicable for drum machines, synthesizers and tone modules if the customer is interested.
When one looks at the unit the design is different from the traditional model with its angled edges. The design allows the user to comfortably use the unit despite the six of their feet. The good news about this product is that it is compatible with most keyboards produced in the present market. If you have a keyboard with a polarity switch then the unit will perform without issues.
This unit weighs 1lb which is slightly lighter than other models presented here. However, there is no need for worry as the unit has durable rubber feet to prevent the unit from slipping. For connection purposes, the standard ¼ connection is provided with a 6ft cable. This unit comes with a 1-year limited warranty. As always it is important to understand what is covered by the warranty before committing to purchase. If you happen to have a keyboard that requires volume control then the
Yamaha FC7 will perform wonderfully.
Why is it special?
The pedal is very responsive
Length of the pedal is comfortable
Sustain ability is good
Compatible with Yamaha and other products
What are the flaws?
May incompatible with models with keyboards without a polarity switch
The Korg DS1H imitates a normal sustain pedal on a piano because of how it is constructed. The sustain pedal weighs 740g making it heavy enough to provide stability as the player frequently engages it. There is a non-slip rubber base to ensure that the unit stays upright. The unit measures 10.7 x 4.0 x 3.3″ and features negative polarity which may not be compatible with your keyboard. If the keyboard has a polarity switch or has negative polarity then the damper pedal will work.
This unit is designed to support half-damper feature if your keyboard allows it. If the keyboard lacks the half-damper feature then the unit will only provide the full damper effect. When engaging this function, the pedal will react to how much pressure is applied. If the user presses the pedal all the way down they get to experience full damper function. Half the pressure asserted provides half the damper function which is convenient for classical music.
To connect to your keyboard, the damper pedal comes with a ¼ inch connector cable. The size of the cable is compatible with most keyboards and is well secured to the unit to avoid accidental unplugging. This unit comes with a 3- year warranty which only speaks to the good quality of the pedal.
What are our favorite features?
Heavy enough to remain stable on the floor
Sold at an affordable price
Offers a 3- year warranty
Able to provide half-damper functions on compatible keyboards
The Boss CS-3 is one for the guitar players/bassist that need control over the quality of their music. This unit can work as a compressor or sustain pedal depending on how the user decides to use it. The unit works by compressing the louder tones and magnifying the lower signals. This, in turn, creates a better balance producing musical tones with boosted quality.
Apart from the sustain function, the unit also possesses like tone, level and attack. All the functions have a dial that allows the user to select minimum or maximum effects. The dials are well illustrated and will not fade over time. Above the dials is the check indicator that satisfies two functions. It tells the user if the function selected is on and also indicates battery level. The check indicator will become dim or start blinking when the unit needs a recharge.
The Boss CS-3 comes with a ¼ inch input and output port so as to connect other devices. The pedal does not require a plug-in cable as it uses batteries to operate optimally. The 9v battery comes with the unit and lasts long, therefore, saving you frustration over time. The pedal/compressor weighs 14.9 ounces and is accompanied by a 5-year limited warranty.
Why did it make our list?
Good sound quality
Offers more functions for use
Batteries have a long running time
Features a sturdy stable body
Offers 5-year limited warranty
What is not ideal about it?
A bit noisy therefore a noise gate may be required
In the case that you are a fan of Casio products then you should check out the Casio SP20. The Casio SP20 is an affordable sustain pedal featuring a metallic pedal with a chrome finish. The pedal with a weight of 1.75lbs is equipped with non-slip rubber feet to discourage the unit from moving around.
For those who need a unit with the polarity switch then the Casio SP20 is not the unit for you. It comes with negative polarity and therefore you need a keyboard that has its own polarity switch. When you find a compatible keyboard, however, the sound quality you find will be appreciated.
This unit only supports full damper functions and therefore those who need half dumper functions can seek other models. To connect the pedal to your keyboard, a ¼ inch input connector has been availed. Being that it is the industry standard you will find no trouble connecting the unit.
When you purchase this product you get a 2- year limited warranty. It cannot be stressed enough to read the terms and conditions so as to understand what the manufacturer is offering.
The LESHP Damper Sustain Pedal is a well-constructed unit that is intended to support the classical style of music. Created to imitate the classical piano feel, the pedal is created from strong metal that has been given a chrome finish. The unit also has a strong plastic shell bringing the total weight of the unit to 404g. The weight of the unit paired with the non-slip rubber base allows the unit to remain stable on the ground without tipping over carelessly. Pedals of lightweight are easy to knock over especially when the player is consumed by passion.
Speaking of impressive features, this unit is compatible with all if not most electrical keyboards. This is because the pedal can switch polarity to match that of the keyboard and features a ¼ inch universal plug for connectivity. The cable provided is 5 feet long which is adequate for secure unstrained connections.
This affordable unit measures 23 x 7.4 x 5.7 cm and is accompanied by a 1-year limited warranty. Read through the warranty specifications to understand what is covered by the manufacturer.
What are our favorite features?
Features a strong construction with a nice chrome finish
Comes with a non-slip base for stability
Contains a polarity switch button
Compatible with most keyboards
Offers with a 1-year warranty
Adequate cable length
What could be better?
May not work with some keyboards
Will slide around once the rubber feet start wearing out
Things to Consider
There are things that one needs to understand to make purchasing a sustain pedal an easy process. Understanding the origins of the sustain pedal and the features available will help you differentiate between different brands. Here is some information you will find useful.
First, there were acoustic piano pedals…
Sustain pedals have evolved over time to the devices that we enjoy now. The first prototype of the sustain pedal appeared in the hands of Gottfried Silbermann who’s model was operated manually by hand. Time passed by when a gentleman by the name Johann Andreas Stein came with a better invention that allowed the player to lift the dampers by a knee contraption. While this was a brilliant invention it remained to be used for special effects until the romantic era at the end of the 18th century. With the romantic era taking over optimally in 1800-1850, the sustain pedal became a household feature when pianos are involved till today.
How does a sustain pedal work?
While the traditional sustain pedals offer a traditional feeling the digital sustain pedal offers modern convenience. Sustain pedals are easy to carry around without having to drag along a piano. Traditional sustain pedals physically raise the dampers to sustain the notes played while modern sustain pedals depend on digital signals. The wiring is responsible for transmitting the signals to the midi controller or keyboard. Once the signals are transmitted the device will translate the signals as to whether to turn on/ off the sustain pedal.
Features to consider while choosing a sustain pedal
Different models are equipped with different features that performers and hobbyist can use. Once you identify the basic features that it will be a simple process differentiating what you need from the rest. These features include:
Just like shoes sustain pedals come in different sizes. Depending on what you can afford, you can get a smaller or larger sized unit. You want to look for a unit that allows you to reach the pedal and maintain constant contact without tipping over. The unit should be well sized to blend into a player’s set up and not cause inconveniences. Try and find a unit that is heavy so that they don’t move around as you play. Light models always give spirited players a headache because they are always moving.
Material and finish
Just like every product that you buy in the market, durability is important. You want to buy a sustain pedal that will last more than a few months. It is important to investigate what materials your prospective model is made of. There are models in the market that incorporate high-quality materials like strong alloys while others compromise the quality. Look for models with strong metallic parts as opposed to purely plastic parts. If you do choose a plastic model to ensure that the plastic is heavy duty so as to sustain frequent use. For the finish of the foot you’d mostly find chrome for its durability and glossy look, like on the LESHP Damper Sustain Pedal
Compatibility is crucial when dealing with electrical components otherwise you end up with useless units. Many of the units that are produced in this market utilize standard measurements so that consumers all over the world are able to access the products. In many cases sustain pedals come accompanied by the standard ¼ inch input connector. If you happen to purchase a unit that lacks this standard connector, then you can seek a sustain pedal adapter to make matters simpler.
As stated above compatibility cannot be ignored. There are brands that design their sustain pedals to be compatible with their keyboards. For example, Casio products are wired differently from Yamaha products and that may prove difficult for users. The Casio SP20 sustain pedal featured here works mainly with Casio keyboards. Depending on the design and polarity of the keyboard you can select compatible units. Manuals are a good provider of information as to the polarity of your keyboard. If your keyboard has a polarity switch then most sustain pedals would be compatible with the unit.
All sustain pedals come with cords unless you are dealing with units that need batteries. The cord contains the ¼ inch jack that plugs into our device. The cord length should be long to give the player enough space to comfortably play. If you have sockets located far from your keyboard then long cords over 6-7ft are comfortable to use like with Roland DP-10 sustain pedal. Shorter cords limit comfortable playing and get strained and thus are likely to get damaged quickly. Inspect the cord to rule out any exposed wires before plugging into your keyboard because safety is paramount.
Basically, there are two types of sustain pedals. Ones that feature the half-damper function and those that do not. When you buy a sustain pedal it is possible to access models that lack the half-damper function because that is how they are designed. For an experienced player, there is a need to purchase a sustain pedal that supports both full and half-damper functions. Remember that for half damper sections to work, the keyboard should be programmed to accept such functions otherwise it will provide full damper functions. You can also choose a three-pedal type to have more variations like the Studiologic SLP3-D sustain pedal suggests.
When it comes to sustain pedals polarity will affect the quality of the sound. In many cases, the manufacturer will indicate the polarity of both the keyboard and the sustain pedal. To avoid any confusion it is better to get a keyboard or sustain pedal with a reverse polarity function like the M-Audio SP-2 sustain pedal If the keyboard lacks a polarity switch button then you will have to seek a sustainable pedal that is compatible with the set keyboard polarity.
For both professional and hobby activities the last thing any player need is a shifty sustain pedal. A sustain pedal that is not heavy enough will move around with the slightest provocation. Many of the models being introduced in the market have non-slip feet to keep the unit in place. The rubber feet have to be made of durable rubber that possesses great traction. Cheap brands tend to have good traction at first but over time starts slipping against the surface. With a little innovation, one can replace the worn out feet to provide better stability even for passionate professional players.
Where to use it
A passionate player is not confined by professional or domestic environments. The need to have a stable unit is never ending and that is why non-slip rubber feet are important. If you use the unit frequently then it is paramount that the quality of the sustain pedal to be high so as not to wear out quickly. A hobbyist may gamble and take sustain pedals with minimal non-slip features because the unit is not in use as such. Either way, the decision is up to you the consumer if slippery pedals are annoying settle for quality nonstick surfaces.
Warranties are as important as the product itself because they put the user at ease. When it comes to sustain pedals most manufacturers offer limited warranties for labor and parts. If you find a unit that provides a longer warranty then that product may be a safer bet compared to a shorter one. For example, the Boss CS-3 offers a 5- year warranty while the Korg DS1H offers 3 years which is convenient for the user.
Unfortunately, not all pedals are compatible with keyboards. There are manufacturers that produce pedals for their specific keyboards while others go the universal route. By including polarity switch buttons either the keyboard or the sustain pedal can conform to the devices involved. It is recommended to purchase a keyboard or sustainable pedal with a polarity switch.
If all the devices included are compatible then working the sustain pedal is quite easy. One needs perfect timing to produce notes accordingly. The pedal works best when engaged after hitting the intended note. While the note plays out the pedal is still down and it is released once another note is struck. The pedal will be engaged again before the next note is played and the pattern continues until there is a soft transition between notes.
To keep the sustain pedals for longer, there is a need for cleaning and maintenance. Regular checks for broken or squeaky parts will allow the user to seek repair or replacement. Avoid engaging the pedals with high impact to avoid physical damage. In some models, the springs may get squeaky overtime needing lubrication to get rid of the problem. If you have no clue then it is better to look for professional help.
In conclusion, all of the products presented will serve you diligently, however, from the products provided three stood out more.
For our best pick, we selected the Roland DP-10 to be the best because of its overall high quality. It offers the user both half and full damper settings needed for musical versatility. The unit also features a foot extension to accommodate the player’s comfortability whether in professional or domestic environs.
Budget conscious folks can be better of with the LESHP Damper Sustain Pedal. It comes with a polarity switch button and a non-slip base that is convenient. It offers the best value for money.
The Studiologic SLP3-D is our third best product because of its versatility and overall quality. It comes with three pedals for use and provides fine sound quality. Although it is not compatible with some keyboards it makes a good accompaniment for Studiologic devices at an affordable price.
While the best sustain pedal will vary from one user to another, never settle for less at the expense of compromising quality.