I've just been through a very similar hunt to you, and have come to this conclusion; Before going through a shitload of overdrives, first look into what type of overdrive circuit you're getting. 99% of overdrives out there are just Maxon OD808 clones, with varying tweaks and extra knobs, but in reality it's the same circuit doing the same thing.
I was in a position where I really wanted to get away from the "mid-boosting overdrive" sound, as it's just not always useful, unless you're wanting a surgically tight tone (which these days, I'm not).
I went down the whole "clean boost" path, where you're literally just adding volume to the front end of the amp. In theory I thought that's what I wanted but upon trying a couple it just isn't. It makes the transients of your pick attack really exaggerated and makes the amp "chirp" in a way that's really unmusical and unpleasant.
So I arrived at the "Klon" type of overdrives. I didn't give a fuck if it was anywhere near the real thing, I just knew that the Klon circuit (and those who copy it) tends to be a way more full type of tone than the bass-cutting 808. It retains the full spectrum of the guitar going through it, and gives you the option of colouring the tone or not.
I got an EHX Soul Food and couldn't be happier. It can be thick and dark if you want, I got a sick stoner tone from it, but the way I have it set up is that it's basically not altering the tone of the amp that much, it's just juicing it up and adding some grind/saturation, but flicking the pedal on/off makes barely any tonal difference.
It's also £69, vs the ridiculous prices these boutique builders ask for their copies.