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Best looper pedals 2022: become a one-person band with one of the greatest loop pedals

Included in this guide:

Boss RC-10R looper pedal sat on top of a guitar amp
(Image credit: Future)

One of the best looper pedals is a powerful creative tool for any guitarist. Whether you want one to allow you to practise by yourself more easily, or to give your band a boost by layering guitar parts live, having a loop pedal on your pedalboard will open you up to a world of creativity that would otherwise be left untapped. 

Many artists like to use them to loop their riffs on-the-fly (like Ed Sheeran), and others use them to trigger pre-recorded samples. Thankfully, many new looper pedals will also support importing and exporting sound clips, or even an external memory card - so you’ll never be caught short in a live scenario.

When you start overcomplicating things, the music (and your brain) are the only things that suffer -so if you only have one or two sound effects or overdubs per song, think about swapping out that laptop or sample pad for a looper. A looper pedal is also way more portable - particularly if you have an ever-growing pedalboard - and far cheaper to replace if it gets damaged or stolen.

We’ve included some expert buying advice at the end of this guide. If you’d like to read more about looper pedals, click the ‘buying advice’ button above. If you’d rather get straight to the products, keep scrolling.

Best looper pedals: Our top picks

For the most basic but effective live option, it's hard to beat the TC Electronic Ditto X2. With essentially only two controls - start and stop - it's hard to mess up loops live, unless your timing is off. With some practice, it's as powerful as they come, and the lack of quantization is a bonus if you're playing in different time signatures or using polyrhythms. If you have a bit less available real-estate on your pedalboard and don't mind the lack of a dedicated stop switch, then the TC Electronic Ditto+ is worth a look.

If you're looking primarily for a songwriting tool, then the Boss RC-5 could be worth trying. It's got 57 rhythm patterns, each with a variation, and super high-fidelity 32-bit processing. Unlike previous Boss loopers, it's functionality as a drum machine doesn't detract from it's main task as a loop station - so it's definitely got our seal of approval.

Best looper pedals: Product guide

Best looper pedals: TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper Pedal

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

1. TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper Pedal

The best looper pedal for those who believe ‘less is more’

Specifications
Launch price: $179/£121
Bypass: True
Footswitches: 2
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Simple to use+Easy to switch tempos mid-song
Reasons to avoid
-No quantization-Can get muddy when overdubbing

The TC Electronic Ditto X2 is still incredibly popular as an entry-level looper pedal, and the truism with groceries applies to TC's looper line: if you go one above the cheapest, you get the best value.

So it goes with the Ditto X2. Incredibly simple on the front panel, there's a single control for the loop volume, then it's one tap to record, one to play, and there's a dedicated stop button.

There are two effect modes too, which offer reversed playback and half-time playback of your loops, stereo I/O, and the ability to load and save loops via USB. Simple, but highly effective and lots of fun to use, which is why it's our current top pick for best looper pedals.

Read our full TC Electronic Ditto X2 review

Best looper pedals: Boss RC-5

(Image credit: Boss)

The new generation of one-button looper

Specifications
Launch price: $205/£169
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 1
Dedicated stop control?: No
A/D/A conversion: 32bit
Reasons to buy
+ Loads of onboard memory + A real creativity booster + 32-bit processing is impressive 
Reasons to avoid
-Single-button operation

We’d all thought that Boss has nailed the compact pedal formula - but it turns out things can always be improved upon. Enter, the RC-5 looper. For some, a looper pedal is only there to loop chords to jam over at home, and for others it’s to create a one-person band atmosphere - two very different tasks that the RC-5 does with ease.

Onboard, there’s memory for 99 separate looping compositions, which tallies up to a staggering 13 hours worth of memory. Each track can last up to one and a half hours (for those of you with one-person instrumental doom projects, we’d assume) and the new 32-bit processing helps the RC-5 sit head and shoulders above other loopers of this size. If you’re someone who layers many loops on top of one another, this is going to come in very handy indeed.

57 in-built drum grooves are the icing on the looper pedal cake here - allowing you home players to jam along until the cows come home. There are two variations for each groove, as well as customized patterns and seven kit types to choose from - making the RC-5 significantly more convenient (and significantly less annoying) than an actual human drummer. We jest - but at least the RC-5 won’t spend all its money on beer.

Read the full Boss RC-5 Loop Station review 

Best looper pedals: TC Electronic Ditto+ Looper Pedal

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

Simple but powerful

Specifications
Launch price: $149/£103
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 1
Dedicated stop control?: No
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Intuitive screen+New loop stacking mode+USB loading+60 minutes of recording space
Reasons to avoid
-No dedicated stop footswitch

The simple-but-effective TC Electronic Ditto was a pedalboard staple, both for live use and for writing at home or in a practice room. Although it lacked a dedicated stop control, halting a loop was relatively foolproof, and crucially the pedal's form-factor was small. This meant that one or more could be snuck onto even the tightest of 'boards.

TC's new Ditto+ packs in all the things that made the Ditto great - sound quality, form factor, intuitive design - and adds a large screen. We're not massive fans of screens on pedals of this size, but in the case of the plus, it does unlock extra functionality. The most exciting feature is the ability to stack a longer loop on top of repetitions of a shorter loop.

Whether this is the sort of feature you'd bet the farm on in front of a paying audience is another story, but it's useful for songwriting sessions.

Read the full TC Electronic Ditto+ review

Best looper pedals: Pigtronix Infinity

(Image credit: Pigtronix)

4. Pigtronix Infinity Looper Pedal

The modern looping mothership

Specifications
Launch price: $449/£199
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 3
Dedicated stop control?: Stop all
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+USB loading/saving+Large feature set+Comparatively compact form factor
Reasons to avoid
-Only two loops

Though two loops might not sound like much at this price, you can add up to 256 overdubs per loop, and the two loops can be sync'd as well. That synchronisation is not only the basic kind; that is to say, the two loops playing for the same length of time, but also making one multiples of the other.

In addition to parallel operation, the loops can be set to series: the one starting after the other for more streamlined transitions between sections in a song.

The Pigtronix Infinity Looper isn't quantized, so you have to be precise in laying down your initial loop. That said, if you're playing over backing tracks you can synchronise the loop with the backing track via MIDI. You can even use it for two guitarists, or a guitar and a synth if you're pulling double duty. Do this by separating the stereo inputs and outputs, accessible via a dedicated split mode.

The Infinity Looper features in our best looper pedals guide because it has some useful bells and whistles too, with a reverse function, variable speed and stutter modes. If you hook up an expression pedal, you can also control the loop ageing with that.

Best looper pedals: Line 6 DL4 Looper Pedal

(Image credit: Line 6)

5. Line 6 DL4 Looper Pedal

Meet the looper pedal that started it all

Specifications
Launch price: $299/£195
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 4
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Can be used as normal delay+Range of modes like one-shots
Reasons to avoid
-Reliability issues-Sampler sums loops to mono

Ground zero for guitar looping, its powerful, expressive looper earned the Line 6 DL4 legendary status as one of the most important guitar effects ever made. However, its large size and tendency to die have seen its popularity wane as smaller, more reliable multi-delays have come on to the market. 

As a looper, it can very much hold its own, with features like one-shot loops, speeding up and re-triggering that many other loopers still don't have. That said, depending on where you are in the world, it may be surprisingly expensive for a unit released in the year 2000, and there is a reason that many of the pros who used it as a looper traveled with a couple of spares.

Best looper pedals: Boss RC-10R Rhythm Loop Station

(Image credit: Boss)

Is this looper pedal the ultimate creative platform?

Specifications
Launch price: $319/£258
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 2
Dedicated stop control?: No, but includes an external footswitch jack, so you could add one
A/D/A conversion: 32bit
Reasons to buy
+Easy to operate+Instantly switch between two song sections+Visual loop indicators
Reasons to avoid
-No battery power-No headphone output

The latest in Boss’s Loop Station collection earns the ‘R’ suffix due to its built-in rhythm generator, making it almost like a looper/drum machine hybrid. 

On-board you’ll find 280 preset rhythms covering a host of musical genres and each includes two unique sections (Pattern 1 and Pattern 2) with transition fills and an intro and ending. There’s also storage for 50 imported user rhythms

In terms of looping functionality, there’s a stereo looper with two independent tracks, six hours of recording time and 99 onboard memories for storing your own phrases.

This is an inspirational pedal for songwriting and practice, and it’s a capable live tool, too, particularly if you’re a solo act looking to produce a bigger sound on-stage.

Read the full Boss RC-10R Rhythm Loop Station review

Best looper pedals: Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal

(Image credit: Electro-Harmonix)

7. Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal

The best looper pedal with a foolproof footswitch layout

Specifications
Launch price: $155/£139
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 2
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Capable looper with effects+Expandable via footswitch
Reasons to avoid
-No quantization

The Electro-Harmonix 720 is named for the 720 seconds (12 minutes) of loops that it can store across 10 dedicated loops. Although scrolling between these on the fly live is definitely in the 'flying by the seat of your pants' camp, you can attach an external three-button footswitch to access the undo/redo functionality and the bank up/down controls.

In our opinion, it's better to have the banking controlled by the knob, leaving the two footswitches free to act as dedicated start and stop controls. Like the TC Electronic Ditto X2, the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal offers some effects as well, with reverse and half-time modes. It also has a loop fadeout mode that will gradually fade a repeating loop out.

Read our full Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper review

Best looper pedals: Red Panda Tensor

(Image credit: Red Panda)

8. Red Panda Tensor

Release some tension

Specifications
Launch price: $299/£305
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 2
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Stretches the limits of what a looper can be+Strong core looper+Wild additional modes and functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Requires quite a bit of time investment to get the most of it

Red Panda have always been at the cutting edge of firmware in boutique pedals, and with the Tensor they set themselves a pretty tough challenge. Inspired by the visionary looping modes from the classic, but misunderstood Digitech XP-300 Space Station, they sought to make a looper that could take the best of the weirdest possibilities of that unit, and also function as a solid stage looper.

The results are incredible. The Tensor not only can cover some of the tape warping effects of the XP-300, but also the micro-sampling of ultra-rare pedals like the Hexe Revolver. Firmware updates unlock new one-shot functionality, while its time warping and shifting can cover some of the better looping functions of the Line 6 DL4. In other words, it's a no-brainer.

So what's the catch? Well, if you don't need all those esoteric looping modes and sounds, then you might be better served by a simpler looper. Meanwhile, even if those are of interest, you're going to have to take the time to learn how to use the Tensor. As much as it's as intuitive as Red Panda can make it, it's got so many features that it's an inherently complex pedal.

Best looper pedals: Boss RC-500

(Image credit: Boss)

9. Boss RC-500

The loop station legend gets an upgrade

Specifications
Launch price: $369/£249
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 3
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: 32bit
Reasons to buy
+Built to last +Three pedals for easy use  
Reasons to avoid
-Power supply sold separately 

Yes, this is yet another Boss looper to be featured on this list, but with loop stations this good, it’s difficult not to include it. The fabled RC-30 has recently received a modern facelift, resulting in the new RC-500 - quite possibly the most powerful looper Boss has produced to date. 

This three-pedal looper is straightforward to use, with the newly added Track Select button making switching between parts a breeze. In addition, the Boss stereo looper engine delivers an impressive 13 hours of recording time - with 32-bit audio quality - meaning you’ll never run out of memory. 

Other notable features include both instrument and microphone inputs, stereo outputs and MIDI in/out, studio-quality effects and in-built rhythms, with 16 different drum kits and 57 preset rhythms. 

Best looper pedals: Digitech Trio+

(Image credit: Digitech)

10. DigiTech Trio+

The best looper pedal for a ‘band in a box’ approach

Specifications
Launch price: $355/£179
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 2
Dedicated stop control?: No
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Unique feature set+SD card saving/loading
Reasons to avoid
-Complex if you just want a looper-Tracking not always perfect

Although the looper on the DigiTech Trio+ is pretty basic as a standalone looper, if you're a bedroom player working on songs, or you're looking to thrash out ideas before hitting band practice, the Trio+ might be better for your needs than even the most advanced looper pedal.

Why? Well, pedals like the RC-30 offer backing tracks, but the power of the Trio+ is its ability to play in a loop and then instantly generate a bass and drum backing track that can be modified to fit a number of styles. The pedal also supports up to five passages that enable you to move through the component parts of a song.

The original Trio was strictly for non-live use, but, so long as your parts are simple enough and you've got access to a PA to run it into, the Trio+ might just keep up live. Though for our money, it's still better seen as a compositional aid rather than a reason to never help your drummer pack down his stands again.

Best looper pedals: HeadRush Looperboard

(Image credit: HeadRush)

11. HeadRush Looperboard

A brilliant or flawed flagship looper, depending on how you'd use it

Specifications
Launch price: $899/£649
Bypass: Buffered
Footswitches: 12
Dedicated stop control?: Yes
A/D/A conversion: 24bit
Reasons to buy
+Most advanced floor looper around+Granular quantization options
Reasons to avoid
-A bit of a learning curve-Reassigning footswitches not possible yet

The HeadRush pedalboard amp modeller and multi-effects unit sounds fantastic, but despite having a large touch-screen, it's less intuitive to use than other units, such as the Line 6 Helix.

To some extent, the same is true of the HeadRush Looper. In terms of features, it has everything you could ever need: reverse and transposing options, a slew of I/O ports on the back, up to four-track recording, and loading/saving via both USB and SD card.

However, at the time of writing, the footswitches aren't reassignable beyond their 'hold' function, and the 'stop all' switch is on the second row, as are the 'stop' switches for the four main loops. Anyone with experience of live-looping will tell you that you're usually juggling loops, and the footswitches need to be as close to your feet as possible.

Being able to stop and start a loop by either rapidly hitting the 'stop' on one and 'start' on another with one foot, or rocking with both your feet to instantaneously switch loops is a staple of live-looping performance, if you're not playing to pre-canned loops that you could sequence.

As a result, guitarists looking to record and overdub multiple instruments and don't need to tap-dance will likely get on with the HeadRush, while those doing on-the-fly looping might find it leads to mistakes when playing live.

Best looper pedal: Buying advice

TC Electronic Ditto X2 Jam on a blue background

(Image credit: Future)

How do looper pedals work?

Looper pedals record a chunk, or 'buffer' of audio, that can be played back on-demand. They were originally developed as an additional function of digital delay units. If you don't decrease the volume of digital delay repeats, you have a rudimentary looper. Most loop pedals come in single or double footswitch form factors, where one switch controls capture and playback, and the other stops playback. Many also offer additional effect modes. 

What can I use a looper pedal for?

Looper pedals are generally used for one of three things:

Songwriting: While working up an idea, it pays to be able to record it and be able to hear it back. Sometimes that's just to realise that the riff wasn't as good as you initially thought, and other times it's to catch a wave of inspiration and come up with additional parts. Whether working at home or with others, having a loop pedal around during songwriting sessions can be invaluable. Some loopers have the ability to save a loop and export it later - a function that can be incredibly useful if you use your looper as a songwriting aid.

Jamming: Not every riff has to be a song, and if you're just jamming some tunes at the end of a long day, a looper can allow you to lay down a rhythm part to play over. In the practice space, even if it's only playing some blues licks, it's fun to have a way to set some chords up as a vamp to get a mood going.

Live: Some players, particularly in bands with only one guitarist, use occasional live looping to free up space to play lead parts or counter-melodies. Some advanced users even play one-person band shows. They build up entire tracks from just stacked loops, with multiple instruments. For live use where you're stacking multiple loops and playing with a drummer, you may need advanced features. For example, units that can be sync'd with one another, or a MIDI clock, as well as those that have quantization. If you're playing in non-standard time signatures or changing tempo within songs, then the opposite is true. You'll want a non-quantized pedal where you can freely control the loop length.

Close up of the Pigtronix Infinity Looper Pedal

(Image credit: Future)

Where should I place my looper pedal on my pedalboard? 

Where in the signal chain your looper goes will depend on two things - the inputs and outputs of the loop pedal, and your preference as a player.

If you have a looper that's only mono in and out, you'll have to put it before any stereo delay, reverb, or modulation pedals that you have on your board. However, if the looper is stereo or your board is mono, you can place it wherever you like.

Assuming you have that freedom, the question is then whether you loop the dry signal, before the rest of your board, or the wet signal, after all your pedals. Generally, we prefer at the end of the chain, as it's easier to work with live, and we like dramatic, staccato stutter effects. For more subtle transitions, like in ambient music or post-rock, you might want the loop before reverbs and delays, so you can create 'trails' when turning the loop on or off.

Which brands make the best looper pedals? 

The most famous loop pedal of all time is the Line 6 DL-4 delay, which had several powerful looping modes. The Akai Headrush was also a common tool for early 2000s looping. The DL-4 and Akai Headrush were primitive, but crucial to the development of loop-based music. The DL-4 had one-shots, and functions for speeding up and retriggering, which made it unique. This resulted in prominent users like Dave Knudson of Minus the Bear basing his rig around multiple DL-4s, despite their famed unreliability. 

How much should I pay for a looper pedal? 

Apart from the DL-4, the three most common looper pedals you're likely to see are a Boss RC-series looper, a TC Electronic Ditto-series looper, or one of the Electro-Harmonix models. These lines are all comparable in feature set at various price points, as well as more reliable than the first generation units. Generally speaking, a single-footswitch looper can be had for less than $100. Dual footswitch loopers will set you back $1-200, while more feature-packed units will be $200+. 

Alex Lynham

Alex Lynham is a gear obsessive who's been collecting and building modern and vintage equipment since he got his first Saturday job. Besides reviewing countless pedals for Total Guitar, he's written guides on how to build your first pedal, how to build a tube amp from a kit, and briefly went viral when he released a glitch delay pedal, the Atom Smasher.