For guitarists that want to play along with themselves, without the need for fussy recording equipment, then investing in one of the best looper pedals is the way to go. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been playing for years, a looper can help you improve as a musician and provide a load of fun at the same time.
There are lots of different types of loop pedal on offer, all catering for different players’ needs. Some have a single pedal and allow for fairly basic looping – these are great for trying out chord sequences and seeing how melodies and solos fit on top. Some let you stop and restart the same loop, which can be useful for live use, and others might have more footswitches which unlock loads of looping options, and these can make for very powerful performance tools.
The best looper pedals are invaluable for solo practice too. Whilst it might look easy, getting the timing just right on your loops is harder than you might think. Once you master it, your timing and phrasing is likely to be much better as a result. This is really useful if you’re playing on your own, but also with other musicians as well.
If you’re a songwriter, you can hear how different chord inversions work with one another to find the best results – some players do this so that they know exactly what they’re going to play when it comes to recording in a studio, making that process much quicker. A lot of looper pedals let you plug in a microphone too, so you can get to grips with vocal layers.
With so many options available to players, it can be daunting choosing the right one, which is why we've put together this list of the best looper pedals on offer today.
Best looper pedals: Our top picks
The best looper pedal does of course depend on your needs as a player, but we really do like the TC Electronic X2 Ditto Looper (opens in new tab). It sits at a good price point, and has enough features on there to cater for those that want something above your basic, entry-level looper, but not so much that it’s overcomplicated. You can load and save loops via USB, and the on-board effects can help keep it all really interesting, as well as fun. 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+ (opens in new tab) is worth a look.
For those looking for something that can do a little more, then look at the Boss RC-10R (opens in new tab). With two independent loop tracks, you can switch between different parts of a song, without having to build it up from scratch each time. You’ve also got a ton of built-in rhythms so it’s just as much a drum machine as it is looper, making it perfect for guitarists that want a little more backing.
Best looper pedals: Product guide
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 we found it to be highly effective and lots of fun to use, which is why it's our current top pick for best looper pedals.
Because the X2 is so popular, it can sometimes be hard to get hold of. In this case, take a look at the Ditto X2 Jam – it’s only a bit more expensive and it’s essentially the same pedal, but with the company's BeatSense technology on board. This features a built-in microphone that will actually listen out when you’re playing with other musicians, and correct the timing of the loop to match them – clever stuff!
Read our full TC Electronic Ditto X2 review
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 we found 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
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. It was also a brilliant cheap looper pedal, so 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, price, 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
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.
The classic DL4 delay/looper pedal has recently been given a facelift and it now performs even better as a looper. It’s got an increased 240 second loop time (or 120 seconds in stereo) and offers players the option of either using all four footswitches, or a more simplified one button loop mode.
The four button loop mode is really useful for layering up different parts and triggering it at certain times. Having the separate footswitches for starting and stopping recording also means that you’re less likely to get muddled up when performing live. We love the fact that you can use the DL4 MK2 in the regular delay mode, then activate the one-button looper by holding down the fourth footswitch so you’ve always got quick access to it. There’s even the inclusion of an XLR input so you can loop your vocals (or anything else for that matter) via a microphone.
The Line 6 DL4 MK2 is a really well made pedal – the previous model could be seen on a lot of pro players’ boards, and we reckon this version will be too. It’s easy to use and it’s super functional.
Read the full Line 6 DL4 MK2 review
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.
In our experience, this inspirational pedal is ideal 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The MXR looper crams a lot of functionality into a relatively compact pedal. With six minutes loop time and unlimited overdubs, you’ve got a pretty big blank canvas to play with. It’s also worth noting the very high sound quality produced by this unit – 88.2kHz operation means that you’ll get little to no perceivable sound degradation, so your precious tone stays intact!
Its double footswitch design means there are separate switches for recording/overdubbing and playing and stopping the loops, so it’s great for live use. The lights are useful too, letting you know when you’re at the start of your loop and when you’re recording, plus you’ve got reverse and speed altering options. There’s also a lot more hidden under the hood of this pedal when you add in external footswitches and expression pedals. The Clone Looper lets you delete the last overdub with a simple press and holding of the Rec/Dub footswitch – ideal for trying out different parts in the songwriting process.
It’s compact, built like a tank and performs really well – one of the best loopers around for a multitude of different players.
Read the full MXR M303 Clone Looper review
Yes, another Boss pedal, but they really have got it down when it comes to making the best looper pedals. This is super easy to use, and would perfectly suit someone just starting out with looping. The single footswitch controls all your stop/starting and overdubs, whilst the knob above lets you set your loop level. There’s also a really handy LED circle that shows you whereabouts in the cycle your loop is.
With a 12 minute loop limit, you probably won’t find yourself running out of time – that’s plenty to get song parts and ideas tracked, plus you’ve then got unlimited overdubs. The stereo inputs and outputs let you hook up stereo effects pedals, or synths and other instruments – it’s not just for guitar!
Best looper pedal: Buying advice
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.
Where do I put a looper pedal in my signal chain?
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Many players add a looper onto their pedalboard to capture all the different things going on there. As with any pedal, we’d recommend playing around with the order and seeing what works for you. A lot of players tend to put their looper at the end of their signal chain though – that way, all the effects engaged before it will contribute to the sound source that’s being looped. Of course, if there’s a pedal you don’t want to be looped (like delay or reverb), then you could put your looper before that.
Many loopers feature stereo inputs and outputs too, giving you more options when it comes to fitting it into your rig. You can also try experimenting with the effects loop of an amp – there are loads of options, so always try and find what works best for your needs.
Which brands make the best looper pedals?
Looper pedals are made by a number of different companies, many of which you might recognize. The Boss looper series is probably the most famous – Ed Sheeran used an RC-30 before he got his own board custom built for him. TC Electronic also makes an amazing range of looper pedals. You’ll find some great options from the likes of Electro Harmonix, MXR and more.
How much should I spend on a looper pedal?
You can get a good quality looper pedal for around the $/£100 mark. Here you’ll likely find a single footswitch, so your looping options are more limited but it still unlocks a whole new world of guitar playing. The more you pay, the more you’ll start to see more features and more footswitches. If your looping needs are fairly basic, then you don’t need to spend hundreds.
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