Best tape echo pedals: Nail the warm and wavy sound of tape delay, regardless of your budget

Boss Space Echo RE-202 on a dark background
(Image credit: Future)

The best tape echo pedals act as musical time machines, transporting players back to the golden age of rock 'n' roll with their warm, shimmering echoes and hauntingly beautiful soundscapes. Today, the tape delay pedal market is more competitive than ever, with a wide range of options from the biggest brands to choose from. That said, for us, the most valuable pedals build on the technology that's come before, seamlessly blending echoes of the past with the modern features demanding contemporary players are looking for. 

Today, we take for granted just how easy it is to add a little depth to our sound through delay. Back in the day, if you wanted to spice up your guitar tone, it involved rather large and cumbersome tape units – a far cry from just stomping on a pedal. These retro units would record the input sound onto a loop of magnetic tape and then play it back a short time later, creating the famous echo that captured the hearts of many players. 

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Daryl Robertson
Senior Deals Writer

Daryl is a Senior Deals Writer at Guitar World, where he creates and maintains our 200+ buyer's guides, finds the best deals on guitar products, and tests the latest gear. His reviews have been featured in prominent publications like Total Guitar, Future Music magazine, and

During his career, he has been lucky enough to talk to many of his musical heroes, having interviewed Slash and members of Sum 41, Foo Fighters, Feeder, Thrice, and more. In a past life, Daryl worked in music retail. For a little under a decade, he advised everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned pros on the right gear for their needs. 

Daryl is also a fully qualified sound engineer, holding a first-class Bachelor's degree in Creative Sound Production from the University of Abertay.