Whether you are looking to buy a looper pedal to turbocharge your music band by layering acoustic guitar and electric guitar parts live or you are finally getting started with your humble ambient prog project, a loop pedal for your pedalboard would open up pretty diverse creative choices.
- What is a Looper Pedal?
- Where Should a Looper Pedal Go in Your Signal Chain?
- Our Recommendations:
- Best Guitar Loop Pedal – BOSS RC-1 Loop Station
- Best Cheap Budget Looper Pedal Under 50 – ammoon AP-09 Nano Series
- Best Looper Pedal Under 100 – Nux Loop Core
- Best Looper Pedal For Live Performance – Pigtronix Infinity Looper
- Best Beginner Loop Pedal – TC Electronic Ditto Looper
- Best Looper Pedal For Acoustic Guitar – BOSS RC-3
- Best Multi Effects Pedal With Looper – BOSS ME-80
- Best Stereo Looper Pedal – Electro Harmonix 720
- Best Analog Loop Pedal – MXR M303
- Best Looper Pedal For Bass – Donner Triple Looper
Some artists use looper pedals for triggering pre-recorded samples, instead of looping their grooves on-the-go. And several modern loopers can do exporting and importing of sound clips too. They even support external memory cards. The options are, therefore, galore and even confusing.
In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best guitar looper pedals that you can get started with.
What is a Looper Pedal?
A looper pedal helps you record a particular portion of your guitar performance and put that into a loop. And that’s not all. You can also append more effects to the original recording, which includes speed adjustments, pitch adjustments, etc. There are looper pedals that record a specific phrase and instantly start to play it back. The most complicated loopers function as digital workstations, allowing several synchronized audio channels, different time signatures, and also foot controls for each loop.
Where Should a Looper Pedal Go in Your Signal Chain?
The exact placement of your looper pedal in a signal chain varies with different requirements. For instance, if you would like to change or add effects for every loop, you would want it at the chain’s end so that the effects get documented and looped. On the other hand, if you would like to record the guitar’s raw sound so that you could change the loop’s tone after recording, the looper pedal should go at the start of the chain. You can even put a looper pedal at the end and another at the beginning.
Best Guitar Loop Pedal – BOSS RC-1 Loop Station
The BOSS RC-1 is a fairly straightforward looper pedal. With stereo and mono connectivity, it offers you the flexibility you require to make complete use of your amplifiers and stereo effect pedals, and also your synths. The RC-1 comes equipped with a 24-section LED indicator that changes rotation speeds and colors based on the mode and status your pedal is working in. This means you would not have to guess the point you are at in the track.
The looper pedal uses a nine-volt alkaline battery for power. This dedicated, standalone unit is part of BOSS’s standard pedal lineup – a classic format that can run on 9V batteries. There is also the option of an AC adaptor. According to BOSS, you can expect running times of up to 4.5 hours. Not to mention, the build is sturdy and tank-like, which means trouble-free usage for years.
The RC-1 has good memory as well. It can automatically and easily recall the loop that you recorded when you turn it off. You can make pre recorded loops that feature stereo effects or coordinate a couple of varying outputs and instruments to separate mixer channels or amps. As soon as a loop is recorded, the total cycle duration denotes loop length. If you are new to looper pedals, the BOSS RC-1 is arguably the simplest looper pedal you’ll come across.
- Great user interface
- Solid construction
- Easy-to-read display
- 12 minutes of recording
- Stereo input/output
- One-button operation
- Not ideal for gigs
Best Cheap Budget Looper Pedal Under 50 – ammoon AP-09 Nano Series
ammoon is not an extremely popular brand. And, quite often, it doesn’t get the press it deserves. The AP-09 is a solid looper pedal, particularly for the price. This looper pedal is a part of ammoon’s Nano series, which is known for looper pedals that are significantly easy to use. Besides its ease of use, the AP-09 is pretty compact too. And despite the small footprint, it churns out excellent quality audio. Since it’s on the smaller side, it should have zero trouble fitting within pretty much any guitar pedal setup.
The AP-09 is made out of high-grade aluminum alloy that can withstand a certain level of abuse. The pedal supports recording for up to 10 minutes. Also, it offers unlimited overdub and lets you use the undo, redo, and delete features. Thanks to the premium-quality materials used to make the pedal, holding and feeling it in your hands make it clear that the pedal has been built for the long run.
The one-touch button functionality is one of the reasons why the pedal is quite user-friendly. However, the same attribute could be limiting for some guitarists, particularly the experienced ones. The single knob helps adjust the output volume level. Also, there is a ‘true bypass’ button that lets it override other effects. The settings are quite simple too, which coupled with its size, make it ideal for band practice.
- Easy to use
- Compact form-factor
- Great sound for the size and price
- Supports 10 minutes of recording
- May not be ideal for gig performances
Best Looper Pedal Under 100 – Nux Loop Core
The Nux Loop Core is a solid option for guitarists looking to buy a fairly advanced, yet budget-friendly looper pedal. The loop pedal has a fairly flashy metal yellow casing. Under the case, you get high-quality sound combined with a series of extensively used advanced functionalities, which include the tap tempo function and the means to memorize loops. It’s a one-switch guitar pedal, but the delete and save functions have buttons of their own.
The casing is not just flashy but also quite sturdy. It’s, in fact, durable enough to be carried around extensively. The pedal is capable of recording up to six hours of stereo or mono audio, which should be more than good enough for live usage and also for amassing a huge catalog of recorded loops. For storing the recorded mix, you get 99 memory slots. Not to mention, the device is powered by a nine-volt battery.
The pedal provides an organic and natural sound even when there are effects being thrown in. The pedal also comes with onboard drum patterns and the tap tempo feature mentioned above so that you can manually tap the loop audio’s desired tempo without upsetting the key. Also, you can export or import loops through PC, besides plugging in optional extension pedals to keep things more under control. Long story short, the Nux Loop Core is ideal for people who have around $100 to spare but will not settle for a basic looper.
- Solid value offering
- Built-in drum machine
- Stereo ins/outs
- Tap tempo
- 16-bit recording
- No BPM display
Best Looper Pedal For Live Performance – Pigtronix Infinity Looper
The Pigtronix Infinity Looper is an advanced level looper pedal that can effortlessly run multiple loops. It comes with a couple of stereo loops that you can configure for different working styles. One of its highlight features is ‘sync multi’ that sets the loop length for synchronized timing. You can also turn off the sync so that there are two independent loops having different lengths and no synchronized playback.
The Infinity Looper comes with two basic modes so that you could configure how two loops behave. You could run them in regular parallel mode, where the two play together, or you could set them in ‘series’ mode, where the loops play taking turns. This works great if you are playing chorus song/over-verse structures.
The pedal has been sized well to fit onto pretty much any pedalboard. Despite not being the largest looper pedal available for purchase, the Infinity Looper can easily sport three footswitches fairly wide to make sure you do not hit the switch you did not intend to trigger.
Operation is pretty straightforward. There are a couple of footswitches to its right. They have the same record, overdub, and play functions – one each for the two loops. The footswitch located at the far left can be used for erasing functions. Moreover, you have the option to connect another footswitch for overdubbing, undoing, and redoing.
- Large feature set
- Ideal for complicated arrangements
- USB loading/saving
- Fairly compact
- Stores up to nine loops
- Just two loops
- Not for beginners
Best Beginner Loop Pedal – TC Electronic Ditto Looper
The Ditto Looper by TC Electronic eschews all the mood-killing, non-essential tech hoopla to create a looper that only the guitarists can use. Staying true to its ethos, the pedal comes with just a loop level control, an LED, and a footswitch. With a length of 92mm, the Ditto matches PolyTune Mini, another TC offering. At its heart is the LED setup, which changes in color based on the function performed by the pedal.
Pressing the pedal once for recording would prompt the LED to glow red. Tapping it again to terminate the recording causes the LED light to turn green. From there, the pedal supports real-time loop and noodle function. You can also add any number of overdubs to build components. A swift double-tap would stop the playback. Moreover, the Ditto Looper offers analog-dry-through and true bypass. The former lets the unperturbed dry signal to run constantly via the pedal.
The modest dimensions of the pedal may not occupy too much space on an overcrowded pedalboard. Thanks to the uncompressed, 24-bit audio processing, overlaying even up to 23 loops would not result in any real harm to playback quality. With this combination of ease of use and sound quality, the Ditto Looper is certainly an impressive pedal. It’s designed in a way to make sure there is little to no confusion when it comes to its usage and playback.
- Simplicity personified
- Compact form-factor
- Great sound quality
- Fun to use
- The small size may lead to some playing niggles
Best Looper Pedal For Acoustic Guitar – BOSS RC-3
BOSS offers looper pedals at different price points and also categories based on various other attributes. The RC-3 is basically a looper that falls in line with its pedals that are known for their compact form-factor. However, unlike the other pedals in its range, the RC-3 offers stereo looping too, and not just mono looping.
Also, it significantly increases onboard storage and throws in a USB 2.0 connection. The increased storage capacity means the pedal can do recordings for up to three hours. There are also 99 memory locations. When compared to the BOSS RC-2’s 11 loops and 16 minutes of recording time, the RC-3 is a major upgrade.
Other RC-3 features comprise a rhythm guide. The guide comprises 10 unique types of rhythms, which include rock, funk, pop, R&B, shuffle, etc. The rhythms are numerically set in BPM or through a tap-tempo button that resides on the control surface of the pedal, along with an option of time signatures. Rhythm volume can be set using the inner control on the dual concentric knob of the pedal – the outer portion controls the loop playback level. Rhythm time and type signature are saved juxtaposed to recorded phrases.
The RC-3 also comes with an auxiliary input to record stereo audio sources. The USB connection not just helps create a backup of saved loops on your computer, but it also lets you load any 44.1kHz/16-bit Wav files into the built-in memory. Both these input functions let you load any kind of music that you may like to loop, or maybe use them in your live performances.
- Easy to use
- Large capacity
- Compact size
- Onboard rhythms
- Great for songwriting and practicing
- No tempo display
- No option to fine-tune tempo
Best Multi Effects Pedal With Looper – BOSS ME-80
Having made its debut in 2014, the ME-80 by BOSS is one of the more tactile units the brand has to offer. The BOSS GT-100, for comparison, is more menu-driven. The ME-80 is packed with parameter adjustments and effects selections that are made employing a massive range of front-panel knobs.
Adaptor or battery-powered, the pedal comprises a set of inventively designed footswitches that could be used in a couple of ways – either for switching an assortment of unique effects pedals or to instantly recall complex patches that feature multiple effects. The patches are made using a maximum of eight simultaneous effects, which include COSM amp sims.
The onboard effects’ actual range is pretty wide, packing in all of the things you usually come to expect, in addition to some fresh attributes – including BOSS’s Tera Echo. The Tera Echo employs Multi-Dimensional Processing technology for creating an array of ambiances. The ME-80 also comes with a tuner, tap tempo, an integrated USB audio interface, and a phrase-loop function that supports recording of up to 38 seconds.
As far as sound is concerned, there are simply no complications whatsoever. However, do not misinterpret this simplicity as inability – since the pedal packs in quite a variety of excellent sounds. Moreover, its impressive range of rotary knobs and switches help with assigning effects and tweaking parameters. Needless to say, how you use the ME-80 onstage is totally up to you.
- Packs in multiple pre-program sounds
- Solid metal case
- Minimal menu browsing
- Includes MDP technology
- Value for money
- No 9V power cord in the box (but we did find a package on Amazon that includes one and more so that con has been solved!)
Best Stereo Looper Pedal – Electro Harmonix 720
The Electro Harmonix 720 is a fairly advanced looped pedal bundled inside a small body. Since it’s advanced and compact at the same time, you are likely to take some time to get familiar with its basic functions. It’s easy to use, sturdy, reliable, and quality-sounding. It provides you a looping period of 12 minutes. There is also a sequence of 10 self-regulating loops.
Besides the aforementioned features and effects, the 720 offers unlimited redo and undo edits, overdubs, as well as half-speed and reverse features – two pretty unique features. Turning the reverse button on would cause the loop you recorded to play in reverse and produce some truly wicked sounds. The half-speed button, as the name hints, cuts down the loop’s speed by 50 percent.
Being a stereo tool, the Harmonix 720 comes with two ‘Out’ and two ‘In’ plugs so that you could connect several devices into the loop, besides rocking the pedal via a stereo rig. In addition, there is a separate input that lets you connect an optional footswitch to the pedal. Talking about footswitches, the two footswitches that the pedal comes with are integral to its control section. In fact, a looper pedal’s ease of use is typically ascertained by these buttons and how many of them there are. The 720 packing in a couple for its size is pretty awesome.
- Extremely capable
- Cool effects
- Looping duration of 12 minutes
- Can be expanded via footswitch
- Silent footswitches
- No quantization
Best Analog Loop Pedal – MXR M303
The MXR M303 is a compact looper pedal that combines all the layering facilities you would probably need in a loop pedal, besides throwing in some creative extras. Somewhere between the do-it-all looper pedal behemoths and the small single-footswitch models, the MXR M303 intends to provide the most useful and practical range of features in a compact form-factor.
The design is ingenious. MXR has turned a regular-size MXR pedal (like Phase 90) on its side so that each end could have a footswitch. By doing that, MXR also furnished the pedal with a volume dial that also functions as a switch that takes care of three other unique functions, based on how it’s pressed.
The storage period is six minutes and you can attach any number of layers without having to deal with issues of an intricate composition buildup. Also, you are not losing it when the power goes down, since the pedal stores it even when there’s no power. A couple of footswitches that know what their role is truly render the operation dead simple.
- Great sound quality
- Quite simple operation
- Built solidly
- Compact size
- Speed-changing and reverse facilities
- May be non-responsive at times
Best Looper Pedal For Bass – Donner Triple Looper
The Donner Triple Looper is for guitarists who are short on physical space. In other words, the Triple Looper is tiny enough to fit itself within pretty much any space it gets stowed in. Since it’s quite compact, it comes with one stomper button, a side-positioned USB connector, and a level dial. The small size also means the loop pedal is relatively inexpensive.
The build is aluminum, which gives the loop pedal a premium feel. The aluminum build may not be the most durable, but it certainly makes the pedal quite light in the hand. As far as features and functionalities go, the pedal boasts looping time of up to 10 minutes and comes with several looper functionalities that are considered essential in today’s day and age. In fact, for the diminutive size, the pedal packs in quite a bit of punch with its feature-set.
The size also doesn’t come in the way of performance, as there is zero perceptible loss of audio quality. It can, in fact, stand its own when compared to its bigger siblings and other brand loop pedals that sit above it. There are three slots to save loop tracks. Also, the pedal automatically saves recordings when it’s powered off. In short, the Donner Triple Looper is great for people who are just getting started with loop pedals and have a small budget.
- Fun and easy to use
- Sound quality is on point
- Quite feature-rich for the size
- Great user interface
- Elegant and lightweight
- USB port positioning looks like an afterthought
If you are out in the market looking to buy the best looper pedal, make sure you do not compromise on the pedal’s construction, reliability with electric circuits, and overall value offering. If looks matter, then you could account that as well. Loop length could seem like another major factor – but it isn’t since most pedals provide more than sufficient recording time.
Also, when you think about it, most players would not require recordings that span a minute or more for looping purposes. And even the extremely inexpensive stomp-boxes usually offer a recording time of close to 10 minutes. At the time of purchase also know what your requirements, preferences, and budget are. The aforementioned recommendations have been listed based on these parameters.