I’ve been an artist for more than two decades now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of my career, technology isn’t necessarily taking the skills out of being a musician/guitarist.
Of course, you can argue that the endless sampling and use of computers to do all the work negates the beautiful art of music composition.
But sometimes, you simply need technology to unleash what’s floating in your head without complicating and slowing the process.
Take the looper pedals, for example.
Artists like Ed Sheeran and KT Tunstall showed and continue to show exactly what you can achieve with the best looper pedals.
As anyone who witnessed Ed’s Wembley Shows, playing in an audience of 80,000 people with a little more than an acoustic guitar and loop pedal, you can agree with me that his performance was incredible.
See, the best looper pedals are incredibly useful not only for live performances but also in studio and practice environments.
They help artists learn theory and chord/scale relationships, building layers and layers of sounds while freeing the guitarist’s hands to do other things.
In my opinion, a guitarist’s pedalboard isn’t complete without a high-quality looper pedal as part of it. It opens up your creative world, letting you create and hear sounds that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to hear on a single instrument.
And even better, the capabilities of modern loop pedals vary wildly.
At one end of the scale, we’ve the ultrasimple loopers, which simply record what you play and repeat before layering. At the other end, there’re loopers with multiple engines, each operating independently or in sync, letting you incorporate different instruments in the same performance.
Now, whether you’re in the market for something to take your live soundscapes to new levels or simply need something you can jam along at home without needing an extra pair of hands, our selection of the best looper pedals will make it happen.
In the review text below, we’ve compiled a detailed guide reviewing the 5 best looper pedals in the market.
If you’ve time, you can also go through our best looper pedal buying guide section that outlines what you need to know when selecting a looper pedal for your playing needs.
Table of Contents
5 Best Looper Pedals For The Money
#1 BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The Boss RC-3 Loop Station Pedal sits comfortably at the top of our list and it should come as no surprise to those of you familiar with looper pedals.
Boss, the brand behind this pedal has quite a bit of reputation in this space, and having been in the industry for more than 17 years, it definitely makes them a veteran of the scene.
The RC-3 is part of Boss’s current range of loopers in the Loop Station range, including the Boss RC-1 loop, RC-5, RC-300, RC-10, and RC-5.
While these models have plenty of similarities, the RC-3 has unique features that make it stand out.
But before we look at these great features, let’s first see who the RC-3 is for.
This pedal is a great pick for guitarists looking for a simple looper with room to grow with them.
See, basic station loopers such as the Boss RC-1 are great for beginners, but they’re too bare-bones and start to feel limiting after a while. The RC-3, on the other hand, makes it easy to jam along with basic loops, even when you need to take things further.
The RC-3 retains the same compact size as the Boss RC-1 loop station, but it steps up the features. This looper won’t take much of your real estate on your pedalboard, yet it packs many features.
As with the RC-1 Loop Station, RC-3 retains the single-footswitch’s simplicity.
But that’s not even the reason I got sold with the looper’s footswitch setup.
First, it’s possible to connect RC-3 to an external footswitch, something the RC-1 lacked. So, if in the future you feel limited by the single footswitch, you can easily expand for greater level control.
Another benefit of this setup is the pedal automatically starts recording as soon as it hears you start playing.
Beginners, especially those who struggle with accurate timing when starting and stopping the loop, will have everything to celebrate with this feature. They can now create the perfect loops effortlessly.
Plus, RC-3 eliminates the need for tapping when you begin the recording process and that you’ve more control over your loops.
The main benefit of this pedal is the ability to save your recorded loops to the pedal. RC-3 gives you up to 3 hours of stereo recording time of whatever loop you desire. In addition, the pedal lets you save up to 99 loops.
Personally, I’m blown away by this feature as it offers a fantastic way to record song ideas quickly and keep them for later.
I can even record different chord progressions, practice improvising, and have them ready at every practice session.
Another feature guitarist will go gaga over is the AUX port. The ability to connect to a PC to import/export audio is handy, and you can’t even mention the convenience you get from this feature.
For instance, if you create a killer loop, you can save it and keep it on your PC. Or if you simply want to practice working on a riff, you can import the audio clip to your pedal and practice playing over the loop.
Lastly, as with all Boss’s Loop Station range, guitarists will profit from unlimited overdubs and undo features.
#2 Boss RC-300 Loop Station - High-End Pick
I’ve played quite a few looper pedals over the years, and if there’s one that has always stood out is the Boss RC-300 loop station.
It’s yet another option from Boss’ Loop Station range looper pedals.
And as you would expect, it doesn’t fail to deliver.
My only quibble was with the RC-300’s price point.
But the high price point is justified.
RC-300 is a top-of-the-range looper and an absolute beast.
Compared to this model, all other looper pedals on our list of the best looper pedals look like toys.
This pedal comes with a gamut of features and definitely focuses on professionals. While it’s the most expensive, it’s worth it as you get what you paid for.
The RC-300 is, in many ways, a step-up to the RC-30. In my opinion, the RC-300 is like combining three RC-30.
First, it comes with three loop tracks. The RC-30 had two loop tracks.
Each track has independent volume settings and foot control. Each also has two footswitches, so you’re saved from the hassle of the crazy foot commands that introduce error into your live show.
And that’s not all!
The three different tracks mean guitarists can build a dedicated loop for different parts of a song, different instruments, or different layers without interrupting the rest of the music.
For instance, you could have a track for guitar parts, another for vocals, and the last for melodies. Then you can combine the individual loops as you see fit.
Overall, the three stereo looper tracks offer loads of potential for new jams, mixes, and jam that won’t degrade when overdubbing the loopers.
Another RC-300’s feature we love is the expression pedals that can be assigned to control different parameters.
According to most user reviews, the most popular use for RC-330’s expression pedal is for controlling the track. Guitarists can fade a track in or out as they see fit, rather than only start/stop the rack using a footswitch.
Additionally, you can link up two or more expression best looper pedals if you need more control over than a single parameter at a time.
As with our top pick, the RC-3, RC-300 has a generous memory that can accommodate up to three hours of recording time- a handy option for storing multiple shows ahead of time. You also get 99 built-in memory slots.
And that’s not all!
An Auto Recording feature allows for a perfectly timed starting position, so beginners won’t struggle a lot using this looper.
Finally, the RC-300 is sturdy, a tank-like looper built to stand up against abuses, making it ideal for even the most enthusiastic stomper.
The only issue most guitarists worry about is the size. It’s bulky, but I’ve seen guitarists carry it using one hand when getting on stage.
In my opinion, the real issue is how complicated the looper looks. I’m guessing a lot of guitarists look at the RC-300 and feel completely overwhelmed.
RC-300 can be intimidating at first glance as it packs plenty of components, but when you break it down to its simplest details, you’ll see it’s manageable.
#3 Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal - Most Intuitive Pedal for Live Performance
The Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal is a simple-looking looper from EHX that hides many powerful looping functionalities under its basic-looking surface.
Its build has plenty of resemblance to the Ditto in both size, robustness, and design.
But Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Pedal earns a spot over the Ditto for several reasons;
First, it’s the pop-less design of the footswitches. Secondly, when it comes to looping, the Harmonix 720 goes a step or two further.
The two-button control is probably the biggest differentiator between these two. With the Ditto, you’re doing a double-tap to stop and play a few notes of your song. But with the Harmonix Stereo Looper Pedal, you simply tap the stop switch, and you’re done.
Guitarists will also benefit from 10 banks for storing their loops
But that’s not even the best part!
Each loop can play forward or backward at normal speed or half speed that allows for sonic experimentation. Even better, switching these playback effects is as simple as clicking the footswitch.
And if you need even more control, you can simply plug in a 3-button foot controller and use it for scrolling through the memory bank.
Harmonix 720 can record a total of 720 seconds or 12 minutes of recording time of audio as its name suggests. It’s not the longest recording time, but the pedal gives you the option of splitting the time into ten separate loops stored in memory and retained even if the power supply is unplugged.
Another benefit of the Harmonix Looper is the hands-free operation, thanks to the two silent footswitches. The footswitches won’t create annoying clicking or tapping noises, allowing you to perform your magic in silence.
When it comes to usability, the Looper is way ahead of competitors in its class, especially on the connectivity front.
The pedal includes a stereo in/out for improved usability, allowing you to record two instruments simultaneously.
Remember, the inputs and outputs are stereos, so you can easily loop your stereo synths or two mono instruments simultaneously. For instance, we tried a guitar and a bass, and it worked seamlessly.
With a 44.1 kHz sample rate and 24-bit audio conversion, this pedal will give you a powerful looping performance.
The main looping of the Harmonix 720 Looper is done with the LOOP switch in the bottom left. You can use the switch to punch recording in and out, while the REC and PLAY LEDs will tell you what’s going on.
While the LED is a nice addition, we wished it would have displayed more than a single digit. For example, when the loop is longer than 10 seconds, the counter only gets to 9 seconds before resetting back to 0. If I could count to 720 would have been a blast.
Lastly, the Harmonix 720 Stereo has a rugged enclosure that will stand up to any abuses back to basics.
It also comes with a 9V power supply (9v battery)that lasts for a long time.
Overall, the Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper is a great pick, and though it takes time to understand how to use everything, you’ll love what it offers.
It’s also priced reasonably, especially considering it’s a full-featured option that doesn’t take a lot of space.
#4 TC Electronic Ditto Looper X4 - Best for Students
I recommend the TC Electronic Ditto Looper X4 for students unless they’ve a genuine need for extra features.
The TC Electronic Ditto X4 is a highly-rated looper that could also work well for beginners and intermediates because of its ease of use and affordability.
Advanced guitarists may prefer a pedal with more advanced features.
The first thing I like with the TC Electronic Looper X4 is the five minutes of looping. Looping time is essential as it dictates the maximum time you can record and loop your playing.
Five minutes is huge! It’s not the highest we’ve seen, but I barely reach the limit when jamming, and I don’t think many of you will be in a situation requiring more than 5 minutes of recording time.
Another feature we loved on the TC Electronic Looper X4 is the true bypass and analog-dry-through.
These components are essential from a tone point of view and ensure your looper doesn’t suck your tone.
Ditto Looper with a bypass ensures you know when to turn it off, so you won’t affect your tone in any way.
TC Electronic X4’s sound quality is impressive and by far among the best I’ve come around.
The 24-bit uncompressed audio produces a fantastic tone during playback, and if the user reviews are anything to go by, it sounds completely natural.
Performance-wise, TC Electronic Ditto doesn’t fail either.
First, it comes with an undo/redo feature, a nice surprise for such a simple pedal. Having undo function is handy when you make a mistake during recording, and you need to scrape the layers.
The looper pedals also have overdubs, and at first, you might get skeptical about having a single footswitch controlling all these functions, but you’ll love the looper’s overall simplicity.
Of course, having only one footswitch makes it challenging to control the pedal as you’ve to memorize a few different ways to control the Ditto.
While Ditto can’t compete with the best looper pedals with multiple buttons, it’s easy enough to control.
Ditto has also gone to great lengths to create pedals that will last for long.
Of course, not everyone will agree with me, but most reviewers are happy with the product and can attest that it has excellent quality.
The looper stands up to abuse and will last for long.
Additionally, it’s important, but a few famous guitarists have endorsed the Ditto Looper including Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan. While I don’t think much of the celebrity endorsements, it’s a good sign that even big-name guitarists are using this looper.
My only issue with the TC Electronic Ditto Looper is the lack of a battery power supply option. The only way to use this looper is with an AC adapter power supply.
For some guitarists, it’s a pain but not a deal-breaker if you already have a few other best looper pedals in your effects chain. It makes sense to lose the battery and power it like other pedals.
Overall, there’s plenty to love with the TC Electronic Ditto Looper.
For such a compact and simple pedal, it does a great job and has awesome sound quality.
#5 Line 6 JM4 Looper
It would be a mistake to call the Line 6 JM4 Looper another loop pedal.
With the number of features jam-packed in this unit, the Line 6 Looper is more than a simple pedal looper, but a guitar player’s workstation.
Beyond the looping capabilities, this option can also handle various other tasks, including amp modeling, composing, practicing, and producing effects.
Within its rugged construction, Line 6 Looper house 12 line 6 amp models from clean to “insane.” The seven Smart Control FX on this model include Chorus/flanger, phaser, Reverb, Tremolo, and tap tempo effects.
The biggest benefit of this looper is the plenty of presets to make a guitarist happy; with more than 200 artist-created presets, more than 150-based presets, and three user-programmable presets, there’s plenty to play with on these pedals.
And the best part is these tracks aren’t rigid or robotic, but rather actual recordings laid down by A-list drummers, bass players, and guitarists.
Line 6 JM4 Looper has an impressive recording time of up to 24 minutes and copious storage that can hold up to 100 recorded jams. It’ll let you capture all your riffs and musical ideas. At the same time, it lets you store more jams and export your loops online through an SD card slot.
Using the Line 6 Looper is a breeze, thanks to the dedicated footswitches for Play/Stop, Record/Overdub, Half-Speed, and Undo for super-easy practice.
Overall, you’ll delight in every second with these pedals, and beginners won’t find any challenge.
As with the line 6 dl4, JM4 goes beyond the abilities of a standard looper as it also features 100 Endless Jam tracks and drum machine grooves for guitarists to play along and create loops with.
Here, you’ll find an array of musical styles to jam with- starting from metal to country and everything in between.
JM4’s main feature is the looper. The looper manual offers a couple of tutorials to get you up and running right away.
Best Looper Pedals Buying Guide
As with guitars, there’re plenty of looper pedals in the market.
And so, finding the best looper pedal that is right for you can be a bit challenging.
What is the best looper pedal for one guitarist may not be right for you. There’s also not any pedal that is right for everybody.
But you don’t have to beat about the selection because we’re here for you.
In the guide below, we shall show you everything you need to know about selecting the best looper pedal.
But first, let’s understand what a pedal is:
What is a Looper Pedal?
A looper is a device for recording samples from an instrument for replaying or even dubbing.
Guitarists use switches or best looper pedals to control the looper with their feet.
Here’s what you can do with a looper:
Record Solos: You can play chords on a guitar and record these samples. It’s a great way to practice solo techniques and improve your skills.
Create Music: Loopers are mostly used for composing songs. It’s easy to create amazing-sounding tracks and write lyrics to them.
Learn: You can learn how your favorite guitarist played a lick with the AUX input. You can plug in your phone or mp3 device to play a song, then slow down without affecting the pitch to get the bottom of how the lick was done.
Experiment: Guitarists can use the best Looper pedals to combine different tones and loops to create something unique.
What Do You Want in a Looper Pedal?
Before looking at the different options, consider what you need in a ooperl.
Do you need a looper for live performance or practice mode? Or simply something simple to jam in your studio bedroom?
Do you want to save your loops for the future? Or do you simply need something that will create loops of the fly and don’t need anything sophisticated?
Here’re some of the pointers you should think about before getting a looper.
First, consider the price for the pedal looper.
How much is a looper worth to you and how much are you willing to spend.
Generally, the more expensive loopers have better qualities and more features.
Consider the ease of use of a looper.
Professionals can go about with the sophisticated models, but I would recommend beginners choose the simple, frills-free model with fewer features.
The other thing to consider is the looper pedal’s flexibility.
Here, we mean you consider whether the looper can create multiple loops, use MIDI sync or even switch the loops on the fly.
If you plan to use your looper for love performances, ensure it’s a quality option that delivers.
Also, it should be easy to use without having to bend down and change settings with your hands.
Important Features to Consider on a Looper Pedal
The best looper pedals are built differently, and there’re plenty of features to consider.
In the section below, we’ll go through the important features to consider when making a looper selection.
Number of Footswitches
This is probably one of the important factors to consider when selecting a looper pedal because it affects how musicians use a looper and what they can do with it.
Loops are created and controlled through the footswitch, so generally, the more the number of footswitches, the more control a pedal offers.
Looper Pedals, like Ditto, have only one footswitch, which functions as a record, play, stop, overdub, and so much more.
While it’s a simple setup, there’re only so many functions a footswitch can do.
Yes, it can still do a lot, but many professional players feel it has many limitations.
On the other hand, the multi-footswitch options offer far more control and flexibility over tour loops.
Pedal loops with several footswitches mean it’s easy to achieve far more and experience fewer limitations.
While this may sound like you need far more switches, you may find that the best looper pedal for you only requires two or three switches.
Some high-end looper pedals usually give players the option of connecting external footswitches for even better control.
The ability to connect your looper pedal to another footswitch gives you more control and makes a difference in how easy a looper pedal is to use.
Previously, looper pedals would only store a loop length for a few seconds, but today, some loopers will store hours of high-fidelity loops. Some even have memory slots and SD cards to extend the length.
While the longer lengths give players more options, they’re not necessarily better, especially if you’re just going for basic one-track looping and overdubbing.
Secondly, for most situations, all modern-day loopers have a long enough record time to be useful.
Many guitarists like placing their looper after all of their effect pedals so the looper can record the effects well.
If your looper is mono, all of your effects go through the mono looper, and it’s fine for jamming purposes.
But if you want to record your loops in stereo, a stereo output is necessary. Otherwise, you’ll be limited in where you position your looper pedal in your chain.
Multiple inputs on a looper pedal are a wonderful addition as they allow players to create more complex loops.
For example, a microphone input can add a shaker or tambourine in the loop or even some vocals.
Players may also want to connect something like a foot stompbox to add some kick sound to their loop.
Generally, the most input types in the pedal are the quarter-inch input, which is the standard cable input from guitars.
Other options include XLR for microphones, aux jacks for MP3 players or laptops, or simply USB ports for transferring loops directly.
Some looper pedals feature in-built effects such as ‘half-speed or ‘reverse.’
Guitarists apply these effects to your loop without affecting your regular tone.
They’re a wonderful addition as they’re fun to use and will help you develop new, creative ideas.
While some loop pedals erase the loop immediately it’s disconnected, others give you the ability to save your loop.
Some can even save to loops on an SD card for later transfer to a computer through USB.
Saving your loops is handy, especially if you’re songwriting or want to have loops ready before going for a live performance.
While at it, some of the loop pedals can even import backing tracks or any other audio file for you to play with.
Some of the high-end looper pedals can sync your looper with other time-based devices through the MIDI sync.
For instance, if you’ve a drum machine, you can sync up both the loop and drum loop.
However, if you don’t have any other gear using MIDI sync, this isn’t a feature you should worry about.
How to use a looper pedal?
For most of the guitar pedals, using the looper pedal is as simple as stepping on the footswitch.
Even loopers with plenty of complicated features relatively offer a straightforward operation.
However, it’s not as easy as you imagine as it only works well as you work on it.
Therefore, it’s imperative you play your parts cleanly and start/stop the loop perfectly on time.
Of course, the specifics of operation will depend on the type of pedal and the settings you select.
Since every pedal has distinct features and operations, it’s a good idea to go through the user manual to learn the best way of operating a pedal.
Where do you place a looper pedal (in the chain)?
If you ever run into issues with your pedal chain, such as unwanted noise or poor response/tone from your effects, there’s a high chance your pedal chain is out of whack.
You need to know where to place it correctly.
While there’re no hard and fast rules of setting up your chain, there’re guidelines that can help eliminate potential issues.
When setting up the pedal chain, we recommend starting with your tuner before moving to the dynamic effects.
Next, place any gain effects like distortion, overdrive, or fuzz. Then place any modulation effects such as chorus, phaser, and flanger.
Lastly, place the time-based effects such as reverb and delay.
Top 3 Looper Pedal Brands
There’re numerous looper pedal brands in the market, but you can’t go wrong with options from these brands:
Boss is arguably the most well-known and reputable guitar effect manufacturer in the world.
It’s a subsidiary of Roland, and it has been making premium guitar effects for years.
Their Loop Station line includes various pedals, all with different features that cater to virtually every type of guitar player.
They’re yet another popular guitar pedal manufacturer, well known for producing innovative products and true bypass wiring.
With more than our decades in the manufacturing industry, TC Electronics is part of a larger parent company that makes everything from guitar and vocal effects to speakers and studio monitors.
Their Ditto line of loop effect is quite popular and similar to Boss; they offer loops across various price points and different features to cater to different guitar players.
Founded in 1984, DigiTech carved out a name for themselves with their Whammy line of pitch shifters in the late ’80s.
The brand manufactures several loopers, including the innovative Trio+ pedal, which has been a great option for solo-performers.
Trio+ generates bass and drums parts to your playing, allowing you to loop multiple sections and custom sequences as you prefer.
How much does a good looper pedal typically cost?
Looper pedal cost varies, and the features you need and the application you’ll be using your application for determining the price.
You’ll find options well under $100, as well as looper costing upwards of $500.
While the pricier loopers have more features and functionality, you don’t need to go for the most expensive option.
There’re tons of awesome looper pedals in the $80 to $200 range, and they’ll provide lots of functionality and features.
For the casual guitarist, pedals within this range are usually fine, but if you need a slew of additional features, you may want to go for a higher-end pedal like multiple footswitches.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our recommendation for the best looper pedal is the Boss RC-3 Loop Station Pedal.
We choose this pedal because it’s a simple yet functional device, ticking on all the important boxes.
It’s a simple pick but more detailed than its predecessor, the RC-1, yet, it’s packed with a host of features and will “grow” with guitarists from the beginner stages to the expert level.
It’s not expensive either and strikes a perfect balance between cost and performance.
Expert guitarists love this pedal because of the robust build quality, awesome audio quality, and ease of use.