this an image of a guitar looper pedal

The Best Looper Pedals – Comparisons, Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Loopers are simply fantastic, they are useful for any guitarist, at any level for so many reasons. If you’re still a beginner, you can use them to lay down rhythm patterns to practice your scales and licks, or you can just use them to have fun jamming and improvising over.

If your more experienced guitarist they are superb for writing interesting chordal parts, lead melodies, and complex solos. Or, if your more experimental, you can even use them to create completely different textures that you can use in your live performances or while recording.

But choosing one of the best looper pedals can be difficult, so we’ve made the decision a lot easier by bringing you our Top 5. They are all excellent loopers, but which one is the right one for you? You’ll find out soon enough.

Best Looper Pedals – Comparisons

TC Electronics Ditto Looper Effects Pedal with ac power adapter
Ditto Looper provides 5 minutes of looping time(1) Power Supply to power up your pedalDitto Looper …
$99.00
Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
12 minutes of recording time. 10 independent loops.Stop, Undo-Redo, Reverse and Half-speed effects …
$229.00
BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal
Model# RC3
$174.94
Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
Store over 35 minutes of stereo, CD-Quality loops in 200 internal memoriesOptional micro SDHC card …
from $129.95
Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
Store over 35 minutes of stereo, CD-Quality loops in 200 internal memoriesOptional micro SDHC card …
from $129.95

 

Best Looper Pedals – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

 

TC Electronics Ditto Looper Pedal

TC Electronics Ditto Looper Effects Pedal with ac power adapter
119 Reviews
TC Electronics Ditto Looper Effects Pedal with ac power adapter
  • Ditto Looper provides 5 minutes of looping time
  • (1) Power Supply to power up your pedal
  • Ditto Looper has an ultra-small footprint, meaning you'll always be able to fit one! It takes up almost zero space on your pedalboard, saving you precious realestate

We’ll start this review with the Ditto Looper from Danish effects giant TC Electronic.

This is the companies most basic looper and their least expensive. They also offer the Ditto X2 and the X4 which also feature effects for those that want more than just a simple looper.

But, the fact that it’s so simple to use and affordable is the reason we like the Ditto so much. It was designed to give everything a guitarist needs from a simple pedal. So you won’t be reading manuals for days trying to get it to loop properly.

Its simple design makes it a lot easier to understand and use, than the more complicated loopers in this review. But, it’s simplicity does have the downside of having fewer features, than you find in the more complex pedals.

It’s compact in size, so won’t fill up your pedalboard, but still has essential features such as True Bypass and an Analog-Dry-Through function, which makes sure your tone remains uncolored.

Its single knob and single switch design may seem overly simplistic and minimalist. But all the essentials are taken care of – record, undo/redo, stop and erase. These functions are all accessed via different simple foot-commands that are easy to remember and make sense.

Whether you’re using it to build loops, or changing from one part to the next, or adding layers to a song. It’s all simply done, with a few taps of your foot.

TC Electronic is one of the most respected effects companies in the world and has a reputation for making their products sound superb. They made sure this also applies to the Ditto Looper, with its high-quality 24-bit uncompressed audio.

It’s supplied with a TC Electronic power supply.

Pros

  • Great sound.
  • Very user-friendly.
  • Reasonably inexpensive.

Cons

  • It works better in an effects loop than it does in-line going into an amp. If used in-line some dirty tones can lose a little of their edge, the clean tones, however, sound great. This is a common problem with a lot of loopers.
  • The double tap to stop function doesn’t work that well when playing live. It’s no problem in your bedroom, but when playing in front of people, you want everything as close to perfect as possible.
  • Erasing of loops is not perfectly silent. You hear a split second of the loop just before it is deleted. Again not a problem in a bedroom but not great for live performances.

 

Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal

Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
45 Reviews
Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
  • 12 minutes of recording time. 10 independent loops.
  • Stop, Undo-Redo, Reverse and Half-speed effects at the touch of a button. Loop fadeout (trails) mode.
  • Stereo in/out for enhanced usability... record two instruments at once. Silent footswitches.
  • Foot controller input lets you use popular 3 button foot controllers (optional) to change a bank up or down and gives access to instant Undo-Redo. modern sound
  • Comes with an EHX 9.6DC/200 AC Adapter, also runs on 9V battery and provides extra long battery life. PSU, also works with 9V battery (not included); Kindly find the signal flow diagram on Technical...

Next up, we have a more feature packed and expensive looper from Electro-Harmonix, the 720. It gets its name from the maximum amount of stereo recording time it allows, 12 minutes or ‘720’ seconds.

It features ten independent loops with unlimited overdubbing and provides guitarists with an intuitive tool that’s perfect for both practicing and live performance. It allows you to Stop, Undo-Redo, Reverse and Half-speed your loops at the touch of a button. It also has a loop fade-out mode.

It has stereo ins and outs for enhanced usability so you can use it at the end of a stereo effects chain, for example after a stereo delay or reverb. Or you could use it to record two different instruments at the same time.

Featuring silent footswitches so you won’t record yourself switching it on and off. It also allows external control via a foot controller input, which lets you use popular 3 button foot controllers (which are not supplied with it) to change a bank up or down and give access to instant functions such as Undo-Redo.

The sound quality is excellent. Every loop is crystal clear, and the switches are silent and seamless. And unlike on the Ditto we’ve just reviewed where a split second of the loop is heard before being erased, with the 720, you hear nothing.

The unit also allows you to program the time of the stop fade out! One second is all you need. It doesn’t sound like much until you hear it, but it’s so much nicer than an abrupt stop.

It comes supplied with an EHX 9.6DC/200 AC Adapter, but can also be run on a 9-volt battery and provides extra long battery life.

The Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal is an excellent choice for those who want more features than the TC Ditto offers. And, for the price, you won’t get any looper pedal with a second button for stop and memory banks. Highly recommended.

Pros

  • Great sounding looper.
  • Stereo Ins and Outs.
  • Allows further control by adding additional footswitches.
  • Silent erase function.

Cons

  • Even though it has much fewer functions, the TC Ditto does sound better.

 

BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal

We move on to our most expensive looper in this review, the RC-3 Loop Station from Boss.

Boss, is probably the first name anyone thinks of when someone mentions compact effect pedals. They have made more innovations that have affected guitar pedal technology than any other company, so when they decided to make a high-end looper pedal, you can expect it to be good.

The RC-3 is a powerfully equipped looper which is conveniently housed in a typical standard Boss pedal chassis. It offers up to three hours of stereo recording time, storage for up to 99 loops, a “real drums” rhythm guide, and full USB 2.0 compatibility.

The three hours of stereo recording is made direct to internal memory, and that’s more than enough for most guitarists. The Boss also allows a large number of memory locations, 99 to be exact. Also, like the EH 720 we just reviewed, it features stereo ins and outs with their associated advantages.

The Auto Recording feature allows the RC-3 to start recording the moment you begin playing, or as soon as you start any connected audio player. It also features a count-In mode which gives you one-bar of rhythm before it starts recording. The Undo/Redo works as you would expect whenever you need it.

The Rhythm Guide will keep your loops tight and in time, by allowing you to play along with any of the basic rhythm patterns in the onboard library whenever you record. There are ten types of rhythm, including Rock, Pop, Shuffle, Funk, Latin, and R&B.

A dedicated knob lets you manually adjust the volume of the rhythm, and the tempo can be set via tap tempo with your finger. The RC-3 also allows you to specify and save a time signature for every loop phrase.

The Boos RC-3 can also be connected to your computer via a standard USB cable. This allows you to use your Mac or PC to back-up your recordings for safe keeping. You can also load WAV files directly from your computer into the RC-3.

In addition to recording your own performances, you can also use the RC-3 to record other external stereo audio sources via the AUX input. For example, any sound from a digital-audio player can easily be recorded and made into a loop. This offers amazingly creative options for those who think outside the musical box.

It runs on a single 9-volt battery or on an optional Boss AC power supply which is not supplied with the pedal.

Pros

  • Boss reputation for reliability and build quality.
  • 99 Memory locations.
  • Rhythm Guide provides basic rhythms to get you playing in tempo.

Cons

  • The drum tracks are useful practicing and composition tools but don’t sound particularly good.
  • Once the tap-tempo is set, you can’t incrementally increase or decrease the tempo, you need to re-program the whole tempo once again.
  • Not the most straightforward pedal to understand or program. You will need to use the manual a lot if you intend using any advanced features.

 

Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT Stereo Looper Pedal

Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
130 Reviews
Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
  • Store over 35 minutes of stereo, CD-Quality loops in 200 internal memories
  • Optional micro SDHC card can store over 16 hours of CD-quality audio in 200 additional memories
  • Rugged metal chassis, Power supply included
  • Record rhythm loops and solo over them on the fly, completely Hands-Free
  • Slow down or speed up any loop without changing pitch, Aux Input lets you import music from CD and MP3 players

Digitech were the original inventors of a looper pedal nearly thirty years ago, so they have more experience in making them than anyone. Their latest pedal, the JamMan Solo XT carries on this rich heritage and brings you a superb stereo looping experience.

The thinking behind their latest pedal is to allow the musician to build up the energy in their looping performances and find even more inspiration with virtually limitless loops. The unit’s seamless transitions between the looped phrases make it an invaluable tool for both composing and performing.

Like the Rc-30 from Boss we’ve just reviewed, the JamMan also features drum tracks, but these are a little more special. They were created by King Crimson drummer, Pat Mastelotto. The 10 pre-loaded drum loops he programmed are excellent quality and of course rhythmically. They are far more fun to jam with than a standard four-beat rhythm.

The Solo XT allows you to Auto-Record, Auto-Quantize, as well as adjust the BPM, and has three different Stop modes. This gives you all the looping functions you will ever need.

It also has a JamSync feature, which allows you to Link multiple JamMan XT Loopers together to create the ultimate multi-looping system with other musicians or members of your band.

If you’re into storing and recalling your loops, then you’ll love the JamManager XT loop librarian. It’s superb for synchronizing loops, creating JamLists, and for building your loop library.

It can also be used for transferring loops between the JamMan and your computer via the USB port. The App is available as a free download and will run on both Windows and Intel Mac computers.

The JamMan Solo XT gives your musical performances a rich, full sound while staying true to the sounds you create. It even allows you to time stretch your loops without affecting the pitch or the audio quality.

The onboard memory stores over 35 minutes of stereo, CD-Quality loops. But if you need more, simply add a 2GB micro SDHC card, which will give you an additional 16 hours of memory. It features a massive 200 internal loop memory slots while adding an SDHC card will provide you with another 200 memory slots, totaling a loop heaven of 400 slots!.

It has a built-in metronome and can be used with an optional three-button footswitch. It also comes with its own power supply.

Pros

  • 10 great rhythm tracks from King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto.
  • JamManager App lets you easily store and manage all your loops.
  • Average internal memory but when used with an SDHC card it offers an amazing number of memory slots, loop lengths, and creative possibilities.

Cons

  • To delete a loop, you must press and hold the store with your finger, it can not be done with your foot.
  • The software when it’s working is excellent, but it can be buggy and limiting, depending on what you want to use it for.

 

Donner Tiny Looper Guitar Effect Pedal

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Donner Tiny Looper Guitar Effect Pedal 10 minutes of Looping 3 Modes
170 Reviews
Donner Tiny Looper Guitar Effect Pedal 10 minutes of Looping 3 Modes
  • Three models:1/2 Speed Mode: Provide 1/2 speed playback recording,
  • NORMAL Mode: Provide normalloop speed.Reverse Mode: Reverse play(Recording function disable).
  • 10 minutes of looping,Unlimited overdubsand undo/redo.
  • Import/Export loops from PC/Mac (44.1 kHz, 24 bit).Super mini size,made of aluminum alloy, Convenient and durable.
  • LED indicator shows the looper status.True bypass (power adapter is not included)

We end with a budget option, the Tiny Looper from Donner. But, before we get going. We have to mention that it’s nowhere near as full-featured as the more expensive loopers we’ve reviewed. And, it doesn’t sound as good as the TC Electronic Ditto.

But, that said, it’s a superb looper for the low price, and that’s why it’s on our list of the five best looper pedals.

It’s basically a cheap copy of the Ditto and functions in a similar way. It sounds OK and gets the job done, but at half the price of the Ditto, it understandably isn’t going to sound as good. It has 10 minutes of looping time and allows unlimited overdubs as well as having undo/redo functionality.

But surprisingly, there is actually one thing it does better than the Ditto, which is to maintain clarity when layering multiple loops. Even though the Ditto sounds excellent, when you loop on it, the earlier loops start to lose a little top-end as you add more. Basically, the whole sonic picture gets a little more muddy the more loops you add.

Unbelievably for the price, the Tiny Looper doesn’t have this problem, it keeps the earlier loops treble frequencies throughout all later overdubs.

In terms of specifications, it’s basic, but it does feature three modes – 1/2 Speed, Normal, and Reverse. As well as an LED indicator which shows if it’s on or off, a level knob to control the looper volume and mono input and output jacks.

It also has True Bypass, so when it’s off, it should have no effect on the tone of your guitar.

If you’re looking for a low cost, no hassle mono looper without loads of needlessly complicated functions, then the Donner Tiny Looper is a perfect choice.

Pros

  • Sounds good with reasonable functionality for the price.
  • Clearer top-end than some more expensive pedals.
  • Low cost.

Cons

  • It is prone to buzzing and doesn’t sound good when using a daisy chain power connector, it needs its own power supply to produce the sound as it was intended.

 

So, what is the best Looper Pedal for you?

In this review, we’ve gathered together what we think are the five best looper pedals currently on the market. They are all excellent choices and which one is best for you, will depend on if you want a simplistic, easy to use looper or a more complicated one.

If you don’t want all the bells and whistles and just want something that is easy to use and sounds superb, then the winner is the…

TC Electronic Ditto

But, the Donner Tiny Looper deserves an honorable mention because if you’re really on a budget, it delivers all the features and sound you could want.

If you’re after a fully-featured Looper, then our vote would go to the…

Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT

It won because it offers the best features for the best price and when combined with an SDHC card it becomes genuinely awesome what you can do with it.

Honorable mentions also go to the Boss RC-3 Loop Station and the Electro-Harmonix 720. They are both excellent pedals, just not quite as good as the DigiTech JamMan.

But, let’s be honest, we said at the start that we were bringing you the five best looper pedals currently on the market, so they are all superb choices, any guitarist would be more than happy to use any of them. Some like simplicity, while others prefer a more complex pedal, but apart from that, they are all great buys.

So, if you haven’t got a looper yet, put it at the top of your wish list, they are affordable, fun to mess around with and most importantly will significantly improve your guitar skills. So, decide which one is best suited to your needs and get one today!

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