Loopers have been a common sight on pedal boards for over three decades, and many of the most beloved and best loop pedals on the market are actually ten or more years old.
Loop pedals can be both a creative tool – allowing a guitarist to practice their scales and solos over a repeating riff – and a practical one – filling up space in a live situation by allowing a player to layer several different guitar loops on top of each other.
While loop pedals have long been popular with experimental and progressive players, the arrival of mainstream artists that rely on looping, such as Ed Sheeran and Tash Sultana, has greatly increased the interest in loopers.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be checking out a number of looping pedals to fit all styles, genres, and budgets. When reviewing each pedal, we focused on the quality of the looper, its features, ease of use, and durability. We used a Fender Twin Reverb amp and a Roland JC-120 amp for connecting in stereo when appropriate.
Keep on reading to see what we thought of these loopers.
Features: 13 Hours stereo record time, 2 Track functionality, Built in drum beats
Benefits: Excellent recording fidelity, Huge looping capacity, Super simple operation
|Click For Best Price|
Features: Stompbox operation, Stereo in/out, Loop indicator display, 12 Minute recording time
Benefits: Takes up little room, Beginner friendly interface, Built to last
|Click For Best Price|
Features: Compact design, True bypass circuitry, One knob control
Benefits: Easy operation, Simple USB updates, Leaves tones unprocessed
|Click For Best Price|
- Top 3 Best Loop Pedals
- Best Loop Pedal Reviews
- How to choose the best loop pedal for you
- Final Thoughts on the Best Loop Pedals
Top 3 Best Loop Pedals
The Boss RC-1 Loop Station was our Top Pick. It offers an ideal mix of features, including ease of use, size, and price.
Our Best Budget winner was the TC Electronic Ditto, which does a great job with basic looping needs at a wallet friendly price.
If budget isn’t a concern for you, check out our Editor’s Choice, the Boss RC-500. It offers incredible looping power, it’s durable enough to take on tour, and it’s super easy to use.
Best Loop Pedal Reviews
With 12 minutes of looping and stereo functionality, the RC-1 is a simple yet powerful looper. We jumped right in and started laying down layers and overdubbing. The LED indicator on the main display did a great job of keeping time with each loop, it had great visibility and it was easy to interpret.
When we were recording, it was clearly displayed in the LED indicator in red. While overdubbing, the indicator would turn red/green and then immediately turn green when playing back. We knew exactly what part we were laying down thanks to the color-coded LED indicator, and it was a welcome feature.
Recording was as simple as pressing once and starting to play whenever we wanted. When we were done recording a loop, all we had to do was double press the pedal. For loops that we didn’t want to keep, it was simple enough to get rid of them – just press and hold to erase.
The RC-1 had retrievable memory, allowing us save our loops to retrieve them later. This would be useful to create interesting textures that could be used at gigs using previously recorded loops as a starting point.
We used the RC-1 on its default setting, which took us from record to overdub, which was followed by play mode. However, it is possible to switch this order to record, play and overdub. It was nice to see that the user gets to choose in which order the pedal operates.
This looper came with two stop modes. The first one is the default, where we were able to stop the loop by pressing the pedal during play mode. The other way to stop it is by pressing twice for the loop to stop when the phrase ends.
Verdict: Boss is well known as one of the leading companies in looper pedals, and the RC-1 Loop Station is the most basic model in their lineup. However, don’t be fooled: this looper is capable of a maximum of 12 minutes of recording time and you can run it in stereo. Additionally, just a series of presses and double presses on the pedal give you complete functionality. In short, a simple and powerful looper from one of the best companies in the game.
When it comes to simplicity and small size, the TC Electronic Ditto is second to none. We took it out of the box and were surprised by how small and sturdy it actually is.
As with most TC Electronic products, it was incredibly robust, and thanks to the metal chassis and body, it should hold up well to the rigors of gigging. As a compact pedal, it took up very little room on the pedal board, and was easily able to slip into a gig bag.
Despite the fact that the TC Electronic Ditto only has one knob and one footswitch (and no buttons), it was surprisingly intuitive. The sound and operation of this simple pedal were both high quality. We played loop after loop with this pedal’s uncompressed 24-bit audio. The lack of additional features makes it an ideal choice for novices, as there are few features to distract the user.
The TC Electronic Ditto works flawlessly, in a true plug and play sort of way. If you are new to looping, the TC Electronic Ditto has one of the simplest designs you’ll find in any looper pedal, making it a great choice for beginners.
Verdict: The TC Electronic Ditto is a good pedal for a very small price and size. You can use this compact looper pedal for guitar or bass. It features one loop level knob for dialing in the loop volume, keeping things as simple as possible. It’s true bypass circuitry ensures the integrity of your tone when you’re not using it, and loops are recorded as uncompressed 24-bit audio. In short, you get an essential tool for looping, but at a low cost with overall good quality.
The Boss RC-500 Loop Station builds on the popular Boss RC-30, a 2-track looper. While the older unit had just two footswitches with several knobs on the upper section, the RC-500 adds an extra switch and streamlines the top.
We were impressed by the sturdy and improved design. We fired up the RC-500 Loop Station via its included power source (it can also run on batteries), connected it in stereo and started looping.
We loved the ergonomics of the footswitches on this pedal, as they are angled towards you as you play. This was especially helpful when playing from a seated position.
Although the RC-500 is far more complex than the RC-30, it is also more intuitive to use. For instance, we were able to rely on the animated color LCD screen to always be on top of measure and beat information as well as record and playback status.
Operating the RC-500 with the three switches was also intuitive. The “Rec/Play” switch controls the record/play/overdub cycle, while “Stop” does exactly what it says. For switching back and forth between the two available tracks, we used the “Track Select” switch. Even though we have experience with other loopers, including the RC-30, it is evident that Boss made ease-of-use one of the priorities for the RC-500.
Another great feature of the RC-500 is its drum loops. It comes with 57 preset rhythm backings, each with two variations, and 16 different drum kits to choose from. They can be a great tool to spice up your practice sessions and make them more fun while keeping you in time.
Verdict: The Boss RC-500 Loop Station is a well-designed and intuitive looper with a fantastic set of features. It gives the user great feedback on what is going on in the unit at all times, via its color-coded LCD screen. This pedal offers 13 hours of looping and can let you get experimental as well as take care of all your basic looping needs.
We’ve been looking forward to getting a look at the Headrush Looperboard Advanced Performance Looper for some time. At first glance, it became obvious that this tool is for the dedicated looper that wants to dig deep.
We loved the large and bright 7″ color touchscreen. This screen gave us an easy way to monitor everything while standing, even in unfavorable environments with poor lighting. We even turned off the light in the room to simulate a dark stage and had no problems.
With this screen, we were able to monitor everything we were playing at all times. Besides the fact that we could clearly see what was happening every single moment, it was quite nice to use the touch screen to swipe and drag as we saw fit. Despite the seemingly endless features on this Headrush looper, it was still user friendly, and simple to use.
It was a pleasure to work with the Looperboard’s quad-core architecture. Combined with its unlimited record time, we were able to build entire song parts without ever wondering when we’d run out of time.
The Looperboard features a tap-tempo switch as well as time stretching, quantization and BPM detection.
We used the XLR and 1/4″ outputs to connect to an amp and also to our small PreSonus soundboard going into our interface. Additionally, we were able to record some parts while monitoring via the headphone output.
Verdict: The Headrush Looperboard Advanced Performance Looper is arguably the most powerful and flexible looper available today. With plenty of features and looping options that include multiple instruments and vocals, this looper is for those that like to get deep into looping. Besides offering ease of use, this unit features a premium 32-bit and 48 kHz sample rate that ensures full dynamics and overall quality of your audio.
The Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper comes with a respectable number of features for such a little pedal. We especially liked the simplicity and elegance of its design.
The Infinity 2 Looper functions by automatically applying most triggered actions to your current loop. In practical terms, we were able to create loops without having to play with spot-on timing. The Infinity 2 would grab whatever part we were trying to superimpose and make it fit on top of the previous part with the correct tempo.
We were also impressed by how easy it was to use this looper. With just a Volume and a Decay knob, the interface was incredibly user friendly. With the Volume control, we would set the level for our loop, and then we’d use the Decay knob to have further control of our audio while overdubbing.
When we set the Decay knob all the way clockwise, this pedal functioned like a regular looper. We created layers recorded at max volume while creating stacks of ideas on a standard operation.
We turned the Decay knob counter-clockwise, to have each of our overdubs disappear following one loop cycle. This allowed us to try out some more experimental ideas without worrying so much about ruining previously recorded loops.
Verdict: The Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper offers a great blend of cost and features. All of this with great quality and a small form factor that many guitarists with overcrowded pedalboards will appreciate. On top of that, this looper is very easy to use because of its streamlined design that features just two knobs, two footswitches, and a diminutive button you can press when it’s time to get freaky on your looping.
It is difficult to compile a list of the best pedals and not include an Electro-Harmonix. Their solid quality and renowned durability have been well recognized for decades and were evident here as soon as we took the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper out of the box.
We found a sturdy and well-designed looper that features up to 12 minutes of uncompressed audio, at 24-bit and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
We plugged into two separate amps to take advantage of this looper’s stereo capability and started laying down some loops.
We started playing and used all of the available storage of 10 individual loops. These can be retrieved through the Loop knob, which is great for developing ideas or showing up to the gig with some pre recorded loops. These saved loops can also be accessed via an additional 3-button footswitch (not included).
With its unlimited overdubbing, we then engaged the reverse as well as the 1/2 time buttons and found ourselves in a sort of psychedelic experimental ground that brought out some unique ideas.
With the two footswitches, we controlled the basic loop functions, including recording, overdubbing, undo, and redo. We also used the Loop button to access the three modes available and to go through the ten loop banks that we previously stored.
The only drawback to this EHX looper is that it does not feature USB connectivity, which is found on many other loop pedals.
Verdict: The Electro Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper is yet more proof of the brand’s, solid reputation. You can store 10 independent loops with up to 12 minutes of performance and with unlimited overdubbing. This simple two-footswitch design is easy to use and as durable as it gets. Add to that stereo operation, 1/2 speed, and reverse features and you have a looper that will last you for years.
The MXR Clone Looper excels in sound quality, ease of use, and build quality. We wanted to test the stated sound quality with sample rates that go all the way to 88.2 kHz by plugging in and dialing in some distortion from the get-go. The sound quality was stellar, as we looped harmonized distorted lines on top of some power chords.
It was easy to get carried away laying riffs on top of more riffs, enjoying the simplicity of this pedal. The Clone Looper features a streamlined design with only two foot switches and one volume knob, and it is quite easy to use, especially if you have previous experience with a looper.
The Clone Looper features a maximum of six minutes of looping as well as unlimited overdubs, and the loops we recorded remained in the pedal once we powered it down.
The Clone Looper features a flashing 4-count entrance at the loop’s start, which was very handy. This allowed us to create even more intricate parts, as there was never a doubt about when it was time to begin recording the next layer.
Then, using the MXR Clone Lopper’s 1/2–2x time-stretching feature, we created some textures that were unique and took our creativity to the next level.
Besides the versatility, ease of use, and fantastic sound quality, the Clone Looper is housed in a practically indestructible brushed metal chassis.
Verdict: The MXR Clone Looper is a versatile looper with a slick design and superior sound quality. With features like toggleable true/buffered bypass switching, 88.2 kHz sample rate, analog through-path, and a very durable brushed metal housing, this looper is a good choice for the gigging musician.
How to choose the best loop pedal for you
Looping has become increasingly popular in the last two decades. There are many well-known artists that have brought loopers into visibility, leading to increased demand from a variety of musicians. For instance, superstar Ed Sheeran has based much of his act on a loop pedal, and Jazz master guitarist John Scofield has just released a solo album with every track featuring a looper.
However, there are significant differences in looper pedals. The crucial issue is understanding what you need the loop pedal for. For instance, a songwriter is going to have different looping needs from an experimental jazz guitarist.
Think of a looper as an instrument, much like a guitar itself. A classical guitar is unlikely to be the best choice for a metal guitarist, just like a high output seven-string electric won’t be of much use for a folk songwriter.
Below, we have listed some of the points to take into consideration when choosing a loop pedal.
Ease of use
Do you want a simple looper pedal that is easy to operate and offers basic looping? Or does your music demand an advanced pedal with many features and endless possibilities? What exactly are you looking to do with the looper and do you mind if it’s a bit more complex to operate?
What is your budget for a looper pedal? How much are you willing to spend? Do you want to pay for all those extra knobs, extended I/O and fancy screens?
Do you need to create numerous loops, switch between them on the fly, or use MIDI sync to match your looper with other time-based pedals? Do you need your looper to connect in stereo? What about that drum machine section with over 100 rhythms, do you need that?
Are you willing to go for a bigger pedal in order to have more features? Do you mind having half a dozen footswitches or do you prefer something leaner? How much weight are you willing to haul for every gig you play? Can you easily and conveniently store a big pedal in your backpack, studio, etc?
Where will you use it?
Do you plan on using your looper for live performances? Is it easy to operate standing up, while you are playing? Is it sufficiently hands-free? Or, do you need it at your home studio, in order to develop ideas and have a creative tool?
Is quality the most important factor in your decision to buy a looper? Are you willing to take on the price and size that often comes associated with higher quality? How durable do you want the pedal to be, including the chassis and inside components?
Like most things gear-related, the best loop pedal for you is a largely personal choice. However, it is wise to exercise caution if you are just starting out or have little experience with loop pedals, and not go overboard on the price and features. Then again, if you love a challenge and welcome steep learning curves, perhaps a fancy and pricey looper is just what you need.
Final Thoughts on the Best Loop Pedals
Looping offers a unique way to build on a performance by recording several parts and stacking them, or an easy way to practice playing different sections without the assistance of a band. Additionally, you can also discover unique sounds and textures through the special features that some of these loopers have. To summarize, here is a brief recap of our top choices.
If you’re looking for a combination of affordability and quality, our top pick, the Boss RC-1 Loop Station is an excellent choice. If on the other hand, if you’re trying to spend a bit less moneu, then check out our best budget choice, the TC-Electronic Ditto. Finally, if you demand the best and do not have budget limitations, then our Editor’s Choice, the Boss RC-500 Loop Station is a great buy.