We Review And Compare The Best Looper Effects Pedals On The Market Today

Filling out your sound can be a complex thing. This is something I had to come to terms with when my band couldn’t make a gig at the last-minute, leaving me on my own to do the set solo. Though I have some experience playing solo, I still consider myself an amateur player, so I had no idea what to do.

In the weeks leading up to the gig, I tried to find things I could do to “beef” up my sound for the gig. I looked into various reverb pedals, chorus pedals, and even some nice overdrive options, but nothing quite fit the bill. Though these products made my sound stronger, it still sounded like a solo act, an aspect that I knew wouldn’t satisfy those who were coming to see the full band.

However, my salvation came in the form of a looper pedal. The market for pedals is naturally incredibly robust, meaning that it can be hard to know where to start due to the different shapes, sizes, and quality of certain products.

To help you avoid the confusion I had when finding a looper pedal, in this article I’ll be looking at 10 of the market’s Best Looper Pedals to let you know which ones are worth the money. I’ll also be giving you some tips on how to use a loop device effectively and why you would even want one in the first place so the next time you’re struggling to find a solution for your sound, you know which looper pedal to buy.

The Top 10 Best Looper Pedals Discussed Here

Our Top-Rated Loop Pedals

  1. Top Choice (Best Overall): BOSS RC-300 Loop Station
  2. Best Value: NUX Loop Core
  3. Most Effects Options: Vox VLL1 Lil Looper

The best of the rest

Vox VLL1 Lil Looper

Overall

A wonderfully intuitive product that lets you assign some effects to two loops at a time.

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Efficient example of a decently-priced product 4/5
 Sound Very clear sound quality 5/5
 Build Pretty durable product for a variety of situations 5/5
 Controls Good variety of controls, easy to use, but could have more loops 4/5
 Value Decent value for what you pay 4/5

If you want to find a looper product that will let you loop two independent loops at the same time while not requiring you to pay too much money, the Vox VLL1 Lil Looper Multi-Effect Pedal is for you. What is especially effective about this product is the effects that it comes with. This product lets you choose from a variety of different options, including Crunch, Phaser, Bass, Compression, Chorus, Acoustic, Overdrive, Stutter, Radio, Distortion, Delay, and Pitch. From there, you can adjust either of the loops while they’re playing or add an effect to something that you’re recording live. This level of customization is something I associate more with a higher-end loop station, so I was glad to see it so prominently featured in this product.

One of the downsides of this product, though, is how durable it is. Though the overall design stayed pretty strong during our usage of the product, the overall usability of the foot buttons felt not as durable after a few times of putting significant weight on them. This does not impact one’s use of the buttons, but it does make them looser and less susceptible to touch. For those who might need a reliable device that can take on weight during a live performance in the dark, this is not the most durable product.

That being said, anyone looking for a good, affordable device that will allow you to customize effects on two independent loops at a time, this is a great product.

Pros

  • Good amount of effects for an affordably-priced product
  • Play and adjust two independent loops with ease

Cons

  • Only allows for two independent loops
  • Design is not that durable

Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT Stereo Looper

Overall

Keep all of your loops in one place with this high-capacity product.

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects at all 2/5
 Sound Reliable sound quality 5/5
 Build Durable design and easy to use buttons 5/5
 Controls Capacity and controls are great, but could use more loop potential 4/5
 Value Great value for the money 5/5

If you are somebody who doesn’t need multiple loops playing at once but wants access to plenty of loops regardless, this product is for you. With this product, you can store over 35 minutes of CD-quality loops simply within the storage of the device, allowing you to have more options than many other products to loop over. This is really the reason why you would get this device, as that is a huge amount of loops to play over. The best part about this feature is that it’s able to retain as many loops as you want, so the next time you’re performing you can still call back to loops you’ve used in previous performances.

From there, you can even store up to 16 hours of music if you don’t mind investing in an optional micro SDHC card. To be honest, this was a disappointment for me, as I thought this was such a cool capability that I was dismayed it wasn’t included as part of the product. However, what is included are two patcher cables and 2 instrument cables, allowing you to incorporate this product immediately into your general setup once it’s out-of-the-box.

A gripe one could have is that this doesn’t let you edit the loops in any way with effects, but this is a slightly irrelevant point when thinking of this device. The Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT is meant to be an assistant to your playing, allowing you to begin looping things immediately and not have to forget any of it as you go along.

Pros

  • Ton of memory to store long amounts of loops
  • Durable and easy to use

Cons

  • limited to only one loop at a time
  • Internal storage not as good as other options

BOSS RC-30

Overall

A good moderately-priced solution to anyone looking to loop 2 phrases with clarity.

Overall Rating: 4.6/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects, but what do come with it are solid 4/5
 Sound Very high sound quality compared to other models 5/5
 Build Very durable design 5/5
 Controls Not too many controls available, but easy to use 4/5
 Value Great value for what you get 5/5

This is a really fantastic loop station that anyone looking to upgrade to a higher-end model should look into. It’s a nice step up from a budget model without being too much more expensive, still in the moderate range as far as loop stations go.

If you’re looking into this BOSS RC-30, it’s likely because you want the benefit of being able to have two independent loops going on at the same time. For this reason, the RC-30 is a pretty great station, allowing you to store a decent amount of loops without having to worry about running out of space. I also loved the nuanced approach to effects on here, such as being able to bend down pitches and use a step phaser on the loops.

Something that I am missing with this product, though, is that it feels like there aren’t enough effects to choose from when trying to replicate a certain sound. For example, being able to layer on multiple types of effects is what made the aforementioned Vox VLL1 so wonderful, so it’s a shame that there isn’t a wide range of effects like that with a more expensive model.

However, the BOSS RC-30 Guitar Pedal Loop Station more than fulfils its price tag with the quality you get. Not only is the sound remarkably clear, the entire design is also very durable. No matter how much pressure you put on this thing, it will retain its form. Even if it doesn’t, there’s the added guarantee of a one year extended warranty!

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • One-year extended warranty is a nice touch

Cons

  • Could have more effects
  • Internal storage not as good as other options

NUX Loop Core Deluxe

Overall

Clarity and control are the most important aspects of this dynamic pedal.

Overall Rating: 4/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects at all 2/5
 Sound Clear, crisp sound quality among the best available 5/5
 Build Very durable design, but some difficult buttons 3/5
 Controls Easy to use and intuitive controls 5/5
 Value Good value for the money 5/5

Something I love a lot about the NUX Loop Core Deluxe Guitar Looper is that it comes with a footswitch that solves any concerns you might have about having to balance pressing buttons while performing. The buttons on the footswitch are adequately placed apart from each other, making it easier than ever to switch between different items while in a dark performing hall.

Something that isn’t so intuitive about this product, though, are the buttons on the display. The rubber is quite flimsy and does not allow you to press it that easily, making it hard to know exactly what you’re pressing in the dark. The material is easy to feel in any situation, but it just doesn’t feel like the buttons themselves are firm enough, requiring you to press a little harder when accessing them.

It should be stated, though, that the 24-bit quality sound is truly a delight. Being able to record and store this level of high-quality loops is something that you can’t find too often with a product, making this one of the most high-end budget products out there. If you’re looking for effects to use, you’ll be disappointed—there isn’t much going on here.

If you’re somebody who wants to standardize the tempo of your loops during a performance, you’ll also love the automatic tempo detection that lets you set a tempo you’re playing almost instantly. This feature is especially effective and one of my favorite things about the product.

Pros

  • Comes with separate foot switch
  • Clear and crisp 24-bit audio
  • Durable design

Cons

  • Lacking in effects
  • Some buttons are difficult to press

Boss RC-300 Loop Station

Overall

A massively efficient upgrade for those who like the BOSS RC-30.

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects, but what do come with it are solid 4/5
 Sound Clear, crisp sound quality among the best available 5/5
 Build Very durable design 5/5
 Controls Easy to use and intuitive controls 5/5
 Value Great value for what you get 5/5

The BOSS RC-300 is a logical upgrade if you’re somebody who is really enthusiastic about the BOSS RC-30 that I reviewed earlier in this article. This is why many of the above ratings for this product are the same, as the RC-300 is essentially a bigger and more efficient version of the RC-30.

So, what’s different about it? Well, for starters, the RC-300 has three tracks with each one having its own dedicated fader. This is incredibly useful for those who like to make ever-evolving textures with your guitar, as you’re able to easily slide in and out of different loops with ease. Another very useful part about this product that the RC-30 doesn’t have is that you can save up to 3 hours of recording and up to 99 individual loops, giving you an impressive amount of customization to take with you no matter the circumstance.

A part of this product that can be both inconvenient and convenient, though, is the design. Similar to the RC-30, this processor has an incredibly durable design. However, because of it having more channels in general, it becomes quite big and for some might not be practical to carry around with you. This will be the “make it or break it” factor for many, as if you are able to bring it around with you, it’s well worth the money, but it isn’t otherwise.

Pros

  • 3 controllable tracks for loops
  • Each track has a fader
  • Put effects on the loops

Cons

  • Lacking in effects
  • Price might be prohibitive for many

Digitech JamMan Stereo Looper

Overall

A more expansive version of the Digitech JamMan SoloXT, for those who want more flexibility.

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects at all 2/5
 Sound Reliable sound quality 5/5
 Build Durable design and easy to use buttons 5/5
 Controls Even more controls than its predecessor for maximum flexibility 5/5
 ValuePrice might be prohibitive, but high-quality for the money 4/5

As a new and improved version of the aforementioned Digitech JMSXT, this Digitech JamMan Stereo Looper makes it seem like every aspect is an improvement over its predecessor. However, this is simply not the case—a similarity that stands out almost immediately is the amount of memory included with the latter. It can still only store 35 minutes of loops, with optional SDHC card support to add on over 16 hours more of recordings. This was something I could live with when it was a smaller, lower-priced model, but with a moderately-priced product it seems inefficient and not very high-quality.

Most of the features of this product are essentially the same as its predecessor, so the quality is also very similar. The main difference, between the two, is the fact that the latter has 4 different mental footswitches to control different loops and sounds, something that does give you more flexibility overall. This was a very nice touch after being only familiar with the much more limited JMSXT model. This also makes the overall size of the product larger, giving your feet more room and not feeling as cramped as the previous model.

The same problems persist, though, with there not being enough effects to adjust and distort your loops. However, if you are purchasing a product of this kind, it’s worth noting that effects are not its strength. Instead, you should look for this product if you want to have a loop station that lets you store an impressive amount of loops and also is flexible for your workflow.

Pros

  • Store 198 different loops
  • Sturdy, metal foot switches for complete customization

Cons

  • Doesn't have more memory than its predecessor
  • Price might be prohibitive for some

NUX Loop Core

Overall

A decent budget product that does not sacrifice quality.

Overall Rating: 4/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effect options available, but what is there works well 3/5
 Sound Alright sound quality 4/5
 Build Somewhat flimsy design 5/5
 Controls Simple and incredibly easy to use 5/5
 Value Great value for your money, budget friendly 4/5

As one of the lower budget products in this article, the NUX Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal is a great product for those looking for something worth the money that is not worth that much money. This is largely due to the very intuitive design that allows you to record up to 6 hours of material and store up to 99 different loops at a time. I really love how much you’re able to get out of this pedal for the price that’s given. In fact, this is actually the pedal I ended up using for the gig I mentioned at the beginning of this article. It’s affordable and effective, giving some great sound quality for its price as well.

That doesn’t mean that the product is perfect, though. It comes with a pretty flimsy design that makes keeping it in place difficult to manage, while the metal button is difficult to press in hard-to-see spots. In addition to this, the rubber buttons are also difficult to press and aren’t that firm, requiring more pressure to be applied for them to register. The paint job of this product also didn’t retain its form when I pushed it around a bit, showing how it was also not built of the highest-quality materials.

However, for the money you pay for this product, these are all things I am more than willing to accept as coming with the territory. This pedal is a truly wonderful product that I highly recommend anyone use if looking for a budget option.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Stores up to 99 different loops
  • Up to 6 hours recording time
  • Supports mono and stereo

Cons

  • Buttons are difficult to press
  • Not the most sturdy design

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

Overall

The most affordable high-quality product available on the market.

Overall Rating: 4/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects Not many effects options available 2/5
 Sound Good sound quality 4/5
 Build Minimalist, but effective design 4/5
 Controls Intuitive and effective 5/5
 Value Incredibly affordable and worth the money 5/5

For a product that lets you overdub as many loops as you want in a live situation, this gets the job done remarkably well. Something that I was dismayed about when taking it out of the box, though, is noticing that the 9V power supply that the device needs to run was not included. This can be inconvenient for some, but because many people have extra 9V power supplies lying around guitar equipment, it might not pose too much of an issue.

I was also surprised at how intuitive this pedal is to use, especially based on how small the design is. I was expecting it to slide immediately when I would try and push down on it, but it ended up staying in place and offering a good deal of security. The design is also very durable, showing how sometimes less really can be more.

A glaring issue with this product, though, is the very short looping time of only 5 minutes. For many, this will be a reason not to use the product, but it can be really effective for types of music that don’t rely on long loops. If you’re looking for a cheap fix, though, you can’t go wrong with this. However, it’s worth noting that I think the aforementioned NUX product is a better budget product for those who want more flexibility and are willing to spend a bit more money.

Pros

  • Very affordable for most
  • True bypass and analog-dry-through
  • Unlimited overdubs

Cons

  • Only 5 minutes of loop time
  • Power supply not included

Bonsai Looper

Overall

A great budget option for uncompressed, clear loops.

Overall Rating: 3.6/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 Effects No effects included 1/5
 Sound Fantastic sound quality 5/5
 Build Minimalist and flimsy design 2/5
 Controls Very intuitive and straightforward 5/5
 Value Well worth the money 5/5

Being able to keep a tidy pedalboard is one of the most important aspects of any guitarist’s setup, regardless of if they’re a professional or hobbyist. Though some people prefer larger loop station setups, there is something to be said for those who can keep their entire setup compact to a very small space. This Bonsai Looper Effects Pedal tries to be this exact product, giving you plenty of room to place other devices around it. It should go without saying, though, that that is all you will get with this product. It’s a small device, therefore it will have all of the same limitations that other small devices have. For instance, it won’t stick down that easily and can be knocked over if you apply too much pressure to the button.

That being said, the metal bypass button is incredibly durable and easy to use. Both the button and the level knob are both quite large in relation to the device itself, allowing you to have a great deal of flexibility.

Pros

  • Incredibly high-quality 48Khz 24 bit loops
  • True bypass
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Only 10 minutes of loop time
  • Might be too small for some

Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper

Overall

Effectively loop with flexibility and a durable battery life.

Overall Rating: 3.6/5

CategoryCommentsOur Rating
 EffectsFew effects included, but they’re effective 2/5
 Sound Fairly good sound quality 3/5
 Build Strong and sturdy design, buttons, and knobs 4/5
 Controls Easy to use with plenty of controls 5/5
 ValueWorth the money only if you don’t care about the few effects 4/5

I really love this pedal. Though it might not be worth the money for those who want more effects, it’s a really great product for what it does. It doesn’t come with many effects, but it does let you reverse or play the loops at 1/2 speed with incredible quality. I especially enjoy how flexible the workflow with this device is, allowing a loop setup that almost encourages you to experiment with improvisation. I was also very surprised at how easy the buttons are to grip, with the metal ones even being pretty accessible to touch with your feet.

Something that I wasn’t expecting with this product’s design is the color: with the stark white and light blue colors, this device is easy to see in the dark, making it even easier to work with. It hadn’t occurred to me until using this product how much the paint on other products makes them difficult to illuminate in darker venues, making it even more tricky to play efficiently.

The area in which this product excels the most, though, is surely the battery life. Where other devices might need adapters or will run out of charge fairly quickly, I was able to get multiple hours out of the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal quite easily.

Pros

  • Reverse and 1/2 speed options work incredibly well
  • Buttons are easy to grip and use
  • Paint job and LEDs make it visible in the dark

Cons

  • Only 10 minutes of loop time
  • Might be too small for some

How to Choose the Best Looper Pedal for You

Knowing which product is right for you depends on which features are most important for you. For example, if you are somebody who just wants to be able to loop phrases live and overdub without saving them, your options are much more open, as there are many more products on the market to do just that. There are also many products on the cheaper end that do this well, allowing you to maintain the workflow of your live show without having to spend too much money.

On the other hand, if you value being able to store phrases for later usage, you’ll have more customization options depending on how many phrases you want to keep in your pedal. There are also many great options for this, but be prepared to spend a bit of money if you’re looking for over 99 phrases to store.

Size also plays a role—many products will be incredibly compact, while others will act as looping stations and therefore take up significantly more space. How often you will use it and how often you will carry it around with you definitely influences this factor, but it should be noted that there are products of all different sizes that work well with both amateur setups and professional gigging rigs.

What is a Looper Pedal Used For?

A Loop Pedal is a self-explanatory product, being used to loop certain phrases to play back during a performance. This is incredibly helpful for musicians who want to get a fuller sound, as with them you’re able to overdub your instrument or voice in realtime, creating larger textures and more layered performances.

Though they are mainly used with guitars, these loop devices can actually be used for any instrument, simply being a tool to overlay different voices to create more complicated textures. You can accompany yourself, build more complicated forms of music, and give your performance an improvisatory element that can also help you improve your stage presence. It should be noted that it does not matter what type of guitar you have, be it an acoustic guitar or an electric, loop devices work as long as you can run the sound into the device via a 1/4″ instrument cable.

Loop devices might also be used for practicing, as you can loop chord progressions to later improvise over, allowing yourself to practice jamming. This can also be a good way of writing harmonies, allowing yourself to loop certain sections and figure out harmonies on top of them.

A notable example of someone using a loop device is the artist tUnE-yArDs, who is notable for creatively using the device to loop her voice as many times as she needs, creating elaborate textures to sing over. Another example of a loop device being used on a recording is on the gay angel song “i’m artificial” in which guitarist Wendy Eisenberg uses extensive looping towards the end of the song. You can hear this effect at 03:10 in this recording. Ed Sheeran is an artist that also uses loop devices frequently—this version of his song “Shape of You” will show you what’s possible with one of these devices.

What Types of Looper Pedal are There?

The different types of loop devices available are distinguished mainly by three different categories: memory, amount of effects, and size. For example, there are some loop devices that have no memory, meaning that it cannot save looped phrases, requiring you to perform and overdub yourself each time you perform. In contrast, there are also devices that allow you to store any number of phrases so you don’t ever have to perform something twice.

The amount of effects can also be a distinguishing factor for many loop devices, as some will offer no effects whatsoever while others will give you a multitude of effects such as reverb, distortion, reverse, 1/2 speed, and other ways to customize the sound. For many, this is an essential part of a loop device, as it also allows you to consolidate your pedalboard setup in general. Some devices even have faders for each track, allowing you to transition from looping one phrase to another seamlessly.

Naturally, the complexity and different options of different loop devices will affect how large they are, with devices sporting a lot of features taking up more space than more minimalist devices. Devices that have more than two tracks are typically referred to as loop stations.

How Do Looper Pedals Work?

Loop devices work by recording sound that goes through them for a predetermined amount of time, then playing it back ad infinitum to allow someone to improvise over it. This is possible because the devices themselves are forms of small computers, being able to remember and save sound. Users of loop devices can toggle when the device is recording or not, allowing them to designate the length of the phrase.

The technology also allows for one to manipulate the phrases that are saved onto the device, similar to how computers let you edit previously saved data.

A Brief History of Looper Pedal

To understand how loop devices were invented, you have to understand part of the history surrounding the tape recorder. This is because shortly after tape recorders were invented, looping was invented, with people being able to record themselves and then play along with it afterwards.

Despite tape machines being invented in the late 1800s, the first example of tape looping (being able to record and then record on top of the loop) would come in 1953 with the guitarist Les Paul displaying it on the popular TV show Omnibus.

From that point, it became very popular with minimalist composers, with composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich basing a lot of their works in the 1960s off of loops, having multiple works involving tape machines looping recordings to get different sound configurations.

After decades of being used by performers, the first truly modern loop devices were released in the 1990s, with the first being the Paradis LOOP Delay. Because the early looping devices had such little memory, performers would have to improvise on top of their loops instantly, creating the live looping that we know in modern equipment today.

What’s the Best Way to Use Them?

Using loop devices is most effective when you are trying to create elaborate textures. Practically, the best way to use them is whenever you want to record a track to accompany yourself with, but loop products are most effective when you are able to create many different layers, allowing yourself to create a sweeping texture.

Any guitarist who wants to perform over their own playing should be using a loop device. It can also help you in a live band setting, as you can get the sound of two guitarists with just one guitar.

Are They Worth It?

Loop devices are worth it if you are somebody who wants to overdub yourself in realtime. If you’re looking into a loop device only for the effects associated with it, then you might be better off finding a device specifically geared towards the effect that you want. However, if you simply want to create more dense textures and counterpoint with yourself, you can’t go wrong with buying a loop device.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the Best Looper Pedal that I looked at in the reviews was the BOSS RC-300 Loop Station because it provided the best overall options for someone looking to loop phrases that sound great and are also able to be customized a bit with faders and light effects. It also comes with an incredibly sleek and durable design that makes it easy to use in a variety of situations, with an overall interface that promotes fluid workflow. The price might be off-putting to some, but it’s truly the product out of all of the Top 10 products I looked at that struck me as the best.

Other Guitar Pedals You might like

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp
Share on print

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.