Looper pedals are incredibly useful in live, studio and practice environments. They can help us learn theory and chord/scale relationships; build larger-than-life walls of sound; free up our hands to do other things; provide a repeating section to modulate with other effects, and much more.
Having a looper pedal can really open up our creative world and get us hearing things we otherwise wouldn’t be capable of doing on a single instrument.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top 11 best looper pedals in world, ranging from simple one-button machines to in-depth looping stations.
Of course, any list like this will be subjective. I would hope and expect your top 11 to be different than mine (though I would hope there would be a lot of overlap). Regardless, this list will present to you 11 of the best looper pedals your money can buy!
The top 11 best looper pedals for guitar and bass guitar are:
- TC Electronic Ditto
- Boss RC-3 Loop Station
- Boss RC-300 Loop Station
- DigiTech JamMan Stereo
- Boomerang III Phrase Sampler
- Pigtronix Infinity Looper
- Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360
- Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper
- Line 6 DL4
- Line 6 JM4
- HeadRush Looperboard
Let’s discuss each pedal on this list and the reasons why they are the best.
What Are Looper Pedals & How Do They Work?
Looper pedals are effectively small computers that will record a section of audio and repeat it (loop it) until they’re told to stop.
Looping can be thought of as an extension of delay, in a way. A delay that has infinite repeats and a very long delay time. Many digital delay modeling pedals have loop functionality. However, in this article, we’ll focus on dedicated looper pedals.
A looper pedal will have controls to begin and end recording as well as a control to turn the loop off.
Most will have additional functions, including but not limited to:
- Additional loops (layers on top of the original loop)
- The ability to mute and unmute specific layers of the loop
- Level adjustments for each level
- Re-triggering the beginning of the loop
- Reversing of the looped audio
- Time stretching or compressing functions
It’s important to note that, in the context of other pedals, the looper pedal will loop the signal at its input.
Therefore, depending on your goals, a looper pedal can be put anywhere in the signal chain.
If you’re looking to preserve your tone within the loops, perhaps it’s best to have the looper pedal at the end of the pedalboard.
If you’re looking to modulate the effects of the loop (kind of like how a lot of Eurorack modular synth music is performed), then putting the looper pedal at the beginning of the pedalboard will likely work better.
Related article: How To Order Guitar/Bass Pedals (Ultimate Signal Flow Guide)
With that being said, let’s talk about some looper pedals!
For more in-depth information on looper pedals, check out my article What Are Looper Pedals (Guitar/Bass FX) & How Do They Work?
TC Electronic Ditto
First up is the wickedly-simple but highly effective TC Electronic Ditto (link to check the price on Amazon).
The Ditto is a super-simple highly-intuitive looper pedal with 24-bit uncompressed digital audio; 5 minutes of looping time; analog-dry-through, and true bypass.
Its internal memory even retains loops even after power down.
With one footswitch, one knob, one input, one output and one USB connections, the Ditto is about as simple as a looper pedal can get.
The small footprint of the Ditto allows it to fit easily on any pedalboard. Its die-cast metal body is designed to handle life on the road.
The USB connection allows us to connect the Ditto to our computer and upload firmware updates (not that a pedal this simple would really benefit greatly).
The Loop Level knob only controls the level of the looping audio. That leaves the footswitch to control the following:
- Record, Play and Overdu: by single clicks.
- Undo and Redo: by pressing and holding the switch.
- Stop: by pressing twice
- Clear: by pressing and holding (once the loop is stopped)
This pedal is super easy but may not be what’s required on the road.
Luckily, TC has a line of Ditto pedals to choose from. Many pedals have much more functionality than the original Ditto. Check them out for yourself.
I simply chose to talk about the original because it’s a great introduction and perhaps the best single knob looper on the market!
TC Electronic is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boss RC-3 Loop Station
The Boss RC-3 Loop Station (link to check the price on Amazon) is a compact pedal for Boss’s successful RC line of looper pedals.
The RC-3 is a small but mighty looper pedal. Its incredible memory offers up to 3 hours of stereo recording time and storage for 99 loops.
The pedal’s got a drum machine with rhythm guide and USB 2.0 compatibility that allows users to connect to a computer and import/export WAV audio.
The RC-3 has a neat Auto Record function that begins recording the instant you begin playing your guitar (or another instrument/source). The pedal also offers a Count-In mode that gives one bar of rhythm from the drum machine before it begins recording.
This pedal is a superb choice for songwriting with its built-in drum loops and also finds its place live due to its small footprint and ease-of-use.
The tempo of the rhythm can be tapped in and the volume can be set just right for your looping pleasure. There are 10 rhythm types in the RC-3 with the choice of 4/4 or 3/4 time signatures. The rhythms are:
- Kick & Hi-Hat
- Rock 1
- Rock 2
LED indicators light up during recording, playback, and overdubbing. The footswitch controls for looping are simple:
- Recording/Overdubbing/Playback: hit the switch once (to start and end recording)
- Undo: hold down the switch for two seconds during playback.
- Redo: hold down the switch for two seconds during playback after Undo function.
- Stop: press the footswitch twice
- Clear: hold down the switch for two seconds while the loop is stopped.
Phrases and loops can be saved into the RC-3 memory for later recall. Remember that the pedal can save up to 99 loops.
The RC-3 is a small but awesome looper pedal. There’s are good reasons why it’s such a popular model!
Boss is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boss RC-300 Loop Station
The Boss RC-300 Loop Station (link to check the price on Amazon) is the flagship model of Boss’s RC line and is fully deserving of a spot on this list for its impressive functionality.
I know I know, I didn’t mention the more advanced TC Electronic Ditto pedals but I’m writing about the more advanced RC looper from Boss. I just couldn’t do this article without a dedicated spot for the legendary RC-300.
This beast of a pedal is practically its own pedalboard. It features 3 synchronized stereo looper tracks, each with its own dedicated volume knobs and transport-control footswitch. It also has a whopping 16 built-in effects with a master expression pedal and a control panel that meets all our parameter-tweaking needs.
Each track has a dedicated Record/Playback/Overdub switch and a dedicated stop switch, making triggering and stopping loops a piece of cake in live and studio situations. There’s also a master start/stop footswitch onboard.
The 16 built-in effects include:
- Robot Vocal
- Female Vocal
- Male Vocal
The pedal’s not only for guitar and bass. It works incredibly well with keyboards, synths, vocals and any other audio source. Its mic input offers switchable phantom power for microphones.
Like the aforementioned RC-3, the 300 model’s internal memory allows up to 3 hours of recording (effects included) and 99 onboard memories. The pedal’s USB port lets us save loops to a computer and allows for importing and exporting of WAV files.
The RC-300, like its smaller version, also has Auto Record functionality along with a built-in drum machine with rhythm guide and count-in capabilities. On top of that, the RC-300 has a Loop Quantize feature that helps get recordings looped in time.
The pedal is MIDI compatible for further control and synchronization (as if there wasn’t enough in the pedal by itself). It also has 2 expression/control pedal inputs for additional control over the pedal parameters.
The I/O section of the RC-300 is very impressive. It features the following:
- 1x XLR mic input (with switchable phantom power)
- 2x 1/4-inch (stereo) instrument input jacks
- 1x 3.5mm aux input
- 2x 1/4-inch (stereo) main outputs
- 1x 1/4-inch headphone output
- 2x 1/4-inch (stereo) sub outputs
- 2x 1/4-inch control/expression inputs
- MIDI in, out and thru
- 1x USB
This pedal is perhaps the best loop station on the market. If you’re going big with you looping, I suggest going with the Boss RC-300!
DigiTech JamMan Stereo
Fourth on the list if the DigiTech JamMan Stereo (link to check the price on Amazon): a highly functional looper pedal worth checking out. Unfortunately, DigiTech has stopped making this pedal though there are certainly units out there in the used market to pick up.
The JamMan Stereo is an awesome stereo looper pedal with 9 built-in rhythm controls ranging from a simple click metronome to various drum samples as the rhythm guide. Time signatures can be programmed in from 2 to 15 beats per measure.
The pedal can store up to 35 minutes of loops in 99 internal memories. Inserting an SD memory card into the expansion slot increases the storage time to over 16 hours and provides an additional 99 slots.
The pedal works incredibly well with guitar, bass and other instruments. It also works with microphones and recorded audio sources via the mic and aux inputs, respectively.
USB connectivity allows us to sync the JamMan to DigiTech’s free JamManager software that organizes and saves your JamMan Stereo loops to PC or Mac.
This looper features tempo control; an auto-record mode, as well as auto-quantization and time-stretching. The JamMan is a powerful unit that allows us to get away with less-than-perfect playing.
Scroll through various saved loops or get yourself to a clean slate using the Loop Up and Loop Down footswitches.
The bottom left footswitch is the record/playback and overdub button (single switch) and allows us to undo and redo loops by holding the button down.
The bottom right switch is the tap tempo (before looping) and stop button (while looping). Hold it down to clear the stored loop once it has been stopped.
There’s also a neat reverse option to reverse the audio of the loop.
The I/O is relatively simple but still worth mentioning:
- XLR mic input (no phantom power option)
- 1/4-inch left (mono) and right inputs
- 1/4-inch left (mono) and right outputs
- 1/4-inch rhythm output
- 1/4-inch footswitch insert
- 3.5mm headphone output
- 3.5mm aux input
- SD slot
This pedal is really fun to use and offers plenty of functionality in a relatively small package.
DigiTech is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boomerang III Phrase Sampler
Boomerang may not be a well-known company per se, but their Boomerang III Phrase Sampler (link to check the price at Boomerang Musical Products) is an excellent unit that has put them on the map in the pedal community.
The Boomerang III Phrase Sampler is a superb looper for live performance. It’s highly functional and straightforward: a best-of-both-worlds machine!
The looper has two sample rates (24 kHz and 48 kHz) with 20-bit samples. The through signal is always 48 kHz|24-bit. Depending on the sample rate and output (mono or stereo), the Rang III can record from 4.5 minutes (48 kHz stereo) to over 35 minutes (half-speed 24-bit mono).
A big part of what makes this pedal so functional is the 4 distinct play styles:
- Serial: loops play one after the other for building a song in verse/chorus/bridge fashion.
- Serial Master: plays a master loop along with any other loop (great for rhythm).
- Sync: all loops can play simultaneously and are synced so they stay together.
- Free: all loops can play simultaneously and are not synced (great for creating ambient soundscapes).
Each of the modes has 3 dedicated loops with the option of a 4th loop assignable to the Yellow Bonus Button.
The Yellow and Green Bonus Buttons are both programmable to have a tap and hold function each. There are 11 assignable functions for these buttons (4 can be assigned at any given time):
- Stack: add additional sounds to a loop without writing them into the loop.
- Erase: select & erase loops one at a time or erase all loops at once.
- Once: play a loop one time or arm a loop to stop playing when its end is reached.
- Octave: loop will sound an octave lower and play at either normal or half speed.
- Reverse: play loops backwards.
- Reverse Solo: built in effect that simulates the studio trick of playing a recording backwards.
- Play-Stop All: plays or stops multiple loops simultaneously.
- Fade Out/In: initiates a time-adjustable volume fade.
- Undo/Redo: the last part stacked on a loop can be silenced, re-recorded or played again.
- Copy: copies one loop to another. This function can also resample playing loops.
- Loop 4: add a fourth loop if you like. It behaves just like Loops 1 and 2.
Other parameters of the Rang III include the decay knob which controls the rate at which older parts of the stack fade out (we can turn it all the way down so that no stacking is replaces or all the way up so that a new stack will completely replace the previous stack).
The volume knobs control the overall volume along with the volume of loops 2 – 4.
The Fade Time knob controls the fade-out time (when triggered). It’s adjustable from about 3 to 45 seconds.
The pedal has full MIDI compatibility for external synchronization. It also features an expression pedal jack for easy control over the playback volume or decay rate.
That covers the basics of this powerful unit. You’ll have to try it out for yourself to really hear and feel how great this pedal is!
Pigtronix Infinity Looper
The Pigtronix Infinity Looper (link to check the price on Amazon) is as functional as it is cool and is fully deserving of a spot on this list.
Pigtronix describes their Infinity Looper as “the world’s most musical looping pedal”. This powerful unit is highly flexible and easy to use.
Its high-end sound quality is made possible with discreet analog limiter stages; transparent analog pass-through, and a latency-free 24 bit|48 kHz HD recording engine.
This pedal features 2 stereo loops with sync capabilities. The Infinity’s sync goes beyond the typical functionality with innovative “Sync Multi” mode, allowing the length of Loop 2 to be 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 times the length of Loop 1.
The loops can also be run out-of-sync with one another.
Series functionality allows the two loops to be run separately to facilitate a verse/chorus structure.
The pedal may also assign split inputs: one input per loop. This allows users to record and overdub different instruments on each loop.
So the Infinity has two inputs. It also has two outputs for stereo or individual loop outputs. The pedal also has a MIDI input connection for full MIDI sync; an aux output intended to drive stage monitors; an undo/remote switch jack; an expression pedal insert, and a USB port.
50 presets and 100 loops can saved to the looper’s internal memory and plenty more can be accessed via MIDI and USB connections. The same is true of the 256 overdubs per loop limit, which can be expanded.
Other controls include:
- Loop aging: controlling how fast layers disappear.
- Reverse: changing the loop audio direction.
- Varispeed: play back loops up or down any interval from a minor second to a perfect octave. Playback at double-speed and half-speed is also made possible.
The pedal offers a standard Record-into-Playback-into-Overdub mode along with a Record-into-Overdub-into-Playback mode.
Firmware updates are made available by Pigtronix to improve upon the impressive functionality of the Infinity Looper. This is a pedal that keeps on giving!
The Pigtronix Infinity has an optional Remote Switch. This external dual momentary switch unlocks the full potential of the pedal, providing easy access to several features.
This is just touching the surface of the Pigtronix Infinity’s potential. The looper pedal is super fun to play and gets even better once we dive into the more advanced controls.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360
Next up is the compact Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360 (link to check the price on Amazon) of EHX’s looper line of pedals.
The Nano Looper 360 is a compact, affordable, pedal looper with 360 seconds of total loop recording time (hence the name). It has an internal memory to store and recall 11 loops. These loops remain in memory until they’re manually erased.
This is a simple and effective looper with 24-bit|44.1 kHz digital resolution and 6 minutes of record time with unlimited overdubbing and easy undo/redo controls. Note that the stored loops eat into this time.
There are two knobs: one to control the loop level and one to select a loop memory slot.
To record or play a loop, press the footswitch once. Press the footswitch again to enter playback after recording. During playback, pressing the switch will engage overdubbing.
Note that the recorded loop will be saved to memory. To erase the loop from memory, we need to stop the loop and then press the footswitch two times quickly.
Undo and redo functions are initiated during playback by holding the footswitch down.
To stop a loop, press the footswitch twice.
Simple and easy. The Nano Looper 360 is cherished for sounding great; having easy controls, and its 11 banks of storable loops.
Electro-Harmonix is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper
We’ve discuss the 360. How about the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper (link to check the price on Amazon)? This larger pedal has more features and is an excellent choice for your looping needs.
The 720 works very similarly to the 360 with a few key differences:
- 720 seconds (6 minutes) of total recording time.
- Dedicated loop footswitch and stop footswitch.
- 10 independent loops (instead of 11).
- Stereo recording (input and output).
- FC jack to extend the controllability with an external footswitch (to control the 720 bank up, bank down, and instant undo/redo).
The 720 Stereo Looper also adds on buttons for reverse and half-speed effects.
The stereo input allows us to record a stereo instrument or two mono instruments at once.
If you’re looking for additional functionality over the aforementioned 360 Looper but don’t want to go too far down the looping rabbit hole, then the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper is the looper for you!
Line 6 DL4
Though technically a delay modeler, the Line 6 DL4 (link to check the price on Amazon) offers a 14 second loop sampler that has been used in countless records and live performances.
I could go on and on about the DL4. It’s really a fantastic pedal.
Though the 14 looper is only one of its features, I’ll describe it, in this article, in terms of its looper.
Before we get into it, here are the modes of the DL4:
- Loop Sampler
- Tube Echo
- Tape Echo
- Sweep Echo
- Analog Echo
- Analog w/ Mod
- Lo Res Delay
- Digital Delay
- Digital w/ Mod
- Rhythmic Delay
- Stereo Delays
- Ping Pong
- Dynamic Delay
- Auto-Volume Echo
Each of the delays can be adjusted via Delay Time, Repeats, Tweak, Tweez and Mix knobs and/or by an expression pedal. The DL4 has stereo inputs and outputs. Let’s set the mode to Loop Sampler and move on to the looper section.
Press the Record/Overdub switch to start recording.
Pressing the Record/Overdub again will trigger playback in overdub mode immediately. Pressing the Play/Stop switch will trigger playback mode without overdub.
Note that with each pass of recording in overdub mode, the already-recorded sound gets a little quieter, eventually fading away entirely.
During playback, pressing the Play/Stop switch will stop the loop. From stop, this switch will start playback again from the beginning of the loop.
The Play Once switch will play the loop back once and then stop it. From stop, this will trigger the loop from the beginning and stop it again at the end. From record, the Play Once switch will stop recording and play the recorded loop back once. From playback, it will stop the looped output at the end of the current loop. If Play Once is engaged, pressing it again will re-trigger the loop from the beginning.
The 1/2 Speed/Reverb switch does as it says. One tap halves the speed (and drops the pitch down an octave). Double-tap reverse the loop. Both effects can be triggered at any point and can be used at the same time. Try recording a loop in 1/2 speed and then removing the effect for a double-time effect.
The re-triggering aspect of the DL4’s Loop Sampler is what I find personally to be the best thing about the pedal. For that, it makes it onto the “best looper pedals” list even though it’s far more than just a looper!
Line 6 is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Line 6 JM4
The Line 6 JM4 (link to check the price on Amazon) is Line 6’s dedicated looper pedal. If the DL4 gets a spot on this list, the JM4 definitely gets a mention.
The JM4 is a very in-depth pedal. To learn it all, I suggest reading through the manual. In this article, I’ll cover the basics to give you an idea of how great it is.
The JM4, like the DL4, is actually much more than a simple looper. This pedal combines a fully-functional looper with real jam tracks from real studio musicians and a multi-effect unit for not only guitar, but other instruments and vocals as well.
For guitar FX, there are over 200 artist-created presets; 26 user-programmable presets; 12 Line 6 amp models; 7 Smart Control FX; 3 ton controls, and even an integrated tuner. Right off the bat we’re into multi-effects territory.
The pedal packs 100+ Endless Jam tracks and drum grooves in more than 10 styles performed by top LA and Nashville session players. Real-sounding rhythm accompaniment can really amp up inspiration above the typical drum machine loops found in other loopers.
The internal memory is able to store up to 24 minutes of recording time and 100 jams. The SD slot allows even more storage with an SD card.
We can transfer WAV files to and from the JM4 from a computer or recording software. The JM4 can be used to transpose, time-stretch and/or loop over any audio we import.
There are dedicated footswitches for Record/Overdub, Play/Stop, Half-Speed and Undo. This makes the JM4 incredibly easy to use.
So this pedal is more than a looper. It’s a full band in a box! There are other pedals like this one but in terms of looping, I give the JM4 a solid A+.
The HeadRush Looperboard (link to check the price on Amazon) is an advanced looper pedal with tons of features. If you’re looking for a deep unit, this could be the looper for you!
If you think the Headrush Looperboard looks highly-functional and intimidating, you’re absolutely right in your thinking. This unit is a beast. Where to start?
Rather than getting into the nitty-gritty and rewriting the user manual, let’s just go over the main features to get a good idea of the Looperboard.
The Headrush Looperboard allows us to record up to 2 stereo or 4 mono looper tracks. It has over 9 hours of internal recording time with additional time available via USB storage (not that we’d ever need that much time, or would we?).
With a 7″ high-resolution multi-touch display monitor, this pedal is reminiscent of a computer. Actually, it’s pretty damn close to a full-blow DAW! It’s even got a built-in USB audio interface and includes Pro Tools | First: HeadRush Edition with a new purchase.
It’s got a click track; smart quantization features; tap tempo; an intelligent time-stretching feature, and awesome effects for guitar and other electric instruments.
Features are accessible via 12 footswitches, 8 knobs and the touchscreen along with any additional MIDI, expression pedals or external stompboxes.
With the Looperboard, we can track record, overdub, and playback four separate tracks. We can alter the length and speed of the full loop. Other featured actions include reverse, fade, transpose, bounce, undo/redo, peel, and clear individual tracks as needed.
It’s more than a looper, it’s a multi-effect masterpiece.
It’s got over 300 built-in drum and percussion loops for getting started; full MIDI capabilities, and an impressive I/O section.
The I/O section has:
- 4x combo inputs (XLR + 1/4-inch) with switchable phantom power for microphones.
- 1x 3.5mm aux input
- 1x headphone output
- 2x 1/4-inch outputs
- 2x XLR outputs
- 1x expression input (1/4-inch)
- MIDI I/O
- 3x USB
- 1x SD
The HeadRush Looperboard is a top-of-the-line looper pedal and is certainly deserving of a spot on this list.