The Best Looper Pedals - Compact & Multiswitch

Loop Pedals

Looper pedals have become indispensable to musicians, thanks to their ability to create clones which you can use as virtual backup musicians and singers. Here we look at what the market considers as the best looper pedals, divided into two categories - Compact & Multiswitch.

Generally, compact loopers are expected to provide basic looping functionality, while multi-switch ones offer more control and multi-track looping. We've listed the top rated ones below, sorted by price so you can pick out the best loop pedal for your needs and budget. We've also included detailed descriptions and actual user feedback for each one, along with important pointers and features that you should watch out for.

Contents

The Best Looper Pedals

The Best Looper Pedals - Compact Size

Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$91
Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper

The Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper offers essential looping functionality for guitarists in a compact nano size stompbox. The label 360 refers to its recording limit, which is up to 360 seconds, or a total of 6 minutes. To help you organize your loops better, this loop pedal lets you store up to 11 different loops, as long as you don't go over the 6 minute limit. This is its standout feature, because it lets you store and play loops that contain riffs, melodies and song ideas, for use when practicing, performing and writing songs. Other features of the 360 Nano Looper include unlimited overdub/undo/redo functionality via variations on how you step on the pedal's single footswitch.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 360 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slots: 11
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • Dimensions: 2.75" x 4.5" x 2.1"
  • Weight: 1 lb.

The overall response to the EHX (Electro-Harmonix) 360 Nano Looper is positive. Value for money, ease of use and sound quality were three common themes among its many reviews. Being streamlined and compact have its drawbacks, as evidenced by complaints about the pedal's lack of USB interface and battery power option. There were also a few who wanted more control over the loop, which should be an obvious limitation given its affordable price tag and small size.

All in all, the Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper saves you both money and pedalboard space, while retaining respectable functionality.

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 1900+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
TC Electronic Ditto Looper

The TC Electronic Ditto Looper is easily the most popular among compact guitar loop pedals, and it turns out that it is also the highest rated one. This is all thanks to its sound quality and straightforward design, with only a single footswitch and a single knob. The pedal's one and only footswitch allows for basic looping controls that include record, playback, overdub, undo and redo. While convenient, getting a good handle of all the loop controls requires some practice. In addition, there's the Loop Level knob, which lets you adjust the volume of the loop playback in relation to your dry signal. Note that while it has a total loop time of 5 minutes, it lacks memory slots for storing multiple loops. Still, this limitation is a given, since it is the smallest in this group and is supposed to be as straightforward as it gets.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 300 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 1
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • Dimensions: 1.9" x 1.9" x 3.7”
  • Weight: Less than 1 lb.

Many experts and users agree that the TC Electronic Ditto is the best entry-level guitar looper pedal. While its compact size and intuitive design is its strongest points on paper, reviews point to its sound quality as its best feature. A good number of users even reported that the humble Ditto sounds better than even bigger more expensive looper units, which is quite the compliment. There were a few who complained about not having the option to run on batteries, while others cautioned that the one footswitch requires a bit more time to master. Obviously, this pedal is not for musicians who are looking to do complex looping performances.

If you're not sure what to get, the TC Electronic Ditto Looper is a great pedal to start your journey into the world of looping.

DigiTech JamMan Express XT

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
DigiTech JamMan Express XT

The JamMan Express XT is DigiTech's response to the compact looper hype, with more recording time, stereo input/output and better LED monitoring. Like other small loopers, it has a single footswitch that lets you record, play, overdub, undo and redo a single loop. But it stands out from the crowd with its longer 10 minute total looping time, and dedicated LED lights that let you know whether you're recording, overdubbing or on playback. These extras make it easier to use, and allow for worry free looping when practicing, brainstorming or even when performing. Another nifty feature of the JamMax Express XT is the proprietary "JamSync", which lets you connect it with other JamSync compatible pedals, allowing for in-sync multi-track looping.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 600 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 1
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo)
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo)
  • Power: 9V Battery, DC Adapter (Optional)
  • Extra Feature: JamSync
  • Dimensions: 4.5” x 2.75” x 2”
  • Weight: 0.6 lb.

Experienced guitarists and experts dig the DigiTech JamMan Express XT's functionality and intuitive LED monitoring. Music Radar even gave it a perfect rating, stating that it has it is a great value looper pedal, and a no-brainer addition for any pedalboard. Still, there were a few who had qualms with its performance, most of which point to its lack of DC adapter, and fast battery drain.

Only the DigiTech' JamSync feature lets you combine multiple compact looper pedals, so the JamMan Express XT is ideal if you're looking for a good entry point to looping and plan to expand in the future.

Digitech JamMan Solo XT

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$130
Digitech Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper

With over three decades of experience building loopers, DigiTech pulled no punches with the JamMan Solo XT, a feature packed looper in a standard size stompbox. It starts off with an already impressive total loop time of 36 minutes, but it can go as far as 16 hours when you utilize a micro SDHC card. You can divide the loop time into 200 internal memory slots and 200 external memory slots, for a total of 400 loops, which is expansive considering the unit's size. While it is primarily meant for guitar players, this pedal comes with an Aux input, that lets you record music and backing tracks into memory slots, giving you instant accompaniment for practice or performance. Other features include the ability to adjust the tempo of your loops without changing the pitch, auto-quantize, multiple stop modes, and it comes with a handy built-in metronome with multiple time signatures and rhythm sounds. Finally, the JamMan Solo XT comes with DigiTech's modular JamSync technology, which lets you connect multiple compatible devices for multi-track looping.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 2,160 to 57,600 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 200 (Internal), 200 (Memory Card)
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo), 1 x 1/8" (Aux)
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo)
  • USB: Mini B 2.0
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • Extra Feature: JamSync, Auto-quantize, Auto-record, Metronome, Adjustable BPM
  • Dimensions: 2.75" x 5.00" x 2.13"
  • Weight: 0.78 lb.

One user aptly put the overall market sentiment into three letters, stating that the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT is the "MVP"( Most Valuable Pedal) among standard size loopers. Even experts chime in, commending DigiTech for stuffing this pedal with features that surpass what others in the same price and size range offers. Ironically, the same bulk of features did not impress a few users, but they did commend its overall sound and performance. Experienced guitarists recommend getting the optional 3-switch foot controller to make better use of the pedals features.

If you're looking for the best bang-per-buck compact looper pedal, then get the JamMan Solo XT.

Boss RC-3 Loop Station

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$190
Boss RC-3 Loop Station

The Boss RC-3 Loop Station is Roland's response to market demand for feature-laden compact loopers. Boss was able to pack this single-pedal size unit with expanded connectivity, which includes stereo input/output, aux-in, external foot pedal controller and USB 2.0. Complementing its connectivity are useful features that include up to 3 hours of recording time, 99 memory slots, and onboard drum loops. The unit's USB connectivity lets you manage your loops with your computer, allowing you to save and add loops to the pedal as you please, be it your own guitar loops, or full-band backing tracks. Finally, all of these features are packed inside Boss' signature single stompbox pedal, so you can expect it to be roadworthy and easily outlast your other gear.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 600 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 200 (Internal), 200 (Memory Card)
  • Audio Quality: 16-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo), 1 x 1/8" (Aux)
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo)
  • USB: USB 2.0
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • Extra Feature: JamSync, Auto-quantize, Auto-record, Metronome, Adjustable BPM
  • Dimensions: 2.75" x 5.00" x 2.13"
  • Weight: 0.78 lb.

Market response to the Boss RC-3 Loop Station is overwhelmingly positive, thanks to its balance of features, sound quality and value for money. The bulk of reviews come from guitarists who use it for practice, while some use it for performance and even incorporated it into their teaching. A few users commented that doing live loop performance with single footswitch pedals require practice, but add that learning to use the loop pedal properly is very rewarding.

If reliability and quality is your primary concern, and you want a looper pedal that can double as a practice/songwriting tool, then definitely consider the Boss RC-3 Loop Station.

The Best Looper Pedals - Multiswitch

TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper

The popularity of the original Ditto Looper prompted TC Electronic to follow it up with the Ditto X2 Looper. It carries over the same intuitive single-track looping functionality of the original, but adds stereo input/output, USB connectivity and a section for loop effects, complete with a dedicated controls. The looper section is a straightforward as its compact sibling, with up to 5 minutes total recording time and the same single-knob loop level and single-footswitch controls. The Loop Effects section lets you switch between half speed and reverse looping effects, and it also allows you to use both at the same time. Finally, the built-in USB port lets you export and import loops from your computer.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 300 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 1
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A
  • Input: 2 x 1/4"
  • Output: 2 x 1/4"
  • USB: Mini-B USB 2.0
  • Power: 9V Battery (With 2 Battery Slots), DC Adapter (Optional)
  • Dimensions: 4.44” x 5.31” x 2.13”
  • Weight: 1.13 lbs.

The TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper impresses many experts and users with its sound quality and ease of use, including Premiere Guitar, who describe the overall sound as excellent. It also helps that many are happy with the extra footswitch that can be used as extra loop control. Still there are some who expected more in return for the money they spent, and a few reported encountering glitch issues.

Overall, the TC Electronic Ditto X2 is a great 2-foot switch upgrade to the original Ditto and other compact loop pedals.

DigiTech JamMan Stereo Looping Station

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 1150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$250
DigiTech JamMan Stereo Looper for Guitar and Vocals

The JamMan Stereo is the current JamMan series flagship looper pedal, and while it has been years since it was first introduced, it is still very much relevant and in demand. It stays true to the original JamMan design, focusing more on the needs of singer/guitarists with its four footswitch interface, stereo input/output, and microphone compatibility via a balanced XLR input. As expected, there's a lot of loop recording time to work with, thanks to its 35 minutes total recording time and 99 internal memory slots. And if that's not enough, you can expand the memory to 16 hours via an SDHC card, and add another 99 memory slots. DigiTech added a bunch of extras that include Reverse playback, three different stop modes (Fade, Finish, Stop), tempo adjustments, and built-in metronome.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 2,100 to 57,600 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 99 (Internal), 99 (Memory Card)
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo), 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x 1/8" (Aux)
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo), 1 x 1/8" (Headphones), 1 x 1/4" (Rhythm Out)
  • USB: USB 2.0
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • Extra Features: Reverse Playback, Three Stop modes (Fade, Finish, Stop), Adjustable Tempo, Metronome
  • Dimensions: 6.84" x 6.70" x 2.89"
  • Weight: 2.22 lbs.

The DigiTech JamMan Stereo continues to be highly regarded, even after many years of being available. Its sound quality is well appreciated, and most of the positive feedback are from guitarists who use the pedal to build, save and play their own backing tracks. The four footswitches also offer better control, compared to compact single footswitch loopers. While many are pleased with its capabilities, there are some that find the JamMan Stereo lacking, especially when compared to what recently released loopers can do.

Having said that, this old school looper is still very much in demand, and well worth the recommendation.

Pigtronix Infinity Looper

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$449
Pigtronix Infinity Looper

The Pigtronix Infinity Looper Pedal offers a major step up in features, with its two track looping, expanded connectivity options and MIDI compatibility. Speaking of connectivity, this looper comes with two distinct input/output ports, which lets you record two different sound sources into dedicated loops and playback via dedicated outputs. There's also an Aux loop out that can be used to send looped audio to a monitor, so your band can play in sync with your loops. For working with live DAWs and other MIDI capable devices, this unit accepts MIDI Clock start and stop messages. Basic functionality for each of the two loop tracks are available, including record, playback, overdub, undo and redo. Other features include reverse playback, loop aging, stuttering, five different stop modes, 50 memory slots, bundled 8GB SD Card (Up to 2 hours of recording), and USB connectivity.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 7,200 to 21,600 Seconds (Depending on SD Card Used)
  • Simultaneous Loop Tracks: 2
  • Loop Memory Slot: 50 Presets
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A - 48 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4"
  • Output: 2 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4" (Aux Out)
  • USB: Micro USB 2.0
  • Power: 18V DC Adapter
  • Extra Feature: Split Input, Five Stop Modes, Sync Multi Mode, Parallel/Series Loop Mode, Reverse
  • Dimensions: 7.4” x 4.6” x 1.5”
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs.

The Pigtronix Infinity Looper receives most of its high ratings from experienced guitarists who are looking for a MIDI compatible loop pedal. And while it doesn't have that much effects, signal routing options and loop related features provide more than enough flexibility for most musical styles, as reviewers attest to. Sound quality is also commendable, as reported by many guitarists, keyboardists and even DJs. There are a few who found the feature lacking, considering its hefty price tag. There are some reports of minor cosmetic and build quality issues, but thankfully, they are far and few between.

If MIDI compatibility is your priority, and you don't want the bulk and extra features of the Boss RC-300, then the Pigtronix Infinity Looper is ideal for you.

Boss RC-300 Loop Station

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$560
Boss RC-300 Looper Station with Vocal Effects

Thanks to the popularity and high ratings of the RC-300 Loop Station, Boss continues to be THE boss of the looper market. Being their flagship model, it carries the best that Boss can offer, with three independent stereo loop tracks that allow for complex arrangements fit for one-man-band performances. To complement its multi-track design, Boss equipped the RC-300 with a myriad of input options, including a balanced XLR mic input with switchable phantom power for looping vocals and other miked instruments. This means that you can record and load guitar, percussion and vocal loops on three different tracks. Output options are also expanded, with stereo main and stereo sub outputs, as well as a headphones out. USB and MIDI connectivity are also available, which widens the versatility and device compatibility of the unit even further. Other noteworthy features include in-depth loop settings and controls, a wide variety of built-in effects, and it also comes with an assignable expression pedal.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 10,800
  • Simultaneous Loop Tracks: 3
  • Loop Memory Slot: 99 Presets
  • Audio Quality: 16-bit A/D/A - 44.1 kHz Sample Rate
  • Input: 2 x 1/4" (Stereo), 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x 1/8" (Aux)
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (Main), 2 x 1/4" (Sub), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones)
  • USB: USB 2.0
  • Power: 9V DC Adapter
  • Extra Feature: Built-in Effects,
  • Dimensions: 21.125" x 9.125” x 3”
  • Weight: 8.7 lbs.

The Boss RC-300 Loop Station continues to be the pedal of choice for many musicians, including one-man-band artists. Good reviews and commendations continue to pour in from users and experts alike. Guitarplayer.com describes the unit as being "highly flexible", "built to withstand nuclear holocaust" and commends it for having a "great sound". Still, there are a few who are not as convinced with the RC-300, specifically complaining about the quality of some of its built-in effects. And while there's a lot of things that you can do with it, there are a few practical features that are missing, like the ability to split the input into dedicated loop tracks.

Being an owner of a Boss RC-300 Loop Station, I have to add that I see it as a very inspiring and fun tool to have be it for practice, performance or for songwriting. Whether you have the budget or not, the Boss RC-300 is definitely a worthy investment if you want to get serious with your looping craft.

Author's Pick

TC-Helicon Ditto Mic Looper

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper - Vocal Effects Pedal

Since the pedals listed above are mostly aimed at guitarists, I found it fitting to add a compact loop pedal aimed at vocalists, and that is what the TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper is all about. It's as straightforward as the original Ditto, only this one features Balanced XLR input and output ports for connectivity with microphones and PA systems. For easier hands free control over the sound, this unit comes with two footswitches, one being a dedicated stop switch, and the other controlling recording, playback, undo and redo - depending on how you step on the switch. Finally, there's the loop level knob that lets you adjust the output volume of the loop playback. In addition to looping singing and vocal beatboxing, TC-Helicon also markets the Ditto Mic looper as a looper for acoustic instrument musicians, allowing them to record and loop non-electric instruments via microphones.

Specifications:

  • Total Loop Time: 300 Seconds
  • Loop Memory Slot: 1
  • Audio Quality: 24-bit A/D/A
  • Input: 1 x XLR"
  • Output: 1 x XLR"
  • Power: DC Adapter
  • USB: Micro-B USB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 2.3" x 3.5" x 5.4”
  • Weight: 0.92 lb.

The TC-Helicon Ditto Mic Looper's practicality and good sound quality came up in many reviews. Many of which report that the pedal is easy and fun to use, and that it has the right balance of durability and portability. Satisfied users report getting great results while using the pedal with vocals, human beatboxing, percussion instruments, harmonica, acoustic instruments, and many more. There were a few users who wished for extra features like the ability to be powered by battery and better stop loop functions, but the limitations are to be expected given its size, price and streamlined design.

If you're looking for a way to sample and loop vocals and other miked sound sources, then the TC-Helicon Ditto Mic Looper is the most practical and portable choice.

Things to Consider When Buying a Looper

  • Loop Controls

    While compact looper pedals may seem straightforward, controlling loops with their single footswitch can be a challenge. Manufacturers usually require you to do various "dance" steps to trigger different functions like recording, playback, undo and redo. These steps include double steps, hold steps and quick release. Multiswitch loopers offer easier handsfree control of the loops, since they often have two or more footswitches dedicated to each loop. The obvious downside is that you'll have to memorize which switch is which, and that they require more bulk and pedalboard space.

  • Total Loop Time and Memory Slots

    Over two decades ago, DigiTech released the PDS 8000 looper pedal which had a total loop time of 8 seconds. These days, some loopers can store up to 16 hours of high-fidelity loops, thanks to the availability of compact memory cards. Still, you have to note that more is not necessarily better, especially if you're just going for basic one track looping and overdubbing, as evidenced by the popularity of the TC-Electronic Ditto Looper, with its 5 minutes total loop time. But if you're planning to craft, organize and utilize different loops, then you'll want more loop time and multiple memory slots. It is a given that Multiswitch pedals have more memory, but there are some compact pedals that offer expandable memory and memory slots.

  • Number of Loop Tracks

    Single-track Loopers are generally good enough for most guitarists, especially those who just want basic looping and are already playing with a band. Their straightforward operation and simplicity makes them easy to implement, while their compact size makes them easy to add into pedalboards. All of the compact pedals in this list are single-track loopers, but some do allow for multi-track functionality by connecting them with another compatible looper pedal.

    Multi-track Loopers offer more control and allow for crafting more complex loops, with the downside being the extra bulk, longer learning curve and more importantly, added cost. They are usually preferred by guitarists who also sing, and one-man-band performers who want in-depth control over every loop.

  • Connectivity

    For basic mono setups, a compact looper pedal with one input and one output port is enough to get the job done. More complex rigs, or keyboard instruments with stereo outputs will require stereo input and output ports, which are provided by some of the pedals in this list. Aux input is a nice plus to have, as it allows you to jam with your favorite tracks, or even store them as loops. A few pedals have headphone out, which is nifty for quiet practice.

    Some loop pedals with USB connectivity allow you to save and manage your loops on your computer, this is pretty handy if you're gathering musical ideas. MIDI compatibility is also an important consideration if you're planning to integrate a looper with MIDI clock compatible devices like drum machines.

  • Size and Weight

    Pedalboard space is considered as an ever decreasing resource, so careful planning is recommended before buying your pedal. For this reason, we provided the dimensions of each unit, so you can prepare your board ahead of time. We've also stated the weight of each pedal so you can gauge their portability.

  • Extra Features

    While the focus is on looping, it doesn't hurt to have extra features like built-in metronomes, rhythms and effects. But too much is never good, especially if it will keep you from being productive and inspired. Bottom-line, just get ones with the features you actually need, or don't waste too much time on things that you're not really going use for your performances or song ideas.

Best Loop Pedal Selection Methodology

As much as we would like to add custom made loopers, like ED Sheeran’s Chewie II, we have to stick to what the average user can actually buy. So for this guide, we looked for the most popular and widely available loopers, and decided to limit our research to just floor-based pedals. We ended up studying 18 looper pedals and gathered over 8000 relevant reviews and ratings, all of which were processed by the Gearank Algorithm. The resulting scores were used to trim the list down to the best rated ones. Finally, we divided the list into two categories, Compact and Multiswitch pedals, and sorted them by price so you can see which ones fit into your budget and needs. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Comments

Hi,

Hi,

I would like to clarify that the Boss RC-3 is does not have 24-bit playback; it has 16-bit playback and is commonly regarded for having mediocre sound quality. This is the biggest ( if not only ) reason it is not the number one selling looper in my opinion. The Ditto x2 is probably the highest quality playback. I expect better research from a page dedicated to gear.. If you're hiring let me know.

Hi Wolvebird,

Hi Wolvebird,

Thank you very much for pointing that out - I was the editor for this guide and I missed the mistake, but I've fixed it now.

Can't believe the boss rc300

Can't believe the boss rc300 is rated higher than the infinity. Sound quality on the rc is was below the infinity which is a huge factor for me.

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