12 Best Guitar Loopers in 2018
Playing the electric guitar can quickly become an expensive hobby. Beginners just see that shiny new ax and think how cool they will look playing one, and may even consider an amplifier. Once you being, you will quickly find out there are millions of accessories that can alter your tone or even give you a bit of backup when you are playing solo.
Loopers are an excellent way to spice up your playing and a great accessory for both beginners and seasoned pros. Looking for the best guitar looper can be a little overwhelming regardless of your skill level, so we’ve put together a quick guide to simplify things.
Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at our top 12 picks.
Top 12 Guitar Loopers Comparison Table
|Design||Name||USB port||Battery or AC||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Boss RC-3 Loop Station Bundle||Yes||Both||4.5|
|2. TC Electronics Ditto Looper Effects Pedal||No||AC||4.5|
|3. Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper Guitar Looper Effects Pedal||No||No||4.4|
|4. Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal||Yes||No||4.4|
|5. Boss RC-1 Loop Station||No||Both||4.4|
|6. Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal||No||Both||4.4|
|7. Nux Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal Looper 6 Hours Recording Time||Yes||Both||4.3|
|8. TC Electronic Guitar Ditto Looper Effects Pedal||No||No||4.2|
|9. Digitech JMEXTV JamMan Express XT Compact Stereo Looper Pedal||No||Both||4.2|
|10. Digitech TRIOPLUS Band Creator and Looper||No||No||4.2|
|11. Donner Tiny Looper Guitar Effect Pedal 10 minutes of Looping 3 Modes||Yes||No||4.1|
|12. VOX VLL1 Guitar Looper Multi Effect Pedal||No||Yes||4.0|
Are You a Techie?
Even the fanciest of electric guitars are far from what we would call technical. You don’t need to take a class to put on strings whereas fixing a piece of tech can require a degree – or two. Loopers are not complicated machines by nature as many allow you to save or erase with simple foot actions. Well, that is not the case for some models which have USB ports and high-tech innards.
The best guitar looper will always allow you to save a “portion” of a loop – otherwise, it wouldn’t be a looper. That said, if you really want to dabble with your tracks, you will want one with a USB port. It allows you to export and store more loops than can traditionally on a device with little to no built-in storage.
While there are ways around that through special adapters, if you want to go high-tech with your tunes look for a guitar looper with a USB or microSD slot.
Do you plan to use your looper along or does in need to ride alongside the rest of your gear? Do you use a pedal board or just toss what you need in a bag before each show or practice? Those are the first two things you should ask yourself once you decide on how high-tech you want to go.
There are plenty of looper pedals that are small, but some are going to take up more space in your case than others or may have an awkward profile that sticks out like a sore thumb.
If you are the type of guitarist that uses a pedal board, you are going to want to check the size of your slots or see how much space you have left in your box before choosing a looper. Again, you can always carry it separately or put it in a pouch, but most of us like to keep our pedals together, and nobody wants to have to buy a larger board if they misjudge the size. If in doubt, check the measurements.
When it comes to power on guitar loopers, we aren’t talking about your prowess with the ax on stage or your mad mixing skills. We are talking about battery power vs. AC power, otherwise known as the wall jack. While nobody wants to be tethered to one, you may not have an option depending on what you need from your loop pedal and what you’re willing to sacrifice.
Unlike some forms of portable tech, guitar loopers offer up a wide range of options when it comes to power. A few are rechargeable, but most will either run off a wall jack or battery power. If it’s the former, think about your signal chain and how many sockets will be available where you play.
Battery power obviously has its drawbacks as well considering you don’t want to have to change out batteries in the middle of a set. If you are unsure of which way to turn, go for a model that offers up both options.
Top 5 Best Guitar Looper Reviews
Boss is a well-known name among audiophiles considering they have been producing affordable equipment for decades. Their arsenal includes a little bit of everything, even guitar loopers like the RC-3. This one is a “loop station” so it’s a little larger than most at 9” x 4” x 6”, but there’s a good reason for that and its locked in as our choice for the best guitar looper.
This guitar looper is at the top of the food chain thanks to a variety of jacks and a couple of features you won’t find on other models in this class. Traditional loop pedals may only allow you to store one beat. Not the Boss RC-3, as it allows you to save 99 loops in its onboard memory bank. If that gets full, you can always export tracks to your computer for storage where you can alter them to suit your needs.
The recording time is stellar at close to 3 hours, and you’ll get a real drum rhythm guide to boot. There is an Aux-in jack, USB 2.0 port and the usual array of inputs and outputs on the sides.
Another great perk of this model is the fact you can use it with the included AC adapter or go battery powered if you want to stay portable. It also comes with a slew of extras including a 1/4” patch cable, picks, an instrument cable and polishing cloth.
While our first box is a digital wonder with storage for days and many cool features, this one is for guitarists that just need a simple looping solution. The TC Electronics Ditto Looper has a relatively small form factor and performs as adverted.
This durable little box is around the size of a large candy bar, but obviously thicker. It won’t take up much space on your board although it may be a little too small for some consumers. Size aside, the Ditto Looper runs off AC power and allows you to store one loop with a full 5 minutes of recording time.
There is no real onboard storage, so when you create a new loop, the old one is overwritten. As you might suspect, you won’t get a USB port on this model either; just an input and output.
TC’s looper may be a little plain, but it’s one of the best around if you want something that works flawlessly and will hold up well with extended usage. It also has True Bypass with an Analog Dry-Through to keep your tone clean and sounding great.
Whenever a company throws the word “nano” into the mix, it means you can expect something small. The Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper certainly fits that bill clocking in at 3.2” x 6.25” x 5.6”. It has a small footprint but packs a feature-filled punch we think will pleasantly surprise you.
This little box won’t allow you to hook up to your PC through a USB port but does have enough memory to allow for 360 seconds of looping – thus the name. You can slice a recorded loop into 11 different sections that provide an additional measure of control while still offering up uncompressed audio.
We feel this is a great looper for beginners as well considering you will only have to deal with a loop knob and switch while the other knob lets you select record or play. It’s incredibly easy to use.
Despite its size, the Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper is not a battery powered machine, so you’ll have to have access to the wall jack to make this one hum. If you need something a little bigger with more memory on board, you can always check out the 720 Stereo Looper Pedal as well.
The Digitech Jamman Solo XT is arguably the smartest looper we’ve come across, and it will stand out on your board with its bright blue hue. Your audience will not be distracted by its style however as they are going remain focus on the amazing loops you’ve put together with this little machine.
This looper offers up a hands-free solution for guitarists that need long loops and plenty of storage capacity. You can jack music in through a USB port if you want to kick things up a notch and there’s even a micro SDHC card reader on the side which can handle up to 16 hours of CD-quality audio. The Jamman itself can handle up to 35 minutes of full stereo looping as well, so you are going to have an ample amount of storage without expanding.
Other cool perks include a built-in Metronome feature, ten pre loaded drum loops from Pat Mastelotto, and management software that lets you built a loop library on your PC or laptop.
Digitech’s looper can do a little bit of everything, which makes it a solid choice for both new guitarists and more advanced players. While it still lacks a few features, you’ll find on top-tier loopers; it’s tough to beat what it brings to the table for the price point. This machine is of average size at 4.5” x 3” x 2” and is powered by the included wall adapter.
The Boss RC-1 Loop Station is the smaller sibling to the RC-3 that came in as our top choice. It can’t quite hang with the larger machines when it comes to storage, but still offers up plenty of features in a sleek, high-tech package.
Whereas the RC-3 allows you to store 99 loops on the system, the Boss RC-1 only gives you one. It’s also sans the Metronome and a few other extras but still, performs similarly while being easier to use for beginners. It provides 12 minutes of a stereo looping, and you can Overdub, clear things out, or stop the loop with the tap of your foot. It also works with both battery and AC power, a nice feature you don’t find on too many other models.
The size of this particular looper also gives it an advantage at 2.3” x 5” x 2.8” – less than half the size of the RC-3 from Boss.
Sometimes you don’t need all those bells & whistles on your looper. The Boss RC-1 may not be able to handle some of the functions found on “smarter” models, but that is really the only downside. It’s a well-built looper box that won’t break the bank and will not confuse beginners with a slew of settings.