Best Looper Pedals for Live Performance – Most Ideal Models!

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Looper pedals have become increasingly popular over the last few years. More and more guitarists are being drawn to the unique possibilities they open up.

They can be excellent tools for both writing and live performances. They are also not exclusively useful for solo artists and even guitarists in bands can benefit greatly from the power of a looper pedal.

But what makes a looper pedal particularly suitable for live performances? Let's find out!

4 Best Looper Pedals for Live Performances

1. TC Electronic Ditto Looper

When it first came out, in 2013, the Ditto Looper created a revolution among guitar players and fellow musicians. It was the first looper to be so small and yet so powerful. Believe me, this little device will fit the chest pocket of your favorite shirt. That said, it is also powerful enough to keep a crowd entertained.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s rewind a little. The Ditto is a small looping powerhouse.

To begin with, this is a very easy-to-use pedal. It has a single footswitch that allows you to record and play your loops. When you’re done with it, a double tap on the switch turns the loop off.

The single knob allows you to adjust the looper level in terms of volume. This way, you can choose to have the loop as a backing track or at the same level as your instrument. Moreover, you can play with it and adjust the volume on the go using your feet.

My first encounter with this pedal was many years ago, and I remember feeling a little degradation on the signal. This new iteration, though, is the complete opposite.

This is because of three reasons.

  • The first is that it’s a 24-bit pedal that reproduces the sampled audio as faithfully as it’s possible these days.
  • The second is that it’s a true-bypass unit. This means your tone is intact at all times.
  • The third is that, besides being a true-bypass pedal, it also has an analog dry-through signal path. Your dry tone is not processed, which means your signal runs analogically from guitar to amp with the Ditto in the chain.

Perhaps, the only thing I didn’t like about this loop pedal, especially for a live application, is that when you want to erase the loop, you have 1-2 seconds of the loop sounding before you wipe it clean. This is annoying for the audience that has to hear you doing it between songs.

Other than that, this is one of the most powerful looping pedals of its size.

2. Boss RC-300 Loop Station

Boss has an excellent track record when it comes to pedals, especially looper pedals. The RC-300 is, in my opinion at least, the best looper pedal that Boss has ever made.

I actually think that calling it a looper pedal is a bit dishonest. Apart from its great loop functions, the RC-300 also features some basic effects and even an expression pedal. I would call it more of a multi-effects pedal rather than a looper pedal, a multi-effects pedal lite.

Of course, the main attraction here is its looping capabilities, and oh boy does it have quite a few. With three dedicated loop tracks, infinite overdubs, and up to three hours of storage, I believe it has definitely earned its Loop Station branding.

Each loop track has a dedicated record/play/dub button and a separate stop. I found it very easy and rather natural to switch between the loop tracks and start using them.

There is also an all start/stop button. On a looper pedal of this caliber, I would very quickly have gotten annoyed if there were no way of starting and stopping all of my loops at the same time. This is a very useful feature to have for live looping.

As for stacking loops, I didn’t notice any real dip in sound quality. I would definitely suggest keeping your loops on the simpler side if you’re planning on layering more than four or five.

The built-in effects also sound great. They aren’t the best around and a dedicated pedal will almost certainly beat the RC-300. But I found them to be more than I expected from a looper pedal’s built-in effects.

The obvious downsides of having such a great, feature-rich looper pedal are its size and price. This is a big, somewhat bulky pedal and one of the most expensive on the market.

If you’re willing to pay the premium and possibly make some room on your pedalboard, then I would absolutely recommend the RC-300. It is a fantastic looper pedal that could easily turn you into a one-man cover band.


  • Three dedicated loop tracks
  • Wide range of backing tracks at different time signatures
  • The most versatile pedal for live looping


  • The most expensive looper pedal on the market
  • Might be a bit too bulky for some

3. Pigtronix Infinity 3

Pigtronix might not be a recognizable name to a lot of guitarists, but it isn’t hard to see why they are so highly praised by those who do know their name.

The Infinity 3 is the newest entry in their Infinity range of looper pedals. It is not only their best looper pedal to date, but in my opinion one of the best options available today.

I prefer looper pedals that are easy and intuitive to use. This is something that the Infinity 3 does perfectly while also being packed with features.

It has two dedicated loop tracks each with its own footswitch for play/record/dub. A third switch is used for stopping and erasing loops. This makes for easy on-the-fly editing while playing.

You can then also change certain parameters of each loop track. Things such as the sample rate, whether the tracks are in series or parallel, etc. can all be toggled with the simple press of a button on the pedal.

The setting that I was most impressed by was the ability to apply these settings either individually or to both tracks with the arm/all button. This means that you can have both tracks set up identically or have each set up with different settings.

This doesn’t sound like much, but in practice, this makes quite a big difference. Simply changing the bit rate of one of the tracks can alter the sound quite a bit.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities during live looping. For example, I set up the same loop on both tracks, but with different settings. Track one was my ‘dry’ loop and track two was my ‘wet’. I could then switch between the tracks to add quick effects to the loop when I wanted.

The Infinity 3 is on the more expensive side when it comes to looper pedals. For what you are getting, though, I think it is a no-brainer if you are looking for a high-quality, versatile looper pedal.


  • Two loop tracks that can be set up independently
  • Instantaneous switching between loop tracks


  • A bit on the expensive side

4. Electro-Harmonix 720

Electro Harmonix has been revolutionizing the world of stomp boxes and pedals since 1968. They are the creators of some of the best-known, most widely used effects pedals in the world.

Beyond all that, I just love how weird, crazy, amazing, and innovative EHX pedals have always been.

Therefore, let me tell you that I was quite anxious and excited to try this thing out.

So, the first thing I did was to try the stereo inputs. For that, I plugged in not only my guitar but also a small Korg K1 that I have at home. The dual inputs work wonders because I was able to lay some chords with synth voices that could create an ethereal atmosphere to put guitar chords and leads on top.

Also, the fact that you have a stop button makes all the difference when compared to other pedals that need that double tap. I know it might seem like a detail, but when you’re playing live worrying about the fingers, the picking hand, and possibly even singing, it makes a world of difference.

The same stop footswitch can be used to add some FX to the looped parts. These are reverse and ½ speed. I tried both and they were very cool but hard to use in a live scenario. Maybe it’s just me who doesn't have those Hendrix-approved reverse guitar clever ideas.

Speaking of a live scenario, the only thing that took me quite a while to get used to was that this pedal seems to have a very slight delay when you press the record button. This required a steep learning curve on my end to be able to start looping at the right moment.

Other than that, this is a great looping pedal to play live. I loved the trails mode that slowly fades the loop out as you’re playing, making this unit more musical than most other loopers its size.

Picking a Looper Pedal for Playing Live

Looper pedals can be a bit trickier to choose than something like an overdrive pedal. They can vary wildly in terms of features and size and it can feel like you’re getting less with a smaller pedal.

But that isn’t necessarily the case and I think there are certain things you can consider to help you choose which looper pedal is the right one for you, especially for playing live.

Let's start with a few points specific to using a pedal primarily for live performances.

Build Quality

The pedal needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the potentially frequent abuse on stage. I'm talking about possibilities like accidentally stomping on it with your full weight.

Apart from a sturdy casing, look for pedals with robust switches and internal components. The few options I've mentioned above are all built pretty solidly.

Apart from the pedal itself, you also need a reliable power supply that won't fail mid-performance.


Because performing on stage leaves little room for error, you need to consider things like how easy or hard is it to read the display and other controls.

You might find a great deal on a little known option, only to discover that its controls are all non-intuitive and the display hard to read from a distance. It's enough to totally ruin the live playing experience.


Perhaps the biggest thing to consider is what you need or want the pedal to do. The best way is to think of how complex you want your loops to be and go from there.

If you’re only doing simple loops with just two or three overdubs, then a simple one-track pedal should be fine. For large, expansive, multi-track loops, a looper pedal with two or more tracks would be better.

This is also of course important if you plan on switching between loops while playing. A looper pedal with multiple tracks would obviously be the one to go for.

Loop Length

I reckon a minimum of five minutes is what you should be aiming for, regardless of the pedal.

This will ensure that you can at least get through the length of a song while live looping. If you plan on using your looper pedal for writing as well, then certainly go for a pedal with a lot of storage.

This will cut down on having to constantly delete backtracks or riffs. This is especially useful so that you don’t delete something that you later wish you could go back to.


This isn’t as important, but still something to keep in mind. How much space do you have available either on your pedalboard, on stage, or in your bag? Can you fit a looper pedal onto your pedalboard? Then a smaller one might be better.

Can you fit a large looper pedal on stage or do you mind carrying an extra pedal around? Then a larger looper pedal is absolutely an option.

Can I Loop the Looped?

I know the title might sound a little confusing, but believe me, there’s a good reason for it.

I began playing with loops some time ago and I always felt most loopers, except those outrageously expensive and big, lacked the two-channel thing. I mean, if you’re creating songs on the fly, having a loop for the verse and another for the chorus makes perfect sense, right?

Well, since I didn’t have the budget or the room to play with one of those mammoth apparatus, I decided to go for more than one looper pedal. Nowadays, I have three of them and use them all.

What I do is go from my main looper with a built-in rhythm machine to my second, smaller loop, and then to a third one that can do reverse and ½ speed.

This way, I can affect what the main looper is doing and add and subtract things to create different climates without modifying the original. Moreover, sometimes, I’ll just record the chorus on the main looper and go for a different thing completely for the verse on another loop pedal.

This is a great way to make your looping sessions more creative and have a wider arsenal of tools without breaking the bank or carrying around a huge looper everywhere.

Looping in a Band Situation

Looping when playing with a drummer is the trickiest way to do it. How so? Well, because you have to take into consideration the human factor that moves a drummer. In other words, unless you play with a click and rehearse a lot to follow it very tightly, there will be variations from one verse to another, for example.

So, what’s the perfect way to loop in a band situation? Well, using it for circular rhythms that can lock into a groove. Here are some pieces of advice based on my experience:

  • Play it before you record it - Recording the loop the first time you play it together might not be the perfect scenario. You’re both getting into the groove cold and it might not sound as upbeat or natural. So, play it a couple of times with the drummer and then record it.
  • Make sure they can hear you - Sometimes, in small venues, the guitar isn’t going through the PA system but right out of the amplifier directly to the audience. If this is the case, looping is a dangerous endeavor. Make sure the whole band can hear the loop loud and clear.
  • Always play it in sync - Playing it in sync means working on your hand-foot coordination. If you take a nanosecond more to press your pedal or pick the string, you’ll be adding silence at the beginning of the phrase, and thus, making a mess.

The Bottom End

Looper pedals are fantastic devices. Whether you’re creating crazy soundscapes, filling in your band's sound, or simply using it as a writing aid.

These are some of the best looper pedals for live performance as well as bedroom guitarists.

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About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

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