From a basic echo to a full-on expansive delay pedal, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to adding a world of dimension to your sound. There are also plenty of types of delay pedals so before you buy, you might want to make sure you know the difference between your analog, digital, and tape.
The character of the delay can be completely different and some people want a pedal that can do it all. Dual-channel capability and being able to customize the delay or building your sound by tweaking other settings is only possible with certain products. To help make this tricky decision easier, we have created a list of the best delay pedals available.
Quick Summary of Delay Pedals
BOSS Digital Delay Guitar Pedal, Standard (DD-500)
A mainstay in the list of the best delay pedals, Boss is always popping up offering a mix of value and performance. This is their most advanced delay pedal offering 12 delay modes so you can play with everything from vintage, analog, shimmer, to a modern sound. The LCD makes it easy to navigate between the various settings and patch memories.
There is a 120-second phrase looper built-in, A and B switches to make for instant changes in your sound and a massive 297 patches. We like having the ability to freeze notes and because it is USB ready you can hook it up to your home studio for remote editing. Combine Tera Echo with hold mode or combine any number of the sounds and stereo outputs. With all this available there is so much you can do with it and compared to some of the other versatile delay pedals around, it manages to keep the price down.
- LCD display
- 12 delay modes
- A and B switches
- USB ready
Source Audio SA260 Nemesis Guitar Delay Effects Pedal
With 12 built-in delay settings and an additional 12 available for download, this is one of the best digital delay pedals and because of the reasonable price tag, it is also the best value. There are 128 presets and it allows you to save up to via onboard controls. There is tap tempo control and everything from phase inversion to ping-pong delays with the dials to amend intensity, feedback, time, mix, and more.
The stereo and MIDI connectivity makes it as versatile as any other so combine this with the tone flexibility and can be plugged into their widely available app. It accommodates other pedals giving you plenty of scope for experimenting even further.
- 12 built-in delays with 12 other available for download
- 128 presets
- Tap tempo controls
- Reasonable price
- Takes some getting used to
Electro Harmonix Canyon Delay and Looper
Combining enough delay and looper effects to make it a worthwhile purchase, this is what a compact delay pedal should be capable of. 10 delay effects are similar to some of the brands that are double the price and you get a decent amount of looper length in the 62 seconds. You can control it via onboard tap tempo and choose from delay, feedback, and FX level as well.
We like that it also has reverb options so you can recreate the sound of a great hall or go for the spring or room effect. A popular delay pedal with the likes of Radiohead and The Cure putting it to work. Although it is not as versatile as some of the larger stomper boxes available, pound for pound, it holds its own.
- 62 second looper
- 10 delay effects
- Reverb options
- Easy to use
- Not as many options as some of the advanced delay pedals
DOD Rubberneck Delay Effects Pedal
Best Unique Analog
There are tap tempo control and 100% analog repeats making this one of the best sounding delay pedals available. The max of 1.5 seconds on analog delay means you can have a lot of fun and you can even customize the tone and gain of your delay. You can create some pretty out there sounds using this pedal as you can play with the pitch sweep of the effect that it gets its name from.
For the less flamboyant guitarist, there is still plenty to love and you can control the modulation independently. With delay time sweep function you get why this is one for creating unique sounds just as much as being good for practical use. All in all, it’s a lot of fun, just as delay should be.
- 100% analog
- Up to 1.5 seconds of analog delay
- Good for creating unique delay sounds
- Unique oscillation
- Not as many Delay modes
Empress Effects EchoSystem Dual Engine Delay
Easiest To Use Stompbox
You get a full set of 12 delay effects to choose from with everything from digital, tape, analog, to delay+reverb and stutter. This is just one of the reasons this deserves its place among the best delay pedals and the dial controls make for an easy-to-use pedal that does not rely on knowing how to program the device.
You get the option of 35 presets and can set them to any of the 3 switches so stomp to switch between the sounds. It also allows you to use any two together to create unique sounds. There are almost endless ways to create a room-filling ambiance with this delay pedal although this is something you might expect given that it is one of the more expensive.
- 12 delay effects
- Dial control only
- 35 presets
- 3 switches and can combine 2 at any time
- Might be a bit expensive for some
Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Pedal
One for the aficionados the Eventide H9 Harmonizer pedal has multiple effects to choose from with one of them being delay. This means you can choose from space, time, mod, and pitch but also 600 factory presets. The unit includes 99 but there are plenty more available via the H9 Control app.
The digital display is pretty easy to get with and has a built-in tuner. You can even control it wirelessly via Bluetooth on the app making it easier to switch between a vintage delay or change the modulation. With twin delay lines, reverbs, pitch shifting, and plenty more to play with it can take a little getting used to but it’ll be worth it.
- Wireless control
- 99 built-in presets
- Digital display
- Built-in tuner
- Takes some getting used to
Delay Pedal Guide
If you don’t know how to use a delay pedal yet then you are in for a world of possibilities. Not only are they lots of fun, allowing you to make unique sounds but they can combine with other effects easily. Whether you are looking for a delay pedal for rhythm guitar or something to make a solo stand out, there are many different types of settings and pedals to choose from.
This is part of what makes buying one a little daunting. Before you purchase a delay pedal, we advise taking the time to get to know the benefits and find out what the better brands should offer. This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Delay Pedal
There are different types of delay with everything from the classic analog sounds that have stood the test of time to something more modern like tap delay. The more delay modes the pedal you are considering has, the more options and fun you can have.
This is one of the additional controls that you get on some of the high-end delay pedals and is part of what has made Ed Sheeran such a popular artist, selling out stadiums around the world. This is all with one guitar so the ability to record and continually play a certain section back has its benefits.
This includes being able to bulk out a sound and layer it with more guitar so having a looper delay is beneficial, and the longer the loop you can record, the better.
This is where a delay pedal allows you to move between sounds with a quick stomp and can be useful for performing live. Some brands even let the user combine two at the same time to create a thicker, layered sound.
Not everyone has room on their pedalboard for a large stompbox that looks like a mini mixing desk. This is where a compact delay pedal can come in handy. These might be a little limited in the additional features but not everyone needs 500 customizable settings.
This isn’t spoken about enough and if you are considering buying a delay pedal for an upcoming tour, durability should be high on your list of priorities. Sometimes less is more when it comes to settings but a strong, durable outer is important whatever pedal you are considering.
Ease of Use
If you haven’t used a delay pedal before then they can be a little daunting and your choice of product should be made with how user friendly it is.
The more settings and options it offers, the steeper the learning curve so a compact design might be better.
How Much Does A Delay Pedal Cost?
This depends on your needs ads a quality pedal is going to cost around $150 as a minimum. This will get you a compact product that is still capable of creating an impressive delay.
If your budget allows and you are looking for a high-end delay pedal then you should consider increasing your budget to $300. This gets you dual switches, more delay modes, and customizable settings.
What Is A Delay Pedal?
As the name suggests, a delay is just the playing back of a sound and can be at a different tempo. A delay pedal allows you to do this on repeat or individual delays and when you buy a quality product, there is the scope to add in more effects. This is where you can increase the echo, change the pitch, modulation, and a lot more.
Should I Buy A Delay Pedal?
Many guitarists like to bulk their sound out with a delay pedal as it creates the impression that multiple guitars are playing at the same time. This is especially useful if you are the only guitarist in a band and you want more texture in your sound.
It opens up plenty of opportunities and can make a bland section sound atmospheric or a solo more interesting. If you are worried that your guitar sections are a little basic and lack a unique quality, a delay pedal can bring them to life.
Reverb Vs Delay
Although we are comparing the two, they work in conjunction with one another to create a bigger, more expansive sound. Add a little (or a lot of) reverb to your delay to manipulate space in a way that other effects just cannot replicate.
Some brands give you the ability to change both to find the sweet spot between too much and downright spine-tingling.
What Are Different Delay Modes?
Most brands tend to give around 10 or more and this is where you can create a classic sound that might be reminiscent of the ’60s, or that mid 90’s indie, as well as modern sounds.
You see names like tape delay that give you echoes full of space and character or analog delay that has warmer tones. A reverse delay might have a more experimental feel but there is plenty of texture to it.
Consider the style of music you are playing before you but a delay pedal to make sure it is capable of giving you what you need.
What Is The Best Delay Pedal?
There are plenty of excellent choices as detailed in our list of the top products above but overall, the BOSS Digital Delay Guitar Pedal, Standard (DD-500) has the perfect blend of value and performance.
It’s 12 delay modes means you have lots of options for tone and creating completely different sounds and the 120-second looper function is easy to use. It’s LCD display makes for a fast learning period and with dual switches and USVB capability, the options seem to be never-ending.
For the price, it is hard to find a better value delay pedal and although some of the more expensive products might have different effects and modes, this is a great product for the beginner and the more accomplished player.