A delay pedal creates an echo or repeat of the sound you just played on your guitar. This is a fun effect to play with, and is a great accessory to add to your guitar-playing. Let’s dive into some of the best delay pedals on the market, and see which ones are worth buying.
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Before getting into the different delay pedals, there is one important thing to note. None of the delay pedals on this list come with a power adaptor cord. You can buy one separately on Amazon at the same time you are buying the pedal. You can get something like this. If you want a cord that plugs into only one pedal, not multiple, then check out this one.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get back to the pedals.
The 6 Best Delay Pedals
|BOSS Digital Delay Guitar Effect Pedal (DD-3T)||Check Price On Amazon|
|Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal True Bypass||Check Price On Amazon|
|lotmusic Electric Guitar Effects Pedal Mini Single Type DC 9V True Bypass Analog Chorus||Check Price On Amazon|
|MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Guitar Effects Pedal (M169)||Check Price On Amazon|
|AZOR Vintage Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal with True Bypass||Check Price On Amazon|
|Empress Effects Tape Delay Guitar Effects Pedal||Check Price On Amazon|
Boss is the industry standard delay pedal, so you know that it’s quality. Famous guitarists such as Steve Vai, Josh Homme, Noel Gallagher, and many more, all use a boss delay pedal. This small pedal packs a big punch! It is on the more expensive side, but definitely worth it if it’s in your budget.
- Digital delay
- Updated version of the industry-standard DD-3, with enhanced functionality for modern players
- Ultra-easy operation for fast sound creation
- Delay time of 12.5 to 800 milliseconds, divided into three ranges for quick setup
- Tap in tempos with the onboard pedal switch or an external footswitch
- Short Loop setting for creating phrase loops (same as the Hold function on the original DD-3)
- Direct output for sending dry and wet sounds to separate amps
- Main and direct output jacks now positioned on one side of the pedal
This cheap yellow beauty has blown people away. It has over 1600 reviews and has a 4.5 star rating. It is much, much cheaper than the Boss pedal above, but still packs a punch. It is small and portable, and does not take up much room on a pedal board. Good things really do come in small, yellow packages.
- Analog delay
- Made of aluminium alloy
- Transparent tone
- 20-620 millisecond delay
Some reviewers say there’s a hum when it’s plugged in.
Others mentioned a volume drop when it was turned on.
This highly-rated delay pedal is even cheaper than the Donner. It comes in a variety of different color finishes, so you can personalize your pedal board. A 4.5 star rating with over 800 reviews can leave you confident that you are getting a delay pedal that works.
- Digital delay
- Integrated Noise Reduction: developed with the code to reduce noise swells common with digital delay circuits
- Made of aluminum alloy with stoving varnish finish.
- 20-600 millisecond delay
Some reviewers say it sounds muddy.
This analog delay pedal is another pricey pedal, but many reviewers seem to think it is well worth it. It gives a rich, warm delay, due to the old-school analog technology. The delay has a natural analog feeling, as opposed to the potentially “harsh” digital delay.
- Analog delay
- Up to 600 milliseconds of delay time
- Modulation controls emulate tape echo tones
- Bucket-brigade technology
One reviewer says echo/delay effects are only “middling” quality
A little more pricey than the previous two delay pedals
This is another extremely budget-friendly delay pedal that is very highly rated. It uses vintage analog delay for a clear, plump, and smooth delay effect.
- Analog delay
- 600ms of maximum delay time and feedback
- 25-600 millisecond delay
- Bucket brigade delay
- Small and lightweight
- Made of aluminum alloy, full metal case, sturdy stomp switch
- Comes in a variety of colors
Some reviewers mentioned a hiss or buzz when using it
This delay pedal is Amazon’s #1 pick for the best delay pedal you can buy. It is small yet multifunctional and packed with all kinds of features. It is more expensive than other delay pedals, but with all those extra features, it is worth it if you can afford the splurge.
- Analog delay
- Killer Sound Quality – The Signal to Noise ratio is around 103 dB
- True Bypass and Trails. – The Empress Tape Delay Pedal employs true bypass, or you can choose to use buffered bypass with trails
- Small Size – The enclosure measures approximately 4.5″ by 3.5″ by 1.5″, which is delightfully small when considering all the features packed into this unit
- 3 flavors of tape age to let you choose how dark and gritty the repeats will get
- filter and modulation controls to allow for even more fine tuning.
- Tap tempos with ratio multiplier mean rhythms like dotted eights are all at your fingertips.
- Presets can store all your settings and be recalled at the touch of a button, making switching live fast and easy.
What is a delay pedal and why do you need one?
A delay pedal is a tool that is used to copy and repeat some of the notes you just played in a kind of echo. Many guitarists use delay pedals to add cool effects and depth to their music. It is a fun little accessory to have, and can make playing guitar more exciting and interesting than it already is.
There are two types of delay pedal, analog and digital.
Analog vs digital
Analog delays use a “Bucket Brigade” chip which gives a distinctive dark, richer sound. Analog delays have more character, but are less perfect. Delay times will also be shorter than with a digital delay.
Digital delays use binary code (0s and 1s) to duplicate the sound you just played. Digital delays are generally more pristine and brighter. Digital delays can be more versatile and add other effects as well. However, since they lack the character of analog delays, many people prefer analog. It all comes down to what you are looking for in a delay pedal and what you plan on using it for.
Things to keep in mind when buying a delay pedal
The first thing to keep in mind when buying a delay pedal is price. As you can see from this list, prices for delay pedals can range from twenty dollars to a few hundred dollars. Keep in mind what you want your delay pedal for – are you just a hobbyist playing around? Are you an aspiring professional musician who will use the delay pedal on gigs? Do you want something that is decent quality but won’t break the bank? And then decide how much money it makes sense for you to spend on a pedal.
The next thing to consider is size. Most delay pedals are pretty small, but some may be larger, especially if they come loaded with other features. How much room do you have on your pedal board for a delay pedal? How mobile does your pedal need to be? Are you going to be dragging it with you to gigs all over, or is it staying in your basement? These are the types of things you need to think about when deciding what size delay pedal to get.
Another thing to consider is if the delay pedal has any other cool features besides for just delay. The Empress Effects Tape Delay, mentioned above, lets you choose the delay speed, save presets, and more. Look closely at the delay pedal you are considering buying, and see what features it comes with. You never know what fun effects you may be able to add to your playing by getting a delay pedal with additional features. It definitely is worth keeping in mind when looking at all the various delay pedals that are out there.
Next point to think about: does your desired pedal only come in one color? What color finish do you want for it? Do you want it a clean, neat gray or black, or a fun pop of color? Maybe you can get one that matches your guitar, or that is in the color of your band logo. If you are getting a cheap pedal, buy a few in a few different colors, so you can always use the color pedal that matches your mood. Get creative, and have fun deciding what color you want to get.
The last thing to remember when buying a delay pedal is that most delay pedals do not come with a power adaptor cord. You will need to buy a cord separately. That is an additional expense to add to the price of the pedal, so you might want to consider buying a slightly more expensive delay pedal that comes with a cord, rather than a cheaper one without a cord. (Although even many higher end pedals don’t come with cords, so it’s not a hard-and-fast rule that more expensive = comes with a power cord.)
If your desired pedal does not come with a cord, you can buy one on Amazon at the same time you are buying your pedal. You want to buy something like this one. If you want a cord that plugs into only one pedal, not multiple, then check out this one.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into choosing which delay pedal you should buy. Whether you are going for a deep analog delay, or a crisp digital delay; whether you want to go cheap, or splurge and buy an expensive pedal; whether you want just a delay pedal, or some extra features to go with it; whether you want a unique color or not; whether you want to have to buy a separate power cord. These are all things to keep in mind when buying a delay pedal.
After looking at all of these superb options,, we recommend the industry-standard Boss delay pedal. If it is industry standard, it must be awesome, right? It is a quality digital delay pedal, and should serve you well.
Hopefully this deep dive into different delay pedal options will help make your decision-making process easier. And at the end of the day, you will buy yourself a quality, fun delay pedal that you will be able to enjoy and jam with for awhile.
If you want a guitar to play along with the delay pedal, check out the best electric guitars under 300 dollars!