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Best Delay Pedal 2024: 10+ With Acres Of Delicious Tone!!

What is the best delay pedal of all time? What delay does Gilmour use? We investigate...

Choosing a delay pedal is easy, but choosing the best delay pedal – that’s something else altogether.

See, shop around for the right delay & you’ll soon realise that finding it, is a lot trickier than you might think. It certainly comes with its hurdles! Because aside from the fact that every pedal manufacturer under the sun is now making their version of the ‘best’ delay pedal, there’s also the rather confusing thought that delay isn’t just a standalone effect. It comes in various types, tones & forms.

All things you’d be wise to be aware of before investing your £$€. Let’s just say that not all types of delay suit every guitar or playing style. Neither will every pedal give you the freedom you need to achieve your desired sound. So really, by not doing your research you’re shooting yourself in the foot – leaving it to a lucky dip.

Question is then, what is the best delay pedal for your style of play? And is delay actually that important?? Read on & we’ll reveal all…

After something specific about choosing a delay pedal? Or just curious what we consider to be the best delay pedal? Use the menu below to get all the answers you need in 1 click…

NOTE: Curious about more than just delay pedals? Be sure to check out our Review Of The Best Distortion Pedal + our rundown of the Best Guitar Pedals.

Choosing the best delay pedal – it wasn’t all that easy… until now.

See, we’ve actually done 99% of the legwork for you. Aside from narrowing down hundreds of pedals, we’ve also assessed which pedals best fit what scenario & given you a taste of how we’d use them if it was us behind the guitar.

So sit back, relax & grab yourself a cuppa – because here’s our rundown of the best delay pedals for sale today…

ALL CONTENT IS WRITTEN BY OUR IN-HOUSE AUTHORS & BASED ON REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE. WE MAY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU BUY THROUGH THIS SITE.

1: TC Electronic Flashback 2

2: Walrus Audio Mako Series D1

3: Behringer VD400 vintage delay

4: Walrus Audio ARP 87

5: NUX Duotime deluxe

6: Jim Dunlop MXR Carbon Copy (analog delay)

7: Fender Mirror Image

8: Way Huge Supa-Puss (analog delay)

9: JHS Pedals 3 Series

10: Mad Professor effects pedal

11: Universal Audio UAFX Starlight

In the case you’re also hunting for reverb, then it may make sense to combine the two.

Not only is a ‘2-in-1’ type pedal a great way to preserve space on your pedalboard, but because reverb & delay are pretty similar types of effects, it also makes a good deal of sense. Team that with the potential saving you can achieve, & these sorts of pedals (especially for a beginner) make so much sense.

In which case, here’s what we deem to be the best delay/ reverb combo pedal you can buy as of now…

12: Fender Reflecting Pool (delay & reverb)

We get it – while boutique pedals are great & arguably the ‘best-of-the-best’, not every guitarist has the budget to invest in pedals made by the likes of Walrus Audio or Jim Dunlop. In fact, to do so when starting out would be a bit foolish.

See, as a beginner, you don’t really know 100% what type of effects suit you, nor your playing style. So spending £100+ on a boutique pedal straight off the bat, would be a bit ‘hopeful’. By that we mean, budget pedals are a great (& sensible) way to get a feel for your sound as a beginner.

Out of all pedals we tested, here’s what we deem to be the best budget delay pedal…

13: Fender Hammertone

Ah, you see – this is tricky.

With metal typically being a lot more ‘hardcore’ (i.e. aggressive) than conventional rock or pop, chances are you’ll want all the pedals on your board (including your delay) to reflect that. After all, making metal with the same pedals used to create a pop tune isn’t exactly what you’d call a recipe for success.

So if you’re looking to achieve a slightly more aggressive tone, here’s what we consider to be the best delay pedal for metal…

14: Boss DM-2W Waza Craft

Enjoy this review of the best delay pedal & keen for more? Jump into all our latest Guitar Pedal Gossip, as well as our thoughts on the Latest Music Production Tech. Recently, we also did a rundown of the Best Multi Effects Pedal + another on the Best Wah Pedals, which may also be a good read!

Or, if you’re here purely to learn more about delay pedals, don’t stop here – keep reading & we’ll answer even more of your burning questions…

A delay pedal a form of Stompbox effect (found on most pedalboards), which when you really drill down to it, is simply used to record & replay music. Yep – that’s in essence what a delay pedal is. A digital tape recorder.

One that works to give you a delayed & slightly echoed response – i.e. take your dry guitar signal & replay it back over & over & over again, depending on how long you specific the delay to be. A process that happens in just milliseconds! 

NOTE: Delay pedals are NOT the same as reverb! While delay pedals record your input & replay it multiple times, a reverb pedal enhances the core sound  – there’s no replaying involved. However both do create a noticeable echo. For a more in depth comparison, see the next FAQ.

And as for importance, delay affects aren’t just nice to have. In fact, for many guitarists (including a few famous faces) they’re a key part of their signal chain. Delay is also responsible for some of the most well-known guitar pieces of all time, including Welcome To The Jungle by Guns & Roses + Echoes by Pink Floyd.

There’s often debate about the difference between delay and reverb. Some guitarists use both, & yet others are very particular about which ones they pick. But you see, despite on the face of it sounding pretty similar, reverb and delay are actually quite different in their own right.

For starters, delay is a recording effect while reverb is an enhancement. Use a delay pedal & what are you affectively doing, is recording your core signal & replaying it multiple times over. It’s this what creates the noticeable echo you get with a delay pedal. Reverb however, is slightly different.

So while delay focuses on recording your sound, reverb focuses on enhancing your raw (i.e. dry) input. All of which means that reverb would be your pedal of choice if you were looking to make the sound appear ‘larger’ than it is. If you want it to sound like you are recording in a giant concert hall, reverb is 100% the way to go! However, if you just after creating a slight echo – perhaps to add a bit more depth to the sound, or make it a bit more three-dimensional – then delay would probably be your pedal of choice.

In the end though, both these pedals are great ways of amplifying your sound, & whichever you choose, you’ll no doubt find a LOT of uses for it. There’s certainly no rule against using both either; if used well, delay & reverb can function VERY well together as part of a pedalboard! Hence why if you’re at all unsure about the “delay VS reverb” debate, we’d encourage you to jump in the deep end & try out both.

Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? You learn something new, & return the pedal that doesn’t suit your needs. Sounds like a win-win to us!!

When it comes to choosing a delay pedal, there’s a few things to bear in mind. As you’ll very quickly gather from reading reviews, no to delay pedals are the same. In fact, many come with their own quirks and features. So, to help you choose the best delay pedal for your set up first time round, here’s just a few pointers on what makes a great delay pedal…

  • Level of control – The main thing to note when buying a delay pedal is that each one offers its own level of control; the level of features/ depth of integration can differ quite substantially! So while some pedals may just be your standard delay pedal, others may give you more flexibility over your sound. Useful to know if you don’t already have a full pedalboard. 
  • Budget – As with buying pretty much anything, budget should also be on your radar. Reason being that, if you have a set budget, you want to be able to get the best value possible. So while a beginner may benefit from a budget friendly pedal, more professional players to upgrade in pursuit of extra features, improved sound & a more user-friendly interface – especially if pedals are going to be used for live gigs! But that’s not to say you should be consumed by price… a lot of beginner delays serve as real good value for £$€.
  • Build quality – As for anything you operate with your feet, this should be a major consideration. If you’re always ‘on the road’ then you should make build quality ‘the’ no1 thing on your agenda! Reason being that not all delay pedals are made with longevity in mind; a lot of budget pedals you see aimed at beginners, are designed to really just give you a flavour of delay – i.e. suffice & show you the ropes until you choose to upgrade. So be sure to pay attention the metal type & the quality of the operating gear before you buy!

Yes – the legend David Gilmour does indeed use delay!

In fact, Gilmour developed a slight obsession with the effect. Anyone who’s a keen Pink Floyd listener will know that. And that’s because, Gilmour doesn’t use the delay in a conventional sense. So rather than using it as an occasional echo every now & again, Gilmour treats it like a reverb, using it to create long sustaining echo throughout many of his songs.

During his early days, Gilmour was known to use the iconic Bison Echorec delay/ echo machine – one of the best delay pedals of its day! That was before he switched up to the MXR Digital Delay for his work with Pink Floyd. 

FUN FACT: The MXR is the pedal used to create the long-lasting echo in the song, ‘The Wall”.

Eddie Van Helen has used various delay pedals in his time – you could call him a delay fanatic!

His early work mainly features the Maestro Echoplex Delay. Something he makes use of across various projects, namely “Van Halen” & “Van Halen II.” Before using his Marshall amp especially, he made great use of this delay pedal.

Something Van Helen used to do to prevent the guitar signal being obscured by the delay – even when it was heavily overdriven – was to blend the delay’s gain with that of his guitars. A technique he actually invented!

While Boss do make some of the best guitar pedals in the business – they’re popular for a reason – to conclude that Boss pedals are the best & end it there, would be a bit naive. Really how good a pedal is, all depends on…

  • How you intend to use it – especially if it’s got to work with the rest of your pedalboard
  • Your perception of quality – for the price, Boss pedals feel solid, but they’re certainly not the most solid out there.
  • What sound/ effect you’re after – Boss pedals offer a good amount of features/ adjustability, however you can find more on other delays.

So while if we were to buy a delay pedal, one by Boss would be on our shortlist, we wouldn’t say Boss pedals are for everyone. Yes, they’re good all-rounder & pretty much come with all you need & more if you’re a budding beginner. But, when it comes to how good they are, that’s ultimately something you need to decide for yourself.

The easiest way to do so, would be to just give a bus delay pedal a chance. Buy one today & what’s the worst that could happen? You try it out – make a decision & if you don’t like it, return it. Do so & if you’re a bit ‘on the fence’ at least this way you can come to a conclusive answer.

PS/ The only real downside we can find with a Boss delay is that the pedal is that (in order to activate tap tempo) the pedal must be depressed for 2 seconds. Something that if you’re a true delay-nut, could hamper your experience, but bar that you can take our word for it that Boss delay pedals are up there with some of the best.

Yes & no.

See, while an echo pedal and a delay pedal have a LOT in common, at the core, they are different. This really all comes back to how they function. While a delay pedal does much as the name suggests – creates a delay of the source signal – an echo pedal produces a time-shifted copy. Something that helps echo pedals sound that bit more ambient than delay.

Now of course, whether this is a good thing or not, really all depends on how you plan to use a pedal. If you’re after an ‘echoey’ sound the fades away, then echo would probably be the best choice. Whereas, if you’re just after simple way to elongate your sound & edit the volume/ other effects in post production, then a delay would probably more than suffice. 

Hate to break it to you, but… no.

See, while both a looper & a delay record sound, they play it back slightly differently. All of which, makes one an ambient effect & the other more of a tool. 

Delay pedals playback sound purely for effect. Playback can be tweaked on the individual settings for each pedal – these include things such as: attack, gain etc. Something that helps to give a guitar tone that bit extra depth & body. Not really an area where loopers are focused, as they’re less about tone & more about control.

Loopers are all about layering sounds. Think of them as a glorified tape recorder. You feed them sound, they record it & then allow you to play it back as many times as you like + fuse it with other sounds. Another way to think of them would be an ‘on the go’ mixing device. Those who’ve watched Ed Sheeran perform live will know all about how a looper can help an instrumentalist build up a track. 

Speaking of which, that’s arguably the main difference between delay pedals & loopers. Delay pedals (even the best ones) are more than often aimed purely at guitarists. You don’t see many other artists using them. Whereas loop stations are used by all sorts of instrumentalists, right from guitarists & stage performers, to DJs & music producers. 

FYI: If you like the sound of both delay pedals & loopers, then you can find some delays with loopers built in. They may set you back a bit more £$€, but they are in effect 2 pedals in 1. Useful to know if you’ve got a small pedalboard.

When it comes to the ‘delay vs reverb – which comes first?’ debate, there really is no right or wrong answer. That’s right – it all comes down to personal preference. 

To get a grasp of why + understand the differences that the order of your signal chain can have on your sound, be sure to check out the handy explainer below…

YouTube video