Best Delay Pedals to Help Boost Creativity on Guitars 

 July 15, 2021

By  Zen Chung

The delay pedals, also known as reverb pedals, can be an important tool for guitarists in every genre of music. Whether you are a rhythm player hoping to add some crucial dimension to your refrains or a lead guitarist looking to add motion to your solos, a delay is indeed one of the most vital effects you can add to your pedalboard. With the best delay pedals and the right settings dialed in, you can achieve the sound you desire.

A delay pedal usually covers several tonal embellishments, from soft slapback echo to other sophisticated oceans of ambient fascination. The effects can finely color the tone of the performance, or you can use it to drive force behind a sound and song's composition. A delay, fully wet with a single repeat, is a prompt psych solo machine; however, these are just some of many ideas that you can experiment with when you get one of the best delay pedals.

Delay pedals have evolved vastly throughout the decades, and there are many different options available to choose from. We have, however, compiled reviews for the best delay pedal models that you should feel free to try out. Keep reading!


1. TC Electronic Flashback 2 (960823001) Delay Guitar Effects Pedal

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If you are searching for the best versatile delay pedals, our recommendation is the TC Electronic Flashback 2 Delay Pedal. This delay pedal offers some truly lush-sounding delays and has a user-friendly design. It is also updatable through USB and allows you to beam TonePrints through your smartphone. Besides, it is worth mentioning that this delay pedal packs the company's whole delay legacy into a single compact and budget-friendly stompbox that is designed for now and the future.

This analog delay pedal utilizes MASH technology that can have different controls assigned to it, like adding bursts of intensity to your level of feedback. It also adds an expression pedal to a world-class delay stompbox that reacts to your touch and saves pedalboard space. Besides, the pedal's TonePrint competence allows you to switch out the type of delay sounds you want, from dark tape delays to more innovative modulated sounds.

This delay pedal has compact size and is lightweight, weighing only 0.95 pounds or 0.43 kilograms. Moreover, users love this model since it provides some smart upgrades to its simple predecessor.


  • Has compact size.
  • Lightweight delay pedal.
  • Versatile delay pedal.
  • Updatable through USB and allows you to beam TonePrints through your smartphone.


  • You can't access new sounds without TonePrint.

2. MXR Carbon Copy (M169) Delay Pedal

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You can bet on the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal for one of the best delay pedals that offer superbly distinct sounds. The pedal delay comes with an authentic analog audio path and Bucket Brigade (BB) delay technology important for producing dark tones. It also uses a regen function that helps control the repetitions with dry or wet blend and delay. Moreover, it makes an excellent delay tone with organic warmth, crisp slaps, and ace acoustics.

This analog delay comes with a 3-dial design that is versatile and perfect for country, surf, rockabilly, blues, Floydian progressive rock, rock and roll tones. Also, this unit allows you to improve the device's repeats with a modulation effect. You can easily modify the modulation effect with two inner trim pots. Besides, the effect is subtle, although it helps to add an extra dimension of depth to your tone.

The tone of this unit lies between vintage analog delays and more modern digital configurations, although it is an analog delay. These traits, therefore, helps increase the device's clarity, which also helps keep the modulation setting from washing out your tone. Nonetheless, the device doesn't have a dark tone that defines most vintage delays.


  • Compact design.
  • Features true bypass switching.
  • Comes with a wide range of parameters to control.
  • Warm for wide ambient soundscapes.


  • Doesn't have the tap tempo and tempo division switch.

3. Boss DM-2W Delay Pedal, Waza Craft

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If you are looking for one of the best delay pedals with a delay time, you can bet on the Boss DM-2W Delay Guitar Effects Pedal. This analog delay pedal features an expression pedal input which allows you to control the timing of the effect; therefore, you can decrease or increase the delay time while playing. It also comes with a custom/standard switch useful if you have darker (more mids and bass) voiced gear.

In custom mode, the device's repeats have a brighter tone (though analog), offer warm yet clear sound, and boost the maximum delay time to about 800 milliseconds. Conversely, in standard mode, the pedal functions like its predecessor, sporting a dark voice and a delay time of about 300 milliseconds.

This analog delay features a premium all-analog circuit with Bucket Brigade (BB) delay line. It also comes with additional outputs and inputs; output(mix) and direct output (dry signal). Furthermore, if you look forward to a piece of the legendary DM-2 pie, the DM-2W is the best option. Finally, the pedal is ideal for adding a pleasant, musical-sounding wash behind your playing with buffered bypass.


  • Features an expression input that allows you to control the timing of the effect.
  • It comes with a custom/standard switch, which is useful if you have darker voiced gear.
  • Comes with additional outputs and inputs.
  • You can control it by the expression pedal.


  • It lacks the clarity of a digital delay.

4. Boss DD-500 Digital Delay Guitar Pedal

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If you are searching for a versatile digital unit, you can count on; the Boss DD-500 Delay Guitar Pedal. The delay pedal offers 12 different delay modes, including tape echo and analog echoes. Every type of delay includes:

  • A modulation.
  • Semi-parametric four-band EQ.
  • Ducking.
  • Some other parameters allow you to dive deep and refine tones with maximum precise control.

Moreover, it features 297 patches that save your crafted tones with the added functionality of running two simultaneously.

This unit features a large display screen that fully supports the pedal's capabilities, allowing you to have clear visibility of delay time, patch ID, and more. You can connect to your PC through USB for patch backup and remote editing with the DD-500 Editor. Additionally, it comes with a tap-tempo footswitch which offers you the ability to freeze notes and manipulate delay rates into sonic infinity and a 120-second looper.

The Boss DD-500 delay pedal usually supports analog pass-through on the straights guitar tone, giving you an option of buffered or true-bypass operation. The buffered bypass strengthens the analog dry guitar signal and has added benefit of enabling carryover. Therefore, delay trails are not cut off oddly when turning the digital delay effects off or switching patches.


  • Versatile delay pedal.
  • Offer high-quality sound.
  • Switching patches is easy.
  • Features great tape echo and analog echo.


  • Shimmer mode isn't the strongest.

5. Strymon TimeLine Delay Pedal, (Multidimensional)

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If you prefer a digital delay pedal, we recommend you the Strymon Timeline Delay Pedal. This unit is one of the best digital delay pedals with a handcrafted studio-class delay that delivers meticulous and detailed delay experiences. This true bypass delay model comes with a slick user interface with a wide range of options accessible on the front panel. Furthermore, the unit comes with selectable trails mode with high quality, transparent analog buffered bypass, which is saveable per preset.

This digital delay includes a variety of delay models such as dual delay, digital, selectable repeat patterns, filter( filters either repeats or input like an auto-wah), tremolo(delay with tremolo), dBucket(recreation of analog delay), dTape( intricate modeling of tape delay), and lo-fi( sounds like a junky tape delay.

Although it is one of the great delay pedals, it is left behind in firmware updates compared to other digital delay pedal models.


  • An expressive versatile digital delay pedal.
  • Deliver meticulous and detailed delay experiences.
  • Features selectable trails mode.
  • A strong handcrafted delay pedal.


  • The firmware is not up to date.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Delay Pedals

1. Analog Vs. Digital delay

When shopping for the best delay pedal, you will come across analog and digital pedals. Some musicians prefer analog pedals, while others feel that digital models are the way to go. Analog delay pedals use electrical components to achieve the delayed sound. Besides the delay circuit, some of the components may include filters, modulation, or some compression. Conversely, modern digital delays use analog to digital conversion, meaning your delayed signal gets converted from an electrical signal to binary code to be processed with a microprocessor, then converted back to analog going out.

2. Stereo out Vs. Mono out

Delay pedals are usually available in two configurations, stereo out and mono out. Stereo out has two outputs. The main benefit of stereo is that you can operate two outputs to send it through two amplifiers, making it sound wider and fuller; however, it is an expensive setup. Conversely, mono output means that your pedal only has a single output. Nevertheless, it is simpler than stereo out, and while the sound is different from a stereo rig, it isn't either inferior.

3. Durability

You don't want to buy a delay pedal that won't last you long; therefore, include durability in your considerations, especially if you use the unit frequently for live performance. Nonetheless, if you intend to use the unit strictly for studio work, this opens up more options since the delay pedal will be less prone to wear and tear.

4. Delay effects

Delay effects are the signals sent through a reel to reel recorder, copied, and then played back a certain amount of times through a complicated tape machine set up after playing the original sound. Guitar pedals usually imitate this effect, thus offering you more control over their sounds and getting rid of the need for grand audio setups.

Furthermore, a delay effect allows you to accompany yourself and set up poly-rhythmic repeats ranging from dissonantly chaotic to bouncy melodic or vice versa. Also, it allows you to manipulate the amount of delay perfectly, speed of the sound playback, length of the delay, and the mi between the wet (with effect) and dry (no effect) signals; hence, players can dial in sound fitted to a specific song.

5. Delay controls

Delay controls usually have three controls: Delay Feedback, Delay Level, and Delay Time. These types of controls normally allow you to set the minimums for your delay. There are other crucial elements to consider depending on the type of delay effect you are looking for. Besides, controlling other aspects like filter, speed, depth, and more can give you much control over your tone.

6. Reverb/echo effects

When shopping for the best delay pedal, consider the reverb effects of the unit. An instance of natural reverb is the environmental changes of the sound in a large hall; you notice someone speaking out loud. As the name suggests, reverb provides reverberations of the instrument's sound, resulting in an echoing effect. Reverb/echo settings in recent guitar pedals usually imitate the classic reverb methods from the past days of studio recording and engineering when sounds were routed through springs and plates to produce a warm tone.

Most reverb/echo effects allow you to control the type, tone, and delay time. Furthermore, some of the best delay pedals combine different reverb/echo effects at once, allowing you to tweak the specifics of the settings and develop your unique sounds.

7. Looping effects

Most delay pedals come with a looping function which sets up a permanent repeated delay. The loop effects usually bring the concept of the "one-man-band" to life since you can build elaborate layers of sound in real-time, stacking tracks to accomplish a wall of sound, and it can be helpful in thickening up your guitar part. Therefore when shopping for the delay pedals, don't forget to remember this consideration.

Zen Chung

I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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