Best Delay Pedals Of 2018 – Buyer’s Guide And Reviews

A delay pedal is something that every guitarist should own. They can be great for adding just the tiniest little slapback to your playing, or you can use them to create lusher, fatter sounds that work great in combination with other pedals due to how subtle they can be. 

Actually finding the right delay pedal for you is a different story, so we’ve put together a collection of our five favourites. 

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Delay Pedals On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What should you be looking in a delay pedal?

Vintage or contemporary?

First things first, decide if you want to go vintage or contemporary. Analogue delay pedals are excellent for the vintage tone, although there are some digital options that offer a great alternative with more flexibility. 

What's your budget?

Budget should also be something you seriously consider. Just because a pedal is expensive doesn’t make it better, and in fact some of the cheapest delay pedals are incredibly popular amongst guitarists of all skill levels and budgets simply because they love the sound. 

A few other things to keep in mind are if you’ll be travelling a lot, and whether you’ll want stereo outputs. If you are going to be gigging and using your delay pedal a lot, make sure it’s tough enough to stand up to the daily grind!

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. 

1. Behringer Vintage Delay VD400

BEHRINGER VINTAGE DELAY VD400

A cheap and cheerful delay pedal that does the job without breaking the bank. Like most Behringer pedals, it’s closely modelled on another. In this case the pedal is a clone of a Boss analog delay pedal.

  • ​Very budget friendly
  • Large stompbox style on/off switch
  • Separate wet and dry outputs

  • ​Plastic casing makes it rather more fragile than most effects pedals
  • Uses battery power very quickly
  • Short delay time maximum

Let's take a look at this product...


2. MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

Perhaps one of the best emulations of the old school tape delay recording method. The effect is very cleanly created, with zero buzzing or noise. The nice thing about the M169 pedal is that you have a modulation button which can also be further tweaked using internal pots so that you can get the right balance of depth and rate. 

  • ​Customisable modulation controls
  • Battery power option
  • True bypass

  • ​Delay is limited to 600ms
  • Regen dial quickly maxes out usefulness before reaching fully clockwise

Let's take a look at this product...


3. TC Electronic Flashback 2 Delay Pedal

TC Electronic Flashback 2 Delay Effects Pedal

The Flashback 2 Delay pedal is one of the few that brings anything new or exciting to the world of delay effects. Instead of having a standard bypass switch, you’re treated to a pressure-sensitive plate that functions as an expression pedal. There are plenty of other great things here too.

There are a huge range of different settings, from old school tape to modulation, which can be further increased by using the TC Electronic TonePrint software. The Flashback 2 builds on and improves from the original Flashback in several ways, but also loses one of the more popular features: tap tempo.

  • ​Built in expression pedal lets you use delay in a very unique manner
  • Stereo input and output
  • TonePrint compatible

  • ​No battery power option
  • If you want to use tap tempo delay you’ll need to buy a separate pedal with this functionality
  • One of the more expensive delay pedals

Let's take a look at this product...


4. Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal (Editor's Choice)

Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal

Now before you all go crazy at us for daring to include a digital delay, it’s worth remembering that digital effects can offer a lot more than they used to. The Boss DD-7 delay pedal is one of the best digital delay pedals you can find, and is capable of outperforming analogue delays in several different areas. For a start, you can have a ludicrous 3200ms delay, and a very simple method of setting your tempo without needing your hands free.

  • ​Hands free use for changing delay style
  • Multiple modes including modulation
  • Extremely sturdy construction
  • Stereo input and outputs

  • ​Another fairly expensive delay pedal, although the robust build and additional functionality compared to more basic models justifies this
  • Battery drains quite fast

Let's take a look at this product...


5. Joyo JF-08 Digital Delay Effect Pedal

Joyo JF-08 Digital Delay Effect Pedal

This is both one of the most budget friendly and popular delay effects pedals you can buy. It’s on the more basic side, although that is to be expected at this price. Interestingly, Joyo have gone to the effort of making an attractive looking design and the construction is fairly solid, however the knobs do have a sort of ‘cheap’ feel to them, it’s unlikely that they will be an issue in anyway unless you’re handling it like a drunken gorilla. 

  • ​Extremely affordable makes it an excellent first delay pedal
  • Simple control and digital circuits make it easy for beginners to use
  • True bypass

  • ​Mono input and output
  • No modulation or alternative modes
  • Maximum 500ms delay

Let's take a look at this product...


Conclusion 

If you need to keep your budget tight, you’ve got two great options in the Behringer VD400 and the Joyo JF-08. The addition of separate wet/dry outputs gives the Behringer a slight edge here too, but the sturdier Joyo might be safer to rely on for long term gig use.

Of course, if you’re happy to spend a little more to get a little more, you’ve got three very different options. The TC Electronic Flashback 2 has the intriguing expression pedal built in, although it’s worth trying this out before you buy to see if you’re able to focus on it properly when you’re in the middle of everything else going on. The additional customisation you get thanks to the TonePrint technology and the option of using not just one but three presets you can assign to anything you want makes it a very flexible delay pedal.

The Boss DD-7 is easily our favourite pick for the best delay pedal thanks to how cooperative the design is with live performance, although it’s not as varied as using the Flashback 2 with it’s TonePrint settings, you get more than enough on board to play with for a long time. 

If getting that vintage tape delay is what you’re looking for, the best bet for you is the MXR M169. It’s a sturdy workhorse, doing exactly what you want it to do, but not a whole lot else besides that. What makes it so great is that it doesn’t have any negative impact on your tone and is quite specialised, so it does what it does well.

Image Credits:
Featured image source: j.sutt / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ben is our resident music expert and spends most of his time playing in alt rock bands in his adopted home of Spain.

When he’s not jamming, or tanning himself on the beach, he’s writing super in depth articles for zinginstruments mainly around guitar, bass guitar and songwriting,

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