Best Delay Pedals 2023: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

In the ever-evolving world of guitar gear, delay pedals have consistently remained a staple for players across genres. From the warm echoes of vintage tape machines to the crystal-clear repeats of modern digital devices, delay effects offer a sonic palette that can transport listeners through time and space. 

As we press through 2023, the market is brimming with innovative and versatile delay pedals, each boasting unique features and tonal characteristics. Whether you’re a seasoned guitarist seeking to upgrade your pedalboard or a newbie on the hunt for your first delay pedal, our comprehensive guide will navigate you through the best offerings this year. 

Dive in as we explore the nuances, features, and applications of the top delay pedals of 2023.

BOSS DD-8 Digital Delay

Brand: BOSS

Model: DD-8 Digital Delay

MSRP: $189.99

Boss DD8 Digital Delay


  • 11 versatile delay modes
  • Up to 10 seconds of delay time with tap tempo input
  • True stereo I/O with three selectable output modes
  • Built-in looper with up to 40 seconds of recording time
  • External control support with footswitches or an expression pedal
  • Unique Twist function for each delay mode

What Makes It Unique: The DD-8 is the most advanced BOSS compact series delay, offering a diverse sonic range from basic digital delay to rich ambient textures.

Best For: Players seeking a versatile and comprehensive delay solution.

Worst For: Those who prefer a simpler, more straightforward delay.

Player Analysis: The BOSS DD-8 is perfect for players who want a wide range of delay options in a single pedal. Its versatility makes it suitable for various genres, from rock to ambient soundscapes.

Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy

Brand: Electro-Harmonix

Model: Deluxe Memory Boy

MSRP: $194

electro harmonix deluxe memory boy


  • Tap Tempo
  • Expression pedal input for flexible control
  • Triangle and square wave modulation with adjustable rate and depth
  • Selectable chorus or vibrato modulations rates
  • Choose between triangle or square modulation waveforms

What Makes It Unique: The Deluxe Memory Boy carries the heritage of its ancestors but adds modern features suitable for today’s players.

Best For: Players looking for classic analog delay sounds with modern features.

Worst For: Those seeking a purely digital delay experience.

Player Analysis: This pedal is a treat for players who love the warmth of analog delays but want the convenience of modern features like tap tempo. It’s great for creating atmospheric and vintage tones.

Empress Effects Echosystem Dual Delay

Brand: Empress Effects

Model: Echosystem Dual Delay

MSRP: $494

empress effects echosystem


  • Dual-engine delay
  • 12+ delay modes
  • Advanced configuration mode for tweaking and tuning various parameters
  • 35 presets
  • True bypass and buffered bypass

What Makes It Unique: The Echosystem offers two independent delay engines that can be used separately or together.

Best For: Players who want to craft complex delay patterns and textures.

Worst For: Those who prefer a more straightforward delay setup.

Player Analysis: The Echosystem is for the sonic adventurer. With its dual-engine setup, players can craft intricate delay patterns, making it perfect for ambient and experimental genres.

Strymon El Capistan V2 Tape Delay

Brand: Strymon

Model: El Capistan V2 Tape Delay

MSRP: $379

strymon el capistan v2


  • Vintage tape echo emulation
  • Three different tape machine types
  • Sound on sound looping
  • Spring reverb
  • Full MIDI implementation
  • True/Buffered Bypass

What Makes It Unique: El Capistan provides the warm, saturated qualities of vintage tape echo with modern features and flexibility.

Best For: Players seeking the authentic sound of tape echo with the convenience of a pedal.

Worst For: Those who want a purely digital delay sound.

Player Analysis: El Capistan is perfect for players who want the vintage vibe of tape delays. Its rich magnetic tape echo tones are complemented by modern features, making it a favorite among many professionals.

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

Brand: MXR

Model: M169 Carbon Copy

MSRP: $149.99

mxr m169 carbon copy analog delay


  • Up to 600ms of delay time
  • Modulation controls emulate tape echo tones
  • True hardwire bypass
  • Bright blue LEDs
  • Two internal trim pots for user-adjustable width and rate control of the modulation

What Makes It Unique: The MXR Carbon Copy is renowned for its rich analog delay, delivering a warm, vintage delay sound that many guitarists crave. The added modulation feature allows players to add a slight shimmer or a deeper warble to their delay, reminiscent of classic tape echo machines.

Best For: Players looking for a straightforward, no-nonsense analog delay with the added flavor of modulation.

Worst For: Those who require digital precision or extensive delay shaping options.

Player Analysis: The MXR M169 Carbon Copy is a favorite among many guitarists due to its simplicity and the warm, organic delay tones it produces. It’s perfect for players who want a reliable and classic sounding delay without the need to navigate complex menus or settings. Whether you’re playing blues, rock, or ambient soundscapes, the Carbon Copy can find a place on your pedalboard.

Dunlop Echoplex Delay

Brand: Dunlop

Model: Echoplex Delay

MSRP: $149.99

dunlop echoplex delay


  • Up to 750ms of delay time
  • Age control adjusts delay tone from pristine to dark and dirty
  • Tap tempo functionality
  • True bypass
  • Sound of the legendary Echoplex EP-3 tape echo unit
  • “Wow and flutter” characteristics for authentic vintage sounds

What Makes It Unique: The Dunlop Echoplex Delay is designed to emulate the iconic sounds of the Echoplex EP-3 tape echo unit, one of the most sought-after vintage delay units. The pedal captures the warmth and modulations of old tape echo machines, giving players the classic sound without the maintenance issues of the original units.

Best For: Guitarists seeking the vintage tape echo sound in a modern, pedalboard-friendly format.

Worst For: Players who want a crystal-clear digital delay or extensive sound-shaping options.

Player Analysis: The Dunlop Echoplex Delay is for those who cherish the nostalgic tones of classic rock and other vintage genres. Its authentic replication of the EP-3’s characteristics makes it a favorite for players wanting to capture the sounds of yesteryears. From subtle ambiance to pronounced repeats, the Echoplex Delay offers a range of tones that can enhance any musical style. Whether you’re a classic rocker or an ambient soundscape artist, this pedal can deliver the vintage echo tones you’re after.

JHS Pedals The Milkman

Brand: JHS Pedals

Model: The Milkman

MSRP: $179.99

jhs pedals the milkman


  • Slap delay and boost in one pedal
  • Up to 240ms of delay time
  • Dedicated boost control to add volume or push an amp
  • Mix control to blend in the desired amount of slap-back
  • True bypass

What Makes It Unique: The Milkman is a collaboration between JHS Pedals and Milkman Sound, aiming to deliver the perfect slap-back echo that’s reminiscent of vintage tape delays. Additionally, it offers a boost function, making it a versatile tool for both echo and volume enhancement.

Best For: Guitarists looking for a classic slap-back echo for rockabilly, country, or vintage tones, and those who need a boost function without adding another pedal to their board.

Worst For: Players seeking extensive delay shaping options or very long delay times.

Player Analysis: JHS Pedals The Milkman is a unique blend of simplicity and functionality. For players who love the sound of old-school rock ‘n’ roll or country twang, the slap-back echo this pedal provides is a dream come true. The added boost function makes it even more versatile, allowing guitarists to elevate their solos or push their amps into overdrive. It’s a compact solution for those who want vintage tones without the hassle of vintage gear.

EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master V3

Brand: EarthQuaker Devices

Model: Dispatch Master V3

MSRP: $199

earthquaker devices dispatch master v3


  • Combination of digital delay and reverb
  • Up to 1.5 seconds of delay time
  • Crystal-clear repeats and lush reverbs
  • True bypass
  • Four knobs: Time, Repeats, Reverb, and Mix
  • Silent relay-based soft-touch switching

What Makes It Unique: The Dispatch Master V3 is known for its pristine sound quality and its ability to produce both expansive soundscapes and tight ambiance. It’s one of the best-selling EarthQuaker Devices pedals due to its versatility and the beautiful ambient tones it can produce.

Best For: Players looking for a high-quality delay and reverb in one compact pedal. It’s perfect for ambient, post-rock, and shoegaze genres, but versatile enough for any style.

Worst For: Those who want separate control over extensive delay and reverb parameters or are seeking a purely analog sound.

Player Analysis: The EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master V3 is a favorite among ambient and experimental guitarists due to its ability to craft vast sonic landscapes. Its intuitive controls make it easy to dial in the perfect amount of space, whether you’re looking for a subtle echo or a cavernous reverb. For players who want to add depth and dimension to their sound without complicating their setup, the Dispatch Master V3 is an excellent choice. Its combination of delay and reverb in one pedal also makes it a valuable space-saver on a crowded pedalboard.

Keeley ECCOS Delay/Looper

Brand: Keeley

Model: ECCOS Delay/Looper

MSRP: $249

keeley eccos delay Looper


  • Vintage tape flanged modulation
  • Studio-quality digital delay with analog warmth
  • 3 memory slots for storing presets
  • True stereo with left and right outputs
  • Up to 120 seconds of loop recording with infinite overdubs
  • Tap tempo with a subdivision feature

What Makes It Unique: The ECCOS is not just a delay or looper; it’s a true tape echo and looper with Keeley’s signature craftsmanship. It uses a unique Quad 24/56-bit Dream DSP, ensuring high-fidelity sound and precise modulation.

Best For: Players who want a combination of high-quality delay and looping capabilities in one pedal. It’s ideal for crafting ambient soundscapes, intricately layered solos, or experimental sounds.

Worst For: Those who prefer separate pedals for each function or are looking for a basic, no-frills delay.

Player Analysis: The Keeley ECCOS Delay/Looper is a dream tool for the modern guitarist. Its tape echo emulation provides warm, vintage-inspired repeats, while the looper function allows for extensive layering and sound building. With Keeley’s reputation for quality and durability, players can be assured of a pedal that not only sounds fantastic but is also built to last. Whether you’re a solo performer looking to add layers to your live performances or a studio musician seeking the perfect delay tone, the ECCOS has something to offer.

TC Electronic Flashback 2 X4 Delay and Looper

Brand: TC Electronic

Model: Flashback 2 X4

MSRP: $229

TC Electronic Flashback 2X4


  • 10 delay types, including the famous 2290 sound
  • 6 slots for TonePrint delays tailored by famous guitarists
  • 40-second looper with infinite sound-on-sound recording
  • True bypass or buffered bypass
  • Analog-dry-through design ensures your dry sound remains untouched
  • Tap tempo and 3 preset banks for instant recall of settings

What Makes It Unique: The Flashback 2 X4 combines the best of TC Electronic’s delay sounds with an intuitive and powerful looping function. The TonePrint technology allows players to beam custom-tuned settings from their smartphone into the pedal, offering a vast range of sounds.

Best For: Guitarists who want a versatile delay pedal with the added functionality of looping. It’s suitable for players of all genres, from ambient to rock.

Worst For: Those who prefer a more straightforward, single-function delay pedal.

Player Analysis: The TC Electronic Flashback 2 X4 is a powerhouse of delay and looping. Its extensive range of delay sounds, from vintage tape echoes to modern digital delays, combined with the ability to store and instantly recall presets, makes it a favorite among professionals and hobbyists alike. The added looper function, with its generous 40-second recording time, makes it an invaluable tool for live performers and songwriters. Whether you’re crafting ambient soundscapes, laying down rhythm tracks, or just experimenting with sound, the Flashback 2 X4 has the versatility and quality to elevate your playing.

The Echoes of Excellence

Navigating the vast realm of delay pedals can be a daunting task, but armed with the right knowledge, finding the perfect match becomes a journey of sonic discovery. 2023 has presented us with a plethora of remarkable delay pedals, each catering to specific needs and musical aspirations.

From the vintage warmth of analog emulations to the expansive horizons of digital delays, there’s a pedal out there for every guitarist. As you sculpt your sound and carve out your musical identity, remember that the right delay can be the bridge between the ordinary and the ethereal. Here’s to endless echoes, ambient landscapes, and the timeless magic of delay. Happy playing!