The Best Guitar Tuners

Whatever your skill level we all need to keep our instruments in tune. And it’s not just for our own benefit but our bandmates as well!

The Guitar tuner comes in various styles; the most common ones are:

  • Clip-on – typically these attach to the headstock and are budget friendly.
  • Automatic – most common hand-held ones attach to each peg.
  • Foot Pedal – as the name suggests… usually connected via a passthrough, unlike Clip-on & Automatic guitar tuners these have no microphones.

And yes, the online guitar tuner also exists, and for some this might be okay – but there are advantages of having a dedicated piece of kit integrated into your rig, for a start it’s always there – ensuring your always in tune. For me, the best guitar tuner is always going to be a purpose made unit.

The guitar tuners we’re reviewing fall into two categories:

  • Chromatic – these guitar tuners are great all-rounders – they allow you to tune to every note in the chromatic scale (all 12 notes between octaves).
  • Strobe – These are stroboscopes, i.e. operate using an array of lights that flash at a rate related to the frequency of the note being played. Very accurate (and typically come at a premium price).

The Best Guitar Tuner Comparison Table

Product
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin...
Fender "Bullet" Chromatic Tuner for Electric...
D'Addario Accessories Guitar Tuner (PW-CT-12)
Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome, Black
Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner (403884)
ROADIE 2 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner & String...
Style
Clip-on
Clip-on
Clip-on
Stand-alone
Pedal
Handheld Automatic
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Chromatic
Chromatic
Chromatic
Strobe
Chromatic
Display
Backlit Color LCD
LED Display
Backlit Color LCD
Backlit Monochrome LCD
Variable Color LED Backlight
OLED
Power Supply
1 x CR2032
2 x LR44 batteries
1 x CR2032
2 x AAA
1 x 9v
USB-C Rechargeable Lithium Battery
Instruments
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Violin
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Viola, Banjo
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukuleles
Guitar, Ukulele, Various Orchestral Instruments
Guitar, Bass, Steel Guitar, Bluegrass Instruments, Buzz Feiten Equipped Instruments, Orchestral, Harp, World
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 7 and 12-string Guitars, Ukeleles, Mandolins, Banjos
Prime Eligible
-
Product
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin...
Style
Clip-on
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Display
Backlit Color LCD
Power Supply
1 x CR2032
Instruments
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Violin
Prime Eligible
Price
Product
Fender "Bullet" Chromatic Tuner for Electric...
Style
Clip-on
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Display
LED Display
Power Supply
2 x LR44 batteries
Instruments
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Viola, Banjo
Prime Eligible
-
Price
Product
D'Addario Accessories Guitar Tuner (PW-CT-12)
Style
Clip-on
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Display
Backlit Color LCD
Power Supply
1 x CR2032
Instruments
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukuleles
Prime Eligible
Price
Product
Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome, Black
Style
Stand-alone
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Display
Backlit Monochrome LCD
Power Supply
2 x AAA
Instruments
Guitar, Ukulele, Various Orchestral Instruments
Prime Eligible
Price
Product
Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner (403884)
Style
Pedal
Tuner Type
Strobe
Display
Variable Color LED Backlight
Power Supply
1 x 9v
Instruments
Guitar, Bass, Steel Guitar, Bluegrass Instruments, Buzz Feiten Equipped Instruments, Orchestral, Harp, World
Prime Eligible
Price
Product
ROADIE 2 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner & String...
Style
Handheld Automatic
Tuner Type
Chromatic
Display
OLED
Power Supply
USB-C Rechargeable Lithium Battery
Instruments
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 7 and 12-string Guitars, Ukeleles, Mandolins, Banjos
Prime Eligible
Price

We’ve reviewed our favorite guitar tuners for you – there really should be something here for everyone; whatever your budget and specific needs are. The best guitar tuner for you is ultimately going to be a personal choice, one that meets your specific tuning needs. Let’s have a look then…!


Snark SN5X Clip-On Guitar Tuner

Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin...

More Info

The Snark SN5X guitar tuner is a well thought out, simple and effective solution for tuning your electric or acoustic guitar and also works great with your bass (and violin). It has no bells or whistles, but instead it does exactly what most of us need at a very reasonable price.

It’s a chromatic guitar tuner, that we found to be fast and accurate – dealing with non-standard tunings as well. It’s small and lightweight so you could easily leave it attached without really noticing it. Attaching the clamp to the headstock was a simple affair, and the ability to rotate the display 360 degrees means you will find a suitable position.

Powering it up is as simple as pressing the only button on the device! The backlit display is crisp and clear.

As soon as you play a note it will quickly identify it and display how close in pitch you are. The color coding is straightforward:

  • Red = Flat
  • Yellow = Sharp
  • Green = In Tune!

The only other feature of note is its power save function – the display will dim after 5 minutes of no notes being detected.

PROS

  • 360 degree positioning
  • Easy to read bright display
  • Simple
  • Great value

CONS

  • For the price, none

CONCLUSION

For the vast majority of us, the Snark SN5X guitar tuner is more than enough for our daily tuning needs. And for the price you can’t go wrong.

Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin...
  • Full Color Display
  • Features frequency range tailored to guitar and bass
  • Tuner can be used on front of back of headstock,Rotates 360°

Fender Bullet Chromatic Guitar Tuner

Fender 'Bullet' Chromatic Tuner for Electric...

More Info

If you’re after a tuner that’s a little more rock’n’roll, Fender has your back! The Fender® Bullet Tuner will make the mundane exercise of tuning your guitar a bit more bearable!

First off, in your hand this feels like a quality device – the build quality is commendable, no cheap plastics here – it comes in a durable black aluminum casing.

Operating the guitar tuner is simple – as with most clip-ons, clamp it to the headstock, position it (it has 360-degree movement) press the power button and play a note. The bright color LED display will indicate the note closest to the pitch you played.

It’s another chromatic guitar tuner with the tuning range (A0 (27.50Hz) — C8 (4186.0Hz).

The color coding that indicates whether you’re in tune is as follows:

  • Red (left) = Flat
  • Red (right) = Sharp
  • Green (center) = In Tune!

The power save feature kicks in after 10 minutes – putting the device into sleep mode.

PROS

  • Build quality
  • Trusted brand
  • Accurate

CONS

  • Similar functionality can be found in cheaper devices

CONCLUSION

I really like The Fender® Bullet – I know it costs a little more than a lot of clip-on guitar tuners, but I’m a sucker for the looks, and would happily leave it attached!

Fender "Bullet" Chromatic Tuner for Electric...
  • Super bright LED display
  • Extremely Small
  • Rugged

D’Addario Micro Guitar Tuner (PW-CT-12)

D'Addario Accessories Guitar Tuner (PW-CT-12)

More Info

The D’Addario Micro Tuner has a couple of neat features that differentiate it from the other two clip-ons we’ve reviewed here.

It rotates round rather than the typical 360-degree ball movement – meaning it’s a little more discrete.

The ratchet clamp is great feature that keeps the device securely attached to the headstock.

Operating the guitar tuner is done using the 4 buttons on the top.

  • Power – press to turn on/off.
  • Flip – this changes the orientation of the screen (great for left-handed guitarists). There are two vertical and two horizontal options.
  • 2 x Pitch Adjustment – use these buttons to change the pitch between 410Hz-480Hz.

It also has a great bright display – easily viewable in both bright and dark environments, and similarly quick and accurate.

Got 2 guitars? You can even save a few bucks by getting a multipack if you intend to keep them attached.

D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner

More Info

PROS

  • Ratchet clamp
  • Change screen orientation
  • Pitch Adjustment
  • Good value
  • Discrete

CONS

  • You may not make full use of the additional functionality

CONCLUSION

I really like the fact that once the D’Addario Micro Guitar Tuner has been securely attached using the ratchet clamp it’s almost a permanent feature of my guitar and unlikely to get knocked off. The additional features are useful and add value. Overall a great little package.

D'Addario Accessories Guitar Tuner (PW-CT-12)
  • THE STEALTH TUNER – Your audience will never know there is a tuner on your instrument with the highly...
  • EXTREME ACCURACY – The NS Micro features an extremely accurate piezo transducer that picks up an...
  • EASY TO READ - The easy-to-read, tri-color backlit screen displays the note in red when out of tune, yellow...

Check out the manufacturers video for a demo:

Micro Headstock Tuner

Korg TM60 Tuner Metronome

Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome, Black

More Info

The Korg TM60 Tuner Metronome is the only stand-alone device we chosen to review here. It’s available in two colors: Black (TM60BK) & White (TM60WH). If you’re looking for companies with a long musical pedigree then you’ll not go wrong with Korg.

Lets look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.

As a stand-alone device you’ll not be attaching it to the headstock of your guitar; the built-in mic on the front panel picks up the pitch. Korg also produce the TM60C (also available in red) which is bundled with their CM-200 contact mic providing more accurate guitar tuning.

Korg TM-60 Tuner and Metronome Combo with Clip on...

More Info

Instead of the more common back lit color displays we’ve seen so far, the Korg TM60 opts for a much larger back-lit monochrome (orange) display. This may appeal to some, however, I personally prefer the crispness of the backlit color displays.

Its another chromatic guitar tuner, and rather than using color to indicate flat/sharp it uses a tuning “needle” to effectively display the pitch of the note. There are also 2 red LEDs above the screen to display Flat/Sharp and a green LED will light up when the note is in tune.

It’s not a dedicated guitar tuner, so you can use it for almost any stringed/orchestral instrument – it has a wide detection range of c1-c8.

One major advantage this has over the other tuners is the inclusion of a 30 to 252 beats/minute metronome. You can choose from three types of tempo setting and 15 rhythm variations.

PROS

  • Metronome
  • Can be used for a wide range of instruments
  • Available in different colors
  • Accurate
  • Not attached to your guitar
  • Sound out mode

CONS

  • The display could be brighter
  • Much larger than a clip-on

CONCLUSION

The Korg TM60 Tuner Metronome is a fine piece of kit, and will be a great addition to musicians that have a variety of instruments. For me though, I like something smaller and attached to my guitar (or it will get lost/broken/other…).

Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome, Black
  • Tuner and metronome functions can be used simultaneously or independently
  • Large backlit display for improved visibility; twice the battery life of the tm-50
  • A wide detection range of c1-c8 supports a broad range of instruments

Check out the manufacturers video for a demo:

KORG TM-60 – Advanced Combo Tuner and Metronome; a must-have item for practicing

Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner

Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner (403884)

More Info

The Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner takes tuning to a whole new level. If you’re not familiar with them, Peterson Strobe Tuners are a family owned, American based, company that’s been producing professional tuning equipment for over 70 years. If absolute tuning accuracy is what you need, read on…

This is the only strobe foot pedal we’ve reviewed here. Let’s look at the specs:

  • Accuracy – True Strobe 0.1 Cent Accuracy – Accurate to 1/1000th of a Semitone or 1/1000th of a Fret
  • HD Color Backlit Display – Large multi color display that can be customized to suit your own personal preferences. Can display small pitch deviations. Clearly visible in direct sunlight.
  • Pure Buffer Mode Operation – maintains sound clarity when using multiple pedals.
  • 100% Pop-less True Bypass – a bypass mode delivering silence when muting your signal.
  • Sweetened Tunings – these are built-in optimized tuning presets for 135 instrument types. These can be customized or updated from the Peterson Connect website using the USB input:

https://www.petersontuners.com/connect/

Tuning your guitar is a little different to the previous guitar tuners we’ve looked at, you’ll not see a needle or led indicating flat or sharp, instead the StroboStomp indicates tuning progress as follows:

  • The display moves downward = Flat.
  • The display moves upward = Sharp.
  • The faster the displays rotates, the further out of tune you are.
  • The closer to being in tune you are the bands will slow down and finally lock.
  • The note is in tune when the tuning bands momentarily stop after the note has been played.

PROS

  • It’s accurate. And I mean really accurate!
  • Beautiful large readable display
  • Tuning presets
  • Can be updated/customized
  • Build quality

CONS

  • Price
  • Could be considered less convenient than a simple clip-on

CONCLUSION

Let’s face it, the Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner is overkill for most people’s needs, but if you can afford it and genuinely value tuning perfection – I would say this is the best guitar tuner, you’ve got to get one!

Check out the manufacturers video for a demo:

StroboStomp HD Official – High Definition Strobe Tuner Pedal

Roadie 2 Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner

ROADIE 2 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner & String...

More Info

The Roadie 2 Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner is the final device in our “best of” round-up. Saving the best to last? We’ll see…

The advantages of an automatic tuner are that it pretty much does all the hard work for you – regardless of whether you have perfect pitch or not. It can also operate in a noisy environment – tuning your instrument using similar vibration technology found in the clip-on tuners we’ve looked at.

It can be used on electric guitars, acoustic guitars, 12-string guitars, ukuleles, banjos & mandolins. However, it cannot be used on your bass. If you need an automatic bass tuner then check out their Roadie Bass.

ROADIE BASS | Smart Automatic Bass Guitar Tuner &...

More Info

Let’s have a look at its main features:

  • OLED Screen – a lovely crisp and clear display that can be read in almost any environment.
  • Knob Wheel – a simple interface that lets you scroll quickly through the menu and options.
  • Peg Connector – firmly fits almost all pegs – I say almost – but there won’t be many pegs out there that are too big. The motor has the power to make tough and small movements.
  • Haptic Feedback – when tuning is complete the device alerts you via haptic vibration.
  • Technology – USB3.0 for charging & Bluetooth 4.0LE for connecting to the optional Roadie Tuner app (available on Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices). The app gives you the ability to create custom tunings. You can also update the device firmware whenever Rodie release a new version.
  • Battery – an integrated rechargeable 500mAh powers the device, and can last up to one month. A battery level features on the screen.
  • Customization – you can give your Roadie 2 a name (just in case your band mates have customized their own).
  • String winder – with variable speeds this lets you wind or unwind with ease.
  • Alternative Tuning – includes over 40 presets, plus you have the option to create your own.

PROS

  • Its automatic
  • Companion app
  • Rechargeable battery
  • OLED display is crisp and easy to read
  • Customization

CONS

  • Price
  • It might be considered too techie for some (but the app and menu are very straightforward – so you shouldn’t be put off).

CONCLUSION

The Roadie 2 Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner is a pricey piece of kit – but crammed full of tech that will make tuning your instrument a breeze. With app connectivity and the ability to update the firmware its future proof too. Love it.

ROADIE 2 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner & String...
  • WORKS ON ALL STRING INSTRUMENTS with a guitar machine head including electric, acoustic, classical, and steel...
  • FAST, EASY TO USE & LONG LASTING CHARGE: automatically tunes your instrument in under 30 seconds. Simply place...
  • BUILT-IN VIBRATION SENSOR FOR ACCURATE TUNING EVEN IN NOISY ENVIRONMENTS: detection accuracy of ±1 cent and...

Check out the manufacturers video for a demo:

The world's first standalone automatic guitar tuner

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Source: Amazon

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