The 11 Best Guitar Tuners (2021 Buying Guide)

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Check Out Some Of The Best Guitar Tuners Out There!

Want to play your guitar but it sounds out of tune? You’re going to need a guitar tuner. Luckily, there are lots of different guitar tuners out there to choose from.

The difficult part can be picking the best guitar tuner for you and your guitar. That’s where we come in!

black guitar tuner on wooden table

Sure, tuning by ear is a great skill to have… but guitar tuners allow for fast, convenient, and accurate tuning anywhere. I’ve used an older Korg Digital CA-30 for over a decade and it’s what I’m used to. Just a simple chromatic tuner that’s battery-operated and easy to use.

Whether you’re new to guitar or have been playing for a while, you might just want fast and accurate guitar tuning so you can get playing.

From great chromatic tuners like the Korg TM60BK Tuner to one of the best clip-on guitar tuners (SN5X Snark Guitar Tuner) and the best tuner pedal (BOSS TU-3), our detailed guide has got it all.

We not only walk you through the best guitar tuners, but help you understand how guitar tuners work, which one should work best for you, and what to consider when buying a new guitar tuner.

The Top 11 Best Guitar Tuners

If you have an idea of what guitar tuner you are looking for, you can check out the top choice guitar tuners below.

These guitar tuners represent a variety of styles/types (digital chromatic tuner, clip-on tuner, pedal tuner) and have been chosen based on a combination of personal experience, as well as reviews, the brand, and overall reputation and functionality of the tuner.

Korg TM60BK Tuner w/ Metronome + Microphone
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner
BOSS TU-3 Tuner Pedal
Korg TM60BK Tuner and Metronome Combo with Clip on Microphone (Black)
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin (Current Model)
BOSS TU-3 Tuner (TU3)
Korg TM60BK Tuner w/ Metronome + Microphone
Korg TM60BK Tuner and Metronome Combo with Clip on Microphone (Black)
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin (Current Model)
BOSS TU-3 Tuner Pedal
BOSS TU-3 Tuner (TU3)

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 05:19

To continue your search, below are more tuners sorted roughly by different styles – clip-on, digital chromatic, sound hole tuner, and finally pedal tuners pedal.

You can check out the pros and cons of each one to determine which one might be the best guitar tuner for you and your guitar.

Keep in mind: this list of guitar tuners is for the average guitar player/consumer. If you want a rack mount tuner, read our section on “Styles of Guitar Tuners” to get our brief thoughts.

We don’t really dive into the best rack mount tuners but have a little bit of commentary for thoroughness!

Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner

Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin (Current Model)
  • Full Color Display
  • Features frequency range tailored to guitar and bass

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 05:19

  • Features: A very popular clip-on tuner with additional features
  • Pros: Chromatic tuner, tap-tempo metronome, sturdy clamp, and swivel head
  • Cons: Snark clamp padding might react with Nitro-finished guitars

If you’re looking for the best clip-on tuner, you can always try out a Snark. With many great models to choose from, the SN5X is certainly one of the more popular and reliable Snark guitar tuners.

If you’re worried about the Snark tuner battery – fear not: it’s usually a CR2032 3-Volt Battery like the little coin battery you can find anywhere.

Snark also makes their popular “Super Tight” version of the Snark ST-8 Clip-On tuner.

Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On Tuner

Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On Tuner | Guitar, Bass, Violin, Ukulele, Harp, Brass, Woodwind,...
  • True strobe 0. 1 Cent accuracy - accurate to 1/1000th of a Semitone or 1/1000th of a fret

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 00:15

  • Features: An accurate strobe tuner in clip-on version
  • Pros: Easy to see the display, accurate tuning, wide jaw on the clamp, pre-set tunings
  • Cons: More expensive for a clip-on… but the name and tuning accuracy says it all.

For incredibly accurate tuning, a strobe tuner from Peterson is the way to go. With strobe tuning digitized into a handy clip-on tuner, you have the best of both worlds (accuracy and portability) in one!

KLIQ UberTuner – Professional Clip-On Tuner

KLIQ UberTuner - Professional Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments (multi-key modes) - with Guitar,...
  • Fast & Accurate: Spend more time playing, and less time tuning. The UberTuner's advanced Micro Processor and highly sensitive Piezo Sensor will ensure your instrument is...
  • Super Bright Display: The large color display allows you to easily see if you're flat, sharp, or dead-on from any angle. With 3 points of adjustment, you can position the...

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: A durable and accurate chromatic clip-on tuner
  • Pros: Chromatic mode as well as specific instrument modes (guitar, ukulele, etc)
  • Cons: No plug in, can be slow to turn on and respond compared to other small tuners

In the race for the best clip-on guitar tuner, KLIQ is a name that should also be mentioned. This veritable clip-on tuner features a strong grip and numerous modes to suit different instruments – including your guitar.

D’Addario Micro Clip-On Headstock Guitar Tuner

D'Addario Micro Headstock Tuner
  • THE STEALTH TUNER – Your audience will never know there is a tuner on your instrument with the highly precise Micro Clip-On Tuner. The lightweight, discrete, compact tuner...
  • EXTREME ACCURACY – The NS Micro features an extremely accurate piezo transducer that picks up an instrument’s vibration rather than sound. A wide calibration range...

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: A popular compact clip-on tuner
  • Pros: Very small size/profile, accurate tuning
  • Cons: No plug in, may have difficulty picking up with low bass strings

This is a very small and simple guitar tuner. From a name like D’Addario, it’s worth looking into as your tuner. It’s a clip-on tuner that people won’t even notice is there!

Korg TM60BK Tuner w/ Metronome + Microphone

Sale
Korg TM60BK Tuner and Metronome Combo with Clip on Microphone (Black)
  • KORG TECHNOLOGY: High precision, simultaneous use tuner and metronome with Instant pitch detection response
  • CONVENIENT: Large, backlit LCD display, adjustable calibration and marked third intervals

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 05:19

  • Features: A reliable digital tuner with metronome and microphone
  • Pros: Durable, chromatic tuner, can plug in electric, comes with a microphone
  • Cons: Doesn’t clip-on (if that’s important to you)

If you want a Korg guitar tuner that is simple to turn on and get tuning, the TM60BK is for you. With a sturdy design and lots of additional features, this is a solid tuner (much like the one I have, just newer).

If you aren’t set on the microphone just yet, you can always get the Korg TM60BK without microphone for now.

Korg CA-2 Chromatic Tuner (CA2)

Sale
Korg CA-2 Chromatic Tuner (CA2)
  • Large, high visibility display with a needle-style meter
  • Compact, slim and lightweight body

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: A simple, reliable digital chromatic
  • Pros: Durable, accurate, easy to use, can plug in electric or bass but also works for acoustic
  • Cons: No “bells and whistles” like a metronome… just a solid tuner

This is a chromatic guitar tuner from Korg that is a very easy guitar tuner to use. It’s basically the updated version of the Korg I currently have for my acoustic guitar and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

ROADIE 3 Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner

ROADIE 3 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner, Metronome & String Winder | For Electric Guitars, Acoustic...
  • WORKS ON ALL STRING INSTRUMENTS with a guitar machine head including electric, acoustic and classical guitars with nylon strings, 6, 7 and 12-string guitars, ukuleles,...
  • 2x FASTER & EASY TO USE: automatically tunes your instrument in under 30 seconds with a motor speed 2x faster than Roadie 2. Simply place Roadie on the peg, pluck the string...

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: An auto tuner for basically all stringed instruments
  • Pros: Sleek design, automatic tuning capabilities, built-in tunings, USB charging
  • Cons: Very expensive – but it’s worth the price if it works as advertised and accurate, automatic tuning is important to you

If you are looking for an automatic guitar tuner, the Roadie 3 is for you. Improved upon from its predecessor (Roadie 2), the Roadie 3 has improved motor speed for faster analysis and tunings.

Of course, if you’re into having the perfect touch when it comes to tuning, a manual tuner might still be best for you. Never know until you try!

D’Addario NS Micro Sound Hole Tuner

D'Addario NS Micro Sound Hole Tuner - PW-CT-15
  • Perfect for Acoustic Guitars, Ukulele, and other acoustic instruments
  • Fast, accurate response

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: A compact sound hole tuner for acoustic guitars
  • Pros: Accurate chromatic tuning, easy to use and read, small profile
  • Cons: May not fit/clamp to your specific sound hole (due to guitar design, body finish, etc.)

If you’re set on getting a sound hole tuner for your acoustic guitar, the NS Micro Sound Hole Tuner might be for you. With a small profile but a large display, it’s easy to read and provides fast and accurate tuning.

These are made to be acoustic guitar tuners because they require a sound hole to work… but it may work for a ukulele, too.

Korg Rimpitch- C2 Soundhole Acoustic Guitar Tuner

Korg Rimpitch- C2 Soundhole Acoustic Guitar Tuner
  • Soundhole-mounted Chromatic Tuner with Piezo Pickup
  • LED Display

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: Another compact chromatic sound hole tuner
  • Pros: Very sleek design, LED display, soft clamping mechanism
  • Cons: Battery-operated (just a consideration), only for sound hole meaning not for electric or bass guitars (at least not solid body electric guitars).

For another very small sound hole tuner, check out the Korg Rimpitch. This small LED tuner provides accurate tuning and with such a small weight it can be left on if desired.

BOSS TU-3 Tuner Pedal

Sale
BOSS TU-3 Tuner (TU3)
  • Guitar and Bass Tuner Pedal with High-Brightness Mode for Outdoor Visibility, 21-segment LED Meter, Drop Tuning Support, and Guitar/Bass Mode
  • Stompbox-style guitar tuner pedal21-segment LED meter with brightness controlHigh-brightness mode enhances meter visibility outdoorsAccu-Pitch sign function provides visual...

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 00:15

  • Features: A reliable tuning pedal with Accu-pitch tuning
  • Pros: Well-built (it’s stompbox-style, so one would hope so), many modes for tuning – half steps, different instruments, etc.
  • Cons: A little more pricey, but it’s a solid pedal. Not suitable for acoustic guitar since you need to plug in.

With a name like Boss, you can’t really go wrong if you need a tuner pedal. The Boss TU-3 is widely considered one of the best tuner pedals out there.

With a dependable design and many modes of functioning, this Boss tuning pedal has been a staple in guitarists’ set-ups since it was released in 2009!

KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal

KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass - Mini - Chromatic - with Pitch Calibration and Flat...
  • Fast & Accurate: Experience speedy tuning with A1 precision. Housed in a mini pedal that's designed to fit on any pedalboard, the TinyTune lets you to spend less time tuning...
  • Easy-To-Read Display: The color display is large, clear, and has excellent visibility under any lighting. So whether you are playing at home, on a dark stage, or outdoors,...

Last update on 2021-06-23 at 01:38

  • Features: A simple chromatic tuning pedal with a wall plug for power
  • Pros: Accurate tuning, bright display, much cheaper for a pedal tuner
  • Cons: No other features besides tuning, not for acoustic guitar

For another, more affordable guitar tuner pedal, check out the KLIQ TinyTune. This simplified tuning pedal does just that – tunes your plugged-in electric or bass guitar.

What Is A Guitar Tuner And Why You Need One

Let’s start from the beginning in case you’re really new to guitars. A guitar tuner is a device that helps you tune the guitar strings to be the right note. This goes for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars, and other stringed instruments.

Each string has a specified pitch (usually based on standard guitar tuning E-A-D-B-G-E). A tuner can listen to what pitch your instrument’s strings are making and help you adjust it back to “normal” using the tuning pegs on the headstock.

Technically speaking, the sound the strings make is caused by vibration. This speed of the vibration is called frequency and is measured in Hertz (HZ).

Different strings vibrate at different frequencies because of factors like thickness, length, etc. This is how you get different notes on different strings.

Sometimes, the pitch of the sound can be too high (sharp) or too low (flat). You use a guitar tuner (and the digital display) to correct it and bring it back to the correct pitch.

Guitar tuners are important because an in-tune guitar is going to sound much better than an out-of-tune guitar. You cannot play guitar well nor learn guitar well if your guitar is out of tune.

That’s why a guitar tuner is a fundamental piece of guitar gear – right up there with polish, humidifiers, and a hard case.

Tuners are also important if you want to tune your guitar to different tunings than standard tuning and want to do it quickly. You don’t have to rely on your ear for this (especially if you are a beginner).

How Does A Guitar Tuner Work?

Now that we know a little bit about what a guitar tuner is, we can dive into how they work so that we can talk about the different types/styles of tuners later on.

Different guitar tuners work in slightly different ways. This means tuners can differ in the way that they actually measure the pitch of the strings.

All the tuners on this list are electronic tuners with some sort of digital screen display – but the sound is measured in two different ways: piezo sensor or direct input.

The only way to not have a digital tuner would be to use tuning forks and a good ear for some old-school guitar tuning.

Luthiers (guitar makers) might use these when they handcraft instruments, but it is unlikely the average consumer would use one frequently.

Piezo Sensor Tuners

Digital tuners often use a built-in piezo sensor. This special sensor basically feels the physical change in pressure created by sound waves of the vibrating string and turns it into electrical data. This is then read digitally.

In this case, the data is interpreted as a sound’s pitch relative to the correct pitch of the desired note. For example, the D’Addario Micro Guitar Tuner uses a piezo sensor.

Direct Input Tuners

If you have a tuning pedal, it’s slightly different. With the electric or bass guitar plugged into the pedal, the pedal interprets the signal coming directly from the guitar and displays it as pitch on the pedal screen. From there, you can tweak the tuning to correct it.

A good example of one of the best guitar tuner pedals would be the BOSS TU-3 Pedal.

Different Types of Guitar Tuners

Now that we know how guitar tuners work, we can discuss different types of tuners. By “type of tuner”, we mean the different ways guitar tuners display their information. This is about what the tuner can do, not what the tuner looks like.

You might hear the term “chromatic tuner” thrown around (this is a good thing) so we’ll explain what this means below.

Simple/Non-Chromatic Tuners

Just so we mention them, a simple guitar tuner would be something like a non-chromatic tuner. Non-chromatic tuners only detect singular pitches or notes – often the six notes E-A-D-G-B-E for standard guitar tuning.

To be fair, basically every digital/electronic guitar tuner these days is chromatic (explained below). Non-chromatic tuners are obsolete since the technology in consumer tuners is just so much better.

If you somehow had one, you wouldn’t be able to use it for other tunings or for instruments with other strings that are not one of those notes listed above.

Chromatic Tuner

If you’re asking “what is a chromatic tuner?” you’re not alone. As opposed to a non-chromatic tuner, chromatic tuners are the most common on the market today. Chromatic tuners are able to identify and measure all 12 pitches (notes) on a chromatic scale.

This means no matter what note is played, a chromatic tuner will know what it is, whether the note is too sharp, too flat, or just right, and display that information digitally for you (usually with a digital needle or bars on a scale).

This is an important feature if you want to switch your guitar to different tunings from standard and/or if you want a versatile tuner to use for other instruments (so long as they create a vibration the tuner can pick up).

A good example of this type of tuner is the KLIQ UberTuner. A pro of these tuners is that they are very versatile. One potential drawback is that they are not the most accurate tuner available.

That said, chromatic tuners are definitely more than enough for 99% of beginner and intermediate guitarists. They are usually very accurate to within +/- 1 Cent (measure of ratio between frequencies).

Strobe Tuner

A little more advanced on the list of guitar tuners are strobe tuners. Strobe tuners are among the most accurate type of tuners. This is because of the way the strobe tuner interprets and displays frequency.

The strobe tuners flash a light at the same frequency as the note, which is shone onto a marked spinning wheel. The light and spinning wheel create what is known as a highly-accurate “stroboscopic effect”.

The result is that the marks on the wheel for a specific pitch (note) look like they are standing still when the pitch is correctly in tune.

Actual mechanical strobe tuners are non-practical and require maintenance so the effect has been digitized by top brands in the space – such as Peterson – on LCD screens. You can see this in the Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On Tuner.

Polyphonic Tuners

Another newer type of tuner is polyphonic tuners. Up until now, you have had to pluck one string at a time to get an accurate reading. These polyphonic tuners have the ability to tune more than one string at once as displayed on a digital screen.

An advantage here is that tuning can happen faster since you can strum all the strings and see which ones need adjusting.

A potential disadvantage is that other than a few makes and models, it’s not hugely popular technology for the average consumer compared to classic chromatic tuners.

A top name in the polyphonic tuner space is TC Electronic with their PolyTune 3 Polyphonic Tuner Pedal. If you don’t have an electric or bass guitar, you can get the same technology by TC Electronic in their PolyTune Clip-on version.

Automatic Guitar Tuners

Lastly, there is a newly emerging breed of guitar tuners that can identify the pitch of the note and automatically adjust the tuning knob to achieve the correct pitch of the string.

An example of this is the ROADIE 3 Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner. We haven’t tried this version of tuner yet but it sounds pretty cool. A pro is that it’ll do the job for you – but one con to this style of tuner is that this technology doesn’t come cheap… yet!

Different Styles of Guitar Tuners

Up until now, we’ve talked a little bit about how and why different tuners work… and these methods are applied to different styles of readily available digital guitar tuners today.

Below, you can read about the different styles of guitar tuners – from the least invasive (apps and digital tuners) to the most invasive (sound hole tuners and pedals).

Guitar Tuning Apps

Aside from physical products you can buy, there are a number of guitar tuning software – and more recently apps – which you can turn to for accurate tuning.

It’s difficult to say which is the best guitar tuner app because there are so many for both iPhone and Android. I like Guitar Tuna (iOS and Android) but there are many more like the Pro Guitar Tuner app (iOS and Android).

There are also tuning websites online which you can use for free. Some just play the note and you tune with your ear. Others use your computer microphone to listen to the exact pitch of the string.

A pro of these sites is that this can be a quick and easy way to tune the guitar (and they even often tune for alternate tunings).

The obvious con is that non-microphone versions do not provide feedback for tuning of your guitar and programs that do listen might not be accurate as the computer audio can distort the sound. They’ll work in a pinch but a proper tuner is key for proper tuning.

Digital Guitar Tuners

One of the more common styles of tuners (that exist as physical products) is digital tuners. A digital guitar tuner is usually a small electronic unit with a little LCD screen that provides real-time feedback about the tuning.

These tuners – like the Korg CA-2 Chromatic Tuner – have a built-in microphone to work with acoustic guitars and also often have an input to work if you plug in an electric guitar or bass guitar for tuning.

Some digital tuners are more than just tuners with the Korg TM60BK Tuner having a built-in metronome function. This is handy if you need help keeping beat!

A pro of these tuners is that they are fast and accurate with chromatic tuning. A con is that you have to set them down on your lap or on a table since they don’t (usually) attach to the guitar in any way.

Clip-On Guitar Tuners

Speaking of attaching to guitars, another very popular style of guitar tuner is the clip-on guitar tuner.

Clip-on tuners do exactly as they indicate. They clip onto the headstock of the guitar (often with a little foam or rubber pads) and have a little LCD screen where you can see the pitch and can adjust accordingly in real-time. They are also usually chromatic so they work for various instruments and tunings.

Clip-on guitar tuners are also sometimes referred to as headstock tuners because they clip on the headstock of the guitar.

Lots of companies claim the title of the best headstock tuner but the Snark SN5X, the D’Addario Micro Guitar Tuner, and the Peterson StroboClip HD are all excellent choices.

One potential con to clip-on tuners is that depending on the finish of your guitar, the foam pads might chemically react and cause damage.

Snark tuners often send a warning about clamping their tuner to any guitar with a Nitrocellulose finish (usually electric guitars). Just something to keep in mind!

Sound Hole Tuners

Another style of guitar tuner is sound hole tuners. As you might imagine, these are tuners that sit or mount into/onto the sound hole of the guitar.

Often chromatic, these tuners catch the sound as it leaves the sound hole for accurate, hands-free tuning.

A good example of a sound hole tuner is the D’Addario NS Micro Sound Hole Tuner. These tuners have two drawbacks. The first is that they are only for guitars with sound holes. This means these are basically only for acoustic guitars.

A second potential drawback is that clipping/attaching to the side of the sound hole doesn’t sit well with some guitar players because they risk starching the body and finish. Just something to consider!

Tuning Pedals

Another style of guitar tuner is guitar tuning pedals. As you might imagine, these are guitar pedals that plug into your electric or bass guitar and display the pitch of the string plucked on a small screen on the pedal.

Because they plug right into the guitar via a guitar cable, these are often argued to be the best option for bass guitar tuners.

Also, bass guitars have much lower strings so they are harder to pick up with regular chromatic tuners for acoustic standard tuning.

Some argue that a pedal is also the best electric guitar tuner because you’re plugged in so the pitch of the string is actually being interpreted in real-time (as opposed to a sensor hearing what the string sounds like).

The best tuner pedal is the one that works for you and your guitar but there are plenty on the market like the BOSS TU-3 Pedal and the KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal being top pedal choices.

One pro of these tuners is definitely accuracy and ease of use. One potential con is that some pedals produce “noise” even though they are not supposed to and this can affect sound quality and tuning accuracy. Another is that pedals need a power source so they don’t usually leave the place where you gig or jam.

A third potential drawback is that pedal tuners are only for guitars that plug in – so electric guitars, bass guitars, and acoustic-electric guitars (this last one might be tricky because of the way the sound is picked-up but it can work, if needed).

Rack Mount Tuner

Last, but certainly not least, we have rack mount tuners. These are not as common for beginner and hobby guitarists but they are a good type of guitar tuner so we wanted to include them.

Rack mount tuners are as described – they are long, flat units that mount to a shelf in a workshop/studio. Once the guitar is plugged in, you can tune a guitar with ease and chromatic or strobe accuracy.

Rack Mounts are not the consumer tuner you’d toss in a gig bag nor are they cheap… but you can check out the Korg Pitchblack Pro Rackmount Tuner if you want to see what we mean.

4 Benefits Of Using A Guitar Tuner

There are a number of benefits to using a proper guitar tuner – some are obvious, others make sense once you think about them!

Your Instrument Is In Tune

Yeah, this is the obvious benefit of having a guitar tuner. If you properly use a guitar tuner, you will have an instrument that is in tune and will sound great.

Sure, tuning by ear is a neat skill to have and can come in handy – but the right guitar tuner for you and your guitar is a quick and effective way to get the right tuning when you need it.

Easy Collaboration

With a tuner for your guitar, you can be sure you’re in tune. Being in tune is pretty important when you want to play with others. This goes for both other guitarists and also other instruments.

Having a chromatic tuner that works for various instruments makes getting everyone in the band in tune much easier.

This is especially great when you have instruments in different keys with different notes as their reference points (former band geek here!).

Instrument Versatility

Related to the above point, if you buy the right kind of chromatic or strobe tuner, you can use the guitar tuner on other string instruments (banjo, violin, etc.) as well as brass instruments like trombone, trumpet, baritone, et.

As long as the tuner can pick up the vibration and you know the note you’re trying to tune to, you’ve got yourself a versatile tuner. The KLIQ UberTuner would be a good example of this because it has transposition settings for different instruments in different keys.

Maximum Enjoyment

Back to playing guitars, as a by-product of being in tune, you’re going to enjoy playing more.

Playing the riffs and songs you love – and having them sound great – is going to keep you coming back for more. This is especially true if you are a beginner at whichever guitar you’ve chosen to learn.

7 Things To Look For In A Good Guitar Tuner

Guitar tuners can be as simple or as complex pieces of equipment as you want them to be. Below are a few common things to think about/look for when you’re buying a good guitar tuner for you.

Appropriateness for Your Guitar

Starting off simple, the guitar tuner has to work for your guitar. Basically, does the style of tuner work for your instrument? If you don’t have a sound hole, don’t buy a sound hole tuner.

If you have a strictly acoustic guitar, don’t buy a pedal tuner and expect to plug in your acoustic to tune it.

It may sound commonplace but understanding your guitar is important to any set-up. Buying a tuner to go with it is just as important.

Accuracy

With digital guitar tuning being so commonplace now, the guitar tuners on the market typically do their job well… which is to help tune your instrument.

However, some guitar tuners can be a little more accurate than others (Strobe-based tuners).

Most digital chromatic tuners should be enough for the average guitarist. However, if you want a more accurate tuning, you might look into getting a Peterson or even an auto guitar tuner like the Roadie 3 which will also do the job for you.

Calibration

On the note of tuning accuracy, a guitar tuner that you can calibrate for different pitches (has the ability to change Hz) might also be important. While standard guitar tuning on A4 is 440 Hz, you might need to adjust this for a few reasons.

Most digital tuners will calibrate to 440 on their own. You’d only really need to adjust this if you are, perhaps, playing along to or matching a digital track that is playing back at you with a slightly different frequency.

If you’re just playing on your own most of the time, calibration probably isn’t a feature you absolutely need right away (although many digital chromatic tuners have it as a function anyways).

Power Source

Think about how the tuner is powered. Many small clip-on or digital tuners are just a AA, AAA, or 3-volt “coin” battery.

Perhaps you want a guitar pedal that needs to be plugged into a wall outlet? Whatever your preference, make sure that it works for you in practice.

Additional Functions

Most tuners do a great job of being a guitar tuner… but do you need other functions like a metronome, frequency adjusting/calibrating, or additional rhythms? Then consider that when you buy a tuner.

You don’t have to buy a Korg TM60BK Tuner with Metronome with the extra microphone right away.. but if you find you want more accuracy, you can always buy the microphone later. At least you gave yourself the option of adding in an additional feature in the first place!

Durability

How hard are you with your belongings? This might dictate which kind of guitar tuner you get. Some clip-on tuners are great – but can have a weak point at the swivel head (if they swivel). If you’re not careful, you can break a tuner’s casing. Then you’re in trouble.

Other, more bulky tuners (like the Korg CA-2 Chromatic Tuner) have a durable case and might be able to withstand years of adventures.

My CA-30 has been around for well over a decade. Aside from a few scratches, it’s never missed a beat.

Price/Quality/Brand Name

Lastly, have a think about the price, the overall quality, and the brand behind the guitar tuner. Price doesn’t always dictate quality of the product but it can be a good indicator.

Also, reputable names in the guitar space like Boss, Korg, and even Snark (in the clip-on tuner world) are pretty good… but there are many more.

Cheap guitar tuners might not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive tuners but if they still get the job done and last a long time, don’t count them out.

That said, you also don’t need to drop money on an expensive tuner if you’re just an occasional or new guitarist!

And there you have it – a rundown of the best guitar tuners on the market today. This has been a beastly detailed tuner guide but we hope it’s helpful.

Just keep in mind which guitar you have, what features you’d like, and your budget, and you’ll find a guitar tuner for you!

As always, Happy Strumming,

-E