12 Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners in 2018
Whether you have a brand new electric guitar fresh out of the box or a classical acoustic that’s worth a small fortune, your guitar needs to stay in tune. Nothing is worse than wanting to impress someone with a new tune only to find out your strings are totally out of whack. It happens to all of us, but not if you have a clip-on guitar tuner.
Clip-on guitar tuners are a fan favorite for several reasons. They are affordable, so you’re not going to lose a lot of sleep if it gets misplaced, and they do not take up any space in your gear bag or case.
They are the smallest style of tuner on the market, so use our detailed guide to help you find the best clip-on guitar tuner for your needs and budget.
Top 12 Clip-On Guitar Tuners Ultimate Table
|Design||Name||Battery Type||Display||Rating (1-5)|
|1. KLIQ UberTuner – Clip-On Tuner||CR2032||Color||4.8|
|2. GuitarSense GS-T2 – Clip on USB Rechargeable Guitar Tuner||Rechargeable||Color||4.6|
|3. Scheffland Music The Scheffy Guitar Tuner Clip On||CR2032||LED||4.6|
|4. Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin||CR2032||Color||4.6|
|5. Guitar Tuner – Chromatic Clip-on Tuner for Guitar||CR2032||Color||4.6|
|6. Korg SHPRO Sledgehammer Pro Clip-On Guitar Tuner||CR2032||NA||4.3|
|7. Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004 for Guitar||CR2032||LED||4.3|
|8. D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner||CR2032||LED||4.3|
|9. So There Rechargeable Clip-on Tuner for Guitar||Rechargeable||Color||4.3|
|10. Mugig Clip-on Tuner for Guitar||CR2032||LCD||4.1|
|11. Clip Tuner Rechargeable for Guitar Bass Ukulele Violin 360 Degree Rotatable||Rechargeable||Color||4.0|
|12. Rechargeable Clip-On Guitar Tuner||Rechargeable||LED||3.6|
What Type of Guitar Are You Trying to Tune?
If you are new to the world of guitars or instrument tuners, you are going to be in for an interesting surprise. All clip-on models work in the same fashion, and one will perform just about as well as the rest. It comes down to additional features and quality in most cases, but you need to consider the guitar your tuning before choosing a model.
That’s partly because the “feet” on some models of clip-on tuners can damage the finish of your guitar over time. Snark and some other companies actually advise you to not use their tuners on instruments with a nitro finish, and you will definitely want to head that warning. If you have multiple types of instruments to tune, many of our picks will work although some have special modes included specifically for that purpose.
Even the best clip-on guitar tuner will have a small screen, that’s part of the package when choosing a tuner of this style. Just because the panel is tiny, doesn’t mean it has to be hard on your eyes, so consider the type of display used on the tuner along with these quick tips.
- Monochrome/LCD – These panels won’t pop with vibrant colors, but they will get the job done. They require less battery usage in most cases, but that’s the only real difference aside from the hues. Unless you plan on tuning your guitar during a blackout, this style will work for anyone.
- Color – Color displays “pop” and while they are far from high quality, they do draw the eye in and are easy to read in all types of conditions including low light. That said, some may be a little too bright if you’re tuning in dimly lit areas compared to monochrome panels.
Clip-on tuners can have your guitar sounding better in a matter of minutes, but this type of tuner is not known for coming with a lot of bells and whistles. Aside from a metronome, a few of the main things you’ll want to consider are buttons set for specific modes and things like auto-off. While that sound minor, it can save you a lot of headaches when you forget to turn your tuner off. Those coin batteries can go quicker than you think.
Unless you opt for a model with a rechargeable battery, you’ll want to stock up on CR2032 coin batteries. It’s the go-to choice to power headstock tuners and how long they last depend on a few factors. Auto-off is the main thing to look for, especially if you are the forgetful type. Tuners with rechargeable batteries are your best choice long term, but still somewhat of a rarity in this style.
Top 5 Best Clip-On Guitar Tuner Reviews
KLIQ has not produced an enormous amount of audio equipment compared to others on our list, but they do specialize in guitar accessories. Their only tuner is our top choice as the KLIQ UberTuner can make your old guitar sound like a new one in a matter of seconds.
This tuner’s billed as “universal” in the sense that it can tune all instruments according to the manufacturer. That would include violins, bass guitars, and other stringed instruments although it’s not ideal for other styles despite what the manufacturer claims. It’s accurate with three adjustment points which allow you to view it from a variety of angles and sports a battery drawer, so you don’t have to pull this one apart. The clamps are coated with silicone rubber, and not exactly safe for nitro finishes (according to the company) but should be okay as long as you take it off after use. Don’t get lazy.
The biggest draw for this tuner is the large, colorful display. It won’t take up much space on the headstock, and you’ll be able to make out the notes regardless of your eye sight. It’s available in black with a 3-year warranty.
When dealing with clip tuners, there isn’t a whole lot of variance in the design department. Displays may have a different shape, but they all function in the same manner. The GuitarSense GS-T2 can tune with the best of them, but the battery is what makes this one stand out.
If you want the best clip-on guitar tuner, but hate dealing with those tiny coin batteries, you have found your best choice. The GS-T2 has a small battery that can hold a 5.5-hour charge with a lifespan rated at around 300 hours. You can juice it back up in 1.5 hours, which is impressive given its size. The color display uses green and blue tones, so it’s easy on the eyes, and just as accurate as you’d expect. You can tune into around 1 CENT accuracy, and there is an adjustable pitch calibration range of 436-450Hz. Throw in five different tuning modes, and you’ve got yourself a top-tier tuner.
We’re not sure of the materials used in the clamping mechanism for the GuitarSense GS-T2, so you’ll want to remove it after use if you have a guitar with the aforementioned nitro finish. Aside from that, it’s an outstanding option for a guitar tuner and can make other instruments sound better as well.
Scheffland is another company that makes accessories for guitar players, and The Scheffy Guitar tuner is their top clip-on model. It’s one of a handful that does things differently in the design department and is an affordable choice for musicians on a budget.
This no-frills tuner doesn’t look like much at first glance with a rather large green display inside of the bright blue casing. It’s going to stand out, but you won’t when you hit the stage as it will accurately tune your acoustic or electric guitar in a matter of minutes. The display will be easy to see in the dark or dimly light conditions, and sunlight won’t be an issue either. While rated to tune various instruments, there is no dedicated button or modes on this model. That’s a bit of a downer, but the only negative with this tuner given its price.
Sometimes simple is better, especially for beginners that don’t need metronomes or multiple modes of calibration. The Scheffy Tuner certainly fits that bill and is one to consider if you’re just getting started or want an extra tuner to keep in your gig bag.
Whereas some companies in the instrument industry specialize in one area, Snark concentrates on tuners. They have dozens of styles available, but their clip-on lineup has always been popular among consumers and reviewers alike. We chose the Snark SN5X above the rest as it’s a tried and true model despite some confusion.
When considering a tuner from Snark, you’ll quickly notice many of their models look the same and carry similar model numbers. The SN5X is the newest version of this particular tuner and the easiest tuner to use on our list. You simply need to clip this one on to your headstock, fire up a string, and start twisting those tuning machines. The colorful display is reminiscent of the KLIQ although not nearly as flexible overall. In a nutshell, it’s faster than the previous model and is the type of tuner that won’t break the bank.
The one drawback for this tuner and others from Snark lies in the clamping system. The company explicitly states not to use these with guitars that have the nitro-cellulose finishes. While it’s probably safe with limited usage, you always want to proceed with caution when word comes straight from the manufacturer.
Groovy Center’s Guitar Tuner proves just what a company can do with a tiny display. Overall, it’s around the same size as other models in this class, but with more data on the screen than you’ll find on other tuners. While that’s nice, it is far from the only reason to pick up this tuner.
Easy access is the theme for this one as everything is easy to get to including a button on the side for A4 calibration, the power button, and tuning modes. It can do regular guitars and basses, but violins, ukuleles, and other instruments will worth this the Groovy Center Guitar Tuner as well. The tolerance rating is 1 CENT, and you can use it in one of two ways – with string or microphone detection. That’s a handy feature to have on hand as is the wind instrument key in case you want to add a recorder or pan flute into the mix during a folksy guitar session.
From the 360-degree swiveling head to microphone detection, there is a lot to like with this model. It’s a powerful little chromatic tuner with enough functions to suit almost anyone’s needs, and helpful features like automatic-off certainly don’t hurt its cause.