12 Best Guitar Tuners in 2018
So you just picked up your first guitar and you don’t quite sound like Hendrix after you first plug it in. That’s probably because it needs to be tuned, and consumers no longer have to head to a guitar shop to have that done. There are thousands of guitar tuners on the market, and some are far more high tech than others.
In our best guitar tuner list, we have opted for three styles of tuners that are geared towards guitars. Most will work with other instruments as well, however but can be more difficult to use than just a standard guitar tuner. Without further ado, here are our Top 12.
Top 12 Guitar Tuners Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Style||Additional Options||Rating (1-5)|
|1. KLIQ UberTuner – Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments||Clip On||No||4.8|
|2. KLIQ MetroPitch – Metronome Tuner for All Instruments||Table/Rack||Yes||4.7|
|3. Korg TM50BK Instrument Tuner and Metronome||Table/Rack||Yes||4.7|
|4. Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip On Tuner||Clip On||Yes||4.7|
|5. KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass||Pedal||No||4.6|
|6. Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004 for Guitar||Clip On||Yes||4.6|
|7. xGuitarx x5 – Guitar Tuner USB Rechargeable Clip on||Clip On||No||4.6|
|8. Korg GA40 Large Display Guitar and Bass Tuner||Table/Rack||Yes||4.5|
|9. TC Electronic PolyTune Clip||Clip On||No||4.4|
|10. Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal||Pedal||No||4.4|
|11. Snark SN-10S Pedal Tuner||Pedal||No||4.4|
|12. D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner||Clip On||Yes||4.3|
Tuning your guitar used to be tricky, now the hard part is finding the best guitar tuner within your budget. The choices are vast, but we can narrow things down if you follow the tips below.
If you count app-based tuners, there are over a half-dozen styles of tuners for stringed instruments. Instead of pulling picks from each type of tuner, we decided to focus on three of the most common with Clip-On tuners, Pedal Box tuners, and small tuners that can sit on a tabletop or on a rack.
- Clip On – By far the most common type of guitar tuner is a Clip-On tuner that goes on the headstock. They are also affordable compared to the rack units. These are the easiest to use for beginners, are battery powered, and usually have a LED display that swivels to a degree.
- Pedal – As the name implies, Pedal-style tuners look like a pedal box but have a tuner inside. These are great for performers on stage as it’s underfoot and can fit in a pedalboard along with the rest of your gear.
- Tabletop – These tuners usually offer up a bit more than a Clip-On model and are small boxes that can sit on a table, on the floor or on a rack. The size varies, but we only chose smaller tuners that are portable and can be kept out of site.
Regardless of what type of tuner you choose, it will have a display. Clip-On tuners generally have small displays as they are right there on the headstock and close to the eye. That said, brightness and a color display may still be factors to consider depending on where you will use it.
Tabletop and Pedal tuners have larger displays which can vary between the old greyscale LED panels and full-color displays. When going that route, the distance will be further so consider the lighting along with your eyesight. You shouldn’t have to strain to see if a note is flat or sharp.
Metronomes, Bypasses, and other Features
We love high tech gadgets, and one reason is due to extra features. A T-Shirt manufacturer can talk about a pocket or the shirt being tagless, but when it comes to guitar tuners, there are a lot of extras to consider. One of the most common would be a metronome, something handy to have on hand if you’re learning to play or need to keep time.
Want to hear the proper chord played back to you? That’s not a problem for some tuners. Another thing to look for is a tuner that’s Polyphonic. This means it can tune all your strings at once through a simple strum, instead of you having to do each string one at a time.
Top 5 Best Guitar Tuner Reviews
KLIQ is a name you’re going to come across plenty of times on your search for the best guitar tuner. While they produce several types of tuners, we opted for the KLIQ UberTuner for our top choice. This Chromatic tuner will work wonders with your electric or acoustic guitar but also tunes other stringed instruments including the Bass, Ukuleles, and Violins.
While small, the display on this tuner is vibrant so you won’t have any issue seeing it in a dimly lit room when it’s clipped onto the headstock. It also adjusts in three different ways to ensure a wide variety of viewing angles regardless of your playing style. The KLIQ UberTuner will work with a Capo, covers A0 through C8 and has transposition settings for Eb, F, D and Bb.
If you are looking for a simple tuner that will get you back to strumming in seconds, this is your best choice. It comes with a 3-year warranty and runs off a CR2032 battery which is included.
The second pick on our top guitar tuner list also comes from KLIQ but is completely different than the UberTuner. Both still work in the same fashion, this one is just flat although it does have a kickstand on the back. It also has a built-in metronome and a Tone Generator, something you won’t find on headstock tuners.
The metronome has a range of 30 to 250 beats per minute with a “tap” tempo button to lock things in. You will be able to adjust the beats and patterns to a degree. One of our favorite features is a large Jog Dial on the front of the tuner for the aforementioned pitch and tempo control. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the headphone jack on the side located next to the volume dial and the input and output jacks on the other side as well. Lots of extras on this model.
Now for the downside. The KLIQ MetroPitch will work for an array of instruments outside your guitar but the battery life is not that great as it only uses two AAA batteries. They won’t die on you instantly, but you may want to look into rechargeable batteries for long term use.
Korg is not a name usually associated with guitars, but they know a thing or two about technical instruments and tuners. The Korg TM50 Instrument Tuner can tune up almost any instrument you put in its path including guitars both acoustic and electric. Like many tabletop units, the Korg TM50 also has a metronome built in. Unlike some models, this one is actually small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
This tuner has 15 rhythm variations with a tempo range between 30 – 252 beats per minute. There are plenty of buttons for easy adjustments including the popular Tap Tempo button. Both the microphone and speaker are on the front instead of the back, but the inputs are still on the side. The LCD panel is Orange but will be easy to read for most users.
The Korg TM50 is a solid little tuner that’s the next step up from a basic head-based setup. It is available in three different colors with Black, Grey, and White.
Snark may be responsible for more tuners than anyone aside from KLIQ and we decided to go with the Snark ST-8. This particular tuner is billed as a Super Tight tuner that clips onto the headstock and sports a small, but easy to read color display.
Due to its size, you aren’t going to get a metronome on this one although it does have pitch calibration and a transpose feature. The display doesn’t tilt but will rotate 360-degrees if you need to adjust. It is one of the smaller units on our list and definitely will not take up much space in a gig bag or even in your pocket. While the ST-8 is only available in Black, there are five other models to choose from.
The differences between each model vary between new electronics, vibration sensors, and hertz tuning. All models will work on guitars, but some are better with other types of instruments including violins and ukuleles. The ST models are “Super Tight” while the SN models are not.
If you thought we were done with KLIQ, you thought wrong. The KLIQ TinyTune guitar tuner will make quick work of an unturned bass or guitar, and it’s the first pedal tuner to make our list. This chromatic tuner offers up accurate tuning with A1 precision, and while small, has a large color display that is extremely easy on the eyes.
This pedal is also extremely easy to use and “mutes” the output signal while you’re tuning. This is important for obvious reasons as is the foot switch which lets you turn it on. There are only two buttons on top for A4 and Flat, but that’s it and really all you need. The tech inside is where the action is at with drop and flat tunings 4 semitones below the standard pitch and pitch calibration between 430 – 450Hz. The manufacturer claims accuracy of +/- 0.5 which is amazing if true.
While we didn’t go hands on with this model, it’s our favorite pedal for a reason. It leaves a tiny footprint at only 3.7” x 1.2” x 1.5” and weighs only 4.3 ounces so it won’t take up any space on your board. The only downside is with the power. It does not have any and will not take batteries so you will need to supply a 9V Power Supply to use this pedal. Not a deal breaker, but something to consider beforehand if you don’t have a supply.