5 Best Guitar Tuners to Buy


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Finding the perfect guitar tuner is a difficult task. You might think you’ve found the most accurate tuner on the market, and all of the reviews are raving about how brilliant and clear the tuning will be.

It arrives and you tune your guitar up. You play your first chord.

And it’s a horrible, discordant noise. This is, and will always be, the worst type of heartbreak.

To help you out with this problem, I’ve narrowed down the (true) best guitar tuners on the market. They are accurate, easy to use, and will not leave you regretting picking up a guitar in the first place.

If this sounds like something you need, read on to find the best guitar tuners!

KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal

KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass - Mini - Chromatic - with Pitch Calibration and Flat Tuning (Power Supply Required)

The KLIQ guitar and bass tuner was initially released in 2015, yet it still remains one of the most accurate tuners on offer.

It is intentionally very small, so it will be able to fit on your pedalboard without overlapping or falling off. This also makes it much easier to carry around.

The sturdy pedal has an aluminum outside, which will prevent it from cracking or malfunctioning while it’s being used.

It also has a heavy-duty switch that will stop you from accidentally triggering it while your foot is over the pedalboard!

This product has a clear display screen, and I found that I could view the tuning notes easily under a variety of lights – even outdoors. As well as this, the pedal doesn’t make any noise whatsoever.

It is designed to completely eliminate any input signal while you are tuning your guitar, so you won’t be distracted by any ‘humming’ while you’re getting your tuning done.

One drawback of this pedal is that there is no battery option or rechargeable option available. You will only be able to use it while it is connected to a power supply.

This is because its small size limited how much room there would have been to put a battery in.

Pros:

  • Contained in a mini pedal – This tuner is designed to fit on any pedalboard, and it will be easy to travel with.
  • Clear display – It will have excellent visibility under different types of light.
  • Doesn’t make any noise – This will prevent any unnecessary sound from interfering with the tuning process.
  • Has an aluminum outside – This makes it extremely sturdy and long-lasting.

Cons:

  • Requires a power supply – This means that you won’t be able to use it if you don’t have access to an energy source.
Sale
KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass - Mini - Chromatic - with Pitch Calibration and Flat Tuning (Power Supply Required)
  • 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 and more time playing.
  • 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, this pedal has you covered!
  • Zero Noise: The TinyTune completely mutes the input signal when you're tuning, and directly routes the signal to the output when you're not. No tone coloring, or annoying "pop" and "hum" noises here.
  • Easy To Use: This pedal was designed with simplicity in mind. No confusing modes, hidden buttons on the side, or features that don't belong in a pedal tuner. Simply plug in, tune up, and play some music!
  • Built To Last: With rugged aluminum on the outside and quality components on the inside, this pedal will perform night after night, stomp after stomp. So that you can sound your best every single time.

D’Addario Micro Headstock Tuner

D'Addario Guitar Tuner - Micro Headstock Tuner - Tuner for Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukelele - Compact & Discrete - Clip On - 1 Pack

If you are looking for an easily hidden and effective tuner, then the D’Addario may just be the one for you. Its 1.25” size means that it can be kept on your guitar even while you’re playing without it getting in the way.

On top of this, it has a 360-degree swivel mechanism. This means that you will be able to hide it around the headstock while playing, and you can adapt it to any position you may need.

The tuner will display three colors, depending on whether your guitar is in tune or not, and it also has a backlit screen to help you see the reading with complete accuracy!

I found that it secures itself incredibly easily onto a guitar headstock and the adjustable, padded clamp refuses to move, even when you are playing the instrument.

It is also designed to fit a large number of other string instruments, including the mandolin and the banjo.

Something to be mindful of when buying this tuner is that some users found that, although it is advertised as fitting a range of string instruments, it is difficult to get the clip to fit the headstock of some instruments tight enough. One of the examples of this was a ukulele.

This means that it can sometimes produce a ‘buzzing’ noise, which could impact your tuning.

However, if you are using this solely as a guitar tuner, then this will be perfect for you!

Pros:

  • Discrete clip-on size – This tuner is only 1.25”, which means you’ll be able to use it during gigs without anyone noticing it.
  • 360-Degree swivel mechanism – Easily adaptable to any viewing position.
  • Three colors and a backlit screen – This makes it much easier to see the tuner reading.
  • Intended for a large number of string instruments – If you have more string instruments in your collection, you won’t have to worry about buying individual tuners.

Cons:

  • Can ‘buzz’ if used on a smaller headstock – This only applies to smaller instruments, such as ukuleles.
D'Addario Guitar Tuner - Micro Headstock Tuner - Tuner for Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukelele - Compact & Discrete - Clip On - 1 Pack
  • 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 Hides Behind The Headstock Practically Blending Into The Instrument And Is Small Enough To Be Kept On Your Instrument While Stored In Its Case. At 1.25", You Will Want One For Each Stringed Instrument You Own.
  • 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 (410-480Hz) Assures Precise Performance.
  • Easy To Read - The Easy-To-Read, Tri-Color Backlit Screen Displays The Note In Red When Out Of Tune, Yellow When Close, And Green When In Tune. Powered By A Readily Available (And Included) Cr2032 Battery, You Will Enjoy Maximum Battery Life Thanks To The Tuner'S Auto-Off Function.
  • Versatile - Featuring A 360-Degree Swivel Mechanism And Adjustable Padded Clamp, The Ns Mini Offers Optimal Viewing Angles And Maximum Positioning Flexibility. For Left Or Right-Handed Instruments With Small Or Large Headstocks, It Is The Ideal Choice For Acoustic And Electric Guitars, Basses, Mandolins, Banjos And Ukuleles.

Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner

Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner (403884)

Peterson released the StroboStomp in 2019, so it is still fairly new to the market. It is also one of the most popular tuners available!

First of all, while it is a guitar tuner, it has been advertised as suitable for one of the largest ranges of instrument groups out of all of the tuners.

This includes orchestral instruments, bluegrass instruments, and steel guitars. This versatility can come in handy if you have a big collection at home.

Interestingly, this strobe tuner has 10 preset colors, so you can choose which color you would be able to read best/which color you’d enjoy looking at most.

You can assign these colors to specific tunings, which will help you to achieve a quick and easy tuning experience if you are playing at a gig.

Peterson has released a video series explaining how to use all of their products, so you will be able to access a useful, visual tutorial straight away.

However, the tuner is incredibly easy to use – the strobe display will move downwards if your guitar is flat, and upwards if it is sharp.

When I gave it a go, I thought it was a brilliant piece of kit – but it may not be the best choice if you are going to use it outside.

The display can be quite difficult to read in sunlight, and other users have found the same thing. While this isn’t a dealbreaker, it is something you should bear in mind.

Pros:

  • 10 preset colors – You can decide which color you would read best, or you can set certain colors to specific tunings!
  • Can be used on a huge range of instrument groups – This includes orchestral instruments and steel guitar, so you won’t have to worry about buying a range of tuners for different instruments.
  • Strobe tuner – This is probably the most accurate type of tuner you will find on the market.
  • Sweetened tunings – Helps you to ‘tweak’ your guitar to improve its sound.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to read – Says it can be read in sunlight but some users have found this isn’t the case.
  • Struggles to stick to a pedalboard – Some users have said the base of the pedal wasn’t designed well, especially for those that use velcro, because it has a rubber base.

Fender FT-2 Professional Clip-on Tuner

Fender FT-2 Professional Clip on Tuner for Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Ukulele, and Banjo

One of the biggest perks of the Fender clip-on tuner, aside from the brand’s excellent reputation in the music industry, is the dual-hinged clip.

While this may not seem like a dealbreaker, this design feature allows you to mount the tuner on either side of the headstock.

This means that you will be able to keep the tuner completely hidden, on the back-facing side of the headstock, when you are playing a gig.

This product is designed to tune multiple instruments, and its color LCD screen means that the indicator needle is very visible in different environments.

This needle will move closer to the middle of the screen the closer the guitar is to being in tune, and it will move away from the middle when it isn’t in tune.

Interestingly, it is designed to handle especially noisy environments that may affect its readings. It does this through a built-in vibration sensor, which will balance out any interference.

I found the tuner so easy to use – there is a simple on/off button to press, and the backlight creates a brilliant contrast between the background and tuner reading, which makes it effective in light or dark situations.

Pros:

  • Dual-hinged clip-on – You can mount it on either side of the headstock.
  • Tunes multiple instruments – You don’t need to worry about buying different tuners for different instruments.
  • Color LCD screen – Makes the reading more visible.
  • Built-in vibration sensor – This balances out any other noise interference, so it won’t affect the accuracy of your tuning.

Cons:

  • Battery-powered – Not possible to recharge it, so you will have to hunt down a compatible battery at some point.
Sale
Fender FT-2 Professional Clip on Tuner for Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Ukulele, and Banjo
  • Compact, dual-hinged clip-on tuner
  • Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Violin and Chromatic tuning modes
  • Color LCD screen with easy-to-read tuning needle
  • Tuning Range B0 - B7; A440 calibration
  • Includes CR2032 battery

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Tuner Pedal w/Buffer

TC Electronic POLYTUNE 3 Ultra-Compact Polyphonic Tuner with Multiple Tuning Modes and Built-In BONAFIDE BUFFER

TC Electronic has been creating guitar tuners for quite some time now, and the PolyTune 3 is a brilliant addition to the collection.

A useful feature of this tuner is that it has multiple tuning methods, depending on which one you prefer. It uses polyphonic, chromatic, and strobe tuning.

After testing the PolyTune 3 out, it is true that it will give you a clear tuning reading within one strum of a guitar.

It is advertised as having a 0.5 cent (one-hundredth of a semitone) accuracy for its chromatic tuning, and a 0.02 cent accuracy for its strobe tuning. This is one of the most accurate tuning readings that you can get out of a current guitar tuner!

This tuner pedal has a clear LED display, and it also comes with a Bonafide Buffer. This will help you to prolong your guitar tone when you are using long cable runs and multiple signal paths on your pedalboard.

This addition will definitely elevate your playing experience.

However, you should bear in mind that the tuner pedal is quite large. If you want to run it by itself, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

But if you are going to place it on a pedalboard, then it could take up a lot of space where you may want other pedals to go.

Pros:

  • Has polyphonic, chromatic, and strobe tuning – You can choose which tuning style suits your needs/instrument best!
  • Clear LED display – You will be able to see the reading clearly.
  • Brilliant accuracy – 0.5 cent accuracy for chromatic, 0.02 cent for strobe tuner
  • Tuning within one strum – This will save you a lot of time when tuning.

Cons:

  • The pedal is large – This can make it difficult to fit on a pedalboard.
TC Electronic POLYTUNE 3 Ultra-Compact Polyphonic Tuner with Multiple Tuning Modes and Built-In BONAFIDE BUFFER
  • Ultra-compact polyphonic tuner gives you fast, accurate tuning and a high-quality tone tool in a single unit Quickly get in tune with polyphonic, chromatic and strobe tuning modes Built-in all-analog Bonafide Buffer circuitry preserves your tone through long cable runs and convoluted pedal boards Polyphonic tuning lets you tune all your strings at once Lightning-fast chromatic tuner offers 0.5 cent accuracy Ultra-precise strobe tuner gives you +/-0.02 cent accuracy for ultimate tun
  • When it was introduced in 2010, the original Polytune forever revolutionized the way musicians tune their instruments
  • Praised by professional and amateur players, guitar tuning instantly became as simple as strum, tune, rock! So how do you make the best-selling polyphonic tuner even better? You take it to the next level byproviding multiple tuning modes, including polyphonic, chromatic, strobe and a variety of altered tunings; adding an onboard Bonafide Buffer to preserve your tone over long cable runs and pedal board signal paths; and upgrading the LED display for even higher tuning accuracy
  • Say hello to your next tuner – Polytune 3
  • When it was introduced in 2010, the original Polytune forever revolutionized the way musicians tune their instruments

If you are still struggling with which guitar tuner you should invest in, we have narrowed down the top features and options you should consider when you are shopping around.

Read on to peruse this easy buyer’s guide:

Buyer’s Guide

Accuracy

This is a self-explanatory thing to consider. You will always want your tuner to be as accurate as possible! Accuracy will usually be measured in certs, and the smaller the cert number, the more effective it will be.

Most guitar tuners should say how accurate they are on their descriptions, but if they don’t offer up this information then it is always worth looking at the customer reviews.

Something to bear in mind, however, is that strobe tuners tend to be the most accurate tuner you can buy.

While you will want an in-tune guitar, you should remember that your guitar will never be completely, perfectly in tune – and if it is as close as it is going to get, then this will most likely change within five minutes of you playing it.

String instruments are fickle that way! This is why it is useful to have a tuner with you at all times, so you can see how in tune your strings are while you are playing a gig and adjust it regularly.

Clip-On Or Pedal

It can be difficult to choose between a clip-on tuner or a pedal tuner. If you are tuning an acoustic guitar, then a clip-on will most likely be your best choice.

However, if you have an electric guitar, you may find that a pedal would be easier to control.

This is because you will already have a pedalboard out, so it will be seamless to navigate between the pedals. As well as this, they tend to be slightly more accurate for electric guitars, and they are also built to be more durable and hard-wearing.

As a side-note – while the pedal may be more efficient for an electric guitar, if your pedalboard is already full of other pedals and you want to free up some space, then the clip-on will still be effective!

This may also reduce the number of cables you will have connected to your signal chain.

Type Of Guitar Tuner

There are three main types of guitar tuner – they are all fairly simple to control, though one of them is more advanced and accurate than the others, which tends to bring the price up a bit.

The tuner options are chromatic, polyphonic, and strobe tuners.

Strobe tuners tend to be the most accurate choice to go for. However, you won’t need one of these if you are just starting out on the guitar!

This is aimed at professional players and guitar techs, particularly people who are regularly playing big gigs. If you are just learning the basics of the guitar, it may be best to look at one of the two other tuners.

A polyphonic tuner works by allowing you to play all of your guitar strings together, and it gives you a reading depending on how in tune all of the strings are at the same time.

This can give you a much quicker reading, rather than having to tune all of the strings separately, but it can be a bit confusing if you haven’t used a polyphonic tuner before.

However, there are plenty of video tutorials on the internet that will help you use one!

Finally, the chromatic tuner is perfect for beginners and is probably the easiest one to find. Simply put, it just identifies the 12 individual notes from the chromatic scale (in Western music).

This does mean that you will be tuning each string individually, but this can be great practice if you are just starting out!

Screen Visibility

It is important to be able to read your tuner, no matter what environment you are in. If the brightness isn’t effective enough, it can be especially difficult to see the screen outside and in sunlight, or in a dark room.

This could drastically affect your playing performance if you are at a gig.

For this reason, you should always take a look at the customer reviews, as well as the product description.

They should state what type of lighting/LED effects the screen has, what colors they use (which can also affect visibility), and the customer reviews will say whether these screens live up to the expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Accurate Are Guitar Tuners?

The accuracy of a guitar tuner depends on the type of tuner you buy! Typically, a strobe tuner would be the most accurate, but most digital tuners are accurate to around 1-2 cents (one-hundredth of a semitone).

This is incredibly close to perfect and it would be quite difficult to tell the difference if they are one or two cents out.

Can Guitar Tuners Be Used On Other Instruments?

It is possible to tune other instruments with a guitar tuner – specifically a clip-on tuner. This mainly refers to string instruments, including ukuleles and violins.

However, if you are looking for a tuner for other instruments in the brass or percussion family, for example, then you may want to consider using a tuning fork instead.

What Do Guitar Tuners Measure?

Tuners will typically pick up on the pitch of an instrument’s musical notes. You would measure for pitch using the unit of Hertz (Hz).

This essentially means that it counts the number of complete sound waves that make a noise in the space of one second.