Not many musicians possess the ability to recognize the pitch-perfect frequency of each note and tune they hear. Most musicians usually employ tone generators or tuners to help them with all their tuning needs; which brings us to guitar tuners. These devices have a fairly wide range of features and capabilities, especially the ones that are optimized for a specific range of guitars.
Seeing how there are literally dozens of different types of guitar tuners to choose from, it may prove a bit difficult to find one to satisfy your needs, even more so if your needs are a bit peculiar. You have to bear in mind that guitar tuners aren’t all built to the same standards, even though most of them serve roughly the same purpose. To understand them better, we should perhaps take a look at the ten best guitar tuners the market has to offer at this point in time.
Best Guitar Tuners Reviews & Buying Guide
#10 Korg Pitchblack Pro 1U PB05
The Korg Pitchblack Pro 1U PB05 is a 1U rack mount guitar tuner, uniquely designed for bass guitars and electric guitars. Measuring 19 inches in size, this guitar tuner is light in weight, slim, and very easy to install. Not only limited to rack mounting, this tuner can also be placed anywhere you like near your guitar. Featuring a large 3D meter, it comes with 3 display modes including a regular mode, a strobe mode, and a half-strobe mode. Unlike most of its kind, this guitar tuner also comes with a cable checking function that notifies the user of any broken or damaged cables.
- Enjoys a very cool-looking design
- Can be operated very quickly
- It is very easy to install due to its ingenious construction
- Benefits from a fairly sturdy build despite its plastic cover
- Can be used for a wide range of applications
- Needs a manual input when used with an external rack master power switch
- Power cord looks a bit odd
#9 TC Electronic PolyTune 3
The TC Electronic PolyTune 3 is a quick and accurate guitar tuning device that produces precise results and comes preset with various tuning modes and functions. Utilized by popular musicians and professional guitarists, this guitar tuner is also highly recommended even for beginners. With multiple tuning modes including strobe, polyphonic and chromatic, it also comes with preset tunings and a buffer to help preserve your tones over a wide cable runs and signal paths via pedal boards. Thanks to its large LED display screen, it offers clear visibility for better accuracy while tuning.
- Has a conventional tuning mode that can be quite useful
- Features accurate fixed presets for you to choose from
- It is equipped with a soft push button to switch between tuning modes
- Benefits from a very user-friendly interface
- It allows you to sort between multiple ‘off’ notes
- It has slightly flat readings in poly mode
- Mutes the output when the tuner is one
#8 Roadie 2 Automatic Smart Guitar Tuner
Uniquely designed to tune all kinds of instruments with strings, the Roadie 2 Automatic accurately adjust the tones of electric, steel, acoustic and classical guitars, including banjos, bass guitars, violins, ukuleles, and mandolins. Thanks to its vibration sensor, it can tune your guitar in any environment, delivering the exact same quality. Equipped with user-friendly controls, you can choose your preferred settings with ease. Featuring over 40 various preset tunings, this guitar tuner also allows users to create their own custom modes. Light in weight and compact in size, this tuner can be carried around with ease and is ideal for utilization on the go.
- It comes with a comprehensive user manual
- Can tune up almost any type of guitar
- Features a rechargeable battery equipped with a USB C cable
- It is a lot faster than most guitar tuners out there
- Can be used on virtually any instrument with strings
- Does not fit guitars with Kluston tulip peg tuners
- It can be a bit pricey
#7 Boss TU3 Chromatic Pedal Tuner
The Boss TU3 Chromatic Pedal Tuner is a premium quality guitar tuning device that comes with a wide range of features and functions. Including a brightness mode for optimum visibility, especially when outdoors, it comes with a LED meter with 21 different segments, support for drop tuning, and a special guitar and bass mode. Unlike other tuning pedals, this one comes with a pitch sign feature that notifies the user that the tuning process is complete. Its guitar and bass mode includes tuning each string by number with special guidance for both 6 and 7 string guitars and bass guitars.
- Can accommodate bright LEDs to make it brighter
- Features a bypass option
- Allows you to use a volume pedal as a mute switch
- The tuner reacts very quickly to user inputs
- It features a support function for drop tuning
- Uses up batteries rather quickly
- The power cord is a bit lacking
#6 Peterson StroboPlus SP-1
With 0.1 cent accuracy and 1/1000th of a semitone, the Peterson StroboPlus SP-1 is a high-quality handheld guitar tuner with an additional metronome function. This ingenious tuner comes with a Lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via USB. It also comes with an inbuilt microphone that might prove rather useful long-term. Other functions include a variety of over 90 preset temperaments and tunings, multi-octave tunings, and a Buzz Feiten system. Equipped with an HD backlit display screen, this guitar tuner can display even the smallest pitch changes.
- Features an EQU guitar tuning mode of the highest quality
- It is very lightweight despite its size
- Benefits from a user-friendly interface with large buttons
- Its design recommends it for prolonged usage
- Can deliver very accurate tunings
- Takes a bit of getting used to
- The backlight requires the unit to be connected to a USB port
#5 TC Electronic PolyTune Clip
With the ability to tune 6 strings at once, the TC Electronic PolyTune Clip is a high-quality tuning device that comes with the latest in poly tune technologies. Thanks to its bright and easy to view display screen, it offers excellent visibility no matter the angle. Featuring various capo modes and flat tuning settings, it provides quick and accurate results without the need of any additional pedals or gadgets. Made from premium quality materials, this tuning device features an elegant yet modern design and construction and comes with a robust stainless steel clip that is spring-loaded for a tighter grip.
- Boasts many different tunings to choose from
- Enjoys quite a pleasant design with multiple LED lights
- It has the capacity to check all strings at the same time
- Its user-friendly UI makes it easy to use
- Benefits from quite a sturdy build
- Comes with a flimsy instruction sheet
- It is a bit pricey all things considered
#4 Kliq Music Gear TinyTune Pro Stage
The Kliq Music Gear TinyTune Pro Stage is a tuning pedal designed to tune electric and bass guitars. Crafted to fit on any type of pedalboard, this quick and accurate mini pedal offers A1 precision. Featuring a clear LCD display screen with full color, it allows superb visibility in any lighting. Thanks to its zero noise feature, it mutes out signals while your tune and directly sends the signal to the output, ensuring you do not experience any humming or popping sounds. Unlike most of its kind, this tuning pedal is designed with a simplified UI without any hidden modes, buttons or features.
- Its sturdy build ensures its long-term durability
- The unit comes with a self-adhesive Velcro feature
- Works equally well with low B and bass strings
- It enjoys a very compact and lightweight design
- Features a crystal-clear LCD screen
- Sometimes it will not retain non-440 tuning frequencies
- Doesn’t come with a power supply
#3 Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner
The Korg TM50PW is a premium quality guitar tuner that can also be utilized as a metronome. Each of these functions can be used separately or simultaneously depending on your setup. Equipped with an LCD display screen with a needle-type meter, this guitar tuner comes with a wide detection range – C1 to C9 and a tempo range of 30 to 252 beats per minute. This versatile tuner also features 16 different rhythm options to help you practice a variety of music styles and genres.
- It is equipped with a built-in microphone
- Features a ‘Sound Back’ function which plays back the in-tune
- Benefits from a sweep needle on a large backlit LCD display
- It works equally well with other instruments
- To some extent, it can produce any pitch
- Does not allow tuning for historical or alternate temperaments
- Tends to produce a small beep when you press its buttons
#2 Kliq Music Gear UberTuner
Thanks to the latest microprocessor and Piezo sensors from UberTuner, this device will tune your guitar to an incredibly fine standard in no time. Featuring a full color, large display screen, users can clearly view the controls and settings from any angle, owing to its 3-point screen positioning. User-friendly, reliable, and highly efficient, this tuning device automatically detects the pitch, ensuring you do not experience any outward noise. Crafted with a robust outer cover, this tuner is super durable and built to last.
- It benefits from a big and sufficiently bright display
- Features LED indicators to help you through
- Its responsive functions recommend it for quick tunings
- Enjoys a very intuitive user interface
- The battery is also rather good
- The On/Off button could be a bit more obvious
- Its tuning motions move the display in large chunks
#1 Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip On Tuner
Offering guitar players a super tight tuning, the Snark ST-8 is a clip-on tuner that can be utilized to tune guitars, bass guitars, banjos, violins, ukuleles, and more. Equipped with a bright, easy to read HD display which can easily rotate 360 degrees around, this clip on guitar tuner is super accurate and can be tuned at all angles. Featuring a tap tempo metronome, it also comes with a special pitch calibration and a range of transpose functions. Considering its accuracy, it is perhaps one of the best guitar tuners the market has to offer right now.
- Simple to use and very accommodating in nature
- It can be clipped on the top of your guitar with ease
- Features a display that rotates 360 degrees
- It is very easy to operate and has a power save
- Quite affordable considering how good it is
- The retaining tabs are quite sensitive
- It has a somewhat limited HZ function
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What To Look For In A Guitar Tuner
As we are about to find out, guitar tuners differ from one another based on construction, design, inbuilt functions, versatility, and user interface. While for the most part, you are better off buying a popular tuner from a reputable manufacturer, you still want to take the time to learn about the differences between tuners and their particularities. In this respect, we should perhaps make an effort to first understand what a guitar tuner is all about.
What Is A Guitar Tuner?
A guitar tuner is a portable device utilized to tune instruments to a specific pitch. This is to make sure the sounds produced by various notes are “in-tune” with each other. The latest guitar tuners available come with easy to use UI platforms as they are designed with a needle that moves back and forth against a diagram to show the users, via different segments, whether their instrument is in tune or not.
Types Of Guitar Tuners
Although some professional musicians prefer tuning their instruments using their ears, it is much more convenient and reliable to have a guitar tuner do the job for you. Thanks to various sensors and microprocessors, technology has made it easy for musicians to ensure their notes are in tune; there are, however, different kinds of guitar tuners that one must be aware of, each with their own specifications.
Handheld Tuners – Handheld tuners are easy to use and deliver accurate results, making them an instant hit with both amateur and professional musicians. These small portable devices are suitable for both electric and acoustic guitars and are well known owing to their size and efficiency. However, as compared to other tuners, this kind does not do very well in noisy areas nor do they enjoy the same UI as the stand-alone types.
Clip-on Tuners – Clip-on users are the most common type of guitar tuning devices. Known for their effectiveness and convenience, these tuners come designed with an LCD screen. The tuner comes with a clip that is attached to the headstock of the guitar. Here is where it records the sounds and vibrations using the special inbuilt sensors. These tuners work great even in noisy areas and produce accurate results across the board.
Pedal Tuners – Pedals are not just utilized by musicians to add effects but also for tuning their instruments. The advantage of having a pedal tuner is because it allows for a quick and easy tuning even when you’re on stage, without having to plug them into any individual channel. We should point out that pedal tuners do not come with any additional features and are purely designed for tuning purposes only.
Polyphonic Tuners – Polyphonic tuners are also pedal tuners but come with the added ability to tune all six strings at one go. Although these are much more expensive, they are getting increasingly popular still. Specially crafted and designed for professional guitarists with complex styles of playing, this type of tuner should definitely be a part of any musician’s toolbox as long as they’re serious about improving their craft.
App Tuners – With all the latest developments in music technology, state of the art software can do almost anything when it comes to tuning and pitch adjusting. Hence the introduction of app tuners – a handy portable tuner that can be downloaded on your smartphone. Bear in mind that even though this type of tuner is fun and easy to use, it might not give you the accuracy and quality that physical tuners deliver.
What To Consider When Buying A Guitar Tuner
Screen Brightness and Visibility – As a musician, you would only realize the importance of screen brightness when you use a tuner that is not bright enough. With the many different kinds of tuners available today it is important to check which ones come with a bright, large screen that would allow you proper visibility even in the darkest or brightest areas. Some tuners come with a special setting that allows users to control the levels of brightness to match your needs.
Muting Your Signal – Those of you who play electric guitar should know that it is necessary to have a tuner pedal that automatically mutes your signal when prompted to do so. This is important for those who play on-stage gigs. With a special tuner pedal, a simple hit of the footswitch would automatically turn off any sound, allowing you to tune your guitar in relative silence. A tuner pedal also comes of use while you change guitars and helps prevent any loud feedback produced by the amplifiers.
Accuracy – The accuracy of guitar tuners is measured in cents. Seeing how guitar fretboards are not usually built to perfect standards, it is impossible to own a perfectly tuned guitar. There are also times when we cannot hear any difference between two specific notes because humans are only able to tell the difference when the notes are 5 or more cents apart. The only way to tell the difference and be absolutely accurate is for you to employ a good guitar tuner that shows you sounds that are even 0.5, 1, or 2 cents out of tune.