If you play any stringed instrument, having the best guitar tuners in your rig is a necessity. Without them, your chords, notes, progressions will sound so pathetic. If you are a stage performer, you could as well end your career if you try to play an untuned guitar.
Back in the days, guitar players used a lot of time on stage tuning their guitars by ear. Others had to endure playing a guitar that was off tune. Later on, electronic guitar tuners came into play. Having one saved you time as you had the freedom to tune your guitar even in a noisy environment.
When you go into the market, you’ll find a plethora of guitar tuners. You’ll find chromatic tuners, non-chromatic tuners, hand-held tuners, polyphonic tuners, rack tuners, pedal tuners, and clip-on tuners. Your best option will depend on so many things, such as whether you are using an electric or acoustic guitar.
Technology has also improved to the extent that you can use an app. But most musicians don’t fully trust mobile apps because some are difficult to use.
We went out in the market to find some of the best tuners. We reviewed so many options. And in this article, we’ll review ten of the best ones to consider if you are shopping for a tuner.
Top 10 Best Guitar Tuners 2021
1. Peterson StroboPlus HD Desktop Strobe Tuner – Best For The Money
If you have a mix of various stringed instruments, getting a tuner to tune all those instruments should be your priority. The Peterson StroboPlus is worth buying if you want a versatile guitar tuner.
Primarily, this best guitar tuner is a desktop tuner that runs via a rechargeable battery. It has several tuning presets, a large LED display, and software to ensure that you tune your guitar perfectly.
It also has a metronome, which could be a significant tool to help you while practicing, and an in-built microphone for tuning acoustic instruments.
We tested this guitar tuner to see how accurate it was. It’s easy to use, and the tuner helps the musician achieve accurate tuning on their strings since it’s a chromatic tuner. Unlike most tuners, which require you to put the device into strobe mode, this one doesn’t.
By the way, it also has a built-in 12-octave tone generator, which helps you tune a variety of instruments.
If you want to tune an electric guitar, this tuner provides you with a ¼-inch input port to connect with your guitar. You can also use it to tune woodwind, string, and brass instruments.
2. BOSS TU-3 Tuner – Best Buy
If you are wondering why this best guitar tuner is one of the recommended tuners in the market, here’s what you need to know about it.
The Boss TU-3 is an improvement of the TU-2. It features a solid body, which will stay intact and can survive knocks, especially when traveling. The pedal guitar tuner also has an LED display, which helps in fast and accurate tuning. Note that the LED screen is easy to see even when you are in a bright-lit environment or outdoors.
Besides that, the tuner operates as a bypass or a buffered tuner depending on the port, which you insert the cable. However, it works with both.
The pedal is a chromatic tuner. You can change the tuning settings to your preference using the mode and stream/Cent buttons. Once you start the tuning process, this unit will show you how far you are from getting the right tune on each string.
Most pedal tuners are ideal for six-stringed instruments only. The Boss TU-3 goes beyond the usual and can support seven and eight-string electric and bass guitars.
Hence, the pedal is a perfect gift for any gigging musician that wants a pedal tuner that they’ll use for years.
3. JOWOOM T2 Smart Automatic Guitar & Ukulele Tuner – Budget Buy
One common fear amongst most beginner guitarists is breaking a string while tuning or restringing their guitar. The JOWOOM T2 takes away that fear in an instance.
The guitar tuner features a unit with a handle with buttons that tighten or loosen the strings. It also has an LCD panel, a direction indicator, a USB charging port, a string selector, and a peg connector.
Fortunately, the guitar tuner comes with a rechargeable battery, which means you don’t have to keep replacing it.
When tuning, connect the main peg connector to the string you want to tune. Press the S button to select the string you want to tune, and then pluck the string. The vibration goes directly to the tuner, which shows you whether you should loosen or tighten the peg. The Up and down button will wind the strings automatically.
You can also use the tuner when restringing your guitars and ukuleles. It should take you a few seconds to restring and tune the guitar.
If you are still learning how to tune your guitar or ukulele, this would be a great gift for you. The tuner is easy to use, and it would be a recommended guitar tuner for teachers. Professionals, too, can use the tuner if you’d like to tune your guitar quickly and accurately.
4. TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Polyphonic LED Guitar Tuner
For electric guitarists or bassists, finding a tuner that you can take on stage is an optimum necessity. And this here represents one of the best guitar tuners you should have on your next gig.
Primarily, the guitar tuner is pedal like any other. Nonetheless, it’s a tuner, which you can add to your pedalboard. It operates using a 9V battery or a power supply. And at the top, the pedal features an LED display and a bypass button if you don’t want it to affect your signal. The bypass button also operates as a buffer. It stays on and shows you when the guitar is off-tune while playing.
When it comes to the accuracy in tuning, this guitar tuner is a beast. You can be sure that it will tune your bass or electric guitar within seconds.
By the way, the pedal operates as a polyphonic and monophonic tuner. Meaning, it will show you the strings that are off-tune with one strum and allows you to tune each guitar string individually. Besides that, it’s also a chromatic tuner, which means you can use it for different tunings.
The TC Electronic Polytune 3 was the first of its kind. Any musician will love using this pedal tuner because it will fit into their rig effortlessly.
5. Korg Tuner PBAD
The Korg Tuner PBAD is yet another guitar tuner that operates like a pedal. It comes from a reputable brand, and as a guitarist, this would be the perfect gift to suit your tuning needs.
For most musicians, having a pedal that looks elegant is a priority. Why we love this guitar tuner is that it’s a pedal with a matte black chassis. Its LED display is wide enough to increase visibility, especially in dark-lit rooms. The tuner also comes with a buffer switch, which will show you when your guitar is off-tune while playing or practicing.
In terms of power, the Korg Tuner operates using a DC power outlet or a battery. And according to the manufacturer, the pedal assures you up to 60 hours of battery life.
The guitar tuner will help you tune your guitar within minutes. Musicians love this pedal tuner since it gives them up to four tuning settings, depending on the genre of music you are playing. Furthermore, it’s easy to use for both professionals and amateur players.
The Korg Tuner would be a superb tuner for any electric and bass player. Using this for your guitar ensures that the instrument stays in tune, especially in a band setting.
6. TC Polytune 3 Mini Guitar Pedal Tuner
TC electronics manufacture some of the best guitar tuners you’ll come across in the market. Here is yet another best tuner that you should buy, the Polytune 3 Mini model.
The polytune 3 is super small. It doesn’t occupy much space on your pedalboard; hence, it’s a superb addition for anyone with a small pedalboard. Despite the size, the guitar tuner comes in a compact, premium build. It also has a bright-lit LED display, which lets you see the gear even when you are outdoors.
It has both true bypass and buffer switches. The player can switch between both depending on the situation.
Some players prefer a guitar tuner that helps you tune all your strings at once. With this unit right here, you can spot the strings that are off-tune with a single strum. It saves you time, especially when you are in the middle of a performance.
We also noticed that buffer allows for silent tuning, which means that you don’t have to stop the entire band or disrupt a session to tune your guitar.
The pedal tuner will fit into any pedalboard in terms of space and connectivity. As long as you know the right position to place the tuner, you won’t hear any disruptive noises. Besides that, the guitar tuner is suitable for both electric and bass players.
Note that the pedal is a chromatic tuner.
7. Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner
The guitar tuner brings a mix of both elegance and accuracy in terms of tuning. Here’s why this model creates a buzz in the world of instruments.
The most notable attribute of this pedal is the LED display. It’s wider, brighter, and comes with various color variations to suit different ambient lightings. We also found out that this guitar tuning pedal has a true bypass/buffer switch. The true bypass ensures that the tone quality of your rig doesn’t change. The buffer mode is superb for guitarists who are using larger cables. It also ensures that you can see the strings that are off-tune while playing.
Right out of the box, the Peterson StroboStomp HD Guitar Tuner offers chromatic tuning to your guitar or any other stringed instrument. It is easy to use, and tuning your instrument takes seconds. Once you are in the right tune, the LED screen will highlight using the color setting you prefer.
Note that the pedal is a monophonic guitar. Meaning, you have to tune one string at a time.
The guitar tuner fits into your pedalboard with ease. You can use a battery or power outlet to power it. Other than that, the pedal tuner can tune any string instrument, including ukuleles, electric guitars, bass guitars, bluegrass instruments, harps, and steel guitars.
Its display makes it appealing; hence, it’s worth buy for any gigging musician.
8. DigiTech HardWire HT-6 Polyphonic Tuner
If you are the kind of musician that loves simplicity, here is a guitar tuner that you might end up loving.
The first thing you’ll notice once you unbox this best guitar tuner is the construction. It’s quite simple, but the manufacturer ensures that it’s durable since they use a metal chassis on the cover.
You’ll need a 9V battery or power supply to power on the unit. Once it’s on, you’ll notice that the screen shows a bright light screen with 15 LED lights for each string. In addition to that, the guitar tuner is a true bypass, which means that it will only tune once you switch off the bypass.
The good thing about this tuner is that it allows you to tune all the strings at once. With a single strum, you’ll be able to notice the strings that are not in tune. You can also tune each string individually and with up to five tuning modes.
The guitar tuner is not just suitable for tuning six-string instruments. You can use it to tune five-string and six-string bass instruments, given that it comes with different tuning modes. We recommend this tuner to any musician who wants a unit that will survive different knocks during a music tour.
9. Korg Guitar Pedal Tuner (PB05)
Korg is a company that does an excellent job of bringing forth revolutionary devices. The PB05 is one of the newest rack tuners that professional musicians should have in their rig.
The guitar tuner is an ultra-lightweight guitar tuner with a 3D visual meter, which has three display modes, including regular, half-strobe, and strobe. Its display is also easy to see even from a distance, which makes tuning a breeze.
You’ll also find a mute port for silent tuning, a cable checker for identifying damaged cables, and an input port for connecting it with your guitar.
When it comes to tuning, this rack tuner won’t let you down. It provides up to +/-1 cent accuracy. It operates on buffer mode, which means that the musician can keep his or her instrument in check even in the middle of a performance.
If you are into rack tuners, this could be a worthy investment since it’s lightweight and easy to use. You can also remove it from the rack easily. Also, given that it comes with a 3D display, the guitar tuner would be an excellent unit for studio use and stage performance.
10. ROADIE 3 | Smart Automatic Guitar Tuner
The Roadie 3 is another unique yet accurate automatic guitar tuner for both acoustic and electric guitars.
This best guitar tuner comes with a simplistic design that is easy to carry and hold. It also features a display screen, a peg connector, and a USB cable. Many users recommend this guitar tuner since it can stay for a long time with charge.
Roadie 3 is superb when it comes to tuning. The peg connector has a motor that tunes the guitar fast and accurately. Once you pluck the string you want to tune, the vibrations go directly to the tuner. It then tightens or loosens the peg automatically, depending on how much tuning the string needs.
Besides that, the gadget also comes with different tuning modes.
The guitar tuner should be an excellent device for tuning both electric and acoustic guitars. You can use it to tune ukuleles and any other string instruments. Buying this best guitar tuner is an excellent option since it’s easy to carry and use.
Best Guitar Tuners Buying Guide
As much as some guitarists have a perfect pitch, having the best guitar tuners is necessary. You’ll need it to confirm that every string sounds at it should work during a performance, during practice.
Many people have a problem choosing guitar tuners today. Why? Because there’s a whole lot of guitar tuners to choose. They come at different sizes, shapes, designs, and prices. And all of them promise one thing, accuracy.
If you are looking for a guitar tuner, this buying guide is for you. By the end of the article, you should know how these tuners work, and how to choose the best one for your needs.
How these devices work?
The first thing to know is how a guitar tuner works. Primarily, all guitar tuners are set to tune specific instruments. Every tuner comes with a display screen and a meter that shows the string you are tuning, and how close you are to the right tone.
Besides that, tuners can either be electronic or use forklifts. Electronic tuners detect the tone of the string in two ways. They can either use a microphone; detect vibration, or use a mix of both. Forklifts use vibrations to detect whether a string is in tune or not.
Types of tuners:
As mentioned earlier, tuners come in a variety of sizes and shapes. When you start shopping, you’ll come across a variety of options. The most common ones include:
– Chromatic and non-chromatic tuners
Chromatic tuners normally allow the guitarists to tune the guitar to 12 pitches. They are ideal for any instrument that has six or more strings on them. Non-chromatic, on the other hand, will only allow you to tune the guitar to up to six pitches. Hence, it’s appropriate for instruments with six strings or less.
– Headstock tuners
These tuners are common for acoustic tuners, but they can also tune electronic guitars. When tuning, the player has to attach it on the guitar’s headstock.
– Pedal tuners
Pedal tuners operate like any other pedal. You attach it to a pedalboard and operate it via a battery or a power adapter. You can switch these tuners on and off using your feet during a performance.
– Tabletop tuners
They can be huge tuners, which you can place on top of your table. Most of them have a small microphone installed to detect the string’s frequencies.
– Rack and pre-amp tuners
These might not be so familiar for beginners. You’ll find these two types of tuners in studios, especially the rack tuners. Pre-amp ones come as an additional feature in a guitar amplifier.
– Phone apps
A new breed of players prefers using smartphone apps to tune their guitars. These types of tuners depend on smartphone microphones to tune the strings. Still, they can be inaccurate, especially in noisy environments and because the phone’s microphone is not built to tune guitars.
Choosing the best tuners
Before you say that buying the best guitar tuner is not worth it, it’s good to remind you that not having one can be disastrous. It’s worth the investment, and if you find one that suits your needs, you’ll never have problems with tone during performances.
When choosing, here are some of the things to consider.
It’s not a priority; nonetheless, you should keep in mind that these devices come at different prices. And it’s upon you to decide how much money you want to use on your guitar tuner.
However, do not think that lower-priced tuners are not worth it. Some can be a huge bargain, especially if they offer accurate tuning. Therefore, the best way around this is to check out different reviews to see what other users say about the tuners.
- The instrument you are tuning
All stringed instruments need to be tuned before you start playing. Manufacturers build tuners with specific instruments in mind. Therefore, if your guitar has more than six strings, consider going for a tuner that can tune such instruments.
Besides that, it’s also advisable that if you are a guitarist that uses a different tuning other than the standard tuning, going for one that can adapt to that is vital. If you are also using a capo, you should also consider a tuner that can adapt to this.
- Features that it comes with
Primarily, what we mean here is that the tuner should be easy to use. You shouldn’t have problems using it. The display should be easy to see, especially in a dark lit room.
If possible, you should check whether the tuner comes with extra features such as a metronome, which students can find useful.
Remember that tuners come in different sizes and shapes. So if you want a pedal tuner, it should fit into your rig perfectly. And if you want a guitar tuner that you can carry everywhere you go, consider the size.
- Accuracy of tuning
This might be the most crucial aspect of all. If the tuner is not accurate in tuning, your instrument will sound awful. We found out that most tuning should have a margin of error between +/-1 to +/-3 cents, which is the tuning accuracy unit. Tuners with lower margins of error are the best.
Most apps have a problem with tuning inaccurately. Therefore, you scrutinize their tuning mechanisms before you pay for any subscriptions or before you use any.
As you can see, all these best guitar tuners come in different shapes, sizes, and designs. We want to urge you to focus on the purpose of the device rather than how it looks. The guitar tuner you choose should tune the string instrument you are using or even more than one string instrument. It should also come with different tuning settings to suit different musical needs, for playing jazz or classical music.
In our opinion, the BOSS TU-3 Tuner is the best buy option. The guitar pedal comes with modern enhancements, which make it easy to tune any guitar. We also liked it since it can fit into any pedalboard, doesn’t consume much space, and has a true bypass/buffer switch to suit different tuning needs. Furthermore, it comes at an affordable price. Any guitarist would do anything to have this pedal in their rig.