The Guitar Tuner Tier List

Author: GroundGuitar Dan

Contents

Guitar Tuners Tier List (From Worst to Best)

Tier D ($10 – $20)

  • Snark SN-8
    Pretty much the most basic tuner out there. Cheap construction, but overall decent performance considering the price.
  • D’Addario Micro Clip
    Basically the same performance as the Snark, but the D’Addario has a very low profile design.
  • Korg Tuner GA-50
    Specialized standalone/pocket guitar and bass tuner. Very simple to use. Good for beginners.

Tier C ($20 – $40)

  • KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal
    The most basic and cheapest pedal tuner worth buying. Recommended for electric guitar players on a budget who play standing up.
  • KLIQ UberTuner
    Decent step from the Tier D clip-on tuners. Better display, more features, for a relatively small price increase.

Tier B ($40 – $80)

  • Korg Pitchblack Pedal Tuner (our choice for pedal)
    A pedal tuner with great performance and a proper display. Good long term investment for people who play live.
  • Seiko STX7
    Very easy to use Japanese-made clip-on tuner with a robust design. and a rechargeable battery.
  • Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner (our choice for pocket)
    Great all-around multi-purpose tuner. Uses either a microphone or a cable.

Tier A (Around $100 or more)

Tier S (If Price is of no Concern)

  • Peterson AutoStrobe 490
    Probably among the most precise guitar tuners in the world. A professional piece of equipment.

Few notes – Prices are only approximate and based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. You’ll probably find different prices depending on the story, and they might not always be what we have listed here.

Also, in case you’re not familiar with different types of tuners (chromatic vs non-chromatic, clip-on, pocket, pedal, etc) be sure to read the sections below the tier list where all is explained in more detail.

Snark SN-8 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

For such a low price it’s really hard to find something worth complaining about the Snark SN-1. Yeah, it’s all cheap plastic, but it’s not like we expected aluminum casing at this price point anyways. What’s important is that the tuner does its job pretty well, and most of the people are probably gonna be amazed by it anyway given that they don’t have experience with some of the premium models (this happens more often than you think when it comes to guitar gear).

Snark Super Tight clip-on tuner is relatively small, has a circular display, and a color display.
Snark SN-8 Chromatic Clip-On Tuner

The tuner uses the high sensitivity piezo sensor to detect a note. The display is sufficiently bright and clear, and it’s highly adjustable (can rotate 360 degrees). It even has a battery-saving feature that dims the light after ten seconds and completely shuts down the tuner after two minutes of idleness.

Also, since this is a “higher-end” SN model, it even has a built-in metronome, plus a feature that allows for tuning with a capo on. Although this sounds cool, it’s actually pretty simple and almost unnecessary (the tuner just displays the EBGDAE standard tuning wherever you place the capo).

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Clip-on
  • Build: Plastic
  • Tuning: Piezo Sensor
  • Features: Simple Metronome, Pitch Calibration (415-466Hz), Transpose (tuning for capo).
  • Powered With: CR2032 battery (included)

Get It: Snark SN-8 on Amazon.com

D’Addario Micro Clip

Most of you probably know D’Addario as a brand that makes guitar strings. So, for someone who knows their strings, they surely know how to make a tuner that tunes them perfectly, right?

Well, maybe they do, but this isn’t it. This is basically the cheapest tuner they could come up with, that does the job satisfyingly. It performs around the same as the Snark (which, as noted in the opening section, is well enough for basically anyone). I had some issues with the low E string on my guitar (it seemed hard for the tuner to lock onto it), and I heard it’s the same when tuning a bass – so it’s not perfect.

D’Addario Micro Clip tuner attached to a headstock of an acoustic guitar.
D’Addario Micro Clip is really low-profile. Some people will more than appreciate this.

A great plus about the D’Addario is that it’s really low-profile so it won’t stick out as much as the Snark. You can keep the tuner on the headstock even if the guitar is in its case with no problems. Also, you can flip around the orientation of the display with a press of a button, in case you feel the need depending on where the tuner is placed.

One negative thing is the clamp mechanism, which kind of feels cheaply made and like it’s gonna lose its grip over time. It’s basically more of a clamp-on tuner than a clip-on tuner, and it just feels like the grip is not gonna last for long. I suggest that you clamp the tuner, and just leave it on your guitar.

D’Addario Micro Clip tuner displayed. The tuner is very compact, and doesn't stick too much from the profile of the headstock.
Likely in order to save space and make the tuner more compact, D’Addario went with a clamp instead of a clip.

Technical Details

  • Type: Non-Chromatic, Clip-on
  • Build: Plastic
  • Tuning: Piezo Sensor
  • Features: Pitch calibration (410-480Hz), Visual Metronome
  • Powered With: CR2032 battery (included)

Get It: D’Addario Micro Clip-on Amazon.com

Korg GA-50 Guitar and Bass Tuner

Before the clip-on trend picked up, and before the smartphones, tuners like the GA-50 were the thing. Any time you went to a guitar store, and asked for a cheap tuner, in like 90% of the cases you would be handed down what we call here a “pocket” tuner.

Korg GA-50 is probably the cheapest tuner from that category worth buying, especially if you consider the fact that you can download an app for free that will basically do the same job. In all honesty, if you’re gonna use it only on an acoustic or classical guitar, it’s probably not worth it. Because, if you use the microphone to tune the guitar, it’s no better then an app.

Korg GA-50 pocket tuner is relatively small, and can be carried around in your pocket. It has four button on the left side of the display, and a microphone to help you tune your guitar.
Very simplistic design allows for intuitive use.

Where the GA-50 does work better than an app is when you connect your guitar to it with a cable. This way the tuner just locks onto a note way quicker, and you can actually use it to set up intonation – which let’s be honest, is usually a nightmare to do through an app.

Technical Details

  • Type: Non-Chromatic, Standalone/Pocket
  • Build: Plastic
  • Tuning: Microphone, Cable
  • Features: Separate Guitar/Bass tuning, Flat tuning
  • Powered With: 2 AAA batteries (included)

Get It: Korg GA-50 on Amazon.com

KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal

This tuner is only for people who play standing up, and for people who play either an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar with a pickup. The reason for this, in case you’re not familiar with pedal tuners – you can only use it if you plug into it via cable. So no microphone, no piezo sensor, everything is done through a cable.

So, with that out of the way, this is probably the cheapest decent pedal tuner. It’s one that you get only if you really don’t wanna spend a buck more, and you’re willing to deal with some nuisances.

KLIQ TinyTune is a tiny pedal tuner that's probably 1/3 of a regular guitar pedal.
KLIQ TinyTune

Like, for instance, the display is okay if you play under normal light, and if you look at it from a short distance. There’s however no clear indication whether you’re in tune or not, like with the top of the line tuners which basically flash green LEDs right into your face, and there’s zero confusion there. KLIQ TinyTune has a nice display that tells you everything, but it’s really not that good at telling you that from a distance.

KLIQ TinyTune sitting on a pedalboard among other guitar pedals.
KLIQ TinyTune is indeed tiny when compared to a standard guitar pedal.

The other thing is that you have to use the tuner with a power adapter, so no batteries. So in short, buy this only if you are on a strict budget, you play standing up, and you already have a power supply set-up for your pedalboard. Otherwise, count spending a bit more for a power adapter.

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Pedal
  • Build: Aluminum
  • Tuning: Cable
  • Features: Pitch Calibration (430 – 450Hz, does not remember settings)
  • Powered With: 9V Power Adapter/Supply (not included)

Get It: KLIQ TinyTune on Amazon.com

KLIQ UberTuner Clip-On

Although the Snark and the D’Addario will do the job just fine for most of the people, there are some features that they simply lack. For instance, the Snark is somewhat lacking in build quality and response time, while the D’Addario lacks chromatic tuning, among others.

KLIQ UberTuner is a clip-on type with a large square display.
KLIQ UberTuner

The KLIQ UberTuner basically has everything that an average person would need. It has separate modes for guitar, bass, violin, ukulele, and chromatic tuning. So if you wanna tune your guitar to standard tuning, it can focus only on that. If you wanna play around with non-standard tunings, flip over to the chromatic mode and do as you wish. It’s the best of both worlds, and how every tuner should function.

Everything else is basically the same old story, decent response time, decent build quality but nothing to write home about, and overall just good enough – but nothing special.

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Clip-on
  • Build: Plastic
  • Tuning: Piezo Sensor
  • Features: Dedicated Modes, Pitch Calibration (430 – 450Hz)
  • Powered With: CR2032 Battery (included)

Get It: KLIQ UberTuner on Amazon.com

Korg Pitchblack Pedal Tuner

This pedal tuner comes in a very sturdy die-cast casing which holds a bright and very easy-readable LED screen with a few different display modes. It is powered by either a power adapter or a 9V battery. It’s smaller in size when compared to most of the standard pedal tuners (although it’s not as tiny as some), which is good if you want something that will not take a lot of space on your pedalboard.

The tuner features a true bypass, which means that when the tuner is off it won’t mess with your sound in any way, but pass it straight to whatever is next in the chain. When the tuner is on it will automatically mute the guitar signal, so you won’t feel like an annoyance to the people around you.

Korg Pitchblack Advance is a pedal tuner colored in black, that looks pretty futuristic. It has a display showing the note, and below it sections showing how far you are from being in tune.
Korg Pitchblack Advance Pedal Tuner

Also worth noting, you can daisy chain pedals power supply through this tuner since it has a power output on the back (which the previously mentioned cheaper KLIQ TinyTune doesn’t have).

In short, this guitar tuner is simply amazing when you consider what you’re paying for it. The quality of the case itself, and the precision that this tuner offer makes it a great purchase. Consider it an entry-level model and a ticket to the world of professional guitar gear.

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Pedal
  • Build: Metal
  • Tuning: Cable
  • Features: True Bypass, Pitch Calibration, Strobe Mode
  • Powered With: 9V Battery (included), Power Adapter/Supply (not included)

Get It: Korg PBAD Pedal Tuner on Amazon.com

Seiko STX7 Clip-on Tuner

There was a debate for a long time whether to include here the TC PolyTune Clip or this Seiko tuner, but for reasons that will be explained, Seiko came on top.

First of all, the “PolyTune” feature on the TC (which basically allows you to tune all strings at once), is just something that doesn’t work that great, and people usually tune string by string anyways. So, the main selling point of the PolyTune really doesn’t mean that much. Furthermore, Seiko has the better screen adjustment, and it has a built-in rechargeable battery.

Seiko STX7 is a rectangular clip-on tuner with USB charging.
Seiko STX7

One thing where PolyTuner does better is the display, as it has a more modern large LED screen, while the Seiko has the old-school sections, with a smaller LED on the side. Nothing that important, but the TC does look more modern.

But what it all comes down to is that Seiko just seems to make the best budget guitar tuners. They are all very simple and precise made, with superb accuracy. It’s like with their watches, why buy a Rolex when you can get a Seiko that works just as good (if that’s not your way of thinking, there is a “Rolex” of clip-on tuners further down this list).

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Clip-on
  • Build: Plastic/Metal
  • Tuning: Piezo Sensor, Microphone
  • Features: Pitch Calibration (415 – 444Hz), USB Recharge
  • Powered With: Rechargeable Battery (Power Cable included)

Get It: Seiko STX7 on Amazon.com

Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner

Regarding this tuner, it again was a toss between two different tuners, the Korg and the Boss TU-12EX. But, seeing how the Boss is almost twice as much money, Korg just seemed like a better deal overall, and there really wasn’t that much to the Boss to be worth the extra money.

Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner is a large rectangular tuner that is best used sitting on a desk. It has a physical needle displaying the cents, and five buttons below it for choosing different notes and calibration.
Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner

The Korg tuner is very robust and it feels like a serious piece of equipment. It’s worth noting that it is a bit bulky, and perhaps best left sitting on a desk, so don’t plan on carrying it around in your pocket. You do however get a small soft case with it, that allows for safe transport.

Regarding features, among the things that separate this tuner from cheaper pocket tuners is the fact that it has a physical needle that tells you how far off you are from the note. This makes the tuner feel extremely accurate and responsive, especially if you tune in the “slow” mode, which makes the needle more sensitive.

Also, since this is an Orchestral Tuner, it is targeted at more instruments than just a guitar. You can tune a piano with it usually with little problem, and it even has built-in temperaments other than 12-tone equal temperament, detection range from A0 (27.50 Hz) to C8 (4186 Hz), and pitch calibration from 349 to 499 Hz with 1 Hz step increments. Furthermore, you can connect any microphone to it (including clip-on mics) to make the tuning process more accurate.

YouTuber Jerry Rose works on an acoustic guitar, using a Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner to set up intonation.
Jerry Rosa from Rosa String Works uses the Korg OT-120 to intonate/tune his guitars. If you wanna learn how a good guitar luthier/repairman works his magic, check out his channel – Rosa String Works on YouTube

In short, this a tuner that does basically everything. Even if you plan to use it just on your guitar, for now, those extra features are very nice to have. It’s not perfect, as it has some problems detecting the top and bottom octaves (so don’t count on the advertised 8-octave detection range), but for this price, you really cannot expect it to be.

Technical Details

  • Type: Chromatic, Standalone
  • Build: Plastic/Metal
  • Tuning: Microphone (or Piezo with additional equipment)
  • Features: Pitch Calibration (349 – 449Hz), Multiple Temperaments, Transpose Mode
  • Powered With: 2 AA Batteries (included)

Get It: Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner on Amazon.com

Peterson Strobo-Clip Tuner

StroboClip is, as the name implies, a clip-on tuner. The second part of the name implies that this is a Strobe tuner, which as we explained at the beginning of this article is a type of a tuner that offers much greater accuracy than a chromatic tuner.

But, as we also explained, there’s rarely need for a tuner that’s accurate beyond the standard accuracy, which is really probably around +/- 1 cent. The Peterson StroboClip has the alleged accuracy of 0.1 cents, which is one-thousandth of a semitone, or in other words – something an average person (or likely any person) doesn’t notice at all.

Peterson Strobo-Clip is a clip-on tuner with a rectangular display attached via an adjustable arm.
Peterson Strobo-Clip

Still, just because something is unnecessary, it doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to have. Strobe tuning just feels better than chromatic, because you’re not limited by the sections on the display. The note isn’t in tune when the tuner lights up green, but when the strobe pattern stops spinning.

But, besides accuracy, Strobo-Clip feels premium across the board. Unique design, sturdy case, a proper, strong clip, and a very nice display.

One of the bad things is the ergonomics, especially the placement/design of the buttons. All the buttons are on top, and they all look and feel the same, so you’ll often have no idea which button you’re holding your finger on. Also, you use one same button for the menu and for power on/off, which is just absurd and leads to unnecessary confusion (some of this stuff was improved on the current version of the tuner).

Photo showing buttons on the back of the Peterson Strobo-Clip.
Slight improvements on the button design. The middle button now has a different feel than the two on the side, making the mistakes less

Technical Details

  • Type: Strobe, Clip-on
  • Build: Plastic/Metal
  • Tuning: Piezo Sensor
  • Features: Pitch Calibration, Sweetened Tunings
  • Powered With: 1 CR2032 Battery (included)

Get It: Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-on Tuner on Amazon.com

TC Electronic Polytune 3

The TC Electronic Polytune is as straight-forward as a guitar pedal can be. You press the switch with your foot, pedal mutes the guitar sound, and you turn the tuning pegs until the green line hits 90 degrees. You of course power it with either a power adapter, or a 9V battery, and it will not mess with your guitar sound since it features true-bypass switching.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 is a white pedal tuner, with a large display on the top.
TC Electronic PolyTune 3

One of the two main things that stand out in this tuner is the fact that it has an integrated analog buffer. This is obviously great for people who already use a buffer, as it will save space on a pedalboard. Apparently, the circuitry is the same as in TC’s Bonafide Buffer, which is, of course, one of the industry standards.

The second feature worth mentioning is the fact that it has a polyphonic tuning, meaning that you can tune all strings at once. However, this works best just for a quick check, as it’s nowhere near as precise as standard mode.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 in the polyphonic mode, showing the tune of all strings at once.
The tuner in the polyphonic mode.

Also worth mentioning, there are separate modes available for chromatic and non-chromatic tuning, as well as strobe tuning (you toggle through these with a button located on the top of the pedal).

The display is very bright, and probably one of the best on the market. You won’t have any trouble seeing whether you’re in tune from a distance, nor in sunny environments.

Technical Details

  • Type: Pedal
  • Build: Metal
  • Tuning: Cable
  • Features: Dedicated Guitar/Bass Tuning, Polyphone tuning, Strobe Tuning, Buffer
  • Powered With: Power Adapter/9V Battery, (not included)

Get It: TC Electronic Polytune 3 on Amazon.com

Boss TU-3 Pedal Tuner

Of course – this list just can’t go without the Boss TU pedal tuner. This tuner is the successor of the widely used TU-2, which probably is/was on most of the professional players’ pedalboards (for instance, John Mayer used the TU-2 tuner during the original Trio tours).

The TU-3 takes a lot from its older brother, starting with the classic stomp pedal design which many like, especially when they want the tuner to fit well with the rest of the pedalboard. The TU-3 has a more detailed display, with just basically larger amount of sections/LED lights, likely leading to a more accurate reading of the notes. It’s worth noting that this display performs perhaps the best out of all listed here outdoors under sun glare – so keep that in mind if that’s something you want from a tuner.

Boss TU-3 Pedal Tuner is a classic looking stomp pedal with a large foot switch on the bottom.
Boss TU-3 Pedal Tuner

Regarding features, this tuner comes with a pretty standard pack. You get you dedicated bass and guitar tuning, as well as chromatic and non-chromatic modes. One notable thing is that the TU-3 has a bypass mode, which allows you to have the tuner on even while you’re playing. If you’re using the standard mode, on the other hand, the tuner mutes the guitar signal as soon as you engage it.

There really isn’t that much to say about the TU-3 except that most everyone who plays the guitar professionally has either this or the older model. That information alone is all you need to make up your decision.

Technical Details

  • Type: Pedal
  • Build: Metal
  • Tuning: Cable
  • Features: Dedicated Guitar/Bass Tuning, Buffer (no True-Bypass)
  • Powered With: Power Adapter/9V Battery, (not included)

Get It: Boss TU-3 on Amazon.com

Peterson Strobo Stomp HD

If you’re one of the people who want the best of the best, while still keeping it at a reasonable price, this should do the job. The Peterson Strobo Stomp is a strobe tuner with an accuracy that’s ten times better than an average chromatic tuner, and it’s packed with features that most of the other’s don’t even come close to.

Peterson Strobo Stomp HD almost resembles a modern phone with it's rather large display.
Peterson Strobo Stomp HD

First worth mentioning is what Peterson calls “Sweetened” tuning. These are basically just presets (which the tuners have more than a 100 of) which very slightly alter the tuning to make your guitar sound better (at least according to Peterson). But, these also include the Buzz Feiten tunings, as well as other non-standard tunings such as Drop D, DADGAD, etc.

The tuner also has a pretty nice display, which is a step above anything else on the market. The display can change colors, and the user has the ability to set the brightness according to his/her personal needs.

Lastly, you can use this tuner either in a buffer mode or in true bypass mode. You can also choose whether you want the tuner to mute your guitar when you engage it, or you want your signal to be on all the time (Monitor mode).

Technical Details

  • Type: Strobe, Pedal
  • Build: Metal
  • Tuning: Cable
  • Features: Sweetened Tunings (Presets), True Bypass. Buffer, USB Connectivity
  • Powered With: Power Adapter/9V Battery, (not included)

Get It: Peterson Strobo Stomp HD on Amazon

Peterson AutoStrobe 490

I’ve debated whether to actually include this particular tuner here, led by thinking that whoever needs such a serious piece of equipment, probably already knows what he/she should look for. Nonetheless, I figured it would be cool for the rest of us to at least dwell upon it for a while.

So, basically, this is the real deal – the tuner that a serious guitar tech would carry on road for tuning guitars for a professional guitarist, a tuner that a guitar manufacturer would have set-up on their floor, or a tuner that a skilled guitar luthier/repairman would have sitting on his window (shout out to Dave).

Peterson AutoStrobe 490 is a box shaped tuner that fits in a rack mount. It's probably among the best guitar tuners that money can buy.
Peterson AutoStrobe 490

The Peterson AutoStrobe 490 is, of course, a strobe tuner, and as we already discussed, strobe tuners are only limited by their internal frequency generator. This generator serves as a reference frequency, and a strobe tuner shows even the slightest difference between it and the note being played. This difference is visualized by the movement of the rotating discs with strobe patterns, and you basically tune the guitar until the disk stops spinning.

The thing is, although many tuners call themselves strobe tuners, this is the only tuner (on this list) that has an actual mechanical rotating disk. The rest just have an LCD display, that sort of just simulates this, but it’s obviously not the same thing.

Anyways, this technology and Peterson’s dedication to making perfect tuners results in AutoStrobe 490 having a 32.70Hz to 7902.13Hz frequency response range, and a seven-octave note detection (from C1 to B8). And you can count on this being an actual thing – the tuner does thing that Peterson says it does.

Technical Details

  • Type: Strobe, Rack-mounted
  • Build: Metal
  • Tuning: Cable

Get It: Peterson AutoStrobe 490 on Amazon


The Three Types of Guitar Tuners

You probably noticed that the tuners listed here were separated into three different categories – clip-on, pocket, and pedal tuners.

Clip-On Guitar Tuners – These are usually made for acoustic guitar use, but they can be used on electrics too. They measure a note using a high-sensitivity vibration (piezo) sensor. This makes them ideal for loud environments as they do not require complete silence. To tune your guitar, you should place the tuner on the guitar’s headstock using the clip-on mechanism and monitor the note on the display.

Pocket Guitar Tuners – It’s not 100% that there’s actually a name for these types of tuners, but it felt like they needed their own separate category. These tuners are usually battery powered and have both microphone and input-jack. They are targeted at both the electric and acoustic guitar users, and they are usually somewhat cheap and small in size, which makes them great for carrying around in your pocket.

Pedal Guitar Tuners – This category of tuners is particularly popular among professional players who often play on stage. They fit quite well on a pedalboard, and they are made for hands-free use. If you’re often playing while standing, or you just want something that offers you the quickest and most comfortable way to tune your guitar, this category is right for you. Be aware – these tuners don’t have a microphone so they can’t tune an acoustic or classical guitar without the jack.

Chromatic, Non-Chromatic, Strobe Tuners

Besides the already mentioned categories, tuners can also be separated into Chromatic tuners and Non-Chromatic tuners.

Non-chromatic tuners allow you to tune only to set notes, for example, the standard EBGDAE, and occasionally to flat tunings. Chromatic tuners just straight up tell you what note you’re playing, and you have to do the rest.

In practice, if you used a non-standard tuning, for example, DADGAD, and when you played the first D string, a non-chromatic tuner would tell you to tune it up to E, because that’s the standard tuning which the tuner recognizes. The chromatic tuner would just tell you whether the D is flat, sharp, or on point. In this case, the choice of the note is completely on you, which also means that you have to memorize the tunings that you want to use.

The third category is the strobe tuners, which work basically the same as chromatic tuners, but have much greater accuracy. Chromatic tuners are limited by the chromatic scale, as they show tuning relative to the nearest semi-tone. As opposed to that, strobe tuners are only limited by their internal frequency generator. This generator serves as a reference frequency, and a strobe tuner shows even the slightest difference between it and the note being played. This difference is visualized by the movement of the rotating strobe disc.

A vintage 1967 Peterson Strobe Tuner Model 400. Note the mechanical rotating strobe disk on the left and the rotary “Vernier” dial on the right. As far as I understand, this dial allowed you to change the reference pitch from the standard 440Hz.

How Much Accuracy Do You Really Need From A Guitar Tuner

People really, I mean *really* seem to like their accuracy in a tuner, but in reality, there’s rarely need for a tuner that’s accurate beyond the standard accuracy, which is really probably around +/- 1 cent. Just to put things into perspective, 1 cent is one hundredth off a semitone (or a fret on your guitar).

So, for example, the Peterson StroboClip HD (which is a strobe tuner with greater accuracy compared to standard tuners) has the alleged accuracy of 0.1 cents, which is one-thousandth of a semitone, In other words – this is something an average person would in no way ever notice. It’s pretty much pointless, and just a marketing strategy. It just sounds like a cool thing to have, but it’s necessary.

In short, the accuracy that manufacturers claim should largely be ignored. It’s all about how quickly tuner locks onto a note, and how consistent it is.

If you’re curious about how the average tuner performs, and whether you should be worried about each cent, I recommend this article by Hank Wallace – What Do Guitar Tuner Accuracy Specs Mean. Hank explains that a guitar changes pitch slightly influenced by the temperature of the instrument and environment and that there’s really no need for such accuracy when it comes to guitar tuners.

Consider – Do You Really Need a Tuner?

Even if you’ve read everything here and decided to spend your hard-earned money on a guitar tuner, please be sure to at least try out a phone app. If the budget is tight, the app will do the job just fine for now. Try out any of the 4.5+ stars rated guitar tuner apps, and only if you find that it’s not good enough for you, purchasing an actual tuner makes sense.

Conclusion

So that’s about it. Hopefully, there is a tuner for each need on this list, and in case a tuner that you find to be amazing is currently not mentioned here, mention it in the comments, and I’ll read up on it. This list nowhere near final, and I’ll likely add more tuners in the future, especially in the mid-range (Tier C) category, as that seems to be the sweet spot to many.

This article was first published on 2014/01/04 and last updated on 2019/09/30.