The 6 Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners For All Budgets 2022

Last Updated:
Editor's Choice
Fender Flash Tuner
Fender Flash Tuner
  • Has a rechargeable battery that has 10 hours of juice in it
  • It's affordable and easy to use
  • Can accurately tune your guitar, bass, ukulele, and violin
Best Premium
TC Electronic PolyTune
TC Electronic PolyTune
  • Get the power of a pedal tuner in clip-on form
  • See the tuning of each note at the same time with the polyphonic mode
  • The high-quality design will last you a lifetime
Best Features
Peterson StroboClip HD
Peterson StroboClip HD
  • Delight in the incredible accuracy of this tuner, especially for bass instruments
  • The StroboClip helps you experiment with new sounds, instruments, and styles without sacrificing tuning precision
  • The display works great in daylight and in dark rooms

Choosing the best clip-on guitar tuners for your needs can be tricky. With all of the different options on the market with varying features and prices, it can make what should be an easy purchasing decision difficult.

Well, I’ve used my 25+ years of guitar playing experience and countless hours of research to give you the best clip-on guitar tuners that suit players of all levels and needs.

Whether you’re looking for a basic tuner or an advanced swiss army knife for various instruments and alternative tunings, we have something on this list that will be perfect for you.

So what are you waiting for? Read on to find out more!

The Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners in 2022 At a Glance:

Editor’s Choice: Fender Flash Tuner

Editor's Choice
Fender Flash Tuner

Looking for an excellent clip-on guitar tuner that won't let you down? Check out the Fender Flash Tuner. This tuner is affordable, compact, and accurate - everything you need in a tuner.

Plus, it's eco-friendly with a rechargeable battery. No more worrying about your tuner dying in the middle of a gig or recording session. The Fender Flash Tuner has you covered.

There are lots to love about the Fender Flash Tuner. It’s affordable, it’s compact, accurate, and eco-friendly.

The Fender Flash Tuner is a clip-on tuner that has a rechargeable battery which is my favorite feature.

One of the things that always drove me crazy about clip-on tuners are having to replace batteries. Call it a law of the universe, but they always would go bad at the most inopportune times. And because clip-on guitar tuners often use the coin-shaped batteries, you never have spares.

The rechargeable battery of the Fender Flash has 10 hours of life. As long as you keep the included chord in your case, you’ll never have to worry about your tuner dying during your gig or recording session. To make things even easier, there is a battery icon on the display, so you know when you’re juice is running low.

Guitar players have preferences for where to place a clip-on tuner, and the Fender Flash Tuner will accommodate all techniques and headstocks. It features a 360-degree rotating swivel and a 120-degree hinge that allows you to easily see the display whether or not it’s on the front or back of your guitar’s headstock.

While this tuner isn’t as feature-rich as others on this list, it has enough going on under the hood to work for most guitar players. Its default mode is your standard 440hz calibration. However, with the Fender Flash Tuner, you can also choose to have it in guitar, bass, ukulele, violin, and chromatic mode. You can also change the tuning modes to be 1/2 step flat, whole step flat, open G, open D, and open E.

While this is a great all-around option for 98% of players, there are a few drawbacks to this clip-on tuner. First, if you use it in direct sunlight, you will have difficulty seeing the display. Second, the plastic build will probably not stand up to any mistreatment.

If you’re looking for the best clip-on guitar tuner that doesn’t require batteries, is compact, and gives you an accurate read on your tuning, then the Fender Flash Tuner is a great purchase. 

Pros
  • It has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours
  • The tuning measures by +/- 1 cent for a very accurate read
  • It's easy to use and has multiple instruments and tuning options
Cons
  • Hard to read the display in direct sunlight
  • The plastic build feels cheap

Best Premium: TC Electronic Polytune Clip

Best Premium Option
TC Electronic Polytune Clip

If you're a guitar player, you know how important it is to have a tuner that you can rely on. And if you're looking for a tuner with all the features, accuracy, and power of a pedal tuner but in a clip-on design, then the TC Electronic Polytune Clip is the perfect choice for you.

If you’re a player who is looking for the power and accuracy of a pedal tuner in your clip-on tuner, then look no further than the TC Electronic Polytune Clip.

The Polytune Clip has a lot of excellent features and high-quality design elements. However, the feature that makes this thing stand out over the rest of the clip-on guitar tuners on this list is the polyphonic mode.

In polyphonic mode, you can see the tuning of each string all at the same time.

This is extremely helpful for getting a quick overview of your instrument’s overall tuning and can be a great way to troubleshoot intonation issues.

It’s also incredibly intuitive to use the polyphonic mode (multiple notes) alongside the traditional chromatic monophonic polyphonic (single note) mode. The Polytune is intelligent enough to know when you’re strumming a chord or plucking a single note and will adjust accordingly.

The Polytune also has an incredibly sensitive strobe tuning range that measures with +/- .02 cent accuracy. It’s almost too sensitive; the tuner will pick up even the tiniest vibrations in your guitar from ambient noise. However, this accuracy will satisfy those who have the most discerning ears.

The Polytune Clip is also built like a tank with its solid steel design, and 108 LED light display. The display will rotate automatically, depending on the orientation, making this an excellent option for both right and left-handed guitar players. This display is also very bright and is easy to see even in direct sunlight.

The Polytune Clip is a premium clip-on guitar tuner with a higher price tag. Also, this tuner isn’t the most discrete on this list. Some users have also claimed that the tuner shifts and moves when playing, so it’s not a good option if you want to keep it on the headstock of your guitar for long periods.

If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best in terms of design, ease of use, and tuning accuracy, the TC Electronic Polytune Clip is the only option you need to consider.

Pros
  • Polyphonic mode allows you to see the tuning of each string at the same time
  • The solid steel design will last you a lifetime
  • You can use it in direct sunlight
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • It's small but not discrete

Best Advanced Features: Peterson StroboClip HD

Best Advanced Features
Peterson StroboClip HD

If you're looking for the best performance and features from your guitar tuner, the Peterson StroboClip HD clip-on tuner is a tweaker's dream.

With a frequency response range from 16 Hz - 1975 Hz, this tuner allows you to get an accurate fine-tune on troublesome instruments like 7-string electric guitars and bass guitars.

Suppose you're a musician looking for perfect pitch from various instruments and tunings. In that case, the StroboClip HD is the tuner for you.

Suppose you’re looking for the most precise performance and advanced features from your guitar tuner purchase (and don’t mind reading an extensive manual). In that case, the Peterson StroboClip HD clip-on tuner is a tweaker’s dream.

A fantastic feature of this clip-on tuner is its frequency response range from 16 Hz – 1975 Hz. This allows you to get an accurate fine-tune on troublesome instruments like 7-string electric guitars and bass guitars, especially with it’s .1 cent tuning accuracy.

Generally, for low-frequency notes, standard tuners can have trouble giving accurate tuning. Often a standard chromatic tuner will struggle to identify the note, and the tuning needle jumps all over the place. However, the Peterson StroboClip excels at giving you an accurate reading and should be highly considered by those playing bass guitar and more “djenty” styles of music.

The Peterson StroboClip HD also has an impressive set of customizable settings called “sweetened tunings.” Sweetened Tunings makes micro-adjustments to the tuning algorithm depending on the kind of instrument you’re playing and if you’re playing in alternate tunings. These changes ensure that you get a superior tuning based on what you’re playing and are a feature that makes this tuner an outstanding choice for multi-instrumentalist and experimental musicians.

You can also change the concert A range from 440hz down to 390hz all the way up to 490hz for even more customizable precision over your instrument.

All of these features that make the Peterson more than just a tuner make it the most expensive choice. Also, to unlock and use this tuner’s features, you must be committed to learning the extensive manual and devote time to experiment with all the options.

While this is one of the best clip-on guitar tuners available, it’s beyond overkill for most players. If you’re like me, your #1 reason for buying a clip-on guitar tuner is for easy and efficient guitar tuning on the go.

However, suppose you are looking for the most precise tuning over various instruments and tunings. In that case, the Peterson StroboClip HD won’t let you down.

Pros
  • Fantastic for tuning bass instruments
  • Packed with features and "sweetened tunings" to ensure every type of string instrument and tuning is dialed in
  • The tuning display works great in dark rooms and in daylight
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • This tuner is overkill for most people

Best for Learning Chords: Korg AW-OTG Clip-On Tuner

Best For Learning Chords
Korg AW-OTG

Looking for a tuner that does more than just tune your guitar? Check out the Korg AW-OTG Clip-On Tuner.

This clever little device not only tunes your guitar perfectly but also detects the chord you're playing and displays the name on the screen.

So whether you're a beginner trying to learn all the chords or a seasoned pro who just can't remember them all, the Korg AW-OTG is the perfect tool.

Have you ever played a chord on your guitar and didn’t know the exact name when your drummer asked? The Korg AW-OTG Clip-On guitar tuner will be your go-to music theorist assistant, detect the chord name, and show it to you on display.

This is only one of the many features that the Korg AW-OTG offers. Still, it is the most compelling one for guitarists trying to understand the fretboard better.

Besides being an incredible learning tool, it’s also a competent tuner. The Korg AW-OTG can be used as a chromatic tuner and a strobe mode for more precise tuning (+/- .1 cents).

You can also tune in polyphonic (like the TC Electronic) to see the tuning of all of your strings at a glance.

The AW-OTG also is easy to calibrate the concert pitch if that’s your jam, and the tuner will backup your settings for easy recall.

This tuner is expensive and may not be worth the extra price tag for most guitarists. They market this product as having superior-tech like OLED for an enhanced visual experience with the product. While this makes the display easy to look at, it isn’t something I miss with other tuners.

Also, they include some weird gimmicky things like alternative tuning animations that are cute but not something that I personally look for in a guitar tuner.

I think that the Korg AW-OTG is the best clip-on guitar tuner for those who want to understand chords being played without resorting to Google and chord charts. If this is something you are currently working on, then this clip-on tuner is an excellent investment.

Pros
  • It will tell you what guitar chord you're playing
  • Has flexible settings from chromatic and polyphonic tuning and strobe mode
  • Turns itself off if not being used, which helps save battery life
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • Gimmicky tuning animations are unnecessary

Most Discrete: D’Addario Planet Waves Micro Clip-On Tuner

Most Discrete
D'Addario Planet Waves Micro

The D'Addario Planet Waves Micro Clip-On Tuner is the perfect choice for musicians who want a reliable, discrete tuner that won't distract from their performance.

This tuner is all about simplicity and reliability. It quickly and accurately tells you if your strings are in tune and also has a built-in metronome function to help you practice your timing. So, this tuner will help you sound your best in the studio or on stage.

Most guitar players won’t need all the fancy features of the more expensive products and want a reliable guitar tuner that won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

The D’Addario Micro is a tiny, compact tuner that easily clips onto any guitar’s headstock. If you have the tuner on the back of the headstock, it wouldn’t be distracting and noticeable for fans watching you perform.

This makes it an ideal set-and-forget type of tuner.

This tuner is very simplistic in its feature set. It’s a chromatic tuner that quickly and accurately tells you if your strings are in tune or not. It also has a built-in metronome so you can practice your timing, making your drummer happy and your recording sessions more solid.

Like it says in the name, this guitar tuner is small. So the LED display can be challenging to read if you have poor eyesight or are playing in more direct light. Also, the tuner has a hard time reading lower notes, so if you are looking for a rock-solid tuner for alternative tunings, this may not be the best choice.

Suppose you’re not a fan of the big bulky displays of other clip-on guitar tuners and don’t need the features of more premium models. In that case, the D’Addario Planet Waves Micro Clip-On Tuner won’t disappoint.

Pros
  • Very discrete and stealthy
  • Has a built-in metronome for practicing your timing
  • For standard guitar tunings, it's very accurate
Cons
  • It isn't as quick to take on and off as other clamp-style tuners
  • Has a hard time tuning notes below low E

Best for Budget: Snark SN1X

Best for Budget
Snark SN1X

If you're looking for a great clip-on guitar tuner that won't break the bank, the Snark SN1X is a perfect choice.

Snark is a well-respected brand in the guitar tuning world, and the SN1X is their most budget-friendly option.

Suppose you’re after a clip-on guitar tuner that will quickly help you keep your electric or acoustic guitar in tune and costs about the same as a burrito and chips. In that case, the Snark SN1X is all you need.

Snark tuners are OGs in the clip-on guitar tuners space and creates excellent products for affordable prices. The gooseneck swivel head rotates 360 degrees, so you can easily see the display no matter how you position the tuner on your headstock. Also, the clamp-style clip makes it easy to take on and off.

There’s a built-in tap tempo metronome that you can adjust, which makes this an excellent tuner for students and beginners.

This tuner is built for electric, acoustic, and bass guitar. Still, it isn’t the right choice for alternative stringed instruments like banjo, mandolin, or ukulele.

Also, the plastic design is cheaply made and often will break after regular use.

But suppose you’re looking for the best clip-on guitar tuners that don’t hurt the wallet. In that case, the Snark SN1X is a no-brainer for most musicians.

Pros
  • It's about the same price as buying take-out for one person
  • Very easy to use
  • It will help to keep your guitars in tune
Cons
  • They are cheaply made and will eventually break
  • Its bulky and blue design sticks out like a sore thumb

Buyer’s Guide

If you’re still unsure about the best clip-on guitar tuners for your specific needs, then the following buyer’s guide will help you with your research.

The Different Styles of Tuning

When looking at the best clip-on guitar tuners for your needs, understanding the different tuning systems will help you make your decision. Not every player needs advanced tuning features, and you can save money by understanding what each tuning style does and if you need it or not.

Chromatic

Western music’s chromatic scale is made up of 12 notes. All the tuners on this list are, at their core, chromatic tuners.

When you pluck a note and see a letter on display, this is a note on the chromatic scale

If you’re playing in standard tuning with an acoustic or electric guitar, then all the tuners on this list will work.

The challenge with cheaper chromatic tuners is they can lack the accuracy of other tuning methods like the strobe.

Strobe

Strobe tuning is by far the most accurate tuning system. Some of the tuners that have strobe modes on this list can get the accuracy of the pitch down to +/- .02 cents, which is insane.

However, the best clip-on guitar tuners that feature strobe tuning are also the most expensive.

Suppose you’re looking for the most precise tuning for various instruments. In that case, a strobe tuning system may be what you need.

Polyphonic

Polyphonic means multiple notes.

A polyphonic tuner will show you each note of your instrument in a single display. This can be helpful to quickly adjust your tuning during a live performance with minimal effort.

Products like the TC Electronic PolyTune will automatically switch between polyphonic and chromatic to help you easily fine-tune your instrument.

Battery Life of Clip-On Tuners

Personally, I don’t like working with products that use a battery, especially clip-on tuners. They often use coin-shaped batteries that you never have spares of.

Also, as your battery loses its juice, the display dims, and the tuning becomes more inaccurate.

For this reason, I prefer a rechargeable tuner, so I chose the Fender Flash as my top choice on this list.

The Tuning Accuracy

Suppose accuracy is what you’re looking for, then you can judge how well a tuner will perform by seeing if the manufacturer defines accuracy on their product page by cents. For example, the TC Electronic PolyTune measures their strobe tuner by +- .02 cents, which is extremely precise.

However, suppose a tuner doesn’t mention the tuning accuracy with a measurement like that. In that case, you can assume that its “correct pitch” performance isn’t entirely accurate. However, for new players, this won’t be a big issue.

Screen Brightness

One of the biggest challenges with clip-on guitar tuners is being able to read the displays in outdoor settings and under bright lights.

Most affordable tuners ($13-$25) will have this problem. As you begin to get into the more premium options, you will have less of this problem.

Clip-On Tuner vs. Pedal & Rack Tuners

As someone who has owned a rack tuner, pedal tuner, and clip-on tuner, I can safely say that clip-on guitar tuner technology has improved leaps and bounds.

A clip-on tuner can give you the same tuning precision as pedal and rack tuners. However, you don’t have the luxury of a clip-on tuner muting your guitar during performances. Letting the audience hear your guitar as you tune it is unprofessional and annoying.

Most pedal and rack tuners automatically mute your guitar’s signal when you engage it to tune up your instrument.

Clip-On Tuner vs. App Tuner

There’s no comparison between a clip-on guitar tuner and an app-based tuner. App tuners can be inaccurate and highly susceptible to external noise. Considering that a quality clip-on tuner costs around $20, there isn’t a debate as to which one a serious guitar player should choose.

FAQ

How Does a Clip-On Guitar Tuner Work?

A clip-on tuner is a device you attach to your guitar (usually on the headstock) and use to tune your instrument. The tuner then picks up the strings’ vibration. It detects the note, then using an LED or another visual indicator, it will show you whether the note is sharp, flat, or in tune.

How Do You Use a Clip-On Tuner?

Clip-on guitar tuners attach to the headstock or, in some cases, the soundhole of your guitar. As long as it’s firmly mounted, it will pick up the vibrations of your guitar and give you a reading through the display.

Most clip-on guitar tuners are beginner-friendly and intuitive to use.

Are Clip-On Guitar Tuners Accurate?

Yes. Guitar tuners from reputable brands will tune your guitar and make it sound good. The level of preciseness is a personal preference. Whether a product with precise tuning is worth it can be highly debatable. 

For most beginner and intermediate players, a budget-friendly tuner is all you will need to stay in tune.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best clip-on guitar tuner for budget, tuning accuracy, and doesn’t require a battery, then the Fender Flash is my top pick.

However, for the advanced players who want more flexibility for drop tunings and different stringed instruments, the TC Electronic PolyTune and Peterson StroboClip HD are some of the best tuners available today.

Thanks for reading this article, and I hope that you found it helpful in searching for the perfect clip-on tuner for your needs.

Happy playing!

Editor's Choice
Fender Flash Tuner
Fender Flash Tuner
  • Has a rechargeable battery that has 10 hours of juice in it
  • It's affordable and easy to use
  • Can accurately tune your guitar, bass, ukulele, and violin
Best Premium
TC Electronic PolyTune
TC Electronic PolyTune
  • Get the power of a pedal tuner in clip-on form
  • See the tuning of each note at the same time with the polyphonic mode
  • The high-quality design will last you a lifetime
Best Features
Peterson StroboClip HD
Peterson StroboClip HD
  • Delight in the incredible accuracy of this tuner, especially for bass instruments
  • The StroboClip helps you experiment with new sounds, instruments, and styles without sacrificing tuning precision
  • The display works great in daylight and in dark rooms

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AUTHOR
Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.