Arguably the most essential pedal to own although it is not as fun as some of the other options for your pedalboard, it should be the first thing you buy. Don’t even think about playing live without one, the same goes for the bassist and other guitarists in your band as an audience will quickly find you out if you’ve forgotten to tune between songs.
Even for at-home use, it is the most convenient way of tuning your guitar but some products are easier to use than others. This is why we have created a list of the best tuner pedals. There are plenty of different products to choose from with some offering neat additional features whilst others are just great value.
Quick Summary of Tuner Pedals
Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal
If you’ve ever been close enough to lean over the edge of the stage to take a look at what is on a guitarist pedalboard, the chances are they are using this tuner pedal from Boss. No matter what level of popularity your band is, this is a reliable tuner that is easy to use. It fits onto most pedalboards easily and if you are using it outdoors, you can switch the high brightness mode on for added visibility.
The 21-segment LED meter allows you to take an accurate reading and fine-tune those strings. You get visual verification when you get it right and it features a chromatic bass or guitar mode where you can select the string for a fast way of finding the correct note. There is also a flat tuning mode for the advanced players out there and it can also provide power to up to 7 additional Boss pedals.
- 21 segment LED meter
- Outdoor mode
- Easy to use
- Can select each string for fine tuning
- Flat tuning mode
TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Polyphonic LED Guitar Tuner Pedal w/Buffer
The small footprint of this polytune guitar tuner pedal makes it great for taking on tour, and it is robust enough to be used day in day our for some time. By being polyphonic it allows the user to tune all strings at once and can be used with different bypass methods. This means you can choose from buffered and true to ensure the clarity of your instrument.
The accuracy is impressive as it can be tuned to 0.5 cent or a 0.2 cent when selecting the ultra-precise strobe tuner. It features a super bright 109 LED display that gives you a clear reading and more accuracy than pretty much every other tuner pedal on the market. There is also an ‘always on’ mode that keeps it running and detecting the tuning even when it isn’t muted.
- Buffered and true bypass options
- Up to 0.2 cent accurate
- 109 LED display
- Polyphonic – can tune all strings at once
- One of the more complex to use but still pretty simple
D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner
Best Clip-on Tuner
You can see by the amount of popular reviews this product has just how versatile it is. You can use it on the head of a guitar, bass, mandolin, and many more. The small size makes it convenient to keep at the ready and it is lightweight so it won’t affect your playing during a live performance.
It boasts a vibration sensor that helps it to pick up the notes so you can fine-tune it without having to plug it in. We like that it features a traffic light style display from the backlit screen that is bright and easy to read. Once you reach green, you know you’re good to go.
It can be swiveled to different angles and fits any head size and features just 1.25 inches and is fine to use in a noisy environment thanks to that vibration sensor technology.
- Incredibly convenient
- Just 1.25 inches
- Bright backlit screen
- Vibration sensor
- Included batteries don’t last long
GUITARX X9 – Guitar Tuner Pedal Mini
Although this mini tuner pedal might not look like much, it is simple which is what most people need from these products but also incredibly fast. This means it can deliver a reading within a split second so you don’t have to wait for it to catch up. The bright screen also makes it easy to read from any angle and it uses an advanced microprocessor to make it one of the most accurate tuner pedals available.
Because of this, you can expect it to take readings that are true up to 0.5 cent so you know your strings are tuned properly. Although it has a rugged metal body that is built to last, it also comes with a 5-year warranty so your purchase is protected. The GUITARX X9 uses true bypass to maintain clarity
- Fast to tune
- Accurate up to 0.5 cent
- Rugged design
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Noticeable click when turning it off
KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass
Also Consider (Best Mini)
Although this does not work with batteries it is one of the faster tuner pedals and gives you a high standard of accuracy. Its colorful display screen makes it easy to take a reading and tune your strings and its compact size means it hardly takes up any room on a pedalboard.
It mutes the input signal as you tune so you don’t have to worry about hundreds of people hearing you find the sweet spot and the simple design means you are getting a standard tuner without any confusing features of additional modes you don’t use anyway.
- Easy to use
- Compact and fast
- Full color display
- Does not take batteries
Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner
Best For Different Lighting
The slick look and durable feel of this chromatic tuner pedal make it appealing and it is great for taking on tour. This is because you only see what you need to when the lights are down and the display is conveniently easy to read with four different modes available. Even though it is a compact model, the features you need to see are bright and features a true bypass to let you keep the impressive tone you have built.
The screen is viewable in any light condition so if it is pitch black or peak sun outside, it is a good option. It is also good for tuning wherever you are standing as it is clear from any angle and when you find the mode that suits you best, it is one easy to use tuner pedal.
- True bypass
- Four display modes
- Works in a variety of conditons
- Some users said it made a popping noise in a speaker when turned on or off
Tuner Pedal Guide
It is an important, ok essential, part of your set up if playing live as taking your phone out and using an app just will not work. Even when playing at home, the convenience of being able to step on a stompbox and tune your guitar can not be bettered. The good news is there are plenty of reputable products and although you want to keep things simple, some products have a couple of tricks up their sleeve to make them more desirable.
To help you understand what a quality tuner pedal should offer, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Tuner Pedal
Part of what makes the best tuner pedals so good is their vibrant LED screens. This is what allows you to take an accurate reading when you’re playing live and should be visible at all angles so you don’t have to lean over it to get a clear view.
Adjustable Lighting Modes
This is only available with certain models but it can be an important feature if. you are playing outdoors. Having an ultra-bright setting means you don’t have to squint or cover part of the tuner pedal just to see what each reading is.
Of course, this is one of the most important aspects of a tuner, being able to do its job. You want it to power up fast but it also needs to be accurate. A reading within 0.5 cent is usually an indication of a quality product with some going even further with 0.2 cent accuracy on certain modes.
Although it is probably the most important pedal you will own, you don’t want it to take over your pedalboard. Most products have convenience in mind but if space is at a premium, go for one of the better mini tuner pedals.
This isn’t to everyone’s taste but polyphonic tuning allows you to tune all your strings at once. So if you need to find out how well tuned the collective strings are, this is a great feature. It isn’t common, and you don’t need it for the product to be worth buying, but it can be useful.
This can be anything from being hidden out of sight like the clip-on tuners on the market or by muting the guitar as you tune so the audience doesn’t have to listen to you trying to find the green on the LED screen.
It is less important when rehearsing or playing in your garage but it can make you seem and feel more professional when playing live.
Why Use A Guitar Tuner Pedal?
Although an app can be fine when you’re playing at home, they are only accurate to a point and are not useful if you play live. A touring guitarist is certainly going to need a durable tuner pedal as part of their pedalboard.
The convenience of being able to tune within seconds is a big plus point, as is the accuracy of the better products. Also, under certain conditions, your strings are going to go out of tune pretty quickly, especially when exposed to heat so a sweaty live venue or sunny outdoor concert means you will need to tune between every song.
Tuner Pedal Vs Clip-On
They are both convenient and you will find that people will sing the praises of either but in terms of accuracy, the best pedals outperform the best clip-on.
A clip-on tuner relies on vibrations which can be difficult in a crowded noisy room and less reliable. Still, the better products perform well but we like the larger, brighter LED screen of pedals and the accuracy.
How Much Does A Tuner Pedal Cost?
The good news is that although they are an essential pedal for most guitarists, even the best tuner pedals don’t cost a lot more than $100. because of this, you should expect to get bright LED screens with different modes and a couple of other convenient features for this price.
However, if your budget doesn’t stretch quite so far, you can still pick up a basic but reliable tuner pedal for around $50. They should still be accurate up to 0.5 cent and fit nicely on your pedalboard.
Where Should I Put A Tuner Pedal On A Chain?
Most people tend to put their tuner pedal at the start of their chain and if you use any modulation pedals then make sure you place your tuner before them or you’ll have an impossible job on your hands.
What Is The Best Tuner Pedal?
Some people will argue that a polyphonic tuner is the best type but we like the ease of the Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal. It has bright LED lights that make it easy to find that perfectly tuned note and has a high brightness mode if you are playing outdoors and are struggling to see.
Boss is the brand behind some of the world’s favorite guitar pedals so it’s hardly surprising to see this being a go-to pedal for a variety of bands. The different modes make it ideal for tuning a bass or guitar as you can select your preferences and even use the flat tuning mode.
If you are on a tighter budget then there are other options but you’ll be glad you spend a little extra on this brand.
What Is The Best Mini Guitar Tuner Pedal?
We found the GUITARX X9 – Guitar Tuner Pedal Mini to be the best mini tuner pedal because it is fast and accurate. The 5-year warranty is also a sweetener but more importantly, it’s readings of up to 0.5 cent ensure you will start each song with finely tuned strings.