Pedal Tuner Vs Clip-On: Which One Is Best For You? 

Guitar tuning is the first step to producing a clear, in-tune sound that lets us feel every note we play. But which tuner type should you choose- a pedal tuner or a clip-on tuner? 

Pedal tuners have been around for a long time and are a popular choice among guitarists. They are more accurate and responsive compared to clip-on tuners. On the other hand, clip-on tuners may not be as accurate as pedal tuners, but they are precise enough. These tuners are more convenient and portable. There are also some other key differences between the tuner types, such as durability, size, power source, and much more. Let’s get to know everything about pedal tuner vs clip-on tuner and find out which type of tuner is the best fit.

What Is Pedal Tuner? 

Pedal Tuner

A pedal tuner is a type of tuner that you can place on the floor and use with a pedalboard. This type of tuner is particularly useful for guitarists and bassists who play live and need to tune their instruments quickly between songs. Pedal tuners are also popular with musicians who use multiple guitars or basses during a performance. 

One of the key benefits of pedal tuners is their accuracy. These tuners can quickly and easily tune the instrument to ensure you sound best on stage. Additionally, many pedal tuners come with a bypass function that lets you turn off the tuner and play your instrument without affecting your tone. This feature is particularly useful when switching between effect pedals during a performance. 


  • Pedal tuners are more accurate than clip-on tuners, especially for electric guitars. 
  • Since they are typically mounted on a pedalboard, they can be easily controlled with your feet, leaving your hands free to play your instrument. 
  • These tuners can be used with a variety of instruments, including electric and bass guitars. 
  • Typically, pedal tuners come with a lot of features. 
  • These tuners are not affected by noise or vibrations. 


  • Generally, they are more expensive than clip-on tuners. 

What Is Clip-on Tuner? 

Clip-On Tuner

A clip-on tuner is a small and portable device that you can easily clip onto the headstock of your guitar or bass. It is a great choice for musicians who are always on the go and need a convenient and easy-to-use tuner. Many guitarists prefer Clip-on for its simplicity; it is easy to clip it onto your instrument and tune your strings! 

When it comes to accuracy, clip-on tuners can do the job well and they tune your instrument quickly and efficiently. Also, they are often less expensive than pedal tuners, an excellent choice for musicians on a budget.  


  • Clip-on tuners are small and portable, making them easy to carry around and use on the go. 
  • These tuners are straightforward and easy to use.  
  • Clip-on tuners tend to be less expensive than pedal tuners. 
  • They can also have a lot of features. 


  • Can be affected by outside vibration. 

Pedal Tuner VS Clip-On Comparision Table 

Measurement Pedal tuner  Clip-on tuner 
Pedal Tuner
Clip-On Tuner
Accuracy Excellent Precise enough 
Size Large Small 
Battery Life More than clip-on Less than pedal 
Portability Less than clip-on Excellent 
Purpose Home practice Outdoor performance 
Ease of use Same Same 
Price Moderate Highly affordable 

Pedal Tuner VS Clip-On: 10 Key Differences 

1. Accuracy: 

When it comes to guitar tuners, accuracy is paramount. While it’s generally believed that pedal tuners are more accurate than clip-on tuners, the truth is that high-quality clip-ons can be just as accurate. The key factor of accuracy is the tuner’s ability to detect frequencies or pitch to the closest cent. Both pedal and clip-on tuners can be accurate if they’re quality and properly used. However, a pedal tuner may not be suitable for acoustic guitars as there’s no built-in pickup like electric guitars.  

2. Ease of Use: 

If you typically play an electric guitar, having a pedal tuner can be very convenient, as you can easily stomp on it to quickly tune your guitar. It can be especially helpful in a live performance setting, where you need to tune quickly between songs. Conversely, a clip-on tuner may be better if you use an acoustic guitar or are looking for a more portable option. 

Using Pedal Tuner
Using Pedal Tuner

3. Purpose: 

Pedal tuners are designed for electric guitarists who play live shows and need a reliable and accurate tuning solution that they can access quickly and easily. These tuners are designed to be a permanent fixture on a guitarist’s pedalboard. Clip-on tuners, on the other hand, are a great choice for beginners, casual guitar players, or anyone who wants a simple and portable tuning solution. 

4. Size: 

Pedal tuners are larger and bulkier than clip-on tuners, whereas clip-on tuners are small, compact, and easily fit in your gig bag or case. If you gig regularly and need to transport your gear, a pedal tuner may not be your most practical option. A pedal tuner is perfect if you have a permanent setup or a large pedalboard. 

5. Durability: 

When it comes to durability between a pedal tuner vs clip-on tuner, many guitarists prefer the pedal tuner without hesitation. There’s just something about the rugged and sturdy build of a pedal that inspires confidence. Pedals are built to be stomped on, and high-quality ones are constructed with materials like metal that can take a beating without breaking. In contrast, clip-on tuners often have a plastic and fragile build, making them more prone to damage from accidental drops or impacts. 

6. Portability: 

The clip-on tuner is a real game-changer for guitarists who are always on the move. Unlike its pedal counterpart, it requires no cables or a power source. Instead, it runs on batteries and is designed for ultimate portability. Its compact and lightweight design makes it super easy to attach to your guitar and take wherever you go.  

Battery-powered pedal tuners are also portable, all you need is a cable, and you are good to go. However, they don’t come in a compact size like a clip-on tuner. 

Clip-On Tuner on Guitar
Clip-On Tuner on Guitar

7. Features: 

Guitar tuners come with a variety of features, such as built-in mics, onboard presets, HD displays, etc. While some of these features are specific to the pedal or clip-on tuner, multiple features exist on both types. However, it’s important to note that the number of features a tuner has doesn’t necessarily determine its quality. In some cases, too many features can make the user interface more complex and time-consuming. 

8. Battery Life:  

Pedals offer a remarkable degree of flexibility when it comes to battery life since they can be either connected to a power supply or operated using batteries. On the other hand, clip-on tuners are typically powered exclusively by batteries, and their battery usage and type can vary based on usage frequency, incorporated features, and power-saving options. 

9. Live Performance: 

When it comes to live performances, having a reliable tuner is crucial. While clip-on tuners can be a convenient option for tuning on the go, they can’t match the reliability of a pedal tuner in a live setting. 

One of the biggest benefits of a pedal tuner is its ability to mute the output, allowing you to discreetly tune a string or two during a performance without interrupting your settings. Pedal tuners are also impervious to ambient audio and vibrations, making them more accurate and reliable than clip-on tuners. Clip-on tuners detect vibrations through the wood from the strings of the guitar and can also pick up vibrations from nearby instruments. While this may not always be the case, it can and does happen, which leads to inaccurate tuning. 

10. Budget: 

In terms of affordability, clip-on tuners take the lead without a doubt. Although their prices may vary, you can easily come across multiple clip-on tuners under $20 that do an excellent job of getting your instrument in tune. For instance, the Snark ST-2 and ST-8 are great options. 

While some pedal tuners in the market are relatively inexpensive, they are not as abundant as clip-on tuners. Additionally, they can cost up to five times more than clip-on. 

Final Verdict 

Pedal tuners are perfect for those who like everything in one place, as they can be integrated into your pedalboard setup. Their accuracy and precision are especially helpful if you play in noisy environments. On the other hand, clip-on tuners offer a level of convenience that pedal tuners can’t match. They’re portable, easy to use, and can clip onto any guitar, making them perfect for home practice or casual use.  

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