Best Ukulele Tuners (2020)

Don't be flat! (Or sharp!)
Tayler Tayler (28)
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For the many of us not blessed with the fascinating conundrum that is perfect pitch, keeping an instrument, especially string instruments, in tune can be a challenge. Freshly strung strings especially take time to settle because they're pliable. Even if you've strung them and tuned them perfectly, they'll continue to stretch over time, inevitably changing the pitch.

Enter tuners that can measure the Hertz of a pitch and offer suggestions for how to adjust the note to make it perfect. But what makes a tuner good? How do you find the best tuners on the market?

If you have perfect pitch (you lucky dog, you) the constant tuning adjustments that occur with fresh strings are likely little more than a minor annoyance. For the majority of us without perfect pitch, tuning can be a pain, making tuners a gift from the musical heavens. Ahead, you'll find some science behind tuning or feel free to skip to where the best ukulele tuners list begins.

Here are the best ukulele tuners of 2020!

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Tuning guitar.

Ahhh...tuning.

The tricky process that nearly all musicians experience. A mysterious concept to many, especially those without musical talent who find themselves captivated by live musicians tuning before a show, tuning is vital to creating music.

But how does it work? What does it mean to tune something?

Tuning is defined by the almightly Wikipedia as being the process of adjusting the pitch of one or many tones from musical instruments to establish typical intervals between these tones.

When an instrument or string is out of tune, it can produce a funky sound that can inhibit your ability to play a song well. A tuner measures the pitch of a note.

A pitch is defined as the highness or lowness of a musical note. Musical notes are usually measured in Hertz and a Hertz is the SI unit of a frequency.

Thankfully, you won't have to worry directly about the Hertz of a note while you're tuning because a tuner takes care of measuring those sounds for you. We measure the difference in notes with semitones, which is a half-step up or down in the pitch of a note. The pitch of a note will either one of three things: sharp, flat, or, of course, in tune. Here's what that means:

Sharp

When a note is sharp, it is one semitone above what it should be.

Flat

When a note is flat, it is one semitone below what it should be.

In Tune

When the soundwaves of a pitch produce an exact musical value.

Remember that perfect pitch I mentioned earlier? Well, perfect pitch is the rare ability for a person to identify the pitch of a musical note without the help of a tuner. People with perfect pitch can hear a note once, even for a split second, and know what that note is. They can often perfectly recreate it on another instrument, which is referred to as relative pitch.

Both perfect pitch and relative pitch are suggested to be genetic, but studies have shown that adults can be taught perfect and relative pitch with enough practice.

I know I just threw a lot at you, so let's summarize before I send you into the world tuner shopping.

Term Definition
Pitch The quality of sound that is produced from the vibrations of an instrument
Hertz The SI unit of frequency
Tuning The action of bringing a pitch to its absolute value
Sharp Refers to a sound that is a semitone above the intended value
Flat Refers to a sound that is a semitone below the intended value
In Tune When a note matches its absolute value
Perfect Pitch The ability to recognize the pitch of a heard sound
Relative Pitch The ability to re-create a heard sound perfectly

Make sure you reference this for the test at the end.

When it comes to tuners the one thing you shouldn't compromise on is choosing a model that is minimally disruptive to your playing style, which is why most of the tuners on this guide will be tuners that clip onto the ukulele itself, starting with this Snark SN6X clip-on tuner.

Why this tuner is awesome

  • The clip itself is covered in foam to protect the wood of your uke while the hinge itself is strong enough to not become dislodged if you start dancing while you play (come on, who doesn't dance while playing the ukulele?).
  • The colorful display flashes red for out of tune, yellow for close, and green for a string well-tuned, leaving no room for error.
  • The display can swivel 360˚. Perfect for right-hand or left-hand players!
  • Specifically calibrated to the sound of a ukulele, the tuning is fast and accurate.

Some tuners come with a metronome builtin and this Snark SN6X is no exception! Snark is an American owned and operated company. They're known for producing a wide variety of tuners capable of fitting with any string instrument. Some people have experienced some minor issues with some of the models but the SN6X has received nothing but good reviews.

A company that specializes in making all of the accompanying items for any string instrument, KLIQ is known for its colorful guitar straps, capos, cables, and tuners much like the KLIQ UberTuner, which is perfect for ukuleles.

Why this tuner is awesome

  • Made with a Piezo sensor that picks up the vibrations of the strings, this UberTuner tunes your strings to the precise Hertz.
  • A bright screen displays all of your notes with the standard yellow, green, and red breakdown of the pitch.
  • 360˚ rotation means you can adjust your screen to fit you and your style.
  • KLIQ offers a 3-year guarantee so if you run into any issues or problems, they'll replace it or refund you for the full cost.
  • It can also easily be converted for Bb, Eb, F, and D settings for all woodwind and brass instruments. Perfect for your ukuleles and all of the instruments in your repertoire!

Most clip-on tuners are lithium battery operated, which means they'll need to be replaced after a certain amount of time. Not true for this So There rechargeable clip-on tuner which features a USB chargeable battery!

Why this tuner is awesome

  • With a single charge the battery can last over 5 hours. It also powers down after 3 minutes of no single to conserve battery power.
  • Foam covered clamps protect the wood of your uke.
  • 360˚ degree rotation fits any playing style while the display is easy to read from any angle.
  • 5 tuning modes: C, G, B, V, and U.
  • Green, red, and blue interface offers a clear way to know if your note is in tune or not.

So There is a company that is owned and operated by musicians, and they've partnered directly with Amazon to ship and fulfill orders. Because of this, they have products in different warehouses to make shipping convenient and fast.

Not everyone is going to love a clip-on tuner which is why I've included this KLIQ MetroPitch - metronome tuner on this list! A more classic approach to tuners, this KLIQ tuner is a metronome first and a tuner second and it comes with several features that are handy for any musician.

Why this tuner is awesome

  • This is a tuner, a metronome, and a tone generator in one.
  • This tuner is versatile and can detect a wide range of sounds from A0-C8.
  • The tempo is tap activated meaning you can tap in your exact tempo. This metronome can handle 30-250 beats per minute!
  • If tapping doesn't appeal to you, there's a jog dial that you can adjust either the pitch or the tempo with.
  • The screen will tell you if you're either sharp or flat and three lights above the screen will indicate the same information with the middle one lighting up green when you're in tune.
  • The standard rectangle design for this model comes in either black, bright blue, yellow, or red and it comes with a carrying pouch to keep it protected.

If you have a smaller ukulele like a soprano or a concert you may not want to attach a tuner directly to your instrument. I wasn't a fan of clip-on tuners until I got my tenor uke where I had more space. Prior to that, I used a detached tuner.

Some tuners really only function well when it's quiet, as external noise can hinder the tuner's ability to pick up the tone. This Mugig T-1 clip-on tuner, however, is great for tuning in crowded spaces!

This tuner is great for tuning in loud spaces!

Why this tuner is awesome

  • The clamp is padded with a device that specifically picks up the vibration from your uke so you won't have to worry about tuning in a quiet place before playing.
  • 360˚ rotation is matched with an LCD screen display that is 38% larger than the industry average to enhance your ability to see it.
  • Chromatic tuning range of A0-C8.
  • Can easily switch between modes if you need to tune instruments other than you uke.
  • Extra battery included!
Tunefor Uke.

If clip-on and handheld tuners aren't your thing, thankfully there are plenty of apps out there that can use the speakers on your phone to detect and tell if your uke is playing well. My personal favorite and one of the top-rated apps out there is the Guitar Ukulele Tuner & Tabs app. Here's why I like it.

This is the tuning app that I use.

Why this app is awesome

  • The interface is really easy to use with the tuner portion of the app clearly marked. There's no shifting through different screens.
  • There's a daily tracker that will track the length of your playing as long as the app is open, which is good if you have a goal to reach for your daily limit of practicing.
  • It will automatically stop listening for the tone once the string is in tune, encouraging you to move on and tune.
  • There are other pay-for-use options like tabs and courses that will teach you how to play the ukulele.

To find this app, just visit your app store and type in Guitar Ukulele Tuner & Tabs and look for the app with the corresponding logo that you'll find above. It's easy to use and free for the basic tuning!

Now that you know all about tuners, check out my other ukulele guides: Best Ukuleles for Beginners and Best Ukulele Brands.

Happy strumming!