Although I’ve reviewed my favourite ukulele tuner iPhone apps here, sometimes an app isn’t sufficient. For example, if you take a group ukulele class, or go to a play-along event somewhere, an app can get confused by the amount of noise around you. A tuner that clips on to the headstock of your ukulele will do a much better, more accurate job.
As usual, A Little Ukulele has done the research for you, sifting through all those listings and reviews on Amazon to find you the best tuner for your money. There are a lot of tuners listed, but the two below really stood out for customer satisfaction, and suitability for beginners:
Why pay $80+ for a tuner? Snark is one of the most well-known tuner brands, and the Snark SN2 has more than 1700 positive reviews on Amazon. Most reviewers are very happy with the readability of the display, ease of use, and accuracy.
A few reviewers have complained about the battery life, however several others mention the quick fix to that is to replace the supplied battery on arrival (just a cheap CR2032 button type you can get from any market).
The other common complaint (though far less frequent than all the positive reviews) is that it isn’t made of the strongest materials, and some users have broken theirs relatively easily. However, for such a good price, needing to take a little care is probably worth it!
If you are concerned about the fragility of Snark tuners, for $10 more the Kliq UberTuner is more sturdy, and has over 1400 positive reviews (and only 55 critical reviews at the time of writing). Reviewers frequently comment on how easy the UberTuner is to use (many identify themselves as beginner musicians), and how quickly they are able to tune their instruments.
Of the critical reviews, the most common complaint concerns the position of the on/off button, and some specifically note that Snark tuners have this button located in a much more convenient position. The other criticisms are so varied that it would seem they relate to randomly defective units. Several of the critical reviews however express strong satisfaction with Kliq’s customer service in rectifying any issues.
Either of these tuners should satisfy your ukulele tuning needs. The clearest difference between them seems to be the physical quality, with the Kliq less likely to break. However, Snark tuners have an overall very good reputation and what seems to be a pretty dedicated fan base. Decide where your needs and priorities lie, and get your uke in tune!