If you're looking to change the
key of any song without re-learning chords or altering the fingerings, the best guitar capos are an effortless way to do so. That said, the best one for you will largely depend on the type of guitar you play. The size, shape, and tension of the capo will all impact the overall result — and dictate which instruments it's best-suited for.
The good news: If you, like the majority of guitarists these days, play a
standard steel-string guitar, most capos will work for you — regardless of whether you play acoustic or electric. Unless otherwise specified, most capos are curved to suit a curved fretboard, which is found on most modern guitars (albeit in varying degrees). Classical guitars, on the other hand, often have flat fretboards and use nylon strings instead. As a result, they'll require special capos. Bass guitars, 12-strings, ukuleles, and mandolins might also require specific capos, too.
From there, it's largely a matter of personal preference. Do you want an automatic capo that clamps on without hassle, or an adjustable one so you can customize the tension? Do you want a capo that works for one specific guitar, or one that can easily switch between instruments? How about color preferences?
No matter what you're looking for (and what type of guitar you play), these are the six best capos in almost every category.
The Best-Sounding Guitar Capo For Steel Strings
If you play a steel-string guitar (either electric or acoustic), reviewers widely consider this
Shubb capo to be the best-sounding option at a fair price. It's curved, tension-adjustable, and has a patented lock that clips on easily, but does so with accuracy and without pulling the strings off center. The resilient rubber feels like a fingertip, so it won't bend or deaden the sound — and when it's time to remove it, the quick-lever releases the capo in a split-second. Get it in brass, chrome, or black. One reviewer wrote: "Most capos dull the sound a bit. Better capos less so, but this capo comes as close to the sound the nut gives as any I have tried. It's also a breeze to use. Try one and you'll never turn back." : Suitable for electric/acoustic steel string guitars
It doesn't have many frills — but it's affordable and gets the job done, which is why the
WINGO basic guitar capo is a best-seller in its category on Amazon. It utilizes thicker silicone pads and quick-release tension to achieve balanced pressure without unwanted buzz. For less than $10, you get an aluminum capo with a rosewood finish and five free guitar picks. One reviewer wrote: "Easily worth the $9 I paid for it. I am a beginner guitar player, so I don't need any high-tech equipment. I also feel like it's going to hold up well over time; it's not "cheap" in my opinion. Gets the job done." : Suitable for electric/acoustic steel string guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles
The Best Universal Capo (Including 12-Strings & Bass)
Steel-stringed electrics, classical acoustics, 12-strings, bass, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles — you name it, the
WINGO universal capo can probably handle it. It's extremely versatile due to its dual reversible rubber arms, fully adjustable tension, and durable zinc-alloy body. It's also protected with a lifetime warranty and works without creating buzz (so long as you're using the correct arm). In short, if you're a well-rounded musician who likes to switch between instruments, this one's the way to go. One reviewer wrote: "I have an Eastman 12string with a very wide nut and was anxious to see if this capo would meet the challenge. It did in spades! After over 50 years of playing and using different capos, I can honestly say that this is the best capo I've ever used." : Suitable for almost any stringed instrument
The Best Capo For Live Performances
When you're playing live, you want a capo that can clip on in seconds, offers balanced, buzz-free sound without hassle, and looks great. The
Kyser Quick-Change capo fits the bill. Due to its steel-spring clamp and well-padded design, it adjusts instantly to any fret without dampening the sound. It's also built for durability and available in a huge range of colors and patterns, including Sunburst, Yellow Blaze, Tie-Dye, and Camouflage. One reviewer wrote: "This isn't adjustable. However, when playing live, you need to know the capo will work without buzzing or having dead strings. This one fills that bill. Clamp it and play with confidence. It also stays out of my way with the low profile over the fretboard." : Suitable for electric/acoustic steel string guitars
The Best Capo For Classical Guitars
Classical guitars are shaped differently than a standard steel string and often use nylon strings. As a result, not all capos will suffice.
This D'Addario option, however, is specifically made with classical guitars in mind. It has a contoured design and a flat radius, both of which are designed for a wider fretboard and nylon strings. It also has a lightweight, sleek shape and offers single-handed operation plus an adjustable-tension knob. One reviewer wrote: "I have a classical nylon guitar, and the frets are not curved like other acoustic guitars. It's flat and every capo I bought didn't work very well, but then I found this amazing product which worked perfectly even on the highest frets!" : Suitable for classical guitars
The Pick If You Want To Capo Each String Individually
This is not your average option. The
Creative Tunings SpiderCapo lets you individually capo each string, so you can play hundreds of open-tunings without having to touch a single tuning peg. The patented design works like this: It clamps (from the side) onto most guitar necks. Then, the individually-moving fasteners allow you to pick and choose which string is affected. As a result, you can play brand new chords, harmonies, or melodies with open-string accompaniments. One reviewer wrote: "I researched this capo A LOT before purchase. [...] It’s brilliant. It functions exactly as it is designed to and has opened up a whole new world of creativity." : Suitable for acoustic, electric, and classical guitars