As seen in:
Peterson
BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome
Snark
SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome
KLIQ MetroPitch
Metronome Tuner for All Instruments
Wittner
845111KA Faux Mahogany
Korg
Instrument Tuner and Metronome
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Good

Offers multiple functions, including a tuner and clip. Provides auditory, visual, and vibratory beats.

Touch screen with toggling option. Offers six timekeeping tones. Versatile and loud.

Compact and portable. Offers many functions, including instant transposition.

Reliable clockwork mechanism with a sufficient tempo range.

Back-lit screen is easy to read. Above-average tuning function.

Bad

Expensive relative to the other models on our shortlist.

Volume can be too much at times. Touch screen can be overly sensitive and/or unresponsive.

Volume might not be high enough for ensemble work.

Volume may not be high enough for ensemble work.

Volume is somewhat low. (Visual beats can compensate for this.)

Bottom Line

With a rich selection of features that appeal to pros and amateurs alike, this metronome is the best available.

An affordable entry-level timekeeper with six tones and few other extra features.

An affordable, feature-rich metronome/tuner from a reputable company.

An old fashioned clockwork metronome that requires winding. A basic, student-friendly device.

An affordable tuner/metronome from a reputable company. The best bargain around.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
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Hours Spent
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Experts Interviewed
218
Consumers Consulted

Best Metronomes

Metronomes are important tools for musicians of all skill levels. Early metronomes were essentially mechanical clockworks that tapped a steady beat. Modern metronomes produce a dependable electronic tone for timekeeping, but some of them have other functions, too. We examined dozens of metronomes, both traditional and modern. The top five models on our shortlist are suitable for both rehearsal and performance.

Products in Consideration

Peterson
BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome
Snark
SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome
KLIQ MetroPitch
Metronome Tuner for All Instruments
Wittner
845111KA Faux Mahogany
Korg
Instrument Tuner and Metronome

Considerations

Construction/Design

The traditional clockwork metronome, often made of exotic wood, is both decorative and functional. The modern electronic metronome, by contrast, is typically made of plastic or metal and is designed to be compact and portable. In this section of our review, we look closely at each contender's construction and design.

Functionality

Functionality is an important consideration. Some metronomes are designed to perform one task very well, and that is to provide a steady, audible beat. Electronic metronomes often provide visual (and sometimes tactile) beat cues as well. Some advanced models offer recorded rhythm tracks to assist the musician with complex musical styles. Here, we note the functions of each metronome on our list, incorporating feedback from amateur and professional musicians.

Additional Features

A classic "triangular" metronome may not arrive with many additional features, but there are still some variations within the breed. Some models include a bell tone for the initial downbeat of the measure; others make the bell optional or omit it altogether. Rhythm tracks are offered by some electric models but not others. In this part of our review, we discuss any additional features offered by our contenders.

Price

The price range of metronomes is remarkably wide, from less than $20 to well over $300. In some cases, a higher price in an indication of advanced technology and additional features (tuning functions, programmable rhythm tracks, and so on). In other cases, however, a steeper price reflects a higher grade of craftsmanship and/or materials. In this section, we discuss each contender's price point and other economic consideration in order to suggest the best value for your initial investment!

Considerations

Construction/Design

Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome

At first glance, the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat metronome appears to be no different than any other basic electronic timekeeper on the market. However, its compact and lightweight plastic housing protects some very impressive features not often found in other metronome models. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides enough power for several hours of rehearsal or performance time -- unless the user selects the powerful vibratory mode that put this metronome on the map! Unfortunately, the vibratory mode can seriously drain the battery unless the device is connected directly to the charger. The Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat also features a spring-loaded clip for musicians who want to sync with other players through a wireless slave-master connection or MIDI output. The clip can also be used during performances for discreet beat assistance! Some owners say the housing is flimsy and the battery life variable, but overall, the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat delivers reliable service in three different formats: auditory, visual, and vibratory.

Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome

The Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome is very compact (about the size of a cellphone), but it packs a punch where volume is concerned. Generally speaking, this is a desirable quality for an electronic metronome to have, but some users actually find the Snark's volume to be too powerful when using an external headphone. The touch screen allows musicians to toggle through various sounds and rhythms, but the screen controls can be extremely sensitive and/or unresponsive at times. When everything works as designed, the Snark SM-1 provides users with a visual beat counter and an adjustable tempo meter. The unit is powered by two AAA batteries (included); battery life is quite exceptional.

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome Tuner for All Instruments - with Guitar, Bass, Violin, Ukulele, and Chromatic Tuning Modes - Tone Generator - Carrying Pouch Included, Black

Much like the Korg and Snark products on our shortlist, the KLIQ MetroPitch metronome/tuner/tone generator is about the size of a cellphone. The KLIQ's special metallic finish offers protection from normal wear and tear. Guitarists especially like the KLIQ's 1/4-inch "line in/line out" feature because it allows the tuner to analyze the instrument's tone and match it precisely. A standard headphone jack, volume control wheel, and intuitive JOG dial for one-finger toggling are also included. This metronome's volume is high enough for single-instrument practice sessions, but it might not be loud enough for ensembles. The LCD screen is fairly easy to read, and the entire screen flashes green when an instrument is in proper tune. The unit has a convenient pop-out stand on the back that allows users to gather all vital pitch and tempo information at a glance.

Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany

Clockwork metronomes have been providing steady beats to musicians for centuries, and no shortlist of top metronomes would be complete without at least one from that school of design. The Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany mechanical metronome uses a spring-powered clockwork gear system to provide a steady – and quite audible – click tone ranging from 40 to 208 BPM. The housing is triangular in shape with a detachable front cover that protects the pendulum between uses. While Wittner is famous for its high-end wooden housings, this particular model is actually made from hard plastic with a faux mahogany exterior. The clockwork mechanism is recessed into the side of the housing; it must be wound with a special key before use. Tempo is adjusted by sliding a heavy weight up or down the metronome's arm. This model is loud enough for solo guitar or piano rehearsal, but it would probably get drowned out during a group performance.

Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome, White

While other metronomes on our shortlist put the bulk of their emphasis on timekeeping, the Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome has the ability to work as a tuner and metronome simultaneously. The device incorporates a highly sensitive microphone for real-time tuning and an electronic beep generator for timekeeping. The metronome's sturdy plastic housing offers both 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch inputs. A back-lit LED screen makes it possible for musicians to read tuning and tempo information in a dark room. The LED display uses a needle image to help musicians find the right pitch as well as a green LED (sandwiched between two red LEDs) for "flat, sharp, perfect" adjustments. The Korg offers adjustable rhythm patterns, a tap tempo feature, and 16 preset beats. Two AAA batteries (included) provide a surprising amount of power, but we recommend that users keep a spare set of batteries available for unexpected failures.

The Peterson BodyBeat delivers reliable service in three different formats: auditory, visual, and vibratory.
Considerations

Functionality

Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome

While other metronomes bottom out around 25 BPM and peak in the mid-200 BPM range, the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat spans an impressive 10 to 280 BPM tempo range. It also takes customized tap input from the user. The wireless output is compatible with MIDI and can be synced with other band members during performances. Composers and advanced musicians appreciate the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat's ability to load and play up to nine rhythmic "tempo maps" and 99 preset beats. Tempo mapping may be a challenge for beginning musicians who are looking primarily for a dependable timekeeper, but for those who want to perform songs with complicated rhythm changes, tempo mapping is clearly the way to go. With just a slight learning curve, you can achieve this with the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat metronome.

Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome

Unlike some of the other contenders on our shortlist, the Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome does not include a tuner function. Instead, it concentrates its efforts on basic timekeeping. The Snark SM-1 offers 15 preset rhythms and six timekeeping tones: Hand Clap, Snare, Dog Bark, Wood Block, Cricket, and Cow Bell. The Snare, Wood Block, and Cow Bell tones are quire useful for keeping straight time. (The Wood Block sounds like an authentic "cross stick" count provided by a live drummer.) The Snare tone can sound a bit mushy at higher volume, but it fares well at moderate and lower volumes. The Cricket and Dog Bark tones are unique sounds, but they're distracting at best! This is a portable metronome that doesn't require any extra amplification to work well.

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome Tuner for All Instruments - with Guitar, Bass, 

We're impressed by the KLIQ MetroPitch's three-in-one versatility. Not only is it a solid metronome with multiple rhythm tracks and variations, but it is also a universal instrument tuner and tone generator. Different instruments have different tuning procedures; the KLIQ MetroPitch can handle virtually all of them. The tuner function shifts the tuning pitch according to the instrument's natural key. The metronome function can generate up to 10 beats per measure. It can also create five timing divisions. Conveniently, the KLIQ's built-in microphone analyzes the pitch of multiple instruments at once and, if necessary, provides instant transposition. There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to all of the KLIQ MetroPitch's functions, but beginning students who need only a steady beat and rudimentary tuning should get up to speed after an hour or so of experimentation.

Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany

The Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany mechanical metronome is designed to do one task well, and that is to keep steady time for musicians as they rehearse or perform. The face of the metronome contains tempo settings from 40 to 208 BPM (from "largo" to "moderato" to "presto"). The spring-powered clockwork should deliver a steady beat for the duration of an average rehearsal, but rewinding it for additional time is not difficult. Students in particular tell us that the clicking tone is loud and steady enough for them to feel the beat adequately.

Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome, White

As a tuner/metronome, the Korg TM50PW is the epitome of affordable functionality. All of the unit's controls are on its face, which means the user can increase or decrease the tempo, change the preset rhythms, get real-time tuning feedback, and produce a standard tuning pitch using only his or her fingertips. The Korg may not offer the advanced tempo mapping and rhythmic programming options of the high-end Peterson BodyBeat metronome, but it certainly does provide beginning and intermediate musicians with plenty of options. Some users express concerns about the relatively low volume of the Korg's on-board speaker, but we note that over time, many users develop a preference for visual tempo cues. The model's electronic beeps are perfectly audible during individual rehearsal sessions. If volume becomes an issue, we suggest using an external line-out for amplification.

The Korg TM50PW incorporates a highly sensitive microphone for real-time tuning and an electric beep generator for timekeeping.
Rafe
Expert Consultant
Rafe
Technologist, Product Review Professional

Rafe Needleman has been testing and writing about technology products for over 20 years. He has evaluated hundreds of products as editor of CNET and reviews/editorial director of Yahoo Tech.

Considerations

Additional Features

Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome

One BodyBeat feature we find very useful is the device's vibratory clip-on. Some musicians find the sound of a traditional metronome distracting. What's more, an audience might not appreciate the sight of a metronome during performances. Peterson addresses these issues by including a tactile clip-on that can be attached discreetly to the performer's clothing. It's completely inaudible to the audience and other musicians. The metronome also includes an electronic tuner, pitched by default to A440 (standard concert pitch). This pitch can be raised or lowered as needed.

Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome

As an entry-level electronic metronome, the Snark SM-1 Touch Screen does not arrive with a tuner, MIDI capabilities, or many other extra features. However, some users consider the model's six tones to be a refreshing change from the clicking or beeping tones provided by other metronomes. A standard 1/8-inch headphone jack is included for private use, but some users tell us that volume control is an issue. Musicians enjoy the Snark's 15 preset rhythms, which include complex jazz and world beats. Overall, we think the Snark's best feature it its compact size. A musician can easily prop it up and make adjustments on the fly.

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome Tuner for All Instruments 

Considering its size and low price, the KLIQ MetroPitch metronome/tuner/tone generator offers a surprising number of features. Its metronome function alone allows users to break down a measure into ten beats instead of three or four. Its tuner function incorporates many standard tunings for common instruments into its processing unit. If a musician wants to tune his or her instrument "by ear," the tone generator – which can be adjusted for any rendering of A440 – will produce an exact pitch. The multi-functional KLIQ MetroPitch is clearly a tool that was created for musicians by musicians.

Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany

While the Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany mechanical metronome may not arrive with many additional features (such as a tuner or tone generator), it does provide an aesthetic appeal not generally found in modern electronic timekeepers. Many people prefer Wittner metronomes because of their classic, simple designs. The 845111KA definitely looks good on top of a piano console! Although the manufacturer uses a hard plastic casing instead of traditional wood, Wittner's 845111KA Faux Mahogany metronome carries on the tradition of quality. We believe there will always be a market for traditional mechanical metronomes, even as modern electronic versions continue to dominate the industry.

Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome, White

The Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome offers some interesting additional features, but most of them have more to do with tuning than timekeeping. Beginners may appreciate the device's 16 preset rhythm patterns, but in general, this metronome works best as a basic electronic timekeeper. The tempo range – 32 to 252 BPM – is average. The tuning function, on the other hand, is remarkable. The unit features both a "Sound Out" and a "Sound Back" option. The Sound Out function provides a reference tone so musicians can tune by ear. This standard tuning function is found on other metronomes on our shortlist, but the Korg's Sound Back function allows musicians to plug in an instrument and receive a reference tone that closely resembles the instrument's current pitch. This improves aural sills and provides more accurate tuning. Overall, the Korg TM50PW packs a lot of useful features into an otherwise unassuming package.

Peterson's BodyBeat Wireless metronome can be discreetly attached to a performer's clothing.
Considerations

Price

Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome

The Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Pulsating Metronome's retail price of $88 is bound to cause some "sticker shock" among potential customers. Compared to standard electronic metronomes with limited features, the BodyBeat does seem exceptionally pricey, but we believe professional musicians and composers who work with more complex rhythm patterns will find it to be the best they've ever used. Band members rely on their best timekeepers to keep instruments and vocals in sync, and a discreet wireless master/slave connection like the one provided by the BBS-1 BodyBeat can keep it all together. This metronome is often found on the shelves of high-end music stores, which should tell potential customers something about its reputation among professional musicians.

Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome

While the manufacturer may not be as familiar as Korg or Wittner, the Snark's SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome leads the pack in terms of affordability. At a remarkably low price of $19, musicians of all skill levels can own a reliable electronic timekeeper that is compact, versatile, and – most importantly – loud. Some users find the high-pitched beep of a Korg or Peterson electronic metronome to be annoying, and traditional mechanical metronomes are often too quiet for amplified instruments. The Snark SM-1 Touch Screen Metronome offers a selection of natural timekeeping tones at an affordable price that few others can match.

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome Tuner for All Instruments 

Many musicians feel obligated to purchase a dedicated metronome and a dedicated tuner in order to get consistent results. This can get expensive fast. The KLIQ MetroPitch combines metronome and tuning functions at the affordable price of just $27. This places the KLIQ MetroPitch in the same company as the Korg TM50PW and Snark SM-I, but we feel the KLIQ's overall construction and protective travel bag make it even more appealing. Many satisfied KLIQ MetroPitch owners tell us they started out with other products but eventually made the switch to KLIQ because of its reputation for quality and value.

Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany

Because of their intricate mechanisms and exotic construction, traditional clockwork metronomes have always been a considerable investment for musicians. Some Wittner metronomes cost several hundred dollars or more, but the Wittner 845111KA Faux Mahogany's retail price of $B0016MN3V4] makes it one of the more affordable mechanical metronomes on the market. Granted, this clockwork metronome faces its share of competition from modern electronic timekeepers that are smaller in size and packed with additional features. What modern electronic metronomes often lack, however, is aesthetic appeal. When a musician invests in a quality mechanical timekeeper from an established company like Wittner, he or she is sharing in a musical legacy. Many famous performers and composers perfected their skills while listening to the metallic click of a Wittner metronome. By investing in this durable version of those time-proven machines, modern musicians get that same opportunity.

Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome, White

With a low retail price of $25, the Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome continues to surprise us with its robust functionality. The parent company has been a major player in electronic musical equipment for decades, and that attention to detail translates well with this tuner/metronome combo. While other metronome/tuner combinations (including some on our shortlist) might provide just one function at a time, the Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome can do both simultaneously. It might not be the cheapest metronome around, but the price is certainly not exorbitant. In fact, a dedicated electronic tuner with similar functionality would easily cost twice as much as the Korg TM50PW. Plenty of owners say they're glad they paid for the benefits this tuner/metronome supplies.

All of the Korg TMP50PW's controls are on its face, which means the user can increase or decrease tempo, change the preset rhythms, get real-time tuning feedback, and produce a standard tuning pitch using only his or her fingertips.

Best of the Best

When it comes to metronomes, versatility is an important consideration. Beginning musicians often need a basic, reliable timekeeper during those long hours of repetitive practice. Advanced musicians may want to experiment with complex rhythm patterns or sync up with other students for performances. Professional musicians and composers could benefit from a MIDI connection and the ability to create song-length tempo maps. The one metronome on our shortlist that meets all of these needs is the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat Wireless Synch Pulsating Metronome. It's the Best of the Best for musicians of all skill levels!

Clockwork metronomes may be suitable for traditional piano lessons and rehearsals, but today's students often seek pieces with complicated rhythms and exciting tempo changes. They may want to collaborate with others, but until now, the technology to sync electronic metronomes simply did not exist for most musicians. Thanks to the advanced technology found in the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat metronome, users can choose three different methods for delivering the beat, from an audible tone to light cues to vibratory pulses. Drummers can tap out a beat, and the rest of the band receives the same tempo at exactly the same time. The beat can sometimes get lost during live performances, but that problem is solved by the wireless communication provided by the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat metronome and tuner. No metronome on today's market is more useful, versatile, and dependable!

Best of the Best
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The beat can sometimes get lost during a live performance. The wireless communication provided by the Peterson 403858 BBS-1 BodyBeat metronome and tuner solves that problem.

Best Bang for Your Buck

Electronic metronomes needn't be packed with dozens of preset rhythms or tempo mapping functions in order to service musicians. Sometimes, all a beginning music student really needs is a reliable timekeeper. While other entry-level metronomes might stop at this basic level of functionality, one model on our shortlist combines both timekeeping and tuning at a surprisingly affordable price. That metronome is the Korg TM50PW. We wholeheartedly declare it to be the Best Bang for Your Buck!

Musicians of all levels can benefit from the Korg's straightforward dual functions. While other metronomes in this price range provide rudimentary tuning assistance, the Korg TM50PW Instrument Tuner and Metronome does a lot more. It can detect a wide range of frequencies from all sorts of musical instruments and match those tones precisely. Musicians receive the feedback they need to keep their instruments in tune. What's more, they have the chance to develop their aural skills through the use of this device. A simple needle display on a back-lit LED screen lets performers see visual beat cues and tempo changes simultaneously. Having a device that provides both timekeeping and tuning service is already a blessing for musicians. Getting all of that functionality for the affordable price of just $25 is icing on the cake!

Best Bang for your Buck
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One model on our shortlist delivers both timekeeping and tuning at a surprisingly affordable price. That metronome is the Korg TM50PW.
The team that worked on this review
  • Michael
    Michael
    Creative Lead
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations