A capo allows you to play songs in different keys. They’re used by professional and amateur players on all types of guitars, including acoustic-electric.
While capos are often easy to use, finding the right one can feel confusing. Different types of capos are available, and it’s not always clear which one will work best for your needs.
If you’re looking for the best guitar capos this year, you’re in the right place. I’ve rounded up my top favorites. Plus, the complete guide below has all the info about how to select and use a capo, plus much more.
Ready to take your guitar playing to a whole new level?
The 11 Best Guitar Capos for 2021
No one capo is perfect for every player. Here’s a closer look at my 11 favorites today, with a rundown of their pros and cons.
Wingo promises to enhance your rock-and-roll sound while virtually eliminating buzz. It allows for precise pressure balance to create a clear tone.
Clipping it to your guitar is quick and easy. Once attached, the aluminum-alloy clip fits securely but remains easy and fast to adjust. With a bit of practice, you should have no problem changing keys even during a song.
It’s made from durable and beautiful rosewood. Plus, it has a silicone pad that helps protect your guitar from accidental scratching.
Finally, it’s a versatile option. You can use Wingo’s capo with cheap electric guitars, acoustic steel-string guitars, banjos, mandolins, and even ukuleles.
- Boosts sound while reducing buzz
- Easy to use and adjust
- Aluminum alloy clip provides a secure fit
- Works with both electric and acoustic guitars
- Can muffle the guitar’s tone and volume
- Removing the strong clip might require pliers
Easiest to Use
This capo from Tanmus is lightweight, strong, and easy to use. It weighs just 2.1 ounces, so you can avoid a draping sensation when using it. All major components are made with thick, resilient steel and silica.
One of its most notable features is how easy it is to secure and remove it from your guitar as necessary. It has a pin puller to help reduce hand sting when used. Also, it supports 360-degree clamping picks.
It’s suitable for practically all types of electric and acoustic guitars plus mandolins, banjos, and ukuleles. Each capo includes four picks in three thicknesses. Plus, you return the capo for any reason within 90 days after purchase.
- Easy to attach and adjust
- Weighs a lightweight 2.1 ounces
- Pin puller requires minimal hand strength
- Clipping all six strings requires some finesse
- Isn’t large enough for all types of acoustic guitars
You don’t have to spend big to get a reliable and effective capo. Ugy’s capo is made with high-quality plastic and steel. It uses internal memory to help it stay securely attached even after heavy use.
The clip is among the easiest to use of all the capos on this list. You can clip and change it in seconds. You can even change keys mid-song. Additionally, the capo has a silicone pad that helps protect your guitar from accidental damage.
While it doesn’t have the elegant design of some of its competitors, it’s a quality capo at an affordable price.
- Durable plastic and steel construction
- Easy to attach and use
- Protects guitar from scratches and damage
- Plain, rather generic design
Best for Lefties
Many capos are designed for right-handed use, but not all guitar players are right-handed. Kyser’s Quick-Change capo is my top choice for lefties and ambidextrous players.
It allows for quick and easy pitch changes. You only need one hand to quickly transpose your guitar. A trusted name in guitar gear, Kaiser is well-regarded by both amateurs and professionals.
It’s made with an aluminum body and a steel spring. Each capo is constructed by hand in the company headquarters in Texas.
- Durable and lightweight with aluminum and steel construction
- Allows for quick one-hand operation
- Made in Texas by a trusted manufacturer
- Not ideal if you have diminished hand strength
If you hang out around musicians, you’ve probably seen HalNa capos plenty of times. Their simple, efficient design is well-known among practically all types of guitar players, including acoustic, electric, and classical players.
It’s made from zinc metal with a baking varnish. Additionally, it has a rubber mat to help prevent buzzing and string damage.
The spring strength is moderate. It’s easy to use, making this capo suitable for seniors, kids, and anyone without tons of grip strength.
Additionally, you can try before you buy thanks to the manufacturer’s 30-day return policy. They score high marks in customer service all around.
- A popular choice among professional musicians
- Requires minimal hand strength
- The manufacturer provides excellent customer service
- Not the best choice for medium-heavy to heavy strings
If you’re looking for a capo that can withstand an occasional bump or drop, check out the CD-2 from Donner. It’s made from aircraft-grade zinc alloy, so it’s lightweight but also extremely durable.
But don’t let its durability and strength fool you. It’s gentle and safe for practically any guitar. The steel spring stays securely in place to ensure the ideal amount of pressure. Additionally, a silicone pad provides protection from scratches.
You can change frets while playing. It allows for one-handed operation with either hand. All types of guitar players, from acoustic to electric and more, use the Donner DC-2. It fits on practically all neck shapes, too, including u-style, v-style, and c-style.
- Durable zinc alloy construction
- Includes multiple features to protect against damage
- Fits practically all types of guitars
- Allows for one-handed operation
- It can press down on strings strongly, causing them to go sharp
- Customer service isn’t easy to reach
Best Built-In Tuner
Wogod’s offers two-in-one simplicity and efficiency with its tuner and capo.
The tuner has an easy-to-read digital display to help you tune your guitar quickly and accurately. It’s made from high-quality plastic with a one-touch operation.
The capo is equally well-constructed. It’s made from durable and attractive rosewood with soft padding to protect your guitar from scratches. You can reposition it quickly and easily with one hand. Once in place, it remains securely affixed thanks to it’s into strong spring.
Aside from the capo and tuner, you also get four free guitar picks. Everything’s covered by a one-year warranty. It’s a fun, useful gift for yourself or any musician who might not have tons of gear.
- Includes both capo and tuner
- The tuner is easy to read and use
- Capo is made from durable but gentle rosewood
- Occasionally buzzes on the first and second fret
- Capo is higher quality than the tuner
Best for Long-Lasting Use
If you’re looking for a capo that can withstand lots of use over a long period of time, you’ll want to check out this option from Moreeyes. It’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a silicon neck pad and side guards.
Plus, the strong springs hold the strings securely. It won’t lose strength over time even after years’ worth of use. It works on all types of guitars, including practically any 6-string, electric, or acoustic.
Even though the capo is strong and secure, it remains easy to use. You can clamp it on and off your guitar using just one hand.
Unlike many of the products listed here, Moreeyes offers a lifetime warranty against any quality defects.
- Manufactured with aircraft-grade aluminum
- Long-lasting construction
- Springs retain strength even after heavy use
- Requires moderate to high grip strength
- Faux-wood covering
AmazonBasics isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, but their capos are well-designed and priced for practically any budget. You get three capos made from zinc alloy with an electroplated surface. Each measures 92 by 98 by 54 mm.
The steel springs require a moderate level of strength. They’re a good choice for players of all ages, including those without excessive strength in their hands. The ergonomic design helps reduce hand strain and fatigue.
Another benefit here is the AmazonBasics warranty, which lasts for one year. Because you’re dealing with Amazon directly instead of a smaller company, customer service is usually fairly easy to reach.
- High-quality zinc alloy construction
- Budget-friendly pack includes three capos
- Electroplated surface helps prevent scratches
- Backed by a one-year Amazon warrant
- Standard design with no special features
- Not ideal for kids or anyone with small hands
If you own multiple guitars, sometimes it’s easier to own more than one capo. Snigjat’s offers a two-pack of quality capos that won’t break the bank.
Each capo is made with a steel spring capable of applying consistent, secure, and gentle pressure to the strings. It creates a clear tone without buzzing. Plus, adjusting it requires only one hand and doesn’t result in a draping sensation.
If you need more than one capo, it’s usually easier to stick with one brand. Most players typically develop a feel for how a capo connects to their guitars, so keeping all your capos the same is usually the easiest option.
- Two-pack of high quality capos
- Steel spring applies precise pressure
- Reduces buzzing noise
- Adjustable with one hand
- Might have difficulty fitting on a classical guitar
Best All-Around Option
If you’re looking for a reliable and easy-to-use capo to use with a variety of instruments, look no further than this capo from Rinastore. While not loaded with extras, it’s a well-made option with all the standard features you’d expect.
It’s lightweight but still strong enough to grip the strings tightly and create a rich sound with no fret buzz. Attaching and repositioning the capo is fast and simple. One-handed operation means you can change its position while playing.
- Well-made and reliable
- Grips strings tightly for a deep sound
- Easy to attach and position
- Allows for one-handed operation
- Doesn’t include many extra features
Guide to Getting a Guitar Capo
Whether you’re new to capos or have tons of experience with them, you probably have questions. Here’s a closer look at what capos do, what types are available, how they work, and more.
What is a Capo?
A capo is a small device that clamps down across the strings on a guitar’s fingerboard. It shortens the length of the strings. Essentially, it creates a new nut (a nut is a piece of material that supports the strings).
By shortening the length of the strings, a capo allows all open strings to play at higher pitches. It’s an easy and immediate way to increase the pitch of the guitar.
Capos raise the pitch one half-step for each fret. For example, if you place the capo on the third fret, all open strings raise in pitch by three half steps:
- E turns into G
- B turns into D
- D turns into F
- And so on
Once it’s clamped onto a fret, you can only play the guitar above the neck. It blocks you from playing below the capo.
Why are Guitar Capos Used?
Capos have three main purposes:
- They allow you to expand your playing options
- They allow you to adjust the key to match vocals and additional instruments
- They help improve your playing ability
Expand Playing Options
Think of a song you know how to play. Most likely, you know how to play it in only one key. A capo lets you play the song in whatever key you choose, without having to actually learn how to play it in that key.
Adjust the Key for Performance
Changing the key allows you to play along with vocals and other instruments. For example, picture a song you know how to play in the key of C. You want to perform with a vocal range in the key of D.
Using the capo, you can raise the key of your guitar by two half steps, so it sounds like D. Of course, that’s just one example. You can clamp the capo anywhere on the neck to match the needed key.
Improve Your Guitar Playing
With a capo, you’re not limited to only playing songs in keys that you know. Instead, it expands your options significantly, allowing you to play a song without having to learn the key it's normally played in.
Increasing the songs that you can play helps improve your playing overall. You gain experience with more songs and learn new methods. It’s a great confidence booster.
Plus, increasing the songs available to you will likely increase the fun. You can jump right into playing the songs you enjoy. When playing the guitar stays fun, learning and improving is easy.
Types of Capos
Here’s a look at the main types of capos for acoustic guitars:
A spring-loaded capo is a popular option. It uses a spring-controlled handle to attach and detach from the guitar.
The main advantages are speed and ease. You can add or remove the capo in seconds. Plus, you can use them with just one hand. You can adjust the placement of a spring-loaded capo mid-song.
On the downside, these capos can add bulk and weight to your guitar neck. Also, you can’t adjust the pressure placed on the strings.
However, overall, spring-loaded capos are an excellent option for most types of performing, recording, and playing. They work well with electric, acoustic, and most other types of guitars.
C-clamps are another popular and versatile type of capo. They’re similar to a standard C-clamp used in construction. Manually turning a screw applies pressure to the strings.
They’re sturdy capos that you can finetune for the best performance. Additionally, they’re the capos least likely to accidentally knock your guitar out of tune.
Downsides are minimal, but they’re often a bit touchy to use compared to the spring-loaded type. Also, they’re usually the more expensive option.
Overall, C-clamps are a great choice for both professional and amateur players of all types of guitars.
Another option is a toggle capo. It lets you tighten strings by using a notch mechanism. Plus, they’re small and compact, so they won’t interfere with your ability to play.
On the plus side, they’re easy to use and usually the most inexpensive option. However, they don’t have the refined, durable construction of the other types. They’re also the most likely type to shift your guitar out of tune.
These claps wrap around your guitar neck. They have a simple design consisting of basically nothing more than an elastic strap.
Strap capos are easy to use and often quite affordable. However, they’re imprecise and have a tendency to move around the neck. While they’re a workable option in a pinch, most players prefer the other types listed above.
How to Attach a Capo
Most capos are easy to attach, although the specific method used depends on the type. Generally, you want the capo as close to the metal fret as possible. However, if plucking the strings results in a buzzing, then the capo is too close.
Placing the capo closest to the front fret usually helps reduce buzz. The front fret is the one closest to the body.
Most of the time, you’ll probably need to tune your guitar after placing a capo. High-end capos placed on high-end guitars typically need only minimal tuning (if any), but beginner-type guitars typically need tuning after any capo is clamped on.
Take the capo off your guitar when you’re not using it, and never store your guitar with a capo in place. Doing so can damage your frets, bend your strings, and cause other potential damage.
Consider: Great Strat Pickups to Buy
All of the capos above are well-made and have a lot to like. Remember, there’s no capo that’s the absolute best for every player. Instead, you want to consider the music you like to play, the type of guitar you have, and all other relevant factors.
If you’re looking for the best option overall, I recommend the Wingo Rosewood Capo. It’s made from durable aluminum alloy, so it’ll stay in great shape after years of use. Also, it’s simple to use, even if you’re new to playing with capos.
Ultimately, my main reason for recommending the Wingo is that it produces a clear, authentic sound with minimal to non-existent buzz.
Capos add a whole new dimension to your guitar playing, allowing you to play new songs and in new situations. Use the guide above to find the perfect capo for your playing style, and up your guitar game today!
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.