Best guitar capos 2022: 8 great budget-spanning picks

Closeup of a black G7th capo on the neck of an acoustic guitar
(Image credit: Press Material)

Don’t let its diminutive size fool you, the guitar capo is the most affordable piece of gear you can buy to dramatically change your sound. Every player should own one of the best guitar capos in this list because of the huge potential they allow for songwriters, players covering songs and anyone else who wants to cover more ground as a guitarist.

For example, a capo can create a different feel and sound for chord work – giving a brighter and higher tonality as required. A capo can also help singer/guitarists cover different vocal ranges and change the key of a song.

But not all capos are made equally – there’s a huge range of designs to choose from out there for different budgets. Quality matters – so that’s why we’re here to guide you through our pick of the best guitar capos to suit your needs.

Capos aren’t just for guitar either – there’s ukulele, banjo and mandolin options too, in addition to capos designed specifically for classical and 12-string guitars. We’ll be looking at them all in our pick of the best guitar capos out there, along with capos for players who really want to go further with experimentation.

We've included some in-depth buying advice at the end of this guide, so click the link if you'd like to give it a read. If you'd rather get straight to the products, keep scrolling.

Best guitar capos: Our top picks

If you’re looking for an all-rounder, our recommendation would be the G7th Performance 3 ART. G7th caused a stir in the capo world with its first Performance model, and now it’s perfected its ART with the third iteration – that’s Adaptive Radius Technology, to be precise. This is found in the capo’s pad that makes contact with your guitar’s strings, adapting to the specific curvature of its strings and fretboard. 

ART also allows even pressure across all the strings for enhanced tuning stability and minimum tension. Exactly what you need from a capo, and it’s combined with an attractive, reassuringly solid build.

If your budget is a little lower, we’d go for the Shubb Original C1. While it’s not the cheapest out there, for value it's hard to argue with this industry standard. The Shubb C-Series fits almost all acoustic steel string and electric guitars with its simple and accurate locking action that keeps the strings centred, and soft rubber that prevents the strings from bending over the frets and negatively affecting your sound. 

The C Series capo is also available in black chrome, brushed and polished nickel or brass depending on your taste. There are models available for classical nylon-string, 12-string guitar, banjo and mandolin too.

Best guitar capos: Product list & reviews

Best Guitar Capos: G7th Performance 3 ART

(Image credit: Press Material)

1. G7th Performance 3 ART guitar capo

This is the best guitar capo money can buy

Specifications

Price: from $55/£40
Materials: Stainless steel, silicone rubber

Reasons to buy

+
Great tuning stability 
+
Easy to fit
+
Lifetime warranty included

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest out there

G7th isn’t resting on its laurels after the success of the first two Performance capos – the core model of its ever-expanding range. The 3 is sized between its predecessors with the same smooth, quality finish, but delivers new Adaptive Radius Technology (ART) in its pad that makes contact with the strings, enhancing tuning stability.

The Performance 3’s other key feature is its’ Unique Tension Control’ allowing you to gently squeeze it for attaching and releasing, resulting in a solid fit around any neck with a quick release button to remove the capo. We’ve gigged and recorded with one and in practice it just works with a fit-and-forget simplicity, with the ability to store it on your headstock between use. G7th’s confidence in the design is underlined by a lifetime warranty, making this an investment that will go the distance with you on your playing journey. 

Best Guitar Capos: Shubb C1 Capo

(Image credit: Press Material)

2. Shubb Original C1 Steel String guitar capo

The best value guitar capo

Specifications

Price: £20/$22
Materials: Nickel-plated brass, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
Stable and low profile
+
Amazing value
+
Artists love it

Reasons to avoid

-
Tension needs to be set correctly

Another capo we’ve been impressed by after much onstage use. This one is a familiar sight as an industry standard that was launched over 30 years ago – its staying power speaks volumes about how effective its roller design has proved for players including Keith Richards, Joe Bonamassa, Sheryl Crow, Brian Setzer and Eric Johnson.

You can apply this capo for the bass or the treble side, setting the right amount of tension with the screw cap so it fits snuggly over the strings but not too tight. Shubb says the capo itself is made to last a lifetime but offers reasonably-priced replacement rubber sleeves to buy if yours eventually shows wear. 

Best Guitar Capos: Ernie Ball Axis capo

(Image credit: Press Material)

3. Ernie Ball Axis capo

The best guitar capo for one-handed changes

Specifications

Price: from £14/$15
Materials: Aluminium, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
For fast key changes mid-song
+
Great for beginners
+
Ideal for small hands

Reasons to avoid

-
No player-adjustable tension

Need to fit or remove your capo single-handedly on the fly? You’ll need a spring-loaded design that simply clamps straight on without the need for fine tuning before or afterwards. That’s why the Axis Capo is ideal with a dual radius design that will fit flat or curved fretboards on six and seven-string models.

It’s available in black and silver or the slightly more expensive gold and bronze ($16.99) and easily pegs onto your headstock when not in use.

Best Guitar Capos: G7th Ultralight

(Image credit: Press Material)

4. G7th UltraLight Classical guitar capo

The best guitar capo for light weight and small size

Specifications

Price: $15/£10
Materials: Composite plastic, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
An affordable 
+
Low profile
+
Cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be easily lost

If you think capos should be heard and not seen, you’ll probably appreciate the most affordable option in the G7th line – one it’s calling the lightest capo on the market. This is the Classical version, designed with wider necks in mind, but you can get it for standard electric and acoustics as well as ukulele.

A veritable feather compared to G7th’s flagship Performance capo, the UltraLight lives up to its name with a weight of just 8 grams and a very low profile look that won’t get in the way when playing. You can still fine tune the tension too.

Best Guitar Capos: Kyser Short Cut Capo

(Image credit: Press Material)

5. Kyser Short Cut 3-String acoustic guitar capo

Experiment more with the best partial capo around

Specifications

Price: $25/£18
Materials: Aluminium, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
Create open and alternate tunings
+
One-hand use for quick changes 

Reasons to avoid

-
You might still need a standard capo

If the only thing putting you off trying alternate tunings is the time it takes to tune them, this is an interesting tool. You can even use it with a standard capo to change keys or play behind the Short Cut capo to experiment further.

Two examples of how you can use it are placing this capo on the second fret and over the A, D and G strings, giving you a DADGAD sound. Place it in the second fret but over the D, G and B for an open A you can play slide in. The Short Cut lives up to its name as a quick way of experimenting and getting out of playing ruts you may find yourself in. Especially useful if you’re a songwriter. 

Best Guitar Capos: Creative Tunings SpiderCapo

(Image credit: Press Material)

6. Creative Tunings SpiderCapo

The best guitar capo for creative songwriters

Specifications

Price: £33/$40
Material: Plastic

Reasons to buy

+
A creative tool for songwriters
+
Limitless potential for ideas

Reasons to avoid

-
Not practical as a standard capo

Could this be the most creatively inspiring capo of all? Launched in 2009, the spiky look of the SpiderCapo sets it apart from other capos, and it performs very differently too. It allows you to capo each string individually, opening up a mind-boggling amount of creative possibilities in different positions and tunings.

The potential becomes even wider when you consider you can play standard chords above the SpiderCapo and then get creative below it, finding new chords and infusing open strings into melodies to explore and use in your music.

Best Guitar Capos: Paige Clik 12-string Guitar Capo

(Image credit: Press Material)

7. Paige Clik 12-string guitar capo

12-string player? This is the best guitar capo for you

Specifications

Price: £14/$17.99
Materials: Aluminium, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative approach to tension control
+
Stores behind the guitar nut 

Reasons to avoid

-
Intonation challenges

This USA-made Paige Capo design is available in banjo/mandolin, ukulele, acoustic, 6 and 12-string models, but you’ll notice it looks different to others. The whole idea behind the design is to control tension evenly across the fret and eliminate string buzz. This is especially vital when you have the challenge of 12 of them to keep in line!

By pulling from the centre instead of the side with precision adjustment, the idea is to create even tension across all the strings. Rubber tubing on all the contact points also protects your guitar when you need to move positions fast and this Clik design offers a quick release mechanism for removal.

Best Guitar Capos: Planet Waves Ukulele Capo

(Image credit: Press Material)

8. Planet Waves NS Ukulele Capo Pro

The best capo for ukulele players

Specifications

Price: £20/$30
Material: Aluminium, rubber

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Stable
+
Durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs two hands to fit and remove

The Planet Waves NS range is great for guitarists looking for a low profile and lightweight capo at a reasonable street price, and ukulele players aren’t missing out either. 

The adjustment mechanism enables you to be accurate about the amount of tension you set when fitting it, ensuring you can get it just right for your specific uke’s neck and avoid having to retune.

The aluminium is aircraft grade too, so you can add potential longevity to its attributes!

Best guitar capos: Buying advice

Closeup of a G7th Heritage cradle capo on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Future)

What is the purpose of the best guitar capos?

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All capos perform the same function; essentially acting as a new moveable nut that you can move up to any fret on the guitar – the higher you go on the guitar neck, the higher the pitch. For example, if you place the capo at your guitar’s third fret, the E strings become G when played open, A becomes C, D becomes F, G becomes Bb and C becomes D.  As well as giving a new tonality to your chords, you can move a capo around to change to a key that may suit your or the singer’s voice better.

How do I choose the best guitar capo for me?

First of all, your capo needs to fit your guitars neck and fretboard well. The capo should be a tight enough fit that all of the strings still ring true, but not so tight that they're pulled sharp and out of tune. 

Getting a tight fit is as much about spring tension as it is about getting the right shape and size of capo. You'll need to find a capo which matches the radius and width of your fretboard, most importantly. If you're unsure, it's worth noting that guitars with 'vintage' specs will usually have more rounded fingerboards, and those with more modern specs will likely have flatter fingerboards. Guitars like 12-strings and other, more traditional acoustic guitars, will have wide fretboards. Most capo companies make multiple capos to fit all kinds of guitar necks and fretboards - so make sure you buy the right one!

Will a capo effect my guitar's intonation?

It's worth remembering that, just like fretting the guitar with your finger, all capos will alter your guitar’s intonation to some degree. The best ones will have been designed to effect it the least, reducing the need to retune your guitar after fitting one. 

While every capo in this guide is of a certain standard, some capos will pull on your guitar's strings more than others, and therefore will effect your intonation at different levels. Capos like the Paige Clik range - which are known as cradle capos - are some of the very best if you're particularly worried about keeping your intonation perfect, due to their perfectly even tension across the whole fingerboard.

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.