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Best Drum Tuners: 4 Options for an Amazing Sounding Kit

Best Drum Tuners: 4 Options for an Amazing Sounding Kit

As drummers, we’re precious about the sound of our kit. As such, the search for the best drum tuners is one that every drummer must undertake at one point or another.

But, your search is over.

I’ve written an easy to use post on 4 of the best drum tuners available this year, so you can stop spending your time online and get to making your kit sound amazing!

Tama Tension Watch 1
  • $$
  • Mechanical
  • ⭐️ 4.8
Tama Tension Watch 2
  • $$
  • Mechanical
  • No rating
  • $$
  • Mechanical
  • ⭐️ 4.7
Pearl Tunebot
  • $$$
  • Digital
  • ⭐️ 4.1

Tama TAMTW100 Tension Watch

Tama’s Tension Watch (TW100) is the most popular drum tuner available. Chances are, if you see a drum tuner in the wild, it will be this one.

Most other tuner’s actually use this design.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

The TAMTW100 is very accurate, giving very precise readings in tension, allowing you to get every lug sounding the same.

DrumDial Drum Tuner: Best Value Drum Tuner (& Editors Pick)

Using the same design as the the Tama above, the DrumDial looks very similar but differs in two main ways:

  1. It’s not as sensitive (I’ll explain more below)
  2. It’s cheaper! (always a bonus)

Each small line on the DrumDial indicates 1/1000 of an inch while the Tama indicates 4/10000 of an inch – meaning the Tama is much more precise… although this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

While we want accuracy we need to be able to tune our drums quickly too so if you don’t need perfect sound the DrumDial should suit you just fine!

Tama Tension Watch v2: Easiest to Use Drum Tuner

Being the innovators in the drum tuning game, Tama took their classic design and made it even better!

A big complaint of the DrumDial and previous Tama model is that most people tune drums looking over them, not at eye-level.

This makes reading the other two tuners a bit harder.

Tama fixed this with TW200 Tension Watch – making it use a flat design which can be ready easily and provides a handy gauge to position it the same distance away from each lug.

Pearl TB001 Overtone Labs Tune-Bot

So far the tuners we’ve covered have relied on measuring tension mechanically.

Enter the Tunebot, a digital drum tuner!

The killer feature of the tunebot is that it not only gives you lug tension measurements, it gives you the musical note your drum is tuned to!

This is incredibly important for studio use so you can match the pitch of your toms to the key of the song.

On top of that, you can save your tuning. Making it easier to match tunings between sessions and between drums.

Some helpful information about drum tuners

What is a drum tuner?

Most drum tuners measure the drum head’s tension to show you where you need to tune up or tune down to get an even spread around the drum.

Fernweh Editions Candles

Do you need a drum tuner?

Drum tuners are most useful if you’re a drum technician or a studio engineer.


Well, those two roles require getting a consistent sound out of a drum again and again, something that’s really tough to do by ear alone.

A common scenario in the studio is where you want to get two drums sounding the same (usually two kick drums) or getting the same sound as you had in a previous session.

While tuners are must-haves for engineers and drum techs, they’re useful for anyone looking to get the best-sounding kit they can.

How to use a drum tuner:

As I mentioned, all drum tuners work in one way – they measure the tension on head where they’re placed.

Here’s a quick and easy drum tuning guide to get you started:

  1. Start with a clean drum with no head on it.
  2. Seat the new drum head.
  3. Put the drum hoop back on and finger-tighten all the tension rods.
  4. Gently lower your drum tuner of choice on to the head.
  5. Position the drum/tuner so you can easily read the dial and about 15mm / 3/4″ in front of a tension rod.
  6. Now take note of that lug’s tension.
  7. We want to find the lug with the highest tension. So move the tuner around the rest of the lugs on the drum. (Pick it up each time! Don’t drag it!)
  8. Tune the other lugs to match the highest reading.
  9. Test the drum! How does it sound? Go higher and lower in an opposite lug pattern starting from any lug.
  10. Play you perfectly tuned drum!