The metronome is a powerful musical teaching tool and within the last few years, the technology behind it has advanced considerably. Practice with a metronome on a regular basis is important for all musicians, but it needs to be done with the right model which will force you to think and challenge your ability to keep time. Scroll down to our metronome buyers guide for additional information to help you find the perfect model.
Best Metronome Overall:
Whether you’re an aspiring or professional musician, a good metronome is a very useful audio tool. However, you want one which does more than simply providing a click. Modern metronomes have advanced greatly in the past several years and at this point they’re similar to many computer-sequencing programs. Some of these advanced metronomes are expensive but can be powerful teaching tools well worth their price tags.
This list of best metronomes was based on criteria including excellent subdivision capability, their efficient programming capacity, their number of essential options, and additional features. All can subdivide the beat into many different divisions including eighth notes, sixteenth notes and triplets. I find that practicing to a subdivided click is a very effective way to improve overall time keeping ability. These metronomes also offer the option of hearing an offbeat click and other inner subdivisions of the beat.
All of these picks are also programmable (and in this way these can perform almost like sequencers) can keep time in mixed meters, and can even perform advanced sequences of multiple measures. These metronome picks also come with a variety of essential options like click sound, meter accents, and headphone jack.
Every model featured on this list also include at least an “A” 440 tuning pitch and have a wide tempo range, usually between 35-250 beats per minute. Additionally these picks offer users a “tap tempo” option, which allows you to tap in a beat and find the tempo. Finally all of these metronomes include additional features that help them stand apart from their competitors. Some of these features include a memory bank of patterns, backlight for tempo display, and even a vibrating clip-on pulse.
Although designed for professional musicians (and therefor can be quite expensive) these are all great values when you consider their features and how much they can help improve one's playing. If you’re looking for a less expensive metronome, please refer to our list of best budget metronomes.
The DB-90 is one of the most widely used metronomes by professional musicians. Fully programmable for mixed meters, it also features a spin wheel for fast audio adjustment. This is easily one of the most effective metronomes available. Read Full Review
Tama’s Rhythm Watch RW200 has a lot of advanced features that are very useful including subdivision and multiple beat options. It can be programmed for up to thirty different songs and it looks better than previous models. What really sets this metronome apart is it’s priced lower than competitors. Read Full Review
The DB-60 has all of the critical features of the top metronomes at a fraction of the price, with all the necessary subdivisions, basic programming capability, and the all-important headphone jack. This pick is perfect for anyone seeking a reliable metronome in a portable format. Read Full Review
The Peterson BodyBeat Sync is one of the most innovative and unique metronomes on the market. Its vibrating click offers a new way to feel the beat and allows the drummer to focus their ears on sound production. The ability to create tempo maps using the BodyBeat software makes this one of the most programmable metronomes available. Read Full Review
Best Budget Metronome:
A metronome is a machine which provides a steady pulse in the form of a click, making it a practice tool every musician should have in their inventory. You don’t have to break the bank for one either because there are many inexpensive metronomes available which are designed with options found on more expensive models. You might think spending a lot of money on a metronome is required if you want advanced features, but the budget picks on this list cost far less and can deliver the performance and capability of a more expensive option.
We’ve chosen the following best budget metronomes they’ve all been manufactured by leading industry names known for producing high quality products. This makes these picks far more reliable than cheaper metronomes produced by obscure companies. These picks also include the essential features all metronomes should have, including a wide tempo range, meter accents, headphone jack, an “A” 440 tuning pitch, tap tempo, and click volume control. They’re also capable of subdividing the beat into different divisions or rhythms and most can even produce eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and triplets. Lastly, these picks have been designed to be small in size so they can conveniently reside in your stick bag without taking up a lot of space.
Packing a lot of options in a small package, Boss DB-30 metronome produces a range of time signatures, subdivisions and rhythmic patterns to keep your music on track. With an added headphone jack and memory function for mixed metered passages, it’s the best budget metronome out there. Read Full Review
The Korg TM-50 is a 2-in-1 tool combining the features of a metronome and tuner. Offering up a range of options including headphone jack, different beat options, subdivision and tap tempo, it’s a solid choice for any musician on a budget. Read Full Review
Snark’s Touch Metronome is great for students, because it is fun to use, one of the loudest budget metronomes, as well as one of the first with a touch screen. With fifteen different rhythmic options, it gives you a lot of options for effective practicing. Read Full Review
Meideal’s M50 is the smallest metronome on the market, but it still ha a lot of valuable features. It has a wide tempo range and different rhythmic options that are helpful for practicing. This is an inexpensive metronome that will really come in handy. Read Full Review
Kliq’s Metropitch is one of the best budget metronomes because of all of its advanced features. It has the ability to subdivide the beat in several different ways that are similar to high-end metronomes. The speedy adjustment dial is a feature that will save you time and is not usually available on budget metronomes. Read Full Review
Metronome Buyer’s Guide
The metronome is an important tool every musician should use. Modern metronomes come equipped with advanced capabilities and features to push your practicing and time-keeping abilities to new levels. Many top models have capabilities similar to sequencers and can be programmed to do amazing things. The following buyer’s guide covers the key features all metronomes should have and will help you choose one best suited for your needs.
Digital or Pendulum?
Weight-based Pendulum metronomes don’t have the advanced capabilities necessary for proper practicing. Additionally, simple metronomes can actually become a crutch for a player because they’re only capable of producing a simple click. Therefore, you should always consider purchasing a digital metronome first.
Allows you to hear the metronomes click.
It helps to be able to plug a set of headphones into the metronome. Often the metronomes external speaker isn’t loud enough to be heard over the sound of music, especially if you’re playing drums.
A good metronome allows tempo adjustment by a single beat per minute (BPM). There should also be a speed adjustment feature to quickly skip ahead by several BPMs (often 10).
Wide Tempo Range
Most metronomes will offer a good tempo range from 35-250 BPM.
Allows you to adjust the volume of the metronome click and balance it against your music. Adjustable volume saves your hearing and helps prevent the metronome from becoming a crutch.
Some metronomes provide different options for the actual sound of the click; some even feature audible numeric counting.
Typically a light which flashes on the beat or sometimes a traveling line that simulates a conductor.
The click should be able to subdivide notes into quarters, eighths, and sixteenth notes with some metronomes offering triplets and accented beats. The best metronomes will have an individual volume control for each subdivision.
Some metronomes can be programmed to perform specific meter and tempo changes and are similar to sequencers.
Some metronomes have attachments allowing them to be screwed onto a cymbal stand or attached to a music stand.
For certain players, these extra features are great practice tools:
Some metronomes can double as a tuner for guitars or other musical instruments.
Most metronomes produce a tone pitched at “A” 440 and can be changed to other pitches.
Some metronomes can record a session and offer you playback.
The Dr. Beat line of metronomes from Boss has become the standard for professional musicians. There are several different models of these reliable metronomes offered in a wide price range. Tama and Korg are two other manufacturers also known for making reliable metronomes which will last you a long time.
Price / Value
Generally the more features, the more expensive the metronome. Regardless, professional musicians should invest in a quality metronome to maximize their practice sessions.
For specific examples of top-end metronomes, you can refer to our list of Best Overall Metronomes. There’s also Best Budget Metronomes for musicians that prefer not to spend as much.