Best Acoustic Guitar Capos of 2020 – Ultimate Round-up

Most of us start playing the guitar and realize sooner or later that there is still a lot we can explore. Capos are a necessity for each musician – they might not be necessary for your song, but you should still try them out. 

They can affect the tune and the tone of your instrument and help you explore your possibilities.

That’s why we’re here to help you discover the best acoustic guitar capos on the market!

Comparison Chart of the Best Acoustic Guitar Capos

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Kyser Sunburst Quick-Change Capo

  • Best acoustic guitar capo overall
  • Professional quality, made in the USA
  • Classical capo with three-color sunburst
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Fender Standard Smart Capo

  • One-hand operation
  • Lightweight and extremely easy to use
  • Suitable for six-string guitars with a flat neck
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Dunlop Trigger Flat Nickel Capo

  • Best acoustic guitar capo for the money
  • Can be used with six and twelve-string guitars
  • Unique pressure pad suitable for frets and fingerboard
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D’Addario Planet Waves NS Artist Capo

  • Easy to use and even tension
  • Best Capo for 12 String Acoustic Guitar
  • Buzz-free performance with tension adjustment
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Shubb Deluxe S Series Steel String Capo

  • Easy to use and lightweight
  • Smooth action, resists wear
  • Best Capo for Steel String Acoustic Guitar
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Kyser Pro/Am 6-String Guitar Capo

  • Protects guitar neck
  • Best Capo for Martin Acoustic Guitar
  • Lightweight, with high precision adjustments
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What is a Capo for an Acoustic Guitar?

Guitars have endless accessories – such as strings, tuners, humidifiers, etc. Some of these items are more necessary than others. One of them is a capo, which means "head" in Italian. It is a tiny device attached to the neck of your guitar that shortens the strings. Shorter guitar strings translate into a higher pitch for your sounds. 

You can either attach the capo on all of your guitar’s strings, or you can attach it on only some of the strings. The possibilities here are endless, but the main benefit of doing so is that it will allow you to play a song in various keys.

When Would an Acoustic Guitar Capo Come in Handy?

Guitar capos are used by musicians to achieve different benefits when playing their acoustic guitars. Here are the top three uses of a guitar capo:

Change the Key

This comes in handy for beginners. If you are singing a song and you find yourself struggling, you can use a capo to change the key. This will help you out in most situations. They can also be used in live performances. Some of them are one-hand, quick-change caps that allow you to shift the key in an imperceptible manner. 

Alternate the Chord Voicing

A guitar capo can be used to experiment with new sounds. For instance, they can help you to add some more texture or personality to your tune. You can also use it if you simply want the song to be different. You can explore these possibilities by changing the tuning and chord voicing. 

Easier to Play

Most musicians also use guitar capos in order to make their job easier. The capo pushes the strings of your guitar closer, which makes it significantly easier to play. You should definitely try this out if you are a beginner!

What Makes a Great Acoustic Guitar Capo?

Here’s a short list of features that a great acoustic guitar capo needs to have:

Appropriate Tension

One of the main features, which affects the functionality of the capo, is the tension it applies to the string. If the capo does not apply enough tension, the strings will give out some weight buzz when you pick them. On the other hand, if there is too much tension, your notes will get out of tune. Some capos come with constant tension and some can be adjusted. 

Easy to Use

Some models can just be clamped on the guitar and you can start playing. Others take a lot of time and steps to install, needing fine, accurate adjustments in the right place. It is important for your convenience to get an easy-to-use capo, especially if you perform live. It will allow you to adjust it in a blink whenever you need to, without wasting any time. 

Durable and Protective 

Lastly, a great guitar capo has to be durable. No one enjoys when the quality of a product is so poor that you end up throwing it away! Luckily for you, the next section introduces some great products and some of them are guaranteed for life. Additionally, they are made of materials that will protect your guitar from marring or scratching. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Acoustic Guitar Capos

Now that you know what to keep an eye out for, let’s take a look at some of the best capo options for your acoustic guitar.

PROS

  • Guaranteed for life
  • Ideal for six-string acoustic guitars
  • Reduces the string buzz and friction
  • Comes in a variety of 22 different colors
  • Lightweight, yet sturdy and strong, with a steel spring

CONS

  • High price range
  • Less clamping than a C-clamp
  • Needs a good, strong grip and can get the instrument out of tune if not properly positioned

What Recent Buyers Report

Many claim that Kyser Quick-Change Capo is highly convenient and easy to use. They say that it is a rock-solid capo and they can see why it has a lifetime guarantee. Most believe the price range is definitely worth the investment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Without a doubt, our top recommendation for acoustic guitar capos is the Kyser Quick-Change. As it suggests, you can change it with one hand and is a heavy-duty, indestructible capo. The aluminum bars of the capo are kept together by a steel screw and it has a rubber foam coating to keep your fingers safe.

Who Will Use This Most

This capo is less recommended for beginners since it requires some strength to be used. It is sturdy, but novices might find it difficult to move swiftly. For more experienced players, this capo is a beauty that cannot be missed. It is ideal for consistent, frequent play, and also protects your strings from damage.

Bottom Line

Overall, this capo is our winner for the best acoustic guitar capos. It is easy to use for experienced players, you can change it quickly, and it is undoubtedly one of the best capos you can find on the market. Also, it's built to last for a lifetime.

PROS

  • Keeps strings in tune longer
  • Eliminates string buzz and friction
  • Lightweight, can be operated with one hand
  • Secure and tight enough for smooth performance
  • Unique design favoring perfect tension across the strings

CONS

  • Made of plastic
  • Rubber can have memory marks
  • Takes effort to ensure it clamps properly

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers state that this capo is well-made and suited their guitar neck very well. Many loved that it is lightweight, allowing them to make lightning-quick changes during their play. Despite the fact that it is made of plastic, buyers report that it looks and feels sturdy and durable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Fender Standard Smart Capo is the ideal six-string acoustic guitar accessory for a flat neck. You can make changes in the blink of an eye. Also, it is small, yet durable and accurate. It is tight and sturdy, but not tight enough to stop beginners from using it with ease.

Who Will Use This Most

This Smart Capo from Fender is ideal for any six-string acoustic player. It is easy to use, durable, and extremely affordable. It is built with a practical concept, so the lightweight feature makes it suitable for both beginners and more experienced players.

Bottom Line

Overall, if you want an affordable capo for your flat neck, the Fender Smart Capo is what you need. It helps to eliminate annoying string buzz and keeps your instrument in tune for longer by eliminating unnecessary friction. It produces perfect tension across all of your instrument’s strings.

PROS

  • High playability
  • Durable and reliable
  • Premium quality aluminum
  • Made with aircraft-quality aluminum
  • Has a tight padded grip on the instrument
  • Versatile, suitable for both six and twelve-string guitars

CONS

  • Might get strings out of tune
  • Need to adjust tuning after a song
  • Very small compared to advertisement

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers state that this capo is highly versatile and owners of both six-string and twelve-string guitars have enjoyed this product. The aluminum design is built to last for a long time and it has a very rigid spring that ensures proper clamping every time you use it. Additionally, they mention that the padded handle makes it comfortable and easy to use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This capo is one of our top choices for its consistency in quality. Your sounds should never be altered when you use a capo and it should not take a long time to change positions either. The Trigger Capo ensures that your sounds are clean, loud, and in tune. It has a very durable design and is made of aircraft-quality aluminum.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a buzz-free experience, the Trigger Capo is one affordable way to do that. It is the ideal capo for both six and twelve-string guitars, and it is convenient to use, even for beginners. It has a pressure pad that ensures a high-quality performance every time you use it.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Dunlop Trigger is easily one of the most convenient capos you will ever have. All you need to do is give it a quick squeeze and you can change it as fast as a blink. The strong, padded spring-action grip is durable, sturdy, and applies just the right amount of pressure.

Best Capo for 12-String Acoustic Guitar:
D’Addario Planet Waves NS Artist Capo

PROS

  • One-hand quick operation
  • Ideal for twelve-string guitars
  • Can be used with wide neck guitars
  • Comes with an integrated pick holder
  • Ideal for twelve-string acoustic guitars
  • Has trigger geometry, so needs only 1/3 of the force as compared to most capos

CONS

  • Quite heavy
  • Some might feel that it clamps down a bit too hard
  • Has a padding layer made of polymeric plastic, not suitable for nitrocellulose finish guitar

What Recent Buyers Report

The most recent users claim that the D’Addario NS Artist Capo is a great, unique choice due to its trigger geometry, which they have said makes it easier to use than almost all capos on the market. They report that it is extremely easy to use is because they only need about one-third of the force they would normally use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This outstanding quality capo is one of our top choices for twelve-string acoustic guitar capos. It makes use of the latest technologies to make it easier to use due to the micrometer screw and trigger geometry. It offers a buzz-free performance and is extremely accurate.

Who Will Use This Most

Although this is our top recommendation for twelve-string guitars, the versatility of this capo makes it suitable for six-string guitars, as well. Both beginners and more experienced players can benefit from this item. Its top feature is the ease of use and quick, one-hand operation. It is long-lasting, made from aluminum, and can attach to a tuner through the tuner bracket.

Bottom Line

Once again, D’Addario fulfills its promise of highly creative and innovative musical accessories on the market. The capo line is one such example, starting with the NS Artist Drop-Tune Capo. It eliminates the need to tune your instrument frequently and eliminates all the fret buzz.

Best Capo for Steel String Acoustic Guitar:
Shubb Deluxe S-Series Steel String Capo

PROS

  • Highly versatile
  • Affordable price
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Long-lasting stainless steel build
  • Adjustable, can fit different size necks

CONS

  • Takes time to adjust the tension screw
  • Might not be suitable for twelve-string guitars
  • When high tension is applied, the locking bar can be quite hard to release

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users love this tiny-sized, highly portable guitar capo, saying it is a great addition to any musician on the go. What many users love about this capo over other products is the adjustable tension screw that allows them to place it on different size necks. Thus, it is extremely versatile.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This acoustic guitar capo stands out to us due to two of its great features. First, the adjustable tension screw makes it very versatile, as it can fit on different-sized necks. This also means that your guitar remains in tune when you attach it. Another great feature is its tiny yet extremely durable size.

Who Will Use This Most

This capo is a great option for beginners, whether practicing at home or having a quick performance. The tension screw makes it impractical for performing live since you will find that it takes longer to change keys because you need to adjust the screw.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Shubb Deluxe S Capo is a well-built, sturdy accessory. It is of high-quality and it has a robust feel to it. It is also highly resistant to wear and tear. Additionally, it has a smooth action and is ideal for practicing at home or rehearsing your next hit.

Best Capo for Martin Acoustic Guitar:
Kyser Pro/Am 6-String Guitar Capo

PROS

  • Versatile and sturdy
  • Ideal for flat fretboards
  • Easy to use and control
  • Can adjust string tension through screw
  • Ideal with classical and acoustic instruments
  • Small design, made of cast aluminum on top and stamped steel on the bottom

CONS

  • Not a quick-change capo
  • Takes some time to adjust
  • Plastic screw could be better quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report that this capo performs as advertised and, once they put it on, it remains in place and works great. They mentioned that it can be used with acoustic and classical guitars with ease and that they loved the versatility and durability of this unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for an affordable, portable capo for your Martin guitar, this is exactly what you need. It performs great with any guitar with a flat fretboard and is made with professional-quality craftsmanship. It is made from lightweight, durable aluminum. It also allows for high-pressure adjustments.

Who Will Use This Most

This Kyser Pro Capo is ideal for Martin guitars and any flat fretboard instruments. It is not a quick-change capo, but it allows you to put it on and adjust it with precision. In fact, it is ideal for beginners, since it is extremely easy to manipulate, it will grow with you and has a rubber sleeve to protect your guitar from marring.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Kyser Pro capo is what you are missing on your Martin acoustic guitar. It is long-lasting, versatile, and made of rock-solid materials. The capo is easily attached to the neck of your guitar and allows you to play consistently for a long time without damaging or scratching your instrument.

Are All Capos the Same?

Not all acoustic guitar capos are the same. Here are some variations:

Trigger Capos

This is the most popular capo you will find. They use a spring-loaded clamp in order to maintain the tension. You can play and adjust it easily with only one hand, but the tension is most likely not adjustable. This means that you get fret buzz when tension is too low and get out of tune if the tension is too strong. 

Screw Capos

Screw capos solve the problem of inappropriate tension by having an adjustable mechanism that allows you to fine-tune the tension of the capo on the strings. You can achieve perfect tension regardless of fret position, string action, or neck size. The main disadvantage of a screw capo is that adjusting the screw will take time, since every time you move your capo, the tension will be lost and it will needs to be adjusted again. This may cause some awkward breaks in your performance. 

Roller Capos

As the least popular design, roller capo benefits from fast repositioning (just sliding), easy removal, and a wider fret pressure that translates into better tuning stability. On the other hand, the tension is non-adjustable (similar to trigger capos). There is a lot of metal involved in the design, which can scratch your instrument. Also, they are not suitable for twelve-string guitars. 

How to Use an Acoustic Guitar Capo

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use your new acoustic guitar capo:

  1. Get your guitar and capo ready. Place your instrument on your lap or around the shoulder using a guitar strap. It should be in the usual playing position. Take the capo in your playing hand. 
  2. Attach the capo on the fret. For every fret it is on, the capo raises the key one half-step. So, if you place it on the first fret, the key is one half-step higher. It works the same for all the frets. 
  3. Open the capo and place it on the fret behind the fret bar. Different capos will be used slightly differently, but essentially, they have two paddings that clamp down on your guitar’s strings. The capo has a longer side that will touch the strings and the backside is shorter and will clamp your guitar’s back. 
  4. Double-check the positioning. When you place your capo on the wrong area, your guitar will get out of tune. Make sure you position the capo in the fret and right behind the fret bar. The capo should not be placed too far from the fret bar, but also not directly on the fret bar. 

Conclusion

All in all, the market has an abundance of different types of capos with different functionalities and designs. When purchasing one, consider which type of capo would benefit you most, since all types have their own benefits and disadvantages. If you are still deciding whether to try one or not, we definitely recommend you take the leap – it’s worth it.