One common problem always encountered by most guitar beginners is being unable to tell the difference between a chromatic tuner and a standard guitar tuner. They both look pretty similar and normally come with the same size and mechanical design. But if we look further to their functionality, we shall have the answer for this question.
A standard tuner (generally also known as a guitar tuner) tunes for the standard notes on a guitar, which means notes like E, A, D, G, B, and E. If you set a standard tuner to “A”, for example, when you tune your string close to “A”, a standard tuner will indicate whether you are flat or sharp. If your string is real far off, you will not get the reading at all. A standard tuner is just a real basic electronic tuning device. It is only effective for tuning a standard guitar to standard pitch.
A chromatic tuner, on the other hand, is a smarter tuning device which will try to figure out what note it is hearing. It gives you the tuning for the chromatic scale with flat and sharp like C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B. By using a chromatic tuner, if your “A” string is too flat, it will probably indicate the note as sharp G. As you tune up, it will show it as a flat A, until it is finally up to tune. This type of tuner is not only for guitar tuning, but also works on almost any musical instruments.
In short, a chromatic tuner is able to detect all notes, including flats and sharps, while a standard tuner is limited to E, A, D, G, B & E.
It is always better to get a chromatic tuner because the device will tell you any note and pitch. And it will become pretty handy when you play in different tunings and with different musical instruments.