Many recipes require accuracy and precision. If you allow the cooking time to run over by just 30 seconds, it could mean the difference between success and failure! Whilst you could use your smartphone to time your recipes, do you really want this delicate electronic device in your kitchen where it could get damaged by moisture, heat and grease?
A more practical option would be to get yourself a kitchen timer. These useful little devices are relatively inexpensive and will make sure that all your recipes turn out okay! They can be digital or analog and will either sit neatly on the kitchen counter or stick to an appliance with a strong magnet. Some will even hang off a piece of string. They are designed to give a clear indication of the remaining cooking time with just a glance and have a loud alarm when the time is up. To help you make the right choice, check out our guide to the best kitchen timer for your kitchen.
The Best Kitchen Timer
Our first choice of the best kitchen timers gives you a large and clear display so you can simply glance at it from across your kitchen to check out how much cooking time is left. This is ideal if your eyesight is not perfect or the lighting conditions in your kitchen are dim. This is a very versatile device that you can use for counting down like regular timers but it will also count up like a stopwatch. This makes it useful outside the kitchen – for an exercise workout or for classroom activities.
When the time is up, it sounds a clear and loud alarm that you can hear from other rooms in your home. It can be set from one second to 99 minutes and 59 seconds and will remember the last setting. This timer will fit in with how you like to organize your kitchen. You can use the magnetic panel to stick it to your fridge, you can pull out the stand to make it sit upright on a counter top or you can use a piece of string looped through its hook to hang it from a kitchen cupboard or even around your neck. It is powered by an AAA battery and you can turn it off when it is not in use.
Large, clear digital display
Loud alarm that can be heard from another room
Power off mode to save battery
- Weight3.04 ounces
It couldn’t be simpler to use this cuboid kitchen timer. Even if you have hands that are covered in oil or flour, you can set it to go by simply turning it so that the correct face is upright. Each face of the cube indicates a preset time – they are 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes.
For further accuracy, there is a digital timer at the bottom of the cube with an LCD display that indicates how much of your countdown is left. There is a simple on/off button and it is powered by two AAA batteries which are not included with this cooking timer.
Cuboid timer that looks like dice
Set the time by turning it over
Four pre-set times
LCD countdown display
- Weight1.92 ounces
The strong magnet and flat back surface of this kitchen timer mean that it will securely fix to your fridge without popping off or wobbling. There is a small pivot stand that you can use if you need it to sit on your kitchen counter. Thanks to the foam protector it will not cause damage to the surface of your appliances. It is powered by an AAA battery and has an automatic on/off function after two minutes to save on batteries.
The clever auto memory on this digital kitchen timer will recall the last setting and displays it after auto-shutoff which is very useful for repetitive tasks. It is very easy to set, using just one finger and will count up and down anything from zero to 99 minutes. By holding the buttons down for two seconds it will fast forward the digits for longer cooking times. It has a large display which is clear from a distance and a 75-80db alarm which is loud enough to be heard from another room but is mellow and will not startle you.
Strong magnet and flat surface to fit to appliances
Foam to protect from scratches
Auto shut-off and memory recall
Loud but mellow alarm
- Weight2 pounds
This food timer would be a good choice for home cooks who are visually impaired or who find it hard to hear alarms in a noisy kitchen environment. There are customizable alarms so you can choose the one that suits your hearing the best. You can choose a red flashing light, a loud audio alarm or a vibration. The digital display is very large and is clear from several feet away. It is powered by two AAA batteries.
The on/off switch is easy to locate at the back of the timer and setting it is very straightforward using the large buttons. There are several options for positioning, it will mount with a spring clip, sit upright with a stand or attach to an appliance with the magnet. The magnetic kitchen timer will count hours and minutes or minutes and seconds and has an automatic memory.
Three customizable alarms – audio or visual
On/off switch at the back
Several options for positioning
Very large digital display
- Modelx-wlang 3-in-1 Alerts timer
- Weight1.76 ounces
Thanks to the large 2.6 inch LCD screen and thick numbers on this kitchen timer with alarm, you will be able to read it from across your kitchen. It also has a clear 67-94 dB alarm so you will hear it even if you are in another part of the house. It can be set to anything from 1 second all the way up to 24 hours and will count up (clock mode) as well as down (timer mode) so you could also use it for your gym workouts and kids’ games and activities.
It saves you time when you are setting it for longer periods because the hour, minute and second buttons have fast forward functions. The minutes, seconds and hours can be set individually and it automatically changes from AM to PM after 12 hours. You can fix it to your refrigerator with the strong built-in magnet or it will stand up or hang using its hook.
Large 2.6 inch LCD screen
Can be set from 1 second to 24 hours
Will count up and down
Clear 67-94 dB alarm
- Weight3.2 ounces
This simple yet attractive timer uses a dial mechanism and will appeal to those that would rather not have a digital timer. You can time periods of up to one hour long so that should be plenty for most recipes.
The cost-effective timer will not break the bank. It sits neatly on your kitchen counter and has small rubber pads to keep it stable. To set it, you twist the dial to the desired setting and it ticks quietly in the background. When the time is up, a mechanical bell sounds that lasts for 18 seconds so there is plenty of time to hear it.
Simple, white mechanical timer with black detail
Times periods up to one hour
Ticks quietly once it has been set
Mechanical bell lasts for 18 seconds
- BrandBrowne Foodservice
- Weight5.6 ounces
A bright little kitchen timer that gives you an analog countdown for anything up to 60 minutes. It is easy to see just how much time is left because a red disk disappears as the time runs down. This makes it especially useful if you are cooking with adults or children with special needs who require a visual indication of how much longer is left. There is no loud ticking to distract anyone!
When time is up, there is an audible alarm signal but this can be switched off if you need complete quiet. This timer needs one AA battery and can be wall-mounted or has foldable feet if you want to put it on the kitchen counter.
Analog countdown timer
Red disc gives clear visual indication of how much time left
Audible alarm signal can be turned off
Can be wall mounted or sits on kitchen counter
- BrandTime Timer
- ModelTime Timer 12
- Weight1.8 pounds
A circular and compact digital timer that is available in three colors. This kitchen timer features some simple buttons that you use to set the timing interval. You can set it for any period from one second up to 9 hours and 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
To check how much time is left, you simply take a quick look at the large LCD display which is visible from some distance away. To keep it clean, you just wipe it with a damp cloth.
Compact, circular timer that sits on counter
Large, digital LCD display
Simple to operate with push buttons
Wipe clean with damp cloth
- Weight2.4 ounces
This device is a lightweight and modern kitchen timer with a sleek, modern hexagonal design. It is both a digital timer and an alarm clock. It is available in several colors and would look great in any kitchen. To start the countdown, you simply rotate the timer so that the required face is uppermost. You can select from 5, 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. The exact countdown time will be shown on the central LCD display screen.
When the time is up, an alarm will sound which can be set at one of three volume settings. It can also be silent and you can rely on the flashing LED light alert. It is also a functioning alarm clock with a snooze button.
Combined alarm clock and timer.
Available in several colors.
Set the time by rotating the timer
You can select a flashing light instead of an alarm
- Weight11.2 ounces
Here we have a gorgeous retro timer in vintage pale blue with a typical 1950s analog dial in white, black and red. It would look great on the counter in any kitchen. It’s built to last and is made of durable steel.
You can set the timer to anything from a few seconds to 55 minutes by turning the chrome ring which is sufficient for most recipes. It gives two short rings when the time is up.
Cute retro design
Analog timer – you set it by twisting the ring
Made from durable steel
Gives two short rings when time is up
- Weight6.4 ounces
Best Kitchen Timer Buying Guide
What to Consider When Buying a Kitchen Timer
Before you go out and buy a kitchen timer, here’s a quick list of the things that you should consider.
- Positioning and portability
If you want to carry the timer outside the kitchen, you may want to be able to hang it around your neck. However, within the kitchen, it could be useful if you can place it on counter surfaces or stick it to the fridge using a magnet.
Kitchen timers need to be able to withstand the kitchen environment which can get hot and humid and there could be grease, fat and other ingredients.
- Range of countdown
If you like cooking recipes that take a few hours, a timer with a 60 minute maximum countdown is not going to suit you. You may be wise to choose one with a longer range. If you are a fan of slow cook casseroles, smoked brisket or slow-rising bread, this will be important.
Digital timers tend to be more precise because you can set them accurately to the second. Thirty seconds can make a big difference for some recipes.
The more sophisticated timers will do more jobs for you! Some will count up as well as down. Some are also clocks. Some will recall the last setting and others will time several dishes at the same time.
- Ease of use
It’s nice to have some extra functions in a kitchen timer but not at the expense of simplicity. If they are too complicated to set up, with too many buttons, you won’t use them. Some are so simple that you just turn them over but these have preset times and this means that you lose precision and control.
- Power options
If you choose a digital version, you will have to periodically replace batteries but mechanical versions will not require this. You may want your digital timer to turn off when you are not using it to save batteries.
The alarm needs to be loud enough to make sure that you hear it! Also, it needs to last long enough. The alarms on digital timers last longer than the alarm on analog timers. Some of the more sophisticated kitchen timers also have the option of a flashing light or vibration alert. This is important for people who have issues with their hearing or who do not want loud noises because there are sleeping children in the house!
- Clear display
If you have any form of sight issues or you simply want to see how much cooking time is left at a glance, a timer with a large and clear display is essential.
Kitchen timers do not just have to be functional! They can also look great. This is a matter of personal taste. You may go for vintage retro styling or cutting edge modern design. The choice is yours and you can pick one that fits in with the style of your kitchen.
Why You Should Use a Kitchen Timer
Do you really need a kitchen timer? You may be asking yourself if it is necessary for you to get one at all. After all, many of us have perfectly good built-in timers on our ovens or on our smartphones. Here are a few reasons why you need a kitchen timer.
- Oven timers are not always reliable or simple. You often have to scroll through several modes to reach the timer mode of your oven clock and this wastes time. Also, they can break and then you will need to use an alternative until you get another oven. Finally, they are not portable. You can take your kitchen timer with you into the garden and it will tell you when you need to get back to the kitchen to take your food out of the oven. You may not hear an oven timer from that far away.
- Smartphones don’t do well in kitchens. You may not want to take your lovely new smartphone into the kitchen where it can get damaged by grease and water. Also, the temperature can get hot in the kitchen which can affect how a smartphone works. Kitchen timers, on the other hand, are robust and durable and are designed to be used in the kitchen. If you pick up your smartphone with greasy hands, you are going to have to spend hours cleaning the screen!
- Cooking times are important. It is not advisable to estimate cooking times. They are specified in recipes for good reasons. The first reason relates to food safety. It is vital that foods like raw chicken and fish are cooked thoroughly and you need to be accurate about the temperature and timing of this. Secondly, the quality of many dishes is determined by getting the cooking time correct. Baking cakes is a typical example. If you cook them for too long they could be too hard and dry. If you do not cook them for long enough, they will be soggy.
- Kitchen timers are useful for other things. It is not just the kitchen where it is useful to have accurate timings. You could use your timer during gym and exercise sessions, during children’s activities or even for timing how long you devote to a work project.
Mechanical Vs. Digital Kitchen Timers
There are plenty of decisions to make when you are buying a kitchen timer but the main one is to pick a mechanical or digital model. It will come down to personal choice so here are some of the main features of each to help you make a decision.
Mechanical timers work by twisting or turning a part of the timer so that a dial lines up with the desired timing period. They are the traditional choice and do not require a power source. The timer gradually counts down and you can hear it ticking. Then a ringer goes off when it reaches zero. Most are self-standing and do not have magnets to fix to a fridge. When the ringer goes off, it will only be for a few minutes so you could miss it if you are in another room. Some people may not like the constant ticking which can be an irritation. Also, they only work for countdowns up to 60 minutes which is not long enough for many recipes. The dials vary in size and some will not be clear from a distance but others are much larger.
Digital kitchen timers require batteries. Some have a large and bold digital display so that it can be seen from a distance. The alarms are usually louder and more persistent and some devices also have the option of vibration or flashing lights. This is useful if you need the alarm to be quiet! There could be additional features such as counting up as well as down and it may recall the last setting. Many digital timers have magnets so that you can attach them to metal appliances and some have clips as well. Digital timers will often give second, minute or hour countdowns which could be up to 24 hours.
Our Top Pick
Our first choice of the best kitchen timer has a large and clear display. It is very versatile – it can be used for counting down like a regular timer but will also count up like a stopwatch. This makes it useful outside the kitchen.
The clear and loud alarm can be heard from other rooms in your home. It can be set from one second to 99 minutes and 59 seconds and will remember the last setting that you used. This timer will fit in with how you like to organize your kitchen. You can use the magnetic panel to stick it to your fridge, you can pull out the stand to make it sit upright on a counter top or you can use a piece of string looped through its hook to hang it from a kitchen cupboard or even around your neck. It takes an AAA battery.
- How Does a Mechanical Timer Work? - Hunker