The 10 Best Kitchen Timers
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in January of 2017. So you burnt the turkey last year. Waddya gonna do? Get one of these convenient kitchen timers, is what. Essential for casual or professional cooks, and especially busy ones, they'll keep you on track, no matter how complex the menu. We have rounded up versatile models that have several useful features and settings, many of which are cute, easy to read, and stylish, to boot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 10, 2020:
This is a category that doesn't see huge advances but little tweaks, and we went through all the units on this list and compared them to what's new on the market. That meant saying goodbye to four of our selections in favor of stronger contenders. Through all this, we maintained our previous priorities of versatility, durability, accuracy, and convenience, as well as fair price points and attractive aesthetics. That all being said, there is a problem across this category with items that stop working, so we favored options with warranties just in case of a defect.
The strongest guarantee on this list comes with the newly-added Elegant ET-23, which will be replaced for life by the company. It's one of the more attractive options out there, matches modern kitchens well, and is easy to operate and see. We also brought on the Quickloong Visual when the Kirot Countdown became unavailable. The Quickloong is large at nearly 8 inches and an option that's not only great for kitchen tasks but for timing children at home and in the classroom as well.
Another choice that utilizes a handy colored disc to indicate how much time remains is the Laopao Reminder, a vintage-inspired mechanical model that came at the expense of the Kikkerland Vintage, which isn't as reliable. This one is ideal for timing things in under an hour and for those who don't want to deal with batteries.
Also coming on today is the ThermoPro TM02, a handy, useful unit with a large, backlit display and enough features to be helpful without being overly complicated. It features three volume levels for those who need that flexibility. And if you want a kitchen gadget that can beep, flash, and vibrate (or do a combination of these things), the ZYQY 1013 is a solid, albeit small, choice.
May 20, 2019:
When updating this list, we prioritized versatility, durability, accuracy, and convenience (mountable, magnetic, compact, etc). After that, we weighed price points and aesthetics. We also appreciated products that came with warranties or satisfaction guarantees, as quality control can be an issue across this category.
Three of our previous choices (including the classic Browne Foodservice 1929) suffered from a handful of repeated reported quality control issues, and so we removed them from our list. Instead, you'll find the Keiastr Digital, a simple option with two timers and a very audible alarm, the Kirot Countdown, which uses a visual aid that's extremely helpful when your hands are tied, and the commercial-grade Yooyist Restaurant, which requires no batteries, is durable and easy to clean, and capable of timing four events at once.
We love the Wrenwane Big Digits and eTradewinds eT-26 for their large buttons and big, easy to read displays, while the ZYQY 1013 adds flashing lights and vibrations into the mix for an alarm that's nigh-impossible to miss.
If you go hard on your appliances, then the heavy-duty Oxo Good Grips Triple is a solid choice, while the Datexx Miracle TimeCube is ideal for simple cooking tasks and even homework or meditation, too.
Kitchen Brains Zap Timer For commercial use, consider the Kitchen Brains Zap Timer. It's a digital timer with a universal mounting kit that can ensure every dish that leaves your kitchen is cooked with consistency. It mounts to any appliance and has the ability to time eight events at once. Its large LED display screen is easily visible from a distance and it offers 1-second countdowns all the way up to 99-hour countdowns. With a sturdy, stainless steel housing and 6-foot oil-resistant cord, it's durable enough to last in any fast-paced environment. webstaurantstore.com
The CookBook App An indispensable app for any serious home chef, CookBook can help you streamline the entire cooking process. One of its most innovative features is that it can automatically detect and create timers from your recipes. It's also accessible on and offline across Apple iOS or Android devices and allows you to import recipes from the web and physical media using a scanner. It assists with meal planning, scaling recipes, making conversions, using leftover ingredients, and more. thecookbookapp.com
Why You Need A Dedicated Kitchen Timer
After all, we use our cell phones for an inordinate amount of other daily tasks.
Even if you’ve come here with the explicit intent to buy yourself (or someone you love) a dedicated kitchen timer, there may still be a little voice in your head encouraging you to just use your phone instead. After all, we use our cell phones for an inordinate amount of other daily tasks. Why not employ their reliable timer functions to ensure your culinary experiments come out just right? Well, there are a few reasons to utilize a dedicated kitchen timer over your cell phone or another clock in the kitchen.
Compared to your smartphone, the timers on the market must seem rather rudimentary. I mean, not one of them can stream cat videos. But the simplicity of these timers is what makes them such a better choice for kitchen work. Imagine, if you will, that you’re making pizza from scratch. You’ve got to make the dough, then pre-bake the dough before topping it, then top it, and finally bake the whole prepared pizza. That means you’ll be using a timer at least twice, and you’ll be doing so while working on a variety of other foods, from concocting the sauce to chopping the toppings. That’s liable to get your hands rather dirty, and the last thing you want getting into the cracks that are probably present on your cell phone, is olive oil. So, a dedicated kitchen timer allows you to keep your phone safely in your pocket, or even the other room, while you cook up a storm.
You might argue that there are other timers available in the kitchen, like the one built into your stove’s clock display. Well, if we use the same example of making pizza, you’re going to have at least one pot full of sauce, and probably another skillet for sauteing toppings on your range. That means that you’ll have to reach across all those flames and dangerous surfaces to activate and eventually disarm the oven’s timer. With a kitchen timer, you won’t have to put yourself at risk.
Finally, some kitchen timers can add either additional functionality, or a pleasant aesthetic value to your kitchen, depending on which one you choose.
How To Choose The Best Timer For Your Kitchen
Choosing a timer for your kitchen is going to have more to do with the style of food you make most often than anything else. The important thing is not to stress out too much over the purchase, as these are relatively inexpensive items and there’s nothing to say you can’t own more than one.
These types of foods are much more forgiving of a minute here or there than certain others.
If you want a timer for stovetop cooking — whether you’re timing out a batch of hard-boiled eggs, a pot full of steel cut oatmeal, or a simple saute — you probably don’t need pinpoint accuracy. These types of foods are much more forgiving of a minute here or there than certain others. For your buying purposes, that means you can go with a model that might be a little more pleasing to the eye and in keeping with the style of your kitchen, even if it isn’t a digital unit.
Bakers and chefs interested in cooking particularly volatile dishes like roux are going to need as much accuracy as possible. That means relying on a digital timer, preferably one with quartz timekeeping. If you know you’re going to be working on a sensitive piece of fish while there’s something equally temperamental in the oven, it might be worth investing in a timer that can run multiple times at once, giving you several countdowns simultaneously.
Finally, make sure that your kitchen timer gives you a large enough readout that you can see it from wherever you’re most likely to keep it in the kitchen. If you’re not sure how much time is left when the phone rings, you might not know whether you should let it go to voicemail and save your dish, or pick it up and chat for a spell with your mom.
Other Essential Kitchen Accessories
Kitchen timers are among the most basic essentials that you need when you’re outfitting a kitchen for serious use. There are some other non-negotiable items out there, as well, and if you want to make the most out of your culinary exploits, you’d do well to find a spot in your kitchen for these.
Keep an eye out for models that feature cooking and freezing capabilities, and you can consolidate an incredible amount of tools into one unit.
From a safety standpoint, few things are as useful as a meat thermometer. Not only can you use this tool to make sure that foods capable of carrying harmful bacteria have been sufficiently cooked through, you can also use it to get a sense of the ideal internal temperature for any number of dishes. That’s especially useful for chefs who like to publish their recipes online, and who want to give their readers a chance to emulate them to perfection.
Quite possibly the most versatile kitchen gadget on the market is the professional blender. You could invest in a food processor, as well, but the top-tier blenders often boast the ability to mimic the majority of a food processor’s functions. They also tend to be easier to use and easier to clean, so you can make your meals and get back to the rest of your life. Keep an eye out for models that feature cooking and freezing capabilities, and you can consolidate an incredible amount of tools into one unit.
Whether you’re outfitting a new kitchen or updating an old one, it might be time to invest in a new set of pots and pans. Old cookware, especially if it’s an old-fashioned kind of nonstick cookware, is going to be much harder to use than a nice new set, and it may even contribute to certain forms of disease, especially if the finish has begun to flake off. Investing in a new set of sturdy, non-reactive pots and pans will take your dishes to the next level.