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A kitchen timer may not be the trendiest culinary tool, but this little gadget is invaluable for established chefs and home cooks alike—and it shouldn't be overlooked. Though most ovens and phones have built-in timers these days, having a separate one devoted to other various kitchen tasks will ensure flawless food every time. There are plenty of terrific options out there, each offering different features and styles, so we researched the top-rated items to help you narrow the right one for your home.
Here are the best kitchen timers.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Triple Timer
This OXO timer is an all-around winner and kitchen must-have. It has three 100-hour digital countdowns, each with a unique alarm sound to allow for optimal multitasking. The extensive span of time is especially useful for braises and roasts that may need to cook over several hours, or even a holiday turkey and its iconic sides.
The LCD display is clear and easy to read, showing a clock when it’s not actively timing, and the face is angled, making the display clearly visible as you mosey around the kitchen. Clumsy cooks best not fret about it crashing to the ground; the nonslip bottom keeps this timer stable on the counter and protects the surface. Better yet, the buttons are soft and easy to press.
Best Budget: Antoki Digital Kitchen Timer, 2-Pack
You can’t beat the value of these easy-to-use Antonki timers. Though basic in their functionality, they perform the necessities with a maximum count, up or down, of 99 minutes and 59 seconds (that's enough time to make a pineapple chicken stir fry or tuna carbonara).
Because they're magnetic, you can stick them to appliances, like a refrigerator, but they also have a kickstand for posting up on a table or counter. When time runs out, the alarm is loud enough to hear in another room, so you can rest assured that you won’t miss your cue. In addition to the plain white color, this product is available in pastel blue and pink.
Best Mechanical: LAOPAO Kitchen Timer
Looking for an old-school mechanical timer? We love the retro look of this one. This device’s clockwork design allows it to work without batteries, which is super convenient for people who don't always keep spares stocked in the junk drawer. It’s also magnetic, so it will easily stick to your refrigerator and other kitchen appliances.
According to the manufacturer, this timer boasts corrosion- and oxidation-resistant metal casing, so you don’t have to worry about deterioration if you place it somewhere humid. Just keep in mind that the maximum time it can measure is 60 minutes, so it may not be suitable for recipes that require longer intervals.
Best Modern: OVEKI Magnetic Countdown LED Digital Timer
We love the minimalist, high-tech look of this thermostat-looking timer that has a twist feature instead of traditional buttons. The LED display is very easy to read and looks uncluttered in its design. It can time up to a maximum of 99 minutes, making it suitable for many kitchen tasks, like waiting for the chocolate on your peanut butter bonbons to dry.
Thanks to the magnetic backing, you can stick this timer to an appliance and view it as you move about the kitchen. Alternatively, you can pop open the retractable kickstand for counter or tabletop use. The sound is adjustable and even offers a quiet setting for those who are noise-sensitive or don't want a loud alarm going off in their home for whatever reason. When it’s not operating, the light will dim and eventually shut down to save energy.
Best Stylish: WUTL Digital Kitchen Timer, 4-Pack
Colorful and budget-friendly, these WUTL timers come in a pack of four with each one boasting a vibrant color combination to brighten your cooking space. They have a maximum time measurement of 99 minutes and 59 seconds, which is enough to cover a variety of quick and easy weeknight meals.
In addition to counting down, you can use them to count up. Otherwise, they're relatively basic in functionality, but for most home cooks who don’t want a ton of extra gimmicks, these will do. Plus, with a pack of four, you'll have extras to use for other purposes, such as workouts. The LCD digital display is easy to read, and because these timers are small, they're very portable—although if you don't keep them on your person, you should be able to hear the alarm ring from a nearby room.
Best Easy-to-Read: ThermoPro TM02 Digital Kitchen Timer
We love the sleek appearance of this timer, but most of all, we love how easy it is to read. It has a 2.6-inch backlit LCD display that you can dim or brighten to your liking, and the digits are large, so you don't have to put on your reading glasses. With two separate countdowns, it's perfect for multitasking and measures a maximum of 23 hours and 59 minutes, so you can slow-cook recipes, like beef stew and brisket, all day.
For those who are noise-sensitive or have sleeping children, you can adjust the volume or put it on mute. It has a kickstand for counter and tabletop use, as well as a magnetic back that adheres to appliances.
Best Professional: ThermoWorks TimeStick
This tool will make you feel like a professional chef. Similar in looks to a TV remote, this portable gadget is small enough to fit in your palm or pocket. It also comes with a lanyard in case you prefer to wear it around your neck. This works as a clock and can count down or up with an impressive range of 99 hours, 99 minutes, and 99 seconds.
For those who like visuals, a bar graph illustrates the remaining time. The keypad can be locked to prevent any accidental button presses and there's no need to worry about kitchen messes because it's splash-proof. This timer comes in nine fun colors.
If you’re in the market for a great timer that can track multiple countdowns at once, is easy to use, and boasts great visibility, we recommend the OXO Good Grips Triple Timer (view at Amazon). For a budget-friendly, basic option, we recommend the Antoki Kitchen Digital Timer (view at Amazon), which comes in a convenient two-pack for a low price.
What to Look for When Buying a Kitchen Timer
Figure out what you want in a kitchen timer. Do you just want it to keep track of one thing at a time, or do you want one that has more bells and whistles? Some things you might want to consider as possible functions include: the ability to dim or adjust brightness, ease of use, multiple alarms, an easy-to-read display, buttons that are easy to push and use, and the ability to pause and resume the time.
The design of a kitchen timer is just as important as any other item in our house. We all like to make sure that whatever we get fits well with our "look," especially if it's something that's going to sit out on the counter in the kitchen in full view. So, in looking at getting a kitchen timer, think about the design and whether you want a modern or classic look, or if it comes in different colors, or if you like the size of the screen, and if you like the overall look itself.
It's handy to have a kitchen timer that is portable and can be clipped on your waist or hung around your neck. That way, it is right there with you, no matter where you're at. A timer on the oven or microwave is not always heard unless you're in the kitchen. Having a portable timer is just a nice thing to have.
What is the purpose of a kitchen timer?
A kitchen timer is a great tool to keep on hand. Even if you have other timers on your oven, microwave, and/or phone, having a dedicated kitchen timer is a big convenience, especially when cooking multiple things at once. Just set it to the required amount of time needed in minutes or hours and let it do its job. A quick glance over at it will let you know how much time is left on whatever is cooking or baking. Plus, because it's portable, there's no need to stay in the kitchen just you can hear the alarm that lets you know your food is done.
Is there another name for a kitchen timer?
A kitchen timer was originally called an egg timer, as it was used initially for timing eggs being cooked.
What else can kitchen timers be used for?
Some kitchen timers come with other capabilities and can be used as a stopwatch, as a clock, or to time multiple things at the same time.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and foodie, who is always curious about the next food or ingredient craze, and is hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, her diverse background and varied interests provide a unique perspective that fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews.