We Found the Best Kitchen Timers for Precise Cooking

The Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Timer is a must-have tool to manage cook times.

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Best Kitchen Timers
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

From bread baking to preparing a holiday feast, most home cooks have different needs for kitchen timers depending on the occasion and their cooking style. Trying to keep track of a multi-course meal, proofing croissant dough, and steaming eggs all require different features in a kitchen timer. And, of course, your lifestyle and personal taste all factor in when deciding what to buy. A stylish or modern wind-up timer may suit your cooking style or aesthetic, but a durable and loud professional timer will be much more helpful for a big holiday meal.

Mechanical timers are generally easy to operate and you won't need an engineering degree to set the time. Digital models might require some effort to master all the features and unless you find a model with a charger, batteries are required. Some brands will include batteries with your purchase, while others won't. With an endless (and slightly overwhelming) array of options, we've combed through user reviews and advice from professional chefs, bakers, and caterers to offer insight into the best kitchen timer for your cooking or baking style. We love the Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Timer for hitting every key factor for ease of use, precision, and versatility. Read on for all of our top picks for the best kitchen timers.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Timer

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath and Beyond and Williams-Sonoma.

Pros: This timer has key features like adjustable volume and a stopwatch function. The versatile triple timer counts up when the alarm sounds, so you know the precise cook time.

Cons: The slanted design makes it bulkier than most, and some users note the unit had issues after a short time.

This multi-function timer is perfect for holiday meals. It's bulkier than most, but it offers helpful features without being impossible to use. It has a push-button keypad and can track up to three times simultaneously. When the timer is not in use, it functions as a clock. The display is easy to read, and the adjustable volume is a benefit when you need to step away from another part of the house. The stopwatch function is a nice feature for recipe testing.

Users highlight the versatile triple timer and features like an automatic count-up, so you know the precise cook time when it finishes counting down. In addition, backlit digits make the display easily read in the dark.

  • Dimensions: 5 x 3½ inches
  • Batteries: AAA batteries included

"The OXO Good Grips Multi Timer has three timers to track multiple dishes at once, has a quick/intuitive keypad, and has an easy-to-see digital light display. What I also love about it is it sits at an angle on my counter, not on my fridge, so it's easy to read" - JoAnn Cianciulli - Cookbook Author, Culinary Producer, and Food Stylist

Best for Bakers: Thermoworks Big and Loud

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of ThermoWorks

Also available at King Arthur Baking.

Pros: This timer will get your attention in the kitchen or the next room. It's great for bakers and long-cooking items like roasts or braises. It also comes in nine colors.

Cons: The industrial style is not ideal for display in a home kitchen, and it isn't very portable.

This oversized timer has an easy-to-read large digital display. Everything about it is big, from the display and digits to the buttons and loud alarm. With 110dB, it is guaranteed to be heard in even the loudest kitchens, making it great for busy households and professional chefs. There are four different levels of sound to tailor the alarm to your home needs. This timer counts up and down to 99 hours 99 minutes and 99 seconds, which is an excellent function for recipe testing and managing cook times. The back magnet allows for placement on the fridge or metal surface and comes with a kickstand for countertop use. The water-resistant timer is ideal for unexpected kitchen splashes and clean-up. The timer rings for a full minute and then beeps five times every 30 seconds until it's manually shut off. Thermoworks timers are professional-grade, waterproof, easy to use, and, most importantly, trusted by chefs.

  • Dimensions: 5 x 3½ inches
  • Batteries: Battery included

Best Value: Anotoki Digital Kitchen Timer, 2 Pack

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This top-rated model features a simple and intuitive design.

Cons: This timer is small, and the display is difficult to read.

Users love that this kitchen timer has an intuitive, simple design and is easy to operate straight from the box. This digital timer is portable (unlike a microwave or oven timer), yet it's also loud enough to hear from a distance. The silent mode is perfect for when a baby is sleeping, or you have an important phone call that would be interrupted by a loud alarm. The memory function makes regularly timed kitchen tasks a snap to set. For its small size, this model has a relatively easy-to-read digital display. It also comes with a magnetic back and a kickstand for countertop use, a count-up-and-down function up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds, and an on/off switch to preserve the battery. Sold as a two-pack, you can set two timers at once or have a backup.

  • Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Batteries: AAA batteries included

Related: 6 Kitchen Tools Recipe Testers Can't Do Without

Best Easy to Read Digital: Vocoo Magnetic Kitchen Timer

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This timer has a large, modern digital display and also features a magnetic back and kickstand for stability. It also has adjustable volume settings.

Cons: The digital display can't be read outside and might be challenging to read in very bright kitchens.

This magnetic digital kitchen timer features a large, easy-to-read LED display and a modern design, with adjustable brightness, volume, and an eco-power-saving mode. The volume adjusts to loud, soft, or mute (the timer blinks instead). The countdown starts from a maximum of 99 minutes 59 seconds and goes to zero or as a stopwatch, the opposite.

The memory function makes setting regularly timed tasks easy. The buttons at the top are relatively large and easy to use. When the brightness level is set to 'Eco' mode, it will dim after five seconds of inactivity, reducing the need for replacement batteries. The magnets at the back are sufficiently strong, although some users suggested they weren't strong enough so it might depend on placement or your kitchen equipment.

Romain and Alexandre Lecat, French bakers and owners of Sweet Wheat Bakery in Redondo Beach, CA, consider a few crucial features in a timer. They note specifically "a strong magnet to be able to place the timer near or on the equipment, as well as an adjustable alarm sound to be able to raise or lower the volume, depending on where you are in the kitchen." Unlike VOCOO's popular round digital timer, this model's rectangular style includes a durable kickstand and a hanging hook, making the display easy to read from across the room. Overall, it's intuitive and easy to use without reading the manual. Unlike a mechanical timer, there are no ticking sounds.

  • Dimensions: 3.54 x 0.94 x 2.64 inches
  • Batteries: AAA batteries included

Best Modern Design: Blomus Puncto Timer

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart and Wayfair.

Pros: This timer has a stylish, modern, and minimalist design that will look great on the countertop. Made of easy-to-clean stainless steel and silicone, this is a classic mechanical timer.

Cons: The timer maximum is 60 minutes, and some users suggested that the timer was inconsistent and the buzzer was defective.

This stylish and practical kitchen timer, designed by the Blomus design team, has a streamlined, elegant, and timeless aesthetic. The stainless steel and silicone components also make it easy to clean and use. Just twist the dial about halfway and return the dial to the minute desired until it alerts you time is up. It is limited to 60 minutes, and it's not readable from far away like most digital timers. It comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty. This old-school, twist-to-set mechanical timer requires no batteries or instructions. Cianciulli feels a kitchen timer must be intuitive or easy to set first and foremost. "Let's just say, every time I change the battery, I [don't want] to watch a YouTube video on how to reset all of [the] features!" she says. For home cooks that don't want the extra fuss, this is a great option.

  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Batteries: AAA included

Best Splurge: Eva Solo Nordic Kitchen Timer

Best Kitchen Timers
Courtesy of Wayfair

Also available at Wayfair and Perigold.

Pros: This is an elegant, aesthetically pleasing timer that will complement any kitchen design. It's very user-friendly, with a classic mechanical twist-to-set style.

Cons: The timer lacks a few key features and requires extra care. It's also pricier than other models and doesn't include a warranty.

When we say splurge, we mean it's a must-have kitchen timer for a designer kitchen. You may like to cook, but this unique and elegant timer is not made to compete with new digital models. What it lacks in programmability, it makes up for in simplicity and style. The operation is simple: turn the top knob to the 60 minutes mark and back to the desired time. A non-slip rubber base ensures it won't fly off the countertop. To preserve the wood, the solid oak knob will require extra maintenance, including regular oiling. The numbers are smaller than most digital timers, yet similar to other mechanical models. If the wood feels rough with time, we recommend sanding down the dry surface using very fine sandpaper and then oiling the wood to protect it. The product doesn't include a warranty.

  • Dimensions: 2.6 H x 3.6 W x 3.6 D (approximate)
  • Batteries: Not needed

Our Favorite

The OXO Good Grips Kitchen Timer is our pick for the best overall kitchen timer. The unique slanted design and digital display make it easy to read, and the multi-timer function is a bonus for multi-course cooking. More experienced chefs or serious bakers may feel comfortable with extra functions that help them manage time in the kitchen, like the Thermoworks Big Loud Timer.

Factors to Consider

Versatility and Precision

Mechanical and analog timers generally limit the maximum time range, have few to no customizable functions for volume control, and don't provide multi-timer options. Mechanical timers can also be less accurate depending on the amount of use and durability. However, some prefer their simplicity because they are so easy to use.

On the other hand, digital timers offer more key functions, like countdown and count-up functions, for better accuracy and versatility. Alarm volume control and multi-timer features are helpful for executing more complex recipes or a multi-course holiday meal. While digital timers are incredibly accurate, they may be a bit too complex for everyday cooking. A multi-display digital timer will come in handy if you are cooking more than one type of food simultaneously or a large holiday feast.

Portability is essential for some users. If you will be moving around to different areas of the home when cooking, a small kitchen timer that fits in your pocket is more useful. If you are grilling or cooking outdoors, however, you may want to use a larger, louder, easier-to-read timer to monitor longer cooking times.

Ease of Use

How a timer is displayed in your kitchen is something to consider, since some models are easier to read from a distance, though smaller models may be easier to store. Many options come with magnetic backs for mounting on metal surfaces, a hole for hanging, or a helpful kickstand on the back. Some brands used by professional chefs even include a custom voice memo option. Voice options, display size, and digits are all key factors.

Kitchen timers keep busy parents and distracted cooks from ruining their meals, according to Amy Jurist, caterer and owner of Amy's Culinary Adventurers. "Some ovens only chime once or twice when the timer is done. If you're not around, you might completely miss it," says Jurist. "Having a kitchen timer that repeatedly goes off until it is silenced helps food from getting overcooked. Also, being able to bring the timer with you to other parts of the house helps alleviate missed timers."

Alarm and Sound

A timer's alarm should be loud enough to hear from the other side of the kitchen at a minimum and last for a few seconds or longer. A nifty extra feature includes a timer countdown after the alarm goes off, so you can determine the total cook time. Sound preference is also a key factor. A beep, buzz, or "the rolls are done!" voice option might make the difference in your selection, even if it makes the timer more challenging to navigate. Some alarms will need a manual shut-off, while others are preset to stop automatically. You may consider buying a kitchen timer with an adjustable alarm volume.

Practical Matters

Most digital timers come with batteries, while a few newer brands on the market come with a power cord option. If you don't generally keep spare batteries on hand, you might need a mechanical backup timer, just in case. The type of batteries is an important consideration as well. Typical AAA batteries are easy to find; some other types may require a scavenger hunt. Power-saving modes are available with some brands, and an on/off switch will help save on replacement batteries. Soft buttons offer more control than a twist dial timer setting but will be trickier to clean.

The Research

We extensively researched various brands and models of kitchen timers, reviewed consumer product guides, and combed through countless user reviews. We consulted a panel of industry experts including Amy Jurist, caterer and owner of Amy's Culinary Adventures and JoAnn Cianciulli, author, culinary producer, food stylist, and founder of Dirty Dishes, and Romain and Alexandre Lecat, French Bakers Sweet Wheat Bakery Entrepreneurs.

Pro Panel Q+A

What's the most common use for kitchen timers?

"Helping keep busy parents and distracted cooks from ruining their meals," says Jurist, "Some ovens only chime once or twice when the timer is done. If you're not around, you might completely miss it." The Lecats keep a few timers around, including for reminders outside of the cooking process, "We use a couple of different timers for hygiene, since every 30 minutes staff members must wash their hands, and also for baking and cooking recipes on time."

Do professional kitchens often use timers?

Yes. However, many people have started using their smartwatches or phones for timers since trying to hear a timer in a busy kitchen is difficult. Noise isn't as much of an issue in a private home, but setting a timer on your phone or watch enables multitasking while waiting for your food to cook or bake.

"If I am recipe developing and testing for a cookbook or TV show, I need a timer that is a bit more professional," says Jurist, "I have several timers that I have collected from projects over my career. I have a couple of Taylor timers that are magnets and just live attached to my fridge. I prefer their old-school magnetic to multi-purpose timers. It's super simple to work, especially if I have a lot of things going on at once and realize I need to set a timer ASAP or do a quick count-up like a stopwatch if I'm frying something on the stove."

For recipe testing, Jurist keeps multiple timers since multiple things are happening at once. "I typically will have something in the oven, something on the stove, and something marinating all at the same time," she says. The Lecats generally rely on built-in timers, which are "essential to their routine" as bakers as well.

Cianculli always opts for professional-grade tools when in a cooking show setting. "When I'm working on a competition cooking show, I almost always put standing Thermoworks timers for the contestants at their stations," she says. "They are professional grade, waterproof, come in colors to match the kitchen set, are easy to use, and most importantly, the chefs often use them already in their own restaurants, so they're familiar with how they work. The last thing a chef should be stressed about when cooking on TV is how to work the timer!"

What special features do you look for or want in a timer?

"I look for timers that are multi-timers so I can keep track of multiple items I'm cooking at once," says Jurist. "We rarely have one thing cooking at a time." She also likes timers that allow labels for each of the countdowns. "It helps when you have multiple things ending near each other, and you're busy in the kitchen and distracted to know that the timer going off, for example, is for the chicken and not the one for the pie!" she says.

"Another helpful feature is a timer that keeps track of how long it's been going off," says Jurist. "You know how long the food has been finished cooking for." She adds that some ovens will only chime once or twice when the timer is done, so having one that chimes repeatedly is another failsafe. The Lecats tend to look for "A strong magnet to be able to place the timer near or on the equipment, as well as an adjustable alarm sound to be able to raise or lower the volume depending on where you are in the kitchen."

Our Expertise

Kara Mickelson is a recipe developer, producer, writer, and food stylist, an alumnus of UCLA and Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, and the creator of Styled Delicious, a boutique culinary brand. She is a professional chef, food stylist, and creative content producer. She trained in Spain and Napa at the famed French Laundry and has worked behind the scenes with top Food Network chefs. She is the author of Friends: The Official Central Perk Cookbook.

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