Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Timer

A modern timer is just as useful in a classroom, workout room, or sporting event as it is next to your oven or stove.

Sure, you can watch the clock or use your phone to time a meal on the stove or in the oven. But it’s easy to forget to check the time, and you have to keep your phone in your pocket and constantly pull it out to see how much time is left for anything from a soft-boiled egg to a standing rib roast. That’s why a dedicated kitchen timer is a must for anyone who spends time in the kitchen. Most digital kitchen timers will count up—that is, you can use it as a stopwatch to see elapsed time—and can easily be paused and reset. That’s the good news. But not all kitchen timers are the same.

Easy to Use

You can set this down upright on the counter or attach it to a metal appliance. Antonki

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If you’ve ever cooked two things at once—steak and potatoes, chicken and rice, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding— you know how difficult it can be to keep track of two different cooking times. That’s why getting two basic kitchen timers is a smart move, and some manufacturers two units in sets. A small investment now can more than pay for itself by guaranteeing you won’t ever overcook a meal.

Big Numbers

This model has a large, easy-to-read LCD display. Habor

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Many kitchen timers have readouts that display minutes in two digits—from 01 to 99—along with seconds. That’s fine if you cook things that require less cooking time than 1 hour and 39 minutes (and 59 seconds). But if you’re roasting a turkey or smoking a rack of baby back ribs, low and slow is the way to go. That means you need a timer you can set in hours as well as minutes.

Simple Design

This comes with a hanging hook for wall placement. (Suspension material not included.) Wrenwane

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If you’re going to use a kitchen timer outside of the kitchen—timing a baby’s nap, a child’s homework session, screen time, games, or sporting events—look for a timer with an alarm with a volume control. You can set the alarm on a low setting so a baby won’t startle when it goes off or set it high during a loud game so everyone can hear it when it goes off. A loud alarm is also useful if you’re out of the kitchen while food is cooking and want to hear it go off from afar.