You may think that the advent of the app renders small kitchen gadgets such as timers a little bit irrelevant. But, for those who don’t want their smartphone ending up covered icing sugar or gravy or – shock horror – for those who don’t own a smartphone altogether, a quality standalone timer is a worthwhile purchase. A little bit of research reveals a surprising varied offering: do you want analogue or digital? Magnetic or free-standing? Single- or multi-time? All of these have been tested for ease of use, time accuracy, build quality and whether any fancy features actually pay off. Here’s our verdict.
1. Eva Solo Magnetic Kitchen Timer: £30, occa-home.co.uk
This pared-down timer from the Danish homeware designer is the perfect combination of function and style and is a great choice if you want a simple, efficient timer that looks like an integral part of your cooker unit. It’s made out of stainless steel so feels like a quality, weighty piece.
2. Maverick Professional Digital 3-Line Timer: £26.08, amazon.co.uk
This trusty timer is my absolute saviour when cooking something complicated that involves multiple timings. It’s not the simplest to use, but you can set three different timers at once, making it ideal for roasts, three-course meals, or multi-step patisserie. A must-have for the serious home chef.
3. Alessi Kitchen Timer: £19.95, johnlewis.com
If there’s ever such a thing as a design classic kitchen timer, this is it. It’s mechanical so you have to twist once full circle to wind it up before setting it to the time you want (up to 60 minutes) and, designed by architect Michael Graves in 1992, it makes a stylish addition to any kitchen work top.
4. Salter Big Button Timer: £11.20, tesco.com
There might not be anything flashy about this plastic digital number, but you may recognise is as the one used on the Great British Bake Off, and if it’s good enough for HRH Mary Berry, it’s good enough for us.
5. Eddingtons Retro Magnetic Kitchen Timer: £9.48, amazon.co.uk
This retro-style timer looks like something your nan might have had in her kitchen in the fifties, but in a really good way. It’s metal and well-constructed and has a nice loud bell, which can easily be heard from the next room and sounds a little like a rotary dial telephone to add to the vintage feel.
6. Colourworks Easy-Read Timer: £5.99, lakeland.co.uk
If you’re a little on the long-sighted side and don’t want to be taking your glasses on and off to check the timer, the numbers on this one are 3.5cm high (my mum had no problem reading it without her specs). Its multi-function fixing means you can clip it, hook it, stand it up or use the magnet.
7. Brabantia Magnetic Timer: £7.95, brabantia.com/uk
For the best of both worlds, this slick plastic timer from the Dutch brand combines a digital display with the old-school twist-to-set mechanism. It’s magnetic and comes in a range of colours. Stick it on the cooker hood rather than the oven so the display doesn’t steam up when you open the door.
8. Joseph Joseph Pie Kitchen Timer: £13, amara.com
Another clever piece of design, twist the top to retract the grey “pie” top to your desired time, then watch as it clicks back round. The pie chart-esque design means you can see from a distance roughly how much time has passed and it’s about 8cm across, so nice and solid despite being plastic.
9. Salter Heston Blumenthal Electronic Digital Dual Kitchen Timer: £14.99, uk.salterhousewares.com
From the innovative chef’s cookware collaboration with Salter, this digital timer has a dual display, meaning you can run two separate timers at once (counting up or down as you prefer) up to 100 hours. The additional meat turn reminder function makes it a popular choice among carnivores.
10. Kitchen Craft Colour Changing Egg Timer: £3.29, sizzle.co.uk
If your boiled eggs are terminally too hard for soldiers or too runny for salads, this is a hero product. Simply add it to the pan with your eggs and watch the heat-sensitive colour change from red to yellow. When the change reaches the marker for your desired consistency, you’re good to go.
For a basic, inexpensive timer, opt for the Brabantia, while, at the other end of the spectrum, the Maverick is a life-saver for more ambitious home chefs., but for a comfortable middle ground, our best buy goes to the Salter Heston Blumenthal Electronic dual timer.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing
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