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Kitchen Timers - What's in your drawer

There are times, when it's just sheer madness. Being a host for 30 people and as much ~prep~ as I have done even 2 days earlier, just timing things so they are hot when it's time to chowdown, it always tends to be madness over my stove.

Lately, I've been pondering at kitchen timers. Such a useful little device that I don't even have in my stash of cooking tool goodies. The closest thing I do use is the timer that is built into my stove.
However, like the last time I had family over, I wish I would be able to time 3 seperate things.
My ideal timer would be nice and audbile too. Not too obnoxious but audible .

I found one timer that looked like it was a perfect fit. Mostly aluminum build, mechanical and it had 3 timers. However, my biggest gripe was that the audible alert went off for like 3-4 seconds and then it shut off. I dunno if all *mechanical* timers are like that.


So back on to the timer quest.
I might go to the MOMA store as there is 1 timer that I saw designwise that looked great. Not sure about functionality though. And buying 3 seperates is not ideal....but sometimes fashion wins over function.

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  1. I have this four-event timer and like it a great deal.


    In fact, when a guest dropped and broke my last one, I went out and bought the same thing.

    Just tested mine and it beeps, once every second, for a minute.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      I actually did look at that model and u know...in this crazy digital technological world we live in, I was opting for a mechanical just simply for the sheer analog simplicity of things.

      And I think due to the simplicity of things, as I look at it, it may very well be the nature of mechanicals and how they chime/alert.

      1. re: chefwong

        I can certainly understand that. But I find the digital timers to be more accurate. My mother has a mechanical timer and when I cook at her house it always seems to me as though I'm turning the dial less or more than I should. And I can't set it for 30 or 45 seconds as I can mine. I also don't like the way hers rings or how loud it is. Hers, however, is the only mechanical one I'm familiar with and it's quite an old model.

      2. re: JoanN

        Mine's not in my drawer, it's on the side of my fridge: a magnetic Taylor that also has a temperature setting and metal probe...it sticks to the oven door, when I'm using it that way. It's worked beautifully for YEARS.

        1. re: Beckyleach

          Here's mine: http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Digital-...

          When I need multiple timers, I use my stove and microwave, as well...but this Taylor is loud, insistent, and reliable.

          1. re: Beckyleach

            I have three of them - and all meat thermometers. If you do buy multiple ones then get the same make and type as the probes are NOT interchangeable. And I do use them all. And why three? Let's see how I use them...

            First is just the timer thing - bake in oven for 40 minutes say. In general I prefer to cook to a temperature than for a time, but that isn't possible for stews etc.

            Also, I use a timer to say when I should start something. It's used just as a reminder. I've even set one the night before to remind myself to take something out of the freezer. However, I have stood before a beeping timer scratching my noggin.

            I frequently set one timer to go off after 9 o'clock when the cheap rate electricity kicks in in Toronto. Then I start the dishwasher.

            I have beans soaking outside on the deck. Out of sight is out of mind - except for the timer.

            If I am boiling a pan of water I will set the alarm temperature for 210. It goes off just before the water boils. (It goes off earlier if the probe is resting on the pan bottom.)

            I make yoghurt. I need to keep the milk at roughly 180F for 20 minutes. So I can set it for 20 minutes and also have the alarm go of it reaches 185. Too hot and the yoghurt can be ruined.

            Let's describe my vision of the perfect timer. It's loud so I can hear it in my home office. It has a big display. Don't get a timer or thermometer with a small numbers. You need to be able to read it from 10 feet away. When I press the 'Go' button I say something like "Check if the beans are done". Instead of beeping it feeds me back my message. The older I get the more I want this.

      3. I actually like separate timers so, at a glance, I can see what the status of each dish is. (I just have to remember which is which!) I have two "handheld" timers so one can go out to where the grill is. The two ovens and the microwave all have timers so I can use those even when not using the appliances themselves. I also strongly agree with poster who prefers digital for the short periods of time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          I have a timer from Pampered Chef. I love the digital. It's small so you can put it in your pocket if you go into another room. If you don't shut it off, it starts counting up so you know how long something stayed in the oven longer than it should have. I like that I can stop it but not clear the time so I can hit start again for another batch.

          1. The timer I had for over 20 years died, and the one on my stove never worked...so I started really looking around and found this:


            I've had it for almost 3 months and just keep loving it more & more. I'm very visual, so I like that I can view the four settings as a template for the eyes of the stove. It is very straight-forward to use, and the sound carries even if I'm in another room. It has a narrow profile, so easier to store in my space challenge kitchen. It has become one of my favorite kitchen things!

            5 Replies
            1. re: meatn3

              I have that one and I want to love it but the damn thing is so flaky. It stops working at unexpected times (even with fresh batteries). It's pprobably been dropped a few times, so maybe that's the issue, but it LOOKS like it's working, and flakes out while it's timing. grrr.

              I want a kitchen timer that can time multiple things that I"m going to love- preferably one that can sit on the counter.

              Any others to recommend? I don't like the Polder and would prefer something a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the CDN mentioned earlier.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Hopefully the OP found a suitable timer in the last year.

                For anyone still interested, I have this one from CDN and really like it:


                It doesn't do multiple timings, but you can buy two or three. I bought it because it times up to 24 hours and for a digital timer, it is easy to read and is not ugly.

                1. re: taos

                  Yeah, I'm really sold on the one gadget that offers multiple timings rather than having multiple gadgets. I liked mine... when it worked! I'm trying to make up my Christmas list now.

                2. re: Chris VR

                  Must be from dropping it - mine is still working great. Still on the original batteries and I use it frequently.

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Hmm, both encouraging and discouraging. I really do want to like it. Maybe it's worth contacting the manufacturer, or ThinkGeek, since I bet we bought it from them. But I'm not sure I really can have a kitchen timeer that can't be dropped, especially since I've got 2 kids.

              2. Now I rely on the microwave timer and the oven timers. The oven has two timers that operate independently, and that's been really useful.

                However, truth be told, the timer I like the best is my Grandmother's old, beat-up, rusting manual one--can't remember the manufacturer but many of you would recognize it...red and white and you can turn the knob up to 60 minutes, ha ha. It dings when "time's up" and is probably 80 or 90 years old by now. Sometimes, the simplest machines are the most reliable. Unlike my oven, it doesn't have a motherboard that has to be replaced if I look at it cross-eyed. ;-)

                1. I use my cell phone... It snoozes for five minutes and it has three different settings in case I want to cook 'it' for another few minutes. And it fits in my pocket. Not very foodie-esque!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: roux42

                    I do this too. Admittedly not very foodie-esque, but still I'm left wondering what features a kitchen-specific alarm could offer that would make it worth buying when almost everyone already has a cell phone with multiple alarms built in.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      Since cowboyardee asked, the reason I don't use my cell phone is because I like to keep my timer in the same location all the time in the kitchen so I can always see the numbers counting down. The cell phone moves around. Sometimes I'm even talking on it while I'm cooking.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        It seems that I've been looking for the "perfect" kitchen timer for years. (Yeah, I know. I should get a life.)

                        I think I may have finally found it:

                        1) Magnet to stick it to the fridge (strong enough so you can push the buttons without it falling off).
                        2) Digits big enough to read from a distance.
                        3) Count-up/Count-down functions (If you enter a time and press start, it counts down. If you don't enter a time and press start, it counts up.)
                        4) Direct digital input. (No holding down a button to scroll the time setting up/down.)
                        5) Repeat function - If you set, say, 20 minutes and the alarm goes off. It remembers that you had set 20 minutes when you press start again. (Convenient for stirring a pot every 20 minutes without having to enter the time again after every stir.)
                        6) Count-up after count-down. (When the set time elapses, the alarm sounds AND the timer switches to count-up mode to show you how long it's been since the set time was reached.)
                        7) Maximum time more than the usual 99 minutes. (This one goes up to 99 HOURS!)
                        8) Small enough to put two side by side. (When I'm cooking, I often like to have one timer in count-down mode and the other in count-up mode. One is set to go off every 20 minutes or so for stirring, the other counts up the total cooking time.)

                    2. I usually use my oven timer, but recently I have been using the Kikkerland mechanical timer. It is a 'design' oriented timer and is essentially a large magnetic black square that sticks to your fridge. You just rotate the timer hand to set the time and it ticks down.

                      I must note, however, that this timer is far from perfect and may even be considered defective by some. I recently reviewed it on my website (rather unfavorably), but now I find myself using it more and more. It's funny how that happens.

                      If I ever want to add different ingredients to a sauce or soup at intervals, I quickly set this timer and don't worry about pushing buttons or setting a digital one that is in a drawer somewhere. It then ticks away and reminds you that you should be paying attention.

                      You do have to get used to how it works at first as sometimes it doesn't ring (a big failure of a timer, but the package instructs on this) and other times it burps out a ring before it is done, but it is sort of like a flawed kitchen helper who still helps out. You just don't expect too much.

                      Anyhow, I am sure I haven't sold anyone on it, but even after deciding that I didn't like the timer, I go back to it more and more. I guess it is a timer when you 'sort' of want to keep time and just want a reminder that time is ticking.

                      You can search the web and Amazon to find it for sale. I bought mine on eBay. Here is an image:


                      Also, here is my review of it if you are interested. I do recommend it for timeouts for toddlers though.


                      1. i usually use the one on the microwave...only thing is its not quite loud enough...
                        i used to have a mechanical windup one...it worked ok until i dropped it into a pot of spaghetti sauce...
                        i wonder...how many of us...besides me anyway...set their timers 5 minutes shy of the actual cooking time just to allow yourself some leeway when it goes off?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fireeater50

                          I often do this if I'm working on other tasks while the dish is cooking. It gives me enough time to put down my project and get back to the kitchen without having the dish overcook.

                        2. The last time I bought a wristwatch I made sure it had a timer feature. Now when I'm cooking or baking the timer is conveniently located on my arm.

                          1. I have an old egg timer that says "Souvenir of Miami Beach", and it has little shells and starfish floating in a liquid that surrounds the "hour glass" timer. It can only time four minutes, so you have to flip it over. It must be forty or fifty years old, but I won't part with it.

                            Other than that, I use the timer built into the oven

                            1. I use the microwave (primarily for this function, when it comes right down to it, as ridiculous as that is) and fell for a cute mechanical wind-up pig at A Cook's Companion in Brooklyn recently. It I carry around with me when I have to leave the kitchen. Wouldn't mind one of the electronic dual/triple timers as well.