Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox. Adrenaline is all around us and speed is what drives us. If that's also your case, it's time to talk about an item that you can't miss in your pocket to measure your performance and to know your achievements: the stopwatch.

This useful, practical and compact device has been the ally of marathon runners, athletes and other sportsmen and women, as well as people who want to measure their skills in different activities and disciplines. Its accuracy and precision make it an indispensable object in the lives of many.

For this reason and many others, we will tell you about its typology, all the details you need to know and the best options you can get on the market today. Pay attention and take note, the race for the best product has begun.




Summary

  • A stopwatch is a watch with a high and certified accuracy that allows a specific countdown or count up, ranging from thousandths of seconds to hours. It is commonly used in sports competitions and events that require measuring the passage of time.
  • Among all the types of stopwatches you can find, there are 3 that stand out: pocket stopwatches, wall-mounted stopwatches and wristwatches. Each one of them has different particularities that will make them adapt to different needs.
  • Before acquiring that stopwatch that attracts your attention, it is necessary to take into account the material it is made of, the type of alarm it has available, the use it will be given (if it is individual or multiple), the range of the count and the type of count it proposes.

The best Stopwatch: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Stopwatches are mega useful resources in our lives, especially when it comes to measuring time for various activities, such as running, cooking, among others. That's why we'll tell you more about this technology and its scope.

Stopwatches are an excellent way to measure the potential and physical reach of athletes and sportsmen in general, due to their precision and accuracy. (Photo: rawpixel.com / Freepik)

What is a stopwatch and what are its advantages?

We call a stopwatch a watch that has a certified accuracy, which works to measure fractions of time that can range from very small (thousandths of a second) to very large (hours).

For this reason, they are often a key piece in competitions and sports evaluations, in which every small space of time counts to define the best position and a successful growth. This device offers a long list of benefits that you can apply to your life, and here is a brief list of the most relevant ones.

Advantages
  • Accurate measurement
  • Often lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Can count up to 24 hours
  • Customisable sizes
Disadvantages
  • Can be difficult to set up
  • Not all can be seen in the dark

Pocket, wrist and wall timers - what to look out for?

Yes, we can find different presentations of stopwatches, and you can choose them depending on the activity in which you need to use it for best results. In total, there are 3 options that you will see most often.

Pocket. If you think of stopwatches, perhaps this is the option that first comes to mind. They are light to medium weight mobile options, depending on their manufacture. They are usually made of plastic and can be held in your hand, pocket, neck or similar. Battery operated.

Wristband. This is possibly the lightest and easiest to wear, as you only need to place it on your wrist to see the results. It is usually made of silicone to provide greater flexibility. Although there are battery-operated options, it is common to find rechargeable models that you can connect to your PC or adapter.

Wall-mounted. It is used in gyms and kitchens, as its large numbers can be observed from a distance. Its weight can be medium or heavy, depending on its material (usually metal or plastic). It is usually placed on a flat surface, either hanging, attached (with a magnet) or with a stand, and is battery operated.

Pocket Wristwatch Wall-mounted
Weight Light or medium Light Medium or heavy
Common material Plastic or metal Silicone Metal or plastic
Location Pocket or hands Wrist Flat surface
Common operation Battery Rechargeable Battery

What are the types of stopwatches according to how they work?

Generally, you will find 2 types of stopwatches according to their function mechanism: analogue and digital. Just like regular watches, these variations may affect your experience and each of them will be adapted to different cases. Let's learn more about them:

Analogue. Analogue stopwatches measure time intervals through mechanical elements. In this case, the power source is a helical spring that stores energy. Its appearance changes: it usually works with hands that will indicate the time travelled and many digital functions will not be included.

Digital. This is preferred for its accuracy, alarm and other functions that the analogue does not have. It works with electronic circuit and quartz oscillator to measure time intervals. It has a silver cell or alkaline battery as a power source, and the results are best displayed in hours, minutes, seconds and even thousandths of a second.

How much does a stopwatch cost?

The prices of stopwatches can vary depending on their mode of manufacture, presentation, material, additional functions and other features. You can find models starting from 130 MXN.

However, options for more demanding people can range between 200 MXN and 650 MXN. Of course, you can find others that exceed 1,000 MXN and 2,000 MXN, due to their memory capacity, warranty, water resistance, shock resistance and other features.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different stopwatch models

When choosing a stopwatch, it is not only important to know what it looks like. There are other factors that will definitely make the model you choose the most practical, comfortable and durable for your needs. Take into account the following variables.

  • Material
  • Alarm
  • Use
  • Scope of the count
  • Type of count

Material

The material of your stopwatch will greatly affect its lifespan, appearance, shock resistance, water resistance and other characteristics. Although there are many different materials, 3 are the ones you will find most often.

Silicone. This material is often found in wristwatch models, as its flexibility and strength make it perfect for withstanding sweat, water, and other conditions we may be exposed to if we need to keep it close to us while exercising, such as swimming or running.

It can also have audible or vibrating alarms, which will be beneficial if you don't want to cause noise or discomfort. These watches often have other features such as pedometers and calorie counters which will add an extra touch of usefulness.

Plastic. Plastic stopwatches are usually wall-mounted or pocket watches. This material tends to be strong and lightweight, so you can carry it around without any problems. If it's a wall-mounted stopwatch, you can attach or hang it to any surface without fear of it falling over, and use it in gyms and kitchens.

If it's a pocket model, you can make sure it won't be an extra weight in your bag or pocket. In addition, this material can be cost-saving, as it is quite inexpensive. You can use it during your daily exercise routine.

Metal. Metal stopwatches tend to be more durable over time, but they also tend to be heavier. For this reason, make sure you know its weight before you buy it, so that you know if it is suitable for your needs.

Opt for stainless steel models to ensure durability. For wall-mounted options, use a bracket instead of hanging it to prevent it from falling (use it in workshops and gyms). If it is pocket-sized, also confirm that it will not be exposed to sweat and water, unless it indicates its resistance to them (use it to measure third party targets).

Silicone stopwatches are often worn on the wrist for quick and immediate access to your performance information. (Photo: ammentorp / 123rf)

Alarm

The alarm is a very important element of stopwatches, especially when it comes to reaching a specific goal, remembering the course of an exact time, stopping and moving forward at a specific point. The stopwatches will signal when it is the right time by sound or vibration.

Sound. The most common way to signal that a time has been reached is through sound. For this reason, you can have your wall or pocket timer close by or further away, and you will still know when to start or stop.

Some models even include a snooze timer until you stop it, so it will be ideal in case you don't hear the alarm for the first time. Others will have volume levels for you to set as needed. Use it in gyms (if in groups), individual workouts, kitchens, workshops and the like.

Vibration. In some cases, you want to know that you have reached the time without disturbing sounds. This option is achievable thanks to alarms that work with vibration instead of (or accompanying) sound. They are widely used in marathons, gyms (if it is an individual alarm) and quiet spaces, such as libraries.

You can find it mainly in wrist timers, because it is in constant contact with you and you will easily feel the vibration on your wrist. In some cases, you can combine these 2 functionalities to make the alarm more noticeable.

Usage

Depending on the type of use you want to give to your stopwatch, it will be important that you take into account certain features that you can't miss. Let's talk about the 2 most frequent options: single use or multiple use.

Single use. When you want to use the stopwatch for your own activity, it is important to have an option that is comfortable and compatible with your routine. For example, if you are going to use it in your kitchen, you can opt for wall timers that you can look at frequently or wrist timers to know the exact time at your fingertips.

You can opt for alarms with sound or vibration, and if you have a pocket timer, it's important to choose a lightweight option so that it doesn't cause discomfort when carrying or holding it. If you are going to expose it to extreme conditions such as water or hard surfaces, go for waterproof and shockproof models.

Multiple. In some cases, you may be able to use your stopwatch with a group of people. For this, it's important to choose an option with more functionality, such as pocket stopwatches that encompass multiple options for guiding your group.

If several people need to access the stopwatch information immediately, it is preferable to get a wall-mounted stopwatch to watch as each person goes about their activities. Your audible alarm will also reach each of those people in activity.

Counting range

The counting range of your stopwatch will largely define the quality and professional potential of your stopwatch. Each one will be able to reach different amounts of minutes or hours, which will differentiate one from the other. Let's talk a little bit about it.

Less than 100 minutes. These timers are ideal for frequent, everyday use. You can use them in the kitchen, when jogging, swimming and completing a personal best. They can also be used for group exercise or other activities under 2 hours. These are the options you will see most often.

Over 100 minutes. They are specially designed for professional use, some models can even count up to 24 continuous hours. You can use it for long walks, marathons, waiting time in some circumstances or even measure the cooking or refrigeration period of a very elaborate dish. These options can be a little more expensive.

Waterproof and shockproof stopwatches are available, ideal for those whose use is at risk from these conditions, such as those used in competitive swimming. (Photo: Dmytro Zinkevych / 123rf)

Type of counting

Not all types of counting work for all circumstances. At some times, we need to count backwards or forwards. Here we explain in which circumstances to use each one.

Progressive. This type of countdown is one that starts from 0 seconds and continues upwards. It is commonly used in sporting events to measure the time to complete a mark or goal. It can also be used to know the waiting time of a situation or to count the time elapsed between one moment and another.

Countdown. This count starts from a number you specify (from seconds to hours) and starts counting down to 0. It can be used to know the time we have to complete a continuous activity (such as doing sit-ups) or the time remaining to start another (such as taking a cake out of the oven).

(Featured image photo: VASILIS VERVERIDIS / 123rf)

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