Best stopwatch

Fitness Equipment

Accuracy is everything. Practice using your stopwatch and hitting the buttons accurately and at the right times to ensure that your readings aren’t a little off.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which stopwatch IS best?

In sports, times of fractions of a second can mean the difference between first and second place or setting a new world record. When training, it is imperative to know where you stand, and as helpful as smartphones can be, they simply don’t measure up against specially crafted stopwatches.

The best stopwatch for any need is the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory. This stopwatch has every feature you could ever want, from comparing laps to recording split times for tracking multiple athletes, and it’s all wrapped up in a highly durable, impact and water resistant package.

What to know before you buy a stopwatch


Aside from the ability to count up from zero, stopwatches can have a mix of or all of the following features.

Stroke function: The ability to record individual strokes in order to calculate strokes per minute.

Countdown: The ability to set a specific time and count down from it, as opposed to counting up from zero.

Split function: The ability to record specific times without disturbing the stopwatch’s current count upwards from zero.

Lap function: Similar to the split function, lap function lets you stop at the conclusion of each lap and start a new count upwards from zero, while the original count upwards from zero remains unaffected.

Lap memory and comparison: Certain models of stopwatches store multiple points of data for you to go back and examine. Other models may only store the previously recorded time before erasing it to make room for a new measurement.

Alarm and silent modes: Stopwatches usually beep when buttons are pressed or certain times are hit. In addition, alarms often sound when countdowns end or timers go off. This sound volume is typically unalterable, though most stopwatches, at the very least, have a mute all sounds option.

Battery life and power sources

Generally, a stopwatch will run on lithium batteries. These are small, flat and round batteries less than an inch in diameter, which are often known as watch batteries. Stopwatches can last anywhere from three to five years on a single battery, but some models include solar panels to eke out more battery life or even keep it running once the battery dies nonetheless.

What to look for in a quality stopwatch


Stopwatches will have varying levels of resistance to water, dust, shocks and drops.

Water: Stopwatches can be either water resistant against sweat or rain but unable to be submerged or fully waterproof, which is invaluable for swimming-related timing.

Dust: Dust-resistant stopwatches can extend the life of a stopwatch dramatically, as dust can easily slip into the cracks and crevices of stopwatches to ruin the responsiveness of its buttons.

Shock and drop: Another marker of durability, shock and drop resistance allows a stopwatch to survive drops. It is particularly important when in use for and around high-speed sports training.

How much you can expect to spend on a stopwatch

Stopwatches aren’t that expensive. The most basic sopwatches are available for only $10, while upgrading to a higher quality, mid-range models will only run you between $15-$25. For the truly dedicated, there are also high-end models that can run for over $25.

Stopwatch FAQ

What is block memory?

A. Block memory is a function in stopwatches that allows you to store lap times and split times as separate blocks. This allows you to easily and quickly review the times of specific events. The most expensive stopwatch models can store multiple blocks.

How long can most stopwatches actually record time for?

A. Generally speaking, stopwatches tend to have a limit between eight to 24 hours. The maximum times should always be listed by the manufacturer, so you can avoid buying a stopwatch with less ability than you require.

Which is more accurate: A stopwatch, a digital watch or a watch with a chronograph?

A. Most stopwatches are more accurate than either a digital watch or chronograph. That said, there are some truly supreme, high-end chronographs that manage to be more accurate than a stopwatch.

What ARE the best stopwatchES to buy?

Top stopwatch

Ultrak 100 Lap Memory

Ultrak 100 Lap Memory

What you need to know: All the functions any coach could want including lap comparison and recordable split times make this stopwatch the best of the best.

What you’ll love: Impact and water resistance for any accidents plus an incredibly handy lap calculation mode make this a top choice.

What you should consider: The buttons do require much more effort than you would think. Plus, the recall function can have some issues at times.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top stopwatch for the money

ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor - Extra Large Display

ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor – Extra Large Display

What you need to know: For anyone who needs a totally silent option for avoiding distraction, this stopwatch doesn’t make a sound.

What you’ll love: The buttons feel great to press, and the clock syncs up automatically with Greenwich Mean Time.

What you should consider: Larger-handed individuals may find this stopwatch uncomfortable, and it does not automatically switch itself off, which can lead to battery drain.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Marathon Adanac 3000 Digital Stopwatch Timer

Marathon Adanac 3000 Digital Stopwatch Timer

What you need to know: This ergonomic and intuitive stopwatch is a good choice for those with less extensive timing needs.

What you’ll love: Easy-to-read display plus water resistance to the casing round out the features of this stopwatch option.

What you should consider: Setting up the alarm can be tricky at first.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.