Tabata is a type of interval workout that’s suitable for many people but not easy. Tabatas are hard work and you’ll want a timer that’s easily visible and easily controlled because every second counts!
Tabata is a type of interval training where the work interval is 20 seconds long, the rest period is 10 seconds long repeated 8 times. It’s a great workout for its cardiovascular benefits and even some muscle building. Having a good timer will help sticking to the intervals exactly.
Let’slook at what the best timers for Tabata are below.
#1 GymNext Flex
By far the best all round gym timer is the GymNext Flex. It’s high quality and easy to use. There are two different sizes; the home and the gym version. The only difference is the size. The home version has 2.3” tall digits while the gym version has 4” tall digits. The home edition is best for distances up to 30 ft. while the gym edition is better for viewing distances from 20 to 60 ft.
- Buzzer is adjustable from 45 to 95 DB.
- Built in Tabata timer which is customizable
- 100 feet Bluetooth range
- Controlled by free mobile app
- Save an unlimited number of custom workouts
- Possible to share your workouts with other people
- Timer can sync with Bluetooth speaker. You can play music on your Bluetooth speaker that will automatically fade in and out when the buzzer sounds.
- Possible to link multiple timers together.
- Possible to integrate a heart rate monitor and display it on the timer periodically
- Wall mount hardware included
- App is updated regularly which includes new features for the timer.
The flexibility and all the different features of this timer make this one of the best gym timers period. It’s great for Tabata as well as many other types of workout.
These are just timers that are great for Tabata, if you want to find more general gym timers, click here. Spoiler; the GymNext is still the best.
#2 BTBSign Bluetooth timer
Small, easy to use, can be stuck to any metal surface, battery powered and can be controlled by an app via Bluetooth. That means this is a great timer for personal use. Not the best for bigger gyms and classes but for a small home gym or to take with you to any other gym, this thing is great.
It’s compact so it fits easily in any gym bag and the metal backplate means you can position it in many places in the gym. There are a ton of timer presets but it’s also possible to create your won.
The Tabata timer is a 20:10×8 standard timer. It’s not possible to adjust that preset in any way, however, you can create your own custom interval timing. The WRC (Work, Rest, Customized) means you can create any combination and length of interval you’d like.
There are physical buttons to adjust the timer but since there is a phone app to control this timer, that’s much easier. It’s not as good as the GymNext app but it’s functional and makes life much easier than a separate remote control.
- 12 different timer functions
- Dedicated Tabata timer (non-customizable)
- Possible to create your own custom Tabata with custom interval feature
- Does not require remote, controlled by physical buttons or phone app
- Metal backplate means it sticks to any metal surface
- Lightweight: 0.35 lbs.
- Battery powered: 10 hour battery life, charge time 2 hours.
The drawbacks are that the display could be brighter, but that’s only really an issue for outdoor workouts, and that the digits are quite small. The small size is great for one person but not great for larger groups.
#3 Synergee premium
The Synergee premium is a great timer. The problem for me is that it’s not as easy to set as the ones above. It works with a remote control instead of an app or physical buttons. This means it’s a bit hard to figure out how to set your preferred Tabata. Once you’ve figured it out, it’s not too bad though.
The benefit of this timer is that it has very easily readable digits and the build quality is solid. It’s available in different sizes and has a clean design. The small version is good for a compact home gym while the larger version is good for larger home gyms or small commercial gym classes. If you have a very big facility, the large version is one of the largest gym timers you can find.
As far as Tabata timers with remotes go, this is a relatively good experience. There are dedicated buttons for Tabata but you’ll still have to bust out the manual to set everything up. Once it’s set up, it’s very easy though. The buzzer isn’t super loud though. This is fine for
- Controlled with remote control
- Dedicated Tabata timer mode
- Every timer mode is customizable
- Buzzer volume is 80-85 Db
- Available in different sizes
- Bright display
#4 Pellor portable interval workout timer
This Pellor timer is very similar to the last one. The design and size are slightly different but the main features are the same; compact, battery powered and has a magnetic spine. The big difference is that this one is set up with physical buttons and can’t be controlled with an app via Bluetooth. That means it’s a bit more difficult to set up and has less flexibility.
It’s slightly cheaper than the BTBSign but unless you really don’t want to use your phone, I’d recommend the ease of use of the one above for just a little extra money.
- 7 timer features including Tabata
- One custom interval mode
- Battery powered
- Fits in a pocket or gym bag
- Encased in rubber for great grip and slick looks
- Controlled by physical buttons
- Magnetic backplate to stick to any metal surface
What does a Tabata timer do?
Tabata is a kind of interval training. It’s not quite the same as HIIT but the very basics are pretty similar. You’ve got a work period and a rest period. During the work period you go as hard as you can wheter that’s running/cycling/etc as fast as you can or do as many repetitions of a certain exercise as you can do. The rest period is just that; rest.
The standard Tabata intervals are; 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest repeated 8 times.
So what a Tabata timer does is simply give you a buzz or beep at the beginning and end of every interval. Usually there is a 10 second period for preparation before the actual Tabata starts. Some timers have a few warning beeps before an interval starts. This gives you some time to prepare.
20:10×8 is a standard Tabata but it’s possible to adjust any part of that formula. You can increase the work time, rest time and amount of cycles on a good timer. Some timers just have the 20:10×8 built in but ideally you want to be able to adjust all the different parts.
Most timers allow you to relatively easily start a standard Tabata with the push of a button. Adjusting the timer will be a bit more involved. That’s where app controlled gym timers are much easier to configure how you want.