Need a timer or clock on the wall of your gym? Which one provides all the functions you need while being easy to use? Keep reading to find out.
9 Best timers and clocks for your gym:
- GymNext Flex
- Rogue Echo Home Timer
- BTBSIGN interval timer
- Synergee Interval timer
- GymBoss Interval
- Title Classic
- Digital wall clock
- Body Solid STT45
- Phone app
Which one is good for you and which features should you look out for? That and more below.
1. GymNext Flex
The best but also the most expensive on this list. The GymNext Flex is available in GYM and HOME GYM varieties. The biggest difference between those two is the display size. The bigger GYM version has 4” digits while the HOME version has 2.3” digits.
The biggest selling point of this timer is the connectivity. It comes with a phone app that let’s you completely control this timer. The app is easy to understand and allows for much more control than a normal remote.
- 2.3” or 4” LED digits. 2 Blue digits, 4 red digits.
- Adjustable buzzer. Max 95dB.
- 100’ Bluetooth range for phone connection
- Save unlimited custom workouts
- 6 common timer modes: Standard, Round, Interval, Tabata, EMOM and Stopwatch/Laps.
- Configurable prelude times
- More customization options
- Possible to have multiple displays showing the same
- Possibility to connect a Bluetooth speaker that can augment or replace buzzer. Music played through the Bluetooth speaker will be faded in and out so you can hear the buzzer automatically
- Works with Apple watch or Android gear
- Possible to show heart rate on display if wearing a Bluetooth enabled tracker.
- Comes with wall brackets
It’s not a cheap timer but absolutely packed with features that can make your workout better and more effective.
2. Rogue Echo Timer
Rogue is one of the biggest names in the fitness business. They’re known for making products with a consistently high quality. They make pretty much everything and a timer is no exception.
Like GymFlex they’ve got a bigger and smaller version. The smaller one is actually the one to go for if you value ease of use. That’s because the HOME or smaller version is the one that’s Bluetooth enabled much like the GymFlex one.
- Bright display that’s easy to read
- 6 LED digits. 2 green, 4 red
- Battery or net powered
- Smartphone Bluetooth connectivity and app
- A Remote Control for convenient pausing/re-programming
- Popular Pre-Set Timer Modes like Tabata and FGB
- Create and Save Custom Intervals (up to 10 at a time)
- 1/100 second stopwatch
- In-Depth Programming Instructions
- Black Frame and Screen with Rogue logo in bottom left corner
As you can see there are plenty of options and features on this timer and an easy to use smartphone app. While it might be slightly down on features compared to some other options, its’ also quite a bit cheaper. For most people this timer will have more than enough options making this a product that offers pretty good value for money.
3. BTBSIGN Interval timer
From the outside this timer looks a lot like the GymFlex and Rogue timers. And while there are a ton of similar functions there is one big difference; no smartphone or Bluetooth functionality. There is just a normal remote control.
For some people this isn’t a big problem, for others that remote will be a source of endless frustration.
- 6 Digit LED display. 2 Blue, 4 Red
- 1.5” digit height
- Remote control
- Adjustable interval timer
- Beep for end of interval
It’s a good simple budget option if you’re looking for a gym timer. It’s a bit on the small side but for a home gym it’ll be big enough and it has all the options you need. The drawbacks are the lack of smartphone connectivity so you have to use the remote control. This remote isn’t very difficult to use although the instructions aren’t always very clear.
4. Synergee interval
The Synergee interval timer looks very similar to many of the timers already listed above. It’s a really high quality timer that comes at a price.
It’s packed full of features;
- Available in different sizes
- Countdown timer before workout
- Remote control
While there is no smartphone functionality, the remote is easy to use and comes with clear instructions.
5. Gymboss interval
If you’re looking for a cheap interval timer that you can just use for yourself, this might be the one for you. It’s a lot smaller than the other options and you can wear it on your wrist, clip to a waistband or put it on a surface.
You can set two different intervals between two seconds and 99 minutes. These intervals can alternate or you can just use a single interval. These intervals can be repeated up to 99 times. The GymBoss timer also has a clock, stopwatch and countdown feature. For most people it has all the functionality they need for a very friendly price.
There are a few drawbacks compared to wall mounted timers:
- Display is small and a bit more difficult to read
- No smartphone connectivity
- No remote control
6. Title Classic Personal
A bit of an oddball compared to the other options. This is a super simple and retro looking timer for a boxing gym. There are only three buttons: Interval seconds, Rest seconds and workout minutes.
It’s extremely simple, sturdy and loud. No remotes, no different functions, not even a screen. It might be all you need for your gym.
7. Digital wall clock
If all those fancy timers aren’t necessary for you and you just want to see the time, a normal digital wall clock is a better solution for you. You’ll have to remember your own interval and rest periods if you need to. If keeping track of intervals or rest periods is of some importance to you, make sure you get a clock that shows seconds.
A normal wall clock is much cheaper than a dedicated gym timer and most people don’t actually need a complicated timer anyways.
8. Body Solid STT45
Maybe even a digital wall clock is too modern for you. Don’t worry, you can still use an old school wall clock as well.
As long as there is a seconds hand, you can use it in the same way as a digital wall clock.
Body Solid makes a suitable clock out of weight plates. Seems fitting for a gym clock.
9. Your phone
This is probably the tool most people are going to use to keep track to the time and intervals. Although if you’re here, you’re probably looking for another option.
Everyone has one in their pocket at almost all times and it can do most of the things you want from a timer out of the box. If your phone is missing some functionality you would like, there are tons of apps available that will quickly allow you to do and time anything you want.
Just do a quick search in the app store for “exercise timer”, “Interval timer” or “HIIT timer” will result in more options than you wish for.
Which features can a gym timer have and are they important?
· Large numbers
You want the timer numbers to be large enough to see it from everywhere around the gym. Of course it depends how large your gym is how large the numbers should be.
If you’re further away than +-30’ from the timer, get a timer with 4” numbers. If your eyes aren’t the best, 20’ is probably the cutoff. If your home gym isn’t too large and you’re always less than 20’ away from the timer, +-2.5” digits will be large enough.
During a hard workout, you don’t have time to stare at the clock. It’s better if you can see the time immediately and continue with whatever you’re doing.
· Normal clock
Sometimes you just have to see what time it is. Of course the other functionality is usually more important in a gym timer but a normal clock function is useful as well.
Going to work, picking up the kids, starting dinner, etc. are all important to do at the right time of day.
· Different colored numbers
Most gym timers have two sets of digits. Those two sets should have two different colors. One set of digits displays the set number you’re on at that moment. The other digits display the time.
Just seeing the time is still useful but with many workout modes, knowing which set you’re on is very helpful as well.
During a heavy HIIT workout, you might go so deep you don’t really remember which set you’re on. If the timer helps you to keep track of that this helps a lot.
· Count down
Set for how long you want, press start and see the seconds disappear until the alarm sounds at zero. Not complicated but useful.
A stopwatch is a simple tool. You can measure for how long you can do something. It’s a good tool to set standards for yourself and have a number you can improve on.
· Adjustable interval timer (Length and amount of intervals)
A good function to have is an adjustable interval timer. This way you can design your own interval workout. While pre-set interval programs are useful to get started quickly, a fully adjustable timer is more flexible and allows you to personalize your training however you like.
Old school timers might look cool but modern connectivity can make things easier. Some timers have an accompanying phone app that allows you to completely control it. While older timers also have the option to set these things, they might be a bit more difficult to set up, not be as accurate and have a bit of a learning curve before you understand how to handle it.
Modern connectivity and a smartphone app make things a lot easier.
· Timer noise
It’s impossible to keep your eyes on the timer at all times, especially during a workout. That’s why any decent timer has an alarm or other noise that attends you the set is over.
Any sound is good. If the noise level is adjustable this is a definite plus. Some timers have really loud alarm and it’s just unnecessary, especially for a home gym. Sure it has to be loud enough to hear but in a small home gym you don’t need something ear-piercing. In a large gym that has 50 people lifting weights a louder alarm is welcome. So an adjustable alarm is something you really want.
· Remote control
A gym timer should be seen by everyone. That means it’ll be mounted somewhere high. Unless you’re NBA levels tall, it’ll probably be too high to control the timer by touching the controls. This means you need some type of remote control.
Most timers come with an actual remote control. If yours does, make sure to take some time to figure out exactly how it works exactly. Especially if you want to use it in a gym class or something similar, you want to be able to use it without too many hiccups and there is a bit of a learning curve to most of the remotes that control gym timers.
A more user friendly option is the timer that connects to your phone. The phone apps that come with a good timer are way easier to use than the small remote. The timers with phone apps usually have much more functionality as well. Because you can see what you’re doing on the phone, it’s easier to set up more complicated intervals as well. With the phone screen you get immediate visual feedback on what you’ve set up. Without this the timer can surprise you because you accidentally pushed a button on the remote you didn’t intend to.
Pre-set timer modes
Some preset timer modes are very useful as well. This saves a lot of time setting up since you just push a single button and the whole workout is there. No need to set up all the intervals and times yourself. There are a few popular ones;
· FGB “Fight Gone Bad” timer
Fight Gone Bad or FGB has been popularized in the CrossFit community. It’s a really tough workout that makes you feel like you got your *** kicked when done.
FGB means you’ve got 5 stations/exercises set up. The timer is set up to count down 1 minute five times. Do as many reps in one minute as you can and move immediately to the next station after 1 minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. After five minutes you have a one minute break before starting the next round. 3 rounds of five minutes complete the workout.
Tabata is another type of interval workout. This type is a bit more approachable for many people because the total workout only lasts about 4 minutes. Especially for beginners this is much easier to adhere to than 15 or even 20 minutes interval training.
- Push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Complete 8 rounds
Which exercise you choose doesn’t really matter. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees or kettlebell exercises. Exercises that work larger and/or more muscle groups work better.
The timer will beep after every 20 and then 10 seconds.
One of the most popular and well known types of interval training is HIIT. There is a lot of variability in HIIT protocols but a pre-set option can help you get started much quicker.
Not every HIIT workout has the same amount and time intervals. So an adjustable interval timer is great for this purpose.
EMOM stands for: Every Minute On the Minute. This simply means that every minute you can hear an alarm at the end of the minute.
Often timers will start beeping 4 seconds before the end of the minute and have a long beep to signify the end of the minute. Basically it’s a 1 minute interval that keeps repeating without a rest period in between.
This function can be used for many different things
Why you need a gym timer
Well, maybe you don’t although most gym goers could benefit from a timer in their gym. Some people require a more complicated one than others.
Of course if you want to do any type of interval training in your gym, a more complicated and adjustable timer will become essential equipment quickly. Having to take out your phone every time you want to start a new interval gets tiring quickly. Whether you’re leading a group class or are working out alone, a good interval timer helps a lot.
Weightlifters don’t use a lot of interval training but can still benefit from an interval timer. They can benefit for one big reason; rest periods matter. Read more about the effects of rest periods on muscle growth here.
So having consistent rest periods that line up with the training effect you’re going for, can really benefit you over time.
Can most people get away with having a smartphone with timer app? Yes they can. But if you want to get rid of your phone in the gym or work out with a group, a timer becomes essential.
Are rest periods important for building muscle? Yes, how long you rest between sets has an impact on how much muscle gain you’ll see. Longer rest periods (+-3 min) have been shown to result in more muscle gain since you can do more sets which drives growth. Short rest periods (+- 1 min) can cause more metabolic stress.
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