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Don’t want to risk your phone while doing your interval workout? Mini workout timers are small enough to throw in your gym bag or even to put in your pocket so you can just bust it out and start your CrossFit WOD anywhere. These timers are purpose built so they can handle some water and impact so you can work out anywhere.
Let’s dive into the pros, cons and best options if you want a small, portable workout timer.
- Portability: Mini workout timers are made to be portable so you can work out anywhere.
- Features to Look For: Battery powered, USB rechargable, adjustable intervals, buttons or app controlled, magnetic backing.
- The SLEVIO portable timer (Amazon Link) is the best compact and battery powered timer for your money.
Why You Want a Mini Gym Timer
Mini gym timers are a smaller version of the large timers you can see on gym walls. They have similar displays that show your sets and interval times. Instead of being built to hang on a wall, these mini-timers are made to be put in your gym bag and used anywhere you want.
Mini gym timers are the embodiment of portability, allowing you to set up your training station pretty much anywhere. Whether you prefer indoor workouts or love to take your CrossFit routine outdoors, these timers provide the flexibility to cater to your every fitness whim.
If you don’t need a portable timer, here are the 3 best CrossFit timers on the market right now.
Pros and Cons of Mini Gym Timers
Pros of Small Interval Timers:
- Compact and easy to carry, they fit in your pocket or gym bag effortlessly.
- Battery powered so they can be used anywhere.
- Designed with interval training in mind, so you can crush those HIIT sessions.
- Many offer sound alerts, ensuring you stay on track without glancing at the clock.
- Some are water-resistant, making them ideal for outdoor workouts or sweaty sessions.
- Some have magnetic backings so you can stick them to gym equipment or even the fridge for added convenience.
- The good ones have many different types of intervals built-in and have adjustable intervals for tailor-made workouts.
Cons of Small Interval Timers:
- The display might be smaller compared to full-sized gym timers.
- Limited features compared to larger gym timers with advanced programming options.
- Battery life is limited on some models.
- Models without app support can be a bit hard to program.
Key Features and Specifications to Look For
Now that you’re intrigued by the idea of a mini gym timer, it’s time to figure out what to look for when choosing the perfect one for your workouts. Here are some key features and specifications that will make a world of difference in your fitness routine:
1. Rechargeable and Portable: Seek a mini gym timer with a built-in rechargeable battery, saving you the hassle of frequent battery replacements. Its pocket-sized design ensures it’s always ready for action.
2. Low battery warning: It’s a simple thing but you want to have a warning before the battery cuts out so you can find a power source.
3. LED Display: An easy-to-read LED display ensures you can quickly glance at the timer during your workout without interrupting your flow. The best is if the digits themselves light up but a backlight works too.
4. Sound Alerts: Whether it’s a subtle beep or a loud buzz, sound alerts keep you focused and motivated, taking the guesswork out of when to switch exercises. That way you don’t even have to look at the display to know your set is done.
5. Interval Training Support: Look for timers with adjustable interval settings, enabling you to customize work and rest periods, perfect for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Some models have pre-set modes that are hard/impossible to change while others are fully programmable. However, keep in mind that the fully programmable ones are harder to use.
6. Buttons or App: Avoid models with a remote control. They do allow for more programming options but they are a pain to use. Simple buttons on the body for basic timers and app control for more complex timers works so much better.
7. Water-Resistant Design: For those who love outdoor workouts or sweat profusely during training, a water-resistant mini gym timer can handle the toughest conditions.
8. Magnetic Backing: This feature allows you to stick the timer on any metal surface, making it handy to mount on equipment or any metal surface.
9. USB Charging: A timer that charges via USB ensures convenience and compatibility with various charging sources. You don’t want to be looking for AAA or AA batteries before a workout. USB chargers are everywhere, just plugging in is much better.
Read 11 more factors for choosing an interval timer here. That article is focused on wall timers though.
Best Mini Workout Timers
The search for the perfect battery-powered gym timer is made easier with our top picks, carefully curated to offer seamless functionality and unmatched convenience.
When it comes to gym timers, each model has its own set of advantages and limitations. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of some popular gym timers available on the market:
1. SLEVIO Portable Gym Timer
This is the mini WOD timer that provides the best bang for your buck, especially if you can catch it while it’s discounted which happens regularly. This is the best mini gym timer for under $50.
If you want a timer for a quick Crossfit workout outdoors, this is your ticket.
It has a lot of the features you want for a reasonable price. It’s not the most advanced but most people will be well served by this timer. It’s also compact and has good battery life.
That makes this the best portable gym timer for your money.
- Compact: SLEVIO Portable Gym Timer only measures 6.9″ *2.3″ * 0.98″ so it can almost fit in your pocket.
- Vibrant Display: The bright and vibrant display ensures visibility even in well-lit surroundings.
- Remote Control: The included remote control enhances user convenience, enabling easy control of the timer from a distance.
- Good Battery Life: Up to 30 hours of battery life means this gym timer isn’t going to give up on you or let you down.
- 10 built-in functions: Clock, 3 custom interval timers, EMOM, AMRAP, Stopwatch and more. Everything you need.
- Built-in Magnet: The backside of the timer is magnetic so you can easily stick it to metal surfaces like a power rack.
- Anti-glare display
- USB rechargeable
- Higher Price Point: The SLEVIO Portable Gym Timer may have a slightly higher cost compared to some other models although it’s not the most expensive by far.
- Limited Alarm Volume: Some users find the sound volume of alerts to be on the lower side.
2. Rogue Home Timer
Rogue is a well-known name in the CrossFit/Powerlifting/Weightlifting world. This portable timer is quite pricey but it’s the only one that is controlled through your smartphone. That makes this timer unique in its ease of use.
If it’s worth the premium over the SLEVIO is up to you. It has a few pros and cons you should be aware of though.
- Robust Construction: Rogue is known for its heavy-duty build, ensuring resilience during intense workouts. One side note here is that the battery doesn’t seem to be very high quality and fails for some people.
- User-Friendly Interface: This timer can be controlled by a smartphone app which does make life a lot easier.
- Compatibility: This timer is designed to work seamlessly with Rogue gym equipment, enhancing the overall workout experience.
- Limited Mounting Options: The timer’s compatibility with specific Rogue equipment might limit mounting possibilities for other setups.
- Higher Price Point: Rogue Home Timer is priced at a premium compared to some other gym timers. Compared to the other timers on this list, it’s about three times as dear.
- Battery Life: The battery doesn’t last all that long but if you just recharge when you get home, it’s not a problem.
If you can live without battery power, check out the GymNext timers. They are amazing!
3. Seesii 1.5″ Gym Timer
This is a small-ish wall timer that can be run off of a power bank. That means it’s not the smallest but it’s fairly well-featured, especially if you take the price into account. It’s very affordable for what it can do.
While it might not be the best timer for taking everywhere, it works as a wall timer that you want to take somewhere else sometimes.
The 1.5″ digits do make it a little small for larger home gyms but in garage gyms where you’re at most 15′ away, this timer works.
- Economical: The Seesii 1.5″ Gym Timer is a budget-friendly option for basic interval timing needs. It covers all the basic needs of an interval timer while being the cheapest on this list.
- Available with Shell: If you intend on taking your timer to many places, a protective shell is a big benefit.
- Battery Not Included: This is a wall timer that’s able to be run off a power bank. There is no built-in battery.
- Size: Another drawback of the “wall-first” design is that it’s quite a bit larger than other models on this list.
- Limited Display Size: The smaller display may not be as easily readable from a distance. However, it’s about the same size as the other models on this list.
- Remote Control: It’s programmed and controlled through a remote control. This means you have more things you can set and control, but it’s also more confusing. Also, as a mobile timer, having an extra thing to take (forget) is not ideal.
4. GymBoss Charge
If you just want a very portable and affordable interval timer, this is the one to go for. This timer is actually designed to wear so you take it with you wherever you go.
It’s not a smartwatch or anything fancy, it’s just an interval timer with limited functionality. But if all you need is a basic interval timer for running or cycling outside, this is a good option.
For workouts where you largely stay in the same place, I’d recommend one of the timers listed above.
- Compact and Portable: GymBoss Charge is compact and easily portable, making it an excellent option for on-the-go workouts. It’s made to wear on your wrist or clip onto clothes.
- Affordable: GymBoss Charge offers good value for its features and functionality, making it budget-friendly.
- USB Rechargable: The charge model differs from the regular model because it has a built in rechargeable battery. No more replacing AAA’s
- Loud alarm: The alarm can be set to a relatively quiet 75db or very loud 93db.
- Short Battery Life: Some users report that the battery life could be longer, requiring frequent replacements during extended workouts.
- Limited Interval Programming: The timer might have restrictions on the complexity of interval programming.
- Confusing Set-up: The first time setting this timer up can be a bit confusing even though there are only three buttons.
Can I use a mini gym timer for different workout modes?
Absolutely! Mini gym timers are versatile companions that adapt to various workout modes with ease. Whether you’re into high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, Crossfit, weightlifting, or yoga, these timers have you covered. Most mini gym timers come with programmable interval settings, allowing you to customize work and rest periods according to your workout’s specific demands. So, whether you’re crushing burpees or holding a plank, your mini gym timer will keep you on track and motivated.
Are mini gym timers suitable for outdoor workouts?
Yes, many mini gym timers are designed to withstand outdoor conditions and can be your perfect companion during park workouts, trail runs, or any fitness adventure under the open sky. Look for models with water-resistant features that protect the timer from sweat or light rain. The compact and portable nature of mini gym timers also makes them ideal for outdoor workouts, as you can easily slip them into your pocket or attach them to your workout gear using the magnetic backing.
Are mini gym timers rechargeable?
Absolutely! Most mini gym timers are equipped with built-in rechargeable batteries, sparing you the hassle of constantly changing disposable batteries. The convenience of USB charging ensures that you can power up your timer using a laptop, power bank, or any other compatible charging source. This way, you can keep your mini gym timer ready for action, so it’s always on hand to elevate your workout experience, without any interruptions.