Best Stopwatches of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

If you are a coach then you are going to know just how important time is. When it comes to sports, speed and time are both of the essence. The person who swims the fastest, runs the fastest, and gets to the ball the fastest is the person to win the race. Therefore as a coach you need to be able to time the performance of your athletes down to a fraction of a second.

Most coaches nowadays are undoubtedly used to using stopwatches to measure the performance of their athletes and potential athletes. Deciding who gets cut from your team and who makes the team might come down to a few milliseconds, and a stopwatch is the tool you need to help you make that judgment.

The trick, of course, is to not get just any stopwatch, but the best stopwatch. We’re going to talk about everything to do with stopwatches including how to choose one and what to look out for, as well we also have a list of the 7 best stopwatches out there today. We want to help you choose the best stopwatch for your needs!

Summary: The Best Stopwatches

Why Buy A Stopwatch - The Benefits

When you are talking about sports, the benefits of having a reliable stopwatch are immense. Without a good stopwatch, you really don’t have any good way to time your athletes and their running, spring, or swimming times. Sure, you could use a wristwatch or some other kind of clock, but those are not nearly precise enough to get the kind of accurate measurement that you need.

To get better in sports and to know exactly where you or the athletes you are coaching stand in terms of their abilities, you absolutely need a good stopwatch. With a good stopwatch, you can accurately time your runner’s laps, your football player’s sprint times, and your swimmer’s lap times too. It’s a tool that every good coach needs to help their athletes get from where they are to where they need to be.

There is also the fact that a good stopwatch can literally eliminate the need for pen and paper, at least right there on the spot as your athletes are performing. You don’t want to have to be using pen and paper in the middle of a field meet when you could be using a state of the art stopwatch with memory recall capabilities.

What To Look Out For When Buying A Stopwatch

Stopwatches can actually end up being pretty pricey, at least if you get a higher quality one. Therefore you will want to put some consideration into the one that you end up buying. Here are some of the most important things to look out for before you buy any stopwatch.

Shape

One of the important aspects to consider when buying a stopwatch is what shape it has. Generally speaking, the ideal shape for a stopwatch is one that is like an oval in shape but also has squared corners.

This will make sure that it is ergonomically designed to fit the shape of your hand so you don’t get cramps from hours of holding it. A stopwatch that also has a lanyard is also a bonus because it means that you don’t even need to hold it for most of the time.

Shell & Buttons

Another important part of any good stopwatch is the shell. Stopwatches slam against your body, they get dropped, and they get covered in water from time to time. A stopwatch needs to have a rugged shell, preferably made of durable rubber or hard plastic. These things usually take quite a bit of punishment, and they need to be able to stand up to that punishment.

One that is labeled as impact resistant, shock resistant, and water resistant is the way to go. Moreover, when it comes to the buttons, you want hard plastic buttons supported by solid springs, plus the buttons should be of a decent size to make them easy to press. If the buttons are not supported by a good spring they may wear out or even break after just a little bit of use.

Display

The display on a stopwatch is also a fairly important aspect. You’re going to be looking at it a lot and you need to be able to read the numbers accurately. Therefore you want a stopwatch that has a fairly large display to make it easy to read at a glance. Moreover, you are most likely going to be outdoors in the sunlight a lot, so you also want one that has some kind of anti-glare feature.

Timing Functions

A stopwatch is in a sense a time telling device, so you want to be sure that it can measure everything that you need to measure in terms of timing your athletes. First off, the most basic feature that every stopwatch should have is the ability to simply take cumulative times, or in other words, count up from zero. On a side note, any stopwatch you get should ideally be able to count hours, minutes, seconds, and 1/100 of a second, plus any good stopwatch needs to be accurate to within 1/100 of a second.

Next, a good stopwatch should also be able to time split times, with the ability to count new split times while still counting the cumulative time. This way you can know what both your split and cumulative time is.

The best stopwatches will actually display split and cumulative times all at once. Even better is a stopwatch that has memory recall abilities. Many stopwatches do count split times, but you can only see the most recent ones, not any previous ones. A stopwatch that has memory recall will be able to show you several previous split and lap times. This is a very convenient feature no doubt.

Some Extras

An advanced stopwatch may also have a few extra features that can come in handy in your everyday life. A really good stopwatch will also double as a clock and calendar, so it can show you the time of day and the date. Many new models even come with an alarm clock feature too. Next, some stopwatches may also come with a belt clip so you can hook it onto your pants or collar for extra convenience.

Battery Life

The final aspect that is pretty important to consider is what the battery life is like. Most stopwatches use lithium batteries that can last for years. When the display becomes dim or faded out, you will need to replace the battery, which can end up being costly if you have to do it often.

Some Clarification: Split Time vs. Lap Time

To be clear, for anyone who does not know, the split time is not the same as the lap time. Your split time is your total time at any given distance in your run or swim. Your split time is the cumulative time of your exercise at any given point of distance. On the other hand, your lap time is the time from one split to the next, which can be based on a certain distance. Every time you complete a lap the clock starts over, but the split time, which is the cumulative total, keeps on counting from the beginning.

A Little Controversy

One bad thing stopwatches are often known for is having faulty buttons. A complaint that many people have about various stopwatches is that the buttons are either too hard to press, break off, don’t work well, or have the springs break, all of which render the thing virtually useless.

Now, it’s pretty hard to judge what the buttons are going to be like before you physically hold the stopwatch in your hand, but a good idea is to read a couple customer reviews concerning the buttons.

Moreover, you can tell about the buttons somewhat by looking at them. First off, they should be made of plastic and not some compressible material, they should be stiff to press, but not too stiff, and there should be no space between the actual button and the body of the stopwatch (you shouldn’t be able to see the inside spring that controls the function of the button).

Another thing to pay attention to is when the stopwatch is labeled as water resistant. To be quite honest, while many may be able to stand up to damp conditions, many that are labeled as water resistant still won’t stand up to a heavy rain storm or a drop into the pool. If you really want one that is definitely going to stand up against water, you need one that is labeled as waterproof, not water resistant.

Stopwatch Reviews

Our Rating

The Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer is by far one of the most advanced stopwatches that we have ever seen. What really sets this stopwatch apart from the rest of the pack is its ability to display multiple things as one, do a various number of things, and it has a great storage feature as well.


Design

This is a truly extraordinary stopwatch to choose and it is mainly thanks to the great memory feature that it has. Just like other stopwatches, the Ultrak stopwatch has the ability to time laps and cumulative split times at the same time.

However what most other stopwatches can’t do is recall previous split times for you to look at, which means that you essentially need a pen and paper to write them down. This stopwatch has the ability to store up to 100 split times at once, and you can go back to look at them. This is probably the best feature that any stopwatch could have because there is not all that much use in measuring split times of laps when you can’t actually look at previous ones.

Another important feature that comes in especially handy for swimmers and rowers is the stroke and frequency timing function that the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer also comes with.

There is also the fact that this awesome gadget can display split, lap, and cumulative times all at once, something that is largely thanks to the large screen display with clear font. In other words, the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer lets you easily view the multitude of information that it can display all at once.

What also needs to be mentioned is that the Ultrak stopwatch is accurate up to 1/100 of a second, plus it can measure up to 10 hours’ worth all at once.

Another reason to give the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer some serious consideration is because it has a great battery life thanks to its lithium ion battery that will last for years to come. Moreover, this whole thing is quite the durable little package and that is thanks to the hard plastic casing that it has. The whole thing is relatively resilient towards impact damage, plus it is also very water resistant too.

It is also worth mentioning that the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer was built with the shape of your hand in mind. It has an ergonomic design that is comfortable to hold, plus it also comes with a lanyard to hang around your neck. Finally, this thing even works as a normal clock and calendar with an alarm function to boot.

Value for money

We really can’t see what more you could possibly want with this stopwatch. It’s one of the absolute best ones that we have laid eyes on in a long time and paying under 40 dollars for it is almost too good to be true. You probably couldn’t find more value for the awesome price of the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer if you tried because it can everything you need plus so much more.

Build quality

The build quality of the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer is simply amazing. The durable shell keeps it safe from drops, plus it also makes it shock resistant and water resistant. The lithium battery brings you several years of life without needing replacement. It is a very ergonomically friendly stopwatch, it comes in at a great price, plus it has more functions that most other stopwatches could ever dream of. Quality is something that the Ultrak 100 Lap Memory Timer definitely brings to the table.

Pros

  • 100 lap/split time memory recall
  • Displays multiple statistics at once
  • Frequency/stroke time display
  • ​Lanyard included
  • ​Lap and split time display
  • ​Ergonomically built
  • ​Long life lithium battery
  • Durable shell with water resistance

Cons

  • Buttons are somewhat hard to use
  • Slightly slow response time

Our Rating

Another great option to consider is the MARATHON ST083020 Dual Power Solar Stopwatch. This is actually one of the few other watches that has some good memory functions. This thing can do everything you need it to do for all of your sports timing needs.


Design

One of the absolute best parts about this whole thing is that it is solar powered. You know what that means, right? It means that you never need to buy batteries for it again. This thing can recharge from direct or indirect sunlight. Just in case you do all of your timing in the dark and the MARATHON ST083020 doesn’t get any light, it does have 2 batteries to back it up, batteries that are even replaceable.

Another feature of this stopwatch that we like is that it is ergonomically friendly and built to fit the hand, plus the buttons are all large and easy to use. For those time when it is not in use it has an included lanyard, and when you are using it, the display is easy to read thanks to a big screen with bold font. It even has anti-slip ridges to make sure that it does not slip out of your hands. This stopwatch is also made of hard plastic to make it both impact and water resistant.

Yet another reason to like the MARATHON ST083020 is because it displays hours, minutes, seconds, and 1/100 of seconds too. This thing is extremely accurate to within 1/100 of a second and you can depend on that.

Moreover, this thing can measure lap times and split times. Even better is that it has a neat memory function that lets you recall a large number of lap and split times, a great feature because it means not needing a pencil and paper to write down previous times. This is a durable, easy to use, and highly functional stopwatch that you will want to keep in mind. We almost forgot to mention that this stopwatch also functions as a regular clock and calendar too.

Value for money

It is almost unreal that the MARATHON ST083020 only costs around 20 bucks. That seems like an unreasonable low price for such a quality item. Value comes in quite the compact little package here, one that has a whole lot of functions, works like a normal clock and calendar, has memory recall features, and is very durable as well.

Build quality

The build quality of this particular stopwatch is more than great. The MARATHON ST083020 Dual Power Solar Stopwatch has a solid outer shell with impact resistance and water resistance qualities. It’s a tough little thing that is easy to hold thanks to the user-friendly shape and the anti-slip ridges. Not to mention that the memory features and other capabilities of this stopwatch make it quite the amazing gadget.

Pros

  • Memory recall features
  • Lap and split timing
  • Clock and calendar functions
  • Ergonomic shape with anti-slip ridges
  • Hard plastic shell for durability
  • Water resistant
  • Large screen with easy to use buttons

Cons

  • No way to turn it off

Our Rating

This is a very good option to go with and that is in large because it is a very affordable stopwatch, one that has managed to not sacrifice any quality or essential features. This is a tough and rugged, convenient, and reliable stopwatch that will serve you well in a variety of settings.


Design

One of the things that make this stopwatch stand out from the rest is that it is very durable. It has a hard outer shell that protects it from impact in case you drop it, which is not something that can be said for all stopwatches. There is also the fact that thanks to the rubber shell it is also shockproof, plus it is even water resistant up to 100 feet, making it perfect for all weather conditions.

Moreover, this stopwatch also has a great “X” shaped design which makes it ergonomically friendly and easy to hold. Moreover, this thing uses an ion lithium battery that provides you with an astounding 5 years of battery life.

Another thing that makes this stopwatch an ideal choice is that it registers time in minutes, seconds, and smaller fractions too. This stopwatch is accurate to within 1/100 of a second, making it quite the reliable choice.

Next, the ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor features cumulative split timing, which means that when running laps you can measure the cumulative total in order to get a good idea of just how you are doing in that particular sport. It’s also quite the convenient choice because the right button is for start and stop and the left button is for split and release, thus making it very easy to use.

We also really like this option because it can display the date and time, making it an effective calendar and watch as well. Of course, the ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor Stopwatch also comes with its own lanyard so you can hang it on your neck. The last great feature of this stopwatch is that it has a Magnum XL display to make it easy to read even in the brightest daylight conditions, plus it even has million cycle no fail buttons too.

Value for money

This particular stopwatch only costs around 20 dollars, making it one of the more affordable options out there. Even though it is affordable, it still manages to deliver a whole lot of accuracy and convenient features that let you time your sports accomplishments to within a small fraction of a second. Value is definitely not an issue with this stopwatch.

Build quality

We don’t really have anything bad to say about the build quality of this stopwatch. This thing is built with solid rubber that is extremely durable, resistant to falls, shock proof, and water resistant up to 100 feet as well. This is a very accurate stopwatch with a big display that is easy to read, plus the ergonomic design makes it more than easy to hold on to.

Pros

  • Has a time and date function
  • Very accurate
  • Mesure cumulative split times
  • Durable rubber shell
  • Waterproof and shock resistant
  • Ergonomic design with a lanyard

Cons

  • Does not have a countdown timer

Our Rating

This is a very unique stopwatch, one that can also time intervals, display the date and time, and do a whole lot more. This is a moderately priced stopwatch that is quite durable and very reliable, not to mention fairly convenient and user-friendly too.


Design

One of the reasons as to why we really like the Gymboss miniMAX Stopwatch is because it is not of the usual stopwatch shape. Sure, it doesn’t look like a normal stopwatch, but that is something we like. It is square and thus has a very large and easy to read screen, which is convenient in case you wear glasses. There is also the fact that it has a removable belt clip so you can attach it to your pants or shirt collar in order to keep it out of the way while you are exercising.

Not only is this a great stopwatch that is accurate to within a fraction of a second, something that is necessary for exact timing, but it also has interval timing features so you can measure intervals and split times. It can actually register intervals and total times at the very same time.

This thing can track up to 25 different intervals anywhere between 2 seconds and 99 minutes, making it one of the most effective sports stopwatches and interval timers out there. You can also time a chime and vibration alarm that can last for a set duration, plus you can even save up to 20 different programs.

There is also the fact that this particular stopwatch also has a normal clock and date feature so you can always look at it when you need to know the time or date. Even better is that this thing has user-friendly buttons, plus it is also quite durable. The miniMAX Stopwatch is shock proof and sweat resistant, making it a very rugged stopwatch that will be able to stand up to every single step impact that transfers to it, not to mention that all you need to make it function is one simple AAA battery.

Value for money

This particular stopwatch costs around 30 dollars. This is quite a fair price for this item and it brings a whole lot of value to the table. It comes with a belt clip, it is very durable, easy to read, quite compact and convenient to have on your person at all times, plus it has a great number of functions that make it ideal for a number of sports applications.

Build quality

There is nothing to complain about in terms of the build quality of this stopwatch. It is sweat proof and shock proof, plus also impact resistant to a very high degree, all things which are necessary for a good stopwatch. The great number of features, the convenient design, and the easy to change battery all makes this a good choice no doubt.

Pros

  • Easy to change battery
  • Can track various intervals – 25 of them
  • Can save up to 20 programs
  • Functions as a normal stopwatch with split times
  • Has date and time functions
  • Comes with a belt clip
  • ​Compact and easy to read
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Hard to get the hang of – difficult instructions
  • Has trouble turning off

Our Rating

This is a good basic stopwatch with a variety of neat little features. While it is not the most affordable stopwatch on this list, it is one of the most durable, reliable, and convenient ones. If you need a digital stopwatch for all of your sports related purposes, the MARATHON Adanac 3000 is definitely a good choice to consider.


Design

Something which is quite convenient about the MARATHON Adanac 3000 Digital Stopwatch is that it has an excellent display. The display is very large and clear to read, making it easy to use while in motion. It even has anti-glare features which make this thing easy to read during bright daylight conditions.

Perhaps the best thing about this stopwatch is that it has been laser tuned in order to be accurate to within 1/100th of a second every single time you use it. Moreover, this stopwatch has the ability to display time in minutes, seconds, and 1/100th of a second too.

Another great feature of this stopwatch is that it can do total times as well as split times.

What is also quite impressive about this stopwatch is that it also functions as a calendar with year, month, and date included. It also functions as a normal watch and displays the time of day, and it even has an alarm feature too. Therefore, if you need a reliable stopwatch that doubles as a normal watch and a calendar, this is a good option to consider. Not to mention that it also comes with a 46-inch long lanyard so you can hang it around your neck for even more convenience.

Value for money

This stopwatch does cost around 10 dollars, making it one of the most affordable options that you can go with. It is also one of the most reliable stopwatches to choose, especially because it also functions as a watch and calendar, plus it is one of the most accurate stopwatches that you could purchase.

Build quality

We have got no quarrels with the build quality of this stopwatch. It features a durable rubber shell with hard plastic buttons. You can drop this thing from quite the height and rest assured that it won’t break. The fact that it has so many different features just adds to the build quality even more.

Pros

  • Accurate to within 1/100 seconds
  • Displays minute, second, and millisecond times
  • Ability to freeze split time and continue measuring total times
  • Doubles as a watch, alarm, and calendar
  • Durable rubber shell
  • Great battery life
  • Convenient lanyard included

Cons

  • Does not have a countdown timer

Our Rating

This model of Adanac Stopwatch is virtually the same as the 3000 model we discussed previously. It has most of the same functions, however, it also has an extra-large display with large buttons to make it even easier to use.


Design

The thing that we like the most about the Adanac 4000 is that it has an extra-large display that makes it easy to read even in bright daylight conditions, plus it also has large buttons to make it easy to manipulate as you see fit. We also can’t ignore the fact that this thing has a very durable outer shell that is made of rugged rubber and very hard plastic.

The build of this thing is so good that it is dust resistant, shock resistant, and water resistant too, making it one of the most durable options you could go with. To make it convenient to hold it has an ergonomically designed shape plus an included lanyard to hang it around your neck to free up both of your hands.

Yet another thing that makes this stopwatch an ideal choice is that it does have generic stopwatch features, but it can also display time and date. Therefore, if you need a stopwatch that also functions as a normal clock and calendar, this is definitely an option to keep in mind. The Adanac 4000 is also a very accurate stopwatch, one that has been finely laser tuned to be accurate to within 1/100th of a second, thus making it ideal for timing exact laps.

The next feature that makes this an ideal choice is that it can freeze a split time and continue measuring cumulative time at the same time. This thing can keep track of your previous split times on one side while continuing to count a cumulative total on the other. Moreover, it can time 1/100 second intervals for up to 30 minutes or whole seconds for up to 24 hours

Value for money

Just like the other Adanac stopwatch model, this one is quite cheap. You are looking at about 12 dollars when purchasing this stopwatch. When you consider all of the fantastic timing features it has, the clock and calendar function, plus the fact that it is very durable, you really can’t go wrong with it.

Build quality

When it comes to the build quality of the MARATHON Adanac 4000 Stopwatch, we really have no complaints. This is a very rugged item that is dust, shock, impact, and water resistant. All of these factors are very important because a stopwatch tends to take a whole lot of punishment, especially if worn by the athlete. This is an ergonomically designed stopwatch that will definitely serve you for years to come.

Pros

  • Freeze split time and measure cumulative totals
  • Accurate to within 1/100th of a second
  • Extra-large display and buttons
  • Very user-friendly
  • Ergonomic design with a lanyard
  • Very durable and rugged
  • Calendar and clock functions included
  • Can set an alarm

Cons

  • Does not include a countdown timer
  • Cannot recall previous split times

Our Rating

This is a fine stopwatch to have for basic sports timing purposes. It is not the most expensive model on this list, nor is it the fanciest with most features, but it is a well-functioning, durable, and reliable option to go with, especially when you consider the great price that it comes at.


Design

Something that we like about the Extech is that it can register split times, reset, and continue measuring the cumulative time too. Note that while this stopwatch can register splits and cumulative totals, it cannot recall the time of previous splits. This is a really convenient stopwatch to use because you can rest assured that it is reliable. To be exact, this stopwatch is accurate to within 1/100th of a second.

This stopwatch has a fairly large display with anti-glare qualities to make reading it as easy as can be, plus it also has intuitive and user-friendly buttons to make using it very easy as well. There is also the fact that this thing has a durable outer shell which is impact and water resistant, both things which are necessary parts of any good stopwatch.

Even better is that the Extech stopwatch also has the ability to display date and time, something that is quite convenient because it functions as a calendar, watch, and sports stopwatch all at the same time. Even more convenient is the ergonomic design that makes it easy to hold onto as well as the lanyard to hang it around your neck when not in use.

Value for money

For about 25 dollars you really can’t go wrong with the Extech 365510 Stopwatch/Clock. This is not the most advanced timer on the market, but it can still do everything you need to make it worth your while and your money. It’s a calendar, clock, stopwatch, and it can measure split and cumulative times, plus it is quite durable too.

Build quality

The build quality of this particular stopwatch is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. The highly resistant rubber outer shell makes it very resilient and able to stand up to impact and water. It is ergonomically designed and user-friendly, plus the large display, all serve to add to the quality of the Extech Stopwatch.

Pros

  • Clock and calendar functions
  • Rugged outer shell
  • Water and impact resistant
  • Split time and cumulative total
  • User-friendly buttons
  • Large display that is easy to read
  • Ergonomic design with included lanyard

Cons

  • Does not have a countdown timer

Conclusion

As you can see there are a whole lot of different options to choose from when looking at stopwatches. The trick to finding the best stopwatch is to consider what your own needs are and compare them to what the stopwatch in question can actually do. Keep in mind that various factors such as the timing functions, durability, shape, and convenience when looking at various stopwatches, because those are the factors that will decide how happy you are with your purchase.

If you have any comments or questions just leave us a note below and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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