In the age of the iPhone it may come as a surprise to find that the popularity of the kitchen timer lives on, but many a home cook will attest to the usefulness.

Don’t forget the incredibly loud sound it makes when your cakes are ready to come out, that you’re sure to hear anywhere in the house.

Plus you’ll save yourself any expensive accidents like covering your phone in treacle or dropping it in a batter mix.

A simple timer to save Victoria sponges from burning, help you to stay on top of the Sunday roast and keep egg yolks runny is always welcome in our kitchen.

In testing we were looking for ease of use and how effective and loud the alerts were though some timers had extra appeal too, such as the clip-on. We used the timers over a course of a week when cooking our usual meals; our meals featured rather more dippy eggs than usual as a result. 

Whether you’re a wannabe Heston or a vintage-loving baker there’s a nifty timer for you below in our pick of the best.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Heston Blumenthal precision indoor/outdoor 3-in-1 timer: £19.99, Salter

Ok, it’s the most expensive on the list but for serious cooks, this Heston-endorsed timer is probably what you’re after. It allows a massive 99 hour, 59 min, 59 second timer function so you can sous vide and slow cook to your heart’s content and has a useful turn reminder function to help you cook meat more evenly. It can be used inside and outdoors for barbecue cooking thanks to its water-resistant silicone coating; and it has a handy temperature-check reminder once your allotted time has elapsed to prompt you to test the internal temperature of your cooked meat. Not the prettiest of the lot, but one of the most functional and it is easy to use to boot. Includes two batteries.

Buy now

Kitchen Craft colour changing egg timer: £3, Robert Dyas

These are genius. For anyone who’s ever tried to boil an egg before the water is simmering, or forgot what time you put them on, this cute in-pan egg timer is your saviour. Add it to the water at the same time as your (room temperature!) eggs and watch the heat-responsive material change colour from soft up to hard boiled. You’ll never encounter an over-boiled egg again.

Buy now

Rex London vintage magnetic kitchen timer, ivory: £14.95, Rex London

A simple mechanical vintage-styled egg timer that can be easily stored on the fridge or oven. Available in a few different colourways, we like this ivory-coloured one with an attractive red dial. Turn the timer clockwise to set the time and wait for the traditional bell-ring to return you to the kitchen. Sets up to 55 minutes.

Buy now

Brabantia magnetic tasty+ terracotta pink kitchen timer: £10.95, Brabantia

This is a smart, simple digital timer that magnetically fixes to your fridge and offers a burst of colour. Shown here in a subtle pinky orange shade, it’s other colours include red, white and two greys to coordinate with the rest of its tasty+ range. Set by rotating the outer ring of the timer and choose from timer or stopwatch function. The alert is a repeated beeping noise. Battery included.

Buy now

ProCook magnetic timer sage green: £6, ProCook

A basic timer with large buttons and a medium-sized screen with LCD display. This sage green plastic timer can be affixed magnetically or used with the pull-out stand and sets up to 100 minutes using the straightforward buttons. It’s wipe-clean and the alert noise is a distinctive bell to stop you ruining dinner. Requires a AAA battery which is not included.

Buy now

Rex London silver kettle kitchen timer: £3.95, Rex London

A cutesy novelty retro item that will look sweet on your worktop, this is a 60 minute-timer in the form of a silver miniature kettle. The timer is mechanical, so simply rotate to set the desired time with no batteries required. The tinkling bell sounds loudly when the time is up.

Buy now

Salter contour electronic timer: £12.99, Salter

This oversized matte silver-coloured digital timer is handy for those with visual impairments thanks to its extra-large display and buttons. Set it up to 99 minutes 59 seconds after which it will emit a very large beeping sound to alert you to your cooking. Can be used as a timer or stopwatch and choose whether to use the four magnetic feet to stick to your fridge or oven, or stand it up on the worktop. Battery included.

Buy now

ProCook 3,4,5-minute egg timer: £7.99, ProCook

This is a colourful and quirky way to be certain your egg is always dippy with three colour-coded hourglass timers in one unit to time three-, four- or five-minute durations. It’s sturdy and sweet but what happens if you want that jammy six-minute egg?

Buy now

Lakeland digital clip timer: £8.99, Lakeland

This clever red timer clips to clothing, recipe books and other kitchen paraphernalia and is at once magnetic so you can stick it wherever works for you. It’s easy to read with a digital display and a couple of buttons to set the time up to 99 minutes when a loud, shrill alarm sounds. It’s plastic so you can wipe clean any stray food splashes.

Buy now

The verdict: Kitchen timers

Heston’s precision timer does what it says on the tin and allows you to cook up a storm down to the second, but for those of us just looking to be slightly less forgetful in our dinner-making and baking it’s best to just choose whichever timer suits your kitchen and personality. We like the dinky Silver Kettle timer, but the Kitchen Clip Timer is undeniably handy. Everyone should buy the Kitchen Craft colour-changing egg too, which has changed our boiled eggs for the better.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.