In most sports, timing is everything. To get from where you are to where you need to be, you must consistently time yourself. How else are you supposed to get better? As an athlete, your strongest motivation is to become faster, and timing will provide those milestones you have to overcome. You will always want to be a second faster, but you can’t overcome that what you don’t know, can you?A stopwatch will help you achieve that.
For regular people, a stopwatch may not appear like a big deal. It’s just a clock with a button on it, right? They couldn’t be more wrong. As I said, timing is everything, and a regular watch will not provide the accuracy an athlete needs to keep track of his or her improvement. Stopwatches, however, are able even to tell if you were a 10th of a second faster than you were last time. There is more to a stopwatch than one may think.
The benefits of purchasing a stopwatch
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a high-quality stopwatch. Most of the times, the coach or trainer uses it, but it mostly benefits the athlete.
- ü It’s more accurate than a regular watch. If you want to go pro, you have to let go of the digital watch that you use to tell time. Keep in mind that a 10th of a second can make the difference between the winner of a competition and the first runner-up. In sports where timing is critical, each second matters. Whether it is running or swimming, it’s crucial to time yourself the best way you can.
- ü It keeps track of your improvement. As an athlete, you are in a constant battle with yourself to exceed your last performance. Your primary goal is to become better and better, to achieve a better time than before. How else would you know how to do that if you don’t have a stopwatch?
- ü With the right model, you can entirely eliminate pen and paper. I am not saying that it is a huge inconvenience, but if there is an easier way to record your improvements, then why not? Some models come with memory capabilities that will store your timings. Why go with a pen and paper on the field when there is a device that can keep track of your performance?
What to look out for when buying the best stopwatch
It’s not new that technology advances every single day. This rule applies to almost anything, why would stopwatches make an exception? They come with all kinds of features that are meant to help you while you improve your performance. However, there are a few more important than others. At the end of the day, it’s your choice, but make sure to make the best of your money. Otherwise, you will end up with a device that does not meet your expectations.
- ü Shape – you may believe that it is a little matter, but it’s actually not. The best way to go is to find an ergonomically designed stopwatch so you can hold it comfortably in your hand. Keep in mind that you may hold that stopwatch in your hands for hours. Do you really want your hands to cramp because you did not pay attention to what you were buying? Usually, the best shape is oval with squared corners. They are considered the most comfortable to hold. Also, most models come with a lanyard that will make your job a little bit easier. At least you don’t have to hold the stopwatch at all times.
- ü The case – do you know the amount of abuse stopwatches suffer through? A lot. They get dropped, slammed against your body or walls, and sometimes they are submerged under water (by accident, of course). That is why you need a stopwatch that can successfully survive all that. Look for a stopwatch that is labeled as shock resistant, impact resistant, and water resistant. Rubber or hard plastic are the most suitable materials. They will go through all that and come out whole.
- ü The buttons – I don’t know if you remember, but until a few years ago, manufacturers used to make these very small buttons on stopwatches. They were not difficult to operate, but sometimes your finger would slip. That is why you need bigger buttons than that. They need to be made out of hard plastic, and the springs must be durable.
- ü Display – this is another important aspect. You will be looking at it pretty much, so make sure to go for a model that has a relatively large screen. You need to be able to read the numbers properly. Also, chances are you are going to be outdoors most of the times. In a sunny day, it’s kind of hard to look at a screen that does not have an anti-glare feature, isn’t it?
- ü Timing features – before making a purchase, ensure that the stopwatch you want comes with all the features you need. The most basic one is the ability to count from 0. Ideally, your stopwatch should be able to count hours, minutes, seconds, and 1/100 of a second. That is why high accuracy is essential. Then, the model you choose should be able to split times while still recording the cumulative time. Most models are able to do that. Last, but not least, memory recall will spare you the effort of writing down your performance improvements.
- ü Battery life – make sure to go for a stopwatch that has a lithium battery. They can last for years. When the display fades out, that is a sign you have to change it. With a high-quality model, that will happen in about 5 years. Also, changing the battery can be costly if you must do it often.
- ü Extra features – nothing appeals to buyers more than additional features. Some models double as a regular watch and calendar. Some of them even come with an alarm clock. However, one of the features that I believe to be the most appealing is the belt clip. You can hook your stopwatch to your collar or pants for more convenience.
What are the best stopwatches?
Did you check to see how many models are out there? It’s insane. There are hundreds of them, which makes choosing the best stopwatch a difficult task. However, you can rely on things such as brand and popularity. Stopwatch reviews are the most common method of checking if the product in question is any good or not. People will always say if there’s something wrong with a particular item. Rely on that, and you should be okay.
Here are a few models that may save you the trouble of filtering through the hundreds of models that you can find online.
Oslo Robic 67764 Silver 60 Memory Stopwatch
If you are looking for a professional stopwatch search no more. The Robic is a professional grade stopwatch with a powerful memory capability. You don’t have to keep track of your timings because The Silver 60 will do it for you. The multiple features will help youanalyze your performance in more than one way. Itshigh-quality and endurance will surely satisfy your every need as an athlete.
This model can count from 1/100 of a second to 10 hours. The manufacturer has created a reliable brand, so you don’t have to worry about accuracy. The Silver 60 is as accurate as they come. The user can select lap timing or split timing, but the device will show them both at the same time. The screen in even big enough to show temperature, in Fahrenheit or Celsius, whichever you prefer. It doubles as a calendar, a watch, and you can program an alarm clock.
The Silver 60 is very user-friendly. However, keep in mind that it may seem difficult to people who are not accustomed to stopwatches. Since there are many features, navigation can be potentially problematic. If you are a beginner, I strongly advise that you read the manual carefully. You should do that anyway, but if you haven’t handled many stopwatches so far, you may expect it to be a little easier than it actually is.
The LCD display is backlit, so using it at night will not be a problem. The lanyard will make holding it very convenient, especially when you are not using it. The product is water resistant (up to 30 m), and it comes with a CR 2032 lithium battery that will last up to 5 years. It is perfect for athletes, coaches, trainers, and even spectators. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Marathon ST083020 Dual Power Solar Stopwatch
Marathon is another brand that has become popular due to the high-quality of the products it manufactures. But when I heard that they made a solar powered watch, I had to see for myself. I am all for the environment, and it really makes me happy to find out that they finally gave up on batteries on a stopwatch. I know, it’s a little matter, it’s just a little stopwatch. But there are tens of thousands of these models already sold, so it may actually make a difference. However, the solar energy is backed up by 2 LR44 batteries, just in case the device didn’t charge or if you use it mostly inside.
The Marathon stopwatch is very easy to use. It has a large display that makes everything easy to see. No need to put on your glasses. Also, the buttons seem to be sturdy, and the springs do an excellent job. You don’t have to push harder than necessary. They are placed in the right position for convenient use.
The case is sturdy, and the anti-slip ridges will help you with the grip. But just in case, you receive a lanyard to put around your neck. Unfortunately, this model does not come with a water resistant feature.
This stopwatch will count lap timing and split timing, showing them both at the same time. The 9 recallable memory and 99 split times will ensure that you keep a record of your overall performance without having to write them down somewhere. It is ideal for coaches, trainers, as well as for athletes who are in the habit of keeping their own time. But don’t forget that it is not waterproof, so if you are a swimmer, make sure that someone else is holding the stopwatch. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Accusplit Pro Survivor A601x Stopwatch
Accusplit is one of the favorites among athletes. It’s considered the best value PE stopwatch on the market. The ergonomic case makes it very easy to hold and operate. It is made of hard plastic, so it is shock resistant. Although, I wouldn’t drop it too many times because it can affect the quartz crystal which can lead to accuracy damage. The digits are in XL size, they are very easy to see. You can find this product in a vast variety of colors, but I don’t find that relevant. Some people do, which is why I mentioned it.
The Pro Survivor takes only cumulative splits, no lap. So if you need that, I advise you go for another product. This one has simple functions, which is why it’s recommended mostly for PE. It counts from 1/100 of a second to 40 minutes, and it can display the time and date.
The million cycle no fail buttons will not bother you with the beeping. I have seen a lot of people complaining about that. It may sound nice at first, but after a while, you kind of get sick of it. The CR 2032 lithium battery will ensure a 5-year use, and the device is water resistant up to 100 feet (30 m).
As far as accuracy goes, the internal quartz and IC controller look at switch closure every 1/256th of a second, so that 1/100 is captured. The product has been tested repeatedly and calibrated to be within 0.04 seconds/hour for a year. As I said, only a powerful shock can mess with it. Other than that, you will have this stopwatch for a very long time. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
If I were an athlete, I would probably go with the Oslo Robic 67764 Silver 60 Memory Stopwatch. It has all the right features, the battery life is more than satisfactory, and it can survive wear and tear successfully. From where I stand, it is by far one of the best stopwatches on the market.
A 10th of a second holds no value for the vast majority of people, but ask any athlete that lost a competition because he or she was a 10th of a second slower than the winner, and see what he or she has to say. It may not seem like a big deal for you, but for them, that insignificant amount of time separates them from victory. Click here to buy on Amazon
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