How To Read A Stopwatch

A stopwatch can come in handy in many situations but unless you have previous experience of using one, you may look at the dial with nothing but confusion. The first time you are faced with this type of device, the numbers can seem a little odd but once you know what you are doing, reading a stopwatch will become second nature.

Brand
Multi Function
Feiyasi
Marathon
Shock Resistant
ACCUSPLIT
Marathon
Split-Mode Timing
Marathon
Feiyasi Digital Stopwatch Timer, with Backlight Metal Stop...
Marathon Adanac Digital Glow Stopwatch Timer | Blue...
ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor - A601XBK Stopwatch, Clock, Extra...
ADANAC 7000 by Marathon Professional Grade Digital Stopwatch...
Adanac Professional Stopwatch Timer - Digital Blacklight...
Part Number
-
ST083013
-
ST083022
ST083021
Model
Silver-1 Laps
ADANAC Glow
A601X
-
-
Item Weight
108 Grams
0.11 Pounds
0.02 Pounds
2.24 Ounces
2.08 Ounces
Features
Countdown Function
46" lanyard (neck band)
Magnum XL Digits
Shock Resistant
Time-out Mode Timing
ASIN
B08R8T1C1Q
B00PR06LG0, B0855GSFFS
B0007ZGZVQ, B0007ZOGEO
B07NBHTMM6, B084NST5X8
B07NBSGRNL, B084NST5X8
Multi Function
Brand
Feiyasi
Feiyasi Digital Stopwatch Timer, with Backlight Metal Stop...
Part Number
-
Model
Silver-1 Laps
Item Weight
108 Grams
Features
Countdown Function
ASIN
B08R8T1C1Q
Brand
Marathon
Marathon Adanac Digital Glow Stopwatch Timer | Blue...
Part Number
ST083013
Model
ADANAC Glow
Item Weight
0.11 Pounds
Features
46" lanyard (neck band)
ASIN
B00PR06LG0, B0855GSFFS
Shock Resistant
Brand
ACCUSPLIT
ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor - A601XBK Stopwatch, Clock, Extra...
Part Number
-
Model
A601X
Item Weight
0.02 Pounds
Features
Magnum XL Digits
ASIN
B0007ZGZVQ, B0007ZOGEO
Brand
Marathon
ADANAC 7000 by Marathon Professional Grade Digital Stopwatch...
Part Number
ST083022
Model
-
Item Weight
2.24 Ounces
Features
Shock Resistant
ASIN
B07NBHTMM6, B084NST5X8
Split-Mode Timing
Brand
Marathon
Adanac Professional Stopwatch Timer - Digital Blacklight...
Part Number
ST083021
Model
-
Item Weight
2.08 Ounces
Features
Time-out Mode Timing
ASIN
B07NBSGRNL, B084NST5X8

One of the most common reasons to use a stopwatch is for working out. Runners in particular would be lost without this type of watch. If you’re looking to learn how to read a stopwatch, you are in the right place. In this guide, we will give you clear and simple instructions that will have you reading your stopwatch with ease in no time at all.

What’s more, if you’re in the market for a new stopwatch, our fantastic selection of some of the best and easiest to read products will point you in the right direction.

How To Read A Stopwatch

Stopwatches don’t just come in one form so it is important to know how to read both types. There are digital and non-digital stopwatches and which you prefer is largely down to personal choice.

x
Origin of the Watch
Silver stopwatch in a hand.  How to read a stopwatch. This is a traditional stopwatch, also known as an analog stopwatch.  It has one button that causes it to stop and start.  You read the seconds on the outer scale and the minutes in the small inner scale.
This is a traditional stopwatch, also known as an analog stopwatch. It has one button that causes it to stop and start. You read the seconds on the outer scale and the minutes in the small inner scale.
  • The digital stopwatch is the more modern of the two types and relies on a digital display that shows the readout times in a very precise manner. Typically, this is read in 100th’s of a second.
  • A traditional stopwatch has an analog face and features a large hand. This hand moves around the clock in a clockwise direction. It also features a small hand that is used to denote how many minutes have elapsed.

While many people do have a preference for one type of stopwatch over the other, it can be helpful to understand how to read both. After all, you never know when you might need to do it.

Reading A Digital Stopwatch

When reading a digital stopwatch, you will need to first pay attention to the minutes. These are represented by the first two digits of the stopwatch. Next, you will notice that there are a set of larger numbers which tell you how many seconds have passed. These digits are separated from the minutes by a ‘:’ mark. Finally, there is a smaller pair of digits to the right of the seconds which move incredibly quickly. These tell you the hundredths of a second that have passed. This makes a digital stopwatch extremely accurate.

How To Read a Stopwatch.  Diagram and example of a digital stopwatch showing 3 minutes, 25 seconds, and 21/100 seconds.  Arrows point to each part of the reading.
Example of how to read a digital stopwatch

There are also some digital stopwatches that feature more than one button. The first button is used to stop and reset the timer whereas the second button is used to note lap times. Each time a lap is completed, you press the button and this will record the time of each one as well as the stopwatch continuing to record the overall time. Typically, the overall time will be displayed at the bottom while the lap time will be displayed at the top. In any case, both times can be read in the same way.

Reading your digital stopwatch is simple and requires you to simply total the sum of each set of numbers. As an example, if the stopwatch reads 03:35:21 then this would be a total time of three minutes, thirty-five seconds, and twenty-one hundredths of a second.

Reading A Traditional Stopwatch

When you are reading a traditional stopwatch (also called an analog stopwatch), you will need to rely on the large hand that moves around the clock. In much the same way that a normal watch features a second hand, this big hand performs the same functions, measuring the number of seconds that have passed.

You will also notice that there is a smaller hand that rotates in the same direction but further inside the dial. This is the minute hand and will tell you how many minutes have passed during the timing session.

How to read a traditional (analog) stopwatch.  The example diagram shows the second and minute hands and tenth of second gradations.
In a traditional (analog) stopwatch, the large hand counts the seconds. The small ticks between each second are tenths of seconds. The small dial in the middle counts the minutes.

Reading the stopwatch is simple; all you need to do is total the number of minutes denoted by the small hand as well as the number of seconds denoted by the large hand. For example, if the smaller hand points to 2 and the larger hard is at the 20 second marker, the time passed would be 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Easy To Read Digital Stopwatches

Digital stopwatches give you an incredible amount of accuracy thanks to their precise time measuring. Displaying time down to 100th of a second, you can always be sure that these modern stopwatches give you an exact reading.

Stopwatch is held in hand on track. Digital Stopwatches are easy to use, have precision of 1/100 of a second, and can be reasonably priced.
Digital Stopwatches are easy to use, have precision of 1/100 of a second, and can be reasonably priced.

Feiyasi Digital Stopwatch Timer

This stunning stopwatch comes in a silver color making it look more like a high-end piece of jewelry than a functional device. If you want something a little more luxurious, then we would highly recommend this one. However, it doesn’t just come in one color and if you prefer something a little different, there are a total of six color choices.

-13% Sale
Feiyasi Digital Stopwatch Timer, with Backlight Metal Stop...
  • HIGH QUALITY METAL MATERIAL & MUTE FUNCTION - The digital stopwatch timer for sports is made of stainless steel which is durable...
  • MULTI-FUNCTION - Countdown Timer, The maximum countdown long up to 23:59:59, Shutdown function, Timing function, Alarm function,...
  • 1 LAPS MEMORIES - Our sports counter stopwatch is very convenient, The accuracy measurement time is 1/100 sec.Fastest(FS), slowest...

The large digital display is clear and sits on a green lit background making it beautifully easy to see, even for those with poorer vision. Not only does it display the time but there is also a days of the week indicator, for convenience.

What we really love about this stopwatch is how durable it is. This durability comes as a result of the stainless steel from which the stopwatch is made and this also offers excellent shock proofing. These features mean that the watch is ideal for outdoor sports and adventures. It is also waterproof and comes with a backlight for use in low light; this really is a stopwatch for all occasions.

ADANAC Glow

The ADANAC Glow by Marathon Watch is an affordable yet highly functional stopwatch that comes in a choice of three colors. It is incredibly stylish and a must-have accessory for any modern athlete. This stopwatch is also perfect for outdoor sports since it boasts many features that improve the durability and resilience of the piece.

Marathon Adanac Digital Glow Stopwatch Timer | Blue...
  • LCD Display: Jumbo display with back light feature for great viability
  • SPLIT MODE - Times single and split events. Freeze split-time display while total timing continues
  • TIME & CALENDAR - Time/Calendar displays hour, minute, seconds, month, date and day and alarm clock

For example, the ADANAC Glow is fully water resistant so can be used in rain and wet conditions. Moreover, it is made from plastic which is shatterproof and will effectively resist shock. We also love the fact that this stopwatch comes with a lanyard so it can be worn around the neck.

In terms of being easy to read, there aren’t many other products that are quite this clear. The display features large digits that are crystal clear. It also benefits from a backlight so no matter what the conditions, you can always see the display. With a handy lap timer, you can get details of every lap as well as the overall time clearly shown on the large LCD screen.

ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor A601X

This is another stopwatch that comes in an array of colors from black to pink and yellow to blue; there is something for every taste. Because who said that functionality had to be boring? But much more than just looking the part, the Pro Survivor is an incredibly accurate and effective stopwatch that is ideal for a range of sports.

-9% Sale
ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor - A601XBK Stopwatch, Clock, Extra...
  • The Best Value PE Stopwatch on the Market
  • ACCUSPLIT Exclusive Ergonomic "X" Case
  • Special Million Cycle Switches operate cleanly, precisely & reliably every time

This stopwatch benefits from an ergonomic case making it comfortable to hold and easy to use. What’s more, it boasts a large screen with clear and easy to read digits that can be seen even by those whose vision is not quite as good. Moreover, the million cycle switches promise superior accuracy.

The Pro Survivor is great in many ways but the durable plastic case makes it perfect for outdoor use and the lightweight design means that it won’t get in the way. What’s more, the watch is fitted with a long-life lithium ion battery that will last as long as five years!

ADANAC 7000

Going back to ADANAC made by Marathon Watch; if you’re in the market for a durable and highly resistant stopwatch for serious outdoor adventures then this is definitely a product worth considering. It comes with a shockproof design that will always stand up to the challenge, is dustproof and can be used in water too.

ADANAC 7000 by Marathon Professional Grade Digital Stopwatch...
  • LARGE LCD DISPLAY - Great for displaying the minutes, seconds and 1/100th seconds
  • SPLIT MODE - Times single and split events. Freeze split-time display while total timing continues
  • TIME & CALENDAR - Time/Calendar displays hour, minute, seconds, month, date and day and alarm clock

It benefits from a beautifully easy to use design and the case features a soft grip making it comfortable to hold. Thanks to being laser tuned, you can always rely on this stopwatch to provide you with the utmost accuracy.

Moreover, we love the fact that the display is large and clear making it incredibly easy to read, even if you’ve never used a stopwatch before. This one also features a time and date function as well as the ability to set an alarm, so if its features you’re after, this one will almost certainly meet your needs.

ADANAC 8000 Professional Stopwatch Timer

Our final digital watch is another Marathon ADANAC. We feel that this brand has a lot to offer and yet won’t break the bank. This professional stopwatch features a medium-sized LCD display with a back light meaning that it can be used in a variety of conditions. What’s more, there is also a calendar and time function so you won’t need to worry about taking any other watch with you when you’re working out.

Adanac Professional Stopwatch Timer - Digital Blacklight...
  • LARGE LCD DISPLAY - Great for displaying the minutes, seconds and 1/100th seconds
  • SPLIT MODE - Times single and split events. Freeze split-time display while total timing continues
  • TIME & CALENDAR - Time/Calendar displays hour, minute, seconds, month, date and day and alarm clock

The stopwatch is easy to use and features simple buttons and a comfortable grip. We also think that it is great that the ADANAC pro stopwatch is designed for outdoor use and is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. If it’s durability you’re looking for, this is a great option.

Easy To Read Traditional Stopwatches

Silver stopwatch holding in hand on the asphalt street.  Traditional Stopwatches with their metal case just feel good in the hand.
If you don’t need the precision of 1/100 of a second, then a traditional stopwatch works fine. It also feels good in your hand – the shiny metal case and metal spring loaded buttons.

While the digital stopwatch may have the upper hand when it comes to accuracy and precision, there is something about a traditional stopwatch that just feels better. If you want to get a feeling of nostalgia and class then a traditional stopwatch might be the right option for you.

Diamond Equestrian Stopwatch

This stopwatch, made from high quality materials is perfect for timing various types of horse and features a clear and easy to read, traditional face.

Diamond Equestrian Stopwatch, Traditional Style, Large...
  • Traditional style stopwatch
  • Use for training thoroughbred, standardbred or quarter horse racin
  • Does not have split second hand

TTSUAI Digital Sports Stopwatch Timer

Made from stainless steel, this stopwatch offers durability as well as easy function. Featuring a one button stop/start and precise gemstone movement, it is incredibly reliable.

TTSUAI Digital Sports Stopwatch Timer,Waterproof...
  • The watch machine adopts stainless steel spring, single metal light balance wheel, nickel base alloy hairspring and kelleg...
  • The movement contains 13 gemstones, it can maintain normal operation in the -10℃ to +40℃ temperature range.
  • One button function- starts, stops and returns to zero by consecutive crown depressions.

Full Featured Digital Stopwatches

Stopwatch in woman's hand.  Full featured stop watches are not only accurate but have plenty of features, like storing multiple lap times.
Full featured stop watches are not only accurate but have plenty of features, like storing multiple lap times.

Are you looking for the best of the best? If so, then a full featured digital stopwatch is likely the best choice for you. Bursting with features and providing you with excellent accuracy, these full featured digital stopwatches are a surefire worthy investment.

Brand
Rolilink
PULIVIA
Rolilink Stopwatch,Metal Stop Watch for Sports Waterproof...
PULIVIA Stopwatch 30 Lap Split Memory Digital Sports...
Model
10 Lap
YS-830
Waterproof
Features
Smart Power Saving
47" Nylon Lanyard (neck strap)
ASIN
B07P8TSB5S, B0965RDB2X
B07TC2TWY6, B09C8NS6GP
Brand
Rolilink
Rolilink Stopwatch,Metal Stop Watch for Sports Waterproof...
Model
10 Lap
Waterproof
Features
Smart Power Saving
ASIN
B07P8TSB5S, B0965RDB2X
Brand
PULIVIA
PULIVIA Stopwatch 30 Lap Split Memory Digital Sports...
Model
YS-830
Waterproof
Features
47" Nylon Lanyard (neck strap)
ASIN
B07TC2TWY6, B09C8NS6GP

Rolilink Stopwatch

The Rolilink stopwatch is perhaps one of the most accurate on the market today, with accuracy within 0.01 seconds. Furthermore, it comes with the ability to retain up to 10 laps per cycle and has a clear and easy to read display. While it may be a little more complex than some of the other stopwatches we have seen, there is no doubt that even a beginner would quickly get to grips with it.

Rolilink Stopwatch,Metal Stop Watch for Sports Waterproof...
  • 10 Lap memory and 0.01 second accuracy. Please pattention that there's a plastic protector on the screen. There may be scratches...
  • Time and date display; 12h and 24h settings are optional
  • Countdown timer up to 9:59:59; Pacer; Alarm clock function:Turn on or turn off an alarm.

This beautiful looking stopwatch is made from high quality stainless steel metal that gives it a durable finish. What’s more, it is waterproof and therefore, ideal for outdoor use and sports.

A traditional analog stopwatch may be all you need.
A traditional analog stopwatch may be exactly what you need.

As well as merely functioning as a stopwatch, the Rolilink also comes with some other handy features including an alarm, time, and date display. It’ll also turn off automatically when not in use for a predetermined period of time meaning it is also incredibly energy efficient and won’t lose power quickly.

PULIVIA Stopwatch

Whie the Pulivia stopwatch might not look as high end as the Rolilink, it certainly lives up in terms of durability and performance. This watch is made from plastic making it resistant to shock, cracks, and other types of damage. Moreover, it is fully waterproof and comes with a handy lanyard for easy wearing and access.

PULIVIA Stopwatch 30 Lap Split Memory Digital Sports...
  • LAP AND SPLIT MEASUREMENT FUNCTION --- Allow to record in both the lap and split time with the ability to store 30 memories for...
  • MEMORY RECALLED FUNCTION --- Up to 30 measurements can be stored in memory, and they can be recalled with the fastest lap, slowest...
  • THREE ROWS DIGITAL DISPLAY LARGE SCREEN --- Lap time, split time and the total continue-moving time are displayed in the same...

The stopwatch features simple to use buttons and a clear digital display set on a large screen. It has all the functions you would expect from a stopwatch and then some! With time and date display, you’ll never be out of the loop and the alarm and auto off functions are a nice addition. What we really like, however, is the fact that this stopwatch gives you the ability to store up to 30 memories so you’ll never forget that personal best!

How to use a stop watch. Calculate Minutes per Mile.

Here is an example:

If you want a run a 10k race in 50 minutes, then you need to know how fast you need to run each kilometer to finish the race in 50 minutes.

50 min is 3000 seconds. (50 min x 60sec/min)

So you need to run each km in 300 seconds. (3000s / 10 km)

300 seconds is 5 minutes.

So, to run a 10 km race in 50 minutes, you need to maintain a 1 km per 5 min pace.

Conclusion

A stopwatch will come in handy for a number of things and having one that is easy to read is one of the most important things you should be looking for when choosing a product. If you’ve never read a stopwatch before, it can feel a little intimidating, but the good news is that these watches aren’t as confusing as they first appear.

Once you understand how to read a stopwatch, it is time to choose one of the many on offer. While there are a lot of excellent products out there, the ones we have featured in this guide are among the elite.