Whether a professional chess player or a more casual chess player, having a reliable Chess Clock is an important part of playing the game. Some may recommend a timer app of some sort instead of spending money on a clock, but we highly recommend having a quality chess clock to ensure reliability for the most accurate game play.
Also an app or phone timer really decreases your concentration and then there is the issue of potential issues if the time is somehow stopped or there are phone issues.
There are a few things you should focus on when trying to pick the right clock for your chess game and we will do our best to outline them below so you can make the right choice!
Which Is Better – A Digital or Analog Chess Clock?
First let’s clarify the difference between a Digital and Analog clock so everyone is clear!
Analog Chess Clock: these clocks have a round face with numbers and a small hand and large hand to tell you the time. A flag will fall when the player’s time runs out. This is actually where the term “flagging” comes from in chess.
Digital Chess Clock: they have no face and are electronic in nature and will count down via a number on the screen, they have become the preferred clock type for chess players all over the world due to the ability to showcase minutes as well as seconds.
There is a chess clock for every chess player from novice to advanced – from low cost to high cost, so it is important to understand what your needs and budget are.
But we are going to just put it out there that today’s chess player typically finds the Digital Chess Clock as their preferred choice – and you will see why below.
Chess Clock Types – Pros & Cons
Analog chess clocks just wreak of old time fun and we personally love the look of some of these types of clocks, but we are suckers for anything vintage inspired.
The one main downside to Analog Chess Clocks is the lack of ability to control time in increments. Imagine you are playing a chess game with just a few seconds left – on an analog clock you cannot easily determine that time, but with a digital clock you will know exactly where you are in the game.
Analog Chess Clock Pros:
- Easier to use
- No batteries usually needed
Analog Chess Clock Cons:
- No second or incremental tracking ability
- Cost is usually higher
Digital Chess Clock Pros:
- Ability to track incremental times
- More price time accuracy
- Lower in cost
Digital Clock Cons:
- Quality is typically not as good
- Non-technical users may struggle at first
Best Analog Chess Clocks
We have scoured the web to try and find the best of the best in Analog chess clocks to make your shopping a bit easier.
We did find several chess clocks in this category, but also found a lot of not so great reviews on many of them.
We really only find 1 that we feel confident recommending which is shown below.
We really could not find anything about this clock that people did not like, so it is a winner in our book!
The clock runs mechanically and requires no batteries – just wind it up and it is on its way.
- Clock Measures 6.5″L x 3.5″ H x 1.75″W with the base measuring 7.5″L x 2.25″ W
- Face is 3″ in diameter
- Brass buttons and accents
- Red star active clock spinner
- 2 stage 5 minute – 1 minute count down flag
Best Digital Chess Clocks
One thing we want to remind potential buyers — anything digital is basically a small computer, so with that comes the potential for issues. Just about every product ever created has some level of client dissatisfaction and digital clocks are no different.
There were a lot more options for digital clocks to go through and we looked again at overall sentiment around the web as well as our own personal experiences with friends who play along with us.
We have narrowed down the top picks for recommendations for Digital Chess Clocks.
Please note that there are specific requirements for tournament chess clocks so if you are looking for a chess clock for competitive play – it is important to make sure it meets those needs! These requirements may vary as well from country to country
The DGT North American Chess Clock is the most affordable of their options but this price does reflect the lack of functionality it has compared to their other products. In our research we were able to find that over 90% of people who have purchased this clock were extremely happy with it.
- Ability to set delay controls for 2 or even 3 time periods
- Quick and easy to set and program
- Choose quick-set options for the 13 most popular controls
- Set any control manually
- Turn move counter on and off in any option
- Super-easy to correct both time and move count
- Sound-alert option warns of time trouble
- Low battery signal
- 16 contrast settings adjust for any lighting
- 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects
- Two AA batteries included
- Dimensions are 7.75″ L x 2.25″ H x 4.25″ D
CONS: there have been a few comments about “difficulty in programming”, but that is more of a user issue and not an issue with the clock. The provided guide does offer great instructions for programming. There were also a few instances of issues with the numbers flickering and not displaying vibrantly enough — and like we mentioned earlier, things like this can happen with a digital item.
PROS: the cost is a winner for this clock – although it does not have the robust features of some more professional clock this one is a winner for most players. The plastic exterior is not the best quality – but it helps keep the cost down and few people have noted any real issues with it in real world play.
A great basic digital chess clock that has a lot of features for traditional chess play. The chess timer is able to be programmed for USA tournament time controls and is considered a standard tournament clock for US requirements.
- Buttons are made of stainless steel
- Menus are easy to program
- Offers delay, increment, hour glass and Byo-yomi timing modules
- Tournament modes with moves counter
- 3 different time controls
CONS: not good for outdoor use due to the lack of ability to see the numbers. A few have mentioned that the button sensitivity is high, so even the lightest of swipes on the buttons can reset the time.
PROS: can be used for competitive play, durable and good functionality.