These are my opinions about the chess clocks that I own. Apparently, this is a point of heated debate on the internet. I have no axe to grind. However, I have used several different clocks and definitely have my own opinion. If you disagree, feel free to comment below and fill us all in on how your clock suits you best.

My use case

Every review and reviewer has its biases, and I am sure that this one is no exception. I have purchased and used several different chess clock for my own use at home, in our local chess club, and ultimately (I hope) in tournaments. I do not play speed chess (bullet or even blitz) at the current time. I mostly stick to rapids games with a smattering of classical time controls. So my views are probably affected by that.

Chess Clocks

So far, I have experience using five different chess clocks. I have compared several of their salient features in the table below. The prices are approximate; I am sure that you can find these clocks for sale at higher or lower prices online if you search for a bit.

  VTEK 300 WSC DGT NA DGT 1001 Analog
Length 19.5 cm 16.5 cm 19.5 cm 15.5 cm 15.0 cm
Width 9.5 cm 10.0 cm 10.5 cm 6.0 cm 3.7 cm
Height 5.5 cm 4.5 cm 5.5 cm 3.7 cm 8.0 cm
Weight 541 g 270 g 261 g 105 g 319 g
Construction Metal Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic
Power 3 X AAA 2 X AAA 2 X AAA 1 X AAA Mechanical
Display 15mm 15mm 10 mm 8 mm NA
Delay Yes Yes Yes No No
Bronstein Yes No No No No
Increment Yes Yes Yes No No
Byo-Yomi No Yes No No No
Seconds Yes Yes < 20 min Yes No
1/10 sec Yes No No No No
Presets 36 38 13 0 0
User-Defined 20 2 10 1 0
Contrast Better Better Good Good Good
Visibility Best Better Good Good Good
Quantity 1 2 2 4 1
Price $150 $33 $40 $25 $25

With that out of the way, let’s get to my thoughts on each of these chronometers. So, in reverse order of preference…

Number 5: The Analog Clock

Analog chess clock This was my very first chess clock. In the event of a zombie apocalypse or a massive emp attack, this baby will keep on ticking. Literally. I love its spring powered steam-punkiness. However, mechanical clocks are not capable of delay or increment (both very common in today’s chess scene), so I do not use it very much any more. I won’t get rid of it, though. It is just too retro and cool.

Number 4: DGT 1001

DGT 1001 chess clock I purchased several of these for use in our local chess club. They do not do delay or increment either. Therefore, they are less useful for tournaments. However, they are relatively inexpensive and really easy to set. Perfect for casual timed games, like the ones that we play at our club. Are they the ultimate chess clock? Not by a long shot. However, they do what I need quite adequately.

Number 3: DGT North American

DGT NA chess clock This was actually the first digital chess clock that I bought. It handles both increment and delay, so it is fine for chess tournament use. It is easy to program and use and doesn’t cost a fortune. It is a good chess clock (and fairly popular). A couple things bug me about this clock. I find the display to be a bit small (old eyes) and it doesn’t show seconds if there is more than 20 minutes to play in a game. It also does not add time to the clock automatically after the requisite number of moves have been made for a particular time control (USCF behavior).

Number 2: Wholesale Chess Advanced Clock

HSC advanced chess clock I think that this is probably the best ‘inexpensive’ chess clock that you can buy today. The display is large and easy to read. The rocker is a contrasting color and easy to see from pretty far away (if you get up from your game). Like the North American, this clock is easy to program and use too. It ticks a few of the boxes that the DGT NA does not. So for me, it noses ahead in the pack. If I had to buy more chess clocks, this is the one that I would buy.

Number 1: VTEK 300

VTEK 300 chess clock The mother of all chess clocks! This thing is wonderful. And… if your opponent is trolling you, you can bludgeon him with it. This thing is massive. I’ve messed around with Chronos clocks and this is much like them (except it is waaaaaaay easier to program). It has all the bells and whistles (USCF and FIDE modes) and is my go-to clock for tournment play. However, at this price point I will only own one of them.

Well those are my reflections. You got opinions too? (I know that you do) Pop some of your thoughts in the discussion below.

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