There’s something about a well-designed app that can make nearly any task feel so much more enjoyable, purposeful, and easy. And that’s definitely what a well-designed Pomodoro timer app will do for your Pomodoros.
In this article, we’ll first cover what the Pomodoro Technique is for you Pomo newbies. Then, we’ll share our top three favorite Pomodoro apps (because trust us, there are lots of options out there to sift through). By the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to start mastering your time and cutting down on procrastination — today. Let’s start!
What is the Pomodoro Technique for time management?
In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that splits work time into 25-minute sprints with regular breaks. Here’s how to do it:
- Pick a single task.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work only on the task at hand. (Every 25-minute work session is called a pomodoro.)
- When the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper (or app!) and take a 5-minute break.
- After 4 pomodoros, take a longer break. Cirillo recommends 20 or 30 minutes to allow the brain to “assimilate new information,” but some users report that a 15-minute break also works well. (The awesome thing about this method is you can tailor it to your preferences!)
Fun fact: Francesco Cirillo created this method using his tomato timer; hence “pomodoro,” the Italian word for tomato!
What is a Pomodoro timer?
Practically speaking, a Pomodoro timer will tell you when each pomodoro is over, as well as each short break and long break
Plus, there’s just something about a countdown that helps us stay accountable for how we use our time. You’re always free to use an old-fashioned kitchen timer (like Francesco Cirillo). But if you want to get the most productivity out of the technique, it helps to automate. That's where these apps come in. They offer more than a simple timer, with light task management, a choice of alarm sounds, and the ability to keep Pomos coming without having to reset your timer manually each time.
When carefully selecting our choices, we took the following into account:
- Feature set
- Visually appealing and easy to navigate user interface
- App cost
We also chose the best for each of the following categories: mobile app, web app, desktop app, and browser extension. Listed below in alphabetical order. Let’s get started!
1. Focus Keeper
Best native app for mobile devices
Focus Keeper is available for Android and iOS and delivers all the functionality you’d need for the Pomodoro Technique. Pomofocus, up next, is a great browser-based timer. However, some might prefer an app that they can download onto their phone or tablet. If that’s you, allow us to introduce Focus Keeper. Features include a minimalist interface, custom timer, light task management, and different alarm sounds. You can even set up a ticking sound (kind of like a metronome) to play in the background if that helps you focus.
We also appreciated the charts feature. This tells you how many pomodoro sessions you’ve had over the last 30 or 14 days. It also offers “Auto-Continue,” which essentially keeps the timer running so you don’t need to start pomodoros or breaks manually.
Best web app (with a built-in to-do list)
Pomofocus is by far the best online pomodoro timer we’ve tried (and we tried many).
It hits all the marks:
- Simple to use
- Easy on the eyes
- Accessible to anyone with internet access
You don’t need a certain device or even a Pomofocus account to use it. And did we mention it’s free?
Plus, there’s a built-in task list for you to keep track of whatever you have to do during a work session. The timer is completely customizable, so if the default 5-, 15-, and 25-minute intervals don’t work for you, you can always change them as you please. We also love how Pomofocus displays the countdown right next to the favicon, so that when you’re working in another browser tab, you can see how much time you have left, at a glance.
P.S. Pomofocus does offer an app that you can download onto your Mac or Windows computer, but we only used the browser version. If you’re looking for a desktop app, Focus Keeper is for you.
3. Toggl Track
Best desktop app and browser extension
Last but not least, Toggl Track comes out on top in not one but two categories: desktop app and browser extension. The desktop app is available for MacOS, Linux, and Windows. The browser extension is available for Chrome and Firefox.
Compared to the first two apps, Toggl Track certainly has the most advanced features:
- Time tracking with billable rates
- Project and revenue tracking
- Team scheduling and management
But if you’re only looking for a Pomodoro timer, don’t let all of that scare you away. Toggl Track is amazingly intuitive to use — and that includes its Pomodoro time tracking feature.
With Toggl Track’s browser extension (and desktop app), implementing the Pomodoro Technique is simple. Just click on the Toggl Track icon, start a time entry, and the Pomodoro timer will automatically trigger.
You’ll receive a notification when it’s time to take a break, so you can get in the flow without watching the clock. Plus, you can customize your intervals, choose your alarm sounds, and enable/disable a ticking sound during focus intervals.
All three of these Pomodoro timer apps are excellent. The question is, which is best for you? If you’re going to be doing most of your Pomodoros on desktop, we recommend Focus Keeper. If you need to do Pomodoros on your phone or tablet, Pomofocus is a great pick. And if you want a Pomodoro timer that’s so much more, Toggl Track offers plenty of other features right within the app.