Vanilla JavaScript Countdown


Lets turn our timer into a countdown

19 Jun, 2020 · 3 min read

Yesterday we made a timer function in JavaScript. Today we are going to convert this into a countdown timer. This means we have a starting time of two minutes and will countdown to zero when we stop the timer and alert the user.

HTML Structure

This is the same as yesterday, but we show the two-minute mark upfront.

<div class="container">
  <div id="timer">02:00</div>
  <button onclick="startTimer()">Start</button>

CSS Setup

For the CSS, we made no changes. This can stay the same.

.container {
  display: flex;
  justify-content: center;
  align-items: center;
  height: 100vh;
  flex-direction: column;
  background: #e9c46a;
#timer {
  margin-bottom: 25px;
  font-size: 3rem;
  font-weight: bold;
  color: #2a9d8f;
  &.odd {
    color: #264653;
button {
  border-radius: 5px;
  display: inline-block;
  border: none;
  padding: 1rem 2rem;
  margin: 0;
  text-decoration: none;
  background: #e76f51;
  color: #ffffff;
  font-family: sans-serif;
  font-size: 1rem;
  cursor: pointer;
  text-align: center;
  transition: background 250ms ease-in-out;
  -webkit-appearance: none;
  -moz-appearance: none;
  &:hover {
    background: #f4a261;

JavaScript Countdown

As for our JavaScript, we are still using the button to start the countdown and keeping the same function name for the sake of the exercise.

const timer = document.getElementById('timer');
let timerInterval;

startTimer = () => {
  // Firs twe start by clearing the existing timer, in case of a restart
  // Then we set the variables
  let second = 0,
    minute = 2;

  // Next we set a interval every 1000 ms
  timerInterval = setInterval(function () {
    // Toggle the odd class every interval

    // We set the timer text to include a two digit representation
    timer.innerHTML =
      (minute < 10 ? '0' + minute : minute) +
      ':' +
      (second < 10 ? '0' + second : second);

    // We check if the second equals 0
    if (second == 0) {
      // If so, we remove a minute and reset our seconds to 60
      if (minute === 0) {
        // Full done
        alert('Time is up!');
      second = 60;
  }, 1000);

So much like the timer, we have an interval function. But instead of adding, we start with some values upfront:

let second = 0,
  minute = 2;

Then where we would typically plus this, we now detract them:


And we implemented a check if we hit zero, we need to reset the seconds, and if the minute is zero, we need to stop the whole thing.

if (second == 0) {
  // If so, we remove a minute and reset our seconds to 60
  if (minute === 0) {
    // Fully done!
    alert('Time is up!');
  second = 60;

That’s it; we now changed our timer into a countdown!

See it in action on this Codepen.

See the Pen Vanilla JavaScript Countdown by Chris Bongers (@rebelchris) on CodePen.

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