How can I detect if an object is an interval/timeout?

For node.js

var timer = setInterval(function(){console.log('hi')},1000);
var notATimer = {};
var number = 2;

detectTimer(timer) //returns true
detectTimer(notATimer) //returns false
detectTimer(number) //returns false

Is there any way to reliably determine whether or not an object is an interval? Also, bonus points if the way to detect it also works for setTimeout.


In nodejs, setTimeout and setInterval return Timeout instances. That constructor is not exported, but you still can access it and use it to detect timer objects:

const Timeout = setTimeout(function(){}, 0).constructor;
function isTimer(t) { return t instanceof Timeout; }

If you don't want to do that, you can also use duck typing, by testing what properties the object has.

Both setTimeout and setInterval return an id reference (in the browser).

In node they return a reference to a Timeout object.

So no, there is no real way to determine whether the returned value is from a timer, or just a variable from somewhere in the browser.

In node you can technically do an instanceof Timeout check on the returned value's constructor, but personally I do not like doing that.

You can however wrap your timer implementation in some wrapping object caller which you can then check for which will work on node and on the client side.

For example:

class Timer {
    constructor(callback, time) {
         this.timeId = setTimeout(callback, time);
    clear() {

const time = new Timer(() => console.log('hi'), 1000);

console.log(time instanceof Timer); // true

I don't think that's possible with regular methods as already mentioned by others. However, you could create a wrapper like

// Timeout, Interval, whatever
class Interval {
    constructor(...args) {
        this.interval = setInterval(...args); // again, whatever fits your needs
        return this;

    /* ... */

Which, applied, would be

const timer = new Interval(() => console.log('I am an interval'), 1000);

console.log(timer instanceof Interval) // => true (It's an interval)

Now that's just a basic example but I hope it gives you the right idea.

I would suggest changing the setTimeout and setInterval functions for javascript, I realized after the fact that you tagged this for node.js as well, so here's a javascript answer only, as the other answers handle node.js very well



    ret +='-timeout';
    return ret;

    ret +='-interval';
    return ret;


    if(t == "timeout") return true;
     return false;
    if(t == "interval") return true;
     return false;


if(isTimeout(t)) document.getElementById('mess').innerHTML+='<BR>t is a Timeout';
if(isInterval(t)) document.getElementById('mess').innerHTML+='<BR>t is an Interval';

p=setInterval(function(){console.log('Interval here');},5000);
if(isTimeout(p)) document.getElementById('mess').innerHTML+='<BR>p is a Timeout';
if(isInterval(p)) document.getElementById('mess').innerHTML+='<BR>p is an Interval';

<div id="mess"></div>

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