Using setTimeout() method with TypeScript (practical examples)

Updated: February 14, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


JavaScript offers a myriad of methods that enhance the way we can execute our code, with setTimeout() being a cornerstone function for scheduling tasks. When combined with the type-checking power of TypeScript, it ensures not only delayed execution but also the robustness and predictability in your applications. This article aims to guide you through effectively using setTimeout() with TypeScript, punctuated with practical examples to illustrate its versatility.

Understanding setTimeout() in TypeScript

The setTimeout() function waits a specified number of milliseconds before executing a function. In TypeScript, its usage involves specifying the types for parameters and the return value, improving code safety and readability. Let’s explore some foundational concepts before diving into examples.

setTimeout(function: Function, delay: number, ...args: any[]): number;

Note that setTimeout() returns a numeric ID which can be used with clearTimeout() to cancel the timer.

Basic Syntax and Examples

Let’s kickstart with a simple example:

setTimeout(() => { console.log('Hello TypeScript!'); }, 2000);

This schedules a console log to occur 2 seconds after the execution. For TypeScript specifics, we can add types to our setTimeout() function call:

const timerId: number = setTimeout(<Function>() => {
    console.log('TypeScript rocks!');
}, 3000);

The inclusion of types assures that the timerId variable is treated as a number, aligning with the return type of setTimeout().

Using Arrow Functions

Arrow functions are a concise way to pass a function as an argument to setTimeout(). They are especially useful for maintaining the context (this value) of the function to be executed.

setTimeout(() => { this.performAction(); }, 1000);

In TypeScript, be mindful of the this context when using arrow functions, especially in classes or modules where the context can vary based on the caller.

Cancelling a Timeout

Cancelling a scheduled timeout is as straightforward as calling clearTimeout() with the ID returned by setTimeout(). Here’s how:


Remember the timerId we stored earlier? This is where it’s used to cancel the timeout before it executes.

Advanced Usage and Types

In complex scenarios, you might need to pass arguments to the callback function or control the scope. TypeScript can be leveraged to ensure those operations are type-safe.

setTimeout((message: string) => {
}, 1500, 'Hello, Advanced TypeScript!');

Here, we pass a message as an argument to the callback function, which TypeScript ensures is a string.

Using setTimeout() in Classes

When using setTimeout() inside TypeScript classes, managing the this context becomes crucial. Let’s look at an example:

class Greeter {
    private message: string;

    constructor(message: string) {
        this.message = message;

    public greetLater(): void {
        setTimeout(() => {
        }, 1000);

The greetLater method uses an arrow function to maintain the right this context, ensuring this.message references the class instance’s message.

Practical Use Case: Debouncing

A common application of setTimeout() in web development is debouncing, a technique to limit the rate at which a function is executed. This is particularly handy in search bars to delay the execution of a search request until the user stops typing. Let’s implement a simple debounce function:

function debounce<F extends (...args: any[]) => any>(func: F, waitFor: number): (...args: Parameters<F>) => void {
    let timeoutId: number | undefined;

    return function(...args: Parameters<F>): void {
        if (timeoutId !== undefined) {
        timeoutId = setTimeout(() => func(...args), waitFor);

This generic function accepts any function func and a wait time waitFor. It returns a new function that, when invoked, resets the timer if it’s already running, effectively ‘debouncing’ the original function call.


The setTimeout() method is a powerful tool in JavaScript and TypeScript for managing timing in your applications. Through TypeScript’s type system, developers can harness its functionality more safely and efficiently. Whether you’re implementing basic delays, managing asynchronous operations, or creating complex time-dependent logic, understanding setTimeout() and how to type-check its usage is invaluable.