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The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)

Updated September 23, 2021 1.4k votes 193 voters 5.7k views23 items

List RulesVote up your favorite time machines that have appeared on the big or small screen.

Here are the best time machines in entertainment. Time travel is one of the basic plot devices of numerous science fiction movies and TV series, and because it's used so often, there are tons of devices, mechanisms, techniques, and tricks characters use to jump around in time and space. Some of these machines have incredibly inventive names like the TARDIS (Time AN Relative Dimension In Space) while others are simply called what it is, a time machine. But with so many options, it's hard to determine which time machine from across all of screen fiction is the best of them all, but this list attempts to do exactly that with help from your votes, of course.

These are the greatest time machines across all films and TV shows, ranked by you! Scroll through the list and vote up your favorite time travel devices, concepts, ideas, or vehicles. The best part is you don't have to pick just one and the best time machine is sure to rise to the top of the list!

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    Time Stone ('Doctor Strange')

    While not a machine or mechanical device, this list would not be complete without mentioning the Time Stone from the MCU. Entrusted to Doctor Strange inside the Eye of Agamotto, it allows the user to manipulate time in almost any fashion.

    The Time Stone is mostly used to see into the past or future but it is entirely capable of traveling through time. This is most clearly illustrated when Doctor Strange creates a time loop to defeat Dormammu.

    Would you use this to time travel?
  • Photo: The CW

    In DC's Legends of Tomorrow, the Waverider WR-2059 is a timeship created by the Time Masters for the purpose of policing the timeline. It is a highly intelligent and sentient vessel capable of flying through time and space. The vessel is divided into 36 separate compartments including spacious amenities for the crew, an armory, medical suite, and much more.

    The Waverider isn't just a timeship, it can also travel through water, space, and hyperspace. It's an incredibly versatile ship, and it's also quite large. The series never explicitly states how many people it can hold, but it's likely in the dozens to around 100 or more.

    Would you use this to time travel?
  • In a world full of magic, you might think that people would be running through time... all the time, but it's actually dangerous and taboo in the Harry Potter universe. The first time it was seen was in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione Granger is revealed to have in her possession a device called a Time-Turner.

    She was given the powerful magical artifact so she could attend more classes than would otherwise be possible, but she ends up using it later with Harry to save Buckbeak from execution as well as accomplish some other tasks that needed doing.

    Time Turners work via an Hour-Reversal Charm, which allows someone to go back in time one hour for each time the device is turned. They are engineered in such a way as to limit the time in the past to only five hours. Once the time lapses, the user is sent back to their original time. Other models only allowed a person to remain in the past for five minutes.

    Would you use this to time travel?
  • The Wormhole Activating and Bridging Automatic Computer, or WABAC, is the time machine used by Mr. Peabody who invented it for Sherman. The device served as the primary plot point for the series, which featured the titular characters traveling back in time to undertake adventures.

    The WABAC Machine appeared much like a computer did in the 1960s, complete with large dials, lights, and monitors. The coordinates were entered into the machine, and it opened a literal door to the past the characters would then walk through.

    When the film was released, the machine was updated to appear more modern as a hovering orange device, but the principal and usage remained pretty much the same as it did in the show.

    Would you use this to time travel?