I have this at the moment, wondering if there's a cleaner way to do it or if this is already as compact as it gets.

 h = "%s" % str(h) if h >= 10 else "0%s" % str(h)
 m = "%s" % str(m) if m >= 10 else "0%s" % str(m)
 s = "%s" % str(s) if s >= 10 else "0%s" % str(s)
 print("{}:{}:{}".format(h, m, s))
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nicest way to pad zeroes to string may be of interest to you. But you might also consider using the datetime.time class, which has some nice string conversion options. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Jun 18 '18 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually using datetime to get these times, didn't occur to me it would have way to convert them into strings. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – DavidPH Jun 18 '18 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ You mention you are using datetime to get these times, but how exactly? Python's datetime has quite a lot of format codes such as %M for Minute as a zero-padded decimal number. \$\endgroup\$ – fedorqui Jun 19 '18 at 9:55

The % formatting operator already supports 0-padding, just specify the width as 02. Also, you can pass a tuple to combine multiple numbers into the same string with a single format: "%02d:%02d:%02d" % (h, m, s).

In Python 3 the format string method is slightly preferred to the % operator, with Python 3.6 further allowing the format string to reference the variables directly. Using such formatted string literals or f-strings, the formatting would be expressed as: f"{h:02}:{m:02}:{s:02}".

As pointed out in the comments, if you're starting with datetime objects to begin with, you can use their own formatting functionality instead.

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Using format method. Works in all current Python versions.

'{:02d}:{:02d}:{:02d}'.format(h, m, s)

See more about string formatting here.

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To summarize the other answers, here are the different ways to solve the problem.

From datetime.datetime or datetime.time object:

t = datetime.time(23, 59, 10)  # Example

(You can also choose 12-hour notation for the hour; see the documentation.)

From 3 individual integers:

h = 23  # Example
m = 59  # Example
s = 10  # Example
  • Very manual formatting:

    h = ("0" if h < 10 else "") + str(h)
    m = ("0" if m < 10 else "") + str(m)
    s = ("0" if s < 10 else "") + str(s)
    print( h + ":" + m + ":" + s )
  • Manual formatting with str.zfill():

    h = str(h).zfill(2)
    m = str(m).zfill(2)
    s = str(s).zfill(2)
    print( h + ":" + m + ":" + s )
  • Use the % formatting operator:

    print( "%02d:%02d:%02d" % (h, m, s) )
  • Use the str.format() method:

    print( "{:02}:{:02}:{:02}".format(h, m, s) )
  • Use formatted string literals (Python 3.6+):

    print( f"{h:02}:{m:02}:{s:02}" )
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As mentioned in the comments above, using the datetime module provides all of this functionality:

from datetime import time
h = 21
m = 6
s = 32
output_string = time(h, m, s).strftime("%H:%M:%S")

Hit http://strftime.org/ if you're looking for the complete list of supported string formats.

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