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Watering your garden can be a tedious job that involves hours of standing or walking back and forth with a hose. Since you never really know how much watering you need and when it should be done, it’s very easy to over- or under-water your garden, resulting in wastage of this precious natural resource and money going out of your pocket.
Installing a water timer is one of the easiest ways you can streamline your garden or lawn care. It will save you money, keep your garden green and save you hours that you would normally spend watering manually.
If you’re considering getting a water timer for your garden, it’s probably wise to know as much about it as you can so you choose the most suitable one for your watering needs. In this article, we’ve got all the information you need to know about water timers and we’ve even included a list of the best timers available on the market right now.
Let’s start by taking a look at the 8 best water times for gardens and lawns.
Best Water Timer Reviews
Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer
11 used from $29.48
The Orbit 62061Z Watering Timer is an excellent starting point especially if you’re a gardening newbie, since it’s so easy to understand and use. This timer is a programmable faucet which is attached to your garden hose and can turn itself on or off automatically. Once programmed, the Orbit works independently and requires very little maintenance.
This product includes several schedule options that you can choose from. You can set it to turn the water on as occasionally as once a week or as often as every six hours. You also have the option to select how long the water runs which is anywhere from a minute up to four hours, making it perfect for large-scale properties.
Installing the Orbit is easy since you simply need to attach it directly to the water faucet, set the timer to your preferred setting and you’re good to go.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Conserves water
- Manual override switch for flexible manual watering
- Run time from 1 minute to 4 hours
Orbit 62024 Single-Dial Hose Watering Digital Timer
3 used from $29.36
Here’s another top-quality, but simpler version of a watering timer from Orbit. The single dial of this watering timer has an off/off section which turns it off when not in use so as to save energy. It doesn’t offer many scheduling options, however and the only option you get for watering length is from 2 to 90 minutes.
The frequency can be set only every day, every two days or every three days. Although this product is designed in a simple way, it works extremely well and is a great option if you don’t need to have any special watering schedules for picky plants.
This Orbit timer runs on 2 AA batteries (which aren’t included in the package) and is ideal for saving water in drought conditions. It works great with any standard garden hose or outdoor hose faucet and you can easily install it yourself.
- ON option – gives access to water without time limit
- Easy installation
- Automatic operation to conserve water
- Requires 2 AA batteries (not included in box)
Raindrip R675CT Analog 3-Dial Water Timer
4 used from $30.44
The Raindrip Analog Water Timer is a perfect choice for master gardeners and though its design is quite complicated, it’s actually pretty simple to understand. It comes with three dials, one for each of its functions: controlling run time, frequency of watering and adjusting the watering schedule during a rain delay.
This timer can be easily attached to any outdoor faucet, garden hose or drip tubing and even features a low battery indicator that tells you when its time to charge the batteries. It won’t work well with extremely low water pressure and needs at least the minimum PSI in order to function properly.
We were impressed with the quality of this product and didn’t notice any negatives about it except that it doesn’t come with a warranty.
- Low battery indicator
- Needs minimum PSI to work
- Easy to program
- Solenoid and diaphragm valve on/off control
Gilmour 820054-1001 Mechanical Water Timer
Looking for a compact, efficient and budget friendly watering timer to take over the task of watering your garden? The Mechanical Water Timer from Gilmour could be the perfect product for you. Although this timer is really compact, it’s just as efficient as all the other timers on our list.
The Gilmour timer is just a small dial you need to turn to adjust the time to the schedule you want. If you’re not someone who fancies high-tech gadgets like digital timers, you’ll find this one really easy to handle. It rotates to any angle you desire and features an easy-swivel coupling that allows quick and durable connection to the spigot and hose.
This mechanical timer is made of durable high impact plastic and designed to last for years. After the programmed amount of time has elapsed, it shuts off automatically and it even has an ON and OFF function for manual watering.
- Metal easy-swivel coupling
- 2-year warranty
- No need for batteries
- Single outlet for one hose or a watering tool
Gideon Single-Valve Hose Water Timer
The Single-Valve Hose Water Timer by Gideon is a highly efficient and top-quality product that comes with several important features, which is why it’s one of our top picks. This water timer comes with a swivel setup that allows it to be turned and moved around when attached onto your garden faucet which is a very useful and uncommon feature.
The timer has a digital interface that’s easy to read and displays detailed information about the watering cycle times, duration and much more. It also allows you to set up the watering time as often or as long as you wish which isn’t something that’s easily found in other water timers.
Another useful feature of this product is the rain delay feature. Just select how many hours or days should be skipped and the system will pause for the entire duration, resuming its regular schedule after the programmed time is over.
- Watering duration up to 240 minutes a session
- Large, easy to read LCD screen
- Swivel coupling
- Rain delays and manual bypassing
- Solid construction
Instapark PWT-07 Automatic On Off Water Faucet Hose Timer
The Instapark Water Faucet Hose Timer is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a timer that really does it all. This product comes with several impressive features that make it stand out easily from others.
For starters, the design of the timer is different from most others of its type. It looks bulkier and has an opening drawer attachment which houses its dials. There’s also an interface that alternates between the timer status and showing the time. Since these features are inside the drawer, they’re safe from any damage caused by water or impact, ensuring the durability of the product.
The timer comes with a rain delay option and a manual bypass option as well. You can choose to turn the water on every 10 seconds to every week, a level of accuracy that’s almost impossible to match in the world of water timers. With its strong, durable ABS construction, this product is designed to last.
- Low power consumption
- 2 AA batteries (not included with product)
- Bright, easy to read LED display
- Impressive watering options
- Weather-resistant ABS construction with dust cover
Nelson 856604-1001 Water Mechanical Timer
1 used from $15.87
The Nelson Water Mechanical Timer is a unique, yet simple one that comes with some slightly different features. This product allows you to set the timer every time you need to use the hose and once the time is up, it shuts off automatically. It has a run time that can be programmed between 1 to 120 minutes.
The Nelson Timer gives you complete control over watering your garden. You don’t need to remember to come back and turn it off which is a really useful feature that prevents accidental flooding in your garden.
Another benefit of this product over electronic ones is that it doesn’t need batteries to function so that’s one less thing to worry about.
If you prefer to water your garden manually, you can easily switch and do it the old-fashioned way. The Nelson doesn’t require batteries, as it is a mechanical timer. The Nelson allows you to keep it simple with minimal maintenance.
- No batteries needed
- Brass ergo swivel coupling
- Manual and timed watering
- Run time from 1 to 120 minutes
Gilmour 804014-1001 400GTD Outlet Electronic Water Timer
If you’re looking for a convenient hose timer that you can set up and use in a few minutes, this electric timer from Gilmour would be just the thing for you. Although it comes with an instruction manual it’s easy and convenient to handle that you won’t actually need one.
The impressive thing about this water timer is its dual outlets which allow you to connect two hoses or watering tools simultaneously, cutting down watering time by half and conserving water and battery power. It requires 2 AA batteries to function and is an easy water timer to install without any tools.
The timer hose has a single, big dial with all the useful settings on it for the timer, frequency and duration of watering which can be anywhere from 1 to 360 minutes depending on your garden needs.
- Dual outlets
- Metal coupling for quick connection to hose and spigot
- 2-year warranty
- Saves water
- Easy to use and install
What’s a Water Timer?
A water timer is a device that’s used to program your hoses or sprinklers to water your plants at regular intervals.
You can schedule the watering time on these devices according to the season, weather and how often your plants need to be watered. Having a water timer in your garden means that you’ll never spend hours to water your plants manually again.
These devices are generally inexpensive and can save you a lot of money while also conserving water and investing in one is a wise choice, since they usually pay for themselves in a couple of months.
How Does a Water Timer Work?
Water timers have several different components that work together for it to function properly. If you open up a water timer, you’ll see that there’s a set of wires and valves inside.
The wires are used mainly to transmit energy that is needed for the valves to function and the valves work to keep the water in or out of the hose.
When the watering schedule is set up and the time has elapsed, the battery transmits energy through the wires which then open the valves, allowing water to enter the chamber.
The water continues to flow through the hose until it comes out, then connects to the irrigation system and is distributed among your garden from that point. Once the time is up, the battery stops and the valves close, blocking the flow of water.
In some timers, magnets are used instead of wires, but the mechanism is exactly the same.
When you want to turn off the automatic feature and manually use the hose, you switch to manual mode which overrides the current schedule, putting everything on pause until you switch back to the normal setting.
How to Install a Water Timer
This is an easy process that takes less than five minutes, even if you’re new at it. The set up can be slightly different depending on what kind of timer you have and whether it’s a dial or digital product, but it’s still easier than you think.
Follow these steps to install your timer by yourself:
- Remove your hose from the faucet: screw the input end of the timer onto your faucet tightly, then attach the hose to the output end of it.
- With digital timers: select the program you want. Then, a zoning setting should open up. Zoning settings are used when there are different sections of your garden set on different timers.
- Set the schedule: enter the correct date and time by moving the dials or entering digits. The next step is to enter the schedule you want into the system.
When setting the frequency and watering duration, make sure you take extra caution so that you won’t under- or over-water your plants. Once this done, that’s it! Your timer is ready for use.
Types of Water Timers
There are several types of water timers available on the market but some of the most common ones are mechanical, digital, smart and rainwater timers. Each of these types comes with its own benefits and to choose the right one, you need to consider your watering needs. Let’s take a look at each type of water timer in a little more detail.
1- Mechanical Water Timers
These are old-fashioned timers which hook directly to the faucet and work in a similar way to egg timers in the kitchen. You just have to twist the dial to whichever water duration you desire, and it will shut off your faucet automatically when the time is up.
Mechanical timers are very convenient since you don’t have to spend time and energy watering your plants.
They help conserve water and can be installed very easily. Not only will you save money on your water bill with these timers, but you’ll keep your garden or lawn in great shape.
These timers are a much more durable, affordable and reliable way of caring for your garden.
2- Digital Water Timers
Digital water timers are a great way of saving time, money and minimizing the environmental impact of your home by allowing you to automate your watering schedule.
A digital water timer can be hooked onto multiple sprinklers so you can program all of them from one unit. Automatic watering can be scheduled every day, every other day, once a week or whichever way you like according to the options the timer offers.
Digital timers can be programmed for long periods so with one of these in your garden, you have the freedom to be away from home whenever you want without having to worry that your plants are dying or having to bug your neighbours to take care of them for you.
3- Rainwater Timers
Rainwater timers are attached to rainwater barrels or any other collection point and are excellent at saving money when it comes to watering your garden.
These gadgets are typically digital since they need to have sensors to determine when the water is ready for use.
With these, you can keep your garden or lawn healthy and thriving without wasting excessive amounts of freshwater. However, if you live in a very dry zone with little rainfall, a rainwater timer might not be suitable as your rainwater supply may not be sufficient.
4- Smart Water Timers
Smart water timers allow you to control watering from anywhere via your smartphone or iPad. These can help simplify your lawn and garden care and reduce water consumption since you can turn them on/off or program them from wherever you are at any time.
All you have to do is set up the timer and connect it to an app on your phone. From there, you can keep track of the watering with the touch of a button.
While smart water timers can have virtual bugs and issues due to their digital nature, they make it easy to control watering your lawn even from a distance.
What to Look for When Buying a Water Timer
Choosing the right water timer to suit your garden or lawn can be quite difficult because there are so many options available on the market.
However, don’t be overwhelmed since there are a few things you can take into consideration that will help you choose the best option for you.
- Consider the water source: the timer you choose must be compatible with your water source for it to work properly. For example, if you have AC valves on your system, you’d need an AC timer to match the valves. The same goes for DC systems.
- WiFi or Bluetooth? Some of the latest water times have a lot more functionality than the typical old-school timers. You can now choose between WiFi or Bluetooth, making it easier to program the unit from your smartphone, iPad or computer. These also come with various signal ranges so it really depends on what model you pick.
- The PSI of water source: most timers need at least 7.3 PSI to function correctly, but you can also find ones that can work with a PSI as low as 2.9. PSI refers to water pressure, so if you’re in a low water pressure area this should be considered carefully.
- A rain sensor: this is an additional feature that really helps with conserving water. Choosing a timer with a rain sensor means that you won’t over-water your garden and your plants will be protected, as it will shut off when there’s rainfall.
- Are you irrigating multiple zones? Most timers are made to irrigate one run of tubing from a single hose bib. However, there are also models that can water multiple zones. Consider the number of zones you need to have watered before you choose the timer.
- Manufacture warranty: if the timer is a fairly good model, it should have a warranty for at least 2 years.
- Manual bypass feature: some models allow you to bypass the timer and water the lawn by hand without disrupting your usual watering schedule. This provides more flexibility.
The Bottom Line
Having a water timer in your garden can make it easy to have a well-nourished lawn and garden on auto pilot. Simply set up your timer and let it do the work in your garden.
This takes away the worry of forgetting to water your garden, keeping track of your water schedule and wondering how to keep the garden hydrated while you’re travelling.
The efficiency and convenience of a water timer is what makes it such a popular device among homeowners.
While having a water timer helps you to keep your lawn healthy and hydrated, it’s important to know how much water a lawn requires to remain this way. Check out our detailed article on how to water your lawn for more information.