Whether you love spending time in your garden, find it a boring chore or are simply too busy, it’s hard not to see the advantages of a timer that takes care of the watering for you.
There are many great products now available, so here are our top picks for best hose timer.
The Best Hose Timer on the Market 2021
1. Orbit 62024 Single-Dial Hose Watering Digital Timer
If you think modern gadgets can end up making things far more complicated than they need be, this simple but highly effective hose timer from orbit might be the best pick for you. It offers a simple way to control your watering schedule without the need for complicated buttons and screens.
The only control is the large oversized dial on the front of the device. With this, you can choose the length of each watering session as well as whether you want it to water once a day, every second day or every three days.
If you choose every day, you can select a watering duration of between two and 60 minutes, for every two days, between five and 90 minutes, and for every three days, between 10 and 120 minutes. All this is controlled simply by turning the dial. It couldn’t be easier.
Since it only comes on once a day, there is no special setting to select what time it begins. All you do is start it at your preferred time of day the first time you use it and it will continue to water at that time of day every day from then on. Again, this keeps its operation very simple.
As well as being extremely simple to use, it is also very easy to fit. All you do is attach one end to your water faucet and the other to the hose and you’re ready to go. Bear in mind, it does require two AA batteries to function, however.
Another thing we like about this timer is its understated look. It is designed to be unobtrusive and inconspicuous in your garden and won’t draw attention to itself. If you want to avoid installing an ugly-looking device in your garden, this could also be a good pick.
There is one feature we don’t particularly like and that is that the “on” time is tied to whenever you first turn it on. This means you can’t choose the time of day it starts in any other way and have to set it up at the time you want it to start. This is a little awkward.
Also, some people who want more options might find this timer a little limited – although it is specifically designed to be as simple as possible.
Overall, this is the ideal hose timer for someone who doesn’t want anything with complicated buttons and is easy enough for anyone to understand.
While it doesn’t offer you the flexibility of more advanced timers, it does take all the hassle out of remembering to water the garden, and for that reason, it is a top pick.
- Elegant simplicity – this timer keeps things uncomplicated
- Extremely easy to install – will be set up and working in minutes
- Unobtrusive design – understated look will not draw attention to itself
- Inexpensive option – costs less than many of the more complicated options available
- Several watering options for flexibility – customize watering frequency and duration
- Limited if you want a controller with more options – but designed to be simple
- Programming is tied to when you turn it on – can’t choose the time any other way
2. Orbit 62061Z Programmable Hose Faucet Timer (Our Top Recommended)
If the simplicity of Orbit’s single-dial timer appeals to you but you feel you need more control and flexibility over how you water your garden, this might be a better option. It offers a great combination of ease of use with a wider range of customizable options and features.
This model also features a large dial, but here it works in conjunction with a simple-to-read LCD display. To program the timer, you simply turn the dial, entering the required numbers at each step.
As you turn the dial, first you set the time, then the start time, then the duration and finally the frequency. Once everything is entered, two more turns and the whole thing is set up and working. It isn’t quite as simple as the single-dial control, but it is extremely easy to use.
It gives you plenty of options, too. You can select watering durations from one minute each time up to 240 minutes. Intervals can be set at six hours, 12 hours or any number of days up to seven. The time control also lets you set what time the cycle begins.
It also includes handy rain delay and manual features that are just as easy to control. For example, if you want to tell the hose to water the garden for 15 minutes, you just punch this in using the manual button. After the time runs down, it reverts back to your previous program.
The rain delay feature is similar. You can just as easily tell the timer to pause the watering cycle. After the chosen time is up, it simply resumes the program it was running before.
As with the other Orbit timer, this one is easy to fit. We also like the dirt filter that is designed to keep it clean inside and in good working order. All you need to do is remove it from time to time to clean it and it will give you many good years of service.
The main disadvantage with this unit is that it appears to be made of slightly inferior-quality material – although it still does the job it was designed for. It also lowers the water pressure in the hose, so it might not be a good idea if you need higher pressure.
This is a great timer for someone who likes things that are easy to use and understand but who also needs a little more control over how their watering schedule is organized. This timer is durable, reliable and very reasonably priced, making it well worth considering.
- Large LCD screen and dial – easy to read and understand
- Extra-simple operation – easy step-by-step programming
- Waterproof and weather resistant – will last a long time
- Offers a good range of programming options – customize you watering cycles
- Rain delay and manual features – offers enhanced flexibility over how you use it
- Not built with components of the highest quality – but still does the job
- Lowers water pressure in hose – will work less well with multiple sprinklers
3. Gideon Single-Valve Hose Water Timer Sprinkler Timer Irrigation Controller System
This is a single-valve hose timer that is designed to give you the maximum amount of flexibility and customizability in an uncomplicated and inexpensive package. It features many different settings that will take care of watering your garden so you won’t need to worry.
The first thing that stands out about this timer is that it is extremely simple and intuitive to set up and use. Most people won’t even need to refer to the instruction booklet to set the timer, and you will be able to have everything in place in just a couple of minutes.
It has a simple swivel coupling that attaches it securely in place, and it is designed to be installed without the need to use any tools.
A particular highlight is the degree to which it allows you to control your watering cycle via the timer. It has a maximum duration of 240 minutes for each watering, and it can be set to come on at predetermined intervals throughout the day.
The display is clear and uncluttered, making everything easy to understand and simple to adjust. The backlit LCD display is bright enough to be read on a sunny day but also allows you to set it at night when there is no light.
It includes a useful rain delay function. Whenever you need to stop the watering program because it has just rained or because rain is forecast, you simply punch in the number of hours or days you want to pause watering. When this time is up, it just carries on watering as normal.
Another great feature is the manual watering option. If you need to use your hose for washing the car or for watering the garden manually when your plants or lawn are particularly thirsty, you can effortlessly switch to manual mode without interrupting the pre-programmed setting.
One thing to be aware of is that this device doesn’t allow you to create your own program. You have to choose from one of the preset sequences, which some people could find doesn’t give them enough flexibility.
It also lowers the water pressure in the hose, so might not be suitable for applications that require higher water pressure.
This model is waterproof, rainproof and built to last. It would be the ideal option for anyone looking for a simple single-outlet timer that is easy to set but offers plenty of options for controlling the watering cycle. A highly recommended product.
- Easy to connect and program – features swivel coupling and simple controls
- Great flexibility – gives you complete control over how and when watering is done
- Simple rain delay control – easy to pause watering for a set number of hours or days
- Backlit LCD – easy to see in bright sunlight or at night
- Waterproof, rainproof and built to last – this is a rugged, reliable unit
- Can only choose preset programs – can’t create your own
- Lowers water pressure in the hose – slightly lower pressure than without no timer
4. SIMENMAX Single Outlet Hose Faucet Timer
The Simenmax single-outlet hose timer is a rugged and durable piece of kit that is built to last. It is quick and easy to install and will allow you to control exactly how often and for how long your garden is watered without ever having to think about it again.
It is designed to be fixed to a standard faucet without the use of tools and works well at anything from 25 to 100 PSI. We also like the fact that it includes a special dirt filter to ensure nothing can get inside to block it up. If it stops working, just unscrew and clean out the filter.
The display and controls are easy to read and adjust. We like the way the display is very large and easy to read while the controls are comfortable to use. It is also designed to be very easy to understand and program, meaning anyone will be able to use it.
This unit offers plenty of customizability and control over how your garden is watered. You can set the length of each watering from 1 minute up to 300 minutes (five hours). The watering interval can also be set to between six hours and seven days, offering lots of flexibility.
The rain delay function is also extremely useful and well-designed. If you decide that your garden won’t need watering as usual due to the weather, you just punch in the amount of time you want it to pause the cycle. After this expires, it resumes watering your garden as normal.
It also has dual manual and automatic modes. This is to allow you to use it for manual watering tasks without disrupting your carefully programmed settings.
It is IP66 heavy-duty waterproof, so you shouldn’t have any problems with it breaking down due to being left outside in bad weather. It also comes with a full two-year warranty in case it goes wrong, as well as a three-month money back guarantee for complete peace of mind.
However, as with the model above, this timer doesn’t allow you to set up your own program, and you must choose from the preset options – although there is a wide range to choose from, and this will be enough for most users.
One other small issue is that the plastic couplings seem slightly flimsier than the rest of the unit – although this is far from being a fatal flaw.
We like this model because it is generally rugged and well-built (apart from the fittings) and it is simple to operate. It should appeal to anybody who values these qualities in their garden equipment.
- IP66 heavy-duty waterproof – a tough and durable timer that will last a long time
- Large LCD display – easy to see the numbers on the screen
- Easy to install – standard fitting and requires no tools
- Lot of customizability – allows you to fully control watering frequency and duration
- 2-year warranty and 3-month money back guarantee – a risk-free purchase
- Need to choose from predetermined settings – although a good range of options
- Plastic fittings seem slightly lower quality – although this is only a small problem
5. Orbit Dual Valve Digital Watering Hose Timer – Water Faucet Hose Bib Timer
We’ve already looked at two timers from Orbit, and they both benefit from a simple and easy-to-use design. However, they are both single-output devices. If you need to be able to control two outputs from one timer, this device might be a better option to consider.
Its outstanding feature is that it offers two independently programmable outlets rather than just a single one. Unlike many other timers on the market, both outlets are fully programmable rather than one being programmable and one being manual.
With this timer, Orbit has solved the problem of a dual-output timer becoming overly complicated to program. Programming is done in exactly the same way as with the single-output version; you simply toggle between the two outputs by pushing a single button.
This allows you even more flexibility over how you water your garden. For example, if you are growing thirsty species of plants in one area but plants that need less water in another, you can program different watering cycles for each, keeping both parts of your garden happy.
Apart from this one major difference, this unit is very similar to the one we looked at above, and it shares all the same other great features. For example, it is simple to install and easy to program – it uses the same step-by-step dial system as the single-output version.
It features the same full range of programming options, including start time, frequency and duration of watering. It also has exceptionally good battery life – it will give you around 4,000 watering cycles per each pair of AA batteries, reducing the need to change them frequently.
It has a strong brass fitting to attach it to your faucet, and it also includes an interior filter to prevent it from becoming clogged with dirt. By removing this and cleaning it out periodically, you will be able to keep it in good working order and prolong its working life.
On the downside, this unit doesn’t allow you to select specific days – this could be a problem in areas with water restrictions that only allow you to water on certain days of the week.
Also, the materials it is made from are not top-quality, and we are slightly concerned about how many years’ use you can expect from this unit.
This has all the advantages of the single-output model with the added benefit of the extra controllable output. This would be the right option for someone who needs the increased flexibility of being able to control two watering cycles separately from the same timer.
- Two timed outputs – not one timed and one manual like some other timers
- Extremely easy to program – simply turn the large dial to choose the settings
- Long battery life – 4,000 watering cycles per pair of AA batteries
- Rain delay and manual override – plenty of customizable options for flexibility
- Plenty of options to control watering – set your watering cycles the way you want
- Doesn’t allow you to select specific days – a possible issue in water restriction areas
- Slightly inferior-quality construction – might not last as long as you hope
6. Instapark PWT-07 Digital Programmable Single Outlet Hose Timer
Another great option if you are looking for a simple, effective and inexpensive hose timer, this Instapark unit is a solid choice if you need a single-outlet timer to control your watering cycles.
This model offers plenty of scope for customizing how often your garden receives water. You can select the start time, the frequency and the duration of each watering with the simple-to-operate controls.
We appreciate the way the adjustable parameters give you a wide range of possibilities for choosing the most appropriate watering cycles.
For example, the frequency can be set as low as every 10 seconds right up to every seven days. Similarly, the duration of each watering can be set from 10 seconds up to 360 minutes. This gives you the possibility of fine-tuning the delivery of water to match your garden’s needs.
The unit comes with a faucet adapter and is easy to fit. Once installed, the programming is as easy as you could hope. It shouldn’t take long for you to program in exactly how you want your garden to be watered – and then you can just leave it to the timer to take care of everything.
It is rated as IP66 waterproof and is also shockproof. One addition we haven’t seen on many other timers is the dust cap designed to keep it protected and safe from any unexpected knocks.
It also features a bright LCD screen that makes it easy to see what you are doing. The battery life is also very good, meaning you won’t need to worry about changing the batteries too often.
All in all, this is another good pick for hose timer. It is tough and durable, it is simple and intuitive to fit and program, and it gives you a wide range of choices over how to set your garden’s watering cycle.
To mention just a couple of small negatives, the valve on this timer reduces water flow and pressure. This is ok for normal use, but if you require higher pressure, this unit might not be the best pick.
Also, the couplings that you use to attach the device to the hose and faucet are plastic – they would be more durable if they were made of metal.
If these sound like the kind of features you need, this is another timer that should be worthy of your consideration.
- Many programmable options – choose time, frequency and duration of watering
- Tough, waterproof design – built to last and should give you many years of use
- Good battery life – lasts a long time between changes of battery
- Rain delay and manual functions – giving you more flexibility
- Simple, fool-proof operation – user-friendly and easy to program
- Valve restricts flow and pressure – not the best pick if high pressure is important
- Couplings are plastic – would have been more durable if made of metal
7. Nelson 56600 Shut-Off Water Timer
This is a different kind of hose timer. Rather than program a cycle and then leave it to run until you decide to change it, Menard Nelson timer allows you to simply set the timer each time you want to water the garden and leave it to complete the cycle. You don’t need to return to turn it off.
It allows you to control the watering yourself but without the need to remember to come back when the watering cycle is finished. This means there is no longer any chance of forgetting that the garden is being watered and leaving the sprinkler on, soaking the lawn and wasting water.
Perhaps the biggest advantage with a mechanical model such as this is that it doesn’t require batteries to run. This means you won’t need to think about changing the batteries, and it also means the sprinkler won’t stop watering your garden when the batteries run out.
However, if you don’t want to use the timer function and you want to water your garden manually, it is also extremely easy to switch from automatic mode to manual mode. You can just water your garden in the old-fashioned, traditional way instead – no need to remove it.
The other big plus is in its pure simplicity. All you need to do to start the watering cycle is twist the timer to the desired setting and that’s it. You can walk away and leave it and the timer will do the rest. Your garden will be watered, and then the timer will shut off the water.
This means there is no programming system to understand, no numbers on an LCD screen to read and nothing that makes things more difficult than they absolutely need to be.
We also like the way there is a good range of time settings – you can water your lawn or flowers for a little as one minute or for as long as 120 minutes, as required.
With this timer, its main advantage may also be seen as a disadvantage by some. It is designed to be extremely simple, but some people might prefer more flexibility over how they program their watering.
Also, it is not made of high-quality materials – but it is supposed to be a budget option.
This is a great timer for someone who wants the most basic functionality but no more. It is ideal for people who like things to be as simple and as basic as possible. If you want something that works with a minimum of fuss, this clever device could be exactly what you need.
- Mechanical operation – doesn’t require batteries
- Allows you to set the length of each watering – range from 1 to 120 minutes
- Easy to fit – includes metal easy-swivel mounting
- Two modes for convenience – automatic “off” mode or manual “on” mode
- Ultimate in ease of use – no complicated push-button programming
- Limited options – but deliberately designed to be a very simple timer
- Made of slightly inferior materials – this is intended to be a budget option
Let’s take a few moments to remind ourselves of the advantages of installing a hose timer. After that, we can look at some of the main points you should consider when picking a hose timer for your garden.
Why use a hose timer?
Even if you enjoy the act of physically tending to your garden, there are many reasons why a timer can be useful.
First, they can help you manage and conserve water. With a timer, there is no chance of you forgetting to turn the sprinkler off and leaving it running all afternoon or even all night by mistake.
Similarly, there is also no chance of you forgetting to water your garden and only realizing when you suddenly notice you have a garden full of dead plants.
Another reason to invest in a timer might be because your area has restrictions in place and you are only allowed to water on certain days or at certain times. Even if you are away when it’s time to water, a timer can take care of it for you.
Finally, they are a great solution for looking after your garden when you are on vacation. You won’t need to worry about finding someone to come and run the sprinkler while you are away.
Furthermore, a sprinkler may even act as an effective deterrent against would-be burglars who think that someone is still in the house and decide to give your place a miss.
How to choose the right hose timer for you
While hose timers are doubtlessly ingenious devices that can take care of your gardening needs for you, several different types exist, and sometimes it can be hard to know which one to go for. Here are the main points to consider when choosing the best hose timer.
1. Number of outlets
Perhaps the first thing you should think about it how many outlets you require. Most hose timers offer only a single outlet, allowing you to program in the watering cycle for only a single location in your garden.
However, most people grow a range of plants – with varying water requirements – in different parts of their garden. If this is the case for you, you might consider a double-output model. This will allow you to program separate watering cycles for plants with different needs.
2. Rain delay feature
Most timers now include a rain delay feature. Sometimes mother nature takes care of watering our gardens for us, and it will be a waste of water if you simply allow the watering cycle to go ahead anyway.
With rain delay, you can quickly and easily tell your timer device that watering will not be necessary for a certain amount of time – after which, the program is resumed automatically.
When buying a timer, you should look to see if it includes a rain delay feature – as well as how it works and how easy it is to operate.
3. Manual watering
Another useful feature that most good timers include is manual override. This allows you to water the garden manually without interrupting the pre-programmed sequence. Once you have finished, the timer goes back to the programming it had before.
4. LCD display or other control
Most timers now have some form of LCD display that allows you to program in detailed information about the watering pattern you want it to follow. These models usually allow you to set the details of exactly how you want the timer to water your garden.
If you think this all sounds a little complicated and unnecessary, other timers are available that work with a simple dial. You just turn the dial to the desired setting and the device does the rest. If you prefer things to be as simple as possible, this might be a better choice.
5. Level of programmability
Different timers allow you to program the watering cycle with varying amounts of precision.
For example, most will allow you to choose the start time, the frequency and the duration of each watering. However, you should look closely at how much control you really have over the cycle.
For example, what is the minimum duration of watering? Some will allow you to water your plants for as little as a minute at a time. What is the maximum? Some will allow you to go up to 300 minutes – and some models will allow even more.
Similarly, what are the minimum and maximum amounts of time you can set in between waterings? Can you set it to repeat every five minutes? Some models will allow you to while others won’t.
Similarly, what is the maximum? Many will allow you to water your garden only once a week.
If you need to control the watering patterns very precisely, you should pay careful attention to this feature to make sure you are buying a unit that will allow you to program it just the way you want it.
6. Powered or mechanical?
Finally, you need to choose between powered timers and mechanical timers. While most modern timers are now battery powered and offer a range of options for programming the precise details of when to water, a simpler version also exists.
Mechanical timers need to be started manually and then simply count down the time you have set, cutting the water off and ending the watering session when the allotted time has elapsed.
While it might seem to defeat the object of having a timer if it needs to be set manually, for some people, this might be a better solution.
If all you need is something to shut the water off when watering is finished, a mechanical countdown timer might be worth considering. They have the big advantage of not running on batteries, so you will never have to worry about changing them.
Plenty of options to suit all needs
As you can see, there are several different types of hose timer and many different options. Whether you need a single-output or double output model, an LCD display, a dial or simply a mechanical timer, the options on our list are all highly recommended picks.