Whether you’re trying to grow delicious vegetables, beautiful flowers, or just maintain a lush, green lawn, a good watering routine is essential. But sometimes, work and family responsibilities can make it impossible to water every time you need to. One popular solution to this problem is to use a water hose timer.
These devices allow you to set up perforated hoses, sprinklers, and other watering tools, and run them at specified times. And unlike an automatic sprinkler system, you don’t need to worry about an expensive installation and digging up your lawn. Now, let’s check out the best water hose timers available online!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
1. Orbit 62024
- Automatic operation conserves water
- Easy-on, easy-off, single dial control with timed watering settings from 2-90 minutes
- Settings for daily, every other day, or every 3Rd day watering
- Requires 3 AA batteries (not included)
- Saves water in drought conditions
Last update on 2020-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Orbit 62024 is a small, dial-style timer that has an understated look. The brass screw fitting is easy to attach to any standard outdoor spigot, and the timer hangs neatly inline, without the need to mount anything to your house. A tinted, transparent shroud covers the dial when it’s not in use, keeping the internal components safe from the rain.
Many dial-style timers are very simplistic, and only allow you to set a single watering period every 24 hours. The 62024 does a significantly better job. You can water for any length of time, from 2 minutes to 90 minutes, and you can also water either every day, every other day or every third day.
That said, there are still some significant limitations. Since the dial is so full of options for duration and frequency, there’s no way to set an actual time. Instead, you have to start the timer at the time of day you want to water. For example, if you want to water every day at 7 AM, you’ll have to set the timer at 7 in the morning when you first install the unit.
If you’re looking primarily for simplicity and reliability, this Orbit water hose timer is a great choice. It’s very easy to use, so anybody can get it set up without a lot of headaches.
- Clean, elegant design
- Easy to install
- A surprising number of options for the price
- Awkward to set the time
2. Instapark PWT-07
- Single-station digital programmable faucet water timer with impulse solenoid valve attaches to any garden outdoor hose faucet with a standard ¾” (GHS) thread and offers flexible and effective control of watering frequency and duration with simple, straightforward, fool-proof, and user-friendly programming
- Weather-resistant, impact-resistance, premium ABS construction with dust cover ideal for irrigation applications in gardens, yards, greenhouses, flowerbeds, and etc., waterproof rated at IP66
- Bright, vivid, and easy-to-read large 2.1” X 1” LED Display alternates between current time and timer status with bar-graph battery strength indicator
- Duration selectable (24, 48, or 72 hours) rain delay and manual option ensure complete control and maximum water conservation without altering the timer’s program
- Low power consumption, up to 4,000 on/off (equivalent to 12 months) cycle with 2 fresh batteries. Drawer-type detachable battery compartment for effortless battery replacement, 2 alkaline 1.5V AA batteries are required (NOT included)
Last update on 2020-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Instapark PWT-07 is an electric hose timer with an LCD display. It screws directly to your spigot, with a plastic adapter that provides a surprisingly good seal. The body of the timer is constructed from green ABS plastic, which will match almost any forest green garden accessories.
The LCD display can be used to adjust a variety of parameters. The watering frequency, for example, can be set as low as every 10 seconds or as high as once a week. We’re not sure why you’d want to water your lawn every 10 seconds, but it could be useful if you’re using your timer to run a decorative fountain.
Similarly, you can adjust the watering duration from 10 seconds up to 6 hours. Neither of these extremes would be terribly useful, but that’s the point. You’re well set up for any realistic watering time, from a short sprinkle to a long dousing.
Two features you’ll find on this timer are a rain delay button and a manual override. The rain delay can be used to skip watering for 24, 48, or 72 hours, so you can avoid wasting water when it rains. Similarly, the manual override can be used to turn your hose on at any time, so you can wash your car or your driveway without having to disconnect or reset your timer.
- Waterproof construction
- Rain delay and manual override functions
- Several programming options
- Long battery life
- Valve restricts water flow and pressure
3. Nelson 856604-1001
- 2 functions: timed automatic "off", manual "on"
- Automatically turns water off
- Run time from 1 to 120 minutes
- Metal easy swivel coupling with ergonomic grip
- No batteries required
Last update on 2020-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Nelson 856604-1001 is a basic, mechanical timer that’s as simple as it comes. It has a single, yellow knob that can be adjusted to anywhere from one minute to two hours. Simply twist the knob to your desired watering time, and walk away.
Obviously, this design has some limitations. The main drawback is that there’s no way to set it to automatically start. So you’ll have to manually turn it on every time you want to water. That said, it doesn’t get much simpler than this, so there are no complex instructions to follow and no way to get confused.
Another feature of the Nelson timer is that it features a manual “on” position. This works similarly to the manual override on an electrical timer, allowing you to clean or water on your own schedule, without the need to unscrew your timer from the spigot.
You’ll also appreciate the Nelson’s simplicity. It’s a small, compact design, and it blends in seamlessly on any hose spigot. It’s also surprisingly durable for the price, with a metal coupling that can take much more of a beating that a similar plastic piece.
If you need a lot of features and programmability, you’re going to want a different timer. But if you want a basic, no-frills design that gets the job done, the Nelson will be right up your alley.
- No batteries required
- Tough, durable design
- Very easy to use
- Very limited options
4. Melnor RainCloud
- Control your watering from anywhere you have internet access with a smart phone, tablet or computer. Compatible with Amazon Alexa so your Raincloud will respond to voice commands.
- Setup is a breeze with a simple plug and play connection to your router and an App that makes scheduling easy and fun. Save water and fully automate with the addition of the AquaSentry Moisture Sensor which detects soil moisture and controls watering automatically
- Water up to 4 different areas or zones with 1 faucet, all with independent watering schedules with multiple cycles throughout the day
- No need to dig up your yard for an inground system: Raincloud works with standard garden hoses, drip systems, soaker hoses and all types of sprinklers
- Melnor provides 7-year warranty for Raincloud. If you experience a product failure issue ever; we replace it. We stand behind our products
Last update on 2020-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If you want the benefits of an automatic sprinkler system without the mess of tearing up your lawn, the Melnor RainCloud is an excellent solution. It has four outlets, each of which can be individually timed so you can operate four different watering zones from a single spigot.
The RainCloud is designed to integrate with your smartphone and includes a free app for controlling your sprinklers. If you want to change your watering schedule, skip a day, or turn on one or more hoses, you can do it from your living room or from the other side of the country. It’s also compatible with Amazon Echo voice controls.
If that’s not enough, this timer is also designed to pair with the Melnor AquaSentry Moisture Sensor. If you go this route, you can program your RainCloud to activate when the soil moisture level drops to a certain point. In this way, you can save as much water as possible, and only run your sprinkler when the ground actually needs it.
One thing to keep in mind with this type of timer is that you’re still limited to the water flow from a single spigot. If you activate two or more outlets simultaneously, you’ll experience a corresponding drop in pressure. By staggering all four zones, you’ll be able to easily avoid this problem.
- Four outlets
- Can be operated via an app or Amazon Echo
- Can be paired with a soil moisture sensor
- 7-year manufacturer’s warranty
5. Gideon Dual-Valve Hose Water Timer
- 2 separate valves with maximum flexibility settings. Attach two hoses, and customize each hose with its own watering duration and frequency according to your precise needs. Use one water timer to control watering your lawn and garden
- Ball valve water timer working water pressure: 0 - 8 bar. Ball valve you water with impurity water. And it attach to 3/4''(19mm) or 1''(25mm) tap or faucet
- Irrigation Timer made from premium ABS, material waterproof, weather-resistant; suitable for outdoor using
- Easy to connect Yardeen water timer to tap or faucet, no tools needed. Follow the instruction, programs are easy to setup
- Low power consumption, 2 XAA 1.5v alkaline battery required (not included).
Last update on 2020-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Gideon Dual-Valve Hose Water Timer, as its name implies, is a valve timer with two outlets. While this doesn’t give you quite the same versatility as the RainCloud we just looked at, but it’s still a significant step up from a single-outlet timer.
This timer features a clear, high-visibility LCD display. It’s easy to read, and it’s easy to operate, with the ability to set the left and right outlets independently. When not in use, the display will show you the next watering time, and when the unit is on, it will show you how much time is remaining in the current watering cycle.
There are two other features that allow for ease of operation and versatility: a rain delay for skipping the next watering cycle, and a manual override for turning on your hose right then and there.
One thing to be aware of is that the plastic threads on the coupling aren’t very sturdy. They’re good enough, but they’ll wear out quickly if you’re constantly removing and reattaching your timer. Thanks to the manual override feature, this shouldn’t be necessary.
The Gideon timer is ideal if you’ve got a small lawn and a garden that needs to be watered on different schedules. Alternatively, it can be used as a dual-zone timer for watering a larger yard. Either way, it’s a great value at a very reasonable price.
- Two outlets
- Many programming options
- Rain delay and manual override features
- Flimsy construction
Water Hose Timer Buying Guide
Now that we’ve looked at our top choices, it’s time to take a deeper dive. Here, we’ll discuss what you should look for when you’re deciding on your timer.
Number Of Outlets
The number of outlets on your timer is one of the easiest things to tell. It’s obvious from the appearance. Most hose timers utilize a single outflow valve, but some offer two, three, or four.
This is helpful if you’re growing different plants with different watering requirements. For example, you can set your grass to water once a day, but water your vegetable garden twice a day. Farmers’ Almanac has put out a helpful watering guide to tell you when to water different common garden plants.
If you’re going to do this, make sure your watering times don’t overlap. If they do, you won’t get enough water pressure through either hose.
Rain Delay Options
Sometimes, a storm or a morning shower waters your lawn and garden for you. In this case, you’d just be wasting water if you run your sprinkler. A rain delay feature can help you avoid this.
Depending on how a timer works, it may have a delay button on the physical timer itself, or the delay function may be operated remotely, through an app. Either way, this is a very useful feature, and it’s something you should look for.
A manual override is the opposite of a rain delay. While a rain delay allows you to skip watering, a manual override allows you to water when you don’t normally have a watering scheduled.
This isn’t just useful for watering your plants. It’s also useful for other tasks, like if you need to use your hose to wash your car.
Different Display Types
Depending on a watering timer’s layout, you may have different types of displays. This can range anywhere from a simple mechanical dial to an LCD screen with lots of details.
A mechanical dial is generally cheaper but gives you fewer options. On the other hand, an LCD display can be confusing, so you’ll need to take the time to read the manual before you use the timer.
Similar to different types of displays, different hose timers allow you different programming options.
In our list, for example, the Nelson is a basic timer that just ticks off the minutes. You have to actually turn on by yourself, and it will shut off automatically when the timer runs out.
Other models allow you to program daily waterings, or even program waterings every two days, every three days, or once a week. This can be a very useful feature since depending on where you live, you may not need to worry about daily waterings.
On a related note, different timers allow you to water for different durations. Do you need to water for fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Depending on your needs, different timers will be a better fit.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re watering is that lawns and gardens have different needs. We’ve already linked to a helpful garden watering resource. But Scotts has put out a comprehensive lawn watering guide that will help you keep your grass green and growing without wasting water.
Electrical vs. Mechanical
We’ve already talked about different display types. However, you’ll also need to decide whether to use a mechanical or an electrical timer.
A mechanical timer generally has a simpler design, which means it will be easier to use. Mechanical timers also don’t require any batteries, so you don’t have to worry about them going dead while you’re on vacation.
On the other hand, by their very nature, mechanical timers tend to offer fewer options. There’s only so much you can do with a mechanical dial, although some of the timers we’ve reviewed offer a surprising number of features for a mechanical design.
Electrical timers can integrate a variety of features, including advanced programming options and multiple outlets. They rely on batteries, though, so you’ll need to check them periodically to make sure that the battery is still holding a charge.
If you have a large yard, it can be difficult or impossible to water with a single sprinkler. Two, three, or more may be necessary. In addition, as the sun moves across the sky, different parts of the lawn may be shaded at different times. If you need to run multiple sprinklers, multiple outflows will help you get the job done without needing to do any additional work.
You’d think it would be common sense that a hose timer should be waterproof, but some cheaper models aren’t. This isn’t a problem on a mechanical timer — there’s nothing for the water to hurt — but a cheap electrical timer can short out in a hurry. Spend a few extra dollars on a waterproof model, and you’ll have a timer that lasts you for years.
If you’re interested in integrating your water timers into your smart home system, you can. A water control station allows you to control your timer and change your options directly from your smartphone or Alexa.
Even better, you can integrate a soil moisture meter, so your sprinkler or hose will only run when the soil gets dry. This can get a bit technical. Thankfully, we found this helpful guide to get you started.
Integrating all of this hardware takes some time and know-how. But if you want to save water while ensuring that your plants get all the moisture they need, a fully integrated system will get you exactly what you need.
- Ultimate Wi-Fi and timer control: the B-hyve app is fully functional for android, iOS or web devices and gives you control wherever you need it program your timer on the app, at the timer, or let the weather-based software create a program for you
- Smart watering: weather sense technology provides watering based on site conditions such as slope, soil type, sun/shade, historical et and live weather feeds, it automatically adjusts your controller to deliver the right amount of water to your plants
- Easy to install and use: utilize the swing panel for easy access to the angled wiring terminals, which makes wiring simple and convenient and the plug-and-go line cord that can also be cut for hardwired applications
- CERTIFIED TO SAVE WATER AND MONEY: B-hyve is EPA WaterSense approved and certified, ensuring it will save you water and energy. This can also make your B-hyve timer eligible for local rebates, which can save up to 100% of the cost on your timer
- DURABILITY AND SECURITY: The Orbit B-hyve Wi-Fi sprinkler timer comes in a weather-resistant case, allowing you to mount your timer indoors or outdoors without risk of weather damage and a locking cabinet that keeps your timer safe from harm
Last update on 2020-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Dealing With Watering Restrictions
Depending on where you live, you may be limited to watering at certain times of day, or on certain days of the week. Remember to follow all your local rules and regulations when setting up your timer.
One benefit of using a water hose timer is that you can water at any time, on any day. So if you have to be at work or out of town during your local designated watering time, your lawn won’t need to suffer.
Best Water Hose Timer Brands
So, we know what we’re looking for. But how reliable are the brands we’ve listed? Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
- Orbit Irrigation Products is a US manufacturer based in Bountiful, Utah. They were founded in 1986, and produce more than 2,000 varieties of sprinklers, hoses, timers, and even unrelated landscaping supplies like outdoor lights and snow shovels. They currently operate in more than 40 countries on five continents.
- Instapark was founded in 2008 in Santa Fe Springs, California. They originally manufactured laser modules and laser pointers but took advantage of the booming solar power industry and state subsidies to start producing solar-powered devices. Now, they produce a wide variety of home automation accessories, from wall outlet timers to lights to safes.
- Nelson Irrigation was founded as the Central Brass and Stamping Company in 1911 in Peoria, Illinois. From their humble beginnings manufacturing hose fittings, they soon began producing a wide variety of irrigation products. In 1972, the company was too large and spun off their irrigation supply department as its own company: Nelson Irrigation.
- Melnor is a Winchester, Virginia-based company that manufactures sprinklers, hose nozzles, wands, quick connects and other watering accessories. The company was founded in 1946, and quickly made their mark on the industry by manufacturing the first oscillating sprinkler for the consumer market. They remain one of the biggest brands in the business.
- Gideon Products, LLC is a relatively new brand that does all of its business online. They’re primarily known for their massage chairs. However, they’ve since taken the same timer technology they use in their chairs, and applied it to other purposes. This includes their water hose timer.
Before we wrap up, we’ll answer a few of the most common questions you may have.
Q: Why Use a Water Hose Timer?
A: A water hose timer can be useful for several reasons. To begin with, they save you the trouble of physically watering every day. But there are also other benefits worth considering.
As we’ve already discussed, you can water even when you’re not home. This is a huge benefit if you’re dealing with water restrictions, but it’s also helpful if you work irregular hours, spend a lot of time on the road, or if your kids keep you running them back and forth to activities.
Another benefit is that you can save water. With simple, manual control, it’s easy to forget to shut off your sprinkler and let it run all night. Not only is this a waste of water, but it can turn your lawn into a soggy mess, and even flood your garden.
Speaking of forgetting, it’s also possible to forget to water, to begin with. Then, suddenly, your garden is wilted and your lawn is covered in brown patches. With a hose timer, you’ll never need to worry about that again.
Finally, a hose timer can act as a theft deterrent when you’re out of town. It’s obviously not as effective as a security system, but thieves will think twice if they see a sprinkler running in the backyard.
Q: When Should I Water?
A: Ideally, you should water just after dawn or just before dark. This will allow water to soak into the soil without evaporating off the surface in the heat of the day. Once again, though, keep an eye on your local watering regulations.
Q: What Kind of Hose Should I Use?
A: There are several different types of hoses available for use. Depending on your needs, one or the other may be better for you. Here’s a quick overview of what’s available.
Light and Medium-Duty Hoses
We’ve lumped these two varieties of hose together because they’re more or less equivalent. These hoses are small in diameter, typically about half an inch, which allows for a low to moderate flow of water.
A lot of people buy a light or medium-duty hose because they’re cheaper than heavy-duty. However, the cheaper material, usually vinyl, is prone to kink and will dry out over time, losing flexibility. They’re okay if you need a quick, cheap solution, but if you want a hose that’s going to last, spend a little more money on a heavy-duty hose.
Heavy-duty hoses are typically larger in diameter, about ¾ of an inch. They have thicker sides that resist kinking and will last much longer without the rubber degrading. They also tend to have heavier-duty couplings, whereas light and medium-duty hoses often have cheap couplings that separate easily.
The only downside of a heavy-duty hose is the price. If you’re going to spend $50 on a hose, you’ll need to be extra careful not to accidentally run it over with your lawnmower.
Perforated Soaker Hoses
These hoses are typically flat and wide, with a series of holes poked in the top. When you turn on the tap, they spray water out through all the holes, effectively functioning as a sprinkler. Because a hose can be bent and curved, this variety is a great way to water long flower beds or a series of plant rows.
You can cover a lot of areas, and unusual shapes that would require more than one sprinkler.
So, which one of these timers should you choose? In large part, it depends on what you need.
If you want a “smart” device, the Melnor RainCloud is far and above the best on our list. Not only can you control it with your Amazon Echo or smartphone, but you can also integrate it with a soil moisture sensor to operate it automatically.
In addition, the RainCloud has a whopping four outlets. This makes it perfect for large yards, gardens, and gives you the same capacity as a typical automatic sprinkler system. And there’s no need to dig up your lawn to install supply lines.
That said, the RainCloud is a bit pricey, and it might be more than you need.
If you want a more minimalist system, consider the Orbit 62024. This timer is compact, reliable, and offers a surprisingly large number of options for a small, dial-operated device. All in all, it’s a great choice if you favor simplicity.
At the end of the day, though, all five of these timers would be a solid choice. We’ve done the legwork. Now you decide what’s the best water hose timer for you!