Best Garden Hose Timer: A Complete Buying Guide
As the famous saying goes – “Timing is everything“. This holds very true in every aspect of people’s lives – including watering the garden.
Yup folks! Timing is essential in gardening too, you know. Giving your plants the right amount of water at the right time keeps them hydrated well and balanced. On that note, the issues with over and underwatering are likely kept at bay.
This is where the use of garden hose timers comes into play. This simple garden tool allows you to pre-set the water system to operate at your preferred set of times. So, you don’t have to go back and forth your faucet to turn it on and off whenever you need to water your garden. This hose timer will conveniently do that all for you!
Sounds pretty amazing, right?
In this article, let us get to know more about this garden hose timer. Why should you own one? What are the different types to choose from? And, what features should you look for when buying this device? As an added bonus, we also included our top pick products to give you a better idea.
Why Does Your Garden Hose Need A Timer?
To be honest, your garden can actually survive the world without a hose timer. If that is the case so, why bother buying one?
Well, here are some good reasons why owning a hose timer can benefit you and your garden.
The number one reason why people opt to use a garden hose timer is because of convenience. For some, the thought itself of watering the plants every now and then is already a handful. True indeed, it does take a considerable amount of time and effort.
Imagine turning the faucet on, picking up the hose, and roaming around the garden to disperse the water. Then, go back again to the faucet to shut it off. Doing that every single day for a few minutes, hours, or even more can take a lot of commitment.
Using a hose timer, on the other hand, takes all the stress away. You don’t need to be physically around to operate the watering. Nor find someone else to do it for you. All you need is just a few clicks on the control panel to program the settings and you are good to go.
In fact, there are models that allow you to control the watering despite being away from home. These smart hose timers are connected to the internet. So, you can still manipulate your garden hose system even when you are out on vacation for days or so.
Technically, hose timers are like gardener’s little assistants. Just tell them when and where to water and they’ll gladly do the business for you.
- Customized Scheduling
The main function of the garden hose timer is to dispense water at the right place, the right amount, and the right frequency. As you may know, different plants have different watering requirements. Some can get by getting watered just once a week. Meanwhile, there are also others that are more hydrophilic which demands daily hydrations.
How often the need may be, the garden hose timer got your back. This selective watering is especially applicable to multi-channel hose systems. Having your garden appropriately divided into zones allow you to customize the settings as needed per location.
For example, you can designate a watering schedule of 6 in the morning every day for zones 1 and 2. Then, set an 8 AM every other day watering schedule for zone 3. The timing and interval is totally up to you.
The key to success here is to group your plants according to their similarities in hydration. That way, you can provide water to each zone accordingly. In the end, it minimizes the chances of overwatering or underwatering.
- Conserve Water
The hose timer allows you to preset the duration of watering. That way, your garden receives only what it needs too. This device helps to prevent unnecessarily running the water for too long. Such incidence can lead to a lot of wasted water.
Water is precious as life is. Any living thing in the world would not survive without it. It is bad enough that our resources are already starting to deplete in some areas. Hence, it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to conserve water in every way possible. Environmentalist or not, we owe it to mother nature and the future generations of humanity.
When water is wasted, you are wasting your money too. Do you know how much hundreds or even thousands of dollars can go down the drain because of a simple leak? Even more so, if the water hose is accidentally left fully open for an extended period of time.
Overwatering is not only an unwise expenditure in your budget, but it also has an impact on your plant’s health as well. Overly drenching the soil can cause multitudes of serious problems. To begin with, it can drown out your plants preventing them from taking in oxygen. As a result, it can stunt its growth and develop root rotting.
Moreover, there are also timer models that are built-in with rain sensors. What this does is that it detects the occurrences of rain. When it does so, it auto-adjusts its watering schedule to avoid further soaking the soil and the plants.
Do you know that garden hose timers can be set to add some level of security in your household too?
Yup, my friend! This handy tool is not just for watering the garden. But, it can also aid in deterring burglars as well.
Setting the timer to turn on when you are asleep or not in the house makes intruders think that someone is at home. Thus, making your place the least likely target. Although this is not exactly the main purpose of garden hose timers. Then again, it somehow works intimidating people with unfavorable intentions.
Different Types of Garden Hose Timers
It is essential to get to know the different types of hose timers. This enables you to determine which one is best suited for you and your garden. That way, you can better maximize the use of your device.
- Mechanical Water Hose Timer
This is the classic, old-school type of water timer. Just like the egg timer in your kitchen, the device works by pre-setting the duration of its operation. The mechanical timer is directly attached to the faucet. So, when the set time runs out, it automatically shuts off the water supply as well.
The mechanical timer is very easy to use and install. Simply hook the device into the faucet. Screw it up to fix the attachment, set the duration, and you are all good to go. No more wirings nor batteries required. Just plain and simple as it is!
This device also has a very inexpensive price point. Nevertheless, you can still rely on its longevity despite its cheap cost. Its fuss-free mechanism allows it to last longer compared to those with a more complex system.
- Digital Water Hose Timer
The digital water timer enables you to automate the watering duration and interval. Same with mechanical timers, this type of device can be attached directly to the faucet for a single-valved system. However, there are also some models that are rather hooked onto individual sprinkler units. In that manner, it allows you to set an independent watering schedule per outlet.
On that note, the digital water hose timer is a good choice for larger lawns and gardens. Just make sure that the plants are strategically separated by zones. Doing so ensures that each grouping will receive the right amount of watering together.
Unlike the mechanical type, digital timers require a set of batteries to function. Keep in mind that you may need to replace it from time to time. So, it is better to keep spare units of fresh batteries on hand to avoid interruptions in your watering activities.
- Smart Water Hose Timer
The smart water hose timer is the more advanced version of the digital timer. It is integrated with a system that allows connection to the internet or Wifi. This feature gives the timer more capability to be independent even when the user is in remote settings.
By that it means, you can control the activity of the timer despite being away from your lawn or your home. So, whenever you are out on a vacation, you can still come back to a lush and well-watered garden.
Moreover, smart hose timers also have the ability to adapt to changes in weather and the environment. For instance, it has sensor probes that can detect whenever there is recent rain activity. And so, it will duly adjust its next watering schedule to adapt to the changes. Some companies call this feature the rain delay.
Cost-wise, it is quite expected for smart water hose timers to have a steeper price point. Well, you are after all paying for its advanced features and, of course, the ultimate convenience it offers too.
What to Look for When Buying Garden Hose Timer
There is a wide array of choices for water hose timers out there. It can be quite overwhelming to choose which one is best suited for you. Worry not, here are some of the factors worth considering before buying the device.
- Manual or Electronic
We have already discussed the different types of water hose timers. So, you most likely already have an idea of what these devices can offer. Fundamentally, the choice boils down to your own preferences.
If you only want a simple and basic type of timer, then the mechanical water timer is the way to go. It is super easy to install and operate. Plus, it does not need batteries to function.
If you wish to program more complex scheduling, then it is rather best to invest in electronic timers. They provide more functionalities to allow better customization of the settings. It also gives you the freedom to water your lawn remotely. As a trade-off, though, these devices tend to have higher price points and they need batteries too.
- Setting Capabilities
If you opt to use an electronic water timer, then it is wise to know up to what extent can you program the device. The basic settings usually involve the frequency, the duration, and the starting time of the activity.
However, more advanced models allow you to program minimum and maximum timing. Some timers can be set to run as short as 1 minute up to as long as 300 minutes or even longer. The range of choices for intervals is also more extensive. You can set it water as often as every 5 minutes, daily, every other day, weekly, and so on.
Aside from setting up a sequence, it is also important to have an option for manual operation. This will allow you to override the system without interrupting the existing schedules. Once the manual watering is done, the timer resumes its pre-set schedules.
Additional programs such as the rain delay feature are also very helpful. It prevents overwatering and in a way conserves water too by canceling the watering activity.
- Number of Outlets
Another thing you should ask yourself is how many outlets do you need. By that, it means how many areas in your garden need individual watering settings. As you know, different varieties of plants require varying levels of hydration. By grouping similar plants together, you will likely know how many outlets you would be needing to cover your garden.
Water hose timers usually come with a single outlet. This is good for programming one set of watering schedule for all. However, there are also models that can well cater to lawns with multiple outlets. With that, you can program the settings individually to accommodate the needs of each zones.
- Physical Features
It is not just about aesthetics. But, it is more about what the physical design of the timer can offer. Like does it have an LCD screen? Are the texts readable? Or, does it have a backlight?
To further add, is the device bulky or compact? Does the overall look blend well in your garden?
These are some of the questions you should consider when buying water hose timers. Although looks may not all be that important, it still feels great to have them according to your liking. Plus, they also provide some level of convenience on your part too.
Our Top Picks for Garden Hose Timers
1. Orbit single outlet hose watering timer
- Heavy-duty waterproof construction
- Duration: 1 minute up to 240 minutes
- Frequency: Every 6 hours up to once every 7 days
- Manual override switch
- Rain delay with 24, 48, & 72 hours pause interval
- Program remains uninterrupted even when the battery is changed
- Large LCD display
- Easy to install and program
- Available in 1,2, and 3 outlets
Why we love it: All-time best-selling garden hose timer.
2. Nelson water mechanical timer
- Manual watering
- Automatic on/off timer function
- Runtime duration: 1 minute up to 120 minutes
- Brass swivel coupling
- With ergonomic grip
- No batteries required
Why do we love it?
It is a fool-proof mechanical garden house timer.
3. Rain bird professional-grade electronic digital hose end timer/Controller
- 7-day digital timer
- For use with hose-end sprinklers, drip irrigation, and soaker hose
- High flow rate
- Can operate up to 5 sprinklers
- Maximum runtime of 6 hours with 2 starting times per day
- Allows manual watering
- Rain delay up to 96 hours
- Extra-large dial and readout screen
- Battery-operated with 2 AA batteries
Why we love it:
It is a professional-grade electronic timer with premium quality and performance.
4. Melnor aqua timer 4-zone digital timer
- Works with sprinklers, soaker hoses, and drip irrigation systems
- Duration: 1 minute up to 6 hours
- Frequency: Every hour up to once a week
- With an option for manual mode
- Rain delay up to 7 days
- Available in 1, 2, and 4-zone outlets
- Separate scheduling for each zones
- Easy to install and program
- Battery-operated with 2 AA batteries
- Package includes 5 extra filter washers
- Limited 7 years warranty
Why do we love it?
A great option for larger gardens with its 4-zone outlet capabilities.
5. Orbit b-hyve smart hose faucet timer
- High-quality water-resistant construction
- With remote WiFi hub
- Bluetooth connectivity up to 150 feet
- Downloadable B-hyve application compatible with Android and iOS devices
- Can be alternatively operated via the web application
- Can be integrated with Alexa smart program
- B-hyve network meshing to improve signal strength and integration with multiple B-hyve timers
- WeatherSense technology
- Built-in flow meter
- Rain delay feature
- Expandable system
- Easy to install, program, and pair to devices
Why do we love it?
This is the ultimate smart water hose timer.
Water timers are the perfect companion to your garden hoses. It saves you a lot of time, effort, and money. Things that are better off spent with more important matters with your family and peers. Of course, rather than just boringly consuming it from watering your lawn over and over again. So wait no more, try and see the big difference the garden hose timer brings!