The best hose timers are providing major water conservation benefits.
A hose timer means your plants can stay watered and healthy even when you’re not around to take care of them.
Any landscaper that is serious about growing his business should consider pitching the installation of hose timers.
Plants need water. If you want to have a healthy garden full of life, you’re going to need to keep the water flowing. A hose timer is a helpful device to do exactly that.
There are many reasons why a hose timer is an excellent gadget to add to your gardening equipment. One of the main ones is to save yourself some time.
A garden that waters itself means you have one less task to worry about around the house.
They can also help to avoid water waste. If you’re in the market for a hose timer, take a few minutes to look over our recommendations for the best hose timers available right now.
5 best Hose Timers
#1 Melnor RainCloud Internet Controlled Smart Water Irrigation Timer/Controller
Hose timers don’t come much more sophisticated than this Melnor model. This digital gadget can ensure your watering is taken care of with a minimum of effort.
The Melnor has four valves for hoses, making it useful for very large yards.
Each valve can be separately controlled, allowing you to provide different levels of water to different areas of your yard.
The digital display with its array of buttons allows you to set up the time you want each hose to be activated.
But with WiFi connectivity, this hose timer can also be controlled by an app on your phone from anywhere in the world.
If that wasn’t enough, the Melnor hose timer can also integrate with Amazon’s Echo unit. So you can activate your watering system with a voice command to Alexa.
Or you can sync it with a soil moisture sensor and let the system maintain the correct level of watering all by itself.
Clearly, Melnor is a serious piece of equipment. And it comes with a price tag to match.
But if you have a large yard or a lot of plants with different moisture requirements, or you simply want a hose timer that can integrate with your smart home, the Melnor is a solid choice.
This hose timer is feature-packed. But for those not entirely comfortable with technology, its array of options may be confusing.
The Melnor is better for those more comfortable with wireless technology.
- Multiple watering zones allow for customization.
- Can be controlled via app or Alexa.
- Allows watering schedule to be maintained or adjusted while you are away from home.
- Can be made entirely hands-free by using soil moisture detector (sold separately).
- May be too complicated for people unfamiliar with the technology involved.
This digital hose timer offers a lot of options for customization. The two valves allow for two hoses to be controlled.
And each valve can be set up with three different programs at a time. With this hose timer, all you need to do is program it and forget about it.
The Claber allows for weekly cycles of watering, which helps cut down the time you’ll spend adjusting its settings.
Programming is straightforward thanks to the digital display and built-in buttons.
This hose timer’s circuitry is housed in a well-sealed internal compartment to protect it from moisture.
The thick plastic housing is rugged and UV stable to prevent fading, and a built-in stainless steel filter keeps your water free of harmful particles.
The Claber is a hose timer that’s built to last. It runs on a 9-volt battery and comes with an LED indicator to let you know when it’s time to change the battery.
Make sure to remove this unit in colder weather, though. Once it gets cold enough to form frost, this unit can become damaged by the cold and cease functioning correctly.
- High level of customization.
- Two independent watering zones.
- Turns on and off by itself.
- No power supply needed other than a 9-volt battery.
- Very expensive.
- No wifi connectivity.
This hose timer from Orbit is something of an oddity. It’s a digital timer, but it feels almost like a mechanical one.
The reason for this is the large dial on the front of the unit. It takes a moment to notice the LCD screen beside this dial that gives the timer away as a digital unit.
The dial and three buttons beside it make this a wonderfully easy hose timer to use.
The orbit would make a great introduction to digital timers for someone who is more familiar with using an analog model. Programming is easy with this unit.
With a single valve, this hose timer can’t manage the different needs of multiple areas of a large yard. But for those whose needs are simpler, it should work quite well.
The hardened plastic and brass fittings of this unit contribute to its durability. This is a hose timer that you can rely on.
And its scheduling options allow for watering anywhere from every six hours to once per week.
The unit runs on two AA batteries. While this means it can function without any external power supply, it tends to run through these batteries quite quickly.
Users will need to keep a close eye on battery level to ensure this unit doesn’t let them down.
- Easy to program.
- Versatile scheduling.
- Only one valve.
- Batteries drain quickly and need to be replaced often.
Apps and wifi connectivity can be great for water management.
But sometimes, all you want is a trusty and reliable timer to keep your garden watered.
The Instapark is a single outlet mechanical timer that doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. Operation is as simple as can be.
You simply twist the knob to the number of minutes and walk away. Once the time you set has elapsed, the hose timer will shut off the water supply.
A useful feature of this hose timer is its manual bypass. This allows you to use the hose without having to remove the timer or turn it on.
The Instapark is rugged and durable, made to survive outdoors for a long time. Its simplicity means there’s little to go wrong.
This simplicity is also reflected in the price of the Instapark. The low cost helps to accommodate for the fact that this unit only has a single outlet.
You could buy multiples of this hose timer for less than a single unit of a more elaborate device.
But an obvious weakness of any mechanical timer is the fact that someone has to turn it on manually.
If you want a device that will water your garden even when you’re not at home, this isn’t it.
- Simple design makes it easy to use.
- Durable and rugged.
- No batteries required.
- Single hose outlet.
- Can’t turn the water on by itself.
Digital water timers offer flexibility that analog timers can’t match. But mechanical hose timers are far easier to use.
This hose timer from Raindrip attempts to bridge the divide. With its mechanical timing dials.
It’s resolutely analog, and its operation will be familiar to those gardeners used to mechanical devices.
But with three outlets controlled by three separate mechanical dials, it allows for watering of different zones at different times.
This rainproof unit is tough enough to survive outdoors. Its hardened plastic housing will keep water out.
Unlike most mechanical timers, the Raindrip also allows the user to control when the hoses turn on.
Both on and off times can be set for all three outlets, making this mechanical option more automatic than most competitors.
The Raindrip does run on batteries, unusually for an analog device. But there is a battery indicator LED that helps monitor battery level.
- Easy to use.
- Three watering zones available.
- Turns water both on and off.
- Requires batteries.
- Doesn’t offer advanced features like rain delays or multiple programs.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Hose Timer
At their core, hose timers are relatively simple gadgets.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have some choices to make when it comes time to buy a hose timer – or two or three of them.
Think carefully about the following factors:
Digital vs. Mechanical
Once upon a time, all hose timers were mechanical. These old-school timers are simple and dependable.
You turn the dial, and the water starts to flow. A clockwork mechanism keeps track of the time you have set and shuts off the water once the correct number of minutes have elapsed.
Digital timers are a more recent addition to the market. They allow for greater versatility and less interference from you.
They can be set to come on at a certain time of day and switch themselves off, so they remove the risk of your forgetting to turn them on.
Digital timers are great for busy or forgetful people. They also allow your plants to stay watered when you’re not around.
However, they are more expensive, more difficult to program and often less durable than mechanical hose timers.
Size Of Your Yard
If your property is small, a single hose timer might be enough for your needs. But if you have a large yard, that may not be the case.
Furthermore, different plants have different watering needs. Some will require near constant irrigation, while others thrive by being allowed to dry out between waterings.
It sounds complicated. But your watering requirements can be simplified by purchasing a hose timer that allows for watering by zone.
A hose timer with multiple watering zones allows you to connect multiple hoses to a single timer.
Then, you can set a different time to supply water to each hose.
That way, different areas of your yard can be provided with differing amounts of water on schedules that vary. It’s a very handy feature for larger yards.
Over-watering your plants can be as bad as under-watering them.
If there’s rain on the way, you don’t want to waste water on already wet plants. And you certainly don’t want to flood your garden.
A rain delay feature allows you to tell your hose timer not to release water for a set period. This gives you greater control over the amount of water you use.
With mechanical models, all you need to do in the event of rain is to not turn the dial.
With digital models, there may be a rain delay button to press or some other setting to change. Either way, it’s a feature worth having, especially in rainy climates.
The whole point of a hose timer is to reduce the amount of time you spend watering your plants.
If you have a hose timer that keeps breaking, it defeats the whole purpose.
A unit made of metal or heavy plastic will stand up to the elements better.
It’s especially important for digital models that they are adequately waterproofed to protect the circuits from any leaks.
The wireless revolution hasn’t bypassed hose timers. There are models on the market now that allow you to operate them via an app from anywhere in the world.
You can monitor the health of your garden from your cell phone and keep plants watered while you’re away.
There are even systems that will do it all for you.
Soil moisture monitors tell a control system when water is needed, and the hoses will be switched on without you needing to lift a finger.
Our Final Take
Hose timers have come a long way since the days when they were little more than a mechanical clock attached to a valve.
Smart timers make it possible to keep an eye on your garden remotely and control the level of water used from your pocket.
But there’s still a place for more low-technology options. Sometimes, all you want is a simple, reliable mechanism to reduce the amount of work you need to do in the garden.
In that case, a cheaper mechanical model can serve you well.
Whether you choose a digital model with all the bells and whistles or a tried-and-tested mechanical workhorse, a hose timer can help you to conserve pressure water and avoid over-watering.
Hose timers can also save a lot of time. By removing the need for you to worry about remembering to turn the water off, you can focus on other garden tasks.
Or you can just sit back with a refreshing drink and enjoy your thriving garden. Let us know how you’ve used a hose timer in the comments section.