Quick Reviews of the Best Garden Hose Timers

Our recommendation for the best garden hose timer is the Orbit 3-Outlet Digital Watering Timer. You can attach up to three valves, which is an excellent option if you’re a gardener whose yard has many different types of plants and flowers. You can also program two hoses to water different sections of your yard or garden. Of course, there are lots of great timers out there, so here are a few more we like.

Our Picks for the Best Garden Hose Timer

Reasons to Use a Garden Hose Timer

Cut down on time you spend doing yard work and water your lawn more efficiently with a garden house timer.

A garden hose timer helps you prevents you from soaking – or under-watering – plants and flowers. If you’re manually watering while working in your yard, it’s easy to be distracted and leave water on too long in one spot or forget to water another area.

best garden hose timersPhoto by jhusemannde licensed under CC0

With a hose timer, you set the duration of watering time, and the timer will shut off automatically at the end time you’ve specified. There’s no need to watch over your lawn to make sure it’s watered.

When you’re on vacation or a business trip a garden hose timer is less expensive than hiring a landscaping service. Attach a hose to a sprinkler and set the timer for the day, time and duration desired. Some timers need to be set each day manually, but most are electronically controlled and allow you to preset times.

There’s another advantage to using a garden hose timer you may not have considered. Using a hose timer is similar to automatic programming of lights in your house. It’ll repel potential intruders. The sight of a lawn being watered will prompt thieves to move on to another house. (It’s highly unlikely a thief will see the attached hose timer in your garden.)

A hose timer helps you conserve water, which helps you save money on your water bill and prevent you from over-saturating your lawn.

Features of Garden Hose Timers

Garden hose timer features vary depending on the make and model you buy, but most electronic timers. Here are a few basic features and how they can help you water your yard

Programmable timers allow you to schedule watering sessions, or watering cycles, for the optimum amount of watering time for every section of your yard or garden. Newly-seeded lawns need more moisture than mature grass, so if you’ve just planted grass in your front yard, you can program the timer accordingly.

Schedule the watering timer to turn on the water early in the day or late at night, any day of the week. Some timers allow you to program the intensity of the water flow from one to eight gallons per minute (GPM) or more.

An electronic hose timer with a rain delay feature lets you skip a watering session during a downpour or after a rain storm has saturated the lawn. Some timers let you set the rain delay for from one to three days.

Which Garden Hose Timer is Right for You?

With the right garden hose timer, you can improve your watering capabilities and turn even a “mix and match” garden into one cohesive, striking whole. Consider several factors before buying a garden hose timer, including:

  • Homebodies should opt for a manual timer. A mechanical, single hose timer is inexpensive, and you won’t have to spend time learning how to set up a digital timer you’ll rarely use.
  • A large yard or garden may need a hose timer with two or more valves. Most multiple hose timers only accommodate up to three valves. If you need to hook up more than three hoses, you probably need to purchase more than one hose timer apparatus or hire an irrigation expert to design a customized system.
  • Most irrigation timers let you set between four and six watering sessions a day, while others may have as few as two or as many as eight.

Tips for Using a Garden Hose Timer

Set your sprinkler timer to water your lawn early in the morning. Watering later in the day may result in evaporating water due to afternoon heat and wind.

Timer batteries usually last from four to six months. Most timers flash a warning when batteries are about to go bad, but it may be hard to notice when you’re busy. It may be best to change them before timer indicates it.

If you travel a lot and are concerned about timer batteries going out when you’re on vacation, you should look into installing a DIY redundant timer drip irrigation system.

Here’s a video from the Learn Organic Gardening at Growing Your Greens YouTube Channel with step-by-step instruction on “Installing Redundant Garden Hose Water Timer Water Timers for Drip Irrigation.”

How to Install a Garden Hose Timer

Installing a garden hose timer is easy. Attach the timer nozzle to your outdoor hose faucet, and then place the end of your hose(s) to the openings at the bottom of the timer.

Even if the LCD display seems confusing at first, with a little practice, you’ll become accustomed to programming it. All systems are slightly different, and there’s a learning curve with electronically controlled timers. You need to familiarize yourself with the interface and how to set up watering duration, valve choice, and frequency of sessions for each attached hose.

Our Recommendation for Best Garden Hose Timer: Orbit Digital Watering Timer

The Orbit Digital Watering Timer is the best garden hose timer for most users’ watering needs. It gives property owners the choice of one manual and two digital timers. The two programmable valves for different areas are useful for watering front and back yards simultaneously, or according to any schedule you desire.

Install batteries and program the timer before attaching it to the wall of your house or garage with the included wall mount. Use the arrow buttons on the timer to set the clock and indicate start and end times. Water duration can be set from one to 240 minutes, giving you more control over the amount of irrigation during different times of the year. Fasten the timer to inlet and outlet faucets after programming and the timer is ready to use.

The Orbit 3-Outlet model has a rain delay feature you can set for up to three days, saving water and money during showers and storms. There are six settings for more precise watering times, which is ideal for hot climates and all yard sizes, except very small yards.

Only slightly more expensive than Orbit’s comparable two-valve model and cheaper than many high-end 2-outlet digital timers, it offers a large digital display and easy to use setting dial. The large dial and display are particularly useful for older individuals who find reading smaller digital displays troublesome.

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