10 Best Hose Timer Models: Mechanical and Digital Picks For 2020

Timing is everything, or so the old phrase goes. Are you a business person who’s constantly on the go? Or are you a mom who’s juggling housework and kids and a job, and you just want a time saver? Either way, you need a hose timer.

We’re going to go over the top choices in hose timers that are available right now. Whether you need one or multiple areas watered, something mechanical or something digital, there’s something here for you. So read on for everything you need to know about the hose timer and discover your best option!

Product Features
Orbit B-Hyve Smart Faucet TimerAlexa EnabledOrbit B-Hyve Smart Faucet TimerAlexa Enabled
  • Use wifi or app
  • Single valve
  • Works with Alexa
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Homitt Programmable Water TimerSingle OutletHomitt Programmable Water TimerSingle Outlet
  • Program digitally
  • Single valve
  • Has child lock
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Gideon Dual-Valve Water TimerDual OutletGideon Dual-Valve Water TimerDual Outlet
  • Program digitally
  • Dual valve
  • Flexible scheduling
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Orbit 3-Outlet Digital Watering TimerTriple OutletOrbit 3-Outlet Digital Watering TimerTriple Outlet
  • Dial to program
  • Triple valve
  • Devoted bypass valve
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Melnor AquaTimer 4-Zone Digital TimerQuad OutletMelnor AquaTimer 4-Zone Digital TimerQuad Outlet
  • Program digitally
  • Quad valve
  • Multi-zone capability
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Instapark Auto-Shutoff Mechanical Water TimerMechanicalInstapark Auto-Shutoff Mechanical Water TimerMechanical
  • Mechanical
  • Single valve
  • Auto-shutoff
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Raindrip Analog 3-Dial Water TimerAnalogRaindrip Analog 3-Dial Water TimerAnalog
  • Dial to program
  • Single valve
  • Tried & true function
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Instapark Programmable Hose TimerDigitalInstapark Programmable Hose TimerDigital
  • Program digitally
  • Single valve
  • Includes lid for box
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Rain Bird Professional Hose TimerReliableRain Bird Professional Hose TimerReliable
  • Program digitally
  • Single valve
  • Pro grade timer
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Orbit Mechanical Water Hose TimerBudgetOrbit Mechanical Water Hose TimerBudget
  • Mechanical
  • Single valve
  • Great value
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Why Do You Need A Hose Timer?

There’s quite a few reasons why a hose end timer is a good idea for you. Here’s some of the biggest reasons you need one now!

Avoiding Water Waste

I’m in California, where we’ve spent most of the last decade enduring a nasty drought. Here, water conservation is key, and in fact it’s the law. Most communities have put into place water conservation standards and requirements. You might only be able to water 3 days a week during a certain set of hours. If you’re not home then, your timer will be!

Also, while it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of wasted water in hand-watering, there can be. Carrying around your hose, you’re spilling out precious resources onto the lawn or along your pathways in the garden. A hose timer paired with a good drip irrigation system can ensure that you water only as long as you need to, and that not a single drop is wasted.

Different Ecosystems, Different Water Needs

Most gardeners don’t grow just one type of plant. In fact, there’s a wide and varied spectrum of plants in the average person’s yard, and they may not all need the same level of moisture. Furthermore, you’re watering from the top with a hose, which means you run the risk of diseases like powdery mildew. It can be a hassle.

Using a hose timer that has multiple outlets means that you can run one hose to your succulents and another one to your tomato patch, and set the timers for different schedules and different levels of water. It’ll automatically handle it from there.

Home Security… Sprinkler?

When you’re taking that much-earned summer vacation, you don’t want your lawn to turn brown. Setting up a lawn sprinkler on a timer makes sense then. But it has an added benefit: it deters thieves.

The average thief casing a neighborhood will see the sprinkler on and assume someone is home. They’ll skip right past your house. While a lot of people think of automatic timers for their lights as a security measure, your hose timer can be a pretty decent one too. It might not have been designed to be part of a home security system, but it certainly has its benefits!

Ease and Simplicity

Did I mention that hose timers make life incredibly easy yet? Because I really mean it! Hose timers are great time-savers.

If you take long trips out of town, your water timer can eliminate the worry that you’ll have a wilted wasteland when you return. Even if you’re home, your garden hose timer can be really beneficial. There’s no worry that you’ll miss a watering, and you can do garden maintenance while your plants are having a drink.

There’s even some advanced models out now that can be controlled via the internet. Just tell it when to start or stop using your phone or another device. You won’t have to rush out into the heat of the summer sun!

Garden Hose Timer Features

Hose Timer
Hose Timer. Source: cogdogblog

While there’s not a whole lot of difficulty to water hose timers, there’s still some possible features you might want.

Watering Zones

Large yard? No problem. You can pick a hose timer that has multiple outlets for multiple hoses. While a single-valve outlet will work just fine on its own, you will need to move the hose from location to location. With a timer that has multiple zones, you can program the time you want it to supply water to each hose. Your timer will handle the rest!

Mechanical vs. Digital

Water hose timers come in one of two versions: mechanical, or digital.

Mechanical hose timers don’t use batteries. With these devices, you walk up to the hose, turn a dial to set it for however long you desire the water to be on, and walk away. It’ll start the water immediately and cut it off when that time is done.

Digital timers have multiple settings for watering options. If it’s the peak of the summer and your veggies need water both at sunrise and sunset, for instance, that’s doable. These do typically require batteries, which means you’ll need to replace them regularly. Easy to program, these water timers can be reset for different times of year and different watering needs.

Watering Duration

Depending on your garden needs, you can vary the duration. A mechanical device is very simple, you just turn the dial and it begins the watering cycle. But if you have a multiple-outlet digital model, it’s very easy to set one hose for 30 minutes at dawn and another hose for 50 minutes mid-day if that’s what you want.

Most mechanical models go to 120 minutes of consistent watering time as a maximum. Digital models have an even longer time, which is great if you’re deep-watering grapevines or small trees once or twice a week rather than daily.

Rain Delay

Clouds have formed, and rain is coming. That’s not a problem! All you have to do is to tell your timer to do a rain delay for the anticipated amount of time. Now, with a mechanical model, you just don’t turn the dial, but digital models vary in how this is done. Usually it’s as simple as pressing a delay button or entering in how many days you want the water to be off for.

Sturdy, Waterproof Construction

While it may seem silly, some cheaply-made hose timers aren’t waterproof. While this won’t hurt a mechanical model, on a digital hose timer it can destroy the whole unit. Be sure that your control panel and battery access port are fully waterproofed. It also helps if your unit is made out of heavy plastic or metal, as it will hold up to the elements better that way.

Other Features

If you want your garden to use wireless technology to determine when optimum watering schedules should be, there’s now devices that can do that for you. With a wireless soil moisture tester, a wireless hose timer, and a base station to coordinate it all, you can let your garden go fully automatic!

For those of us who still want to maintain control over our watering frequency, there’s also an app for that. Let’s say that you realize while you’re out of the house that it’s the perfect time for your sweet potato vines to get a drink. You can use your phone app to turn on the water from afar, and tell it when to turn off. Just a few taps and it’s done.

10 Best Hose Timer Reviews

1. Orbit B-Hyve Smart Faucet Timer

Sale
Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer with Wi-Fi Hub, Compatible with Alexa
  • COMPLETE CONTROL: The B-hyve app is fully...
  • SMART WATERING: Weather Sense technology provides...
  • CERTIFIED TO SAVE WATER: B-hyve is certified for...

The idea of saying “Alexa, turn on the water” is highly appealing on those 100-degree days. And now it’s actually possible. Either using the B-Hyve app or via an Amazon Echo, you can control your watering from inside or even from far away from home.

Weather Sense technology will adjust your controller to deliver the right amount of water to your plants when they need them. It bases its conditions off of live weather feeds, historical records, and the site conditions to ensure they get exactly what you want them to get. A built in flow-meter allows you to track your water usage, so you can be water-smart as well.

By adding additional smart timers, you can create multiple zones in your yard. The wi-fi hub that comes with this model is good for all of them. And it’s easy to set it up and get it operational.

Just be aware, this model’s only for use in North America. They have international versions of it available abroad.

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2. Homitt Programmable Water Timer

Homitt Programmable Water Timer,3" Large Screen/IP65 Waterproof/Child Lock Mode/Auto&Manual...
  • WATERPROOF & DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: IP65...
  • WIDER RANGE OF RUN TIME AND INTERVAL:Watering...
  • MULTI-FUNCTION FOR MULTIPLE USES:[Child Lock...

With an extremely wide range of watering settings, this Homitt single-valve model can do pretty much anything. If you have succulents, the most infrequent setting it allows is a single watering every 15 days, a great level for low-water plants. A child lock prevents unintended triggering by kids or pets, and it has a manual setting and a rain delay as well.

You can set your exact duration of watering in minutes and seconds, plus you can trigger multiple waterings a day or space them out over time. Only two AA batteries are required to keep it functional for up to six months. After 30 seconds of idle time, the screen goes into a power-reduction mode so that you aren’t wasting battery power.

Because of its wide variety of functionality, this definitely deserves a place in your garden.

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3. Gideon Dual-Valve Water Timer

Gideon Dual-Valve Hose Water Timer Sprinkler Timer Irrigation Controller System – Battery...
  • 2-PROGRAMMABLE VALVES – Water timer features two...
  • EASY TO USE – Features a swivel coupling for...
  • MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY – Allows setting your...

Two separate valves with lots of flexibility is what this Gideon model provides you. Customize each hose with its own watering duration and frequency to optimize for your garden’s needs. A swivel coupling makes it easy to attach to your water source. Its large, easy-to-read LCD screen will reveal when your next watering cycle will begin, or the remaining time on your current watering cycle.

Each cycle can be set for up to 240 minutes, and as many times a day as you’d prefer. You can also skip hours to days of watering if rain threatens, as it’s easy to pause the scheduled cycles. Want to go manual? Push the “manual” button and set your watering session duration, and it will shut off at the desired time.

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4. Orbit 3-Outlet Digital Watering Timer

Orbit 56233D 3-Outlet Digital Watering Timer
  • Two programmable valves and one manual valve
  • One dial controls programming
  • Rain delay feature for water conservation

This three-outlet Orbit timer includes two programmable valves and one bypass or manual valve. You can set a schedule for two zones, letting them self-water. In the meantime, your third outlet allows you freedom to use your hose for potted plants without interrupting your regular watering cycle.

There’s a rain delay built in to conserve water, and it’s powered by a pair of AA batteries. Fully waterproof, it’ll handle the weather and sunlight like a champ. The oversized dial is easy to use to set your timer, and the digital display is large enough to read from a few feet away. Set a specific time or day to water your lawn or raised beds without going outside!

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5. Melnor AquaTimer 4-Zone Digital Timer

Melnor 65036-AMZ AquaTimer 4-Zone Digital Timer with 5 Stainless Steel Filter Washers Watering Set
  • Four valves let you schedule watering separately...
  • Flexible scheduling lets you water as often as...
  • Automatically water for as little as 1 minute up...

If you’ve got a lot of zones in need of watering, this Melnor AquaTimer is for you. Four different valves allow you to schedule your watering separately for each zone. You can set them for anything from one minute to 6 hours of watering time. In addition, you can water as often as hourly or as infrequently as once per week.

This system works perfectly with sprinklers, drip systems, or soaker hoses. If it rains, you can set a rain delay that will skip watering for up to seven days then resume its normal schedule. A manual watering option allows you access to your hoses without need of reprogramming.

This isn’t as tech-savvy as the prior 4-zone controller we’d reviewed, but it’s more reliable in the long-term. Just set it and let it go, it’ll handle everything on its own.

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6. Instapark Auto-Shutoff Mechanical Water Timer

Sale
Instapark MWT-08 Outdoor Garden Hose End Automatic Shut Off Mechanical Water Timer
  • Mechanical water timer automatically shuts off...
  • Compatible with any garden hose faucet with a...
  • Features manual bypass setting for faucet use...

Set this mechanical hose timer and walk away as it runs your hose for you! Unlike a digital hose timer, this mechanical unit will need to be started by hand for each use. However, you can put your sprinkler on the lawn or hook it to your drip system, walk over, turn the dial, and walk away. It’ll automatically turn off when it’s finished the watering time you set it to, up to 120 minutes later.

Just remember, a mechanical unit is great for someone who’s home to turn the dial, but it isn’t going to work while you’re out of town. You’ll need a digital unit for preset times when you can’t be there.

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7. Raindrip Analog 3-Dial Water Timer

Raindrip R675CT Analog 3-Dial Water Timer, 1, Multi
  • Easy-to-program and attaches to any outdoor...
  • Solenoid and diaphragm valve on/off control
  • Low battery indicator

Raindrip’s hose timer is actually an older style of timer, but it’s still good. Half manual, half-automatic, it is designed to be set for the first time at the time that you want your garden to be consistently watered at. As an example, if you want your garden to be watered at 6am and 6pm every day, you need to set it for a 12-hour cycle at either 6am or 6pm the first time. It will then run every 12 hours thereafter. You can turn on a rain delay or a manual override without changing your settings.

It does require batteries, but it comes equipped with a very visible low-battery light that you can easily see. There’s no LED screen on this model, nor buttons to push. While it’s not completely covered with a faceplate like LED models, it’s both waterproof and rainproof, so can survive outdoors. All in all, for a very basic model, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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8. Instapark Programmable Hose Timer

Instapark PWT-07 Outdoor Waterproof Digital Programmable Single Outlet Automatic On Off Water Faucet...
  • Single-station digital programmable faucet water...
  • Weather-resistant, impact-resistance, premium ABS...
  • Bright, vivid, and easy-to-read large 2.1” X...

Slightly more complex to set than some of the other digital units, this Instapark hose timer is waterproof and weather-resistant. Its single-outlet design makes it useful for basic watering tasks, but doesn’t enable multiple-zone watering setups. Still, it’s a sturdy little unit and would work well both inside a greenhouse or outside in the yard.

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9. Rain Bird Professional Hose Timer

Rain Bird 1ZEHTMR Professional Grade Electronic Digital Hose End Timer/Controller, One Zone/Station,...
  • Professional grade easy-to-use 7-day digital hose...
  • Convenient extra-large dial and readout screen for...
  • Instant override buttons for "Cancel Watering"...

Meant for use with hose-end sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, or soaker hoses, the Rain Bird hose timer is a solid unit. Still, I both like and dislike it.

I like it because it can handle up to five impact sprinklers chained in sequence, which means that for complete coverage of your lawn, you have a serious option. I also like that it shows when its next watering cycle is scheduled, and that it’s easy to program.

What I don’t like is that in many ways, Rain Bird’s system seems like overkill for most. They offer up to six hours of watering time, and you can schedule a watering sequence up to twice per day. I just can’t see any reason to water for six hours straight for the average home gardener. I suppose it would be useful for someone who’s running a misting system to cool down their patio or backyard gazebo. But most of the time, you’d be there when it was running, making the timer unnecessary.

If you have a Rain Bird irrigation system setup, this definitely will fit with your components. And it’s a good unit, even if it has overkill-level settings. It’s just not my pick for the best hose timer overall!

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10. Orbit Mechanical Water Hose Timer

Sale
Orbit 62034 Mechanical Watering Hose Timer, Colors may vary
  • EASIEST TIMER TO USE: Works just like an egg...
  • CONSERVE WATER: Never forget to turn your water...
  • OVERSIZED DIAL: Easy-to-set dial with a comfort...

Like the Instapark model, the Orbit hose timer works like an egg timer. Turn the dial to the time you want it to water, and simply walk away. It’ll turn the water off when it’s done. This means that also like the Instapark, you have to be home to start it. But for a basic model which frees you up for other tasks, this is a great little unit.

The only reason I rate it lower than the Instapark is because it doesn’t look as streamlined. Otherwise, it’s nearly identical in function.

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Hopefully, I’ve helped you to find a hose timer that will fill all of your needs. Whether single outlet or multiple, tech-savvy or mechanical, there’s a hose timer out there for you.


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime Gardener

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Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API