Garden & Lawn

6 Best Water Timers To Automate Watering – My setup

Last updated on May 6th, 2022

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Water timers are an absolute gift to busy gardeners, especially if your going on holiday or have layed new turf or seed as I recently did. I connected mine up to a lawn sprinkler and it watered it every morning. I am also in the pricess in setting up a new automatic watering system so will connect it to this soon too.

Many will agree with me when I day watering your garden will keep it looking fresh and beautiful through summer, yet the job is not always an exciting one, sometimes I just don’t feel like watering or simply won’t be around to do it.

My top pick, simple to use, essential setting and great quality
Orbit Water Timer – My top pick, simple to use, essential setting and great quality

Dragging your garden hose and watering your garden once a week, doesn’t seem much of a chore but imagine doing it every other day. Even more, like twice a day as I sometimes have to do during the summer.

That’s where water timers come in to help you water your garden even when you on holiday. Yes, the best garden water timer will water your plants in a specific set routine making sure your plants are hydrated whenever appropriate and some even have rain sensors or at least manual rain delay buttons but my top pick does. Looking at the forcast as I write this review has just reminded me to go and press the rain delay button to stop it coming on for a couple of days, just one of the features I love.

Best Pick

Orbit 94162 Buddy Single-Port Digital Tap Timer
From my research and comparing many timers and testing in my own garden, I chose the Orbit 94162 Buddy Digital Tap Timer as the 'Best Water Timer' for most gardens, keeping in mind functionality, ease of use and most importantly long life expectancy as many cheaper models only last a year before becoming faulty, usually because the battery compartment seals are not up to the job. This is my favouite model yet, It’s possible to set your watering frequency and duration and adjust according to your garden’s needs. Super simple to use with all the essential setting on one large dial which you turn and a simple + and - button to selection your options. These include watering every day, very 2 days and the water duration such as 2, minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes and more. I also love the rain delay button, just hit the + button and choose delay water for a certain amount of days. I also like that you can also overide it manually with just one button and water on demand without messing with the setting. Finally the build quality is amazing, especially compared to some prevous models I have had. For most gardeners, this is the mdoel I would recommend, they also do a two port version model too.

6 of the best water timers to make sure you never miss watering your plants again.

  1. Orbit 94162 Buddy Single-Port Digital Tap Timer – Very easy to setup and use, Very good quality and has all the essential features without the complicated setting.
  2. Orbit Buddy II water timer – This model is by far the best choice if you have two areas you need to set different water durations and timers too. For example one for in the green and one for outside watering.
  3. Darlac Electronic Water Timer – A very simple water timer, easy to use, reliable and very affordable.
  4. Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus – A good choice, affordable and good for scheduling watering. 
  5. Hozelock Simple Water Timer – A nice budget model with plenty of setting to choose from for your watering requirements.
  6. Gardena Easy Control Water Timer – works well when used with the GARDENA Rain or Soil Moisture Sensor, you can interrupt the auto irrigation depending on natural rain and soil moisture, thus saving water.


Now that you understand what to look for in water timers, here’s a rundown of our top picks beginning with our best water timer then following 8 water timers we feel are worth investing in.

1. Orbit 94162 Buddy Single-Port Digital Tap Timer


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  • Large LCD screen which is easy to read.
  • Oversized dial for easy programming.
  • Watering duration from 1 to 240 minutes.
  • Rain delay option.
  • Built in diaphragm valve for long lasting and upgraded performance.
  • Water-resistance construction.

Check out my video review below

First impressions

First impressions when I got this water timer was the quality was far better than my previous models and since I have now used it for over 12 months, I can confirm battery life is good as i’m still using the same Duracell AA batteries. I will change them when I go on holiday though as there is no low battery warning.

Setting up this timer was incredibly easy even without reading the instructions. After inserting the 2AA batteries as shown above, I set up the current time by turning the dial to ‘set clock’ then program when i want it to water.

Very easy to install on standard outside tap

Installation was easy, as with most models it just screwed straight onto my tap. At first it did leak so I tighten it up more, perhaps a little tighter than I though it would need and it stopped and not has an issue since. So if your leaks, get it really tight.

Large LCD screen and large dial which really easy to use

I like that it has an oversized dial and LCD screen which is also fairly large so is easy to read. Then I set how long I wanted the water to run, from 1 minute up to 4 hours, I have it set to 10 minutes for lawn at the moment as I extended my lawn and over seeded the lawn too.

The LCD screen is quite large and you’ll find it easy to read the settings you are inserting, perfect for anyone who’s eyesight is not what it used to be.

Then say how often you want the unit to operate, from every 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours or just once a week. I have this set to once every 24 hours at the moment and its been working great.

A feature I do like is the rain delay feature, all i do is press the + button when on auto mode and I can select how long to delay watering for. This is handy as I can delay watering for a few days when heavy rain is due so I don’t waste water or simply overwater which can be as bad as forgetting to water.

Great manually watering feature

Finally with some timers, when I have tried to water manually is not that simple, its either not possible or looses the current setting. With this model, you simply press the manual button and it turns on. This is handy when I still want to use a hose pipe manually for some reason. To turn it off you can either press manual again or turn the dial to off, just remember to turn it back to Auto again.

The Buddy Single-Port features a robust design with a built-in diaphragm valve for long lasting and upgraded performance. The water-resistance construction means this water timer can stand up to external elements for years of use.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • This Orbit model lacks a battery level indicator so you’ll never know when the battery runs low. This might also be risky especially when you are away for long periods. Someone else I no who has had this timer said it last them around 18 months so it would be a good idea to change the batteries once a year or at least before you go on holiday.

My recommendation – The Orbit 94162 Buddy Single-Port Digital Tap Timer is super easy to set with a large clear display and dial. I do like the quality, it far better than any other model I have used in the past.

I like that it offers everything you need in a good water time, easy to set, one dial, simply turn to ‘set clock’ to set the time, then ‘how often’ to set how often you need it to water, which can set to as often as every 6 hours or to just once a week and everything in between.

Finally, just set the duration by turning the dial to ‘how often’ and set the amount of time you need to water. Overall its very simple to use and setup which is what we really like.

One of the problems with water timers in general, specially cheaper models, is they don’t seem to last long before going faulty. This model has certainly been designed to last, the quality is excellent, far better than the other models I have tried over the years that last one season at most. I also like the built in diaphragm valve has certainly helped to ensure it last longer and improves performance. Overall if I had to recommend just one water timer, this would be the one. You won’t be disappointed!

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Read next: Best greenhouse water systems you can use with a water timer

Read next:Best smart water timers to automate watering from anywhere in the world

2. Orbit 94148 Buddy II Two-Port Digital Tap Timer


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Orbit 94148 'Buddy II' Two-Port Digital Tap Timer
  • Large LCD display which is easy to read.
  • Simple controls for fast and easy programming.
  • Adjustable watering duration.
  • Rain delay.
  • Built in diaphragm valve for long lasting and improved performance.
  • Digital tap timer.
  • 2 Year warranty for extra pace of mind.

The Orbit 94148 is a digital water timer equipped with two timed outlets which water your garden when you are away, conserves water, avoids over watering and never forgets to water. In case you want to water outside the preset programmes, there’s a manual override button that allows you to water anytime without interfering with the preset patterns.

This water timer has a large LCD screen, oversized dial, and easy controls that make programming a breeze. You can set the watering duration from 1 to 240 minutes, for every 6 hours, 12 hours or anywhere from 1 to 7 days. Along these lines, there’s the rain delay option that allows postponing the operation for 1, 2 or 3 days without interrupting the preset patterns.

The Buddy II apears well built to stand the outdoor harsh conditions. The body is water-resistant so you can stay assured on several years of reliable service.

The built in diaphragm valve is also useful for improved and long lasting performance. This water timer requires 2AA batteries to operate of which you have to buy.

We didn’t notice if there’s a battery status indicator but the Buddy II consumes power reasonably and other users have reported a good set of quality batteries lasting around 18 months.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • Some users have reported that the Buddy II starts to leak after a few years of use and sometimes fills the battery compartment. We can only hope that it’s waterproof enough.

Our recommendation – The Buddy II water timer is well built and fairly easy to operate just like the one port version I still use.

We find it the perfect solution for watering in a greenhouse all year round, we really like the two port operation, this would be perfect for anyone who has more than one area to water that require different watering times and intervals.

At under £50 its a great product and with 2 years warranty you have real peace of mind,? An excellent choice for anyone looking for a model that a little more advanced and has more watering options.

It does a lack a low battery light but with reports of batteries lasting over 18 months, you would be best changing the batteries once a year.

Overall a great product and its easy to see why this model so popular.

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3. Darlac Electronic Water Timer

**Budget Pick**

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Darlac Electronic Water Timer
  • Easy 2 dial operation for simple and easy setup and use.
  • Low battery indicator so you never get caught out with a flat battery and worst, dead plants through lack of water.
  • Includes a timer delay function.
  • Can Operates on gravity flow systems making it perfect for anyone who collects water in water butts.
  • Uses 2 x AAA batteries.
  • Includes 1 year warranty.

The Darlac Electronic Water Timer features two front dials for setting the watering frequency and the duration of watering. The dial operation is relatively straightforward; the left dial sets the frequency while the right dial sets the duration. You have the option of setting the frequency of watering from a few times per day to a few times a week. It’s also possible to set the watering duration from 1 – 120 minutes. The dial that sets the duration is also the one that turns on and off the unit.

Attaching this water time to a tap is simple. Simply push the hose onto the fitting at the bottom of the timer. We recommend that you do not tighten it too much to the tap fittings. The front of the dial features a protective plastic seal that prevents water from entering the unit.

The Darlac water timer operates on two AAA batteries which you have to buy separately so don’t forget to add them to your order when ordering to avoid setup delay. To access the battery compartment, simply press down on a panel on the face of the timer then insert the batteries. There’s a low battery light which gives a flash on the front of the unit when the battery becomes low and depleted.

One interesting attribute of the Darlac water timer is that it can be used with water butts and does not need mains water pressure. It connects to any garden tap with a screw thread. The timer has two nuts that require tightening up; one nut screws onto the top of the unit while the other on the thread of the tap.

You can also buy the unit as a standalone without accessories such as drippers or hose.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • Lacks a built-in clock which means you have to set it up at the time you want it to open, no too much of a problem for most gardeners though.

My recommendation – The Darlac Electronic Water Timer is a high-quality water timer that is adequate for the job.

It’s easy to set up and use, feels sturdy, good weather cover and have basic control timers, ideal for almost every gardeners.

The kind of versatility it offers in terms of operation is why we picked it as our ‘Best Water Timer’. It also comes with 1-year warranty which is great news and at under £30 you will struggle to find a better water timer at this price, brilliant piece of kit.

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Read next:Best water systems for gardens and allotments

4. Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus


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Hozelock 2214 0000 Sensor Controller Plus, Yellow/Grey, 40x25x15 cm
  • Tap mounted watering controller.
  • Variable watering time.
  • Automatically waters everyday at sunrise and sunset.
  • Day light sensor.
  • Easy to install.
  • Requires 2 x AA batteries.

If you ask most gardeners their most preferable watering times, a majority will say at sunrise and sunset. The reason is because they’ve learned scientifically that these are the best times to reduce evaporation and leaf burn, yet these times are not always convenient for DIYs.

The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus has been designed with these aspects in mind as it features a day light sensor which auto adjusts your watering schedule to commence everyday at sunrise and sunset. This sensor needs no programming at all; it auto changes the start times to concur with sunrise and sunset times of different seasons. The Sensor Controller also allows you to choose from 2, 5, 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes. It’s also easy to adjust whenever you need to respond to varying weather conditions even without going back to the instruction booklet.

While the Hozelock watering pattern runs every day, the Hozelock Sensor Plus lets you water conveniently once or twice a day, once a week, daily, after every 2 or 3 days, or simply how you choose. Nonetheless, you don’t have to stick to such automatic plans. The Water Now button allows you to switch on the water anytime which can run up to 60 minutes or you can press again to run the water for shorter durations.

The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus uses 2AA batteries of which the unit comes without. Set up is so easy, simply insert the batteries and choose the appropriate watering schedule from the dial. There’s a battery status that does just that with LED lights indicating the strength of the battery life. There’s even a built in safety feature which detects when the battery has dropped to levels that may fail while the watering schedule is running.

This water timer comes with three options of adaptors – 21mm, 26.5mm or 33.3mm – to help you connect to your garden tap. The unique ball valve element makes the Hazelock Sensor Controller quite versatile as it can be used with up to 10 Bar garden sprinklers, 0.1Bar Water Butts or even 1.5Bar low pressure micro irrigation watering.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus is noisy when running and some user have reported issues with reliability.

Our recommendation – The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus gives you the convenience of setting watering patterns to suit your needs.

It’s easy to set up and operate without having to refer to the instruction manual now and then.

If you are one of those gardeners who prefer to water their plants at scheduled plans, we recommend the Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus.

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Read next: We reviewed 5 of the best watering systems for raised beds to choose with water timers

5. Hozelock Simple Water Timer

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Hozelock Simple Water Timer
  • Simple to use.
  • 13 pre-set programs.
  • Easy setup.
  • Up to 4 times per day watering schedule.
  • Universal male connector at the bottom for easy connection.
  • Operates with 2AA batteries.

This electronic water timer lets you automatically set your pattern to water your plants when you want and for your desired duration. You can set the unit using the simple pre-loaded programs (13 in total) or you can create your own schedule to best suit your garden’s needs. The watering durations can be set from once per week or up to 4 times per day. There are also 5 once a day options boosted by 8 pre-set schedules giving a variety of watering schedules.

The Hozelock Simple Water Timer is easy to set up by simply attaching to your outdoor tap with the built in connector. At the bottom it has a universal male connector for easy connection. The timer tap connector size comes in ½ inch, ¾ inch and 1-inch options. This water timer is a no-brainer for those who forget to turn the water off as it has an auto max runtime to prevent overwatering.

To operate this electronic water timer, insert 2AA batteries into the battery compartment. The unit will turn on immediately then you can dial your settings. There’s also an instruction leaflet in the box which is useful on set up, maintenance and safety precautions. The leaflet can also be downloaded from Hozelock’s website in case you lose the hard copy which is always handy.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • Hozelock Simple Water Timer is not the most durable model we reviewed. Most of these models start to leak after one year of use or so. The quality of the product is questionable. It also lacks a battery indicator.

Our recommendation – With 13 pre-set programs, this water timer gives a wide range of watering options for the hobby gardeners.

It perfectly does its job but you can’t be sure about its durability and reliability, however its worth noting that this mode is currently the best selling water timer on with well over 500 reviews alone.

A great model overall which we would recommend to anyone, looking a a good budget model for simple watering tasks.

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6. Gardena Easy Control Water Timer

**Perfect accessory for beginners**

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Gardena Easy Control Water Timer 1882-28
  • Large display.
  • Up to 3 watering cycles per day.
  • Perfect starter model.
  • Watering days can be set.

The Gardena Easy Control water timer is the perfect tool for garden irrigation. Featuring the GARDENA Water Computer, the timer irrigates your garden reliably and conveniently even when you are away on holiday. With the automatic and time-saving irrigation, you get more free time for other activities yet have a beautiful, green garden and healthy plants.

Programming this water timer is quite simple. By removing the control panel, you can set the irrigation frequency, duration and start using the appropriate button. Basically there are four keys with distinct functions; frequency, watering duration, start time pre-selection and confirmation.

There are up to 3 watering cycles per day. The watering frequency is in every 24 hours, every 48 hours, or every 3rd or 7th day while the duration can be set from 2 minutes to 1 hour. Your settings are shown on the full display at a glance and this way you have complete control of your garden irrigation system.

The water-saving operation of this timer is another interesting feature. By connecting the GARDENA Rain or Soil Moisture Sensor, you can interrupt the auto irrigation depending on natural rain and soil moisture, thus saving water. There’s also a battery indicator that will let you know the time to replace your battery which ensures reliable operation. For information, the timer uses a 9V alkaline battery which is not included in delivery to make sure you have one ready or order one when ordering the water timer.

Possible concerns to be aware of:

  • It lacks a built in clock. This means if you need it to start at any given time of the day, then you have to program at that given time.

Our recommendation – The Gardena Easy Control Water Timer is simple to use thanks to the easy dialling and straightforward water computer.

We find it the perfect accessory for beginners for the kind of simplicity if offers.

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Garden Water Timer Buyer’s Guide

Water timers come in a range of configurations and it can be confusing when trying to select one.

A great place to start is to understand what to look for in a water timer.

Know your garden

Even before stepping foot in a retail store or ordering online, understand your watering needs first. Do you want a sprinkler to give a regular dose to a large lawn? Perhaps you want your flower beds or pots to get a good soaking once a day? You need to answer these questions by taking a look at your garden and know what needs water and when. Perhaps you’ve been watering your lawn or plants using a garden hose or watering can and you already familiar with your garden’s needs. Understanding your garden’s needs will help you choose the most suitable timer that conforms with will match watering routine.

Watering cycles

Different water timers have different water cycles you can set per day. Most water times tend to have between 4 to 6 cycles a day. Some have more than 10 cycles. Understanding how many times you want your unit to switch on and water your lawn is crucial in deciding your ideal model. If you plan to water your lawn in early morning, during the day and evening, you may go for a model with many watering times as you’ll need it working quite often.

Watering zones

There are some advanced models of water timers that allow you to set different run times and patterns for different areas of your garden. For instance, you may want your yard watered only once a day but your flower beds watered four times.Finding a timer that can allow you to set different zones can help solve this puzzle. You’ll be able to select different settings for your lawn and another area that doesn’t need much watering and avoid starving one part of your garden or avoid water logging the other.

Analog or Digital Operation

If your garden needs only one watering unit, once or may be twice a day, then an analog system will be the easiest and cheapest option. These devices are usually controlled by a clockwork mechanism and they have little chances of breaking down. Digital models are a bit complex but are usually easy to operate with straightforward instructions. A digital model will allow you to set the exact watering frequency and duration, and create a specific watering routine.


Your garden water timer will likely be vulnerable to outdoor elements and it needs to withstand them. The best garden water timer ought to be hardwearing as it will be exposed to sunshine, frost, and rain, unless your timer is inside an outbuilding or a shed. Make sure to check the construction of the unit to be certain it can stand up to elements.

Water saving

Generally, the best garden water timer saves you water. This comes in handy especially if you live in areas experienced with hose pipe bans. If you pay your water bill depending on how much water you use, a timed watering system will be ideal. It makes sure your flower beds get the right amount of water and the appropriate time without a drop going to waste.Imagine when watering your plants using a hose and you have to move with it all around your home. Then the hose drops and you have to go all the way back to the tap to turn off the water. Think of how much water is wasted within the time. With a water timer, you can adjust the amount of water your lawn gets to achieve the optimum amount without wasting the natural resource.

Important Features

  • Rain delay – most water timers integrate the rain delay feature which can interrupt the set patterns and stop the flow of water for given intervals (24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours). This is especially handy when it rains.
  • Manual selection – in line with the ability to set the start time, frequency, duration and finish time, make certain that your water timer model has manual selections.
  • Advanced Programming – if you want the ability to set schedules over several days a week, such as water on the every 2nd, 3rd, or on specific days, find a model with such functionality. On the other hand if you want a basic water timer, then this feature might be less important and save you some money.
  • Warranty – most good water timers usually comes with a warranty of years of use. A warranty usually implies that the manufacturer has enough confidence in their product to guantee it should at least last the time of the warranty. Should something go wrong, you have the option to return it for a replacement or refund.
  • Battery status indicator – the best electric water timer incorporate a low battery indicator which basically informs on the status of the remaining battery life.

Final Conclusion

Unless you are a stay-at-home person and you have the time to hand-water your garden, it’s clear that a water timer comes in handy.

These devices will ensure your garden stays bright and healthy-looking throughout the year. Get a water timer now and stay out on holiday without worrying about your plants back home.

Best Pick

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Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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