Garden & Lawn

6 Best Water Timers To Automate Watering – My full setup

Last updated on October 12th, 2023

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Over the years, I must have had around 15 different water timers. The problem is that most water timers only last a year or two if you’re lucky, before they need reluctantly replacing. Unfortunately, they really do have a bad reputation for not lasting. Even the big brands have some disappointing models where the quality and reliability have a lot to be desired. The build quality and reliability are just not there. However, the good news is that there are a few diamonds in the rough I have discovered over the last couple of years which I have personally tested.

Orbit Buddy Water Timer, which I have used for about 4 years before replacing it with a smart water timer – Setting how often to water in days, ie every 4 days

Personally, after a lot of testing over the years, I have found two different water timers I have no problem recommending. They are reliable, well made and, maybe, more importantly, all the settings you need. One is this Orbit Buddy HF Single-Port Digital Tap Timer. The picture above is the previous version, but it’s still working after 4 years. The latest model has been updated and looks more modern but has the same great features. I have found it to be very reliable over the years, and it was fairly affordable too. It has never let me down and has some nice settings that are enough for most gardeners’ needs.

To set how many minutes to water for, simply turn the dial to ‘HOW LONG’ and use the + and – button to set the number of minutes

You can basiclly set how often to water, how long to water for and when to water. Then you have a manual override which I use a lot. It’s easy to set up and simple to use. You don’t even need the instructions its that simple. It really is that well thought out. For someone looking for a reliable but basic water timer (like my dad), this is what you probably need, but what has impressed me is the reliability, the actual build quality and how long it has been going. I’m sure I’ve had mine for around 4 years now, and my dad is even using it now.

My LinkTap G2S wireless water timer I use to schedule and automate my watering

The other water timer that has really impressed me recently and is the one I now have installed in my own garden, is this LinkTap G2S wireless water timer pictured above. It also has an easy to use APP thats gets you set up in around 2 minutes. The APP is amazing, it really is, and so useful for setting up the watering schedule and receiving important notifications. This timer is a little more expensive. Actually, it was quite expensive, especially compared to my previous timers, but it shows on the design. However, I would not be without it now.

This thing takes automatic watering to another level, but it’s the alerts such as valve failure, burst pipes, and low pressure alerts that make it the only water timer I now use.

Below is a screenshot of the APP while water is in progress. It even tells you how much water has been used. The second screenshot is a warning because someone had been messing with the tap (my kids) and turned the tap off.

Notification of water in progress and how long left
Fault alerts

So why did I choose this smart water timer over other brands like Hozelock and gardena?

There are a lot of smart wifi water timers available, and thats the problem, they all use wifi enabled and have questionable build quality at best. However, I think the LinkTap systems are far superior, especially when you consider they use Zigbee wireless connection instead of wifi (I hadn’t even heard of Zigbee until I got this). The big advantage of using Zigbee over wifi is that it’s more reliable, but, more importantly, the signal has twice the wireless distance.

LinkTap Gateway thats uses Zigbee, you simply plug into your internet router. Then it talks to the water timer to control it through the APP

This basiclly means that you can have the device quite far from your wireless gateway, which you plug into your internet router. It might sound complicated to set up, but I had it set up within a couple of minutes; it’s plug-and-play and really is that easy to set up. You literally download and install the LinkTap APP, scan the QR code on the bottom of the water timer and on the back of the gateway, set your watering schedule, and you have yourself a fully automated watering masterpiece.

This model really is a great piece of kit, I have a more detailed review on this model further down.

The best water timers after personal testing to automate your watering.

  1. LinkTap G2S Wireless Water Timer and Gateway & Flow Meter – Everything you need in a water timer, easy to set up, reliable, advanced watering setting and fault detection alerts. An amazing piece of kit – Personally tested!
  2. Orbit Buddy HF Single-Port Digital Tap Timer – Very easy to set up and use, very good quality and has all the essential features without the complicated setting. Personally tested!
  3. Orbit Buddy II HF 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 at an affordable price. For example, one for in the greenhouse and one for outside watering
  4. Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus – A good choice, affordable and good for scheduling watering. 
  5. 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.
Installing new sprinkler system in raised beds that will be controlled by the Smart water timer

Over the last 2 years, I have slowly updated my watering system, which included a new drip system in my raised beds, as shown in the picture above. Then I installed a new drip system for pots, hanging baskets and containers, as shown below.

Micro drip system installed along wall ready for inserting into pots.
Micro drip system installed along wall ready for inserting into pots and connected to a water timer

Then I also have the main hose pipe that I have attached to my Gardena auto hose reel that I use to run my lawn sprinkler when needed. I have also tested lawn sprinklers here.

Water timer connected up to a drip system raised beds and lawn sprinkler. I obviously have the lawn sprinkler dial turn off when not in use
Water timer connected up to a sprinkler system in my raised beds, micro tubing drip system for my pots and baskets and lawn sprinkler. I obviously have the lawn sprinkler turned off on the water diverter when not in use.

With the new water systems now in place, this has drastically reduced the amount of time I was needing to water manually and also reduced my wasted water. However, I still needed to automate the watering with the best water timer. Since updating my whole watering system, I also decided to update to the new smart water timers being that there getting more affordable and have more advanced systems to detect issues such as blocked pipes, issues with the water pressure or simply that it hasn’t turned on or off as expected. Then, of course, I can really dial in my water schedule.

Applying new grass seed in autumn and using a lawn sprinkler attached to my water timer system
Applying new grass seed in autumn and using a lawn sprinkler attached to my water timer system

Water timers are an absolute game changer, especially if your going on holiday or away at the weekends with work, or simply not around when you would prefer to water, such as early morning. They are also very useful if you lay new turf or reseeded your lawn, as I recently did in spring. I connected my water timer to my lawn sprinkler, so I could ensure it got watered twice a day for a certain period of time until it was germinated and established. I always used to recommend this to my clients, and they often asked which water timer I would get, so this guide answers that.

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 months.

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. Some even have rain sensors such as the LinkTap wireless water timer or at least manual rain delay buttons like this Orbit Buddy HF Single-Port Digital Tap Timer has.

The LinkTap system actually takes it a step further and monitors the local weather forecast, and if it’s forecasted a certain amount of rainfall before or after the water time schedule, it can be programmed to delay watering using the APP, as shown in the screenshot above

My top 5 recommended water timers

I also have a water timer buyer’s guide that helps you understand what to consider when looking for water timers here. Feel free to have a read or just get straight into the reviews below. Here’s a rundown of my top picks.

A little word of warning, all these water timers need to be removed in winter before frost is expected, or they will get damaged. The LinkTap water timer below is the only model that actually alerts you when frost is expected to remind you to remove the water timer and store it for the winter.

1. LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S

LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S

First things first, it’s important to know that the model I have is the LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S model. There are two very similar models. This is the model that also has fault alerts such as water cut off notifications, valve failure alerts and can measure and record water usage and pressure over the last 90 days. However, it’s the fault alerts I really like. This has saved my plants more than once.

There is a slightly more affordable version which is this LinkTap G1S model. However, it doesn’t have fault alerts or the ability to measure water usage. It does, however, have all the other amazing features and the same build quality and reliability. The way to know if it’s the model with fault detection is to see if it has a wire on the bottom of the timer. If it does, it’s the model with fault detection!

LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S connected to my automatic watering system, including sprinklers
LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S connected to my automatic watering system, including sprinklers

So I have been using the LinkTap Wireless Water Timer G2-S to automate the watering of my raised beds, lawn sprinkler and hanging baskets. I have this water timer connected to a Gardena four channel water distributor, as shown above. It allows me to water a couple of areas at the same time automatically. I usually get away with watering the raised beds and the pots and hanging baskets at the same time with the water pressure I have.

If, however, you have several different areas to water and need to do them individually to avoid losing pressure. You can have as many as 15 of these water water timers connected to each gate. Then you can program the water timers to water at different times of the day and control them all within the APP.

LinkTap gateway which can connect to as many as 15 water timers
LinkTap gateway which can connect to as many as 15 water timers

This water timer really is a well-thought-out piece of gardening tech. The reason I chose this model over other similar and cheaper alternatives is that the gateway uses Zigbee to communicate with the water timer rather than wifi.

Zigbee basiclly has twice the range as wifi, this means it can work with water timers that are more than double the distance away from the internet router than that of wifi enabled water timers which means it’s much more reliable and the water timer can be much further away from your router. It even has a handy feature that tests the connection signal in the ‘settings’ to see if the wireless signal is good enough in the setting, as shown below. I have mine about 15 meters away from the router, and it’s around 15 meters away and has to go through 4 walls. I think they actually have a range of around 200 meters, so there is plenty of range if you have a very large system to set up.

Using the APP to test the wireless signal strength

The first I noticed when I started using the LinkTap smart water timer was that the actual build quality was really good, especially compared to most other models, especially other smart water timers I looked at. You can tell straight away, this model is a quality piece of kit that is designed to last. No cheap plastics, nice and strong, durable, it really is in a class of its own.

I can also control my watering from anywhere in the world using my mobile or laptop, which means I can make adjustments even if im not home.

6 different watering schedules

When it comes to watering schedules, it has 6 different watering setting, which includes the following below. It’s also worth noting that even if the gateway, app or even power goes down. The water timer will still water as programmed. I mention this as it was one of my concerns, but I tested it, and it still waters as programmed. Obviously, this won’t happen if there a water cut but at least you will know about it.

The 6 different watering models you can choose from
The 6 different watering models you can choose from

Instant Mode – This just means you can start and stop watering on demand through either the app or by pressing the manual button on the water timer itself. It is worth noting you can override and disable the manual button if needed through the app. This could be handy if you have kids that like to turn it on.

Calendar Mode – This allows you to set up watering for specified calendar dates. This is handy if you’re going away and only want to water on certain dates.

Month Mode – Waters plants every day on specified months. Simply set the month, time and duration.

Interval Mode – This allows you to water every so many days, for example, every 2 days, every 3 days all the way to as many as every 30 days. Again you set the time and duration too.

Odd-Even Day Mode – Set up watering on either odd or even days of the week and set the time and duration.

Calendar Mode - Watering on specified calendar dates
Month Mode - Waters plants every day on specified months
Interval Mode - Cycles on an interval day basis
Odd-Even Day Mode - Activates on either odd or even days
7-Day Mode - Weekly schedule
7 day water model

7-Day Mode – This is just a weekly schedule. This is the watering model I actually use. You set which days you want to water, what time and for how long. However, you can also set the watering to happen at different times on different days and for different periods of time, as shown in the picture above.

Another feature I like is ‘ECO mode’. What this does is water on and off for a set amount of time which it does by opening and closing the valve. You can set it to turn on and off during watering. I have used this when I set up drip systems, so I don’t get too much runoff.

Eco mode allows you to stop and start watering to help prevent runoff
Eco mode allows you to stop and start watering to help prevent runoff

Overall you have the ability to water up to 100 watering cycles per day from 3 seconds long to as long as 24 hours per cycle duration. Realistically, most people are unlikely to need that many watering cycles in a given day, but it gives you options and at least takes away the limitations that some water timers have.

Instant fault notification if something goes wrong

Water timer fault notifications also come up in the APP as well as sent to my phone and email
Water timer fault notifications also come up in the APP as well as sent to my phone and email

The other feature I really like is the fault detection alerts. Basiclly, if there is no pressure, a leak or block in the pipe or the water is not turned on as expected, it will send you a push notification to your phone and email instantly. This is a great feature, as you will know if anything goes wrong.

Water timer fault notification - could be a leaked tap or an issue with water pressure sent straight to my phone
Water timer fault notification – could be a leaked tap or an issue with water pressure sent straight to my phone

It will even notify you if the water timer comes off the tap. I suppose this would alert you if someone removed it (who shouldn’t), as it shouldn’t really fall off.

It also sends you alerts every time the water comes off and turns off, too, so you always know your plants have been watered.

Rain skip setting to skip watering if rain is forcasted
Rain skip setting to skip watering if rain is forcasted

One of the features that could be very useful, but I have not personally tested, is the ‘rain skip setting’. If you activate it, then it skips watering if there has been a certain amount of rain before watering is scheduled or not long after.

For example, you can set it to skip watering if rainfall in the last 12 hours has been over 3mm or rainfall in the next 12 hours is forecasted to be more than 3mm. It connects to your local weather forecasts, so this will obviously only be as reliable as your local weather forecast, but it’s a good idea.

How to get setup

This is easy. You simply connect the gateway to your router and plug it on, insert 4 AA batteries into the actual water timer and attach it to your tap.

Once you’re set-up, you simply download and install the LinkTap APP. Then go to settings and click add gateway and you will see the screen below.

Easily connect the gateway the APP with the QR code
Easily connect the gateway the APP with the QR code

Then, all you need to do is scan the QR code on the back of the gateway, and it automatically connects it to the APP ready to use. You can also just type in the Gateway ID manually too if your phone doesn’t scan the QR code.

Then you do the same for the Water timer by clicking ”TapLinker/ValveLinkler” and scanning the QR code at the bottom of the time.

Easily connect the water timer the APP with the QR code
Easily connect the water timer to the APP with the QR code

It might be easier to do this part before installing the timer to the tap, you can then check everything seems to be working.

Now your water timer and gateway are synced, and it’s ready to automate your watering. the batteries are expected to last around 2 years, but I suppose time will tell. The App, however, does tell you how much battery power is left, which is handy and alerts you if they need changing.

It even alerts you when frost is expected, and it’s time to bring it indoors for the winter until spring.

My recommendation

I really do believe this is the best smart water timer currently available, it really is an impressive piece of gardening kit. I like the way I can program the watering in any number of ways with different schedules. I like that it gives alerts if anything is wrong. I have before now turned the tap off for a number of reasons and forgot to turn it back on, only to be alerted by the Linktap notifications on my phone.

I also really like the APP, it’s not a pointless feature like it is on my Karcher K5 pressure washer. It’s really easy to use, setup was a breeze. I also like that you can extend the system and add more water timers and control them all within the app. This means that when it comes to extending my watering system, which I will be doing. I can just buy the water timer without the gateway and save some money and have the whole system under one APP.

LinkTap water timer is well worth considering
LinkTap water timer is well worth considering

If you need to take your watering to the next level and have the need for advanced features, then this is a great choice. Don’t forget, you don’t have to worry about weak wifi signals either, as it uses Zigbee.

2. Orbit Buddy HF Single-Port Digital Tap Timer

  • 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

My first impression when I got this water timer was the quality was far better than my previous models, and since I have used it for over 3 years before giving it to my dad. I can confirm it’s a great piece of kit that is made to last. I also only changed the batteries once or twice in that time.

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

Very easy to install on a standard outside tap

Installation was easy, as with most models, it just screwed straight onto my tap. At first, it did leak, so I tightened it up a little more. Perhaps a little tighter than I thought it would need, and it hasn’t leaked since. So if your leak, get it really tight.

Large LCD screen and a large dial, which is 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 the 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 whose eyesight is not what it used to be.

Then set how often you want the timer 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 6.00am for 10 minutes, and it’s been working great.

A feature I do like is the rain delay feature. All I do is press the + button when in 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 manual watering feature

Finally, with some timers, when I have tried to water manually is not that simple. It’s either not possible, or loses 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. Filling up the kid’s garden swimming pool comes to mind or attaching it to the pressure washer. 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 HF 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 which I have benefited from over the last few years.

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 know who has had this timer said it lasts 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 Buddy Single-Port Digital Tap Timer is super easy to set up with a large clear display and dial. I do like the build quality. It is far better than any other model I have used in the past, with the exception of my new LinkTap smart water timer.

I like that it offers everything you need in a good water time, easy to set up, 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 it’s very simple to use and set up which is what I really like.

One of the problems with water timers in general, especially 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 affordable water timer, this would be the one. Finally, it’s now been updated, and the new version looks even more amazing, but still has the same great features and layout.

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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

3. Orbit Buddy II HF Two-Port Digital Tap Timer


Orbit 96782E - 'Buddy II HF' 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 Buddy 2 HF is a digital water timer equipped with two timed outlets which water your garden when you are away, conserves water, avoid over watering and never forget 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 HF appears well built to stand the outdoor harsh conditions. The body is water-resistant, so you can stay assured of 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, which you have to buy.

I 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.

Our recommendation

The Buddy II water timer is well-built and fairly easy to operate, just like the one port version my dad still uses.

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

An excellent choice for anyone looking for a model that is a little more advanced and has more watering options.

It does lack a low battery light, but the batteries last around 18 months. It would be best to change the batteries once a year to be sure. Overall a great water timer, and it’s easy to see why this model is so popular.

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Read next: Best water systems for gardens and allotments

4. Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus

HOZELOCK - Watering Timer Sensor Controller Plus : Automatic and Easy Watering with its Light Sensor, Adjustable Watering at Sunrise and/or Sunset, Manual Watering Function [2214 0000]
  • Tap-mounted watering controller.
  • Variable watering time.
  • Automatically waters every day 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 in the early morning or evening, and they would be correct. The reason is that they’ve learned scientifically that these are the best times to reduce evaporation and leaf burn, yet these times are not always convenient.

The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus has been designed with these aspects in mind, as it features a daylight sensor that auto adjusts your watering schedule to commence every day 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.

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 it again to run the water for shorter durations.

The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus uses 2AA batteries. 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 Hozelock Sensor Controller quite versatile as it can be used with up to 10 Bar garden sprinklers, 0.1 Bar Water Butts or even 1.5 Bar low-pressure micro irrigation watering as I have installed for my pots.

Our recommendation

The Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus gives you the convenience of setting watering patterns to suit your needs. Using the light sensor to detect morning and evening is a good idea as this is usually the best time to water.

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

5. Gardena Easy Control Water Timer

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 last model in my review and is the perfect tool for garden irrigation based on soil conditions. Featuring the GARDENA Water Computer, the timer irrigates your garden reliably and conveniently even when you are away on holiday. With 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. I 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 knowing what needs water and when. Perhaps you’ve been watering your lawn or plants using a garden hose or watering can, and you are 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 the early morning, during the day and evening, you may go for a model with many watering times as you’ll need it watering more 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 raised beds watered only once a day, but your pots watered twice 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 avoiding water logging the other.

Analog or Digital Operation

If your garden needs only one watering unit, once or maybe 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 chance 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 the suns UV rays, and storms unless your timer is inside a garage 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 in this 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 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 come with a warranty of years of use. A warranty usually implies that the manufacturer has enough confidence in their product to guarantee 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 incorporates a low battery indicator which basically informs on the status of the remaining battery life

You can read from the start of the reviews again here if you missed them

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.

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Last update on 2024-05-06 / 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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