Top 10 Best Water Irrigation Timers 2017

Having a beautiful garden is a pleasure that many of us enjoy. Indeed, gardens have been a part of life for much longer than you might believe. Whether you have a large patch that you split between flowers and vegetables, or a smaller patch – or even just hanging baskets – there is work to be put in, but it can also be surprisingly enjoyable a therapeutic. Sometimes, however, you need a little more help to keep things going, especially in warm and dry spells, where regular watering is simply a must. That’s why, with the hot weather here, we are going to tell you about automatic irrigation timers, but before that, a bit more about gardening.

Of course, man has grown food from the very beginning, but when it comes to the modern garden – especially the flower garden – you still have to go back a long way. Flowers grow wild, naturally, so it would seem at some point someone decided they liked the look of something, and put it in their own patch of land, and it caught on! That’s perhaps a little bit simplistic, but we can pinpoint some influence in one of the ancient wonders of the world – the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The problem is, there is no actual evidence that this wonderful feat of engineering – which must have had an irrigation system of some kind – actually existed; there is architectural, and written, evidence for all the other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but not for the Hanging Gardens. So, perhaps it was a later generation that made gardening the hobby it is today? Whether you have a formal garden – popular in Victorian times and to be found at many a country house – or a more unruly flower garden, replete with colour and life, you need water to keep it alive, so let’s talk about the top 10 irrigation timers that you can buy today.

The Top 10

1: Kingfisher Electronic Water Timer

The irrigation timer is designed to a simple yet essential job, so what you want is something that is inexpensive, easy to use and efficient. Sometimes you find items such as these try to be a bit too clever, when actually simplicity would do, so it is refreshing to start with one that is a simple as it gets. This model from Kingfisher – a brand with a wide variety of garden and other products – is neat and simple, and doesn’t go over the top with technology.

It is very simple to program with just a couple of simple to understand dials, and you can set as many as 24 cycles throughout the day so you have comprehensive irrigation. It also has an in-line filter for added efficiency, and it is compatible with all standard hose fittings so you can connect to your hose or irrigation system. This is a good, simple model to start with, and at under £15, is a very good value buy for the home garden or allotment.

Pros
  • Simple
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • 24 cycles
Cons
  • None, it does what it is meant to do

2: Hozelock Simple Water Timer

As we mentioned above, simplicity is a big part of devices like these, so we like the fact this one has ‘Simple’ in its title; that’s telling it like it is, too, for we can’t imagine there is a model as easy to use as this. However, that’s not to say there are no drawbacks to this one, as it does have a few limitations. Let’s talk about the plus points first: it is very, very easy to use – you attach it to your outdoor tap and then add a hose. Then you set the timer, and it has 13 simple to use pre-set programs.

The only downside is that, while the one above can provide as many as 24 cycles, this one can only water your plants up to four times a day. Granted, that should be enough for anyone with a simple plot in normal weather, but when the going gets tough, you really want to be watering your precious plants throughout the day. Having said that, at around £20 this one would be perfect for someone who doesn’t want to mess around with digital technology, so worth looking at.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Very simple
  • Universal fittings
  • Pre-set programs
Cons
  • Limited usage, but sufficient for simple gardens

3: Automatic Garden Irrigation System

Another simple one, we think this one is an unbranded version of number one, so: The irrigation timer is designed to a simple yet essential job, so what you want is something that is inexpensive, easy to use and efficient. Sometimes you find items such as these try to be a bit too clever, when actually simplicity would do, so it is refreshing to start with one that is a simple as it gets. This model is neat and simple, and doesn’t go over the top with technology.

It is very simple to program with just a couple of simple to understand dials, and you can set as many as 24 cycles throughout the day so you have comprehensive irrigation. It also has an in-line filter for added efficiency, and it is compatible with all standard hose fittings so you can connect to your hose or irrigation system. This is a good, simple model to start with, and at under £15, is a very good value buy for the home garden or allotment.

Pros
  • Simple
  • inexpensive
  • easy to use
  • 24 cycles
Cons
  • None, it does what it is meant to do

4: Orbit Buddy Tap Timer

So, we arrive at our first one with digital operation and display; you might think that, after what we said about simplicity being the order of the day, we would be scathing about this one, but in fact it is very good at what it does. It is surprisingly simple to program, and comes with some very clever features that prove it has been carefully considered. The large LCD display means it can be read easily and it has a very sensible programming methods that should satisfy even those who are not tech-friendly.

Some great features: you can program this one to water your plants from one to up to 240 minutes at a time, it can be set to do so every six hours, 12 hours, or from one to seven days, and you can override it with a special rain function for as many as 72 hours, without having to reset the program. It is built to a high quality standard and is designed for long life, so you are getting a good device that will do an excellent job for you. At a shade more than £30 it’s a bit more expensive than some, but we don’t think it is overpriced.

Pros
  • Quality
  • Large screen
  • Plenty of features
  • Standard fittings
Cons
  • none, it’s a good choice

5: Orbit Buddy II Two-Port Timer

Another one from Orbit, and similar to the above in many ways but with a certain added feature. Like the above, it is surprisingly simple to program, and comes with some very clever features that prove it has been carefully considered. The large LCD display means it can be read easily and it has a very sensible programming methods that should satisfy even those who are not tech-friendly.

Some great features: you can program this one to water your plants from one to up to 240 minutes at a time, it can be set to do so every six hours, 12 hours, or from one to seven days, and you can override it with a special rain function for as many as 72 hours, without having to reset the program. Now for the clever bit: this one has two outlets for the hose, so you could be watering a flower bed and, say, a vegetable garden at the same time – two distinct parts of the garden, controlled at once. It’s a little more than £40 so not the cheapest, but it is very clever and well-made.

Pros
  • Twin outlets
  • Quality model
  • Easy to program
  • Very flexible
Cons
  • Do you need twin ports? If not, it’s not for you

6: Hozelock Sensor Controller Plus

One of the major players in this type of equipment – plus a variety of garden equipment of various types – Hozelock is a name that came up several times when researching these timers (as was Orbit) so we have included a few of their products on our list. The quality of these is not to be disputed, as it is a brand with a fine reputation. This timer goes back to the simple style of things, as it is designed for a specific job – to water the plants at sunrise and sunset.

These are, in fact, the best times to water a garden, and the light sensor on this model takes care of the job for you, and begins watering for a choice of time period from two minutes to an hour. It is easy to set and simple to attach to your tap and hose, and would be perfect for the smaller garden in warmer months. It’s a genuine no-frills design that does the job, and it does it very well. At £30 it’s not the cheapest, but if you want your garden watered at the right time, without any effort setting the timer, this could be the one.

Pros
  • Known brand
  • Light sensor
  • Simple to set
  • Waters at ideal times
Cons
  • None, it’s very good

7: Orbit 94050 Single Port

Back to Orbit, the other leading player in these timing devices, and they seem to prefer the large digital display screen to simple dials. This one, however, combines the two, so is very simple to set as well as very efficient. It only has the one port – as do most of these – but is perfectly adequate for watering a garden, vegetable patch or even a greenhouse, and it fits standard hose fitments. The set-up is clever: one of the dials selects the time of day you want it to begin watering, the other sets the length of time to water for.

You can select your choice from 10 different intervals, from every two hours to once a week, and the waterproof plastic outer simply clicks back on to protect the device. As with all Orbit products it is nicely made and is clearly built to last, and it will do the job you need it to do without problems. At a little more than £30 it’s not the cheapest around here, but it is effective for what it is, so is worth a look.

Pros
  • Known brand
  • Simple to use
  • Affordable
  • Clever features
Cons
  • Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either

8: Hozelock Automatic Water Computer

Another from our friends at Hozelock, this one is of the simple and no-frills variety, and is very easy to use. It has one dial for selecting the times you want your plants watered, and then you simple select the automatic function and away you go – you leave it to do the job of watering your plants. It attaches easily to your tap using standard fitments, and also takes all standard types of hose for added ease of use.

Almost at the end, we are getting to the point where finding something to say is difficult, as by now you know the score; you get a choice of intervals plus a choice of watering times, and that’s about it. This one is designed for quick and easy attachment and is a very popular design, and it comes from a known brand so there is not much more we can add. At around £32 it is perhaps a little too much in this company, but is still worth looking at.

Pros
  • Known brand
  • Simple to use
  • Quick to set up
  • Efficient
Cons
  • Perhaps a little too expensive, but it is a Hozelock

9: Cost Wise Double Outlet Water Timer

This typical design offers the benefit of dual outlets, so will be perfect for watering your flowers and your vegetables at the same time. It’s easy to set up and has standard fittings, plus a large digital display so you can see exactly what is happening at all times. You have a choice of 13 different watering frequencies, giving you full versatility, and you also have a manual on/off and over-ride for if you want to change the times or the frequency should you need to.

The timing of watering can be a choice of anything from one minute to six hours, which should be more than adequate for any needs, and it works quickly and is easy to set up. If you need a twin-port model then this one is good, and at £35 it may be among the more expensive, although it does a very good job.

Pros
  • Twin ports
  • Easy to program
  • Quality design
Cons
  • Not a name brand

10: Hozelock Sensor Controller

This one is the base model of the Sensor Controller Plus reviewed above, and we can see very few differences, so: One of the major players in this type of equipment – plus a variety of garden equipment of various types – Hozelock is a name that came up several times when researching these timers (as was Orbit) so we have included a few of their products on our list. The quality of these is not to be disputed, as it is a brand with a fine reputation. This timer goes back to the simple style of things, as it is designed for a specific job – to water the plants at sunrise and sunset.

These are, in fact, the best times to water a garden, and the light sensor on this model takes care of the job for you, and begins watering for a choice of time period from two minutes to an hour. It is easy to set and simple to attach to your tap and hose, and would be perfect for the smaller garden in warmer months. It’s a genuine no-frills design that does the job, and it does it very well. It’s a little under £30, so good value.

Pros
  • Known brand
  • Light sensor
  • Simple to set
  • Waters at ideal times
Cons
  • None, it’s very good

That’s ten of the best water timers, so before we wrap up, let’s have a look at the important features.

Important Features to Consider

What do you look for when choosing an irrigation timer? That depends entirely upon what you are looking for. In truth, each of these does essentially the same thing – waters your garden for you when it is needed – so the main features to look for are the following.

One or Two Port – some of these have only one output port, others have two; if you need a larger area – or more than one area – watered, you need one with two ports.

Standard Fitment – you need one that attaches easily to both your tap and your hose, so make sure you check this out in advance.

Ease of Use – you don’t want to be fiddling around with complex programming, so find one that is easy to set up and use.

That’s about it, so all that needs to be done now is to wrap things up!

How It Works

So, you need to water your garden on a regular basis, but you don’t have the time to be there at every point during the day when it needs to be done. It’s a problem that is rife with gardeners of all kinds, and one that you may struggle with. However, there is a way forward: the irrigation timer. Now, to be fair, you need more than the time – it could be that it controls a simple hose, or perhaps a series of hoses or sprinklers – but it’s the timer that does the important job.

If you have a selection of hanging baskets, for example, you can link them up to a chain of hoses, and they can be watered on a regular basis, throughout the day – and night if required – without you needing to worry about it. The timers work electronically, and come in a variety of types, shapes and sizes, and you will be surprised how affordable it can be to have a system in place that keeps your plants watered and ready for the season.

Do you really need an irrigation timer? You would be surprised at the variety of people who use one of these very effective, cheap and useful devices: there are some that are quite sophisticated, others that are very simple, and all do the job they are designed for very well indeed. The tome saved in not having to manually operate your hose – or even your watering can – can be spent in other areas, such as making the garden more beautiful, so you will find it to be money well spent.

Enough of the talk, let’s have a look at the top 10 irrigation timers on the market right now, and see if we can find the one that’s right for you.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

So, which of the above do we recommend as the best for your garden? Well, given that the goal here is achieve the ultimate in simplicity – that is, having your garden regularly watered without actually needing to do anything about it – we like the fact that the two ‘Sensor’ models from Hozelock know when to get to work, at sunrise and sunset, and are cheap to buy and easy to install. However, the choice is yours, as each of these is good at the job.

Happy gardening, and we hope you are looking forward to spending more time doing the bits you love, and less watering!