Automatic Water Timer: Buyers Guide To Garden Water Timer

Automatic Water Timer: Buyers Guide To Garden Water Timer

Automatic Water Timer

A comprehensive look at Automatic Garden Water Timer that can conserve water and save you time and money.

Watering timers can help homeowners use water wisely AND and save money. Use our buyers guide to determine which timer is best for you.

After weeks of nurturing your lawn and garden through the spring, be prepared when the heat of the summer hits hard. With many areas of the world destined to experience drought-like conditions again, managing and conserving water has taken on a new importance.

Going away on vacation or a business trip? Automatic Water Timer can take care of the very important task of keeping your lawn and garden hydrated. Take comfort in knowing your yard will be taken care of. As an added benefit, a working sprinkler gives your home the “lived-in” look while you’re away and could potentially scare away a would-be burglar.

Automatic watering timers come in a variety of sizes and price ranges. The simplest ones hook right to your hose and will automatically shut the water off. Others allow you to program start and stop times, watering duration and frequency and some control multiple sprinklers.

Considering that a professional irrigation system can easily cost several thousand dollars, garden water timer between $10 and $75 are a great alternative for anyone who takes pride in their lawn and garden.

Types of Garden Water Timer

Watering timers range in price from $10 for one-function, non-programmable timers to $75 for a complete four-zone fully-programmable digital water timer system which allows you to control four sprinklers or drip irrigation systems with the help of water sprinkler timer.

Each connect to a standard 3/4″ water hose timer bib on the outside of your house and provide 1 to 4 outlets which connect to a standard garden hose and water sprinkler timer. Some require batteries to power the timer.

Automatic Water Timer

Type 1 – Automatic Shut-Off Watering Timers
These Automatic Water Timer range in price from $10 to $35 and will control one sprinkler or drip/soaker hose. You set the dial manually each time you turn on the water and the timer will automatically shut off the water at the preset time.

Zones : 1    Batteries : no    Programmable : no

Type 2 – Programmable Digital Water Timer Automatic Water Timer
Type 2 timers also allow hookup of one sprinkler or drip hose and range in price from $25 to $40. Some contain pre-set programs and others allow you to program the start time, duration and frequency of up to four watering cycles. The timer will turn the water on and off at the pre-programmed times.

Zones : 1    Batteries : yes    Programmable : yes

Garden Water TimerType 3 – Multi-Zone Programmable Digital Watering Timers
Type 3 timers are similar to type 2 but provide up to four outlets to connect four hoses with sprinklers or drip systems. Each outlet can be programmed for individual start time, duration and frequency. They range in price from $30 to $75.

Zones : 2-4    Batteries : yes    Programmable : yes


More details on all the 3 types of Automatic Garden Water Timer:

Type 1 – Automatic Shut-Off Watering Timers

Nelson Water Timer
Nelson 56600 Shut-Off Water Timer

Type 1 watering timers are the simplest and least expensive available. They provide one basic function : the timer will shut off the water after a pre-determined time you manually set on the timer’s dial each time you water.

They are perfect for people who need the convenience of not having to remember or those who are not home when the water needs to be shut off. The timer is connected directly to the hose bib on the outside of your house and your garden hose and sprinkler are connected to the timer.

A good example… The best time to water your lawn and garden is early in the morning, that’s a fact. For those people who have to go to work, that doesn’t leave many options since you won’t be home when the water needs to be shut off. The choices… turn the sprinkler on anyway and let it run all day (that’s a waste of water !)…OR…wait until you get home and water in the evening (but that invites fungus to grow if your plants are wet all night)…OR… use a Type 1 watering timer !

The choices below represent the best type 1 watering timers available. They all feature a maximum 2 hour watering cycle with auto-shut-off, no batteries are required and they are easy to use and will save water and time. Based on my experience with these timers and customer feedback from Amazon, I provided a “good”, “better” and “best” selection.

Manual set, auto-shut off timer. Quick connect/disconnect fitting. Watering time and water flow can be set. Highest customer feedback rating.

One step manual watering timer. Spin the knob to desired watering length. Brass ergo-swivel coupling. Two functions: manual on and timed watering with auto-shut-off.

Other features :
– Maximum watering time : 2 hours
– No batteries required

-1 year parts and labor warranty

Quality Impact Sprinklers

Many people ask me what kind of sprinklers are the most efficient. To cut down on water evaporation, sprinklers need to keep water in large droplets (not mist) and as close to the ground as possible.

Impact sprinklers accomplish this and are by far, the most efficient sprinklers you can use to water your yard.

Type 2 – Programmable Digital Automatic Water Timer

Orbit Water Timer
Orbit 62061N-91213 Single-Dial Water Timer

Type 2 watering timers add programmable functionality allowing you to set the start time, length of time to water and how often to water.

For anyone leaving home for a few days or more, these timers will take good care of the lawn and garden by providing necessary water on a regular basis.

Each has a standard 3/4″ fitting to connect to the hose bib on the outside of your house. The garden hose connects to the other end of the timer. These watering timers all require batteries (not included). As good practice with any battery-operated device, batteries should be removed after the gardening season and replaced with fresh ones at the start of the new season to insure proper operation and eliminate the risk of leaking batteries.

This garden water timer is ideal for people who might leave their lawn a garden for a two-week vacation or business trip. It only takes a few hot, dry summer days and a few missed watering session to damage a lawn or garden. These timers allow you to set up a single sprinkler and program the timer to turn on and off at specific times for specific intervals while you are away.
This unit is NOT fully-programmable. Instead, it has 18 preset cycles to choose from… 9 longer cycles for lawn or garden watering and 9 shorter cycles for drip or soaker irrigation.

Preset cycles include:
1) every day at 6am for 1, 2, 5, 15, 30 or 60 minutes
2) every other day at 6AM for 1, 2, 5, 15, 30 or 60 minutes
3) 2x a day at 6AM and 6PM for 1, 2, 5, 15, 30 or 60 minutes

Programmable controller can be removed for ease of use. Up to four different watering cycles can be entered. Each program can be set for a specific start time, a duration of up to 360 minutes and can run every day, every other day, only on specific days or once a week.

Other features :
– Maximum watering time : 1 hour
– Maximum water pressure : 100 psi
– Requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
– The users manual for this timer can be viewed here.

Watering Timers Encourage Water Conservation
Conserve one of our most precious natural resources…

Most home owners are guilty of setting out a water sprinkler timer and forgetting to turn it off. Over watering is not only harmful to your yard but it wastes a very precious resource that has been a very current topic with blistering droughts in parts of the world.

If you do your homework and determine how long your sprinkler needs to be on to deliver the right amount of water to your garden or lawn, a watering timer can prevent over and under-watering AND you’ll be doing your part in conserving water.

Type 3 – Multi-Zone Programmable Watering Timers

Orbit Yard Watering Kit
Orbit 58872N Complete Yard Watering Kit

Type 3 watering timers are very similar in programming capability to Type 2 watering timers. Type 3 timers add multiple zones or “outlets” that allow you to connect more than one garden hose, set up multiple sprinklers ahead of time and program each zone with a specific program.

Type 3 timers are perfect for people who leave home for extended periods of time and have several critical areas in their yard that will need watering when they are away.

Each has the same standard 3/4″ fitting on all outlet ports and they require batteries (not included) to power the unit. As mentioned for Type 2 watering timers, it is good practice with these units to remove batteries after the gardening season to avoid the risk of leakage.
The Orbit 62062 2-port watering timer is one of the easiest to program Automatic Water Timer. It features one dial that you use to set the schedule for each of the two zones… when to start watering, how long to water (any time from 1 minute up to 240 minutes) and how often (4x, 2x or once a day, once every 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 days or once a week).

Large-size LCD display. “Manual” button for instant program interruption. Orbit’s exclusive “Rain delay” feature allows you to manually interrupt the program from 24 to 72 hours after a heavy rainfall to avoid over-watering. It is a perfect raindrip water timer!

Other features :
– 1 year limited warranty
– Maximum watering time : 4 hours
– Minimum water pressure : 25 psi. Maximum water pressure : 100 psi
– Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).
– The users guide for the Orbit 62062 can be viewed here.

Brass Hose Y-Connectors:

Highly recommended as a complement for any watering timer….

If you are considering purchasing a watering timer, I highly recommend also purchasing a hose Y-connector aka “splitter”. After connecting the timer and setting up the sprinkler, it’s best to set it and forget it… that is until you need to fill a watering can or wash off your deck. Then you have to disconnect the sprinkler or timer and that can be very inconvenient.

The solution is a simple hose Y-connector. Connect it to hose bib on the outside of your house. Connect the watering timer to one side of the Y-connector and save the other side for those times when you need water “on-the-spot”…. The Y-connector has two shut-off handles allowing you to turn on or shut off and adjust flow to each side as you need it.

I recommended a few brass Y-connectors below. They also come in cheaper, plastic versions but avoid these if possible. I can’t tell you how many plastic splitter have, well, “split” on me after a tug from the hose or trying to disconnect a tight fitting. Every quality brass splitter I purchased is still going strong and has saved me a lot of time and money.


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