Automatic hose timers take the worry out of watering your plants by allowing you to set timers to tackle the chore. “You can even set it to water while you’re away on vacation,” says Allison Vallin Kostovick, gardener and founder of Finch + Folly Farm. We evaluated the best automatic hose timers based on their programmability, water pressure requirements, ease of use, and additional features.
Our favorite automatic hose timer, the Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer, is easy to install and operate, and it allows you to set the start time, duration, and frequency to meet your watering needs.
Here are the best automatic hose timers to add to your garden.
Best Overall: Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer
Easy to install
Wide watering duration range
Can create water hammer effect
The Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer is a top choice for most people’s watering needs, thanks to its impressive programmability and unbeatable value. This digital hose timer is designed to control just one hose, and it requires water pressure from 25 to 100 PSI for proper operation. Its rotating dial makes it easy and straightforward to adjust its various settings, and you can use it in temperatures from 41 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
With this hose timer, you select the start time, watering duration, and watering frequency using its digital screen. You can set the watering duration from 1 to 240 minutes, and the watering frequency to repeating intervals ranging from 6 hours to 7 days. You can also override settings and manually use your hose. A neat feature is its rain delay, which pauses all watering for 1 to 3 days.
The Orbit Single-Outlet Hose Timer is easy to install on any standard 0.75-inch faucet—no tools are required. It uses two AA batteries (not included), and its weather-resistant construction lets you leave the hose timer outside all summer long. However, we've noted an occasional water hammer effect because its valve shuts off very quickly. So you may want to attach it to a water hammer arrestor to protect your pipes.
Best Budget: Orbit 62034 Mechanical Watering Hose Timer
No batteries required
Without the bells and whistles of a digital timer, the Orbit 62034 Mechanical Watering Hose Timer is a budget-friendly option for your garden. Unlike more advanced models that start automatically at set times, this unit works more like an egg timer—you manually start it, and it shuts off when the set time has elapsed. All you have to do is twist the dial to your desired watering duration, from 15 to 120 minutes, and the timer takes care of the rest.
Because of its mechanical design, this timer requires no batteries, and it has a manual watering setting in case you need to use your hose for another task. The simple design requires no programming, so you can just twist it into place and start using it immediately, Its high-impact construction should last for several seasons.
Best Splurge: Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer
Adjusts watering schedules based on forecast
EPA WaterSense certified
App interface could be improved
If you don’t mind spending a little extra for its advanced features, the Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer is a high-tech option for your garden. Not only does this single-hose timer have smart capabilities, allowing you to control its schedule from your smartphone, but it’s also solar-powered! A solar cell on the side of the unit captures energy from the sun, and just one full day of sunlight can power the timer for up to a week, so you needn't worry about it not working on rainy days. The timer attaches to 0.75-inch faucets, and it requires water pressure from 0.02 and 0.8 megapascals (roughly 3 to 116 PSI).
The Pixie Faucet Timer hooks up to your home’s Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the device right from your smartphone. You can create custom watering schedules and monitor your water usage, and the app even adjusts watering based on the forecast in your area. If you’re not sure how often to water, this device offers recommendations based on your plants, soil, and sprinkler type. You also can program it to comply with local watering rules and restrictions. Plus, you can integrate the Pixie with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, allowing you to make it part of your smart-home system.
Best With Wi-Fi: Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer
Automatically adjusts watering based on local conditions
EPA WaterSense certified
Problems using multiple units
The Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer connects to your phone via Wi-Fi, allowing you to create highly customized watering schedules for your garden. The single-hose timer's technology provides watering recommendations based on factors such as slope, soil type, sun/shade conditions, and historical weather data. It also takes into account live weather forecasts, ensuring your plants aren’t over- or under-watered. Thanks to these smart abilities, the B-hyve Timer can help you to save water—it’s even certified by the EPA’s WaterSense program.
This hose timer has a brass connection that’s more durable than most plastic pieces, and it operates on two AA batteries. It requires water pressure from 10 to 100 PSI, and the timer connects to any standard 0.75-inch garden hose. Its Wi-Fi hub needs to be plugged into an outlet inside your home. While the manufacturer says you can expand the system with additional timers, we've seen problems when trying to control multiple units at the same time.
Best With Bluetooth: Melnor 65127-AMZ 2-Zone Bluetooth Water Timer
Flexible watering schedules
One-touch manual watering
Limited Bluetooth range
The Melnor 2-Zone Bluetooth Water Timer can connect to your smartphone, and its app allows you to create more flexible watering schedules than a regular digital timer. Through the Melnor app, you can create separate zones for two hoses, programming them to water on specific days or at certain intervals with up to 12 customizable start times per day. However, Bluetooth has a fairly limited range (unlike Wi-Fi units, which can be controlled from virtually anywhere), and you need to be within 30 feet of the timer for it to connect to your phone.
This timer has two high-flow valves, and filter washers ensure a leak-free seal to your hoses. Manual watering buttons on the timer allow you to easily override the programmed schedule if you need to use the hose. Or you can enable a water delay through the app, pausing the schedule when it’s forecast to rain.
Best Digital: Chapin 1-Zone Water Timer with Digital Display
Easy to program
Highly customizable watering time
Available with dual zones
The Chapin Water Timer has a convenient digital display that’s easy to program using the dial on the front of the unit. Unlike many other hose timers, it includes a protective cover that snaps into place, helping to shield the display from water, dirt, dust, and UV rays. This timer is designed to control just one hose (though the manufacturer offers the same model in a dual-zone format), and it requires water pressure from 7 to 116 PSI for proper operation. It attaches to 0.75-inch outdoor faucets, and the digital design runs on two AA batteries (not included).
With this hose timer, you control the start time, watering frequency, and watering duration with extreme precision. You can set the runtime anywhere from 5 seconds to 6 hours. It also offers a rain delay option you can set to 24, 48, or 72 hours. However, we found that the controller is water-resistant, not waterproof, so it’s best installed in a semi-sheltered location, if possible.
Best Analog: Raindrip R675CT Analog 3-Dial Water Timer
Low-battery indicator light
Includes tubing adapter
No start time setting
The Raindrip R675CT Analog 3-Dial Water Timer has an extremely basic design that’s quick and easy to program without having to navigate through digital menus. To set this hose timer, you simply twist each of the three dials on the front—frequency, run time, and rain delay/manual—to the settings you want. This hose timer connects to standard 0.75-inch faucets, and you can use a tubing adapter (not included) in case you want to connect it directly to a soaker hose or other irrigation system.
Because of its simplicity, this hose timer is somewhat limited in programming. You can set the watering duration from 3 to 90 minutes at preset intervals, and the frequency has a variety of common settings, ranging from 1 hour to 1 week. However, one of this hose timer's major shortcomings is it doesn’t have a start time setting: It starts when you start it.
Best Single Zone: Instapark PWT-07 Outdoor Waterproof Digital Hose Timer
Protective cover for screen
To water a single focused area, the Instapark Digital Hose Timer is an easy-to-use digital option. Attaching to any standard 0.75-inch hose faucet, it features an easy-to-read LED display, as well as a dial for programming. Its two AA batteries (not included) can last for up to a full year without needing replacements. The timer works with water pressure from 14.5 to 116 PSI, and its waterproof design should hold up well against the elements.
The Instapark Timer uses a 24-hour time display format (commonly called “military time”), and you can set its watering duration from 1 to 360 minutes, in 10-second intervals. You can choose from a wide range of settings, including popular options such as every 1, 2, 3, or 7 days. Be careful when you install this hose timer—its plastic connections aren’t the most durable. But overall, it’s a well-made unit for controlling your garden hoses.
Best Dual Zone: Gilmour Dual Outlet Electronic Water Timer
Zones can be programmed individually
Automatic low-battery shutoff
Can create water hammer effect
The Gilmour Dual Outlet Electronic Water Timer is ideal if you have two hoses you want on separate watering schedules. The dual-zone design hooks up to two hoses simultaneously, and you can create a watering schedule for each zone, customizing each one's start time, frequency, and run time. All that, and you pay roughly the same as for many single-zone timers!
You program this timer, with its large LCD screen, using the rotating dial on the front. It offers watering durations from 1 to 360 minutes, and you can set its rain delay button for 24, 48, or 72 hours. The timer is made of durable, high-impact plastic, with a metal coupling for durability, and it automatically shuts off the water if the battery is low, helping to ensure it doesn’t get stuck. The only downside is it can create a slight water hammer effect when it shuts off the hose, so you may want to install it with a water hammer arrestor.
Best Multi-Zone: Melnor 73280 Digital Water Electronic Hose Timer
Four high-flow valves
Angled valves for easy hose attachment
Compatible with moisture sensor
You can water up to four different areas with the Melnor 73280 Digital Hose Timer, making it ideal for large gardens or yards. You can program each area individually with up to four start times per zone per day. This timer has four high-flow valves; two are angled to make it easier to screw on hoses. The timer has a large, easy-to-read screen and a set of buttons for programming. But it can be fairly complex to figure out at first, as there are a lot of settings to mess with.
When programming this timer, you can have it water on certain days or at designated intervals. A manual option allows you to use the hose outside of its scheduled watering time, and you can set a rain delay up to 7 days. Or, connect this timer to the manufacturer's soil moisture sensor, which pauses the timer when the ground is wet.
The Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer is our top pick, thanks to its easy-to-use digital design, versatility, and affordable price. It controls a single hose, and you can program it with a start time, watering duration, and watering frequency. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Orbit 62034 Mechanical Watering Hose Timer, which works more like an egg timer—you turn it on manually, and it runs for a set time before shutting off.
What to Look For in an Automatic Hose Timer
Depending on where you need to water, you may want to look for an automatic hose timer that features one or more zones. Timers that support more than one zone can typically connect to multiple hoses, allowing you to create individual schedules for each connection. This is often ideal if you’re watering multiple gardens or a large yard.
Hose timers are digital or analog—you program the former through a digital screen, while the latter relies on dials. No matter which type you choose, most hose timers offer a few programmable settings. Standard settings include the start time, or when it turns on to begin watering; run time or duration, or how long the water is on for; and frequency, or how often it waters (for instance, every six hours, every day, every other day, etc.).
Most hose timers list an ideal water pressure range, which is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Make sure your faucet’s water pressure lies within this range—otherwise, the timer may not work correctly. To test your home’s water pressure, you may need to pick up a water pressure gauge from your local hardware store.
There are a variety of advanced features that you may want to consider as you shop for a hose timer. “Do you want an electronic device that runs on a battery or a solar-powered one that comes with its own tiny solar panel on the device?” says Allison Vallin Kostovick, gardener and founder at Finch + Folly Farm. “If choosing solar, you have to be mindful as to where your hose connects. If it is in a shady spot, the solar panel will not be able to capture the needed sun’s rays.”
Other features include Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, a rain delay function, and the option for manual watering when you want to use the hose for other tasks.
How does an automatic hose timer work?
The hose timer attaches between your outdoor spigot/faucet and the hose to efficiently water your garden on a schedule you determine, explains Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau. “By affixing a timer and then programming it," Diane says, "it allows you to water at the time of day you choose and for the length of time you choose. You decide your watering schedule, set the timer, and then forget it because the watering is done automatically.”
How do you install an automatic hose timer?
To install an automatic hose timer, turn off the outdoor faucet and attach the timer. (This is a good time to replace your faucet's rubber gasket to ensure it forms a leak-free seal.) From here, you can screw a garden hose onto the other side of the timer. Once this is done, it’s simply a matter of programming the timer to your desired settings.
Can an automatic hose timer work with a standard hose?
The vast majority of automatic hose timers are designed to work with standard-sized garden hoses. If you’re planning to hook your timer up to an irrigation system, with soaker hoses or another nonstandard size, you may need to purchase an adapter to connect the timer.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. On her five-acre homestead, she has many gardens to care for during the summer, and she uses the Melnor 73280 Digital Water Electronic Hose Timer to keep her flower and vegetable patches well-watered with minimal effort.
While researching this article, she spoke with Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau, and Allison Vallin Kostovick, gardener and founder at Finch + Folly Farm, for information on the benefits of hose timers and how to use them effectively. She prioritized products that are easy to operate and have a wide water pressure range, ensuring they are compatible with most household faucets.