Choose from the 6 best water timers in the UK (October 2020 Updated Review)
We all want a lush, green lawn and beautiful flower beds, but in today’s fast moving world it’s very hard to find the time to give or gardens the amount of time and attention that they need to blossom.
Even simple tasks such as getting enough water on our grass can be difficult in the hottest months if you are working full time as you’ll probably only get the chance to water your lawn once a day, after you get home from your job. That leaves the grass, and your plants, without water all day at the time when they need it most.
The solution to this problem is to set up an automatic watering system or irrigation system. There are lots of different types of watering systems out there and we have an article filled with reviews on the best of them on this site so I won’t go into detail here.
What we are going to focus on today is a very important part of any automatic watering system, and that is a good water timer.
Most modern automatic water timers are easy to set up and operate. You simply attach them to your garden taps, set the timer for when you want the water to come on, for how long, and how often, and then forget about it.
The timer will then do what you programmed it to do and send water to your sprinkler, drip feed hose, or whatever watering system you have set up, on time, every time. You can even program your water timer to work while you go away on holiday. How nice would it be to come home to your plants and lawn thriving rather than dried out by the sun?
These devices really are a godsend for gardeners who find themselves scrambling to find the time to tackle their watering duties, or simply for people who want to spend that time doing something else entirely. There is definitely something satisfying about sitting back in your chair with a beer on your patio while the timer kicks in and the sprinklers come on, it has to be said.
Today we are reviewing the most popular water timers that are available to buy in the UK at the time of writing. We have also included a buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page too, to help you find a suitable device for your needs.
Let’s start off with the best water time reviews.
Table of Contents
1. Orbit 94148 'Buddy II' Two-Port Digital Tap Timer
I have to admit that this review may come off as a little biased as I already own this model of water timer and have it set up on my outside tap at home. I bought it over two years ago and it’s still going strong, and even though there is now a newer version of it, I don’t see any reason to replace the one I’ve got.
The Orbit buddy 2 is a dual port digital water timer. That means you can attach two hoses to it at the same time. Not only that, but this great little device allows you to program each individual outlet separately so you can have your sprinklers operating at a certain time from output 1 but then have output 2 providing water to another watering device at another time completely. These outlets are numbered on the display so it is very hard to get confused when setting up your schedule.
The main unit is solidly built, waterproof, and easy to operate. It features a well-marked dial that is child’s play to use and a large LCD screen. Using just these few controls and four other small buttons, you can program the water timer to start every 6 hours, 12 hours, or 1 to 7 days. You can also program the duration of the watering session from a single minute to a maximum of 4 hours.
If you decide the grass and plants need watering outside your programmed schedule, no problem, you simply need to press the ‘manual’ button and this will allow you to do so without affecting or deleting the previously saved program.
There is also the water saving rain delay feature which will put your pre-programmed schedule on hold for a while. This rain delay can be set to pause for either 24, 48, or 72 hours before resuming, all at the push of a button or two.
This is an excellent water timer, it has great functions, it is easy to use, and it is incredibly durable and hard wearing and what’s more it has never had any problem handling the slightly higher than usual water pressure that my home taps produce.
The only thing I would suggest to make this device work even better, is to invest in some high quality brass connectors for both the outputs and where you connect this water timer to your tap as these are always the weakest links in any new watering product whether it is a garden hose, sprinkler, or water timer like these.
Good connectors are very inexpensive and easy to come by, and with the addition of a few, the Buddy 2 water timer will stand you well for a long time.
2. Hozelock Automatic Water Computer Timer Plus
The Hozelock AC water timer plus is an analog device rather digital and this has its advantages. For one, analog water timers are less complicated than most digital models both in construction and in operation. This usually adds up to them being a bit more durable as there are less things to go wrong, and also makes them good for people new to these kinds of devices as the controls tend to be more straightforward.
This water timer is programmed using a large dial and 4 buttons to the side of it. The dial is colour coded and clearly marked to show the different functions and it is very easy to follow.
At the top of the box there is a connector to fit it onto your tap and a single hose connector outlet at the bottom. Hozelock are famous for their connectors and many gardeners swear by them, even going as far as to replace the ones that come with new products with Hozelock brand connectors, so it is good to see that there are some included in the packaging.
The Ac water timer plus has similar features to most popular models these days, you can set the frequency for the water to turn on at intervals ranging from 6 hours to one week, and duration can be anywhere from 1 minute to 180 minutes.
When your program has been set you will hear a little sound telling you that it has been accepted, and if you wish to change any part of the program, or use it on the manual setting you can do so without having to change any of the other existing parameters you have set. These are both features that I liked about this Hozelock water timer.
What I didn’t like about this model is the fact that there is no rain delay feature so you have to switch it off and remember to turn it back on again when the weather improves. Also, I’ve never cared much for the striking yellow colour of Hozelock products. It may be to a lot of people’s liking, but certainly not mine.
The water timer I tested was very well put together and there weren’t any leaks, cracks, or any other concerns, but reading up online I have seen that some people have had problems with all of these things, so there might be some quality control issues. If so, Hozelock actually has a good reputation for customer service and you should be able to get a replacement without too much hassle.
3. Kingfisher Electronic Water Timer
Kingfisher has built a name for themselves as a manufacturer who provide low cost alternatives to many types of gardening products for those with a lower budget. This electronic water timer is one such product, selling for only £14.75 on Amazon at the moment.
The interface is very easy to work out and uses just two small dials, one for programming frequency, and another for run time (duration). All you need to do is turn them both to the settings that you want, and that’s it, you’re done. While this doesn’t give you much in the way of extra features such as manual operation or rain delay, it does give you the choice of setting the water timer up to turn on at much more frequent intervals than most models.
For example you can have this water timer turning on every hour if you so wish, for as little as a few minutes, or up to the maximum of every 72 hours and running for 120 minutes, and I liked that amount of precise control.
Being a very low cost model means that you can’t expect the same level of build quality as much more expensive products, and there was a slight drip from the bottom of the device that I quickly fixed with some plumbers tape and a better hose connector. Apart from that though, there were no other issues while we tested it out.
Like most of these water timers, the Kingfisher is battery operated and if my own experience is anything to go by, you won’t have to worry about changing them any time soon. In fact, one set of batteries is usually good to last for the whole spring and summer, and I can’t see this model being any different. If anything they should last longer as there is no LCD display to power, however there is a tiny green LCD light situated between the two dials that lets you know the water timer is working.
For less than fifteen pounds it’d be hard to find a water timer as good as this one, and most models are 2-4 times that price. Yes, you will have to make do with a few extra features, but for the basics, this is a decent product.
4. Claber 8410 Aquadue Duplo Water Timer
You don’t have to be an expert in languages to work out that the ‘duplo’ in the name means that it has two water outlets, just like the Buddy 2 model we reviewed earlier. Also like the Buddy 2, the outlets can be set up with different schedules to run at varying frequencies and durations, but both can’t be run at the same time which is kind of annoying.
Where these products differ though, is that the Aquadue Duplo is far more complicated to operate and takes longer to get used to. I would say that if you aren’t already comfortable handling technology such as being able to use all your smartphones features and settings, you might feel a little lost with this water timer.
On the plus side, once you have got used to the system it does give you a lot of scheduling options and can be set up to turn on as frequently as every minute or as far apart as a week.
There is also the option to connect this water timer to Claber’s own rain sensor which will allow the timer to switch itself off in wet weather.
The main unit and connectors on this model are all very well made as you would expect for the higher price of this water timer.it is all sealed up nicely, feels robust, and it is fitted with a stainless steel filter. Claber says that this can be used with water pressures up to 12 bar, which is much higher than most home’s water pressure.
On the face of the main box is an LCD screen that presents information like schedule times and days, and there is a handy battery level indicator too. Beneath the screen are three small buttons which you use to select your schedule from the options available.
To sum this water timer up I would say that it is very well made and no doubt durable, but for the extra money you spend, it doesn’t really offer that much more than models of half the price. On the other hand, Claber has a good reputation for customer service, and durability is always high on some people’s list of things to tick off when choosing hardware such as this.
5. Kazeila Water Timer Digital
Two things sprang to mind when I first took this water timer out of the packaging. The first was that this unit is larger and bulkier than I expected it to be, so it was lucky that my garden tap is easy to get to and stuck away in a tight corner or there could have been a problem.
The second thing that caught my eye was the 3 inch LCD screen which is much larger than what you normally see on digital water timers. The screen is split into five different sections with each one clearly displaying information about a certain aspect of the programming.
The largest section shows the current time and also the battery level, below that is the start time of your current schedule. On the top right you can see the duration of the watering session, then below that is the frequency in hours, and finally below that is where it shows when the next irrigation is. A good power saving feature of the screen is that it will automatically turn off in sleep mode if it hasn’t been operated for 30 seconds.
There are four silicone buttons below the LCD screen where you can set up your program and also select manual and rain delay modes easily, then there are two more buttons on the right used to increase or decrease the set times. It’s all straightforward and fairly intuitive after you’ve had a bit of a play around with it.
The main unit of this water timer has been tested and certified as being IP65 waterproof and the whole thing feels as strong and durable as other models in the same price range. The connectors are of a decent quality, particularly the top one that fits on the tap which has been made out of reinforced nylon fibre instead of plastic to increase durability and prevent leaks.
I like it when product makers don’t just copy the design of others and come up with a new idea or two, and Kazeila have done just that by adding a child lock option on their water timer, so you don’t have to worry about little Billy or Jenny tapping away and messing up your watering schedule.
Talking of schedules, this model allows you to choose the duration from 1 second to 30 minutes, and frequency from 1 hour to 15 days, so you’ve got a lot of options there to get things just right.
If you can handle the fact that the Kazeila is big, bulky, and heavy, plus the fact you have to spend a little time getting used to programming it, I don’t think there is a better water timer for under 25 pounds, or probably even more than that. A great product.
6. BORUiT LCD Waterproof Digital Water Timer
Priced at just shy of 18 pounds, the Boruit water timer is in direct competition for best budget model with the Kingfisher. At first glance they do appear quite similar in design, but a closer look reveals that while the Kingfisher is an analog model controlled using two dials, this Boruit water timer is digital and features an LCD screen.
The information on the screen is clear enough to read easily and beneath this are eight buttons in a row with clear markings about their function above them. Under the buttons are two clips used to gain access to the battery compartment where you need to insert two AA batteries.
The Boruit digital water pump allows you to preset and save 16 different programs and each one is very customizable when it comes to start time and duration (1 minute to 9 hours and 59 minutes). After you have set the start time and duration, you can then set the frequency to every day, every other day, etc. but at first I couldn’t see how to do this as the indicators on the LCD screen were a bit small and at the side and bottom of the screen. It takes a little getting used to but makes sense once you’ve practiced with it a little.
Once you’ve set everything up and are happy, you need to screw on the plastic cover over the screen and buttons to protect it from water and other things. It’s a bit annoying having to remove the cover every time you want to make adjustments but it only takes seconds so I can’t complain too much.
Quality wise, this is on par with the Kingfisher but the instructions that come with the device have obviously been translated in China or somewhere like that and they aren’t the easiest to follow. I ended up looking on YouTube to figure out how to program the frequency otherwise I think I would have gotten quite frustrated.
I guess these things are to be expected of budget water timers though, and if I want something without faults I need to shell out more for it.
For the price, it is a good little water timer, only really let down by some less than clear instructions and a tricky set up for watering frequency.
Water Timers Buyer’s Guide
If this is your first time buying a water timer, you might be a little unsure about the things you read in the product descriptions or in reviews online.
Below you will find a few of the main factors that you should know about when choosing a water timer, to make sure you get a good deal on something you are happy with.
Analog or digital?
Water timers are usually either analog models or digital although there are some that blur the lines a little. Analog water timers are generally easier to program and because there are less things to go wrong with them, they can be thought of as more durable.
Digital timers can offer more features such as being able to save programs and schedules, but some models are complicated to operate.
Single or double outlets
There are water timers that have only a single outlet to attach a hose to and there models with double outlets. Obviously, a double outlet water timer offers you the option to water two areas of your garden at different times which is a nice feature, however this can sometimes make things a little complicated when trying to program a schedule. Most double outlet timers will only allow you to use one at a time too, while the rare models that allow you to use them simultaneously will result in a loss of water pressure in each one.
It is important that you get a timer that has the water cycle options that suit your needs. The cycles may actually vary a lot from model when it comes to frequency and duration with some offering more flexibility than others.
The number of cycles can also differ quite a lot from as little as six to as many as 16 or more like in the case of our reviewed product from Boruit.
When buying any battery operated device that is going to be in close proximity to a lot of water, or left outside in all weathers, you need to check that it has been tested and certified as waterproof. A good thing to look out for is if the product has an IP number, such as IP65, in the product description as this will let you know it has been properly tested.
A quick look through customers’ comments on sites like Amazon will also give you a general idea of the build quality of a product. Please bear in mind though that people are more likely to comment if they have something negative to say than positive, but if the overall feedback is positive, that’s something to smile about.
Size and weight
Think about where your main source of water is going to come from. If it is a garden tap, is it a place where there is lots of space for a sizeable water timer? Or is it in a tight and cramped spot that will require a more compact model? You also have to take into account that some very lightweight models might not be the most durable, so maybe trying to find a happy medium is a good move.
Some good features to keep an eye out for are multiple/storable programs, manual and rain delay modes that don’t cancel out the original schedule, large and clear LCD screens in the case of digital models, and child locks to protect your settings from wandering hands.