One of the best things you can do to save time and conserve water is to install a timer in your irrigation system. The purpose of this guide is to explain the different factors to consider when choosing a timer, which will hopefully help you find a perfect match for your system.
Choosing the right timer for your system can be a bit overwhelming, especially when taking all the different features and specifications into consideration. One thing that can be quite confusing is the difference between a controller and a timer, which is the first topic we will briefly delve into.
Controller vs. Timer
Timers are generally connected to your outdoor garden hose spigot or faucet, thus they are most commonly referred to as “hose-end timers.” Typically, a timer will have a valve that will open and close based on specific programmed times predetermined by you. Controllers are connected to a series of valves via electrical wiring which allows control over individual valves corresponding to specific zones.
If you are planning on watering your system from a hose-bib/outdoor spigot, then you will most likely want to go with a timer. If you want to run a manifold valve system off of your water main, then you will want to look at controllers. You can follow this link to view the wide range of controllers we offer: Controllers
Based on this information, if you think a controller would best suit the needs of your system, here is a link to our controller buying guide for your convenience: Irrigation Controller Buying Guide
If you feel like a timer would be the best choice for your system, then this article is the right place to be. Now that we know the difference between controllers and timers, let’s look at the top things you should take into consideration when choosing a timer.
What is the PSI of your water source?
Hose-end timers have a distinct pressure range in which they will efficiently operate. Most timers commonly have a minimum operating pressure range between 5-15 PSI, however, some models are capable of operating at a much lower PSI. One excellent example of this would be the Claber 8423 Select, which operates at a PSI as low as 2.9. This not only makes hose-end timers a great choice for backyard gardening but also for low-flow/low-pressure systems as well.
What if you are using a very low-pressure gravity system? Not to worry, there are timers for this too! The Irritec Zero Pressure Timer is fully operational at 0 PSI, making it a superb choice for almost any gravity system.
Do you want something simple or fully customizable?
There are a few different types of timers that are available on the market, ranging from very simple units to more advanced programmable units. If you prefer a more old-school and simple gardening style, then a mechanical timer such as the Orbit Mechanical Hose Faucet Timer would be a great choice for you. How about if you wanted an automated timer with programmable watering options but not something too technologically overwhelming? If that is the case, then the Claber Aquauno Logica Timer may be a good option for you. This timer is very user-friendly and has 15 different pre-set watering programs to choose from. All you have to do is turn the dial to the program you want and the timer will take care of the rest. If you are more tech-savvy and want a wide variety of programming options and features that you can control from your smart device, then a smart timer such as the Bhyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer would be the way to go. The table below illustrates some examples of Wifi/Bluetooth-compatible smart timers that we carry:
Some timers have unique features, such as the DIG BO9D Hose-End Timer which has the option to run higher flow rates at lower inlet pressures. A multitude of timers have options to install rain and soil sensors to prevent overwatering when it rains; one example being the Irritec GreenTimer Pro. Examples of other sensor-compatible timers that we carry are displayed in the table below:
For those looking to use something a little more environmentally friendly, and want to harness the great power of renewable energy via the sun, we carry a few options for solar-powered timers that might be right up your alley:
Regardless of whether you want a simple or more advanced timer, you will want to choose one with the best features and specifications for your personal system.
What type of features do timers have?
Some of the more complex programmable timers have a wide variety of features that are designed to make operating your system more convenient. Many of the programmable timers have pre-set programs that allow you to water automatically at specific time intervals. These programs are essentially watering schedules that you can set to control:
When you water, (what time: AM/PM)
How long do you water (watering duration)
How frequently do you water (watering frequency)
Those three parameters are very important to take into consideration when buying a timer. If you want to water only on specific days or at specific times, you will want to buy a timer that allows you to set the watering schedule you want. If you have specific needs for how long you want to water, you will have to find a timer that offers various watering duration options that fit your needs. If you want a variation on when you water, for example, twice a day, 4 times a day, or even once a week, then you will have to find a timer that has programmable options for the watering frequency you desire.
For basic watering or situations where you want to water all zones from your spigot at the same time, single program timers are optimal. If you have different areas in your system with varying water requirements, a multi-zone timer with a variety of programmable options may be a better option for you. It is quite evident that timers have a plethora of options and features to choose from. If you have an idea of what kind of features you want in a timer, you can narrow down your options further by knowing how many zones you need to water.
How many zones are you looking to water?
While many hose-end timers available on the market are designed to only water a single zone from your hose bib, there are also a few timers that are capable of watering multiple zones from your spigot.
Below you will find a list of timers sectioned into tables based on zone limitation, max start times per day, watering durations, and special features.