The 10 Best Pool Timers

best-pool-timers

The best pool timers allow you to keep your swimming pool spotless without needing to run your pump around the clock.

Keeping a pool operational is expensive enough anyway, so every saving you can make helps.

Beyond the savings you’ll make on reduced running costs, you’ll also prolong the lifespan of your pump.

Pool timers are, in effect, a bridge between your pool pump and the electrical outlet. By setting the timer to kick in at set times each day, you’ll ensure that power to the pump is severed on demand and reconnecting when it’s programmed to kick in again.

So, by investing in one of these simple but effective devices, you’ll be keeping your pool water perfectly clean while slashing running costs and the cost of replacement pool equipment.

While a timer is on the surface a very simple device, there are nevertheless several pointers worth considering when you’re on the buying trail. Focus on the following to streamline your decision:

  • Mechanical or digital: Mechanical timers are simple to install, easy to use, and capable of returning years of faithful service. Digital timers offer more precision and more programmability, but you’ll need to dig deeper for the privilege
  • Load capacity: This rating expresses how much load the timer can handle. The best pool timers are flexible enough to cope with variable loads. If you’re planning to run more than one pool pump, you can find timers capable of this, and we review several of them today. Most pool timers have standalone three-way circuits that can be programmed to work independently.
  • Current rating: You’ll need to know how much current the pool timers on your shortlist can cope with. You’ll have to consider the size of the pool and whether it’s in a residential or commercial setting. You’ll need a timer that’s rated higher for current than your pool pump. Get this right and you won’t need to worry about your timer ending up as the weak point in your pool system
  • Safety: Make sure any timers on your shortlist intended for outdoor use have water-resistant and dust-proof housings. Connections should be fully insulated. Not all pool timers are designed for use outdoors. If you’re planning to use yours outside, make certain you buy one that’s suited to this purpose
  • Programmability: The best pool timers allow you to program in on/off operations for set times each day. You should also look for memory save settings that won’t leave you whistling in the event of a power outage

OK, with those basics taken into account, you should have everything you need to compare the best pool timers and find the most appropriate one for your needs.

Let’s get right down to business now with our top 10 pool timer reviews so you can accurately assess what’s at your disposal.

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The 10 Best Pool Timers

1. Our #1 Pick: Honeywell Programmable Timer

Honeywell-Industrial-weekly/daily-programmable-indoor-and-outdoor-timer-(TI040)

Features

  • Programmable
  • 120V and 240V
  • 4 x 7 x 9 inches

The Aube by Honeywell programmable timer is our overall favorite in a crowded field.

You can flick between 120V and 240V giving you complete flexibility. The timer can be programmed through 7 days, with 7 on settings and 7 off settings.

The timer will run for 16 hours continuously, making for a cost-effective addition to your pool system.

Although this timer won’t give you the ability to control multiple pool pumps, it’s compatible with three-way switches.

There are three modes on this timer:

  • Automatic
  • Manual
  • Temporary bypass

The innards of the timer are houses in a waterproof casing, so this timer is ideal for outdoor use.

Most user reviews of this timer are pretty positive, but we found some isolated complaints about the flimsiness of the case. The other grip we encountered concerns the knockouts. A handful of users complain that these are pretty awkward to remove.

Overall, you’re getting an impressive timer from a household brand, and it might be the smartest investment you make this year.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Lockable, weatherproof case
  • 7-day programming
  • Wide band of settings
  • Can’t control multiple pumps

2. Intermatic T103 Mechanical Time Switch

Intermatic-T103-Mechanical-Time-Switch,-Gray

Features

  • Mechanical
  • 120V, 60Hz
  • 9 x 6 x 4 inches

Intermatic makes a deep bench of gear ideal for bringing out the very best in your pool system. How does this mechanical time switch stack up, then?

This timer is rated for use commercially, residentially, and industrially, giving you total versatility regardless of application.

With direct 24-hour control, you’ll be capable of controlling almost all loads.

You get the option of setting between 1 and 12 on and off operations over the course of the day. The unit comes equipped with one on tripper and one off tripper.

A few dissatisfied users report issues with the precision of the timing on this unit. We feel that for the purposes of a home swimming pool timer, this should be a non-issue. If you insist on unerring accuracy, there are several more precise models on our shortlist today.

For a pocket-friendly and flexible pool timer with the highest horsepower rating in its class, the Intermatic T103 is well worth a place on your shortlist.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Manual override
  • Control most loads through 24 hours
  • Tripper included
  • Timing is inaccurate

3. Intermatic P1121 Heavy-Duty Outdoor Timer

Intermatic-P1121-Heavy-Duty-Outdoor-Timer-15-Amp

Features

  • Removable trippers
  • 120V, 60 Hz
  • 4 x 7 x 5.5 inches

If you’re looking for a versatile timer that allows you to manipulate a variety of outdoor pool appliances along with any landscape lighting, the ever-reliable Intermatic hits another home run.

Set-up couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is plug this unit directly into a power outlet and you’re good to go.

This is a truly multipurpose timer allowing you to save money by controlling the operation of most outdoor applications from pool pumps and water fountains through to fans, heaters, signage, or outdoor landscape lighting.

The timer comes equipped with a 12-inch grounded cord that should give you ample latitude for installation.

There is a manual override switch in place on this unit which runs on 120 volts.

While this pool timer is pretty effective and consistently well-reviewed, we found some scattered blowback concerning durability. We feel you need to peg you expectations of lifespan when you’re buying any product at this price point, and overall impressions of this timer are positive.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Plugs right into the wall
  • Easy to make adjustments
  • Waterproof housing
  • Build quality could be improved

4. Intermatic 24-Hour Dial Timer

Intermatic-TMHDT101-T101-24-Hour-Dial-Timer

Features

  • Programmable
  • 120V
  • 1 x 5.4 x 3.3 inches

Next in line we have another entry from the inimitable Intermatic. How does this programmable timer stand out in a busy space?

Firstly, you’ll be buying into the expertise of a specialist in this field. Intermatic manufactures a wide array of timers for different use cases. That said, we found some reports of weak quality control, so check the contents of your package closely.

There is a manual override switch on this highly programmable timer, and you can also create up to 12 daily on/off operations.

Included as standard is one on tripper and one off tripper.

Rated for industrial, commercial, or residential use, you’ll have no problems at all if you opt for the Intermatic T101 to control your home swimming pool pump and to cut costs without impairing performance.

This timer has a class-leading horsepower rating.

Overall build is reasonable, and this timer is also quite competitively priced. It’s not exactly cheap, but considering the performance, it represents solid value and is one of the best pool timers you’ll find.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 12 x on/off operations daily
  • Manual override switch
  • Highest HP rating for loads to 40A
  • Quality control issues

5. GE Z-Wave Plus Smart Switch

GE-Z-Wave-Plus-40-Amp-Indoor/Outdoor-Metal-Box-Smart-Switch

Features

  • Smart switch
  • 120V
  • 2 x 6.5 x 9.7 inches

If you have a smart home harnessing Z-Wave connectivity, this smart switch from the mighty GE will slot neatly into your ecosystem. With compatible Z-Wave gear, you can control this timer wirelessly for a seamless experience.

The wall-mounted enclosure is lockable and fully weatherproofed for your peace of mind.

The timer is designed for universal purposes. The single throw/double pole switch supports voltage from 120 through 277 volts. It also supports up to 40A covering all bases.

You can use this timer with a pair of 120 VAC devices, enjoying either single-load or dual-load control.

Choose to operate this timer manually or remotely to suit. Toggle between On, Off, and Z-Wave modes.

If you’re not too practically-inclined, you’ll appreciate the clear numbered markings on the screw terminals making it remarkably easy to get up and running with this timer.

Whether you want smart home integration and hands-free control, or you prefer to manipulate the timer manually, this model from GE is one of the finest examples you’ll find.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Wireless control
  • Internet-enabled
  • Rugged build and long lifespan
  • Needs Z-Wave appliances for hands-free control

6. Woods Heavy-Duty Outdoor Plug-In Timer

Woods-50015WD-Outdoor-7-Day-Heavy-Duty-Digital-Plug-in-Timer

Features

  • Digital
  • 240V/277V
  • 2 x 6.5 x 8 inches

Woods makes a selection of efficient timers ideal for use with your home swimming pool. How does this digital model stand and fall?

In terms of settings, this is potentially the most robust timer you’ll find. There are 20 settings in total, including:

  • Weekday
  • Weekend
  • Countdown
  • Random

Beyond this, there is also a manual override function, allowing you to take complete control by programming and using this timer in line with your needs.

Rated at 0.75 HP, this timer works well with heavy-duty appliances like pool pumps and heaters.

Ideal for outdoor use, there are two grounded outlets that are fully weatherproofed, giving you no safety concerns.

Self-charging backup ensures your settings are saved in the event of a power outage. After recharging this backup, just hit Reset to reactivate the display.

By taking advantage of the intelligent settings, you should notice a drop in your pool operating expenses without needing to pay a fortune to achieve those savings. What’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 24-hour settings
  • 75 HP for heavy-duty appliances
  • Super-simple to use
  • Issues reported with battery

7. GE Heavy-Duty Mechanical Box Timer Switch

GE-Heavy-Duty-Mechanical-Box-Timer-Switch,-Metal,-Tamper-Resistant

Features

  • Mechanical
  • 120V, 240V, 277V
  • 75 x 3.8 x 9.5 inches

Next in line in our collection of the best pool timers comes another entry from the global giant GE. How does this timer pan out, then?

This is a multipurpose timer that runs on 120, 240, and 277 volts, so you’re spoiled for choice.

There are two variants of this timer, a 7-day version and this model, a 24-hour universal vac.

The housing of the timer is built to withstand hostile weather conditions and it’s also lockable and tamper-resistant, ideal if you have kids at home with inquisitive, prying fingers.

Perfect for a range of applications from pool pumps and heaters to AC units, fans, and outdoor lighting, you can stay in full control of how these appliances run and cut down on power bills while avoiding wastage.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Ideal for a range of appliances
  • Multiple daily settings
  • Easy to wire as appropriate
  • Some reliability issues

8. Intermatic T104R Heavy-Duty Timer Switch

Intermatic-T104R-208-277-Volt-DPST-24-Hour-Mechanical-Time-Switch-with-Outdoor-Case

Features

  • Mechanical
  • 208V – 277V
  • 6 x 6.5 x 10.1 inches

Next up comes another highly effective timer from the ever-reliable Intermatic.

As with all Intermatic timers, this model is suitable for use in a residential, commercial, or industrial backdrop. For home swimming pools, you’ll get impressive durability and lifespan without digging too deep.

You can create from 1 to 12 daily operations with this timer, enabling you to build the right schedule for your pool.

The horsepower rating of this unit puts it among the top performers in its class as you would fully expect from Intermatic.

While most user reviews of this timer are predominantly positive, we found some complaints about the poor quality of the instruction, specifically inaccuracies in the illustrations that can cause confusion. Overall, we feel you’re getting a top-notch timer at a reasonable price point here.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • High horsepower rating
  • Up to 12 daily operations
  • On and off trippers
  • Instructions and illustrations inaccurate

9. Plusmart 24-Hour Timer

Plusmart-24-Hour-Outdoor-Lights-Timer-Waterproof,-Programmable-Mechanical-Timer

Features

  • Programmable
  • 125V, 60 Hz
  • 3 x 2.2 x 4.5 inches

As we edge to the end of our pool timer reviews, Plusmart delivers a pocket-friendly option that’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

Before anything, you should note that this timer is intended for use with outdoor lighting. It does not work with swimming pool pumps, so be clear on your preferred usage to avoid disappointment.

With this model, you can build up to 48 daily operations, making this one of the most flexible models in a glutted vertical.

You can create intervals as closely spaced as 15 minutes giving you total control over your pool lights without needing to pay for around-the-clock electricity.

Completely waterproof, if you have lots of lighting poolside, this timer is a must.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Up to 48 daily operations
  • Works for broad range of applications
  • Daily repeat setting
  • Build could be strengthened

10. GE 24-Hour Indoor/Outdoor Time Switch

GE-24-Hour-Indoor/-Outdoor-Mechanical-Time-Switch,-40-Amp-120-Vac-5Hp-Box-Timer

Features

  • Mechanical
  • 120V, 40A
  • 2 x 6.5 x 9.7 inches

To round out our collection of the best pool timers we have another entry from the powerhouse GE. What do you get for your money with this timer, then?

Ideal for outdoor use, the metal cover will stop any dust or rain working its way inside this thing.

Scheduling couldn’t be easier even if you’re not the greatest tech lover. Use the simple but effective trippers to trigger daily events and watch your electricity bill come down.

You can use this timer in conjunction with a cross-section of appliances from pool pumps to heaters or AC units. You’ll increase the lifespan of your appliances while optimizing consumption and minimizing waste.

Compatible with single-throw and single-pole switches, installation isn’t too taxing.

Rated for 120 VAC and 40A, you’re getting a highly effective pool timer that’s also keenly priced. The only real issues we encountered were a slew of complaints about disappointing lifespan. Overall, you’re getting reasonable value from an industry heavyweight here, and also the ability to slash the running costs of your swimming pool.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Rust-proof and rain-resistant
  • Schedule daily events with ease
  • Straightforward installation
  • Lifespan is unimpressive

How Does a Pool Timer Work?

A pool timer is designed to work in tandem with one or more pool pumps. You can program the timer so that the pump will stop running during periods when the pool is unoccupied. It doesn’t make sense to run all your pool equipment around the clock, and it becomes extremely expensive doing so.

You simply connect your pool timer to a grounded power source and then wire it to your pool pump.

A pool timer is an electrical timer with mechanical components, so you’ll first need to ensure the time setting is correct so you can then create accurate start and stop times based on this.

With a manual timer, you’ll rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise so that the current time lines up with the Time marker. This marker will always point downwards, while the dial of the clock will always be turning.

The physical components that activate and deactivate your pool pump on demand are called trippers.

Set the On tripper for the times that best suit you by holding the tripper to the Off time on the dial you need then tighten it down with your screwdriver. As soon as the On tripper gets to the current time marker, electricity is sent to the pool pump the timer is hooked up to, and the pump activates. The pump will then run until the Off tripper is reached. At this point, another burst of electricity is sent from the timer to the pump. The pump will stop running.

Most of the best pool timers allow for manual override if desired. This lets you turn the pump on and off without needing to touch it. It will run until you flip the On/Off switch to Off. Since the trippers will still be in place, the unit will press ahead with all schedule activity.

If you experience a power outage, the timer will be switched off and the clock dial prevented from turning. You’ll need to reset this. You won’t need to make any adjustments to the trippers as they will remain in place and unmolested.

OK, before we round out today, we understand that pool timers are perhaps not totally self-explanatory. To help you, we’ve curated a list of the most frequently asked questions about pool pumps and pool timers so you have everything you need in one place.


FAQs

1) How long should I run my pool filter for each day?

Most guidelines suggest running your filter for 8 hours daily across either 2 or 3 cycles. To establish the precise recommended running time, multiply the GPM rating of your pump by 60, then divide the capacity of your pool in gallons by this number. Sticking to the industry standard 8 hours is a safe bet, and saves you from any tedious mental math.

2) Is it harmful to run my pool pump continuously?

It’s not harmful, but two things will happen if you run your pump 24/7. Firstly, your electricity bills will be high. Beyond this, you’ll shorten the lifespan of your pool pump by running it for three times the suggested duration on an ongoing basis.

3) How much money can I expect to save by using a pool pump timer?

This will depend to a large extent on how you have been running your pool pump until that point. If you had been making the costly mistake of running the pump around the clock, using a timer to regulate operating hours could easily save you $500 annually. If, on the other hand, you’ve been using a lighter touch with your pool pump, you won’t notice such pronounced savings.

4) Is there a difference between pool timers for in-ground pools and above-ground pools?

Yes. Above-ground pools work best with timers suitable for 1.5 HP pumps. If you have an in-ground pool, look for timers supporting pumps rated to 3 HP.

5) Is it possible to control other loads with a pool timer?

Yes, with many of the models we review today you can control landscape lighting, heaters, AC units, and other similar appliances. As with all aspects of your buying decision, you should ensure you buy in line with your needs and the requirements of your pool area.

6) What are smart pool timers?

These timers allow you to connect the timer to compatible devices then take charge hands-free in-app. These devices communicate using protocols like Z-Wave or Zigbee, and you can integrate a timer like this with your smart home. Most of these timers also allow you to control them like you would a regular timer.

7) Is it better to run my swimming pool pump during the day or overnight?

Generally, you should run your pump during the day to help circulate the chlorine. Sometimes, in the event of an algae outbreak for instance, you may also want to run your pump overnight.

8) Is it difficult to program a pool timer?

All models are different in terms of operation, but most are pretty easy to use. We draw your attention to any issues in this area in our reviews today.

9) How does a pool timer actually work?

Think of your pool timer as a middleman between the pump and the power outlet. By mediating this connection, you’ll remain in control of when your pool pump operates without needing to physically turn it on and off.

10) My pool timer doesn’t seem to be working properly. How can I troubleshoot this?

The first thing you should do is check the electricity supply running to your timer. If you have an automatic timer, you should make sure the LCD is displaying the right time. If you have a dial timer, you should check the position of the dial, the on pin, and the off pin. Check again after a few hours. If there is no movement, your timer is not working, or the electricity supply is off. Next, check the circuit breaker that operates your timer. This should be in the on position. Ensure that the manual override  switch is on. This is typically located underneath the dial. If the electricity has been off, you should reset the swimming pool clock.

11) Do I really need a pool timer?

Well, as you can see from today’s guide, you won’t need to spend too much on a pool timer. Even the most innovative smart models are still very keenly priced, especially when set against the cost of more major pool equipment. In return for these nominal investment, the first and most obvious saving you’ll make is on running costs. As mentioned above, this could amount to saving $500 or more each year if you had been running your pool pump indiscriminately. Also, there’s every chance your pool pump is quite expensive. If you needlessly run this around the clock, you’ll end up dramatically decreasing the lifespan of your pump. To get around this, you would need to constantly remember to turn the pump on and off, something that rapidly becomes tedious. Instead, for a very reasonable price, you can get yourself a pool timer and forget all about this.

12) Are all pool timers easy to install?

Most of them are. What you’re getting is a very simple plug-and-play device, so in most cases you’ll just need to plug the timer into the outlet and you’re good to go.


Conclusion

We hope that we’ve cleared up any confusion you had when trying to find the best pool timer.

Although a timer is inherently very simple, there are several pointers you need to look for when assessing compatibility. We broke those down in our intro so refer to this when you’re comparing timers.

If you stick with any of the pool timers we review today, you’ll have a clear idea of the benefits of these products as well as any noteworthy drawbacks.

Perhaps you come across a timer we didn’t review today. If so, we would once again refer you to our brief buying guide at the beginning so you can easily pick the right timer for your swimming pool at home.

Don’t forget to bookmark Wild River Country before you head off today. We have a busy content calendar for the coming summer, so be sure to pop back soon!

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