Pool timers are accessories that not every pool owner starts out buying. Some people might think it’s just as easy to set a timer on their phone and go out and turn their pumps on.
And well, you can absolutely do that if you want to save a few bucks upfront, but there are a couple of things to consider.
For one thing, pool timers are usually very inexpensive. And most of them are super easy to install so labor costs are zero.
But secondly, they will save you so much time and money in the long run.
Do you really want to sit around all day, waiting for your timer to go off so you know when to go outside and turn your pump on?
And what happens when you forget or go out of town?
That might not sound like a big deal until you come home from vacation to a murky pool full of algae. Then you’ll be spending more money on chemicals and more time cleaning it up than you ever thought you’d have to.
For the small amount of money you’ll spend, this little gadget can be the best thing you ever buy.
The 10 Best Pool Timers
#1. Intermatic T104
This Intermatic pool timer is designed for industrial, commercial, and residential use. You can even manage as many as 12 appliances with it in a 24-hour period.
In other words, you can set this handy little gadget up to control not only your pool pump, but also your outdoor lighting and anything else you want on a timer.
This product is a basic, dependable timer that can handle all your needs, and as a bonus, it’s easy to install! It is not recommended for outdoor installation, so be sure to find a clean dry place for it indoors.
#2. Intermatic P1121
- Designed specifically for outdoor applications, dynamic weather conditions and ease of use
This second timer from Intermatic is what you need if you prefer to install it outside. It’s specifically made to stand up to any type of weather.
It’s also super easy to use and you don’t have to be technologically inclined to do it. You simply stick a green pin in the machine at the time you want it to start and a red pin where you want it to stop.
The unit has a waterproof cover and a manual override in case you ever want to just turn it on outside of schedule.
#3. BN-LINK Mechanical Timer
- Programmable in 15 minute intervals with 48 setting options in a 24 hours period. Total 48 ON/OFF setting per day. Repeats schedule daily with personal setting.
The BN-Link Mechanical Timer is compact, heavy duty, and waterproof. This means that no matter how bad the weather gets, this little baby will keep on going.
This timer is programmable in 15 minute intervals. And it has 48 on/off settings per day. It can be used with things like Christmas lights, pool pumps, water fountains, and other outdoor decor with complete accuracy and dependability.
It’s the perfect little timer for you if you need something compact, durable, and able to control multiple items.
4. Fosman Outdoor Timer
- [CONTROL YOUR OUTDOOR LIGHTS WITH FOSMON'S 24 HOUR OUTDOOR LIGHT TIMER] Avoid the inconvenience of plugging and unplugging your outdoor lights and decorations and let the 24-hr outdoor light timer do the work for you. The timer's 3/4 hp capacity allows the timer to be used to control heavy duty devices like pool pumps, fountains, aerators, engine block heaters and more. Ratings: 125V 60Hz, 15A, 1875W resistance or general purpose, 10A tungsten lamp, 3/4HP, TV-5.
Fosman’s outdoor timer is rugged — made to stand up to any kind of weather. It’s also built with a ¾ HP capacity so that it can control your most powerful devices, like larger pool pumps, outdoor heaters, and more.
Setting this timer is very simple. The black part of the dial is for night and the white is for day. All you have to do is turn the dial to the time you want it set for and let it do the work.
It’s programmable all the way down to 30 minute intervals.
#5. Intermatic T104R
Unlike the first Intermatic T104 we listed, this one comes with its own weatherproof case and can be installed outdoors if necessary.
This can manage up to 12 appliances, so you can hook all your outdoor electrical items up to it. To set it, you just move the little on/off “trippers” to the appropriate times and let it do its job.
#6. Geeni Wi-Fi Smart Plug
- OUTDOOR SMART PLUG: With Geeni’s Outdoor Wi-Fi Smart Plug, you can control your lighting, pumps, and other devices using your smartphone from anywhere, anytime. Turn on your holiday lights or schedule the sprinklers without even having to step outside.
Geeni offers a “smart” take on pool pump timers with this simple little unit. You can control all your outdoor devices with an app on your smartphone, using just your home’s internet.
This device is compact and weatherproof so you can install it outdoors. But instead of having to manually set its timers, you can turn it on from anywhere in the world, as long as you have cell or Wi-Fi service.
#7. Plusmart Waterproof Timer
- WATERPROOF & SAFE: Rain-tight cover protects timer from weather conditions; to make sure no water splash into the outlets, please mount it in a vertical position and at least 2 ft above ground when in outdoor use.
The Plusmart Waterproof Timer comes in a rain-tight case that shields it from even the harshest weather or watery conditions.
This is another simple plug-n-play product that doesn’t require much assembly. Simply plug your pool pump, lights, or other appliance into the timer, set it, and forget it.
It’s simple to use. All you do is push the pins down at the intervals you want it to come on and pull the pins up when you want it to go off.
#8. Intermatic T103
As you can probably tell from how many we included on this list, we consider Intermatic to be a reliable product. They also have the highest HP ratings in the industry, meaning they can work with more powerful motors than other timers.
This timer is pretty easy to install, but since it’s wired in, it can handle a lot more appliances than other plug-n-play timers. To set it, you just move the on/off “trippers” where you want them.
#9. DEWENWILS Outdoor Outlet Box
- HIGH POWER LOAD- Max 40 Amp 120-277VAC 2HP load, ideal for outdoor/indoor heavy duty applications like water heaters,pool pumps,fountains,spa,mower etc.
The Dewenwils Outdoor Outlet Box is our favorite smart timer. It has a high power load of up to 2 HP, making it ideal for larger pool pumps and other powerful appliances.
It does not require a hub, but works with your existing home Wi-Fi. You can control it with Alexa by voice or with an app on your smartphone.
It’s also waterproof and durable so it can be installed outdoors. Its metal case keeps it clean and dry so it will last for years to come.
#10. GE Heavy-Duty Box Timer
- Heavy-Duty Mechanical Timer – The rain and rust-proof metal constructions is designed to withstand any weather forecast and is lockable, tamper resistant and NEMA 3R-Rated
This heavy duty timer comes in a metal tamper- and weather-resistant case. It’s also extremely durable and designed to last.
To set it, you just use its push-pin system, pushing the pins down on the times you want it to come on, and up on the times you want it to go off.
This timer is designed to work with all types of electrical power sources, so it’s recommended that it be installed by a professional.
What is a pool timer?
A pool timer is a special device that you can connect appliances to in order to turn themselves on and off at certain times.
Why does that matter, you ask?
The simplest answer is that it saves you money, especially when it comes to running your pool’s filtration system. It’s possibly the biggest energy-sucker in your home.
Energy costs range from state to state and town to town. And the cost to run one depends on factors like size and number of hours operated.
Your pump is likely easily costing you over $1,000 a year if you are using it properly and turning it off every few hours. But if you let it run longer than it’s supposed to very often, your pool will be cleaner, but your energy bill will be sky-high.
That’s where a pool timer comes in. I mean who wants to try to remember when to turn it on and off and go outside and mess with that several times a day? And what if you forget?
Using a pool timer ensures that your pump is running for the optimum periods of time to keep your pool water safe and clean. And you can always adjust it from month to month to account for different factors like increased usage or climate changes.
How does a pool timer work?
A pool pump is usually plugged into its own outlet that supplies its power source. But if you use a timer, you’ll plug the pump into that and then the timer into the outlet.
What the timer then does is mediate the connection so that it disrupts it when it’s set to go off and reconnects when it’s time to turn on.
Think of it kind of like a spray nozzle you connect to the end of your water hose. It only allows the water to flow out of it when you squeeze the nozzle.
Most pool timers use little pins that you place in the time slots you want the timer to turn off and on. But newer, more advanced models use Bluetooth technology so you can control them with your smartphone or smart home device.
Benefits of Having a Pool Timer
- Saves money
Although we already touched on this, it bears repeating. A pool timer will help you to keep your pool pump running as often as it needs to without forgetting to turn it off.
This saves on energy costs because it’s not running more than it should. But it also saves you chemical and maintenance costs from failing to run it as often as you should.
- Saves time
You absolutely can just go out and turn your pool pump on and off yourself, but a timer is an inexpensive way to let it take care of itself.
- Keeps your pool clean
A pool timer is a hassle-free way to make sure your pool stays clean. You won’t run the risk of forgetting to run your filtration system or having to leave it off if you go out of town.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have your normal maintenance tasks you’ll have to do. But it does mean you likely won’t have to deal with an algae infestation due to improper filtration.
6 Considerations For Buying a Pool Timer
There are several different types of pool timers. They all perform the same function, but each one might meet a different need.
In order to choose the best pool timer for you, you might want to take the following into consideration:
The type of pool timer you choose might depend on your familiarity with technology as well as who will be setting it.
A clock-style timer is set by hand, usually using pins or trippers. A digital timer will be set using buttons that program your times in.
A smart timer is connected to your smartphone using an app. These are the most convenient if you’re away from home a lot, but even if you’re not, they’re super convenient.
Some timers are not built to be protected from the elements and should be installed indoors or in a sheltered area. Be sure to pay attention to this detail before you buy.
- Ease of use
Again, take into consideration your own technology skills. Smart timers are not hard to use at all, but if you’re not comfortable with that sort of thing, stick to manual timers.
- Ease of installation
Most pool timers are extremely easy to install. You just plug it into an electrical outlet and plug your pool pump into it.
But some pool timers are wired in and may need professional installation.
There’s not much point in having a pool timer if it doesn’t work when it’s supposed to.
It’s not always easy to know if your product will be reliable. What we recommend is sticking with quality brand name items and reading the reviews carefully.
- Size of pool pump
Not all timers are created equal. Each timer is designed to manage a certain voltage and certain horsepower. You will need to know your pump’s specs and the specs of the timer in order to choose.
Best Pool Timer FAQs
How long do you need to run your pool filter each day?
The standard answer across the industry is 8 hours a day over 2 to 3 cycles. But you can figure the exact recommended running time by multiplying gallons per minute your pump turns over by 60, then dividing the size of your pool in gallons by that number.
But unless you just enjoy math, it’s really OK to just stick with around 8 hours a day no matter what your pool size. You can always adjust it a little at a time if it doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.
Is it bad to run your pool pump 24 hours a day?
If you run your pump 24 hours a day, your pool will probably be the cleanest in town. However, be prepared to get a second job to pay your electric bill.
This practice will also wear your pump out faster, so you’ll probably have to replace it much sooner than you would if you use it in increments.
Is it better to run a pool pump at night or day?
Most of the time, it’s better to run your pool pump during the day. This is when you need to keep the chlorine circulating since it’s probably when it’s getting used.
But if you’re doing an intensive chemical treatment, like getting rid of algae, you might need to run it at night once in a while.
How much money will a pump timer save you?
This depends on how you’re running your pump right now. If you’re running it non-stop and want to use a timer to regulate it, you could probably save well over $500 or so a year.
But if you’re already operating your pump properly, the savings won’t be as significant. However, they might add up over time since they cut out human error.
How much does it cost to replace a pool timer?
Pool timers are pretty inexpensive gadgets. They range in price anywhere from $15 to $250.
Of course, if you buy one that requires professional installation, you’ll have to figure in the cost of labor.
How do you know if your pool timer is bad?
If your pump is not coming on anymore, your pool timer could be the culprit.
First, check the breaker to make sure you still have power to the outlet.
If that seems OK, try unplugging the timer and plugging the pump directly into the outlet. If you can then manually turn it on, you need a new timer.
That only works, of course, with timers that you actually plug your pump in to. For timers wired in, you can usually see if the gears are moving inside the timer.
A pool timer is one of those accessories that we view as a necessity. It will keep your pump running optimally and probably save you money in the long run.
But whatever your reason for buying a timer, just keep in mind the points we’ve given you here. Choose one that’s right for your pool and that best meets all your needs.
And don’t forget to take our top 10 list with you as a starting point for finding the best one!