I'm a newbie to backyard irrigation.

I'm developing my backyard now, part of it is going to be lawn (2 zones) and drop irrigation (2 zones) for plants and trees. I'm strongly considering adding digitally controlled timers like this Digital Hose timers for these zones instead of valves.

Any downside to this approach? Most of the video or blogs I read talk about valves for controlling water, but nobody spoke about the downside of the timers.

  • So the valves are in a box. I would be concerned about battery life . Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


A "hose timer" is a "valve" plus an "actuator" and a "timer."

Many of them have poor life expectations per reviews / experiences reported by others .vs. standard irrigation valves. They are cheap, in more senses than cash, from what I gathered when looking. I set up a drip irrigation system this year, and opted (after reading various reviews, etc) to spend roughly twice as much for a solar-powered irrigation valve (3/4") rather than a solar powered hose-end timer. See the comments below this answer for one example where a user considers hose timers to be annual disposables from experience.

But you can always replace them with a better valve later if/when they die on you. They also require you to work with "garden hose thread" fittings, which can be a moderate pain since most irrigation is normal pipe thread, but adapters can be found.

  • Got it. Thank you:)
    – pcs
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 8:49

Of the three cheapest ones i have used, only one lasted two summers.

The two costing $5 more are still going after three summers, but are installed in the shade.

Most tap timers have a rotating ball valve inside, controlled by a series of plastic cogs. This is actually useful for very low pressure water sources.

Some timers advertise that when the battery is very low, the timer will stop in the off position, which is good.

The best (and expensive) ones are actually a diaphragm valve (like in big irrigation systems) with two wires going to an adjacent controller.

If you do use one, try to keep the sun off it.

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