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Deciding the pump time for your swimming pool every time it needs filtration may not seem like a big deal until you come home from vacation one day to be greeted by a murky pool filled with algae. Then you will be spending extra money on substances and a lot more time to keep the pool clean than you think you need.
Sold for a few dollars, a pool timer can allow you to keep your pool pump running as often as needed without having to turn it off. So, what is the best pool timer to buy? For those who want to program their pool to filter independently, our buying guide and review of the best pool timer will set you up for a satisfying purchase and usage experience. Keep reading!
What Is a Pool Timer?
A pool timer is an easy-to-use accessory that allows you to automatically program the operation of your pool equipment such as the filter pump, skimmer, lights, among others, making pool maintenance seamless, automated, and almost effortless. But how do pool pump timers work?
The pool pump timer sets when the filtration pump and other appliances should turn on and when it must turn off. To operate your filter with a timer, simply plug the filter into the socket connected to the timer.
The filtration will start automatically at the time you have indicated on the programmer, and then it will stop in the same way. You will therefore no longer need to start and stop the filter system yourself: it’ll be done automatically.
How to Use a Pool Timer?
To program the timer, it takes place in 3 steps:
Step 1: Set the time
The first step is to set the time. For this, whether your programmable timer is digital or classic, you just have to adjust the time as you would on an alarm clock for example.
Step 2: Estimate the filtration time and slots
We advise you to set the filtration period for the day. The combined action of the sun and heat amplifies the development of algae that make your pool water green. So, filtering during this time can only disrupt their growth.
Step 3: Find out the pool temperature
To find out the necessary filtration time, take the temperature of the pool water and divide it by 2. The result will give you the time to expect (expressed in hours).
For active winterization, we advise you to program the filtration time by dividing the temperature by 3 and to provide filtration at the end of the night in the event of a risk of frost.
Step 4: Define the period with the pins
Once the time is set and you know the necessary filtration times, you will be able to program your timer. For this, we advise you to refer to the instructions for your programmer. If it works with pins, push them inwards or outwards (depending on the models!) To define the filtration time range:
If your pool has water at 26 degrees, you will have to program a filtration of 26/2 = 13h. You can use the pins to instruct the filtration hourly range as: from 6 am to 12 pm and another from 2 pm to 9 pm.
Best Pool Timers: Our Top 8 Picks
From mechanical timers to digital timers, here are the best swimming pool timers of 2021.
1. GE Z-Wave Plus Indoor/Outdoor Metal Box Smart Switch Pool Pump Timer
Would you like to set the working time for your pool filter, pool pump, or even your patio lights? One of the most versatile pool pump timers on the market is the GE Z-Wave smart switch timer. The brand built the switch timer for just any electrical device. At home, you can use it to time your air conditioning units, electric water heater, and other heavy-duty appliances.
Equipped with a sturdy NEMA-3R metal enclosure with a locking door, the GE Z-Wave Plus can withstand the outdoor elements, ensuring it protects wirings and settings from getting tampered with. Up to two 120 V AC devices can be connected with options for load control, single or double.
An integrated toggle switch of the pool timer ensures you can choose manual or remote operation with OFF, ON, and the Z-Wave modes. LED lights for indication are visible on the front of the case to display the power status with no need to open the waterproof door.
- Includes a fast processor
- Reduces energy costs
- Lockable weather-resistant housing
- Can be integrated into Alexa
- Supports energy monitoring
- Good pool pump switch
- To be able to use it with an app, you need a Hub.
2. Honeywell Aube TI040 Heavy-Duty Industrial Programmable Timer for Indoor and Outdoor Pools
The Aube TI040 7-day programmable pool pump timer features a selectable voltage switch for switching between voltages. The pool owner can choose between 120V or 240V. The heavy-duty (NEMA 3R) resistant housing makes it ideal for outdoor use. Featuring a lockable metal box that allows for added security, the Aube TI040 also has a temporary bypass to allow replacement commands without compromising your programming.
The 7-day programmable timer is a high-end model from the Aube by Honeywell brand. You can schedule it for up to 7 days. Furthermore, its rugged housing makes the timer ideal for outdoor locations.
The pool pump timer can be locked, so it offers great security. Thanks to its power and effectiveness, it’s perfect for pool pumps. You can use the device in manual (with conventional on/off switch), automatic or temporary bypass.
- Ideal for outdoor and indoor use
- Comes with three years of warranty
- Weatherproof construction
- 7-day programmable timer
- Easy to use
- Ideal for above ground pools and in ground pools
- Brittle plastic case may crack
3. Intermatic T104R DPST 24 Hour 208-277-Volt Mechanical Time Switch with Outdoor Housing
For the small amount of money you will be investing, the little Intermatic gadget has a good value for money as you can use it to time around the clock up to 24 hours.
Intended for pool owners in residential homes and commercial and industrial uses, the Intermatic mechanical time switch can even manage up to 12 devices over a 24 hour period.
To put it another way, you can deploy the useful little gadget to control not only your pool pump but also your outdoor lighting and whatever else you need on a timer.
A simple and reliable mechanical timer is a simple and reliable timer, it’s easy to install and has an intuitive time switch control.
- Made of strong alloy steel
- Certified by NEMA
- For industrial, commercial, and residential use
- Rain-tight cover
- Reduces energy bill
- A few models stopped working
4. Intermatic P1121 Heavy Duty Outdoor Timer
The second pool pump timer from Intermatic in our review, the P1121, is specially designed to withstand all kinds of weather conditions. Very easy to use, you only need to stick a green pin into the machine when you want it to start and a red pin when you want it to stop. Easy peasy!
The unit includes a waterproof cover and also a manual override in case you need to turn it on outside of the program. CSA-certified, it comes with an ON and OFF switch and can be used to program many household and outdoor appliances.
- Ideal for heaters, aerators, and pool pumps
- Can be used for timing holiday decoration and landscape lights
- Easy to set
- Multiple configuration possibilities
- Helps reduce energy costs
- Could be more durable
5. Woods 50015WD Heavy Duty Pool Timer with 3/4 Horsepower
Featuring two grounded outlets, 3/4 horsepower, and energy-monitoring programming, the Woods plug-in timer can be used for automating your pool equipment as well as holiday and Christmas lights.
The Woods digital plug-in timer has three timing functions: the random setting, countdown timer, and digital timer. It’s a 7-day automatic timer that allows each day to be scheduled differently from the next, or weekends than the days of the week. Hence, it gives you great flexibility.
The digital output timer allows you to do up to minute-by-minute programming, which means you can have precision programming so you can reduce your power bill.
- Weather-resistant digital timer
- Heavy-duty timer cover
- Accurate and versatile timer
- Features a manual override button
- Specifically designed for use outdoor
- Includes a digital display
- Short cord
6. Woods 59104RWD 24-Hour 208/277V 40A DPST Outdoor Timer with Mechanical Time Switch
Designed with a weatherproof cover that can protect the device from the force of nature, the mechanical time switch isn’t expensive but it’s well-built and designed to be functional.
Made of metal, you can use it to operate your outdoor signals and lighting. It will also be perfect for your water heaters, spa, and pool heaters, as well as your air conditioning and heating devices at home. Designed for heavy-duty applications, the Woods time switch features an industrial-grade metal box that you can lock and that is NEMA certified. With the timer, you can make up to 24 switches per day.
- Pins are irremovable
- Lockable protective metal box
- Industrial grade
- Manual override
- Certified by the CSA
- Metal box may corrode near chlorine or saltwater pool
7. Geeni Outdoor Duo Weatherproof Wi-Fi Smart Plug
The Geeni brand provides a thoughtful description of what pool pump timers should be for this easy unit. Designed to be used with an app, compatible with the Alexa and Google Home voice assistants, and with wireless control, but with no hub required, the Geeni model is indeed a smart plug.
When you choose the smart plug timer, you can control all your external devices using an application on your smartphone.
Compact and weatherproof, the automatic pool timer can be set up outdoors. But rather than having to manually set the timers, you can run it from anywhere on the planet, as long as you have Wi-Fi or cellular support.
- Smart digital plug timer
- Works with an app with no hub required
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Home
- Functional and affordable
- Controls pool pumps remotely
- Only weather-resistant, not weatherproof
8. GE Heavy-Duty Heavy-Duty Mechanical Time Switch With Metal Box
The GE waterproof pool pump timer comes in a rainproof metal box that protects it from the harshest weather conditions and even water and dusty situations.
It’s easy-to-use and plug-n-play merchandise. Just plug your pool pump, light, or other machines into the timer, put it on and forget it. All you have to do is push the pins in at the intervals you want it to switch on and pull out the pins when you want the timer to go off.
GE specifically made the pool pump timer for water heaters, pool pumps, water heaters, and outdoor lights.
- Heavy-duty metal box ensures tamper resistance
- Can handle a lot more devices
- NEMA 3R-Rated
- For indoor and outdoor use
- Not easy to reset
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Pool Pump Timers
A pool timer is designed to save you money, especially when it comes to implementing your pool’s filtration system. Asides from that, a good pool timer is weatherproof, versatile, easy to set, and resistant to power loads. In this buying guide, we’ll tell you the properties to look at to achieve these virtues.
Pool timer types
There are two types of pool timers. They serve the same role, but each can fulfill a different need. To be able to choose the best timer for you, you may want to consider the following types of swimming pool programmers:
The simplest and most classic of all pool timers, the mechanical timer can be included in the electrical box or added afterward. Also called analog timers or manual timers, they have a central dial indicating the hours. The time is set by bringing the marker, usually a triangle, to the current time. Small pins encircle this central wheel. If these rods are pushed in, the connected device will start up.
For example, if you want your filtration system to start for 2 hours a day between 2 p.m and 4 p.m., you will therefore push in the pins located between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. It is thus possible to program several time slots but for a single device.
Good to know: The pins can be fragile so they must be handled gently so as not to break them.
Here, the time is displayed digitally. The pool pump timer setting and programming are done using buttons. It of course offers much greater precision than the mechanical model.
Often programmable and with smart features, some digital programmers come with wireless features, app integration, and can work with voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. Some even let you remotely track watts used and can detect a power outage.
Some models allow you to program not only time slots on the same day but also different time slots according to certain days of the week.
If you are arriving on Friday for the weekend and want the pool to be at the right temperature, the digital timer might be the best programmer for you.
Place of use
Some pool pump timers are not designed to be protected from the elements and should be installed indoors or in a sheltered location. Meanwhile, the most weatherproof timers can be used outdoors. The outdoor timers are often metal boxes designed with a watertight cover
Yes, programmers designed with steel alloy can be used outdoors and are more durable. However, it’s a two-edged sword; programmable timers made of metal are not advisable to be used near a chlorine pool or saltwater pool. If used here, don’t be too surprised when the timer’s body begins to rust.
Plastic models may seem flimsy and cheap, but they are the most ideal for outdoor use. Just ensure the plastic is sturdy and made for heavy-duty and you won’t have problems with corrosion and water leakages.
Ease of use and installation
Again, consider your engineering skills. Digital pool timers aren’t difficult to use by any means, but when you’re unfamiliar with digital stuff, stick to manual timers.
Most pool timers are fairly straightforward to set up. Just plug it into an electrical outlet and plug in your pool pump. Viola!
However, some pool timers are hardwired and may require expert installation.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a pool timer cost?
You can find analog programmers to connect to the electrical box for around $40 to $100. An electrical box with a built-in digital programmer can cost up to $150 or even more.
How long to set pool timer?
The usual response across the industry is 8 hours per day for 2-3 cycles. You always have the option of setting it up for another round when it doesn’t seem like the job is done.
Why is my pool timer not working?
If your pump is no longer coming, your pool timer could be the culprit. Check out if power is reaching the timer. One way to do this is by checking the circuit breaker to make sure the outlet has power. If it’s receiving power, the motor may be jammed (watch out for unnatural items in it) or the motor is burned. If the timer is working, you should be able to see the gears moving.
A pool timer is a good device for everyone who has a pool pump integrated into their pool pump. It can also be used to program the pool heater, underwater light, and patio lights, among other devices. The best pool pump timer must be easy to set, made of weatherproof materials, and be able to work with other control technologies.