The 10 Best Outlet Timers
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in June of 2015. An outlet timer is a simple piece of technology that can help automate your life. Whether you're looking for a basic analog option to control a lamp while you're on vacation, a complex digital model with a seven-day schedule, an interval timer to maintain your aeroponic garden, or a set of smart receptacles to integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, our selections include something for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 29, 2020:
This list aged fairly well over the last year, making for a relatively smooth round of updates, with nearly all of our previous picks still appearing to be great choices for these rankings. We did, however, end up removing the Leviton LT113-10W, due to availability issues. I felt that this was a disappointing loss – as I’ve long since been a big fan of the company’s VPT24 model, a hardwired timer that uses similar software to the LT113-10W – but remain happy with the replacement we picked: the Nearprow Multifunctional. Although the Multifunctional doesn’t boast the same dusk-to-dawn programmable settings as the LT113-10W, it does feature a significantly larger display – measuring 2.6 inches – and can handle 80% more wattage. Between the big screen and the fact that the Multifunctional can double as an interval timer, I was tempted to put it right at the top of our list, but ultimately decided to let the Nearprow Dual Digital maintain the position, as its rare ability to independently control each of its respective outlets is tough to compete with.
We’ve also included a third option from the company this time around, introducing the Nearprow Infinite Cycle as a replacement for our previous interval timer, the BNM-Link Period Repeat BND-60/U97A. Although the Infinite Cycle is only slightly more affordable than the Multifunctional – which itself could be considered a viable replacement for our previous, analog, interval timer – we still thought it was well worth including, by virtue of it’s compact size, digital hardware and slick design — all offered at about half the price of the Period Repeat BND-60-U97A.
The Intermatic DT620CL also got the axe this time around, losing its spot to the Dewenwils Digital, which features a slim design that promises not to obstruct any adjacent outlets. Admittedly, there’s a number of ways this pick is less capable than the model it’s replacing: It features no dusk-to-dawn programming options, its outlet isn’t grounded and it can only schedule one daily event, while the DT620CL can handle four. However, at triple the price of the Dewenwils Digital and as one of the most expensive options we ranked, the DT620CL simply wasn’t pulling enough weight for the price it was commanding. By contrast, our new pick from Dewenwils presents a basic, affordable solution that will satisfy many users' needs, with an easy-to-program layout that’s sure to appeal to technophobes.
November 28, 2019:
New innovations and increasingly competitive prices made for a lot of changes during this round of updates. To begin with, we eliminated the OnlineDo Large and the Enover 7-Day – due to availability issues. Following that, we replaced the Securifi Peanut and the Century Heavy Duty 24 Hours with the T Teckin Smart Plug and the GE 46139 – a smart and analog option that were both essentially better-priced versions of their predecessors.
After that, we eliminated the Woods Mini – as it seemed that it was underperforming for the category, and added the Zhuri Power Meter PR10-E US15A – a pricey option that provides a full range of data pertaining to your power usage, the BN-Link Period Repeat BND-60/U97A – an interval timer that’s great for managing heaters and indoor gardens, and the Nearprow Dual Digital – which can control two devices independently from the same timer.
Here’s a few things to think about while you’re shopping:
What You’re Controlling: If you’re simply looking to have a lamp turn itself on and off from time to time, there isn’t much to consider in this respect. But, if you’re looking to control multiple devices from the same timer, perhaps you’ll want to consider an option like the APC SurgeArrest – a surge protector that can control up to six devices at once. The Nearprow Dual Digital can manage two appliances at once with separate timers.
Programming Precision: Again, if you’re simply looking to program a lamp, then perhaps a basic, analog option like the GE 46139, that can only be set to half-hour intervals, might work just fine for you. But, if you’re looking to do something a bit more delicate, like say firing up the pump for your hydroponic garden, you’ll likely want to consider something like the Nearprow Dual Digital, that offers by-the-second programming.
Programming Options: If you just need some simple daily events programmed, one last time now, you might be fine with our good-old friend the GE 46139, but more elaborate schedules will demand a device like the Leviton 1000-Watt – that understands everything from the day of the week, to daylight savings time and even sunrise and sunset. If you’re looking for a timer for a sprinkler or humidifier that you want to run cyclically, you might be best off forgetting about weekly schedules all together, and considering a basic interval timer like the BN-Link Period Repeat BND-60/U97A.
Your Easily Automated Home
Outdoor automatic lights can switch on as directed by preset times or by solar meters.
There is much talk in the news and across the blogosphere these days about the coming of the so-called Smart Home. The smart home can be quickly (and admittedly reductively) defined as the largely connected, largely automated home. It is the residential adoption of the Internet of Things, which refers to the connectivity of everyday objects -- think of your vacuum cleaner and toilet featuring the ability to send and receive data to get the picture.
Smart homes make it easy to control a vast array of the things in a residence, from appliances to HVAC systems to security alarms to door locks, using apps accessed via phone or computer. A smart home can be controlled from the couch or from afar when you are on the road, and indeed it can offer an unparalleled level of convenience to those people quite comfortable with technology and who don't mind having much of their lives controlled by a computer.
But in fact in many ways the smart home is less of a revolution and more just one more step on the road to home automation that has already been long in coming. If you carefully study an average single family residence in the United States today, chances are good that you will find myriad devices, systems, and appliances already offering intervention free operation. While the many systems in your own home might not be linked through a single nexus point, chances are good that it is already "smart" in many ways.
Think of the heating and cooling systems in your home. Whether you have central heat and air conditioning or you rely on a furnace in the winter and wall unit AC in the summer, it's likely that these devices are all controlled by one or more temperature sensitive thermostats that set them running as needed. Your water heater too will self monitor, switching on as needed to provide more ready to use hot water. So too will a refrigerator's ice machine keep itself filled. Outdoor automatic lights can switch on as directed by preset times or by solar meters. Your alarm clock will reliably wake you in the mornings and your DVR will record your favorite shows for you to enjoy in the evening.
Thus it is that your existing home is already automated in many ways, and with a bit of planning, can serve as an almost smart residence, no purpose built system needed. With the addition of a few simple outlet timers, you can even control many appliances, gadgets, and household systems that you might never have even thought of automating.
Outlet Timers For Increased Convenience
Look around your house and ask yourself how many objects would make your life a bit easier if you didn't have to bother turning them on manually. Your first thought might be that it would be nice to have a cup of coffee waiting for you each morning when you wake up. Rather than buying an expensive programmable coffee maker, you could simply plug that existing perk pot or drip coffee maker into an inexpensive analog outlet timer that can not only turn on your coffee maker, but can also cut the power after an hour when you head to work.
Outlet timers are also great for pets who need special lighting during the day -- such as certain reptiles -- and need it dark at night for a sleep cycle.
If your pets use an auto feeder that distributes more food than needed, or if it's program times aren't convenient for your pets feeding needs, limit or control their feeding cycles by limiting the unit's hours of operation with an outlet timer that can switch the feeder on and off in the morning and at night. Outlet timers are also great for pets who need special lighting during the day -- such as certain reptiles -- and need it dark at night for a sleep cycle.
And if you need to add a light to your morning wakeup routine, whether for a more peaceful rousing than an audio alarm or because an audio alarm alone just can't get you out of bed, an outlet timer can be your ally in making sure you make it to work on time or just to make the most of your day.
From relaxing music playing when you walk in the door after a long day to lights on in the hallway after night has fallen to a Jacuzzi starting to warm itself for an evening dip, outlet timers can be used to make your life more efficient and more pleasant, no fancy smart home systems required.
Outlet Timers For Enhanced Security
Most people think outlet timers are primarily used for switching on decorative lights during the holidays, and that is a fine use of these tried and true devices indeed. But when considered from a security standpoint, outlet timers offer much more than just a way to make your home more festive, but rather can help to make it more secure, no additional system installation needed.
Turning on lights at night is one way to ward off would be burglars; turning on and off several lights throughout the night and at seemingly random times is a much better way. Many outlet timers can be programmed to send and cut power many times throughout a 24 hour cycle, and for varied periods of time. You can easily create the illusion of a person turning on and off lights in a home, but even more convincing might be to set your outlet timer to turn on and off the television throughout the evening and to "listen" to the radio at various times during the day.
And of course outdoor outlet timers are great for turning on exterior lights that make a property harder to invade in the darkness. They can also play a less sinister role, simply turning on your landscape lights to make your yard look lovely and be more inviting for friends and family to enjoy.