The 10 Best Outlet Timers
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in June of 2015. When technology is available to save energy, why not use it? One of these outlet timers will not only help you cut your electricity bills and save you from remembering to turn various appliances on and off, but can also program lights to come on when you're away, serving as a burglar deterrent and giving your home some extra security. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best outlet timer on Amazon.
Your Easily Automated Home
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.
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 trip coffee maker you own into an analog outlet timer that costs less than ten dollars, and that can not only turn on your coffee maker, but that can cut the power after an hour when you head to work.
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.
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.
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