The 7 Best Pool Timers With Freeze Protection
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in October of 2018. If you own and maintain a pool in an area where the temperature drops below freezing for even a single night in winter, you're going to want one of the pool timers with freeze protection on our list. They'll kick your system on as soon as the mercury dips below a set point, ensuring that water doesn't turn to ice inside your pipes, potentially causing damage to components. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 28, 2020:
With an unusually large amount of availability issues all but obliterating our previous picks for this category, the easiest thing to do was simply start from scratch, and come up with an entire new list of offerings. As with previous iterations of these rankings, this set consists primarily of options from Intermatic and Tork, two well-recognized names in the American pool industry.
Some notable new additions are the Intermatic PF1202T — which boasts two, electrically interlocked timing mechanisms in the same housing; the Tork PP-20R-F2 — which separates itself from other analog models with a handy three-position selector switch that makes it easy to transition from automatic to manual modes; and the Intermatic PE153 — a digital model that can control three circuits simultaneously, each with as many daily events.
A few things to look for in this category:
Compatibility: First and foremost, before you even get as far as serious consideration, you’ll need to make sure that this timer is compatible with your existing pool pump. This might mean making sure that your pump’s power rating doesn’t exceed the maximum controllable wattage for the timer, but manufacturers usually make this nice and easy by providing a horsepower rating for most of their models. So, make sure that the timer jives with your pump’s voltage (likely 120 or 240), and make sure that your timer’s maximum horsepower rating does not exceed that of your pump.
Installation: Once you’re confident that you’ve selected a timer that can handle your pump, you’ll be just about ready to order, but one last thing worth looking into, especially in the case of retrofits, is whether or not your timer requires a neutral wire. And if it does, is one available the desired point of installation? While some analog models – like the Intermatic PF1102T, which is designed for use with 240-volt equipment – can get by without a neutral wire, digital units like the Tork PFPEW1103 will require a true neutral line, even if the equipment they service doesn’t.
Additional Equipment: If you, like I, enjoy a simple swimming pool setup that only employs a single pump, then any properly sized timer will do for you. However, if your backyard’s a bit more elaborate, and your pool’s outfitted with a booster pump, or you’ve also got a hot tub, or you’d also like to automate your backyard lighting, then you might want to consider an option equipped to manage multiple loads. The Intermatic PF1202T comes with two interlocked mechanisms, so you can control your supplementary pump separately, but never have to worry about it turning on when your primary pump isn’t running. The Intermatic PE153 can control up to three circuits, and each circuit can have three daily events programmed into it.
January 11, 2019:
Given the limited comparable features among the market's models, features like digital readouts and well-made enclosures were among the most important advantages in ranking. Pretty much all of the items on our list are from one of two companies making reliable entries (Intermatic and Tork), and a lot of those differ only in their ability to work with single- or dual-speed pool pumps.