Tap Timers

Tap Timers

Watering is more complex than many people think. Standing out in the garden with a hose is really a very inefficient way of watering your plants. You’d cut down on garden maintenance, save time and waste less water if you installed an irrigation system.

What should I buy?

There are many different water controllers available; some are spring operated, some are battery operated and others at the top end of the range work on mains power through a transformer. They vary in reliability and ease of operation, but the main problem with tap timers is that they reduce water pressure, which cuts down on the number of sprinklers or drippers you can successfully operate.

Testing the timers

  • We purchased fifteen controllers representing the different types and brands available on the market, and tested them to find out by how much each one reduced water pressure.
  • First we tested our water pressure. To do this we turned a tap on to full, then used a stopwatch to time how long it took to fill a bucket of water.
  • Each timer was then connected to the same tap in turn. With the tap on to full, we measured how long it took to fill the same bucket with water.

Results

It took 15 seconds to fill the bucket with no timer attached. Time taken to fill the bucket and percentage of water flow are given below for each timer:

Yates Plassay Aqua Timer (manual, $24)
35 seconds 43% water flow

Pope Electronic Tap Timer Remote Controlled (battery, $166)
41 seconds 36.5% water flow

Sabco Timer (manual, $40)
36 seconds 42% water flow

Orbit Automatic Yard Watering System (battery, $125)
26 seconds 58% water flow

Pope 2 Hour Tap Timer (manual, $20)
39 seconds 38.5% water flow

Galcon EZ2010 (battery, $160)
17 seconds 88% water flow

Gardena Water Timer (battery, $118)
21 seconds 71% water flow

Nelson Solo Rain 8013 (battery, $223)
19 seconds 79% water flow
(tested, but not shown in segment)

Gardena Water Computer 1060 (battery, $260)
20 seconds 75% water flow

Rain Bird (battery, $308)
16 seconds 94.5% water flow

Gardena Water Computer C1030 Plus (battery, $100)
21 seconds 71% water flow

Miracle Irrigation Controller Netafim (battery, $400)
18 seconds 83% water flow

Garden Mate Electronic Tap Timer (battery, $70)
44 seconds 34% water flow

Netafim Flori 1 (battery, $250)
18 seconds 83% water flow

Claber Logica 8444 (battery, $158)
41 seconds 36.5% water flow

We found that the three mechanical timers we tested reduced water pressure by more than half, so we cannot recommend them to operate large numbers of sprinklers. The commercial units at the top end of the market worked very well and put out lots of water, but at $200-$400 they are very expensive. In the middle price range we found the Gardena units were very good, particularly the Gardena Water Computer C1030 Plus, which maintained a 71% water flow. It is battery operated, easy to operate and good value for money at $100. The Orbit Automatic Yard Watering System was also impressive. It is robust, battery operated, has a 58% water flow, and retails at $125. We found that the Galcon (at $160) had an excellent water flow, but that spare parts may not be readily available.

Recommendations

* Gardena Water Computer C1030 Plus (battery, $100) 21 seconds 71% water flow
* Orbit Automatic Yard Watering System (battery, $125) 26 seconds 58% water flow

Further information

Tap timers are sold at specialist irrigation shops and hardware stores.  

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