Last updated: April 12, 2021
In choosing to start an indoor grow, you become the sole source of your cannabis plants’ well-being. From soil quality to water levels to sufficient lighting, your yield at harvest time depends entirely on how well you care for your plants.
If you think this sounds like it could turn into a full-time job, you might be right… Unless, of course, you know how to automate your grow.
That’s where choosing the best timer for grow lights comes in. Depending on the strain you’re choosing to cultivate and the growth phase your plants are in, they’ll need different amounts of light and darkness throughout a day to really thrive – all of which can be provided by a reliable grow light timer.
So today, we’ve put together a series of reviews for you on our 7 favorite timers for grow lights, complete with a buyer’s guide and pros and cons for each.
By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to decide which is the best timer for your needs. Let’s get started!
|Best Overall||GE 15153 Indoor Plug-In Mechanical Timer||
|Best Value||BN-LINK FD60-U6 Digital Programmable Timer||
|Premium Choice||Nearpow 36912 Plug-in Digital Timer||
|iPower Plug-in Electric Outlet Timer||
|TOPGREENER TGT02 7 Day Plug-In Digital Timer||
Even just looking at the GE 24-hour heavy duty timer, you can tell that it means business. Traditional mechanical timers like this have the definite advantage of never losing their programming during power outages, meaning that you’ll never have to reset them. We’re huge fans of mechanical timers for their simple efficacy and long-lasting durability.
The GE mechanical timer is easy to set up and use, with options for time settings in 30-minute intervals. Whether you’re looking at the 18 to 24 hours of light for a successful veg phase, or giving 12 hours of darkness to begin flowering, you can customize your lighting schedule to your needs with ease.
With options for models with 1 or 2 grounded outlets, you can use this timer for even a very large grow light setup without any problem.
It was a very close call between the GE mechanical timer that made our #1 spot and this, the BN-LINK digital programmable timer. While we may have a bias towards old-school mechanical timers for their nearly perfect reliability, this digital option from BN-LINK could change our minds.
With super simple controls and the ability to set up to 8 on/off programs, the BN-LINK is a versatile option for light control. Now, whether you really need more than one program for your indoor grow is debatable. But having the option is nice, even if you just use it while going away for a weekend.
Providing a backup battery is what really put this digital timer in our good graces. Even in case of a power outage, you won’t lose your programmed functions. That’s what makes it the best timer for grow lights for the money, in our minds.
For absolute ease of use, it’s hard to beat this super-large LCD clock face timer from Nearpow. Like a classic alarm clock, the large numerals and clearly labeled buttons mean you’ll never have to struggle with programming or changing your timers.
You can set up to 3 timer groups per day on the Nearpow, but probably won’t have need of more than one for your grow. For what is only a modest increase in price, the ease of use can be especially crucial for people with poor eyesight, or those not comfortable with technology.
We only wish that they would have seen fit to include an extra battery function. If your power goes out, you’ll have to reset the whole system with your programs.
How does a completely no-frills timer that does one thing really well sound to you? If you’d like to do away with the multiple on/off options and longer setup times of other timers, the iPower mechanical timer is right up your alley.
It’s affordable and simple, with a single timer function that does exactly what you need it to do: Making sure your cannabis plants get a consistent amount of light and darkness. For the best in efficiency and simplicity, it simply can’t be beat.
The only downside to the iPower Plug-in timer is the volume of its “ticking” noise. Compared to our #1 pick for a mechanical timer, it’s much louder. If your cannabis grow room is next to your bedroom, you might want to pick a different timer.
This thoughtfully designed digital timer from TOPGREENER has an interesting feature not found in any of our other digital timers: The display faces up, rather than out from the wall. This means that there’s no need to kneel next to your outlet to see the time or adjust your programming.
Because it comes in a 2-pack, you might be able to find good use for the 7-day programmable settings. With up to 18 unique on/off settings available, it can be a little bit challenging to figure out at first. But once you get the hang of it, it’s reliable and durable. The backup battery is a big plus, too.
Hey, wait a minute – haven’t we already seen this timer? No, in fact – it just looks almost identical to the GE that took our #1 spot.
In fact, it’s features basically are identical: Easy and intuitive setting options, 30-minute intervals, multiple on/off options, and a durable construction make it a dead ringer for the GE. The only real difference here is that where the GE offers one grounded outlet for its standard model, this one from Dewenwils offers two.
For the difference in price, though, we’ll stick with our #1 choice.
For our last option, we’re really coming down to a choice based on aesthetics more than features.
The Opulent Systems 7-day digital timer offers many of the same features as the other digital timers we’ve reviewed: Plenty of programmable on/off cycles, a backup battery, straightforward controls, and a clear display. Instead of a blocky style, though, it’s an upright and circular sort of affair.
When you’d rather your wall timer have a certain look, this one is just as good as every other digital timer we reviewed. For a slightly lower cost, it’s a completely viable option if you like its style.
For being a small monetary investment, timers for grow lights can have a significant positive impact on the health of both you and your plants. After all, no one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to turn their plants’ lights off. So, when you’re looking for a timer for grow lights, consider these qualities before you decide to buy:
Mechanical timers have the advantage of requiring very little technological know-how to operate, and being both incredibly accurate and durable. The downside, though? Their timekeeping mechanism can also run a little bit on the loud side. If you’re sensitive to noises, they might not be the best choice for you.
Digital timers can honestly be quite a pain to learn how to set the first time – but once you’ve got them running, most are equipped with a backup battery to keep their programs in good shape even during power outages. If you’re willing to put in the extra time and effort to learn how to use them, they’ll reward you with a silent timekeeping mechanism that’s perfect for quiet hours.
Most timers, both mechanical and digital, are equipped with the ability to produce multiple on/off cycles. While this can be useful for Christmas lights, limiting television or video game use, or turning on lights in the morning, it’s largely unnecessary for your indoor grow. However, consider taking this into account in case you’d like to later repurpose your timer for a different use.
Your authors’ preference for mechanical timers is largely a personal one. Simply put, we find them easier to program and easier to use than most digital timers, and don’t mind the extra noise as a cost for that.
After testing some of the digital timers in this review, though, we must admit that some of them have done a great job of dumbing down the programming of on/off cycles. While digital timers are often on the bulkier side, they also have the advantage of having clear and easy to read displays that make getting a precise timing simple and easy.
After thoroughly examining all 7 timers in this review, we’re still most pleased with the GE 15153 Indoor Plug-In Mechanical Timer for its ease of use and rugged durability. If you’re set on having the silence of a digital timer, we can strongly recommend the BN-LINK FD60-U6 Digital Programmable Timer for its exceptional value.
Hopefully after looking through our step by step comparison of each of these models, you feel confident in your ability to choose the perfect timer for grow lights in your own home. A few dollars’ difference is usually all it takes to get the exact right fit for your unique grow setup, so treat yourself to the timer you really want. Thanks for reading, and may your next harvest be well-timed and bountiful!
Featured Image Credit By: Daniel Oberhaus
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