When you’re relaxing on the patio, the last thing you want to worry about is the time. However, ignoring the time can throw off an entire day’s schedule. Outdoor clocks ensure that you enjoy the outdoors while staying on top of important tasks. The best outdoor clocks have a large face and numbers for easy visibility, and might include a few extra functions like humidity and temperature measurements. They come in a wide range of styles and sizes, so finding one that complements your home’s architecture and landscaping is all about the right design.
- BEST OVERALL: PresenTime & Co Indoor/Outdoor Luminous Wall Clock
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SMILEMARY 12-Inch Indoor/Outdoor Retro Wall Clock
- BEST MODERN: Taylor Precision Products Patio Clock (18-Inch)
- BEST VINTAGE: WOOCH Wrought Iron Antique-Look Round Wall Clock
- BEST RUSTIC: SkyNature Large Outdoor Clocks Thermometer Hygrometer
- BEST ECLECTIC: FirsTime & Co. Sundeck Outdoor Clock
- BEST METAL: Infinity Indoor/Outdoor 8″ The Charleston Clock
- BEST FAUX STONE: Lily’s Home Hanging Wall Clock, Faux-Slate
- ALSO CONSIDER: La Crosse Technology WT-3181P Metal Clock, 18 Inch
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Clock
A clock is a clock, right? Not really. From digital and analog to metal and plastic, outdoor clocks can come in different styles, materials, or have extra features like luminescent arms that make it easier to see the face. The home and landscaping design can help determine which style and type will work best.
Digital vs. Analog
The vast majority of outdoor clocks are analog. These clocks require only a seal between a waterproof frame and the face and a waterproof battery cover to protect the inner workings. It’s harder to protect the face of a digital clock. While analog clocks can be harder for some people, especially children, to tell time, they’re often the top choice for outdoor models.
There are relatively few digital outdoor clocks because they’re more susceptible to weather damage. The existing digital models tend to be part of a weather monitoring system rather than a stand-alone clock.
These systems have several outdoor sensors that measure the temperature, humidity, and/or barometric pressure, sending the measurements back to an indoor digital base that displays the readings. The outdoor sensors may have a small digital clock, but they’re not designed for visibility throughout the yard.
Outdoor clocks often run on lithium-ion or zinc-carbon batteries because these batteries function well in cold weather. Alkaline batteries are common too, but they may not keep accurate time as temperatures drop. Cold temperatures also drain power from alkaline batteries faster than they do from lithium-ion or zinc-carbon batteries.
On the other end of the spectrum, extreme heat can shorten battery life as well. The drain isn’t as drastic when the mercury rises but expect batteries to need replacement sooner rather than later in the summer heat. In the outdoors, alkaline batteries will last about a year. Lithium-ion and zinc-carbon tend to last longer, though it depends on the climate.
An outdoor clock’s batteries don’t usually last as long as indoor clocks because they are exposed to weather extremes. However, you should get several months to a year out of most clock batteries.
Wood looks beautiful and offers a rustic, natural aesthetic. Some clock faces are made of a single wood piece, and others have plank or shiplap backgrounds. However, wood isn’t the most durable outdoor material. It’s susceptible to moisture, sun, and damage during temperature fluctuations. Wooden outdoor clocks are ideal for mild climates and tend to last longer if hung in a protected area out of direct sunlight.
Metal offers incredible durability, and lightweight metals like aluminum are easy to hang. Stainless steel, aluminum, wrought iron, and copper are all metals commonly used to make outdoor clocks. Metals can be rust-resistant, but they’re not rust-proof, so those who live in a wet climate may want to consider a different material. Metal clocks may also cost more than either wood or plastic clocks.
Of all the materials, plastic is the most affordable and comes in the widest range of styles and designs. The hard plastics used to make outdoor clocks withstand temperature changes, weather, and sun exposure. However, it does eventually break down due to sun and weather exposure.
An outdoor clock doesn’t just have to be a clock. It may also be a barometer, a hygrometer, or a thermometer. That extra information can help you plan outdoor activities, care for a garden, or manage pets and children. Clocks with these extra functions typically cost a few more dollars, but it’s often worth it for the added information.
Style matters even in the outdoors. Think about the style of the patio, the outdoor furniture, and the house exterior. Look for a clock that will complement or blend with what’s already there. The clock’s frame, if it has one (some are a face only), may set the tone with elaborate molded plastic or a faux stone facade.
The materials could create a sense of time and place. For example, some metals have a rustic, antique finish, and when paired with Roman-numeral clock faces, create an antiquated style. Modern styles tend to skip ornamentation for simplicity with standard numbers and monochrome color schemes. Farmhouse clocks combine metal with wood planks or shiplap.
The clock’s mounting system will depend on its weight and design. Outdoor wall clocks are either single or double-sided and usually include the hardware and anchors necessary to attach to various outside materials like vinyl siding or brick. Some clocks may require extra hardware to successfully mount.
Double-sided clocks have a wall-mount bracket that requires a bit more DIY experience. For example, they may require a wood base to attach to certain materials. Check the clock’s mounting type to be sure it will work with your house’s exterior siding.
Our Top Picks
The best outdoor clocks made it on this list of top picks. The included clocks are made in different styles, sizes, and materials to offer various choices that work for distinct architectural styles and personal preferences.
The 18-inch PresenTime & Co Indoor/Outdoor Luminous Wall Clock features a waterproof, UV-resistant frame that works both indoors and out. A retro-inspired clock face adds a touch of class while also providing extra functions with a hygrometer and thermometer.
The upgrade comes in the luminescent face design. A front smart light sensor detects light levels in the surrounding environment. As the light fades, the clock’s face automatically illuminates, changing from white to gorgeous gold and black. Users have the option of turning off this feature to preserve battery life, which can be an issue. The clock only takes one AA battery, but the luminescent feature and light sensor require four D batteries.
The SMILEMARY 12-Inch Indoor/Outdoor Retro Wall Clock design includes beloved features from retro clocks like the silver and black color scheme and traditional hand design. It works in and out of doors, and the smaller 12-inch face won’t overpower the space in which it hangs. A rubber seal and a waterproof battery cover protect it from the elements.
The clock face also includes a built-in thermometer. The SMILEMARY runs on a single AA zinc-carbon battery, which is necessary to ensure accurate timekeeping.
The 18-inch Taylor Precision Products Patio Clock encompasses all that is modern simplicity. The modern design relies on clean, function lines. This clock’s no-nonsense design complements that aesthetic well. There’s no frame, only the clock face with simple numbers and minute marks. The lack of ornamentation puts the focus on the function.
The all-metal construction gives this clock durability for outdoor use. It runs on one AA battery and includes two hanging hooks to secure it in place.
The WOOCH Wrought Iron Antique-Look Round Wall Clock sparks a little nostalgia with its double face inspired by traditional train station clocks. Wrought iron scrollwork frames the face, adding to the clock’s antique look. The face itself measures 8 inches, but the entire frame extends 11 inches from the wall.
This type of clock fits well in a carport between a guest house and a main house or in a backyard with a pool. It displays the time from either direction and rotates to adjust to the right angle. It runs on two AA batteries.
The 18-inch SkyNature Large Outdoor Clocks Thermometer Hygrometer has a beautiful metal frame that is available in three colors. A ring seal between the frame and the glass lens prevents water from penetrating the face. The metal creates a rustic look but also brings texture to the design.
Each number on the face is over an inch tall for better visibility. As a bonus, the clock face also features a hygrometer and a thermometer. Though the clock has a second hand, its non-ticking design won’t irritate peaceful silence. Finally, this clock runs on one AA battery.
The FirsTime & Co. Sundeck Outdoor Clock brings a touch of whimsy to the backyard. The metal frame’s rays of sunshine reach 19 inches across, making a statement wherever it’s hung. An aged copper finish creates a rustic look that’s complemented by a cream-colored clock face. A built-in thermometer provides a little extra information, too.
This clock is designed for indoor or outdoor use. However, it’s not designed for use in direct sunlight or in wet weather. It has to be hung in a protected area to keep things running smoothly and requires one AA battery.
The Infinity Indoor/Outdoor Charleston Double-Sided Clock features an all-metal frame and a hanging bracket. The double-sided design brings an antique vibe with a clock face on one side and a thermometer on the other. Weather extremes are no problem for this device; the thermometer measures temperatures from -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hanging bracket brings some extra detail and design to the clock and holds it securely to a wall. The clock face itself measures 8 inches, while the entire clock plus the bracket measures 11 inches by 11.5 inches. A single AA battery powers the clock and the thermometer.
Lily’s Home Hanging Wall Clock Thermometer Hygrometer is rimmed with faux stones that look like they belong in the outdoors. They’re actually made of plastic, but the texture, color, and design are deceptively accurate. Plastic cuts down on weight but not on the visual appeal.
This indoor/outdoor clock also includes a hygrometer and a thermometer with a range of -60 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The two additional functions are easily visible on the 14-inch face. The clock runs on one AA battery.
The La Crosse Technology WT-3181P Metal Clock offers three functions but offers a clean, traditional look that blends well with many home exterior designs. The 18-inch clock face has large numbers that stand out for better visibility. It also displays a hygrometer to measure humidity and a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. Durable, weather-resistant plastic makes up the frame and face, resisting the sun, the wind, and wet weather.
The La Crosse gets high marks for accuracy; it has an antenna that connects to a transmitter that syncs the clock to a remote atomic clock. Once the time zone gets set, the clock automatically adjusts itself. It continues to check in and adjusts itself six times per day to maintain accurate time. It does all of that on two AA batteries.
FAQs About Outdoor Clocks
Putting up a new clock is exciting, but now there’s the question of where and how to hang it. We’ve answered that, along with a few other questions.
Q. Do all outdoor clocks come with a hygrometer and thermometer?
No, all outdoor clocks do not include a hygrometer or a thermometer. Some only tell the time.
Q. Where should I place my outdoor clock on a patio?
Put it somewhere that’s easily seen. There’s no use having a clock if you have to search for it. Some clocks perform better and last longer when protected from the elements—on a covered exterior wall or the beam of a covered porch, for example.
Q. How long does an outdoor clock last?
The answer lies, in part, on the climate. Temperature extremes will put more stress on the clock and its battery. Most clocks should last several years, but that time may diminish in areas where temperatures reach extremes.