Can You Really Save Time and Water With a Hose Timer? I Tested One to Find Out!

With a water timer, it’s possible to keep up with watering tasks even when you’re not home. Find out what happened when I tested Melnor’s AquaTimer.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
Melnor dual zone hose timer and 3 aerators
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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As a homeowner and avid gardener, I am always looking for ways to save time and ensure my plants and lawn receive adequate water. That’s why I decided to test a variety of the best hose timers in my own yard and garden. One hose timer stood out during the testing process: the Melnor AquaTimer water timer.

This Melnor water hose timeroffers the convenience of automatic watering, with the added benefit of two hose outlets for those who need to water multiple zones. I found it easy to set up and program. The central button in the middle of the control panel made scrolling through the functions a breeze, and the plus and minus buttons allowed me to set the time and watering durations for each zone.

Water timers aren’t new, but they’ve surged in popularity in recent years because they help ensure plants get enough water while reducing the risk of overwatering. If you’re considering investing in a hose timer, keep reading to find out what happened when I tested the Melnor water timerand to see if it’s right for your watering needs.

Melnor AquaTimer Water Timer: At a Glance

Rating: 9/10

Melnor dual zone hose timer on cedar mulch
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila


  • Offers 2 hose outlets to provide watering to more than a single zone
  • Each zone can be set up with a custom watering schedule
  • Rain-delay function allows user to pause programming in case of rain
  • Manual override allows user to turn water on and off by hand


  • No way to adjust the desired water pressure from zone to zone
  • Requires two AA batteries (not included), which might require frequent replacement
  • LCD screen reflects and is challenging to read in bright sunlight

Get the Melnor AquaTimer hose timer at:

What is the Melnor AquaTimer hose timer?

The Melnor hose timer is a unique gardening tool that attaches to an outdoor spigot to automatically water plants or lawns through a garden hose. It features two hose outlets to easily water separate zones, and it’s designed to be user-friendly with an easy-to-read LCD screen and simple programming buttons.

Different plants have different water requirements. The Melnor water timer provides customizable watering programs for each zone, with watering durations ranging from 1 minute to 6 hours. It also includes a rain-delay function that pauses the watering schedule when rain is in the forecast, and a manual override function for watering at any time.

While the Melnor water timer has ample pros, it is not without a couple of cons. The water flow strength is not adjustable per zone, which might be an issue for some users. Additionally, it requires two AA batteries (not included), which will eventually run down and require replacement. I tested the timer for 3 weeks without needing to replace the batteries, but I’m unsure how long they would have lasted.

Back of Melnor hose timer showing empty battery compartment
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How easy is it to set up and program the Melnor water timer?

Setting up and programming the water timer was straightforward. I attached it to an outdoor spigot and connected two hoses to the bottom outlets. The fitting that connects to the spigot twists independently of the unit, which makes it simple to attach.

I found programming the Melnor water timer to be self-explanatory—it has a central button in the middle of the control panel that allows for scrolling through the various functions. The timer also includes plus and minus buttons for selecting when watering will begin and how long it will run before shutting off. I created custom watering programs for each zone—the process was easy to understand and implement.

Does the Melnor water timer work reliably over time?

During the 3-week test, the Melnor water timer performed flawlessly. Once I set the watering schedule, the timer ran the same program daily unless I paused it by using the rain-delay feature. I cannot speak to its durability over an extended period, but it seemed well made and functioned without problems throughout the testing period.

The timer is designed to be weather-resistant, and its sturdy construction suggests that it can withstand the rigors of outdoor use over time. The battery compartment comes with a watertight seal to keep moisture from entering. After a driving rain, I removed the battery tray to see if any water had gotten inside, but it was bone dry.

The water timer comes with three spare screen washers that can be swapped in if an older washer starts to leak. This type of washer is readily available at hardware stores, but I liked the idea of having extras on hand.

Melnor hose timer water valve close up
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

What features does the Melnor water timer offer?

The Melnor water timer has some great features that make it an attractive option for those looking for a digital water timer. One of the standout features is its easy-twist connector, which makes attaching the timer to a spigot incredibly simple. This feature alone saves time and hassle, especially for those who don’t want to deal with complicated setups.

The dual-zone capability is a boon for anyone with multiple watering needs. I set up one zone for a sprinkler in my flower bed, and the second zone supplied water to a large dog bowl in the pet’s play yard. I configured the first zone to water twice per day for 30 minutes each time. I programmed the hose to the dog’s bowl to come on twice daily and run for 2 minutes each time—that was plenty to fill up the bowl with fresh water.

The large, easy-to-read LCD screen makes it easy to program the timer and monitor watering schedules at a glance. The Melnor water timer doesn’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity or other smart features, but it still provides reliable and straightforward operation for those who are looking for a simple yet effective watering solution.

Can the Melnor water timer be used with various types of hoses and watering systems?

The Melnor hose timer is compatible with standard garden hoses and drip-type watering systems, but it’s unsuitable for in-ground sprinkler systems, which require high-pressure controllers.

The timer also works well with soaker hoses, which are commonly used in home gardening and landscaping. However, it is worth noting that water hose timers are not meant for use with expandable hoses, primarily because expandable hoses are designed for hand watering, not automated watering, due to their tendency to shrink when drained of water.

Melnor dual zone hose timer on cement walkway measuring 5 inches
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Melnor hose timer?

This water timer is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use and customizable hose timer to manage their watering needs effectively. If you have a large garden, multiple lawn areas, or even outdoor pets that require regular watering, this device can be a valuable tool to ensure that everything stays hydrated without the need for manual intervention.

The Melnor timer’s user-friendly interface makes programming easy. A central button allows you to scroll through functions and buttons to set the start time and watering duration. Its large, easy-to-read LCD screen simplifies keeping track of your watering schedules and program settings.

While the Melnor hose timer can be a valuable tool for many gardeners and homeowners, there are a few instances where it might not be necessary. If you have a small garden or only need to water one area, the timer’s dual-zone feature may not be required, and a cheaper, single-zone timer may suffice. Additionally, if you prefer to water your plants or lawn manually or have a complex irrigation system in place, you may not need a hose timer at all.

It is also worth noting that the AquaTimer’s water flow strength is not adjustable per zone, so if you require different water flow rates for different areas, this timer may not be the best fit for your needs.

Where to Buy the Melnor AquaTimer Hose Timer

Get the Melnor AquaTimer hose timer at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a seasoned product tester and writer with a focus on the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. As a co-owner of a general contracting company with experience in both residential and commercial building applications, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reviews. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products, to help consumers make informed decisions. With her careful analysis and attention to detail, her reviews offer a unique perspective trusted by professionals and DIY enthusiasts.


Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.