Last updated: August 5, 2021

Welcome to our big timeswitch test 2021. Here we present all the timers we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best timeswitch for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a timer.




Summary

  • Timeswitchs  are a very practical thing. For example, you can switch your electronic devices on and off automatically at certain times.
  • There are different types of timers: Analogue timer, digital timer, day timer, week timer, and astro timer.
  • An analogue timer differs from a digital timer in that instead of an LED display, there is a 24-hour scaled circle. A daily timer repeats the switching programme after one day. A weekly time switch, on the other hand, repeats the switching programme after one week.

The Best Timeswitch: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a timeswitch

Who is a timeswitch suitable for?

A timer is suitable for people who want to save on their electricity costs. When using a timer, electronic devices can be switched off at certain times. This reduces electricity consumption.

Environmentalists can also benefit from a timer because low electricity consumption leads to the reduction of power plant emissions. This protects the air and prevents climate change.

You can keep your electricity costs to a minimum with a timer. (Image source: Unsplash.com / Agê Barros)

How does a timeswitch work?

A timeswitch is a timer that operates an electrical switch. It is controlled by the timing mechanism. The switch can be connected to a circuit that operates on the mains, plugged into a wall socket or built into a device such as a sleep timer.

The timer can switch the appliance on, off or both at one or more preset times, after a preset interval or cyclically. A countdown timer switches on the power supply, usually switched off, after a preset time.

A cyclical timer switches the unit on and off at preset times over a period of time and then repeats the cycle; the duration is usually 24 hours or 7 days.

How much does a timeswitch cost?

There is a wide price range between different timers. Depending on the quality and material, the cost varies.

What are the alternatives to a timeswitch?

If you want to save on your electricity consumption, there are other options besides a timer.

Type Description
Power strip A power strip is a block of sockets attached to the end of a flexible cable so that several electrical devices can be powered from a single socket. However, you have to manually switch the socket on and off to control the power consumption.
PLC controllers A PLC controller is an industrial solid-state computer that monitors inputs and outputs and makes logical decisions for automated processes or machines. The PLC is also commonly used in civilian applications such as in washing machines and to control traffic lights and lifts.

Decision: What types of timeswitches are there and which is the right one for you?

You can distinguish timers into five main categories:

  • Digital time switch
  • Analogue time switch
  • Daily time switch
  • Weekly time switch
  • Astro time switch

To help you decide, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each category.

What distinguishes a digital timer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A digital timer works by using an oscillating quartz or a synchronous motor as a clock. The time is shown on the display window.

Advantages
  • Accurate to the second (higher accuracy)
  • More functions for special purposes such as "Random" button, the child lock, and the "Astro" function
  • Possibility of access via Bluetooth or WLAN and control via mobile phone app
Disadvantages
  • Higher power consumption
  • Expensive price
  • More difficult to set

What distinguishes an analogue timer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An analogue timer has a 24-hour scale instead of the normal 12-hour clock. Nowadays, an analogue timer works electrically and with the help of a synchronous motor.

Advantages
  • Low energy consumption
  • Low purchase price
  • Easier to set
Disadvantages
  • Loud ticking
  • Some can only be programmed with intervals of at least a quarter of an hour

Some timers also have a child lock (Image source: Pixabay.com / Dieter Martin)

What are the characteristics of a daytime timer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A daytime timer repeats the switching programme after one day (every 24 hours).

Advantages
  • Practical application for daily repeatable setting
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for applications where something is changed every day

What are the features of a weekly timer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With a weekly time switch, you can define individual switching times for each day. The switching programme then repeats after a week.

Advantages
  • Application suitable for controlling lighting, for example in an underground car park, whereby the setting is different at the weekend than during the week
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for applications where the same setting is needed every day

What are the characteristics of an astronomical timer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With an astro time switch, it is possible to programme the control according to sunrise times and sunset times. Every day, the times are redefined by the astro time switch depending on the location.

Advantages
  • Suitable for lighting control of shop windows
  • It is also particularly good for outdoor lighting of houses
Disadvantages
  • No option for manual setting

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate timerswitches

In this section, we would like to show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible timers.

The following criteria will help you compare timers with each other:

  • Number of programmes
  • Display
  • Mounting
  • Random function
  • Integrated child lock
  • LED function display

In the following paragraphs, we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria.

Number of programmes

Before you buy a timer, you should be well informed about the available programmes of the timer. It is best to read the product description and customer reviews of the timer.

For example, there are many possible programmes such as data transfer via NFC. This allows you to transfer data from your smartphone to the timer.

Some timers are also completed with the "Random" button. This enables random switch-on and switch-off times and gives an impression that someone is at home, for example. For this reason, it is particularly useful for preventing potential burglars.

Display

You can also decide whether you prefer a digital display or an analogue one. With a digital display, you can see the time on a display window. This means that you can set the time more accurately. With an analogue display, the time is represented by a dial and pins.

Mounting

There are two ways to mount timers. Depending on the model, you can either install it with a flush-mounted or a socket. A flush-mounted timer is a device box that is recessed into the wall surface and does not protrude. On the other hand, a socket timer serves as an additional part of the previously available socket.

Random function

The random function of a timer gives a simulation of your presence. It allows the power to be switched on and off at random times. This way, it will look from the outside as if someone is in the house. This is especially useful to avoid potential burglars during longer absences.

Integrated child safety lock

If you have young children at home, you need to make sure that you can use your timer without worry.

For timers with integrated child-proof locks, the contacts of the socket are sealed with plastic plates.

LED function display

LED display (light-emitting diode display) is a screen display technology that uses a panel of LEDs as a light source. Some timers use the LED function display to show the time.

Facts worth knowing about timeswitches

How do I set a timeswitch correctly?

The step-by-step process for installing an analogue timer differs from that of a digital timer. In the following part, we will explain how to set up your analogue timer correctly.

Setting a timer is not complicated. (Image source: Unsplash.com / Marcelo Leal)
  1. Move the button on the side of the timer to the position for the timer. Depending on which model you have, it may show "T" for Timer, "Auto" or another name in the instructions. Each timer is slightly different, but most come with an override that allows the electric current to bypass the timer so you can operate the light manually if you don't want the timer to control it.
  2. Insert the timer into the outlet and align the three pins on the back with the outlet. Plug your light, aquarium or other electrical appliance you want to control into the timer's outlet, which is usually located on the bottom, side or front of the timer.
  3. Turn the dial clockwise so that the number on the dial matches the current time on the clock and the position on the dial that says Time Now, Time of Day or Current Time, depending on which model you have.
  4. Position the first pin at the time you want the electrical appliance to release and set the second pin at the time you want it to turn off. For example, if you want the timer to turn on a light at 7pm, you set the first pin to that position on the dial and the second to 11pm when you want it to turn off. For timers with 24-hour clocks, you would set the first pin to 1900 and the second pin to 2300. The pins are set by turning them off or on, or turning them on or off.
  5. Test the timer by manually pushing it to the on pin to see if the lamp you connected it to lights up. Set it to the off position to check that the lamp is switched off. After the test, reset the timer to the current time.

Depending on the model and the desired function, the setting of a digital timer varies greatly. It's best to read the product's instruction manual before setting your digital timer.

How do I build a timeswitch myself?

If you don't want to buy a timer, you can also build your own. In this section we will show you how to make your own timer from a discarded fan.

  1. Collect the timer, power plug and cable from an old fan.
  2. Align the clock switch with a faceplate and drill three holes. Two holes for the screw and one hole for the timer.
  3. Now mount the timer switch and label the front panel accordingly. Plug in the 3-core wire and use the terminal strip to connect the life wire to the timer. Now use a cable tie to secure the external 3-core wire.
  4. Now connect the 3-pole wall socket with the remaining wire according to the wiring diagram shown and close the cover.

How much electricity does a timeswitch consume?

The power consumption of a timer is 1 watt. This means that about 24 watts of electricity are consumed per day. It also does not matter whether the relay is energised or not.

Image source: pexels.com / Moose Photos

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