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How we test tap timers

Are tap timers the solution to watering your garden, hose in hand? Here's how our testers find the models that last.

how we test tap timers
Last updated: 26 April 2022

Smart tap timers attach to your garden tap and allow you to schedule your watering so you can focus on your downtime without needing to stand around with a hose in your hand.

Here's what our experts look at to help you find the best tap timers on the market.

Our expert testers

With over 30 years' experience in gardening equipment, we're proud of our expert testers. They've seen all types of garden tools come through the CHOICE labs, but one thing never changes – they need to do their job well. We focus on the basics so that you can buy with confidence, knowing the garden equipment you buy will work well when it comes time to use it.

How we choose which tap timers we test

Why do we choose one tap timer over another? There are a number of reasons for this, but our priority is to test what you'll see in stores. That means that sometimes we might not cover a brand that sells directly, and instead focus on the big names that you're most likely to see in your local Bunnings or Flower Power. How do we know what's in retailers? We check current market figures to see what's selling well. We'll also include models that you've requested – if a lot of members want it, we'll test it.

Once we know what you want to read about, we buy the tap timers for our test from a variety of retailers, then bring them in as is. This means we get what you'd get, so we can be sure the results are what you'll find rather than potentially 'tweaked' for better performance.

How CHOICE tests tap timers

We use identical test conditions for each tap timer, with the same methodology and tester. We do this so the test results are consistent between tests. If you want to compare tap timer performance fairly, you have to use the same conditions for all of them.

We check ease of use primarily for tap timers, looking at the instructions for simplicity, how easy it is to set them up via an app, and whether they require complex timer arrangements or the manufacturer makes it as simple as possible.

We also test how easy the batteries are to replace, as all of the tap timers we've tested are either battery or solar powered. Finally we test the versatility of the timing arrangement so it's as powerful as possible for both simple and complex usage.

At the end of our testing for ease of use, we put each tap timer through a six-month ageing process, exposing each one to high temperature and humidity conditions to see how they'll cope under extreme conditions.

Our test lab

We maintain a lab that's up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you accurate results that you can trust.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.