Different Types of Pool Timers and How to Find the Right One For You

Written by Michael Dean
September 28, 2023

types of pool timers

If you have a pool, you know that keeping it clean and well-maintained is essential. Pumps are an important part of any pool. But did you know that having the right timer for your pool pump can significantly improve how well your pump functions?

There are many different types of pool timers on the market, and finding the right one for your needs can be tricky. In this article, I will explain the different pool timers and how to find the right one for you.

Main Takeaways

  • You can automate when your pool pump turns on and off by setting up a pool pump timer.
  • There are three main types of pool timers: analog, digital, and smart.
  • Pool pump timers can protect your pool equipment and save you time and money. They are also convenient as you can simply set it and forget it.

How Do Pool Pump Timers Work?

To understand how a pool timer works, you first need to understand how your pool pump works and how to fix common issues. Your pool pump is responsible for circulating water in your pool. This is vital for keeping the water clean and free of debris. Without a properly functioning pump, your pool would quickly become stagnant and dangerous to swim in. For more information on pumps, check out my top picks for pool pumps!

It can be challenging to keep a tab on how long your pool pump is running, which is where pool timers come in. Pool timers are simple devices attached to your pool pump.

These pool timers are designed to automatically turn your pool pump on and off at predetermined hours. All you have to do is set the timer to run when you would like the pool pump to run. Ideally, your pool pump should run for at least 6 hours, so as an example, you could set your timer to turn the pump on at 10 a.m. and off again at 4 p.m. every day.

With a pool timer, you don’t have to worry about manually turning your pool pump on and off. They allow you to set a specific amount of time for the pump to run and will automatically turn it off once that time has elapsed.

This can be a huge relief, especially if you have a busy schedule. It is also an excellent way to save money on your energy bill, as you won’t have to keep the pump running all day long. If your pool pump timer is having issues, check out my article on pool pump timer issues and how to fix them.

Types of Pool Pump Timers

There are three main types of pool timers: analog, digital, and smart. There are pros and cons to each type of pool pump timer, so it is ultimately up to you to decide which pool timer is the best for you and your pool.

Analog Timers

Analog timers are the simplest type of pool pump timer and are easy to use (and the cheapest). To use an analog timer, you simply need to set when you want the timer to be on and off using trippers. The trippers will “trip” the analog clock to turn on and off automatically at the set times.

You can find analog timers at most hardware stores, and they are a good choice if you only need to use your pool timer occasionally. Look for a timer like this (sorry if my sketch looks a little rough):


  • They are durable and long-lasting.
  • They are inexpensive compared to other models.


  • They are less accurate than digital timers.
  • They are very simple machines that don’t offer much customization or other features.

Digital Timers

Digital timers are more accurate than analog timers and offer more features. For example, some digital timers have a built-in calendar and clock, so you can program them to turn the pool pump on and off at specific times and dates. Other digital timers have a “random” feature that turns the pool pump on and off at random intervals to help prevent algae growth.

You can also find digital timers with a “manual override” feature, which allows you to turn the pool pump on and off manually if necessary.

With its display screen, digital timers are easy to read and use. Digital timers are more expensive than analog ones, but they’re worth the investment if you want to enjoy all the features they offer. They often look like this:


  • They offer more features.
  • They allow for more customization.


  • They are generally more expensive than analog timers.
  • They may be more difficult to program.

Smart Timers

Smart timers are the newest type of timer on the market and are a subset of digital timers. Smart timers are digital timers that can be controlled with your smartphone or smartwatch to turn the pool pump on and off from anywhere.

It is important to note that smart timers require a Wi-Fi connection, so you will need access to a Wi-Fi network to use one.

Smart timers are a good choice for people who want the convenience of being able to control their pool timer from anywhere. Here’s an example drawing of one.


  • They provide remote access.
  • They offer all of the features of digital timers.


  • They can be more expensive than analog and digital timers.
  • They can be more expensive and difficult to repair.

Do You Need a Pool Timer?

You are not required to have a pool timer, but it is highly recommended. A pool timer will help you save money on your energy bill and prolong the life of your pool pump.

It will also take the guesswork out of when to turn your pool pump on and off. Other  benefits of having a pool timer include:

You Can Set It And Forget It

You won’t need to worry about turning your pool pump on and off once you have installed and programmed the timer. Let the timer handle everything. You can be assured that your pool pump will be running for the right amount of time to clean your water. For more, check out my article on how to set your pool timer.

Saves You Money

An automated pool timer will save you money. Left alone, a pool pump will run 24/7, which will certainly raise your energy bill. By investing in a pool pump timer, you can limit your pool pump run time to what is necessary. What’s more, you can set your timer to run during off-peak electricity hours, which can save you even more money.

Saves You Time

Using a pool timer eliminates the need to manually turn the pool pump on and off. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a busy schedule.

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why so many people are installing pool timers. Consider investing in a pool timer to enjoy all these benefits and more.

Bottom Line: Pool Timers Help You Automate Your Pool

Pool timers are a great way to save money and time. If you’re looking for a way to automate your pool pump running time, then a timer is a must. There are a few different types of pool timers to choose from, so be sure to pick the one that’s right for you. You can find the perfect timer for your needs by considering your budget and desired features. If you want to see my recommendations, check out my article on the most efficient pool pump timers!

If you’d like to learn more or have any further questions, feel free to reach out!

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