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In this article we review, what we believe to be the best plug in timers that are currently available on the UK marketplace. There are quite literally hundreds of these to pick from, and a whole range of brands who make them. You can get a standard countdown timer right up to fully programmable ones.
The really good news is that these are not an expensive purchase, but are a really useful small appliance to own.
They serve two main tasks, which are to increase the security of your home, and also to make your life that little bit more convenient and save time.
All of the plug-in timers are pretty compact, economic, will save you energy and best of all, can help to deter intruders. They are usually adjustable for 24 hours, and almost always can be set at 15 minute intervals.
The principle is that you plug a lamp into one of these timers, then you set a time on the plug in timer for the lamp to come on, and the lamp then automatically turns on at that time.
They have many other uses as well such as for fish tanks, aquariums, TVs, switching on and off of Christmas lights, security lighting, slow cookers, heaters, irons, pumps, printers, watering plants etc.
TOP TIP - Many parents use a countdown timer to switch WiFi router off at a certain time to help them get their kids off line and get them to bed.
These sell for about £5-10, per timer depending on which brand you decide to go for. You can also buy these in sets like the one shown above. If you decide to do that, then you can usually save a few pounds as well.
Mechanical vs Digital Timers
There are two types of plug in timers which are mechanical and digital.
- Mechanical timers - These are set by pushing in segments or pins to set the time. This can be a fiddly process and may not be suitable for those with arthritis or who has an illness where shaking hands are a problem
- Digital timers - these are set up by programming a display. These are slightly harder to setup, but don't require any physical dexterity. You do however have to read the instructions carefully as they usually have a lot of features.
Digital timers are by far the best. You can program a lot more stop starts and although they are more technical to use, you will soon get the hang of them.
Top 5 Plug In Timers
Just below you will find a table, where we have placed our choices of timers in order. The order we have used is the highest buyer rated first. In other words we have placed these timers in the order, of what buyers judged their quality to be.
These are our top 5 picks. We have based these on what we believe to be the best value for money. At the end of the day, the one you pick will come down to your own choice and how many of these you either want or need.
Plug In Timer Summary Reviews
Underneath, we have completed short and concise reviews, on these top 5 products. That way you can see at a glance, which one is the best choice for you.
Best Analogue Timer - Defender 24 Hour Segment Timer Switch Summary Review
- There are thousands of UK buyers for this timer and they rate it highly
- This is a 24 hour timing device or smart plug, with 15 minute segments
- Like any good timer this one will switch on and switch off any device that is plugged into it
- Buyers say it is very easy to setup and use as is has simple to understand setting pins
- Its a basic mechanical timer
You can buy this as a single device or as a 2 pack or a 3 pack. The more you buy the slightly cheaper each device becomes. This model is about as easy to setup as they come and can tun your home into a smart home.
You turn the dial to the current time and plug it in. You then insert the small black teeth at the times when you want your lamp or other device to come on and then go off. If you leave it plugged in like this it will switch on and off at the same time every day.
A little red light comes on during the timer period to let you know this timer is live and that's actually really handy. Compared to the best selling Eurosonic model below, this timer is much more simple to set up and use. You really don't even need to read the instructions or try to learn how to program it, it's just so simple and easy to use. That alone makes it easily the number one choice for me.
Best Digital Timer - Eurosonic Digital Mains Timer Socket Summary Review
- This timer is the biggest seller online and people buy it because it is affordable and also it can be quickly programmed
- It actually has 20 on/off programs at 30 minute steps so there is a much greater capacity to set timings
- You can also manually set it to on/off which is useful when you don't actually want to use the timing function
- It has the summer time function for when the clocks change. Very handy feature compared to the analogue models
- It is quiet and accurate
- Handy LCD display
You do need to carefully read the instructions on this one. It is really simple to use once you understand how to set it up. Buyers say it is a bit fiddly to program but once you get that done, then it works great and easy to reset timings if you need to. Compared to the analogue Defender model above, there is a lot more to learn to set this model up. However, the instructions are really good and you should be able to master it ok.
No 3 Choice - Kingavon 1 BB-TS210 24 Hour Plug in Timer Summary Review
- This is a 24 hour timer / smart plug with 15 minute intervals
- It is CE approved and BS1363 approved
- This is a mechanical timer so the setup is pretty simple to do
- It does have an over ride switch if you need that
- These are good value for money and ideal if you just want a basic functional timer
- Great for various christmas lights
The brand is well enough known and these timers are very good value for money. A few buyers said that after time they can get a bit noisy so just be aware of that. Personally I have to say they are indeed far too noisy and that totally put me off them, especially if they are going to be in your main living room. Pay the extra and get the Defender model above.
No 4 Choice - Status 24 Hour Segment Square Timer Switch Summary Review
- This is a 24/7 simple and basic mechanical timer that is nice and compact
- We have included a video beneath these reviews and the timer in that is this one
- You program the timer using push down segments and super easy to setup and change when required - 15 minute segments
- It has an over ride button that you can use if you don't need the timing function
Some UK buyers prefer this compact style to the longer style timers. A few buyers have said this one can get noisy over time but the majority of buyers said the noise didn't really bother them at all.
No 5 Choice - SOCKIT Mains Timer with LCD Digital Display Summary Review
- This is a pack of 3 digital timers which we think are reasonable value for money
- They are digital timers and very easy to setup and use
- They have an over ride feature if needed
- Manufactured to BS5733 full UK Safety standard
- These are the compact style and many buyers prefer this style
These are pretty good quality and have a really nice display. I much prefer the Eurosonic ones as they are far easier to program, much less fiddly and actually are cheaper. Easy choice for me !
Plug In Timer Buying Tips
As we explained earlier, the main purpose of these is pretty simple. They can be used to turn an appliance on and off at set times. This can be once a day, or multiple times, if you buy the right type and you can edn up with an automatic smart home.
People use these to switch on and off lights when they go on holiday, or when the home is unoccupied. They use them to switch on and off pumps in an aquarium. Other people use them to turn on and off heaters in a bedroom or just to save time.
As you can see, even from this short list, these have many uses.
- Make sure any timer you buy meets UK safety standards and is CE approved BS1363
- Ideally they should be approved by UK Police, Local Councils and Neighbourhood Watch Groups
- You can plug an extension socket into these and then it will switch on 2 or more devices
- Make sure to buy one with an over ride feature. This allows you to stop the timing feature without removing the timer from the socket and can be really handy some times
- I like the models with an LCD display but they can be tricky to set up
Video - How to Use a Plug In Timer?
We found this useful video, which explains how to use a mechanical plug-in timer. It does depend on the type of timer that you purchase, but the basic principle is exactly the same.
Hopefully you have found this information on plug-in timers useful. Eventually these will become a thing of the past as Smart Plugs become more and more the norm but in the meantime they are a very handy device.
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