The 5 Best Outdoor Timers For Christmas Lights

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Best Outdoor Timers For Christmas Lights

You probably have enough on your holiday to-do list that manually controlling your outdoor Christmas decorations doesn’t need to be on there. All outdoor automatic timers should be waterproof and durable enough to brave the elements, but the best outdoor timer for Christmas lights to suit your needs have the ideal number of outlets and the right type of timer functions for your setup. The number of outlets is pretty straightforward. If you have lots of decorations, your household would probably benefit from extra plugs — but keep in mind that string lights are usually extendable, meaning that the end of one strand plugs into the beginning of another to power multiple strands. So theoretically, then, one outlet could power a long string.

Next, consider which type of timer would make your life the easiest. There are four main options: countdown timers, programmable timers, dusk to dawn timers, and smart timers. Countdown timers allow you to choose a specific interval of time (usually two, four, six, or eight hours) that your lights stay on for. Digital programmable timers, on the other hand, let you set specific schedules — say, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. — and programmable timers can be either mechanical or digital. Dusk to dawn timers use Photocell technology to sense the amount of light in the environment, so they automatically turn on when it gets dark and turn off in the morning. Finally, smart plugs allow you to use your phone or your voice to control your devices and set schedules.

According to their specific features and reviewer ratings, these are the best outdoor timers on Amazon for your Christmas lights and beyond.

1. The Fan-Favorite Outdoor Timer

The BN-LINK outdoor mechanical timer has racked up more than 12,000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon. Why is it so popular? In addition to its sturdy, waterproof construction, its mechanical programmable interface allows you to choose between 48 different setting options throughout a 24-hour day, which control the two grounded outlets in 15-minute intervals. While it may seem a little overwhelming at first, all you have to do is press down the pins for whichever range of time you’d like your lights to remain on.

  • Number of outlets: 2
  • Timer functions: programmable (mechanical)

One reviewer wrote: “This timer has been our best purchase of the holiday season! We hung our lights and set the timer. It's so nice not having to turn them off and on each night! We had a full day of rain yesterday and our timer is still working fine.”

2. An Affordable Timer With 3 Outlets

If you need three outlets, the BN-LINK outdoor timer has plenty of features while still costing less than $20. Choose between a dusk to dawn schedule or pick one of four countdown timer options (two, four, six, or eight hours) that automatically start as soon as it gets dark. It’s also rigorously tested for both safety and quality, and it comes with a convenient remote control that works from up to 100 feet away.

  • Number of outlets: 3
  • Timer functions: dusk to dawn and countdown

One reviewer wrote: “This is a great product for the price. Absolutely stands up to the elements and the remote is amazing...never had to go outside to turn Christmas lights on and off.”

3. The Best Smart Plug For Outdoors

While they aren’t exactly timers in and of themselves, outdoor smart plugs sync up to your phone via Wi-Fi and allow you to set timers and schedules from anywhere using the app. This Kasa outdoor smart plug is also compatible with Alexa or Google Home, so if you have a virtual assistant device, you can also turn your lights on and off merely by saying the right words. You could also turn on your lights from work or while traveling from your phone, if you wanted. (While it doesn’t require any hub, it does need a 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi connection.) The dual outlets have attached covers and are IP64 water-resistant.

  • Number of outlets: 2
  • Timer functions: smart

One reviewer wrote: “I needed this for my outdoor Christmas lights this season as my manual timer was not working well. I plugged this in, installed the Kasa app and linked it to my WiFi. The process was super simple and it worked on the first try. I then linked it to both Alexa and Google Home with zero issues. It is so refreshing when a product just works.”

4. The Best Timer For Lots Of Decorations

Stake timers don’t need to be mounted to the house — the stake keeps them securely in the ground. This DEWENWILS stake timer is a great option for large displays thanks to its six grounded outlets, a 6-foot extension cord, and a remote control with a 100-foot radius. It also allows you to choose between a dusk to dawn sensor or four different countdown timer intervals. Finally, it’s durable, weatherproof, and has built-in overload protection — and since it’s green, it’ll blend in well with your landscaping.

  • Number of outlets: 6
  • Timer functions: dusk to dawn and countdown

One reviewer wrote: “Every year I struggle to figure out how to plug in all of my holiday lights. [...] Well not this year! This outdoor plug is perfect! The 6 outlets make it easy to plug in all of my decorations. And it's slimmer than I was expecting! I really like the daylight sensor feature, so I no longer have to run a separate timer to turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.”

5. A Highly Programmable Option For Less Than $20

Finally, if you want the utmost control over your holiday lights, the BN-LINK digital programmable timer is the way to go. Its digital interface allows you to schedule up to eight different programs right down to the minute, and since you can set each of the seven days of the week individually, your lights go on exactly when you want them to. It even has a backup AA battery slot (battery not included) so it’ll stay working in the event of a power outage. This one has two grounded outlets and is fully weatherproof.

  • Number of outlets: 2
  • Timer functions: programmable (digital)

One reviewer wrote: “Love this. It’s so hard to find a timer that does not automatically turn on at dusk. We often have cloudy days which other timers think is dusk. This I can set for the on and off times I want. It can even be different each day, or be set to random. I use it for my outdoor Christmas lights so I can stay cozy inside.”