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How to Put Outdoor Lights On a Timer?

The outdoor lights of your home give a lot of benefits. It offers better visibility and some security cover and allows you to check out what is happening inside your property. But, so many outdoor lights are often a hassle. It would help if you remembered to turn all of them off or on to save electricity.

These lights are only required for a few hours in the whole 24-hour period, and forgetting to turn them off can cause you to shed extra money for the bills. So a timer seems to be a great idea in this case. But is it possible?

Fortunately, using timers for outdoor lights is possible. You can set a time with the switch to turn on or off the lights on time. And if you use smart outdoor lights, the task becomes way more accessible. You can use Smart home hubs like Alexa or the specified Lights app to turn on or off the lights remotely, even if you are away from home.

So, if you consider using timers for your outdoor lights, read on. You will know all the details, including the types of timers you can find in the market and the installation guide here.

Outdoor Lighting Timers- Different Types

Well, you will find multiple types of timers for the Outdoor lights in the market. But, you need to choose something durable that offers better service. Therefore, it is best to invest in a timer with a rating for outdoors. These are weatherproof and waterproof. Hence, this can withstand weather-related damages better than indoor lighting timers.

On top of that, their robust build allows these timers to withstand weather changes, including rain, harsh sunlight, humidity, storms, and even snow falls during long winter days.

For the features, you can choose anyone that permits your budget or personal preference.

Here are the types of that you can find on the market-

1. Mechanical Outdoor Outlet Timer

A mechanical Outdoor Outlet Timer is ideal if you have lights with plugs. You will add a mechanical plug-in timer with two plugs in the nearest outdoor plug point, and it will turn off the lights automatically as per your chosen interval. You can choose the timer interval ranging from ten to fourteen hours per the weather condition.

But, such timers require maintenance and repeated checking. Moreover, the timer schedule tends to drift apart by one to two hours. Therefore, checking the timers once in a while will help you maintain the schedule and ensure you do not waste money and energy due to the wrong time interval.

2. Photoelectric Outdoor Outlet Timer

These come with plugs to connect outdoor lights and have a built-in photoelectric sensor that automatically detects the sunlight to turn on or off the outdoor lights.

Most models come with two to three pugs to connect the outdoor lights. On top of that, you can also set the timer with different intervals. Some advanced models may also come with a remote. But, the sensors may wear off with time, and you will have to replace the sensors to ensure the timer continues to work correctly.

3. Switch Timers & Smart Switch Timers

These are ideal for outdoor lights with switches. Switch Timers & Smart Switch Timers are specially designed switches with a built-in timer. These switches automatically turn off or on the outdoor lights as per your interval choice. You can set the timer in different intervals ranging from 5 to 20 hours and may extend the interval up to four hours.

One of the best pastimes about using Smart Switches is that you get a chance to turn off the lights remotely if your home has a functioning internet connection. Some switches also have voice commands and special mobile apps to control them.

But, you will have to uninstall any previously installed manual switches to install the switch timers of smart switches. You can even get an expert electrician to help you install these switches.

4. Smart Outdoor Lights

The most advanced timers are probably smart lights with automatic timers. Smart bulbs & lights have in-built connectivity to the internet router and use a home Hub station like Alexa to build the connection. Hence, you can turn off these lights with just a voice command, or through the mobile app.

The best part of these lights is that they come in different sizes, shapes, and hues. Hence, you get a lot of options for customization. On top of that, you can also turn on or off the lights remotely by using the app. These may be a little expensive, but the features are wonderful.

Installation Guide for a Timer on your Outdoor Lights

The installation differs as per the models. The mechanical & photoelectric timers are easier to install. You have to plug them in the outlet outdoors and connect the plug of the light to the available points of the timers. For better storage, you can also hang the timers on a hook on your outdoor wall.

How to Install your Switch Timers and your Smart Switch Timers 

The smart timers & new smart switch timers come with complicated installation procedures. Always check the main power switch and turn it off before installing these timers. This will prevent any unnecessary accidents. Here is a step-by-step guide-

  • First, check if the main switch is off. If not, turn it off.
  • Next, you need a screwdriver to unscrew and remove the switchboard of the outdoor lights.
  • After removing your wall plate of the switchboard, disconnect all the wires. But, while doing these, ensure there is enough wire left to reconnect the switch plate. For future convenience, you can even code the wires according to your convenience.
  • Now, take a switch timer and connect the wires with each switch properly. If you need more wire, you can use wire strippers as well.
  • After that, connect the new timer switch with the wires.
  • Now, reattach the switch plate into its place and fix it with the screws
  • Next, turn on the main power switch, and the timer will be on.

How to Install the Smart Light Bulb

It is way simpler than you think. You first have to take off the older light bulbs from their place. Next, screw in the new smart bulbs in the holders and fix them in their rightful place. After that, pair the bulbs and lights with the designated app and set up the timer as per your preference.


Using an outdoor lighting timer allows you to save on electricity bills and maintain the right duration to keep the lights on. You can find different models of timers in the market, and you can choose any one per your preference. If you are not comfortable with electrical circuits and wiring, you can always get an expert technician to do the job for you.

3 Responses

  1. How do I set up two solar lights with timers to come on at zero 400 a.m. and go off at zero 700 a.m. every day and automatically without being there , Thanks.

  2. I love how you talk about how remembering to turn on and off the lights in your yard can be difficult. My sister wants to put a garden in her backyard and she wants t to add lighting so she can be out there when it gets darker. We’ve been looking for a landscaper to help her find the best places to put all her lights.

  3. I like that you said that you could have an accessible set of outdoor lighting by choosing the smart lighting option for your outdoor appearance. My father mentioned the other night that he was planning to have a bollard lighting solution for their property for a great lighting experience every night. He asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to consider. I’m glad about this informative article, I’ll tell him it will be much better if he consults a trusted outdoor lighting company as they can provide information.

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