With the wide variety of timers on the market, how do you know which is the best for you.
What timer switch should you buy?
Interior lighting is used as a deterrent as it gives the appearance of the residents still being home. It is so effective that UK police forces recommend people leave lights on when they are away from home. But what is the best timer light switch to buy?
Timer light switches work by deterring intruders from targeting their home in the first place, but it may also alert neighbours and passers-by to suspicious activity in the event of a break-in. Studies show that burglars are far less likely to target a house if it seems that people may be at home.
Why use a timer light switch anyway?
Internal security lighting is therefore based around the idea of making it look like the home is occupied. This is achieved by the use of timers to simulate the lighting patterns of people at home. You can keep it simple by having lights turn on and off every few hours, or plan a more realistic lighting sequence.
Remember that whichever type of security lighting you choose, it is still important to complement it with a high quality alarm system. Lights are not a replacement for a house alarm. With that being said, let’s quickly make sense of each type of internal security lighting, and go over some advantages and disadvantages of each.
This is probably the most common type of timer you will have come across. The timer device is simply plugged into the wall socket, and then you plug your lamp (or any other mains appliance), into the timer. These tend to be cheap and easy to use. Most of them now have digital interfaces, but analogue timers are still available. Although these tend to be one of the easiest to install of all the different type of timers, they are also one of the most inflexible. You are limited to only using lights that you can plug into a wall socket. This is ideal if you regularly use lamps in your home but may in fact be a tale tell sign to a burglar that no one is home if they see a solitary dimply lit lamp left on. Small plugged in lamps may not be enough to deter a potential burglar.
Mains Wired Timers
These timers are slightly more advanced than the plug timers. They are actually wired in to a light socket, meaning your main lights can be set on a timer. These are digitally controlled and allow you to create very intricate on-off patterns for your lights. The biggest drawback is these types of timers is they require you to perform rewiring of the switch, which takes some time and expertise. They can be a good option if you are regularly set your lights on a timer and know how to do basic wiring. These types of timer cannot be used with energy saving light bulbs or LED’s and most require a neutral wire to be present in order to be installed.
Light Bulb Holders
If want to control your main lights but don’t know how to do any wiring, then light bulb holders are a viable alternative. Instead of inserting a timer at the wall socket, you install it into the light fitting itself and insert the bulb into the timer. These operate on a dusk-till-dawn basis. They are not customisable as there is no control interface. These are ideal if you have a light fitting with a single bayonet Light bulb type fitting. They will require you to actually get up on ladders to install or remove them. Many people have also reported they do not work correctly if used with a lamp shade.
Light Switch Timer
The Light Switch Timer is a relatively new product on the market that allows you to control your main lights. It is very similar to a timer plug expect it is fitted over the light switch on the wall. The device simply slots over the top of your existing switch and as it is battery operated requires no wiring to install. The seven day timer allows you to program when you want your lights to come on and off on different days of the week to create a realistic “lived in” look. It is the only timer which can be used with any type of light bulb and on single double or triple switches. The only disadvantage is that it cannot be used with dimmer type switches. Obviously in our opinion it is the best timer light switch available.
Summary of Timers
|Plug Timer||Mains Wired Timer||Light Bulb Holder||Unwired Light Switch Timer|
|Installation||No wiring, easy to install.||Requires wiring to install.Replaces existing light switch.||No wiring, but requires ladders to install.||No wiring, slots over existing switch with minor adjustment.|
|Programming||Digital or analogue, can be fully customisable.||Usually fully customisable.||Not programmable.Automatic dusk-till-dawn setting.||Fully programmable.|
|Removal||No wiring, just unplug.||Requires wiring so cannot be removed quickly.||No wiring, but requires ladders.||No wiring, only loosening of screws required.|
Can only be used with plugged in devices.
Excellent for security, but Limited application.
Not programmable and requires ladders.
Fully programmable, easy to install and remove.
So in summary what is the best timer switch for your home?
Whichever timer you should choose you want to make sure you home looks realistically occupied and the timer meets your needs in terms of ease of installation and performance.