Best Outdoor Clocks

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

57 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
113 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best outdoor clocks

Last Updated September 2019

When you're outside gardening, you don't necessarily want to reach your dirty hand into your pocket to check the time on your phone or roll up your sleeve to check your watch. It's much easier (and less messy) to simply glance up at an outdoor clock to discover what time it is. Not only are outdoor clocks practical, they can also make great focal pieces in your garden.

But just as there is a seemingly infinite array of indoor clocks to choose from, there are numerous outdoor clocks available. How do you decide? Certain features should be non-negotiable, such as water resistance and accuracy. Other features, including face size, material, and numeral type, are more variable. It helps to know what’s available so you can get the clock you really want.

Read on to learn more about your choices, as well as our recommendations for the best outdoor clocks available right now. Whether you want to add a formal air to your garden or add a bit of flair to a fun outdoor space, we can help you find your perfect outdoor timepiece.

Outdoor clocks tend to be analog rather than digital, as analog clocks stand up better to rain, snow, and damp weather.

Key considerations

Material

Outdoor clocks must be made from a weatherproof material that won't rust or degrade when left out in the elements. As such, the majority of outdoor clocks are made of plastic or rust-resistant metal. This includes powder-coated and painted metal, both of which are known to keep rust at bay.

While some people tend to avoid plastic for aesthetic reasons, it's worth noting that plenty of plastic outdoor clocks are cleverly designed to look as though they're made of metal, wood, or stone. Because they tend to be mounted quite high up, you're always looking at them from a distance, so you generally can't tell that they're really made of plastic.

Size

You'll want to be able to read your outdoor clock from the other end of the garden, which is why outdoor clocks tend to be larger than indoor clocks. Though you will find a handful of slightly smaller options, outdoor clocks tend to measure at least 12 inches across. It's not unusual to find 16- and 18-inch models, and extra-large options can measure as much as 36 inches in diameter.

When checking the size of any outdoor clocks you're considering, find out whether the measurement refers to the diameter of the face or the overall diameter, including the frame and any decorative flourishes.

Dials

Of course, you already know what the big hand and the little hand are for, but some outdoor clocks have extra dials that show information other than the time. More often than not, one of these dials is a thermometer (to measure the temperature), and the other is a hygrometer (to measure the humidity). These are excellent features on an outdoor clock, as it's like having your very own mini weather report on the face of your clock.

For the internationally minded, there are outdoor clocks with dials that act as a second clock face to display the time in other parts of the world. Some even have dials with stopwatch functions.

Style

Although outdoor clocks are functional, you may very well be searching for an outdoor clock that is also interesting to look at. Good news: there are plenty of styles available, from simple and modern to ornate and antiquated. As such, it shouldn't be hard to find an outdoor clock that fits the decorative style of your yard. When shopping, try to imagine any clock you’re considering in your actual yard. It might be odd to have a twee vintage outdoor clock in a super contemporary garden, and vice-versa, so it’s worth it to do some visualization before you buy.

EXPERT TIP

Depending on where you'll be hanging it, you might need special tools to mount your outdoor clock, such as a masonry drill.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Some outdoor clocks require a screwdriver to change the batteries.


Staff  | BestReviews

Outdoor clock features

Hour markings

Consider what kind of hour markings you'd prefer on your outdoor clock. Some use standard Arabic numerals with a number at every hour marking. Others only have a 12 at the top of the clock, a 3 at the quarter point, a 6 at the bottom of the clock, and a 9 at the three-quarter point. Some clocks use Roman numerals. Again, these could be placed at every hour point or at every quarter-hour point.

Some outdoor clocks feature no numerals at the hour markings at all; they're simply marked by lines or dots. Indeed, the hour markings on your clock are your choice. Just be sure you feel confident telling the time when you look at them.

Radio control

Some outdoor clocks are radio-controlled. This doesn't mean that you use a controller to set them. Rather, it means that this type of clock is able to receive ambient radio waves. These radio waves tell the clock when it's time to skip an hour forward or backward due to daylight savings, so you don't need to manually change the time on your clock. This is an especially attractive feature if your outdoor clock is mounted in a hard-to-reach spot.

Illuminated dial

You can find outdoor clocks with illuminated dials that light up after dark. This allows you to read the time on your outdoor clock even when it's dark outside. We highly recommend a clock with an illuminated dial if you spend lots of time outdoors after the sun has gone down. The only downside to an illuminated dial is that the battery will drain a little faster than a clock without illumination. However, you may find this a small price to pay for the convenience of an illuminated dial.

Colors

As mentioned, for many people, owning an outdoor clock is as much about style as it is functionality. As such, we recommend that you shop around until you find a clock in a color you love. Luckily, there are outdoor clocks available in a rainbow colors, so it’s not too hard to find one you like.

DID YOU KNOW?

Outdoor clocks with a Quartz movement usually keep time accurately.

Outdoor clock prices

Outdoor clocks vary in price depending on a range of factors including size, material, style, and overall quality. Most cost between $20 and $100.

For a basic outdoor clock in the 12- to 14-inch range, expect to spend roughly $20 to $30. Many of these models are made of plastic.

A mid-range clock in the $30 to $60 price range may be larger (16 to 18 inches), and in addition to some great plastic clocks, there are some basic metal options here.

High-end outdoor clocks tend to be priced between $60 and $100. This includes many metal and extra-large options. However, some extremely large outdoor clocks can cost more than $100.

Tips

  • Choose an outdoor clock that's sufficiently waterproof. It should be fully sealed, front and back, to protect the batteries and inner workings.

  • Don't just choose the cheapest outdoor clock available. If you have the budget, consider a mid-range or high-end model. Extremely cheap options won't stand the test of time (which is ironic for a clock).

  • Check what type of batteries your outdoor clock takes. Also of interest is whether the clock arrives with batteries or you'd need to buy them separately.

  • Find out what style of motion your outdoor clock has. Those with continuous-motion minute hands tend to be quieter; they don't "tick" when it changes from one minute to the next.

Other products we considered

With so many outdoor clocks available, it was tough to pick just a few favorites. We carefully considered many other models, and some almost made our favorites list. For instance, we love the vintage industrial style of The Forecaster Clock from Infinity Instruments. This clock features both a thermometer and hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity.

The Laguna Outdoor Wall Clock from FirsTime has a gorgeous distressed-effect teal finish that would fit in with both classic and contemporary design schemes, and the 18-inch diameter is large enough to be seen from a distance. If you prefer a true vintage look, the Double-Sided Wall Clock from Giantex is an attractive station clock that's weatherproof and rust-resistant for outdoor use.

Radio control outdoor clocks should remain accurate to the second, since the radio waves "tell" the clock the correct time.

FAQ

Q. What is a station clock?
A.
A station clock is a type of outdoor clock that is mounted on a wall bracket rather than hung directly on a wall. It is so-called because it resembles the old-fashioned clocks of the railway stations of yesteryear. With a classic vintage vibe, these clocks are usually double-faced, so you can read them from either direction.

Q. How long can I expect the batteries to last on my outdoor clock?
A.
Outdoor clocks usually run on standard AA or AAA batteries. Because they use very little power, they can often last for years before needing a battery change. If your clock starts to lose time, it could be a sign that you need to replace the batteries.

Q. Where should I position my outdoor clock to get an accurate reading from the thermometer?
A.
Your clock needs to be placed in a shady area to get an accurate reading of the ambient temperature. An outdoor clock in full sun will give a higher thermometer reading than the true temperature.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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