Like a piano in the living room, some outdoor clocks are purchased to be functional while others are there just to look nice. Ideally, you want one that is both, something that adds to the décor while providing a convenient way to keep track of the time.
The best outdoor clock for you must fit your aesthetic needs (plain or ornate) and keep an accurate track of time. Our favorite is La Crosse Technology's 18-inch Atomic Outdoor Clock. Besides displaying the time, this beautiful radio-controlled outdoor clock also shows you the current temperature and humidity.
Considerations when choosing outdoor clocks
Top three considerations
You'll quickly discover an overwhelming amount of variety when shopping for an outdoor clock. However, if you start with the three primary concerns, you can quickly narrow down your options to a more reasonable number.
If your clock will be fully exposed to the elements, be sure it is truly an outdoor clock. Some may only be suitable for an enclosed porch and not direct exposure. Metal and glass are typically the best as even high-quality plastics may deteriorate more quickly than desired when placed in direct sunlight. Unfortunately, metal is also more costly than plastic.
The purpose of having an outdoor clock is defeated if you purchase one that is too small to be seen from across the pool or the patio. Make sure that the one you are buying is large enough to view at a distance. And remember, it's the size of the clockface that matters, not the decorative border.
To ensure it isn't an unintentional eyesore, the style of your outdoor clock should fit in with the décor of your yard and patio furniture while pleasing your aesthetic sensibilities.
After narrowing down your choices, there are just a few more elements to consider before choosing the perfect outdoor clock for your needs:
Setting the time: An outdoor clock can be set manually by twisting a small dial on the back, just like any other analog clock. Alternatively, you can purchase one that also receives radio broadcasts to keep the clock 100% accurate.
No ticking: If the ticking of a clock bothers you, you can purchase one that features hands that move in a continuous motion, which makes it silent when running.
Other displays: Besides displaying the time, many outdoor clocks also display the current temperature and humidity as well.
Illuminated: If you anticipate using your outdoor clock at night, be sure to get one that is illuminated.
Power: Most outdoor clocks run with a single AA or AAA alkaline battery. Some require two, while others have additional backup batteries that allow your clock to run maintenance-free for a number of years.
Outdoor clock prices
You can purchase a very basic, no-frills outdoor clock for as little as $9 or $10. As you travel up to the top-of-the-line models, you'll gain more metal, technology, and style, so that the $60 to $100 models are durable, precision-crafted works of art.
Q. Where should I place my outdoor clock?
A. If your outdoor clock is primarily an aesthetic focal point, position it where it makes the most design sense. If it is primarily a functional piece, consider optimum visibility and take into account factors such as sun glare and shadows.
Q. My outdoor clock also has a thermometer. Does that affect where I can place it?
A. Yes. To achieve the most accurate temperature readings, you must keep an outdoor thermometer out of direct sunlight.
Q. My outdoor clock used to work fine, but it keeps losing time. Do I need a new one?
A. Not necessarily. Before tossing that treasure, try inserting some new batteries. In most instances, failing batteries are the reason for peculiar clock behavior.
Outdoor clocks we recommend
Best of the best: La Crosse Technology 18-Inch Atomic Outdoor Clock
Our take: An affordable, stylish outdoor clock with automatic time setting options that features a manual override if no radio signal is available.
What we like: This clock also displays temperature and humidity, and it operates on a single AA alkaline battery. If preferred, there is room for two optional backup batteries, which will allow the unit to run maintenance-free for up to three years.
What we dislike: The clock function is more dependable than the temperature or humidity displays.
Best bang for your buck: Lily's Home 14-Inch Faux Stone Indoor/Outdoor Wall Clock
Our take: A beautifully designed faux-stone clock with quartz movement that is designed to be weather-resistant.
What we like: This is a sharp-looking clock that can quickly add a touch of style to any location. It keeps accurate time and displays temperature and humidity as well.
What we dislike: The main concern is this clock's smaller size. If you will need to read this unit from a distance, it may be rather difficult.
Our take: A silent outdoor clock that can add a rustic touch to your décor.
What we like: This clock is manufactured using a durable metal frame and a glass lens. It displays time, temperature, and humidity.
What we dislike: Occasionally a faulty unit may slip through quality control and cause a bit of frustration.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.