In the past, caring for a garden used to mean many hours spent walking around, hose in hand, watering manually – or at the very least, manually switching sprinklers on and off.
Then came hose timers, which simplified matters immensely – but these have now been superseded by the next generation of sprinkler controllers.
These devices can now control many different zones independently, taking all the effort out of watering the garden – and some can now even be controlled via a mobile app when you’re not at home.
It can be difficult for a tired human being to stay on top of what’s happening outside in the backyard, but even the most devoted couch potato can keep up with the demands of homeownership thanks to products like smart outdoor security cameras and now smart sprinkler controllers. A smart sprinkler controller will help keep your vegetation watered, but they do so much more.
These sprinkler controllers are unlike the old plastic dials and timers. They possess mobile apps, support zoning, and help conserve water-especially vital if you live in a drought-ridden area. They’re also remarkably user-friendly, which is not always a guarantee in the ever-expanding world of smart gadgets.
So, this summer we tried out a variety of intelligent sprinkler controllers to help you find the best way to preserve your lawn hydrated and your garden growing. After many hours of screening, the Rachio 3 (available at Amazon for $222.13) ended up being our top pick. Not only is it easy to use, but it also uses a physical switch and LED indicators to ensure that you don’t need to fuss around with the application unless you’re establishing a schedule.
Best Smart Sprinkler Controller in 2020
1. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller:
The second-generation Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller happens to be topping our list since it offers a huge amount of user-friendly options and isn’t intimidating to set up.
The model we tested offers control over eight zones, though there’s yet another model that works with up to twice that. Smart house junkies will enjoy the integration with Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Associate, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit. There’s a good host of IFTTT dishes open to customize your sprinkler even more.
The Rachio application includes a busy interface, but it’s simple to navigate. By uploading photos and getting into information regarding things such as soils and sunlight, after that you can established a manual watering timetable, or possess the Rachio application figure one out predicated on the facts you entered.
When I allow Rachio 3 set the watering schedule, I find the Flexible Daily timetable choice, which uses public climate data to determine soil wetness based on the queries you answered. There are extra features like Weather Cleverness, which allows the capability to immediately skip a program if rain or extreme wind is normally underway, and Smart Routine, which splits watering situations into shorter, more regular cycles to avoid a runoff. For even more accurate outcomes, you can decide to sync the Rachio 3 with an individual weather station, just like the Netatmo.
The Rachio 3 isn’t the least expensive smart sprinkler controller, nonetheless it possesses the most features while still getting user-friendly enough for anybody to use. Critical gardening hobbyists should the Rachio 3 because of its fine-tuned scheduling and robust automation skills. There’s also a bundle sold with an additional Wireless Flow Meter that can better monitor how much water your yard is getting, as well as shut down the system when there are leaks.
2. Orbit B-hyve WiFi Sprinkler Timer:
The B-hyve WiFi sprinkler is Orbit’s initial venture in to the smart sprinkler realm, though the company has been in this business for 40 years. Its sprinkler controller is an affordable choice as long as you don’t mind the bulky, industrial design. It’s available with support for six or 12 zones.
The B-hyve’s main design draw is its outdoor-friendly chassis, which comes with a keyed locked to keep carefully the LCD control panel covered. It could appear decidedly low-tech when compared to additional sprinkler controllers tested right here, but the fact that you could arrange it without actually touching the application helps it be friendly for first-timers.
Installing the B-hyve controller is simple. Rather than spring clips allowing you to connect wires just like the Rachio 3, the B-hyve uses recessed screws. After it’s installed, after that you can schedule the unit manually via the LCD panel, or download the B-hyve app for more functionality, like pairing the device with your WiFi network.
The B-hyve’s smart watering algorithm consults the data you put in regarding the soil, the type of plants, and the amount of sun each zone receives to generate a water plan. You can also toss your zip code into the mix so that it factors in the weather. The program offered to me suggested two 10-minute watering intervals, six days weekly. But our backyard can’t proceed a day time without it, therefore i turned it off totally and arranged a manual watering plan instead.
Though it might use some aesthetic sprucing-up, the Orbit B-Hyve offers almost as a lot of the same functionality as the Rachio 3 and its own companion application at a fraction of the purchase price. That makes it a good second-choice for clever sprinkler controllers, particularly if you like the familiarity of pressable buttons.
3. Skydrop Arc Smart Sprinkler System Controller:
The affordable Skydrop Arc might appear bare-bones, but it’s simply as loaded as your competition. This circular smart sprinkler controller supports up to 12 zones and uses hyper-local weather data to figure out how much water you need for each. The Skydrop app will also consider the information you feed it about your soil and the types of plants you’re growing to determine sufficient watering rates. Skydrop claims that its features help reduce water usage by up to 50 percent, but I was struggling to check that with my particular set up.
Obtaining the Skydrop Arc ready to go is quick and simple, and the business even offers video lessons that are not difficult for initial timers to check out. The Arc uses WiFi immediate for construction, and you could adapt the controller by straight linking to it in the case there is no web connection. Android users may have trouble with the original pairing process, as WiFi direct can be tricky on some phones. I would have preferred the Arc to use Bluetooth for this reason.
After I was able to get the device paired, scheduling was fairly intuitive. However, the Skydrop app interface could use an upgrade, as I often experienced touch delay issues. It could have already been nice also to really have the ability to invite extra users to edit the watering timetable to ensure that any other associates of family members could get access to the controller device. I was always in a position to get the bottom watered, though, as exhibited by Skydrop’s helpful log of all situations it’s executed the order. It’s also compatible with digital assistants like the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with the ability to connect to Apple HomeKit through IFTTT.
4. Scotts Miracle-Gro Smart Watering Controller:
The Scotts Miracle-Gro smart watering controller is actually a rebranded Blossom Smart Watering controller. Both devices look so very much as well the pairing code can be positioned in the same region on the device. Nevertheless, the Miracle-Gro is very much indeed its product. Unlike the initial Blossom, the casing upon this device isn’t designed to withstand the severe outside, nor does it provide additional power range features. Also, the energy brick that’s included in this particular kit is so bulky, I had to track down an extender to plug it into the outdoor outlet.
Nevertheless, the Miracle-Gro controller is easy enough for anyone to install, provided your wires are properly labeled-and if they’re not, Scotts includes a sheet of stickers precisely for labeling your sprinkler wires. Once you place the sprinkler wires in the appropriately marked spots, launch the Scotts Gro smartphone app for iOS or Android to get started.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro smart watering controller is a cinch to use, though a bit limited in functionality. You can choose between fixed- or interval-day time watering schedules, and go for whether to manually setup a plan or entrust the clever watering system to regulate how long to drinking water. Gleam feature that enables you to “hibernate” the sprinkler program, in the event, there are months in your geographical area that there’s no make use of in watering at all. The big caveat can be that the Gro Connect app doesn’t send push notifications after the system finishes watering, which makes it difficult to track whether the plants are being properly nurtured without physically checking the soil.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro smart sprinkler controller is also too barebones, even if you decide to spring the extra money for additional accessories, like the individual sensors. Its clever home abilities are also limited by a few Alexa instructions, which can set off automation junkies sense unsatisfied.
If all you need is to turn the water off and on from your smartphone, the Scotts Miracle-Gro wise sprinkler controller is worth it only if you’re a budget-conscious buyer.
5. BlueSpray Wireless Irrigation Controller:
The BlueSpray Wireless Irrigation Controller is unlike the other smart sprinklers we’ve tested there’s an archaic-looking fuse embedded into the device to help power it up. However, once you’ve figured out the trick to its confusing user interface, it’s quite an useful sprinkler controller. Though if you’re looking for something that’s smart enough to integrate with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, stick with our top pick, the Rachio 3, which costs about the same.
The BlueSpray Wireless Irrigation Controller is also a pain to set up, made worse by the fact that its covering cannot withstand the outdoors. Setting up the individual irrigation zones require a screwdriver to lock in the wires. Additionally, there is no easy-to-plug AC adapter included with the kit; instead, you have to take the spliced wires and connect them yourself. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter which way you plug them in so long as they proceed into the power slot. But that’s not precisely user-friendly for a first-timer.
After you’ve hooked up the wires, then it’s time to connect the BlueSpray controller to your home’s WiFi, which requires using the service switch in the bottom-remaining corner of the controller table. It was intimidating to use actually for me, an experienced techie.
There is no mobile app for the BlueSpray controller. Instead, there’s a set of paper instructions included in the package with an IP address that you can navigate to in a desktop or mobile browser. Once there, you’ll have to pore through several menu screens to configure anything. It’s all very confusing and not easy to use in a rush. More than once, I accidentally shut off the system without realizing it wouldn’t water until a few days had exceeded. My poor garden.
6. Orbit 57896 6-Station Outdoor Swing Panel Sprinkler System Timer (Best Budget):
Orbit is a business with decades of connection with building sprinkler controllers, hose timers and additional similar devices. If you value the company’s knowhow but don’t want an elaborate “smart” gadget that links to a phone, this may be a much better choice for you.
It really is quick and simple to install and may be positioned indoors or outdoors, while you like. It is obtainable in a 4-, 6-, 9- or 12-area version, providing you maximum versatility over how you drinking water your backyard, and is hard and created to last.
For us, among the best features of this product is the simplified programming procedure. To create your preferred watering cycles, you just adhere to the logical step-by-step treatment, and everything is incredibly intuitive.
This unit offers you lots of scope to customize your watering cycles. For every zone, you can select from three watering applications and four start moments. That is ideal if, as like many people, you possess various types of plants of bouquets growing in various elements of your yard.
For example, you may have thirsty plants in a single corner, drought-resistant species in another, fruit and vegetables someplace else and a yard in the centre. This device enables you to program in only the proper amount of drinking water for every area, maintaining your whole garden happy.
This will finish up saving you considerable time since you won’t have to worry about watering the garden manually every time, and it’ll also save you a whole lot of water – therefore money – because you won’t be wasting water through inefficient watering practices.
One last feature that people want to mention may be the electric battery backup feature. That is an extremely thoughtful addition because it prevents your applications from getting wiped from the unit’s storage if the energy is lost. This can save you having to reprogram each time the energy goes off.
7. Orbit 57950 Sprinkler System Controller:
If you are looking to upgrade an old-fashioned hose timer to a new intelligent model or even if you want to upgrade an existing controller to something with more features, this one could be worth a look.
This controller from Orbit is a high-quality device with a whole range of useful features. It is easy to install and setup, and we especially like the way that it has a weather-resistant housing that is also lockable to prevent the unit from being stolen.
Once in place, it includes you a whole range of options for how to system your watering cycles. With this device, you have two choices – you can either system it at the unit or remotely via an app, giving you extra flexibility.
After it is installed, you can use the simple and intuitive app to control the device from your smartphone or tablet. This means you can manage your garden’s watering cycles wherever you are.
This controller also allows you to enter details about things like slope, soil type, sun, shade and more, all of which then allow the device to change the program according to your garden’s requirements along with the current conditions.
It also uses data from weather feeds to adapt the amount of water that is being delivered. By doing this, it is able to save so much wasted water – and reduce the amount you spend on water bills – that it offers EPA WaterSense approval.
This controller is perfect for all uses and allows you to control the watering cycles as much or as little as you want.
If you want to play a hands-on part in choosing the programs the device follows, it is very easy to do. However, if you just want to set it up and let the smart device look after everything for you, it is capable of doing that too.
It is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to control your garden watering programs by voice command alone.
8. RainMachine Touch HD-12, Cloud Independent Smart Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller:
This sprinkler controller from RainMachine could be a great option for a person who needs to manage lots of different watering zones independently. This model gives a respectable 12 independent zones – and a 16-zone model is available if you need even more.
What instantly stands out with this device is the large, clear and easy-to-read touchscreen display. This makes it simple to understand and intuitive to system, meaning just about anybody can use it.
This controller also offers the choice of programming using the device itself or via a mobile app, as you prefer. It is fully compatible with iPhone, Android or Personal computer, allowing you to access and control it from all your devices.
This offers a good level of flexibility while also allowing you to manage your watering when at home, in the office, on the beach or anywhere else.
It is also designed to help save water. It takes into account the requirements of your garden and the vegetation or lawn growing there and then factors in local weather conditions in real time.
With this data, it is then able to change the watering schedule, saving you both water and money. It is so effective at performing this that it offers received EPA WaterSense authorization and is even eligible for a rebate. This will save you even more cash.
In order to help determine how it should water the garden, it comes with free access to information from NOAA, METNO, Wunderground, OpenWeatherMap and NetAtmo.
One final aspect that was a large positive for us is that this device is cloud-independent, storing all data locally. This means it is not dependent on Wi-Fi and will continue working, even when your internet connection is down.
9. Rain Bird SST600IN Irrigation Timer Indoor 6-Station:
If you are something of a technophobe and you like to keep things as simple as possible – or if for any other reason, you prefer not to install a smartphone-controlled device – this back-to-basics option could be just what you need.
It is easy to install – you won’t need anything more than just a regular screwdriver. Once in place, it is also exceptionally easy to program, giving you independent control of the watering cycle for up to six separate zones.
This device is designed to be fitted in the house, in a garage or in a waterproof shed. The first thing you do is set the time, date and 12 months using the intuitive dial and buttons combination. Following this, you can program in the details for each zone.
Possibilities include daily watering, adjustable duration of watering, watering only on odd days or only on even days – and much more besides.
There are some other useful features that allow you to change the watering cycles without having to completely reprogram everything too.
For example, if the weather forecast tells you to expect rain, you can easily postpone the next watering cycle by up to 72 hours with the drive of a single button.
Similarly, it is easy to adapt the intensity of watering according to seasonal variation. In the warm summer months when there is little rainfall, you simply press a button to increase the duration of watering.
Conversely, you use the same function to decrease watering during wetter months.
Another thing we like about this unit is usually its solid and rugged design. It is built for sturdiness and will last a long time – and it also features a sealed case to protect it from moisture, grime and insects, also increasing its existence.
10. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller:
This is a sophisticated smart sprinkler system that may make looking after your garden effortless simultaneously as helping you save time, water and money.
That is a six-zone unit that’s fully automatic. If you would like to allow controller look after everything for you personally, you can simply leave it and it’ll automatically react to local conditions, offering optimum treatment and watering cycles for your backyard.
This implies your plants or lawn will receive more water in times of drought when it’s most needed, but simultaneously, watering will be reduced during rainier periods.
This allows these devices to save lots of you up to 50% of your water, meaning it’s been given EPA WaterSense accreditation.
One particularly neat feature that people appreciate is that the device can identify where it installed and abide by local water use limitations.
This means if you are an area where watering is bound to certain days or even banned completely, this product will automatically follow the guidelines, ensuring you don’t finish up inadvertently breaking regulations.
We also just like the way this product is super-easy to set up. You won’t have to call in a specialist to set up it, and out of the box, it must be prepared to go in mere about 15 minutes.
This product requires a Wi-Fi connection and will be managed remotely via an application that you could download on your smartphone or tablet.
The application happens to be designed for iOS and Android, and it’ll soon also be produced designed for PC, truly enabling you to control it from wherever you are. Additionally, it is fully appropriate for Amazon’s Alexa and Google House, providing you voice control capability as well.
11. Yardian: Multi-Functional Smart Sprinkler Controller:
The RainMachine Forecast Controller may be the perfect option for all those seeking easy installation and incredible water conservation. Easy installation because of step-by-step instructions and 7 days/week telephone support from RainMachine’s team.
RainMachine guarantees up to 80% water savings in comparison to traditional units and will be offering EPA WaterSense Qualification on every model. Intuitive smart software enables you to control surgery from your own smartphone, tablet, or pc.
As opposed to other similar models, the elements sensing data on the RainMachine isn’t as accurate.
12. JMFONE Smart Sprinkler Controller:
The JMFONE Smart Sprinkler Controller is a fantastic option for simplifying your life. Featuring voice assistant options from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, this controller pairs perfectly with every aspect of your smart home.
Download the Ama Home App to easily adjust settings and operate your controller remotely.
Adapts to the weather via a built-in receiver that detects incoming weather patterns and adjusts water output accordingly. Easy installation allows you to set up and be operational in as few as 15 minutes.
User interface on the application is not well designed.
13. Netro Sprite-6-INT Smart Sprinkler Controller:
If you’re looking for an intuitive sprinkler program controller, then your Netro may be a perfect choice. Having a stunning application with Amazon Alexa’s tone of voice control, the Netro Controller will simplify your daily life without sacrificing on features.
The fully automated controller dynamically adjusts your sprinkler settings based on the weather and period. Ideal for water conservation because of climate forecasting and built-in drinking water ordinance detection.WiFi compatible, enabling you to hook up to and operate the controller via iOS and Android. It cannot work with all routers, resulting in occasional interference issues.
14. Skydrop Halo Smart Sprinkler System:
The Skydrop Halo Sprinkler System features a sleek design with an intuitive touch-screen interface for easy settings adjustments. It also integrates seamlessly with Amazon and Google for a future-proof system that’s sure to impress.
Uses hyper-local weather data for flawlessly accurate automated water modifications, keeping your yard healthy and your water utilization low. Integrates with all your favorite smart home sellers including Alexa, Google Home, Nest, Ecobee, and others.8 different zones can be independently arranged and monitored for precision control over your entire yard. Skydrop’s customer service support team can be unreliable.
15. Hunter Sprinkler XC800 Outdoor Controller System:
The Hunter Sprinkler Controller offers a huge amount of value in one simple to install the unit. Having the ability to cover and keep maintaining up to 8 different zones all from a straightforward control panel, the Hunter Controller Station is an excellent package at the proper price.
Basic control panel with a simple to read instructions and one knob for quick adjustments
Integrates with Hunter’s proprietary ROAM handy remote control, enabling you to operate the device from a distance. Automatic brief circuit protection and locking door panel promise improved safety and a simple mind. It can only place one station at the same time using manual selection.
What is a Sprinkler Controller?
A sprinkler controller also referred to as an irrigation controller, is a device that automates the watering of your lawn, garden, and outdoor areas by hooking your sprinklers up to the main control panel.
There are many different types of sprinkler controllers, depending on the size and scope of the area that needs maintaining. Some work by connecting the sprinklers to a hydraulic system that pumps water out at specified times. Others work by connecting the controller to the sprinklers via an electronic circuit.
How Do Modern Sprinkler Controllers Work?
Modern sprinkler controllers make use of electronic circuitry for connecting your sprinklers, water source, and cables to 1 centralized hub. The hub, also referred to as the sprinkler controller program is made to automate the watering procedure and keep your lawn healthy and green.
Since all of the maintenance is managed in a single centralized unit, it’s as simple as environment your desired choices and departing it to accomplish its work!
2019 brings about many new advances in sprinkler controller technology. There are a ton of exciting features available in newer models, including:
- Weather sensors
- WiFi connectivity
- Custom scheduling
- Apps for easy maintenance
- Smart home integration
- Water-saving technology
And that’s only a taste of what you can get, as each unit offers its own package of features. Be sure to check out the product listing for a full overview of what’s included.
Benefits of Sprinkler Controllers:
There are many reasons why it’s smart to invest in one of the best sprinkler controllers:
- Save Water:
Sprinkler controllers are an excellent way to save water! It seems like most newer models are equipped with sensors to detect when and exactly how much water should be disbursed to your lawn or garden.
Furthermore, sprinkler controllers are ultra-convenient. You can turn the chore of watering your yard into a totally automated process. Hence, no more worrying about getting home before dark- just set the timer and you’re done!
The best sprinkler controllers start at under $100, even the newest technologically advanced models! Combine that with less strain on your time and reduced water consumption, and you have an incredible deal.
- Easy install:
Many sprinkler controllers are uniquely designed to install in under an hour. Most models are built to last, and the newest smart sprinklers are set with all the latest technology. Once it’s set up, it’s there for life.
- Healthier yard:
Your yard will never miss another watering, so you can be sure that your lawn, shrubbery, and flora stay happy and healthy all year long. Reduced water use is also a huge boon for protecting the environment.
Perks of a Smart Sprinkler Controller:
Many models come built with extra perks like wifi connectivity, plus some may even be managed from your own phone or tablet! Yup- there’s an application for that. Plus, from weather recognition sensors to automated timers, smart sprinkler controllers will be the way of the near future. Install one today and become set for a long time to come.
In conditions of water conservation and the consequences on the environment, look for models that are EPA Water Sense accredited. The vast majority of the versions on our list had been picked with this feature at heart.
Using a Sprinkler Controller:
Sprinkler Controllers are a great option for many different types of situations. From small yards to large-scale grow operations, the right sprinkler controller will cover you all year round.
Who Should Buy a Sprinkler Controller:
Here are a few of the people who would benefit most from a sprinkler controller:
If you’re a homeowner looking to automate your yard care, a sprinkler controller is a great option for simplifying your life.
Have a big garden that needs routine care? Modern sprinkler controllers can sense the required water and disperse it evenly for easy maintenance.
Whether for your own yard, or for clients, landscapers can benefit from the ease of use and cost saving functions of sprinkler controllers.
For small-level farmers with modest requirements, a sprinkler controller is a good method to automate and enrich your property and business.