For your garden or yard, a smart sprinkler controller is like a smart thermostat that controls your water so that you don’t have to lift a finger. By self-adjusting to weather and soil conditions, it optimizes your in-ground irrigation system, making it easier to maintain a healthy landscape while cutting down on water consumption. We think the Rachio 3 is the best smart sprinkler controller for most individuals after three seasons of checking more than a dozen versions. It adapts to weather conditions in real-time and integrates with many smart devices, but it is still easy to use.
Top 5 Sprinkler Controllers Review 2020
We will test each product based on a variety of significant factors in our analysis of these sprinkler controllers. This includes the number of zones, Wi-Fi connection, app, and computer accessibility, indoor/outdoor use, measurements, and warranty that they support. We have spent 65 hours studying and visiting official websites for this, asking experts to advise us and reviewing customer reviews to ensure that you find the highest quality product. We’ll then shift our attention to the purchasing guide section of this article after our product reviews, where we’ll go into even more detail about sprinkler controllers. Finally, our top three options for the best sprinkler controllers will be introduced to you.
Our Top Picks: Best Sprinkler Controllers
Best Overall: Orbit 57950 B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller System.
Best Runner-Up: Rachio Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller.
Best Eco-Friendly: RainMachine Forecast Sprinkler Controller System.
Best Budget: Orbit 57894 4-Station Sprinkler Controller.
Best Indoor: Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller System.
Best Smart: Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller.
Best for Easy Setup: Hunter Sprinkler XC800 Outdoor Controller Station.
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
The Rachio 3 available in eight or 16-zone versions) provides a novice with basic plug-and-play features, but it can also be fine-tuned with advanced settings to please a master gardener. Its Weather Intelligence Plus role enables hyperlocal forecasting, making watering more effective. We like the ability to use the detailed (if not comprehensive) onboard controls (rather than the app), and that it works with, among others, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
RainMachine Touch HD-12
You can monitor the RainMachine Touch HD-12 (available in 12-zone or 16-zone versions) through an on-board touchscreen, smartphone app, or web interface. (It should be noted that this selection is also classified as model SPK3-1 on some sites.) The RainMachine does not need to link to the cloud to work, unlike all the other models we reviewed, and it only relies on the internet for weather updates.RainMachine offers a wide range of weather services and provides your irrigation with deep, granular control. The software from RainMachine is less intuitive than the Rachio 3’s and does not build schedules automatically, making it more difficult to use for inexperienced gardeners.
Orbit B-hyve 8-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller
The Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller Orbit B-hyve (available for eight zones) is the least costly smart controller you can purchase, but it offers many of the same features as our top picks, including smart scheduling, a nice app, and an innovative, slim design. It’s also accredited by WaterSense, has simple system controls, lets you pick your weather station, and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. However it lacks some warnings, and its app is not as good as the Rachio 3’s.
The Smart Sprinkler Hub – 16 Zone WiFi Smart Irrigation Controller
An excellent option for the largest yards is the Sprinkle Control Smart Center. There are 16 programmable zones in this model, giving you maximum coverage of flowerbeds, the lawn, and the veggie garden. With Alexa and Google Assistant, you get smart integration and full control of your watering duties via the software on your mobile phone. This model comes in less than 20 minutes, with simple, tool-free installation and easy setup.
Rain Bird SST600IN Simple-to-Set Indoor Sprinkler
In this study, homeowners searching for the best budget sprinkler controller can get outstanding value from this model from Rain Bird. With quick fly-by-zone settings and personalized watering schedules, this model features six watering zones. To raise or decrease watering amounts in the summer or winter, you get a rain delay system and one-touch seasonal change. For quick access to your watering system, this model comes with an indoor installation, without the need to go outside.
How to pick the best sprinkler controller?
There are a few features you can pay careful attention to when it comes to choosing the right sprinkler controller for you. In our product reviews, we have already touched on most of these features briefly, but now we will clarify them more in-depth. Here we will look at the number of zones, the connection of the sprinkler controller to mobile devices, its compatibility with online services, if it receives weather alerts, has sensor ports, has automatic scheduling, measurements, and pricing. Many items go into a great all-around sprinkler controller, and when purchasing yours, these are the most significant factors that you should evaluate. We hope to provide you with more information and perspective by describing each of these characteristics so that you can make an educated decision.
The Zones Number
If you’re familiar with sprinkler controllers, so what zones mean is more than familiar to you. Not every aspect of your garden will be the same as you may already know. There may be some grass and some plants, and thus a zone refers to the water needs that your garden needs for that specific area. When it comes to sprinkler controllers, there is no such thing as a standard number, although eight zones seem to be a common option among buyers.
Connectivity to cellular devices
The evolution in technology has brought these units to the next level, much as with many electronic devices. The Wi-Fi functionality, which most of these sprinkler controllers are capable of, includes these new heights. It is important to have this feature because it means that you can use your internet connection with a mobile app to monitor the water supply in your garden. You can also choose between either the 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi link with our Editor’s Pick, the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller. Although transmitting smaller batches of data, the 2.4 allows for greater coverage, while the 5 has a shorter range but allows a larger amount of data to be transferred.
Compatibility with providers online
With Wi-Fi and cell phone access, the convenience doesn’t just stop. Many of the smart sprinkler controllers now have the best smart home gadgets compatible with them. Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and more are some of these units. Having this ability just gives the user additional convenience, especially if you are very busy and want to save some time. All you have to do is use voice commands and let the magic of the unit be done. The RainMachine Pro-16 can be used with Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit, for instance.
Automatic weather updates
With these smart sprinkler controls, you really get a lot of great features, and another one of them is the automatic weather alerts. These sprinkler controls are able to access weather alerts and use weather forecasts to monitor the amount of water that will go out of your lawn sprinklers since these devices are connected via Wi-Fi. The sensors will detect the humidity if it rains overnight and responds accordingly. It may choose not to switch on or turn the sprinklers at all, but not for a long time.
There’s a big advantage to doing so if you intend to use the sensors in your backyard. The primary reason for having sensors is that they can sense the amount of moisture in your grass and soil and can tell you whether more or less water is needed or not. Many of the products on our list, such as the Sprinkl Control SR-400, are compatible with sensors, and they help you save time and money on water bills when they work together. Check the product description carefully, however, because manufacturers frequently do not include the sensors in the box.
Watering preparation is another significant attribute of a sprinkler controller. This helps you to set a particular schedule that is specific to your garden’s needs. Not every sprinkler controller, however, allows you to build your own schedule, as some have some limitations depending on the region or city in which you live. These controllers will guarantee that you comply with these regulations. In any case, it is a nice feature to have the versatility to be able to choose how much you want to water your plants. For example, to ensure that your plants get proper irrigation, the Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor/Outdoor 6-Station provides real-time alerts.
Usage indoors vs. outdoors
It really relies on the one you want to purchase when it comes to where you should position your controller. Some are specifically built for indoor use, while others provide the ability to be used indoors as well as outdoors. If you are looking for a sprinkler controller for outdoor use, make sure it has a durable case to protect it from rain and other elements.
For most units, including the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, a weather-resistant enclosure can be modified and purchased separately.
The dimensions of sprinkler controllers are usually fairly compact, with some being able to fit into the palm of your hand, such as the Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller. There are others, however that are almost twice as wide in scale. Usually, sprinkler controllers vary in size from anywhere from 5-10 inches tall by 5-10 inches wide with a depth of 4 inches anywhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the event of an outage of power, will my settings be lost?
In the case of a power outage, once the power comes back on the settings that you have entered into the sprinkler controller should be saved and restored. Your settings are automatically saved on the online server if you are using a smartphone app. To ensure that the data is kept there all you need to do is build an account. It shouldn’t take much time to make all the changes once again, even though this happens. You can also take advantage of making manual backups with certain units to recover all your settings.
How hard is it for a sprinkler controller to install?
The installation of technical devices can often be overwhelming. The sprinkler controls we’ve tested, however, are all a breeze to set up, and you can do it yourself easily. On average, installing your unit takes about 20 minutes, and most units come with setup kits nowadays. These mounting kits provide you with everything you need inside or outside your house for installation. To find out if there is a weather-resistant enclosure, make sure to review the description of the product.
For different purposes, we named the top 3 models in our quest for the best sprinkler controller.
Our Editor’s Pick, The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, is also the best overall sprinkler. This is just a wonderful all-around sprinkler controller compatible with the greatest number of smartphone and smart home hub systems. Two different Wi-Fi frequencies are also enabled, which is awesome because it allows you to choose how you want your controller to transmit data.
Another good all-around pick that is most notable for its surprisingly low price is our best value, the Orbit B-hyve 8-Station Smart Wi-Fi Indoor Timer. It also supports Wi-Fi, and you can use Bluetooth as a backup to change the settings in case your Wi-Fi goes down.
Finally check the Sprinkl Control SR-400 if you intend to install the device indoors. It covers 16 zones so that it can be used for wide areas of sprinklers and transmits data in real-time, providing excellent performance.
We hope you can make an educated decision to buy the right unit for your gardening needs with these reviews of the best sprinkler controllers.