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Finding The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller In 2020

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Last Updated: 20 May 2020
How Long Do Sprinkler Controllers Last

Homeowners love to see a lush and bright-green look for their backyard/lawn. To ensure that it stays that way, you will have to do it yourself or hire a professional. Every backyard requires three things – water, nutrients, and sunlight. While the soil nutrients (thanks to the best lawn fertilizer products) and sunlight are two things that you have almost no control of, you can decide how much you need to water your backyard.

However, watering is not as easy as it may sound. You can hire someone to do the job for an expensive work fee, or you can make use of a smart sprinkler controller system.

Today, we will be going through some smart sprinkler controller reviews. We will also tell you what these systems are and other related topics like smart sprinkler controller comparison charts, etc. Let’s see the best smart sprinkler controller 2020 has to offer.

Top 5 Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers: Comparison Chart


Rachio 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
Rachio 2nd Generation Sprinkler Controller
Orbit B-hyve Sprinkler System Controller
Netro 6 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
Orbit B-hyve 57915 Smart WiFi Sprinkler System Controller
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, 8 Zone 3rd Generatoin, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus and Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller, 8-Zone 2nd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
Orbit B-hyve 12-Zone Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller
Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi, Weather aware, Remote access, 6 Zone, Compatible with Alexa
Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller
$144.75
$209.99
$109.00
$119.99
$88.53
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383 Reviews
Rachio 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, 8 Zone 3rd Generatoin, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus and Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
$144.75
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Rachio 2nd Generation Sprinkler Controller
Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller, 8-Zone 2nd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
$209.99
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Orbit B-hyve Sprinkler System Controller
Orbit B-hyve 12-Zone Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller
$109.00
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Netro 6 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi, Weather aware, Remote access, 6 Zone, Compatible with Alexa
$119.99
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Orbit B-hyve 57915 Smart WiFi Sprinkler System Controller
Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller
$88.53
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383 Reviews
Sale
Best Overall: Rachio 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller Review

Rachio is a company that has been in the smart sprinkler controllers market for a very long time. The brand first released its first sprinkler model back in 2015 and now has released its latest offering – the Rachio 3 smart sprinkler control.

The controller can be installed with ease and can be connected to your home Wi-Fi system, thereby allowing you to toggle the in-ground sprinkling system from any location within your home via your smartphone device. This new smart irrigation controller is also fitted with the company’s Premium Weather Intelligence technology and a dual-band Wi-Fi system.

The Premium Weather Intelligence Plus technology will offer you the weather data from more than 270,000 weather radar sources, satellites, and weather stations. This will help you determine the best possible watering schedule for your area based on the current weather conditions. Also, the dual-band Wi-Fi system allows you to connect to 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks.

The Rachio 3 can be controlled via your iOS and Android device using its dedicated app.

All in all, the Rachio 3 almost looks like its second-gen predecessor, apart from a few notable differences. For instance, there is a new LED light bar that lets you know which zone is currently being watered and notifies you when there is a connectivity or system error.

Why We Like It

  • Improved conservation, thanks to the better water intelligence system
  • Easier setup, thanks to revamped wire connectors
  • Onboard controls offer easy access to manual runs
Runner-Up: Rachio 2nd Generation Smart Sprinkler Controller Review

Yet another entry by Rachio, the company’s second-gen smart sprinkler has a compact design than its predecessor (namely, the Iro Smart Sprinkler), third-party home-automation integration, lots of features, and easy installation.

The white removable cover will expose a status wheel with LED indicators for displaying the active watering zone or setting up the controller; you will also find the wiring hub here. The controller offers an 8-zone configuration; a slightly expensive variant of the same gives 16-zone configuration. If you have a smart irrigation system that makes use of a master valve, the controller offers a master valve terminal to control the flow of water.

The controller is quite simple to install; all you need to do is follow the installation guide. With the help of this smart sprinkler controller, you will not have to worry about canceling your watering schedules because of weather conditions. Additionally, you will also be able to inspect and keep a close look at your daily, monthly, and yearly water usage as well.

All in all, apart from easy installation and flexible scheduling, this best smart sprinkler controller also allows integration with third-party systems, like Amazon's Alexa, as well as onboard controls that will enable you to turn off or on the sprinklers from the controller itself.

Why We Like It

  • Offers relatively bug-free operations
  • Checks for frost or rain before watering
  • Best known for third-party smart home integration capabilities
Sale
Best Value: Orbit 57950 B-Hyve 12-Station Wifi Sprinkler System Controller Review

The 57950 B-hyve is a smart wifi sprinkler by Orbit that is used for watering shrubs, lawns, and other types of plants and vegetations. The controller is designed to take into account the ecological needs of your lawn in a quick manner. It is considered one of the most effective smart Wi-Fi sprinkler controllers, mostly because Orbit is known to produce the best irrigation services and products.

While you might find it a lot similar to Rachio controllers, its features are presented differently. For instance, while setting up zones in both controllers are almost the same, the B-hyve will showcase the information better and offer you more effective watering solutions. Additionally, the B-hyve will also offer more options, like allowing the user to select their particular slope, vegetation, and soil type.

The smart sprinkler controller can be controlled from any location with the help of your smartphone device and makes use of Weather Sense and Smart Watering technologies to create watering schedules based on your garden or lawn and the current weather conditions. The device is waterproof and can be installed inside your home or on your lawn.

Lastly, the smartphone app of this best wifi sprinkler controller is quite handy, and you will be able to program the schedules within the snap of a second. While you might not be able to get complete integration with other connected devices or water usage statistics, it is quite pocket-friendly when it comes to pricing and an excellent deal.

Why We Like It

  • The device implements a classic look and well-thought and smart functionalities
  • The app will watch over the weather conditions and schedule the sprinklers accordingly
  • Sprinklers can be controlled via voice control
Best Features: Netro 6 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller Review

The Netro smart sprinkler is a great option if you are looking for something that can water your lawn while you are on vacation. Also known as Sprite, this sprinkler controller by Netro is one of the best devices for automated gardening activities. The device has been designed for easy use in residential gardening activities and will help reduce unnecessary usage of water and keep your lawn/garden healthy at the same time.

Unlike most other smart watering systems that need you to tune or set up the system manually, this Netro sprinkler controller schedules itself, thereby providing you with freedom and time. Even if you prefer doing things on your own, the convenience offered by the controller is quite reliable. This controller offers a smart watering solution for every type of home garden. It features a modern, clean, and simple design, which makes it the watering technology for modern homes.

Additionally, the data can also be collected wirelessly and then analyzed on the cloud server. Since the panel is solar-powered, the sensor will never run out of power and needs minimum maintenance.

To sum up, perhaps the most critical aspect of this Bluetooth sprinkler controller that sets it apart from others is its solar-powered plant sensor. This sensor keeps track of various factors that will determine the irrigation for your plants like soil moisture level, temperature, and sunlight.

Pros

  • Help save a substantial amount of water and allows effortless watering
  • Modern, simple, and clean design
  • Easy to install and intuitive app makes it easy to use
  • Strong Wi-Fi signal

Cons

  • Manual selection of zones can only be operated for 60 minutes
  • Selection of multiple zones not available currently
Fast Installation: Orbit B-Hyve 57915 Smart Wifi Sprinkler System Controller Review
383 Reviews
Fast Installation: Orbit B-Hyve 57915 Smart Wifi Sprinkler System Controller Review

This irrigation controller is Orbit’s 4-zone system that is equipped with manual water overriding technology and weather sense. The appliance has been approved for EPA Water Sense and can sense real weather feeds, sun/shade, and soil type. It has also been certified by SWAT and works easily with any iOS or Android smartphone.

Over the timer, you will see the zone status indicator. You can control the device with the help of its dedicated app and is fitted with in-built fault detection and surge protection. The controller supports master valve and pump relay setups and can be controlled with your voice via Amazon Alexa’s voice controls.

All in all, there are no complex systems; you can easily understand how to set up smart scheduling. For each zone, you will be able to set the slope, amount of sunlight, plant type, soil type, sprinkler type, etc. via the app. As a result, you will be provided with the exact estimations.

Pros

  • The app is easy to understand and use
  • A device fitted with in-built fault detection and surge protection
  • Features automatic weather detection
  • Can be controlled manually via LCD

Cons

  • Fewer zones than other sprinklers
  • The timer does not work properly with the app

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Now that you know what the top smart sprinkler controllers are, here are some basics about it.

What Is A Smart Sprinkler Controller?

How Does A Smart Sprinkler Controller Work

Similar to how smart thermostats revolutionized the way homes are cooled or heated by automatically adjusting the temperatures according to the habits or time, smart sprinklers will adjust the watering based on set times or habits. Smart sprinkler controllers are devices that are replacing the existing programmable timer on your sprinkler system that operates the water valves. Hence, your sprinkler will follow the weather forecast instead of the conventional set schedule.

These devices make use of your Wi-Fi system to determine the weather forecast from the internet. This way, the controller will come to know what the weather will be like for that day and schedule the sprinkling according to that.

How Does A Smart Sprinkler Controller Work?

In the case of regular sprinklers, you will need to install an underground system; after this, you need to schedule the times when the controller starts sprinkling the water.

However, with a smart sprinkler controller, you simply need to connect the device to your Wi-Fi network. Once done, the device will then access the local weather data from the internet and adjust the watering schedule according to conditions like freezing temperatures, humidity, high heat, or rain.

Some devices will also monitor the soil conditions to check existing moisture levels. The smart sprinkler controller will also notify you in case of any changes; for instance, watering has been canceled due to heavy showers forecast.

Benefits

Some benefits of utilizing a smart water sprinkler controller include:

benefits of utilizing a smart water sprinkler controller
  • The smart controllers will save you a lot of money by reducing water wastage. The weather-specific adjustments will reduce the risk of overwatering your lawn.
  • The device will enhance the beauty and health of your lawn/backyard by supplying an optimum amount of water.
  • Smart sprinkler controllers, along with the best lawn sprinkler heads, will aid you in preparing for the future of water by helping you work according to the water cost curve.
  • You will reduce the loss of hardscapes like patios and rock walls with the help of smart sprinkler controllers.

How Long Do Sprinkler Controllers Last?

How Long Do Sprinkler Controllers Last

Generally speaking, a smart sprinkler system should last for approximately two decades. Inexpensive ones will last for around three-four years. Depending on the climate and water quality, the nozzles should be replaced once every two years.

The most durable component is the pipes, which will last for a minimum of four decades since they are shielded from the direct rays of the sun. Wires perhaps need to be replaced more often. Valves will last for around 15 years, while the controllers, depending on the brand you buy, will last between five and ten years.

How To Choose The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller?

Here are some factors that you need to remember while looking for the best smart sprinkler system controller:

Number Of Zones

Zones of your backyard are a set of sprinkler heads that are connected. These zones can be operated independently. So, you can water a single zone while leaving the rest dry. You must choose a controller that will cover a significant section of your backyard.

Number Of Zones

Controls

Different areas of your backyard will have different types of vegetation, slopes, and soil type. You need to ensure that each zone gets precisely the specified amount of water. Hence, you need to choose a sprinkler controller that allows you to set different sprinkling schedules and frequency for different sections of your backyard.

Scheduling

Changing the water scheduling every month is quite a hassle, which is why most people do not and leave the same schedule throughout the year. This leads to water wastage and damages your lawn/backyard. Hence, you need to choose a controller that schedules automatically according to the weather.

Notifications

Notifications

You need to choose a sprinkler controller wifi system that sends you notifications about sudden changes in scheduling and/or the current weather conditions. This way, you will be updated with the watering schedule daily.

Price

Of course, price is also a consideration that you need to factor in a while looking for sprinkler controllers. Of course, you will obtain better devices at a higher price that will last for a long time and offer better services. If you wish to save some money, you can opt for low-costing controllers; however, these controllers might not provide a lot of features and will not last for long.

Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Types

Primarily, there are two different types of smart sprinkler controllers. Let’s see them.

Indoor

Indoor

As the name suggests, an indoor sprinkler system controller is a device that is meant to be fitted inside your home. These devices are connected to your Wi-Fi system to adjust the watering schedules. Some of these indoor devices can also be fitted outdoors, provided you encase it in weather-proof covers.

Outdoor

Outdoor smart sprinkler controllers are devices that can be fixed outside your home. Mostly, these devices are made of materials that make them resistant to rough weather conditions. You need to know how to adjust sprinklers to protect the delicate electronic components inside.

Verdict and Our Recommendation for 2020

As mentioned above, the best pick for 2020 is the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler. Thanks to its easy installation and using instructions, this smart water sprinkler has won this race. The Premiere Weather Intelligence technology is the best aspect of this device and offers data compiled from more than 300,000 sources like weather stations and satellites, which helps in the best scheduling. The controller can be installed with ease and can be connected to your home Wi-Fi system, thereby allowing you to toggle the in-ground sprinkling system from any location within your home via your smartphone device.

Hence, this product is our favorite pick when it comes to the best smart sprinkler controller 2020 has to offer. You can check out homemakerguide for more reviews!

We always do our best to provide you with as much useful information as possible so that you can purchase precisely what you need.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Installing a wifi sprinkler system is quite easy. You can make use of the instruction manual to do so. If things get difficult, you can also call in the services of a professional.
The number of zones will depend on the size of your lawn/backyard. Additionally, you will also have to consider a lot more factors like sloping angle, type of vegetation, soil type, etc. This will give you a rough estimate of the number of zones for your wireless irrigation controller.
The time duration and frequency will depend on some factors like the soil type, the sloping angle, and the vegetation type that you have in each zone. For instance, if that zone contains plants like cactus, you might not have to water it as much as other zones with full-fledged greenery.
PRODUCTS TESTED BY HomeMakerGuide
How We Tested

Some considerations we factored in a while noting down the list included installation process, user-friendly interface, and intelligent scheduling. However, the controller should also be able to offer a manual scheduling option as well. With these factors, we decided to make this wireless sprinkler controller list.

One of the testers made use of the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler (the best one on our list) in his backyard. Everything noted in the review above has been based on these tests. It is the best smart irrigation controller. It was set up with ease and could be controlled remotely.

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