Do your plants resemble crispy critters during dry seasons? Does your lawn turn into a soggy mess when it is rainy? If keeping your lawn lush and green and your plants properly watered is starting to feel like a full-time job, it might be time to invest in a smart sprinkler controller.
Sprinkler controllers make it easy for your plants to get the exact amount of water they need. With a smart controller, you no longer have to watch helplessly as your sprinklers drown your grass during a rainstorm or despair when you see that your plants are wilting from the heat.
- Top Smart Sprinkler Controllers Comparison – Quick Overview
- Before You Buy a Sprinkler Controller
- Smart Sprinkler Controller Reviews: Top 6 Products of 2017
- 1. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
- 2. RainMachine Touch HD-12 Smart Controller, 2nd generation
- 3. Orbit 57946 B-hyve Indoor/Outdoor 6-Station Smart Sprinkler
- 4. SkyDrop 8 Zone Wifi & App Enabled Controller
- 5. Nxeco Pro Professional Grade Sprinkler Controller
- 6. IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 Web Based Sprinkler Controller
- Installing Your Smart Sprinkler Control
- Benefits of Smart Sprinkler Systems
- Conclusion: Ready, Set, Water!
Top Smart Sprinkler Controllers Comparison – Quick Overview
|1||Rachio||Amazon Echo / Dot, IFTTT, Nest & more||> 1000||$$|
|2||RainMachine||Alexa, Nest, WINK, IFTTT & more||> 600||$$$|
|3||Orbit B-hyve||Android, iOS or Web Device||> 200||$|
|4||SkyDrop||Computer, Smartphone or Alexa||> 125||$$|
|5||Nxeco Pro||Works via app||> 10||$$|
|6||IrrigationCaddy||Web Based||> 250||$|
Before You Buy a Sprinkler Controller
Before you invest in a new smart sprinkler controller, you will need to consider a few things, including:
1. Data downloads
Smart sprinklers depend on weather data, but they are only as good as the data they receive. The best sprinkler systems draw from a variety of sources and can also be manually operated so that you never waste water or run your system on rainy days. Some models use subscription services, which is something to consider if you would prefer to keep your system budget-friendly.
Sprinklers do need to be adjusted initially so that they work as you want them. After that, the best smart sprinkler controller will adjust hourly or daily depending on the weather forecast. Some models use historical data if the Internet goes down, but you should still have the option to manually update as needed.
Look for models with warranties and by manufacturers that stand behind their products.
Smart Sprinkler Controller Reviews: Top 6 Products of 2017
1. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
The Rachio Smart Sprinkler makes it easy to water your lawn or garden as much or as little as needed. You can install it easily yourself, and it is designed to work with any sprinkler system and your own WiFi. Once it has been set up, you can monitor it and make necessary adjustments from your phone or another device, and it even adjusts automatically based on local weather forecasts. It is EPA WaterSense Certified, which means that it may be eligible for rebates.
- Easy install
- Rain delay feature
- Automatically adjusts watering level based on weather forecasts
- Cannot be direct wired outside
- Manual scheduling can be confusing
2. RainMachine Touch HD-12 Smart Controller, 2nd generation
The RainMachine is designed to use multiple sources for weather data to create the most accurate network possible and reduce redundant watering. If your Internet is down, the system automatically switches to using historical statistics for maximum conservation. You can access your data and control the system from your PC, iPhone or Android phone. It is EPA WaterSense-certified.
- Complete touchscreen control
- Remote upgrades for firmware
- Intuitive app
- Mobile setup can be complex
- Controller designed for indoor use only
3. Orbit 57946 B-hyve Indoor/Outdoor 6-Station Smart Sprinkler
The Orbit B-hyve is a programmable smart watering system that uses advanced WeatherSense technology. Is collects information from live weather feeds, forecasts and site conditions to deliver just the right amount of water to your lawn. It is easy to install, can work with or without WiFi access and saves up to 50 percent more water than conventional sprinkler controllers.
- Easy installation
- Affordable price
- Outdoor enclosure included
- Easy-to-use phone app
- Strong WiFi signal needed to use this function
- Android app setup can be complicated
4. SkyDrop 8 Zone Wifi & App Enabled Controller
The SkyDrop Smart Sprinkler is designed to install quickly and easily using your existing sprinkler system. You can input information about plant types, shade, slope and sprinkler types for each zone used. The self-regulating controller customizes based on this information and hyper-local weather data.
You can control the system through your smartphone or another mobile device, or you can use the voice-activated controls at home. The system is EPA WaterSense Certified.
- Easy to use
- Can be mounted outside
- Easy to control via browser
- Subscription service needed to access all settings
- Tends to drop WiFi signal
5. Nxeco Pro Professional Grade Sprinkler Controller
This smart sprinkler can be used with WiFi or ethernet connections and automatically reboots if the connection is lost. It uses seasonal and weather information to determine watering amounts but also has easy-to-manage scheduled run times for 12 zones. The Nxeco Pro is EPA WaterSense Labeled and may qualify for rebates in some regions. The mobile app can run up to 10 controllers.
- Uses WiFi or hardwired connection
- Weekly water summary report
- Can connect with a rain sensor
- Poorly written instructions
- Can be difficult to install
6. IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 Web Based Sprinkler Controller
Parched flower beds are a passe now with the introduction of IrrigationCandy. With a built in web interface, which is clean and intuitive, the usage is easy. This indoor mounted controller is an ideal addition to the home automation. A worthy and cost effective upgrade from the traditional manual controllers.
- User friendly software and interface
- Compact box for easy mounting
- Easy to integrate into previously-installed home sprinkler system
- Easy to adjust sprinklers
- Intermediate knowledge of networking required to set it up
- Fragile mounting tabs
- Below average customer service
Installing Your Smart Sprinkler Control
Before you install, consider whether you want to install it yourself or have a contractor or plumber install it. If you are planning a DIY install, contact your utilities to mark the lines, and check with your municipality to determine if any permits are needed. You will also need to decide where to place each zone, how many sprinkler heads will be needed and where to place your sensors if your system includes them.
Check the manual and manufacturer’s website to get design ideas and to help you create an irrigation system designed to work for your property, your plants and your location.
Benefits of Smart Sprinkler Systems
Smart sprinkler systems take the guesswork out of watering your lawn and landscaping. They are designed to regularly access local weather data and often contain moisture sensors to communicate with the system and trigger watering when necessary.
With a smart sprinkler system, you can control your irrigation needs and the amount of water you use. You can eliminate the waste that comes from watering during rainy seasons, and you can save money on your water bill while conserving water. A smart system gives you optimal control when you want it as well as the ability to let the system take control when you would rather focus on other things.
Conclusion: Ready, Set, Water!
Once you have found the best smart sprinkler controller for your property, you will be well on your way to the healthiest plants in the neighborhood. You can take control whenever you want, or you can set your sprinklers, sit back and relax while the smart controller does all the work for you. Your job just got a lot easier, and your budget just got a little more comfortable.