Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers in 2018 – Expert Picks & Reviews

It can be tiring to, constantly keep up with irrigation schedules. So why not get a smart sprinkler controller, to help you. Read on to find out how this device is an effective irrigation tool.

The Rachio smart sprinkler controller is our top pick due to its precise remote control, which can improve your irrigation system. You can use it to customize your zone, from soil type, plants, and even sun exposure.

Moreover, it also features exclusive weather intelligence that can auto-schedule and irrigate your yard only when needed.

Besides, you can integrate it with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, a feature that makes it stand out from its competitors. 

Top 3 Smart Sprinkler Controllers

Orbit

BUDGET PICK

orbit b-hyve smart indoor outdoor 12 station wifi sprinkler system

PRICE: $$

Rachio

EDITOR'S CHOICE

rachio smart spinkler controller

PRICE: $$

Rated #1 by Our Experts

Hunter

TOP RATED

Hunter HC-600i Hydrawise Touch Screen Smart WiFi Enabled 6 Zone Sprinkler Controller

PRICE: $$$

Top 5: Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers

There is nothing as rewarding as being in control of your chores, like irrigation systems, at a distance. What better way to achieve this seamlessly than with a modern sprinkler controller. This way you get a smart device that can tailor your irrigation schedules, runtime as well as adjust the schedule based on the current weather, plant water use as well as soil condition.

A smart sprinkler controller is a great device for auto-regulating and conserving water during irrigation or gardening. It can let you control your watering schedules, while remotely managing your irrigation system. Besides, they are all app connected and user-friendly. 

1. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi

Watering has never been easy than with a wifi sprinkler controller. Everything you need to do, be it timing or run time. It is all programmable and manageable via a top quality sprinkler controller. A good example is this top buy, rachio smart sprinkler.

This smart sprinkler controller is one of a kind and is top-rated for it performance level as well as ease of installation and use. You can allow its app to care for your watering needs via your laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can also use a home-connected system or run the zones directly from its onboard controller.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Has a manual control for convenience
  • Amazon Alexa integration  
  • Check Badge
    Google Home integration
  • Will help reduce the water bill
  • 24-hour support system
  • Check Badge
    Comes with weather intelligence features
rachio smart spinkler controller

Rachio smart sprinkler can adapt to your own lawn. This means that you can use it to set your own schedules, as well as input some plant details and even state sun exposure. This way it auto-irrigates your lawn at the best moment for it to thrive, nothing less or more.

It is also very easy to install and run. You can do it solo, with no special tools or level of expertise are required to set it up. Nonetheless, in case of any issues, you can always contact the customer support system. They are always available even on the weekends.

Besides, this is one of the most connected sprinkler controller in the current market, as it can work with some of the top smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This feature makes it highly competitive in its market department.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Affordable to Run
  • Remote Control
  • Weather Intelligence

You can easily reduce your water bill by up to 50% while keeping all your irrigation needs and gardening healthy and well cared. Moreover, it is EPA WaterSense Certified. This means that it qualifies for utility discounts of up to 100% off.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Features push notifications
  • Has a flexible mobile app
  • Easy installation
  • Allows for zone customization

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Its onboard controls are limited
  • Cannot run multiple zones simultaneously

2. Orbit 57950 Smart Sprinkler Controller

If you are looking for an irrigation controller, look no further than the Orbit 57950 B-Hyve. A smart watering mechanism that can save you loads of time and resources. It can work seamlessly with Android, iOS or any other web device to give you control whenever and wherever.

This orbit sprinkler is easy to install as well as use. It has a swing panel you can use to access the wiring terminals. As for its wiring, it is a plug and go system that anyone can master and hack solo. Nonetheless, you can always refer to its user guide for quick work.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Features a weatherproof enclosure
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    It can be manually controlled
  • Comes with a master valve/pump relay
  • Has voice controls, and works great with Amazon Alexa
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    Certified to save you energy and water bill
orbit b-hyve smart indoor outdoor 12 station wifi sprinkler system

It is also certified to save you energy and water bills thanks to its EPA WaterSense approval. This approval can also give you certification for local rebates. This can save you up to 100% of the cost on your timer.

In relation, you can integrate your orbit sprinkler with catch cups to save up to 50% of water. Something that is hard to achieve with regular traditional sprinkler controllers. Likewise, you can optimize the way you irrigate, in a bid to save money while keeping everything green and healthy.

This wifi sprinkler controller uses 110 volts only and is compatible with North American electrical outlets. However, there are many international versions for other markets. 

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Durable & Secure
  • Weather Sense Technology
  • Timer Control

You can easily program your timer at the app, on the timer section or let its weather-based software help you out, by creating a program for you.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Affordable, given its usefulness
  • EPA Certified WaterSense Approved
  • LED screen user interface

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Does not have API or IFTTT integration
  • Lacks water-usage reports

3. Hunter HC-600i WiFi Sprinkler Controller

If you are looking for an indoor hunter irrigation controller, then there is no better choice than this Hydrawise touchscreen model. It can out-smart you when it comes to scheduling and watering your garden or lawn. Besides, this Hydrawise system is expandable for up to 36 zones, making it highly competitive in the current market.

 
This model is elegant and very easy to use and manage. It just uses your wireless system, Wifi to access any data that is needed, for its operation and maintenance.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Excellent customization and reporting
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    Very easy to set-up and program
  • Comes with two sensor ports
  • It is compatible with Android 4.3+ and iOS 8.0+
  • Check Badge
    No integration with home automation platforms
Hunter HC-600i Hydrawise Touch Screen Smart WiFi Enabled 6 Zone Sprinkler Controller

As for replacement options, you can replace your existing controller without any extra wires, as this wifi sprinkler controller still uses your wifi network to access the internet directly via your router.

Besides, you can find loads of things that are happening within it and your garden. For instance, you can get reports on how much water you are using for irrigation. In relation, the Hydrawise flow meters allow you to detect broken pipes, spray heads as well as faulty wiring or valves.

This hunter irrigation controller has a user-friendly interface, which allows you to view the water usage. You can also get a report on it. Therefore, if you are looking for a garden watering system, you are on the right track with this coveted model. It does not come cheap but is highly effective and worth every penny. 

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Saves Water
  • Gives Reports
  • EASE OF USE

It is not hard to set-up ad program this smart sprinkler controller. You can do it all in a day, after carefully going through its user manual. Nonetheless, it is not a technical thing, anyone who knows how to read and follow instructions can manage it solo.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Great customer service
  • 2-year LIMITED warranty
  • It supports 2.4GHz Wifi
  • Smaller than most

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Ideal for indoor use only
  • Does not have EPA WaterSense Certification

4. Rain Bird ST8I-WIFI Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler Controller

If you are looking to improve your garden watering system, then there is no better way than with a wifi sprinkler controller. This device can ease your irrigation in so many ways that you will find such watering fun and easier to deal with, even on a daily basis.

The choices are often limitless when it comes to these types of modern irrigation controllers. However, that does not mean that you lose hope. We are here for you with this affordable yet functional rainbird controller, for all your irrigation needs. 

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Its weather forecast feature can automatically adjust
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    The app can manage multiple controllers
  • Features on-unit control as well as a battery back-up
  • You can access timer functions from anywhere in the world
  • Check Badge
    Easy installation and programming
Rain Bird ST8I WIFI Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler Irrigation System Timer Controller WaterSense Certified, 8-Zone Station Works with Amazon Alexa

This rainbird controller is ideal for indoor use, but there is an outdoor version you can check out. Nonetheless, this one here is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Android 4.4 KitKat or later versions as well as Apple iOS 8 or greater. It can cover up to 8 zones.

Consequently, it features a water delay program that can auto-suspend water from 1-14 days. The usual programming can resume automatically once the delay days are over. As for cyclical scheduling option, it occurs every 1-29 days.

Moreover, you can rely on its app notifications to tell you all about the happenings in your yard if you are not around. So make the world greener today with this sprinkler controller. You have nothing to lose. Besides, you will get to save some water in the process. Something that is unachievable with regular traditional irrigation systems. 

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Weather Intelligence
  • Customizable Watering App
  • Exclusive Three-way Control

You can now upload as many photos as you want to this device and name each of the eight zones to make it easier to irrigate. This also means that you can set and manage your irrigation plans for landscapes, grass, sun-exposed places, and even shaded areas.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Reliable app performance
  • Custom programming
  • The app can enable notification on activity
  • Easy To use App

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • It is not EPA or SWAT Certified
  • Does not come with a warranty but you can return it within 90 days of use

5. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller

There is no better way to control your irrigation water than with this Netro sprinkler controller. It is very easy to install and replace as well as use and maintain. As a result, you will not incur any professional costs when it comes to its installation. Besides, it takes only 15-minutes to install indoors.

Moreover, it has pre-programmed irrigation recommendations you can make use of when it comes to information about different plants, soil types as well as sprinkler types. In relation, its plant library has more than 1000 common species, making it easier to customize your yard irrigation needs.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Check Badge
    Auto-creates a schedule for your sprinkler but you can also manually create it
  • Can cover up to 12 zones and master valve
  • Features 2.4G antenna for a strong wifi connection/reception
  • Check Badge
    Gives access to the Netro Plant Library
Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller WiFi Weather aware, Remote access 6 Zone Compatible with Alexa

There are no more water violations with this smart sprinkler controller, as Netro will automatically comply with all your local water conservation rules and regulations. You will get alerts on the water restrictions anytime, as the unit complies with every new water regulation.

In addition, this unit will protect your sprinkler, and yard as well as all the plants in it by not watering under bad temperature as well as night irrigation. You should take note that night watering is often the common cause of damp lawns, which also tend to attract various kinds of dangerous diseases.

So if you want a lusher healthier garden, buy this product. It will auto-create accurate irrigation schedules that can promote speedy and deep root growth as well as reduce water wastage and help draw more oxygen to the roots of the plants. 

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Eco-Friendly
  • Remote Access
  • Paring Sprite with Whisperer

The Netro Whisperer is very important as it often keeps track of temperature, sunlight, and moisture level. Some of the most important factors that determine how your yard should be irrigated. Besides, the Netro Whisperer is solar powered and wireless.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • It is fully automatic
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Easy installation and control
  • Features self-learning capabilities

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Cannot water multiple zones simultaneously
  • Does not support Apple Homekit

Smart Sprinkler Controller Buying Guide - Things to Consider

There are different types as well as models of irrigation controllers in the current market. This makes it hard to make a pick, especially if they are all well marketed as quality and functional. The choice can be overwhelming for one person to handle, but that is why we are here with this smart sprinkler controller review.

You can make use of this section to buy a quality, wifi sprinkler controller for your irrigation needs. Here are the top considerations for buying a smart sprinkler controller.

  • Location: This type of irrigation controller can be installed indoors or outdoors depending on make. Indoor ones can be set-up under a shed, in a closet, under a shaded patio, or in the garage. Moreover, indoor models are never weather resistant like their sturdy outdoor counterparts. Besides, indoor controllers are often plugged into a power outlet while the outdoor ones are hard-wired for a power source. 
  • Number of Programs: This depends on how you want your yard to be irrigated, as more programs offer loads of varied ways in which your garden can be watered.
  • Zone Quantity:

    Zones are sections that are determined by your sprinkler system upon its installation. This way it becomes easier for the system to designate one station to handle a particular zone. Most household property has 2-9 zones while commercial or public yards can be divided up to 48 zones.

    Therefore, it is important to take note of the number of maximum zones an irrigation or watering controller can accommodate before making your purchase.
  • Ease of Installation: You should always consider its installation process, as you may require some tools and even a certain level of expertise. This way you are ready for what is to come, but some models are very easy to install under 15-minutes.
  • Real-Time Weather Integration:

    It is highly important you buy a device that can sync up with local live weather forecasts. This way you get to conserve water by not watering just before the rain. The weather integration system should also consider other environmental conditions, humidity levels as well as temperature.

  • Customization Features:

    This often varies from product to product, so check on it efficiency compared to others. Moreover, the best often allow for adjustments whenever possible, for better irrigation. So check on the most efficient one depending on your needs, before you make a buy.

  • Intuitive App: Most of these devices have apps, however, you should make sure it works with your system be it Android or iOS. This way you get to control and monitor the water sprinkler system anywhere and at any time via your tablet or smartphone.
  • Wifi System: You should check if there is a way you can hook up a wired network to the water sprinkler. This way you ensure a steady network, as weather conditions can often cause some shakiness to your home wifi.
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    EPA WaterSense and SWAT Certification: Certification of a product are very important, depending on your location and the amount of money you want to save on energy and water bills. Therefore, you should always look for a sprinkler controller with EPA WaterSense certification, as they tend to meet all EPA specifications when it comes to water performance and efficiency. Moreover, it also qualifies you to 100% product rebates.
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    Water Conservation: The best model of a smart sprinkler controller should always help you save on some energy and water bill. Besides, it is environmentally friendly to conserve water, especially if you live in areas that require you to monitor how you use your water.
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    Security: This is also important to keep all the sprinkler hackers away so that they do not mess with your modern irrigation system. 
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    Warranty: You should strive to get a sprinkler controller with a lifetime or longer warranty, like 2-3 years. Likewise, read on it to know how it covers you in case of any damages or malfunction. 
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    Price: These units have a wide range of pricing, but it all comes down to your watering needs. Nonetheless, the most expensive ones have more features but that does not mean that the less expensive ones are not effective. It all depends on your purpose for it. Do not let price undermine quality. 

Benefits of a Smart Sprinkler Controller

If you are still not convinced of the usefulness of a smart sprinkler controller, then here are some of its top benefits.

  • Saves Money: This type of sprinkler controller can save you loads of money, as it auto-adjusts your irrigation only when it is needed and at the right level. As a result, you get to cut costs on energy and water bills but still, manage to have a greener and healthy surrounding.
  • Beautiful Landscapes: Since the irrigation is controlled and monitored so well to the point that each zone gets its fair share of water, no under-watering or over-irrigating. These results in better landscapes, as overwatering can contribute to unhealthy plants.
  • Convenience: This device can sync your local weather forecast, different environmental conditions like humidity and temperature, in order to automatically schedule and reschedule your irrigation system. For instance, it will not water your yard if the weather prediction states that it will rain.
  • Reduces Water Waste: If you schedule the runtime as well as adjust your irrigation schedules and other features. You can go a long way into saving loads of water. Besides, such adjustments often give the plant the amount of water it needs, nothing more or less.
  • Less Stressful: You can now relax and unwind slowly at the comfort of your home thanks to a smart sprinkler controller. Its timer and sensors will ensure your yard is well taken care of automatically, without tiring or bothering you at your comfort zone.
  • Smarter Homes: Internet connected devices are now the fad, everyone wants to be digitalized from the garden to the kitchen. Within no time, everything in your home is bound to be connected to the internet. 

How Smart Sprinkler Controller Works?

Irrigation controllers often work in the same way, with only small differences here and there depending on the manufacturer and model. However, to use any of it, you have to install an underground irrigation system first.

Nonetheless, you should take note that an underground irrigation system often comes with its own controller that you can program to irrigate your yard regularly.

However, when it comes to the smart irrigation controller, all the guesswork is taken off your hands, and everything about it is always automatic. There are also manual options. But why take the time if the system is smart enough to do everything for you.

A smart irrigation controller is often connected to the wifi network of your home. Therefore, it can easily gain access to any data related to your local weather from the internet. This way it auto-adjusts your irrigation schedule with regard to the upcoming weather conditions, be it rain, freezing temperatures, humidity or high heat.

Some wifi sprinkler controllers are known to employ the use of soil monitors, that is spikes that you push in the ground in a bid to check the existing nature of the moisture level of the soil.

Moreover, most of these units will often send you messages, alerts, and notifications if anything on your yard changes like the cancellation of irrigation due to an oncoming rainstorm. There is a lot of information you can get by just setting it up right via its user app.

In addition, you can program how much water goes where within the different zones of your yard. This way you get to water the plants as required without wasting any water on too much irrigation or on plants that do not need it.

You can also do the set-up in terms of vegetation type be it shrubs, vegetables, trees, flowers, and even the lawn. Likewise, you can program with the type of soil be it sand or clay, the amount of shade or sun received as well as your land slope. This can be very effective in determining the runoff degree. 

Types of Smart Sprinkler Controller

Smart sprinkler controllers are often designed to give you some sort of user interface via an app on your tablet, laptop or smartphone. The apps often allow for easier control and monitoring of your yard from any part of the world.

You can make changes to your sprinkler system anytime, anywhere, track the amount of water you use to irrigate as well as make adjustments where you see fit. Besides, these apps can also auto-adjust and schedule your irrigation system, depending on the unit’s features.


There are mainly two types of smart sprinkler controller in the current market. Here they are:

  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Moreover, you can adjust and track your irrigation system zone by zone. Likewise, you can know the runtime of your system as well as any other important information concerning your yard/garden.
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    WaterSense Certified Smart Sprinkler Controller

    A WaterSense certification is an Environmental Protection Agency, EPA approved program that can help you improve on water usage. Therefore, if you are interested in conserving your water and reducing the water bill, a WaterSense Certified smart sprinkler controller is the best choice for you.

    Sprinkler controllers that are WaterSense certified often allow you to access the irrigation system via a smartphone app. However, the design often works like a thermostat than a pre-set timer. Thereby, it can sense when your yard needs watering by just checking the weather or ground moisture.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is not easy to make a smart buy when it comes to wifi sprinkler controllers. The choices are limitless and all great. However, you have to make sure it fits your gardening or watering needs.

Therefore, if you are looking to buy a wifi sprinkler controller, this review is right by your alley. You can rely on it to make the right pick for your irrigation needs. 

Related Reads:

Qaiser
 

Qaiser, a 30-year-old gardener, co-founded Treillage with an aim to help educate the masses in green living. He heads the team responsible for testing and reviewing every gardening product that is featured on Treillage.

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