Remembering to water your lawn or flowers is a huge part of keeping them growing healthy and strong all season, but it can be difficult to manually do this every day. This is especially true if you plan on going on vacation or you’ll be away for a few days. You can’t leave them without watering them, and a sprinkler controller system can help you keep your watering schedule on track. Technology has evolved in recent years, and you now have dozens of quality sprinkler controllers available on the current market.
But, how do you decide which sprinkler controller system is the best choice for your needs? Some are more technologically advanced than others, and this can make it challenging to select the best one for your needs. I’ve picked out 10 quality sprinkler controllers from different brands, and you can compare the products before using the buying guide to make your final decision.
Automating the watering process can save you countless hours and guesswork when it comes to keeping your plants and yard looking lush and green. You want to pick a system that has enough zones that you can meet your plant’s unique watering needs, but it shouldn’t break your budget either.
1. Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller
This smart sprinkler controller runs on iOS, Android and web devices to give you a portable way to take your system with you wherever you have your phone. You can program your timer right into the app, or there is weather-based software included that will create a special irrigation program for you for your container gardens, flower beds, and lawn. The Weather Sense technology uses historical ET, soil type, live weather feeds, sun, shade, and slope to determine the best watering conditions. It’s very easy to install and use, and it comes outfitted with a swing panel and angled wiring terminals to make access quick and easy.
This sprinkler controller comes certified to save you both time and money, and it comes with an EPA WaterSense approval and certification. There is a weather-resistant case that lets you mount the product both indoors and outdoors without worrying, and the locking cabinet keeps your timer safe from vandalism. It works well with Amazon Alexa for voice control, and you can plug it into a 110-volt charger to keep it powered on and running for months at a time. It’ll keep your lawn and garden lush and green all summer long, whether or not you’re home.
- Runs on Android, iOS, and web devices
- Weather Sense technology can set up an irrigation program
- EPA WaterSense approved and certified
- Needs strong WiFi to work correctly
- Installation can be very frustrating
- Rain delay system is finicky
2. Rachio 8 Zone Sprinkler Controller
Rachio’s sprinkler controller allows you to automatically save water and money. This is a sleek system that lets you cut back on the amount of water you use, and it has Weather Intelligence software included. This software will skip unnecessary watering sessions, and it has several nice features like wind skip, rain skip, saturation skip, freeze skip, and seasonal shift. This gives you peace of mind when you travel to ensure that you don’t let your lawn go too long without water, and it’ll also help ensure that you don’t drown your yard with overwatering. The app has a very user-friendly design, and it allows you to control your irrigation system anywhere.YOu can stop, pause, or run your sprinklers right from your phone.
There are no special tools required to install this sprinkler controller, and you should be able to get it up and running in under 30 minutes once you get it. This software uses sun exposure, soil type, and plant type to anticipate the needs of your lawn and create smart watering schedules. You can view and control different watering zones on the go through the app, and this product comes in three different styles that you can tailor to suit your needs.
- Has a sleek look
- Control your watering zones individually
- Creates smart watering plans
- Weather data can be slightly off
- Android app can cut out
- Support is challenging to get ahold of
3. Rain Bird Irrigation System
This user-friendly sprinkler controller comes from Rain Bird, and it’ll work well to saturate your lawn before you break out the shovel and tackle your yard work. The manufacturer claims that setting up and learning how to use the controller is so easy that you won’t need instructions, and it gives you zone-by-zone settings that let you pick how you want to water each area of your yard. You can install this device in your home, garage, or in a waterproof shed to get years of use out of it, but you have to install it somewhere sheltered. The intuitive design on this product features one-touch adjustments that you can use to reduce your watering schedule in cool months before amping it back up in the hot months.
If you have inclement weather on the way and don’t want to flood your yard, the rain delay feature on this sprinkler controller will suspend your watering schedule for up to 72 hours before resuming it again. The built-in surge protection helps to prevent electrical surges from frying your hardware, and there is a sealed case that protects the interface from grime, insects, and moisture. The new model has a redone timer that is more accurate, and you can choose from five styles that control 4, 6, 9, or 12 stations at one time.
- Easy to set up and work
- Has an intuitive interface
- Rain delay feature included
- Can reset to default programming if it shuts off
- Can’t install it outside
- Battery can drain quickly
4. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
Netro’s sprinkler controller comes with 6 or 12 zone styles that give you individual control over each section of your yard. This is a fully automatic model with an EPA WaterSense certification that will dynamically create irrigation schedules and adjust them without any input from you based on your plant and lawn’s needs. This product seamlessly connects to WIFi using a 2.4G system to monitor and control your sprinklers from anywhere using the user-friendly app for Android and iOS devices. You can also use it with web browsers on your table or PCs to update your settings or check that it’s working.
This is an eco-friendly sprinkler controller that will help save you up to 50% of your typical outdoor water usage, and it uses a combination of historical statistics and weather forecasting to help save water. You’ll need basic tools and 15 to 20 minutes to install this product, and you shouldn’t need professional-grade help. It’ll keep a running tally of your water usage, and you can adjust or set your own watering schedule with the click of a button. This product lays flat to the wall to stay out of your way.
- Monitors your water usage
- Creates a smart irrigation plan
- Installs in 15 to 20 minutes
- Support lags with responses
- If the website goes down, you can’t switch any settings
- No time between watering zones
5. RainMachine Smart Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
RainMachine’s sprinkler controller allows you to schedule watering across 6 or 12 zones independently, and this is great if you have raised planter boxes spread around your yard. You’ll get rebates when you order this product because it comes EPA WaterSense certified, and it’s a cloud independent device that stores all of your personal data locally. It’ll work even if your WiFi goes down, and you get forecast spatial resolution up to 1.5 km to increase the accuracy rating. You’ll get free weather data with access to MENTO or Wunderground, NOAA, NetAtmo, and OpenWeatherMap when you purchase this product.
These apps work to increase the accuracy level of this sprinkler controller, and it comes with a bright color touch screen. You get PC browser access, and you can download the app on iPhone and Android devices to see your dashboard stats. It works when you’re on vacation, at work, or home. This is an updated version of this product that comes equipped with hundreds of UI and schedule improvements, and you can seamlessly integrate it with Nest, Google Home, Alexa, SmartThings, or WINK via IFTTT. The user-friendly design and larger interface make this a good choice for people of all ages.
- Cloud independent device
- Free weather data from several sources
- Integrates with your smart devices and voice
- Rain algorithm is off
- Have to create seperate programs for different watering stations
- Touch screens can lag
6. Aeon Matrix Yardian Sprinkler Controller
This chic sprinkler controller saves you money and water, and it can cut your water usage in half while watering at the peak times to keep your yard and plants lush, growing, and green. It comes with real-time weather monitoring that looks at real-time local weather streams to help tailor a schedule that works around inclement conditions so it doesn’t give your yard too much. The pinpoint accuracy levels are very nice with this controller, and it works seamlessly with Google Home and Amazon Alexa to adjust your water scheduling and control 8 or 12 zones independently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is a multi-functional sprinkler controller that works for irrigation and surveillance. It comes with an HD camera built into it, and this allows it to monitor your yard during the day and night. You can install the device in 15 minutes or less, and the customer service team is very responsive to questions or issues you have before, during, or after the install. The camera will send notifications to your phone if anyone trips it, and you get all of the mounting hardware you need when you purchase the unit.
- Can cut your water usage in half
- Doubles as a surveillance system
- Sends push notifications to your phone
- WiFi can fade in and out
- Have to program each zone individually
- Installation can be frustrating because of buggy software
7. Sprinkl Control – Smart Sprinkler Hub
Sprinkl’s sprinkler controller requires no experience to install and set up, and it features an autonomous watering mode that you can pair with moisture sensors to water all of your trellises around your yard or patio. The product keeps track of the moisture levels and only switches on the water when it senses your yard is starting to get too dry. You can turn notifications on and have them sent to your phone from the mobile app so it updates you with the goings on in your yard, and it’ll tell you at a glance when your yard is restricted or is watering. The product tracks real-time weather conditions to disable the water function using past, current, and future temperature and rainfall amounts.
There is no subscription required for this sprinkler controller to work, and you can easily pair it with your Apple or Android phones or smart home hubs like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. It has a bright green coloring that stands out when you put it up, and it comes with built-in fault detection that will alert you if part of your system goes offline for any reason. The app is slightly larger and very easy to navigate.
- Can send notifications to your phone
- Has built-in fault detection
- Connects to smart home hubs
- Body is a thin plastic material
- Power adapter gets hot
- Can’t share settings
8. RAINPOINT Sprinkler Timer
You can set the water duration on this sprinkler controller from 1 minute up to 240 minutes, and it comes with a watering frequency setting on every day, every two days, or every three days. You can water up to three times a day at eight-hour intervals, or you can control it manually, and this system is IP65 waterproof. This durability allows you to use it outdoors without worrying about moisture seeping inside, and the computer utilizes ABS plastic with electronic components. This product is UV-resistant, retains precision control, and it’s weatherproof. You can use this sprinkler timer for micro greenhouse irrigation, drip irrigation systems, fog systems, garden lawn sprinklers, and other basic irrigation control.
You get a single outlet with a solenoid valve on this sprinkler controller that fits a ¾-inch hose and faucet. It puts out 1 to 10 gallons a minute for the flow rate, and it can work with 10 to 120 PSI water pressure. Two alkaline 1.5-volt batteries power this unit, and it can run a full year. The big LCD display is easy to read, and it flashes a low battery indicator. When you purchase this product, you’ll get a 100% satisfaction guarantee with 24-hour customer service. If you’re not happy, they’ll refund you within 30 days of the purchase date.
- UV-resistant design
- Flexible settings with a manual option
- IP65 waterproof
- Challenging to program for the first time
- Batteries can drain quickly
- No real-time weather monitoring
9. LinkTap G1 Wireless Water Timer & Gateway
There are six work modes on this sprinkler controller, including calendar, instant, month, odd-even, interval, and 7-day mode that allow you to customize your settings as you see fit. It’ll attach securely to your expandable hose, and it can run through up to 100 watering cycles every day. You can set each watering cycle to last a minute, or it can run up to 23 hours, 59 minutes. You can use voice control to set it if you have Google Home or Amazon Alexa. The rain skip feature will automatically skip or stop any watering cycles after or before it rains to stop from drowning your plants or yard, and instant mode lets you turn the water off in real-time whenever you need to stop it.
The eco function will save you water by closing and opening the valve to reduce your run-off while allowing more water to soak in. The LinkTap Wireless Water Timer on this sprinkler controller gives you a steady connection to WiFi while offering more wireless coverage throughout your yard, and the battery can last for up to two years. A single LinkTap Gateway can simultaneously control up to 15 LinkTap Wireless Routers, and you can access three LinkTap Gateways from a single account. The installation process takes under five minutes, and you can control it from an app on your phone or through a browser.
- Saves 90 days of history
- App is very responsive and functional
- Can control up to 15 routers at once
- Cloud services can glitch
- Doesn’t have individual watering zones
- Time-consuming to create or modify watering schedules
10. HUNTER Smart WiFi Sprinkler Controller
The final sprinkler controller on the list comes from Hunter. This is an elegant and user-friendly device that features a very simple interface and setup. It can help you cut your water bills in half, and the controller uses WiFi to access a live stream from your local weather stations to provide real-time coverage and alter the watering schedules accordingly. There are water flow meters in the app that can help you see how much water you use, and it helps you detect broken pipes, faulting wring, broken spray heads, or cracked valves. You can change your water usage from the app too.
The sprinkler controller will send you detailed reports that outline how much rainfall you had already and when your system is set to water again. There are no extra wires when you replace your existing controllers, and it accesses your network wirelessly. This device weighs in at just 1.5 pounds, and this makes it easy to mount on your wall out of your way. You can expand this setup to cover 36 zones throughout your yard on a single controller.
- Expands up to 36 zones
- Easy to set up and replace
- WiFi connectability
- Doesn’t work correctly with a master valve
- Customer support is largely unresponsive
- Mounting hardware is flimsy
Best Sprinkler Controller Buyer’s Guide
If you’re ready to automate your irrigation processes throughout your vegetable garden or backyard, a sprinkler controller is a step in the right direction. There are so many good brands to choose from, and they come with a host of nice features that makes your life easier. But, picking out the best sprinkler controller can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had one before. This short buying guide will outline the most important features to consider below.
Indoor or Outdoor Mounting
Do you plan to mount your controller inside or outside? Some products on the list recommend putting them in a dry place that has protection from the elements because moisture can destroy them. Other options come with a sealed interface that protects it from moisture or UV damage. Having it inside will protect it, but it can be a hassle to go in and out each time you want to switch something or adjust it.
Mounting your system outdoors allows you easier access to it if you want to adjust your settings, but exposure to the elements can shorten the product’s lifespan. You have to decide which option is better for your needs.
The zone number makes it easy to water individual sections of your yard on their own schedule. For example, maybe you have a fruit tree or two in your garden that needs a high amount of water, but you have succulents in another part of the yard. You’d need to have enough zones to ensure your high-water plants get everything they need while the plants that prefer drier climates don’t get too much. Some systems can have up to 36 zones, but 6 to 12 is a more average number. You have to program these zones one by one, so think about how many you really need before you settle on an option.
Smart Water Schedules
One of the nice things about having a controller that has smart watering schedule capabilities is that they can stream your local weather in real-time and the environment to tailor the perfect watering schedule to your area. These systems have to be highly accurate or you may find them overwatering, so keep a close eye on it if you let the program design a schedule with no input from you.
Smart Home Hub Support
More and more controllers are coming outfitted with smart home hub support that allows you to use software like Google Home or Amazon Alexa to use voice commands to set your watering schedule and modify it. Your device will need to be WiFi enabled, and it has to have a decent range. If it does, this will allow you to control it from anywhere in your yard, even out in your pergola as you relax.
Being able to connect your sprinkler system to a smart home hub allows you to use voice controls to adjust your system, turn it off, switch it back on, and more. This is useful if you already use voice in the house because it adds a convenience factor to it.
Ideally, how often would you want to water your yard or garden? Are you someone that waters every morning or evening? How about every two or three days? More? Less? Whatever your schedule, you want a device that can keep up with your watering schedule. Not all controllers have the capabilities to create and maintain complex schedules, so take a good look if this is important to you. Some even allow you to water multiple times a day and create tailored schedules based on each zone.
The correct sprinkler controller takes the hassle out of watering your yard or garden. They allow you to get a beautiful and lush space without a lot of time-consuming effort on your part, and you can customize your pick based on your needs. I’ve reviewed 10 great options for you, and you can compare the various reviews while using the buying guide to narrow down the products to your final pick.