Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers iMore 2019

Smart sprinkler controllers are not just for those with an existing sprinkler system. New options include controllers that attached directly to your hose spigot and can be hooked up to just about anything creating an easy way to meet your watering demands. The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer is a great way to quickly add watering capabilities to your outdoor space and it connects via Wi-Fi to allow for remote control via your phone, tablet, or the web. We have rounded up all of the best sprinkler controllers to help you decide which is right for your needs.

Best Overall: Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer

Orbit's B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer is a great option to add watering capabilities to anything that attaches to a hose. Attaching directly to a hose spigot that you may already have means it can control traditional sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, and more in just a few minutes. With rugged housing designed for outdoor use, this smart sprinkler controller will stand the test of time.

The B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and works with Orbit's Weather Sense Technology to prevent your schedule from running on a day where it is going to rain. Orbit's hardware also includes mesh networking technology which can expand your coverage if multiple controllers are set up around your home. This controller can also integrate with Amazon Alexa to enable voice control for watering your landscape with just a shout.

Additional features include the ability to monitor the amount of water being used each time it is used and it can even be set to run by volume, and not just via a timer. Orbit's extensive history with irrigation also enables completely customizable schedules that take into account your type of soil, slope of your yard, and sun exposure.

Pros:

  • Attaches directly to your spigot
  • Weather monitoring to prevent watering on rainy days
  • Works with Alexa or the Google Assistant for voice control

Cons:

  • Does not work with HomeKit
  • App is a little confusing to navigate
  • Requires connection to the cloud

Best Overall

Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer

Set it and forget it

The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer connects directly to your existing outdoor spigot without wiring. This controller enables an easy way to keep up with your watering needs.

Best for HomeKit: Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller

The Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller is an easy to install solution that can be set up in just a matter of minutes. Built in Bluetooth connectivity allows it to be connected directly to HomeKit without the need of any additional Apps or accounts. Additional features such as a child lock, disables its ability to run via the physical button on the controller.

Because the Aqua Smart Water Controller connects to HomeKit, it can be tied into your existing scenes allowing it to be run along with your good morning routines or other favorites. You can also use Siri to start your watering on demand on your iOS devices or via a HomePod.

Pros:

  • Supports HomeKit
  • Easy to install and pair
  • Child lock option

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Only works with HomeKit
  • Limited scheduling options

Best for HomeKit

Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller

Hey Siri, water the garden

The Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller integrates with HomeKit to enable automations and voice control. Watering your garden can be tied to your good morning scene or summoned via Siri.

Best Compatibility: Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller

The Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller is a traditional in-ground irrigation device that is designed to replace an existing timer. Easy Press connectors make wiring the controller a snap, and it can be installed in less than 30 minutes with no special tools needed.

Rachio's controller utilizes Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence to determine the optimum schedule for your needs. This prevents your system from running with it is raining, but also takes into account other conditions such as wind speeds and directions ensuring that your garden will receive the water it requires.

Pros:

  • Supports HomeKit, Alexa, and the Google Assistant
  • 8 to 16 zone options available
  • Weather Intelligence delays watering on rainy days

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Needs optional enclosure to install outdoors
  • Requires optional accessory to measure flow

Best Compatibility

Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller

Works with all the things

The Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller replaces your existing irrigation controller to add smart watering capabilities. Weather Intelligence can pause your schedule on rainy days.

Best Connectivity: Rainmachine Pro 8 Irrigation Controller

Rainmachine's Pro 8 Irrigation Controller is designed to replace an existing in-ground system. The sleek design with a color TFT display definitely provides a modern touch for the traditional sprinkler controller. Easy to install wire management means you can be up and running within 15 minutes.

The Rainmachine Pro 8 is touted as being cloud independent. This means that all of your data is stored locally and not in the cloud, and your schedules will still run even if your Wi-Fi is down. Local weather data can also integrate with your schedules to determine the best times to water your lawn or flowers.

Pros:

  • Cloud independent
  • Sleek design
  • Supports 8 zones

Cons:

  • Must be installed indoors
  • Expensive
  • Does not support additional accessories

Best Connectivity

Rainmachine Pro 8 Irrigation Controller

Privacy focused

Rainmachine's Pro 8 Irrigation Controller is a modern take on the traditional sprinkler system. Local based scheduling ensures that your data and schedules remain private.

Best Value: Gro Irrigation Controller

Backed by lawn care experts, Scotts, the Gro Irrigation Controller is a low cost way to enable smart control for your sprinkler system. This smart sprinkler controller supports up to seven different zones, and works with optional water sensors that measure the moisture in your soil to determine the ideal schedule.

Even without the optional water sensors, Gro uses local weather forecasts to adjust schedules that have been built based on the chance of rain. Controlling the system is done entirely through the Gro App, with the device featuring a clean look without any confusing buttons, knobs, or screens.

Pros:

  • Low Cost
  • Works with Alexa & Google
  • Can work with additional sensors

Cons:

  • Must use App to control
  • Must be installed indoors
  • Does not work with HomeKit

Best Value

Gro Irrigation Controller

Let it gro, Let it gro

The Gro Irrigation Controller is a cost effective solution for adding smarts to your existing irrigation system. Alexa and the Google Assistant enables quick, voice based watering.

Best for Outdoors: Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller

Rainbird, a company synonymous with irrigation, has designed a smart irrigation controller that can be installed indoors or out. Wi-Fi connectivity enables it to be installed anywhere there is a signal, and it can integrate with Amazon's Alexa for voice control.

The Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller works with an iOS or Android App to build a watering schedule, and uses local forecasts to pause and resume accordingly. Notifications provided by the Rainbird App keep you informed of the status of your watering, allowing you to make adjustments as needed.

Pros:

  • Can be installed outdoors
  • Supports Amazon Alexa
  • Can be programmed on device

Cons:

  • Small LCD display
  • Does not work with Google or HomeKit
  • Expensive

Best for Outdoors

Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller

Resists the elements

The Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller is a rugged unit designed to be installed anywhere. The built in LCD screen allows it to be programmed entirely on device.

Green Thumb

Installing a smart sprinkler controller is a great way to ensure that your flowers or lawn are getting the attention that they deserve. Being able to water your garden with a simple tap or via voice control makes the noble, but often forgotten, task of watering something that takes just a few seconds and does not require a trip outdoors. Schedules can be made to run in the background, letting mother nature and artificial intelligence working together to determine when to water.

The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer is a great sprinkler controller due to its low cost and ability to connect directly to a hose spigot. This allows the controller to work with hoses, sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, and more with a package that is compact and easy to install. Intelligent weather monitoring and customized schedules mean that your plants will receive the right amount of water for their needs, and will skip watering if rain is in the forecast.

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