Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers iMore 2020
Smart sprinkler controllers are not just for those with an existing sprinkler system. New options include controllers that attach directly to your hose spigot, creating an easy way to meet your watering demands. The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer is a great way to add watering capabilities to your outdoor space quickly, 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
- Best for HomeKit: Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller
- Best Compatibility: Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller
- Best Connectivity: Rainmachine Pro 8 Irrigation Controller
- Best Value: Gro Irrigation Controller
- Best for Outdoors: Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller
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. Connecting 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 water consumption, 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, the slope of your yard, and sun exposure.
- Attaches directly to your spigot
- Weather monitoring to prevent watering on rainy days
- Works with Alexa or the Google Assistant for voice control
- Does not work with HomeKit
- App is a little confusing to navigate
- Requires connection to the cloud
Set it and forget it
The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer connects to your existing outdoor spigot without wiring. This enables an easy way to keep up with your watering.
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 connect directly to HomeKit without the need for any additional Apps or accounts. Other 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 tie into your existing scenes allowing it to 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.
- Supports HomeKit
- Easy to install and pair
- Child lock option
- Only works with HomeKit
- Limited scheduling options
Best for HomeKit
Hey Siri, water the garden
Eve Aqua integrates with HomeKit to enable automation and voice control. Watering your garden can tie into your good morning scene or be 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 installation can take 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 while it is raining. It also takes into account other conditions such as wind speeds and directions, ensuring that your garden will receive the water it requires.
- Supports HomeKit, Alexa, and the Google Assistant
- 8 to 16 zone options available
- Weather Intelligence delays watering on rainy days
- Needs an optional enclosure to install outdoors
- Requires optional accessory to measure flow
Works with all the things
The Rachio 3 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 takes the place of an existing in-ground system set up. 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 also cloud independent. All your data stays local 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.
- Cloud independent
- Sleek design
- Supports 8 zones
- Indoor use only
- Does not support additional accessories
Rainmachine's Pro 8 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 automatically, based on the chance of rain. Controlling the system happens entirely through the Gro App, with the device featuring a clean look without any confusing buttons, knobs, or screens.
- Low Cost
- Works with Alexa & Google
- Can work with additional sensors
- Must use App to control
- Not weatherproof
- Does not work with HomeKit
Let it gro, Let it gro
The Gro Irrigation Controller is a low-cost way to add smarts to your irrigation system. Alexa and the Google Assistant enable 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 works both indoors or out. Wi-Fi connectivity enables it to function 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.
- Supports Amazon Alexa
- On-device programming
- Small LCD display
- Does not work with Google or HomeKit
Best for Outdoors
Resists the elements
The Rainbird Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller is built for use just about anywhere. A built-in LCD screen allows programming entirely on the device.
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, the task of watering so much easier. Schedules can be made to run in the background, letting mother nature and artificial intelligence work together to determine when to water.
The Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer is the best sprinkler controller for most 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 custom 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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