The Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers in the Market

For decades, sprinkler controllers have hardly been elegant devices. They typically consist of a rotary dial, a handful of switches, and perhaps a crude monochrome LCD. This is rapidly changing, as smart sprinkler controllers enter the market. These have come from two angles: Startups looking to disrupt the market with brand-new devices, and old-guard irrigation companies that have upgraded their gear with smart innards. Both approaches to date have shown some merit. Here are our takes on the best gear on the market today.

1. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi, Works with Amazon Alexa
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Rachio is the first model we tested that can be controlled by both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you don’t have to pull out your phone to control your sprinklers; just ask your voice assistant to do it for you. Rachio offers simple plug-and-play functionality for the hobbyist gardener, as well as the option to fine-tune your irrigation system with advanced settings if you want to. One drawback is lack of local control.

If the Internet is down, your sprinkler system will continue to run on its preprogrammed schedules, but you won’t be able to adjust any schedules on the device or through the app until connection is restored, and its automatic weather adjustments won’t work either.

You can get this Product from HERE.

2. RainMachine Touch HD, Cloud Independent, Compatible with Alexa
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If you don’t want to be tied to an app or an Internet connection, the RainMachine Touch (12 or 16 zones) is a good alternative to the Rachio. Like the Rachio, the RainMachine Touch can be controlled by a smartphone app or Web interface, but unlike the Rachio, it also has an onboard touchscreen that lets you access every feature of the software, and its app connects to the device directly over your local Wi-Fi network, not via a cloud back end.

The RainMachine connects to the cloud only to get weather data; all other processing is done locally. This means you can still control it with your phone over your local network if the Internet goes out, and you can access all its features from the onboard touchscreen even if your Wi-Fi is down. (The Rachio’s onboard controls only let you run each zone for three minutes each, and the app doesn’t work without an Internet connection). However, RainMachine’s app is less intuitive than Rachio’s, and requires more knowledge about your landscape and irrigation system for optimal setup. The Rachio walks you through setting up each zone to make sure you use it to its full potential.

You can get this Product from HERE.

3. Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler System Controller, Compatible with Alexa
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Unlike Rachio, Orbit has been in this business for more than 40 years, and the B-hyve marks its big entry to the smart sprinkler world.

The device is a monster, ready for outdoor use (or for bludgeoning an intruder to death, should it come down to it) and featuring support for either 6 or 12 zones, depending on the model. Its smart watering recommendations are OK, but making changes is relatively simple through the capable app if you want to tweak them. If you need onboard controls, the B-hyve is fully loaded, so you can tweak your programs or run manual watering sessions without using the app—though there’s quite a learning curve to master said controls. Best of all: Orbit’s B-hyve is incredibly affordable, with the six-zone model available for just $99.

You can get this Product from HERE.

4. Rain Bird ST8I-WiFi Smart Irrigation Indoor Timer/Controller
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The Rain Bird is a simple, but affordable sprinkler controller. It’s a drop-in replacement for your existing system and provides the same rudimentary scheduling features as your current system. It has both WiFi and Bluetooth connected. When it’s configured on your local network, your smartphone adds a layer of intelligence to the system. You can manually adjust the schedule, or it can be done automatically based on your local weather. It supports 8 zones and works with both Android and iOS systems.

You can get this Product from HERE.

5. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa
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Netro is designed for effortless use in residential irrigation. It helps to reduce unnecessary water usage and keeps your garden healthy. Unlike the existing smart watering systems which require users to manually setup or tune their systems, Netro schedules itself completely, it knows how much water your plants need and the best way to water them. You can completely rely on it and enjoy your saved time, it Sprite works with all sprinkler systems, and is fully compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice assistant.

You can get this Product from HERE.

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