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7 Best Sprinkler Controller Reviews in 2021

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Everyone loves their yards, but often due to the lack of time for caring for it and watering it manually, it becomes a task. 

Fortunately, sprinkler controllers are the answer to this problem. These gadgets can now handle several zones individually, removing all of the labour from watering the garden — and some can even be operated remotely via a smartphone application.

If this sounds like something that would make your life a lot simpler, then go through our top recommendations on the 7 best sprinkler controllers. 

At a Glance: Our Top Picks for The Best Sprinkler Controller

  1. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller 
  2. Orbit 57950 Sprinkler Controller
  3. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
  4. Rain Bird Irrigation Control 
  5. Hunter Irrigation Indoor Controller 
  6. Orbit 57985 B-Hyve 
  7. Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller 

7 Best Sprinkler Controllers

We have provided a detailed description of each of these sprinklers below. Read on to find out what suits your watering needs the best. 

1. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller 

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
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Rachio smart sprinkler controller replaces 99% of existing sprinkler controllers and can be installed in 30 minutes or less. The installation of these sprinkler controllers requires no special instruments and can be simply figured out by watching the in-app installation tutorial. 

This controller is weather sensitive and avoids unnecessary watering with features like rain skip, wind skips, freeze skip, and more. Its app allows you to control the sprinklers from anywhere and has functions like run sprinklers, view watering schedule, and estimating outdoor water usage as well. 

You can even build a plan specifically tailored for your yard, keeping in mind the specific needs of your lawn, including plant type, soil type, sun exposure, and more. Above all, by buying this controller you save up on water, time, and money. 

What We Liked

  • Hyperlocal accuracy for current and projected weather 
  • Combines data from around 270,000 personal weather stations 
  • Supports 8 zones

What We Didn’t Like

  • May not be compatible with newer iPhone models 

2. Orbit 57950 Sprinkler Controller

Orbit 57950 Sprinkler Controller
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This is one of the best sprinkler controllers, having a weather sense technology that provides watering based on site conditions such as slope, soil type, sun/shade, and live weather feeds. Further on, it automatically adjusts your controller to deliver the right amount of water to your plants. 

Certified to save water and money by EPA WaterSense, the B-hyve timer comes in a water-resistant case adaptable to indoor or outdoor use. Additionally, this system works with Amazon Alexa for voice control – increasing the convenience of using it. 

Lastly, this is the only sprinkler controller that integrates catch cup technology to produce professional scheduling results. 

What We Liked

  • Convenient wiring through the swing panel and angled terminals 
  • Rain delays are scheduled with zero input from the users
  • B-hyve can also be controlled at the timer

What We Didn’t Like

  • App doesn’t allow two programs to run together

Bonus Read: Want to figure out what type of soil your garden has? Go through these soil test kits to ensure you irrigate it properly. 

3. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller

Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
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Made for effortless use in residential irrigation, the Netro smart sprinkler controller alerts and auto complies with the water rules in your area. Furthermore, this system prepares schedules that promote deep root growth, reduce watering frequency, and draw more oxygen into the roots, thus delivering a lusher garden landscape. 

It can even detect improper temperatures and night watering and avoid watering to prevent soggy lawns. The plant library with over 1000 plant species is another beneficial factor that helps in scheduling watering tailored for particular needs. 

This controller can be monitored anywhere through its app, and it is even compatible with Google Home. Further on, the plant sensor can be used anywhere too and it is solar-powered, needing only an hour of sunlight each day to get charged. 

Netro is the watering technology for every house, with a simple, clean, and modern appearance.

What We Liked

  • Compatible with all sprinkler systems
  • Collects local weather alerts and historical data to minimize water consumption 
  • Allows for providing pre-programmed watering to plants

What We Didn’t Like

  • Slightly complicated to install 

4. Rain Bird Irrigation Control 

Rain Bird Irrigation Control
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This is another of the best sprinkler controller in the market that can accommodate 4 to 22 stations and is designed for residential and light commercial use. It has a non-volatile memory that allows you to save controller settings indefinitely, even after long power outages. 

Equipped with 1 touch manual watering, this irrigation controller can delay watering up to 14 days. Other than that, this system is simple to set up, convenient to use, and has a backlit display. 

What We Liked

  • Watering can be delayed for up to 14 days 
  • Simple installation 
  • Can expand up to 22 base stations with 3-6 station modules

What We Didn’t Like

  • App connectivity can be slightly disruptive

5. Hunter Irrigation Indoor Controller 

Hunter Irrigation Indoor Controller
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The hunter irrigation indoor controller is a good option if you are running on a budget. Even better, it has automatic short circuit protection and easily retrievable memory. Moreover, it can control up to 6 stations with 3 programs and 4 start times each. 

The X-Core 6-station indoor irrigation controller can be installed, operated, and maintained effortlessly while delivering optimal efficiency and reliability. Don’t forget, the X-Core is the perfect solution for residential and light commercial applications. It is also compatible with Hunter remotes for seamless irrigation management over longer distances.  

Install this system to maximize water savings and automatically regulate irrigation run times according to on-site weather conditions.

What We Liked

  • Equipped with a seasonal adjustment that allows you to raise or lower water usage 
  • Allows for quick, wireless activation of irrigation 
  • Lasts for a long time with little maintenance

What We Didn’t Like

  • May face PCB issues  

6. Orbit 57985 B-Hyve 

Orbit 57985 B-Hyve
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This sprinkler controller system is equipped with multi-colour LED light rings and three full-colour digital displays that allow you to instantly see your timer status. It includes a built-in manual watering override button on the timer that allows you to start or stop watering without the app. 

B-hyve’s WeatherSense tech receives local weather data and adjusts your smart sprinkler controller accordingly to deliver the right amount of water to your plants. This system is perfect for homeowners, landlords, property owners, and anybody else who wants more control over the watering of their lawns and gardens of any size.

Anyone with a large property or a complex terrain with a lot of signal blockages can benefit from the XR as well. To top it up, the expanded range of this controller makes it easier and more cost-effective to keep your entire property lush and green.

What We Liked

  • Weatherproof case allows to keep the system outside without a protective covering
  • Dual-band and high-powered radio gives a stronger connection 
  • Automatically adjusts schedules and timing around weather conditions 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Issues with Wi-Fi connectivity 

Bonus Read: Keep your yards clean by using these backpack leaf blowers

7. Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller 

Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller
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The timer functions of this sprinkler controller can be accessed via wireless network, in-range mobile device, and directly through the control panel. Furthermore, this controller system is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple iOS 8 and greater, and Android 4.4 and greater. 

Save your water consumption by up to 30% through this system. Gardeners can even take control of the irrigation system manually using the app. Not to mention, they can manage their garden zone wise by uploading pictures to the app and labelling them. 

Through the Rain Bird sprinkler controller, you will learn and understand “the intelligent use of water”. 

What We Liked

  • Enhanced water usage reporting
  • Control of multiple timers
  • Automated water schedule based on location and weather

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only suitable for weather-resistant locations  

Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing The Best Sprinkler Controller 

The most essential factor to consider when buying a sprinkler controller is whether you want a gadget that can be managed via a smartphone or tablet app or a manual-operated version.

It’s worth noting that not every smart controller comes with all of these functions, so be sure the one you’re considering can do all you need it to. A few features that the newer models of the best sprinkler controllers include are: 

Remote-Control 

One of the most obvious benefits of using an app-controlled gadget is that you can control it from anywhere, not just from home. 

You may connect from the office, the supermarket, the beach, or wherever else you are using your smartphone or tablet and manage your watering schedule from there. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons.

For anyone who is not home very often due to work or other reasons, it would be best to get a remote-control sprinkler for the most efficient management. 

Precise Programming 

App-based watering systems can provide you with a lot more freedom than traditional watering systems, allowing to design a highly exact watering plan.

Thus, you should focus on the programming aspect of the model when making a purchase. 

Automatic Start Watering 

It’s great to be able to control your watering cycles from away and have additional options for customizing watering schedules, but it’s even better if the system automatically does that for you.

Fortunately, with growing technology, the latest sprinkler controllers can gather meteorological data such as rainfall, temperature, and sunshine, among other elements, and automatically adjust the watering schedule to your garden’s demands.

This means that you can connect one of these devices and then allow it to work on its own – the smart gadget will always supply the optimal amount of water for your garden without you having to worry about it. 

In addition, a device capable of doing so will not provide any more water than is required. This means, gardeners may save up to 50% of the water that would otherwise be wasted, resulting in a considerable reduction in water cost.

Some devices also have the capability of collecting information about local watering limitations and incorporating them into the irrigation plan. This can assist you to avoid breaching the law by accident.

Alexa and Google Home Compatibility 

Many smart controllers now work with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home. The fact that DIY gardeners can control their irrigation operations by just speaking a few commands makes the whole system even more convenient. 

Cloud-Free Operation 

Cloud-free operation is another key characteristic being incorporated in many sprinkler controller systems. With the proliferation of smart gadgets, a large amount of data is now kept in the cloud. This is practical and convenient in many instances but can become frustrating when you lose internet connection. 

When it comes to smart sprinkler controllers, if the equipment can store data locally instead of on the cloud, it can continue to operate even if there is no Wi-Fi connection. This is critical since your plants will not be watered if your Wi-Fi goes down.

What to Look for When Buying the Best Sprinkler Controller 

If you already have a sprinkler controller, then you should compare what additional features you want to add to it when looking for a new one. For gardeners buying from these recommendations of the best sprinkler controllers, these are the important features to account for: 

On-Device Controls 

The most important decision to make with a controller is whether you want one with onboard controls, which are buttons and a display on the controller itself that allows you to operate it without an app. This is useful if you have many users on the system or if you want to allow a gardener access to the controller without having to set him up on the app. 

Without on-device controls, systems typically lack any type of display other than a status light to indicate whether or not they’re operating, so keep in mind that you’ll need the app on your smartphone or tablet to accomplish anything productive.

Area of Mounting 

You should choose your system depending on where you want to mount it. If you want to mount it outdoors, you will need to get a weatherproof system that can last outdoor. On the other hand, if you want to place it indoors, you should look for something sleeker to go with the ambience of your home. 

Number of Zones

Different sprinkler systems are capable of supporting a different number of zones. The number of zones each system can support depends on the number of valves it has. Suppose a system has 6 valves, it will be able to support 6 zones. 

Gardeners should buy a controller with enough capacity to support all zones in their gardening ecosystem. Most controllers have 8 zones, but there are a few with 6 and 16 zones too. 

Notifications 

It’s convenient to get notifications when your irrigation system is activated, but different products handle the mechanics in different ways.

Although push alerts are widespread, many simply alert you after the watering is finished, not when it begins, which is often more useful. 

Other types of notifications like email and text aren’t as popular, so if you want to get creative with alerts, look for a device that supports IFTTT!

Scheduling Flexibility 

Although all controllers enable you to set in a watering plan, some provide you more flexibility than others. Make sure the controller can give the watering schedule you want if you need to utilize especially sophisticated schedules.

Automatic Scheduling 

One of the best features of automatic watering systems is that they can improve your water supply by taking into account your local weather and surroundings. Sometimes, however, they might over-water your plants. 

Still, the automatic system can forgo watering when it rains – which is a nice benefit. If that seems like a feature you want in your sprinkler controller, you should look for smart sprinkler controllers. 

Conclusion 

Buying a sprinkler controller is an efficient way to save time, money, and water. These controllers make maintaining your yard so much easier, and they are technologically hassle-free to operate. 

The number of options available in the market can be confusing for gardening enthusiasts who do not already have a sprinkler controller. Thus, you must carefully choose from our recommendations of the best sprinkler controller in the market.  

Bonus Read: Getting organized with your garden tools is one of the best ways to enhance your gardening experience. Glance through these garden tool storage organisers to get started!

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