Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers 2019: Buying Guide and Top 5
- Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers 2019: Buying Guide and Top 5
- What is a smart irrigation system?
- Who should get a smart sprinkler controller?
- How does a smart sprinkler controller work?
- Do I need to download an app to use it?
- Can I install it on my own or do I need a professional to do so?
- What type of power supply do smart sprinkler controllers need?
- How much water and money will I actually save each month?
- Which is the better controller range, WIFI or Bluetooth?
- Top Five Smart Sprinkler Controllers
- 5 Netro Sprite-06 Smart Sprinkler Controller
- 4 Rain Bird ST8I-WIFI Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler/Irrigation System
- 3 RainMachine Mini-8 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
- 2 Rachio 8ZULW Smart Sprinkler Controller
- 1 RainMachine HD-12 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
- A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Factors to Consider
- Features to Look For
Modern technology has surely made life easier for the modern homeowner. One useful device that has made yard and lawn maintenance a breeze is the smart sprinkler controller. If you’re looking for a way to conserve water and decrease your water bill, you should definitely look into upgrading your current sprinkler system by investing in a “smart one.”
What is a smart irrigation system?
Smart irrigation systems are a modern kind of home watering which uses smart technology to activate and operate the system. They are better than traditional water systems as they offer the added benefit of more customizable control over the schedule and timing of activation. Smart irrigation systems also monitor plant water use, weather and evaporation to determine the best times and duration of watering plants.
These systems are designed to conserve water use and increase the efficiency of sprinkler systems. They can be managed using smart sprinkler controllers.
Who should get a smart sprinkler controller?
Any home or property owner with a sprinkler system which is controlled by either an electronic or mechanical timer should think about getting one. Upgrading to a smart sprinkler controller is also a great way for people to easily keep their lawns in top shape as it prevents over and underwatering.
Busy people would also benefit from owning a smart sprinkler controller as they won’t have to make constant decisions on the watering of their lawns or yards as the device can make all the choices for them.
How does a smart sprinkler controller work?
Smart sprinkler controllers need to be connected to both an underground sprinkler system and your home’s Wifi to work (though the sprinklers can run on schedule even without an Internet connection).
It uses the Internet to get the latest data on the weather conditions around your area and adjusts the schedule and timer of the system depending on factors such as rain, humidity, and general temperatures. There are also models which account for the moisture level in your garden’s soil.
Do I need to download an app to use it?
Most smart sprinkler controllers require you to download a corresponding app on your mobile phone or tablet through which you can control your system from. Using the app, you can control your smart irrigation system even if you’re not home with just a push of a few buttons from setting up a schedule to turning the sprinklers on and off.
Can I install it on my own or do I need a professional to do so?
You can definitely replace your old irrigation controller with a smart sprinkler controller easily by yourself. Just search up a video tutorial online or follow the instructions you find with the device. Installation of the device to mobile app setup can usually take around 30 minutes.
What type of power supply do smart sprinkler controllers need?
Most controllers require an AC supply to power them. There are also other models which come with some extra batteries in case of power interruptions.
How much water and money will I actually save each month?
Some of the best smart sprinkler controller models can save you up to 50% in your monthly water bill by conserving gallons of water. Upgrading to a smart irrigation system is also proven to use around 20% less water than traditional irrigation systems.
Which is the better controller range, WIFI or Bluetooth?
If you want the freedom and convenience of being able to access and control your sprinkler system anywhere, then a smart sprinkler controller with a WIFI connection is the best choice. Controllers which use Bluetooth will only allow for a 30-meter radius where you can control your system. The latter can be restricting but stay at home moms will find this type sufficient enough to control their smart irrigation systems.
Top Five Smart Sprinkler Controllers
Here are five of the best smart sprinkler controllers you can find and buy online today. Check out what each has in store for you and pick the best one for your home.
5 Netro Sprite-06 Smart Sprinkler Controller
If you’re looking for a fully automatic smart sprinkler controller, you may want to consider choosing the Netro Sprite-06. This six-zone controller determines the most efficient watering schedule and duration for your yard using the latest weather data it accesses through the Internet. Ideally, you can let it run your watering system by itself with minimum input from you giving you more time to do other things around the house.
4 Rain Bird ST8I-WIFI Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler/Irrigation System
The Rain Bird ST8I may not look as modern as the other options on this list, but it still offers the same conveniences that smart sprinkler controllers do.
It offers an eight-zone watering coverage and allows users full control over settings and schedules which they can program in the device using the controller’s button pad itself or through the corresponding Rain Bird app.
Another great thing about the app is that it can control multiple smart sprinkler controllers if you have multiple systems installed.
3 RainMachine Mini-8 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
If you’re looking for a fuss-free device that can efficiently water a small yard or lawn, you may want to give the RainMachine Mini-8 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller a go.
It’s got a no-nonsense user interface that’ll make it easy for any user to set up and schedule up to eight zones in your smart irrigation system. Like other RainMachine products, it also comes with an iOS app which visually aids owners about weather forecasts and total water savings.
Our only complaint is that it doesn’t have a full smart watering feature yet.
2 Rachio 8ZULW Smart Sprinkler Controller
Rachio has been a trusted brand for smart irrigation systems, so you can bet that the Rachio 8ZULW Smart Sprinkler Controller is a trustworthy product.
This first generation sprinkler controller has the ability to generate its own customization and schedule depending on weather data around where you live making lawn maintenance a breeze. What more, you can command the controller via voice prompt as it’s also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.
Another one of its selling points is its guaranteed promise to save you 30% of your usual water bill.
1 RainMachine HD-12 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
The RainMachine HD-12 Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller is our top pick. It pretty much has everything you may want and need from a sprinkler controller packed in a well-designed product.
It’s got a touchscreen LCD where you can set up and customize the schedule of your sprinkler system. The HD-12 allows for a maximum of 12 sprinkler zones which would be enough to cover a medium to large lawn or yard.
But what we like best about the HD-12 is its corresponding iOS app through which you can also control your system. It shows you beautiful and easy to comprehend weather charts and graphics.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Smart Sprinkler Controller
Before you choose which smart sprinkler controller to purchase, here are some factors and features you may want to consider first.
Factors to Consider
Indoor vs. outdoor: Smart sprinkler controllers can be installed outdoors or indoors depending on your preference or needs. Indoor controllers usually require a power outlet to function and are not weather-resistant. Should you decide on an indoor model, know that they need at least 110-volt outlet to work. These models are usually installed in garages or patios for convenient access. Meanwhile, outdoor controllers require to be hard-wired to be powered. They also tend to come with weather-resistant casing to protect it from the elements.
Number of zones: Zones refer to the divided areas of your backyard or lawn after a sprinkler system is installed. In general, houses tend to have around two zones at least and nine at most. Be sure to get a smart sprinkler controller which can accommodate the number of zones you’re planning to have in your system.
Communicating range: This pertains to the range of communication that your smart device with the sprinkler controller. Controllers with Bluetooth connection allows around 30 feet of distance before your phone or tablet becomes out of range to control your sprinkler system. But if you find that too constricting, then you might want to buy a smart sprinkler controller that connects using Wifi or INSTEON so you can operate your system wherever you are.
Features to Look For
Customization: Some controllers will give you more options to customize your sprinkler setup than others. Good controllers will allow you to adjust the watering schedule of each zone based on multiple factors.
Rain sensor: Smart sprinkler controllers can also prevent the overwatering of plants if you live in a rainy area. Some controllers are equipped with rain sensors which monitor rain so the sprinkler system can activate or deactivate a watering cycle.
Scheduling: This feature will allow you set up the specific times and time length of each watering cycle. It also allows users to determine which days they want the sprinkler to activate.