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In today’s world of technology, it seems almost anything is possible and the list of devices that help us run our lives more efficiently continues to expand. Technology has touched virtually every consumer market and the home and garden segment is no exception, particularly with smart sprinkler controllers.
Smart sprinkler controllers offer consumers a great opportunity to manage their lawn duties in a totally different way.
Using a smart controller allows you to connect to the controller within your home via Wi-Fi and remotely adjust a number of lawn irrigation settings. You can use the controller to set automatic controls for a totally maintenance free experience or you can manually adjust settings.
Additionally, some smart controllers can actually adjust settings based on the current or forecasted weather as well.
Bottom Line Up Front: Of all the smart sprinklers, I personally prefer the Rachio system available here. Rachio has…
- The best Ease of Use
- remote App Control
- Most integrations with other smart home devices
2019 UPDATE: To read more about my top choices for 2019, check out this roundup guide.
This additional functionality offers a range of benefits for homeowners and commercial property owners alike. It means you can efficiently control when your irrigation system waters your lawn no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. This saves a tremendous amount of energy and water over the long-term and results in a significant amount of cost savings for property owners.
Additionally, it allows the job of irrigating your lawn to be done in the most efficient manner possible based on current weather conditions as opposed to what your schedule allows. Of course, this often results in a much healthier and better-looking lawn as well by ensuring your grass gets the proper irrigation at the right times.
There are many different types of smart irrigation controllers available on the market. Many of them offer similar functionality but with many different features and specific advantages or disadvantages. Below are a few of the models that we think offers the best value to consumers. All of them are solid quality products but with slightly different features that may make one better than another for your individual needs.
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The RainMachine 8 Smart Sprinkler Controller is a great option for individuals that are looking to take advantage of the convenience and cost savings a smart controller can offer. This controller works by monitoring and compiling information from several weather reporting sources to determine what the appropriate level of irrigation is for your lawn. It automatically adjusts not only the amount of water used but also the schedule of irrigation as well.
This provides you with a supremely efficient mechanism to handle the watering duties for your lawn based on actual current weather conditions as well as what the forecasted weather is in the coming days. The RainMachine 8 not only saves you money and adds a nice level of convenience to your life; it also helps produce a healthier and greener lawn.
It is compatible with Windows, Android and iOS phones or tablets and you can see a detailed analysis of your lawn irrigation from any internet capable device. The unit is EPA WaterSense Certified and it comes with a modern and sleek appearance that is attractive. It can control up to eight irrigation zones, although it can be expanded to twelve or sixteen by upgrading to a different model.
Rachio 2nd Generation
The Second Generation Rachio Smart Controller is specifically designed to capture and maximize cost savings as well as convenience. It has been given many mentions and awards by different publications and organizations in the industry as well. The unit is EPA WaterSense Certified and Rachio even took things a step further by SWAT testing the device with several independent testing agencies to ensure it provides a reliable consumer experience.
The second generation unit can manage up to sixteen different zones and it comes with a free app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The Rachio constantly monitors the weather services for the latest weather updates and current conditions and then adjusts the irrigation schedule for your lawn based on the information received.
One of the best features the Rachio offers is it is easy to install and setup even if you do not have any experience with this type of device. For a complete novice, it only takes about thirty minutes to swap your old controller with a new Rachio unit.
If you already have a home automation system the Rachio seamlessly integrates with many of them such as Alexa, Nexia, Control4 and Next, among others. The unit is built inside the USA and it is known as a quality device that provides reliable functionality.
The Skydrop Smart Sprinkler Controller (read my full review here!) can control eight zones but you can expand it all the way up to sixteen. It allows you to have separate settings for each individual sprinkler within your irrigation system so you can literally have completely different schedules for each zone.
It has an integrated cloud service to take advantage of up-to-date weather information and it can run completely independent without any input at all from the user, making its own watering schedules based on current information.
The Skydrop is one of the more attractive looking units on the market and has an interactive user interface that allows you to control all settings from the device itself. While accessing the unit controls via Wi-Fi from a phone or tablet is convenient, it is also nice to be able to use direct controls as well. A feature that sets the Skydrop apart from other units is its ability to limit water usage on particular days or weeks.
If you live in a place where the local government limits irrigation times then you can easily put these settings into the Skydrop and let it automatically handle everything.
The unit comes with a solid two-year warranty and its ease of use and simple setup will please many consumers.
Hydrawise (read my full review here!) is a well-known name in the smart sprinkler controller market and the Hydrawise Smart Controller offers consumers an excellent value for a very affordable price. It is capable of handling the irrigation duties for up to twelve zones and automatically adjusts the watering schedule and amounts based on current weather forecasts. It connects via Wi-Fi and is compatible with any iOS or Android based internet capable device.
Additionally, you can access the controller settings from any computer via the Hydrawise website so no matter where you are in the world, making adjustments is just a few clicks away. Not many smart sprinkler controllers offer manual controls but with the Hydrawise you can use manual adjustments or program the controller to handle all the work, it’s all up to you.
The controller is not weather resistant so if you are planning on mounting a unit outdoors that is exposed to the elements then this unit is not a good fit. You get almost all of its features free of charge simply by purchasing the unit but Hydrawise does offer an upgraded membership which is called the enthusiast plan. This unlocks several features that make ownership even more convenient such as the ability to see historical data that is relevant to your irrigation system and the ability to manage multiple controllers.
Product Comparison Chart:
|Smart Watering Auto Schedule||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Android & iOS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|EPA WaterSense Certified||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Each controller above offers its own small advantages or disadvantages to ownership.
However, choosing any of the models above will without question offer you additional convenience and allow you cost savings that simply wasn’t before.
All of these controllers are produced and offered by well-known names in the home and garden industry with years of quality products in their product lines.
If still in doubt… I’d go with the Rachio available here.