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Lawn maintenance might be one of the most monotonous chores on the to-do list: cut the grass, water it, repeat the process ad infinitum. But listen, it doesn’t have to be boring or time-consuming anymore. Technology has come a long way since the good old water hose was invented and now your once-thirsty lawn can practically water itself with a smart sprinkler controller.
Purchasing the best smart sprinkler controller is a luxury, to be sure and it’s not as if it’s impossible to properly irrigate your grass without one. But it will optimize the process, adjusting automatically to rainfall and drastically decreasing the amount of time you spend worrying about—and watering—your lawn. So, if an irrigation controller is a luxury you can afford, keep reading for more information on the tool that could very well transform (and shrink!) your to-do list.
- Most convenient WiFi sprinkler controller: Eve Aqua
- Best small sprinkler controller: Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Best sprinkler controller for a large lawn: Spruce Irrigation 16-zone WiFi Sprinkler Controller
- Best weatherproof sprinkler controller: Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Most compatible WiFi irrigation controller: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Best smart sprinkler controller under $90: AISIRER Smart Sprinkler Controller
Lawn care made easy
The traditional American lawn often represents more than just grass. It’s a symbol of success in pursuit of the American Dream, a way to “keep up with the Joneses,” and a demonstration of the fact that you, too, have taste, civility, and ample free time.
Of course, there’s one huge problem with this timeless trend: Not all ecosystems are predisposed to support the growth of green grass, and not all homeowners have the time or money to artificially prop up lawns that would otherwise die. Enter the smart sprinkler controller: one very handy invention that’s making all that upkeep a whole lot easier.
If you’ve attempted to water and irrigate your yard by hand, you know that lawn irrigation is something of an art form. It feels impossible to discern whether the grass is over- or under-watered, and planning your day around a watering schedule is usually inconvenient. However, sprinkler systems can change all of that, and with something as simple as an irrigation controller, you’ll be on your way to lawn care bliss in no time at all.
Convenience is key
The most important perk of purchasing a smart sprinkler controller is probably convenience. Without a lawn irrigation system, you’re tied to a schedule, doing everything manually, and just plain tired. But with an irrigation system, you’re a free bird. Imagine setting up a schedule with the tap of a button on your iPhone, and just as easily pausing the irrigation if unexpected rain comes your way. Life truly can be that easy—if you purchase the right smart sprinkler system.
Most convenient WiFi sprinkler controller: Eve Aqua
The Eve app makes the Eve Aqua a no-brainer in terms of convenience. It’s tough to beat the level of ease that comes with being able to control everything from your phone. Plus, this system doesn’t require you to register and won’t track you or your data, meaning your privacy stays intact.
Small lawns need irrigation, too
If you think smart sprinkler controllers are only for people with massive lawns, think again. Admittedly, it does take longer to water a large lawn by hand, but if we’re talking about the planning aspect of setting up an irrigation system, small and large yards are on pretty even footing (after all, just because my lawn is half the size of yours, doesn’t mean it will take me any less time to sync the Bluetooth, or plan out my watering times). With that in mind, there are some smart sprinklers that are slightly more appropriate for smaller lawns—specifically, we’re talking about zone capacity. Because smaller lawns need less coverage, you can go ahead with fewer zones on your irrigation system, which will really help you out if you’re looking to save some money.
Best small sprinkler controller: Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
The Netro is all about an eco-friendly approach to lawn maintenance. Using weather forecasting technology, it helps adjust your watering schedule in order to optimize your water usage. It’s also fully automatic, for maximum convenience.
For larger lawns, look for more zones
In terms of manual labor, the larger a lawn is, the more work it requires. But put that assumption aside when it comes to smart sprinkler controllers because, with this advanced technology, the sky’s pretty much the limit when it comes to how much lawn can be cultivated. As long as your new irrigation system has the capacity (or a number of zones) to provide your lawn with adequate coverage, you should be good to go.
Best sprinkler controller for a large lawn: Spruce Irrigation 16-zone WiFi Sprinkler Controller
Fully automated, and utilizing hyper-local climate adjusters thanks to an advanced weather algorithm, this is the water irrigation system your large lawn needs. Simply establish your new system with the Spruce Setup Wizard, then sit back, relax, and let this 16-zone controller run the show.
What if you want something that’s waterproof?
One very important detail about lawn irrigation systems is that while the actual sprinkler heads are, obviously, waterproof, the control panel often is not. That means you have to protect it from the elements, most easily by installing it inside. But what if you want a system that’s housed totally outdoors? That, my friends, is where a weatherproof smart sprinkler controller comes in.
Best weatherproof sprinkler controller: Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Controller
Like most other smart sprinklers, the Orbit B-hyve is smart enough to adjust to weather patterns, plan accordingly, and thus, save you money on your water bill. But unlike many others, it also comes with a waterproof case, so you can mount your control panel outside without needing a protective box. Set up shop wherever you like, then control the entire system from your smartphone.
Here’s why compatibility matters
When you’re purchasing a new piece of tech for your home, it’s important to consider how compatible it stands to be with the setup you already have in place. If you’re a Google Home person, or do lots of your chores via Amazon Alexa, why not add one more—lawn care—to the list? Smart sprinkler controllers—and smart tools of any kind, for that matter—exist to make your life more seamless, not less. So, look out for lawn irrigation systems that might work with what you’ve already got going. With so many choices, there’s no reason you can’t find a perfect (or near-perfect) match.
Most compatible WiFi irrigation controller: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
The Rachio 3 might sound a little intimidating, but don’t be fooled: It’s just as easy to use as any other system, and a high compatibility score means it will be that much more likely to work with whatever setup you already have in place. It works with practically every piece of tech you might want to utilize: the Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, Nest, SmartThings, IFTTT, rain and soil sensors, and more. Plus, hyperlocal weather intelligence guarantees super specific (and effective!) treatment for your lawn.
Watering your lawn doesn’t have to be super costly
At the end of the day, smart sprinkler controllers are a luxury, not a necessity. The more gadgets a technological tool has, the more expensive it tends to be. And with a lawn tool such as a smart sprinkler controller, the basic function is the same, regardless of brand—meaning that the price isn’t likely to fluctuate too wildly. That said, there are some cost-saving measures you can take, like looking for a system with less zone coverage, slower WiFi speed, or without weather prediction technology.
Best smart sprinkler controller under $90: AISIRER Smart Sprinkler Controller
With eight zones of coverage, WiFi capabilities, and an easy installation process, this lawn irrigation system is on par with others that cost more. While $90 certainly isn’t cheap, it’s a step down in price from the rest of the products on this list. Ultimately, a smart sprinkler controller will never come close to the price of simply watering your lawn by hand— even if it does save you money in the long run with water-saving technologies.
Q: How do smart sprinkler controllers work?
Smart sprinkler controllers operate via a WiFi system that allows users to control when the sprinkler system turns on and off. Simply place sprinkler heads throughout the yard to ensure adequate coverage, set up the control panel, and voilà!
Q: What to look for in a smart sprinkler controller?
Though all smart sprinkler controllers operate via a WiFi or Bluetooth setup, there are small variations in brands—for instance, how many sprinkler heads a system can support, or whether or not the control panel is weatherproof. Paying attention to these details will help ensure that you get even coverage and help to determine where to install your control panel for optimal use.
Q: How long do sprinkler controllers last?
Like any other piece of technology, no smart sprinkler controller will last forever. It will, however, last at least five years if you take care of it properly and protect the wiring from corrosion, which is the most vulnerable component.
The final word on choosing the best smart sprinkler controller
Smart sprinkler controllers are a key tool in simplifying your lawn maintenance. With a little research under your belt, you’ll soon be equipped to choose the right water irrigation system for your lawn or outdoor space. One less chore, a lot more free time. Now that’s refreshing!