Best Smart Sprinkler Controller: Reviews, Buying Guide and FAQs 2021

by Izaz Ahmad

Having a big green yard with bright flowers and a small kitchen garden in the corner sounds appealing to everyone. But, between work and personal life people barely have time to look after their gardens nowadays.

It's like they say, necessity is the mother of inventions. You need something but it is tough for you to accomplish it? Boom! Here's a gadget that will solve all your problems. Difficulty seeing in the dark? Bulbs were invented. Have trouble communicating with your loved ones that live far away? Telephones came into the picture.

Similarly, smart sprinklers were introduced for people who would like to have a huge garden in their backyard but have no time to get invested in it. Once you buy a smart sprinkler, you can see your dream of a big green yard be coming true very soon. Smart sprinklers work by managing your plants for you. But who is going to manage the smart sprinkler? Boom! Smart sprinkler controllers it is!

Once you have invested in a good smart sprinkler controller, you can sit back and relax. Watch how efficiently this artwork of science does its work without you having to worry about a single thing. It does not only water your garden for you, it also controls a million other things.

Eager to know more? Following is a list of benefits that are offered by smart sprinkler controllers:

  • It cuts down the wastage of water by a considerable amount.
  • It enhances the beauty of your garden by adjusting to its needs and giving it exactly what it needs.
  • It saves money in the long run by reducing the cost of water utility bills.
  • It gives you full control of itself through an app. You can monitor it while sitting anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the app.
  • It can sense the weather and so it acts accordingly in a manner most suitable for the plants.

These are only a few advantages that I decided to highlight. In reality, the benefits of having a smart sprinkler controller are much more than the ones you just read. This is one of the best investments for lawn lovers, so, if you would like to own a green garden you should think about getting yourself a smart sprinkler controller.

To help you search for the best smart sprinkler controller in the market, I have made a list of the top 5 smart sprinkler controllers. Each of them is critically analyzed and I have combined their features and their pros and cons.

Continue reading to know my take on these 5 best smart sprinkler controllers:

Top 5 Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers:

Top 5 Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers:
Top 5 Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers:

1. Rain Bird ST81-2.0 - Link

Rain Bird ST8I-2.0 Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler/Irrigation System Timer/Controller, WaterSense Certified, 8-Zone/Station, Compatible with Amazon Alexa (2.0 replaces Obsolete ST8I-WIFI)
Rain Bird ST8I-2.0 Smart Indoor WiFi Sprinkler/Irrigation System Timer/Controller, WaterSense Certified, 8-Zone/Station, Compatible with Amazon Alexa (2.0 replaces Obsolete ST8I-WIFI)

If your lawn is small to medium-sized, this smart sprinkler controller might be just the right choice for you. It is capable of controlling around 8 various zones. With the Rain Bird smart sprinkler controller you can choose between 4 different options for watering days i.e. alternate days, odd or even days, every 2 to 15 days, or you can design a fully custom option for yourself as well. Isn't that amazing?

You can connect it with Amazon Alexa, your Android device, or your Apple device since it is compatible with all. It also serves its basic purpose which is to schedule the watering days according to the atmospheric conditions. This includes weather, soil conditions, vapor content in the air, and temperature.

Furthermore, it has a rich onboard control which gives it a tough build and so it is considered to be very durable. Moreover, if you have enabled notifications of its app on your smartphone, you can receive updates about whatever is happening while sitting anywhere in the world.

Let's have a look at the pros and cons of this Rain Bird smart sprinkler controller.

Pros:

  • Compared with the features it has to offer, it is fairly reasonable and light on the pocket.
  • I will give it bonus points for its capability to sensor rain.
  • It is easy to install and only requires the use of 3 screws to be mounted at most.
  • It comes with a comprehensive instruction manual.
  • It is durable.
  • It will make seasonal adjustments according to the weather automatically.

Cons:

  • It does not support 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
  • If you don't have a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal, you can't control this through the app.
  • It is not possible to run more than one valve in the same zone.
  • Some people may find an issue in reading the display as the contrast is not very readable.
  • It is not compatible with Apple's Home Kit.

2. Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Controller - Link

Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR Smart 16-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa, Gray
Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR Smart 16-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa, Gray

The orbit sprinkler controller is another one of the best options for smart sprinkler controllers in the market. It has been given a positive rating by over 500 customers worldwide. Just like the others, you can connect it with an app on your smartphone and control everything through it such as watering schedules and setting durations. It is suitable for both, outdoor and indoor environments.

One of the best features of this device is that you can totally rely on it for creating a customized plan for setting timers. It will itself analyze the weather conditions, the soil type, and the amount of sun received by your plants and then come up with a timer accordingly. And, it can control up to 12 different zones.

Another one of its features that is loved by the users is that it provides clear and complete directions. Therefore, saving the hectic of learning about a new system and adjusting to it. You won't require much time to get hold of this one.

Now let's give you a more detailed insight into this smart sprinkler controller by listing down some of its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It offers ease of installation.
  • Its casing is weatherproof so it will not be affected by too much rain or excessive sunlight.
  • It supports dual-band Wi-Fi.
  • It is easily manageable.
  • Its valve controller is exceptionally good.
  • Its Wi-Fi range is up to 200 feet which is great considering you want to use it to irrigate your backyard.

Cons:

  • It is operated on restricted weather data.
  • The weather report it gives does not show the temperature.
  • It is heavier compared to its alternatives.
  • It sometimes faces difficulty in connecting to the Wi-Fi.

3. Orbit B-hyve 8 Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller - Link

Orbit B-hyve 8-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller
Orbit B-hyve 8-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller

Talking about the best smart sprinkler controllers, this one from Orbit does not fall from the list either. If your budget is less but you want your smart sprinkler controller to have all the great features, you should consider buying this one. It costs $68.70 only which is really inexpensive if compared to other sprinkler controllers on the list.

As it is evident by its name, it is more suitable if you are looking to control up to 8 zones. It is compatible with both, Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant. The thing that I like the most about this sprinkler controller is that it can work just fine without being connected to the Wi-Fi as well. All you need to do is ensure that the settings have been adjusted beforehand.

It also comes with a built-in spike suppressor so, in case of a spike in voltage, the protection of your device is 100% guaranteed. I feel like this is one of the most important features and more devices should incorporate this in their models. Losing such an expensive device due to a spike in voltage is definitely not affordable!

There are a lot of things that you need to know about the Orbit B-hyve 8 Zone smart sprinkler controller. So, mentioned below are some pros and cons of this product.

Pros:

  • You can connect it to an external rain sensor.
  • The controller will efficiently carry out its function even without an internet connection if you have previously saved the settings.
  • You can access all of the B-hyve app's features completely free of cost. There are no hidden charges.
  • You can schedule up to 4 zones differently from each other.

Cons:

  • The sprinkler does not support 5G Wi-Fi. It can be connected to a 2.5 GHz Wi-Fi network only.
  • Some users find it intrusive since it requires them to create an account on their servers in order to connect it with the app.

4. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller - Link

Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi, Weather aware, Remote access, 6 Zone, Compatible with Alexa
Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi, Weather aware, Remote access, 6 Zone, Compatible with Alexa

Who doesn't like themselves a clean, green, and healthy garden? Even if you just have a small lawn but you'd like to keep it maintained without wanting to get too involved, this smart sprinkler controller by Netro might be the one for you! It is designed for small areas since it is capable of controlling 6 zones only but that does not mean you will have to compromise on its features. It is designed just as goodly as the rest of the sprinklers in this list.

To start with its basic qualities, it is eco-friendly. This means that it does not allow unnecessary usage of water. It prevents excessive water wastage by adjusting according to the weather updates and statistics. Furthermore, it also adjusts its settings as per the water rules in your neighborhood and acts accordingly.

You can sit back and relax as owning this smart sprinkler controller by Netro means you don't have to worry about your garden anymore. It will do the job more efficiently than anyone else could. For me, its best feature has to be that it can only be turned on using the app. This ensures that controlling the sprinkler is entirely in the palm of your hands.

But that's not it. There are only so many things that I can tell you about a product. So, I have summarized some of its pros and cons below.

Pros:

  • It is super easy to install. It hardly takes 15 minutes to 20 minutes to install this sprinkler and you don't need any professionals to come and do it for you.
  • It is operable on solar energy. This means that if it has had enough sunlight throughout the day, you won't need to recharge or replace its battery at all.
  • It helps in water conservation. This is honestly one of its biggest pros for me considering how essential it has now become to preserve water.

Cons:

  • It does not allow a physical interface with the unit. This is a con for many people since people would sometimes like to adjust some settings directly through the unit.
  • Even though Netro claims that it will auto-connect after a power failure but a lot of people have found this claim to be untrue.

5. Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller - Link

Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart 12-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa
Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart 12-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa

Even though this is the last one on the list, it does not indicate it is any less than the rest of them. It is one of the best that you can get your hands on if you are looking for a sprinkler that can control up to 12 zones.

It brings you full control at the palm of your hands, no matter how far away from home you are. The B-hyve app works perfectly fine on both, android and Apple devices. It is functional on Windows as well which is a plus point especially because it means you can control your sprinkler through your laptop as well.

This sprinkler also offers protection against damage caused by weather as it comes in a weather-resistant case. This ensures that your sprinkler is protected against any potential harm.

Now let's look at a list of its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It is compatible with both, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • You can install it yourself without needing a professional to help you, it is that easy to install.
  • The device allows you to connect a rain sensor to it.
  • The wire connectors are also very easy to use.

Cons:

  • The B-hyve app is reported to lag and crash often.
  • The app is not user-friendly so it takes time to know your way around it.
  • It does not notify you right before it starts watering your plants. It creates difficulty in keeping a check and balance.

So, these were some best options in the market for smart sprinkler controllers. Even though this may have helped you in narrowing down your choices, there is still a lot that you need to know.

To further help you make the best choice, let's address some frequently asked questions about smart sprinkler controllers. Your mind might be flooding with questions too at the moment but not for long. Show a little more patience and continue reading this article.

The following questions were all asked by people interested in investing in a smart sprinkler controller and are answered by the experts only. So you can absolutely rely on it!

Without any further ado, let's get into it!

Smart Sprinkler Controller Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Water Can The Smart Sprinkler Controller Save?

Using a smart sprinkler controller to preserve water is a great idea. The consumption of water in every household is huge and so it is high time that we start looking into methods of conserving water.

Most smart sprinkler controllers can reduce your water usage by up to 20%. This results in a decrease in water utility bills as well. Saving water AND saving money? Sounds like a pretty good package to me!

Do I Need A Landscape Professional To Install My Smart Sprinkler Controller?

The answer to this question varies on the type of your smart sprinkler controller. Every type has a different complexity. Some might be tougher to install than others. But to install even the simplest of a smart sprinkler controller, you ought to have some basic knowledge about electrical.

If you don't possess knowledge about electrical, I would suggest you to hire a landscape professional. It is a safer and more reliable option. The professional will get the job perfectly done in a couple of hours.

If you do have that knowledge, you will probably not encounter any problem in installing a smart sprinkler controller that claims it is easy to install. Just follow the guidelines that are mentioned in the instruction manual, and you are good to go!

Why Should I Buy A Weather-Proof Smart Sprinkler Controller?

Well, buying a weather-proof smart sprinkler controller is totally up to you. But it also depends on where you intend on placing your timer. Most people prefer it to be placed outside which means getting a weather-proof smart sprinkler controller is a safer choice for them.

If your sprinkler controller is weather-proof, it will protect it in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, snow, or sandstorm. Smart sprinkler controllers are more of a long-term investment so it is better to spend on a weather-proof one because you are not going to replace it frequently, right?

How To Determine The Number Of Zones That Are Ideal For Me?

Reading through the list of top smart sprinkler controllers, you may have noticed one thing that kept repeating. The number of zones the sprinkler controller can manage. Some of you may not know how it is important and that's totally okay. Because that is what I am here for, right?

Before investing in a new sprinkler controller, you need to find out the number of zones that your sprinkler system has. This is important because it ensures that all the required areas are being watered sufficiently. If you buy a smart sprinkler controller that has lesser zones than your sprinkler system, all necessary areas won't be watered!

The prices of sprinkler controllers also vary according to the number of zones they are capable of managing. The greater the number of zones, the higher the price. Therefore, determine what you need and then opt for purchasing the right sprinkler system for you!

Can I Run Two Valves on A Single Zone?

The point of purchasing a smart sprinkler controller is that all your necessary zones are watered sufficiently. Running two valves on a single zone will not fulfill this purpose and so it is not recommended.

Running two valves at once will decrease the overall pressure and quantity of water. Therefore, it will disturb the pattern of your irrigation. So, make sure to always run one valve per zone only.

Can I Use A Smart Sprinkler Controller Without An Internet Connection?

You manage your sprinkler controller by installing its app on your phone and connecting it to the app. Without having internet access, this won't be possible. As it will stop you from making or adjusting any settings.

Some sprinkler controllers keep performing their function even without an internet connection if the settings were saved. But then again, you will need a Wi-Fi connection to make the adjustments.

Therefore, no. You cannot use a smart sprinkler controller if you don't have an internet connection at your place.

How Does The Rain Delay Feature Work?

The rain delay feature is supposed to be turned on by the user if there are any predictions for rain. This will postpone the watering if it was scheduled at the time of rain. It helps you in staying one step ahead otherwise it would have led to overwatering of the plants. And we all know how harmful it is, don't we?

Conclusion Smart Sprinkler Controller Buyers

These were the questions frequently asked by first-time buyers. I am hoping this was helpful for you as it may have cleared many queries of your own. So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on a smart sprinkler controller that is the most suitable for you. It is finally time for you to bring that lifelong dream of yours to life of owning a green, lively, and beautiful garden!

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