The Best Wifi Sprinkler Controller to Create a Lush Lawn

Best Wifi Sprinkler Controller - Reviews & Buying Guide 2017

Maintaining a lush, green lawn takes a lot of work. If you want to automate some of the maintenance, the best Wifi sprinkler controller does the work for you. These controllers allow you to set schedules for watering and determines if you need watering based on the upcoming forecast.

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Rank

Product Name

Our Score

1

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

96
/100

2

RainMachine Touch HD-12

93
/100

3

Orbit 57946 B-Hyve 6-Station System Controller

91
/100

4

Netro Smart 12-Zone Wifi Sprinkler Controller

88
/100

5

Rain Bird ST81

85
/100

5 Choices for the Best Wifi Sprinkler Controller

1. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler has two options available for users: an eight-zone and a 16-zone model. It is one of the highest rated wifi sprinkler controllers because of its wide range of customizable and intelligent watering schedules. Users love how easy it is to use, and the app is the most comprehensive on the market. It allows you to control all of your sprinklers anywhere in the world.

Rachio includes little features that you will appreciate. For example, the app sends an alert before turning on the sprinklers. You could then turn the sprinklers off if you have a party outside or if you just don’t think the lawn needs more water. If you want a sprinkler controller that offers advanced options, the Rachio offers more customization than any other choice. It even calculates different schedules for your perennials versus your grass; that is impressive!

PROS:

  • Setup is easy and requires no screwdrivers.
  • Designed to reduce your water usage and save you money when it skips watering due to rain.
  • Optimizes schedule based on your lawn, type of grass and plants, sun exposure, and soil type.
  • Pairs with your Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Water schedule changes based on up-to-date weather forecast.
  • The app allows you to control the Rachio through your Android or iOS.
  • It is an EPA WaterSense Certified sprinkler controller!

CONS:

  • The app has trouble working, at times.
  • Can lose Wifi connection at times because there is no wired connection. When it loses connection, it cannot adapt to current forecasts. It will still work.
  • You cannot put it outdoors unless you purchase a waterproof case.
  • It is pricier than other choices.

2. RainMachine Touch HD-12

While the RainMachine Touch may not be the newest product on the block, thousands still appreciate the features it offers homeowners. It features an entirely localized system, only using the internet connection to access the National Weather Service. You can control everything from the built-in display, your smartphone or your computer. Homeowners can also integrate it with your Alexa or other smart systems!

The RainMachine does take more time to configure, but that is because you set each program manually. You pick the times you want to water each zone of your lawn. It gives the ultimate control over to the homeowner. There are three different watering features: cycle & soak, weather data, and the delay between zones. The cycle and soak allow the water a chance to seep into the ground. The weather data reduces your watering based on your current weather, but you do have to set a maximum watering time. Delay does what you think and is great for yards with poor drainage.

The main reason why the RainMachine isn’t the top choice is because of the price. You do pay a significant amount of money without receiving a lot of additional features. However, it is one of the highest rated choices and is a stronger contender when compared to the Rachio.

PROS:

  • The integrated system wants you to reduce your water usage by up to 80%!
  • You can get weather updated from different resources even your local weather station.
  • Installation takes only 15 minutes.
  • It is EPA WaterSense Certified.
  • The system includes a 6.5” touchscreen display.

CONS:

  • The setup requires a bit more time than others.
  • It is much more expensive than other brands.
  • Users have trouble with the app frequently.

3. Orbit 57946 B-Hyve 6-Station System Controller

Don’t let the cheaper price tag deter you from the Orbit B-Hyve! It offers you the functionality that is similar to the more expensive controllers. Once you set up the Orbit, you can put in data that is important for your lawn. Then, the system determines the best watering schedule for your needs. The Orbit allows you to schedule based on 6 or 12 zones!

On top of those great features, the Orbit is easy to install and comes at an affordable price tag. If you don’t have hundreds to spend, there is no reason to go without a Wifi sprinkler controller or to blow your budget. Just know that, due to the price, it will lack some of the customization other systems offer.

PROS:

  • It is very easy to install indoors and outdoors.
  • The technology adjusts to your current local weather and future forecasts.
  • The app works for Android and iOS systems.
  • It is EPA WaterSense Certified.
  • The Orbit syncs with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to water later to compensate.

CONS:

  • Allows a maximum of 12 zones.
  • It doesn’t allow you to integrate with home automation systems.
  • At times, the app doesn’t work as well as designed.

4. Netro Smart 12-Zone Wifi Sprinkler Controller

Netro is the newest release on the market taking homeowners and gardeners by storm. The reviews, so far, are stellar, showing that it is a great choice. Since it is new, you can expect it to offer the best technology. It goes beyond just learning your local weather and season changes.

The Netro first focuses on reducing as much unnecessary water usage as possible, while still keeping your garden and lawn healthy. Unlike other systems, you don’t have to worry about any tune-ups; the Netro does everything itself. It is fully automatic and lets you design your watering schedules based on your zones. However, the controller will change the watering based on the latest weather forecast.

PROS:

  • Installation is easy, taking less than 15 minutes, and requiring no tools.
  • The app allows you to control and adjust your watering schedule from anywhere. You also can monitor water usage.
  • Netro also complies with your local water conservation regulations.
  • The water technology saves up to 50%.
  • Netro recognizes over 1000 species of plants in its library.

CONS:

  • It works with up to only 12 zones. Depending on your yard size, that may not be enough.
  • Depending on your location, the Netro may underwater your yards.
  • It doesn’t support systems like Alexa.

5. Rain Bird ST81i

The last choice we selected is the Rain Bird ST81i. It is a simple and affordable controller, acting as a drop-in replacement for your current system. You can use it with Wifi and Bluetooth, allowing you to configure it to your local network. Like other choices, there is an app for iOS and Android, which receives high reviews. You do have to make sure it is compatible with your device. It only works for iOS 6 or greater and Android 4.4 (and later). If you are using other versions or other smart devices, you won’t be able to use the app as you want.

The ST81i is straightforward sprinkler controller. It is ideal for those with smaller yards because it has an eight zone limit. The app lets you set the days you want to water and create a schedule for each of the zones. You also can open up the app and stop or start the sprinklers whenever you want! However, the Rain Bird lets you pick the schedule and forget about it for weeks at a time.

PROS:

  • Installing the controller is easy, as well as programming.
  • Features automatic adjustments for the local weather forecast. All you have to do is put in your area. It will reduce the water you use.
  • Unlike other sprinkler controllers, the app is dependable and works well.

CONS:

  • Only offers scheduling for 8-zones
  • It doesn’t offer home automation integration.
  • Unlike other controllers, there is no EPA WaterSense Certification.
  • No included warranty.

How Does a Smart Sprinkler Controller Work?

If you are new to these sprinklers, you might be a bit confused. A Wifi sprinkler controller works with your existing sprinkler system. Most standard 24VAC valves work perfectly for these controllers. These controllers allow you to program the watering cycle. Because of technology, you don’t just pick the time and day! You can control certain zones and create unique watering schedules based on your sun exposure, soil type and more.

On top of the automation and customization, sprinkler controllers connect to weather stations. If rain is in your forecast, the controllers will adjust your watering schedule. It is one of the best ways to reduce your water consumption. That is going to save you money, and everyone loves to save money!

What Features Should You Want?

As you can tell, there are several amazing products when you search for a Wifi sprinkler controller. Smart watering is taking the place of traditional watering around the world. With water shortages in many places around the water, Wifi sprinkler controllers allow us to keep the lawn and garden we want while reducing our water consumption and bill.
Here are the features that should influence your decision.

1. Easy to Install:

The first thing you want to determine is how easy is it to install. Do you need tools to install the controller or is it a tool-free installation? Most of the controllers are fairly easy to install, taking less than 30 minutes. Take a moment to read reviews and see if people struggle to install and program the controller.

Easy to install optimized wifi sprinkler controller

2. Real-Time Weather Integration:

You want a Wifi sprinkler controller that can sync up with live, local weather feeds automatically. These controllers should be able to control to the National Weather Service or NOAA. Weather integration is critical; it makes sure you aren’t wasting water by watering right before a rainstorm. It should also consider temperature, humidity levels, and other environmental conditions.

3. Zone Capabilities:

Wifi sprinkler controller zones

Another important feature is how the sprinkler controller handles multiple zones. During installation, you will divide your property into “zones.” The better choice for sprinkler controllers offers multiple zones, which means you can properly manage all of your property. You can pick zones with different plants to receive more or less water. Some systems allow you to include information like grass type, soil type, and more.

4. The Wifi System:

Look at if there is a way to hook up a wired network to the sprinkler controller. At times, your Wifi may be shaky due to weather or other factors. Hooking up the controller to a wired network ensures the internet connection is always steady.

5. Watering Features and Customization:

Some sprinkler controllers give you more customization than others. You can adjust watering level and change your timing for the watering for each zone. The best controllers let you adjust each zones based on several factors. While creating the customization can make installation take longer, you will get the most out of your controller. A good sprinkler controller lets you set up and forget about it.

6. Saving Water:

Sprinkler controllers allow you to decrease the amount of water that you use. Ideally, your choice would save your money by decreasing your water bill. Water conservation also is environmentally friendly, perfect for those areas where you need to monitor your water consumption.

5. Does It Have an App?

Most Wifi sprinkler controllers come with an app. It should work with your system, whether it is an iOS or Android. You want to be able to control and monitor the sprinkler system from wherever you are. Ideally, you would also be able to stop the watering all together. Some controllers send alerts and notifications to your phone.

6. Price:

Without a doubt, the price is a factor for everyone. Wifi sprinkler controllers come in a wide range of price. Just because one is cheaper than another doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer you great features. While the more expensive system tends to have more features, the ones with the lower cost competitively offer good features.

The Ultimate Winner

Any of these could be your pick for a Wifi sprinkler controller, but one is the clear winner. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller allows you to integrate your intelligent home system and save as much water as possible. It is, by far, the most advanced option on the market. The app allows you to customize each of the schedules for the zones.

When creating your schedule, the Rachio also considers your plants, soil type, and grass type. The Rachio offers two choices, one with eight zones and one with 16 zones, impressive compared to the other controllers. The reviews don’t lie; the Rachio is loved by almost every homeowner who uses it!

No matter what you pick for a wifi sprinkler controller for your house, it is going to save you time and money. Your lawn will look lush and green with barely any effort on your part. Do your research to make sure you select the best choice.

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