person adjusting smart sprinkler controller
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Update, 01/12/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our picks for the best budget and best touch-screen smart sprinkler controllers.

What to Look for in a Smart Sprinkler Controller in 2023

A smart sprinkler controller makes it easy for you to manage your lawn. They’re capable of far more than just turning on or off your sprinklers with the press of a button, with controllers having a variety of features you can take advantage of.

Convenience and ease of use are the first factors you’ll want to consider. You want a sprinkler controller that’s easy to set up and control. You shouldn’t have to spend hours reading the manual or rearranging your yard just to get it to work. The best controllers will be user-friendly and intuitive.

Just as importantly, look for controllers that allow you to access its features in a way that’s best for you. This includes from your phone or another mobile device, a touch screen, an online interface, or voice control. If you want voice control, make sure the sprinkler controller is compatible with your voice assistant. You’ll also want to see if it integrates into your smart home ecosystem if you have one.

You should also be able to set schedules for your sprinklers to turn on and off. Some sprinklers can automatically adjust their schedules based on the weather, which is an impressive feature. They will use weather forecast services to accurately predict when your lawn needs watering and then adjust accordingly. Your smart sprinkler controller should also be able to track your water usage to help you stay on top of your consumption.

Not only do these features save on your water bill, but it also saves a lot of time and effort in turning your sprinkler schedules on and off manually based on the weather. Just getting rid of that frustration from many normal sprinkler controllers can be worth the upgrade to a smart one.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at the best smart sprinkler controllers available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a smart sprinkler controller with hoses?

Most smart sprinkler controllers are designed for professionally installed, underground irrigation systems. There are, however, a few hose-based controllers that are worth your money—such as the Orbit B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer discussed below.

Is a smart sprinkler controller worth it?
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For most people, yes. Not only do they save you time and give you additional functionality (such as remote control), but they can save you money by monitoring your local weather and adjusting your watering schedule.

Does a smart sprinkler controller save water?
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Yes. Opting for a smart sprinkler controller with a WaterSense designation can save you up to 15,000 gallons of water each year.

How do I set up a smart sprinkler system?
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Installation varies by product, although most will first ask you to download an accompanying app to your smartphone. This app will then guide you through the setup process and explain how to properly wire your product, connect to Wi-Fi, and activate your controller.

Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Overall: Rachio 3 16-Zone  Controller

Rachio 3 box on pink background
Rachio

Pros

  • Easy installation precise weather forecasting
  • Large number of useful features
  • Precise weather forecasting

Cons

  • On the pricer side

If you’re looking for a highly functional controller that could cut your water bill in half, then installing the Rachio 3 16-Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller is your best bet. It’s a bit expensive at $230, but the amount you’ll save on your water bill will make this worth every penny.

One of the controller’s best features is forecasting the local weather very precisely by using over 300,000 weather stations. This allows it to carefully monitor and automatically water your lawn without waste. When it rains, the Rachio 3 will not run unless more water is needed, and you can set customizable schedules based on your specific needs.

You can control all of the above and more from the app on iPhone and Android devices, including setting up the schedules, turning the sprinklers on and off, and observing water usage. Even with an abundance of smart features, the Rachio 3’s 16-zone design gives you more control to manage each section of your lawn perfectly.

The installation process is easy if you follow the setup instructions—you can get it done within 30 minutes. Just remember to connect the device to your Wi-Fi so you can control it remotely. You may need to get a Wi-Fi extender if your router’s range doesn’t make it to the controller, but it’s worth the extra investment given the Rachio 3’s features.

Once everything’s good to go, you can use Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, or HomeKit to control the Rachio easily.

Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Overall

Rachio 3 16-Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller

With 16 zones, Rachio 3 allows you to precisely monitor and manage your lawn perfectly to save on your water bill.

Best Budget Smart Sprinkler Controller: Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Controller

Orbit B-hyve being controlled via phone
Orbit

Pros

  • Less than $60
  • Versatile smartphone app
  • WeatherSense helps save water

Cons

  • Only four zones (although an eight-zone model is available)

The Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller packs in a remarkable number of features considering its price tag, which clocks in at less than $60. That makes it the cheapest product on this round-up by a large margin (excluding the hose-based Orbit model mentioned below), yet it still manages to put up a fight compared to the competition.

One of the biggest drawbacks to this Orbit model is that you’ll only have access to four customizable zones. Small yards will be fine with that limitation, but anyone with a large plot of land will probably want to spring for the eight-zone model (which is still less than $100). It’s also only compatible with 110V setups—so be sure to double-check your system before making a purchase, although this shouldn’t be an issue for most households.

Beyond that, there’s little else to complain about. This smart sprinkler controller works with apps on iOS, Android, and through a web app, can connect using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and there’s no need for a monthly subscription. It even features WeatherSense technology to track your local forecast and optimize your watering schedule.

Toss in the ability to manually override your schedule without deleting it entirely and built-in fault detection to help troubleshoot any issues, and it’s shocking that the Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller carries such a low price tag.

Best Budget Smart Sprinkler Controller

Orbit B-hyve 4-Zone Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller

Despite its incredible price tag, this Orbit smart sprinkler controller offers everything you'd need from an entry level product. An eight zone model is also available for homes with larger yards.

Best Hose-Based Smart Sprinkler Controller: Orbit B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer

Orbit B-Hyve controller being attached to hose

Pros

  • Great value when buying multiple controllers lockable
  • Comes with a lockable and weather-resistant cabinet
  • Network meshing for stable connection
  • Works with other B-hyve devices

Cons

  • Timers consume battery life quickly
  • Expensive

Need a hose-based controller for your home? You can install the Orbit B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer to instantly turn your faucets into EPA Certified smart sprinkler controllers.

These controllers are more expensive for a single zone as they provide exceptional functionality to your hose faucets. It’s $67 for a single controller, $100 for two, or $180 for four. They come in a weather-resistant cabinet that you can mount and lock up for security.

Get as many controllers as you need as you’ll have no problem using them in your yard. This is thanks to the B-hyve network meshing, which strengthens the signals of each controller to provide a stable connection to your Wi-Fi network.

To install the controller, twist it in your outdoor faucets, then follow the setup instructions on the B-hyze app on iPhone or Android devices. You can then control each hose from the app whenever and however you’d like.

For example, you can set manual timers for each controller or automatically create them using the built-in WeatherSense technology that tracks live weather feeds. Or, you precisely track your water usage by volume and time using the built-in flow meter.

The Orbit B-hyve works with other B-hyve devices, which means you can also use them with a separate, dedicated sprinkler controller, if you prefer.

Best Hose-Based Smart Sprinkler Controller

Orbit B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer

With these, you can instantly turn your outdoor faucets into smart sprinkler controllers! They work with other B-hyve devices.

Best Touch-Screen Smart Sprinkler Controller: HUNTER HC-600i Hydrawise

HUNTER HC-600i Hydrawise on blue background
HUNTER

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Creates detailed reports
  • Detects broken pipes or valves

Cons

  • Industrial, bland design
  • Expensive

If you prefer the simplicity of a touch-screen controller, then you’ll want to take a closer look at the HUNTER HC-600i Hydrawise. Its design is a bit bland and utilitarian, but the system is deliberately designed for easy installation and operation.

The Hydrawise lets you do everything from check status to update settings from its touchscreen, giving you quick access to the system without needing to rely on a secondary device. Of course, there is a companion smartphone app—which lets you check in on the system remotely. You can also get detailed reports that cover everything from recent rainfall to when your next scheduled watering will begin.

Another cool feature that Hydrawise brings to the table is leak monitoring. This makes it easy to determine if one of your valves is faulty or if a pipe has burst and needs to be repaired. All told, Hydrawise claims it can save you up to 50% on your water bills. And since you’ll drop over $250 on the device, you’ll be glad for the savings.

Best Touch-Screen Smart Sprinkler Controller

HUNTER HC-600i Hydrawise Touch Screen Smart WiFi Enabled 6 Zone Sprinkler Controller

You'll pay a pretty penny up front, but the ability to save up to 50% on your water bills makes the Hydrawise worth a closer look. It also boasts a no-frills design along with a simple touchscreen.

Best Smart Sprinkler Controller for HomeKit: Eve Aqua

Eve Aqua on hose
Eve

Pros

  • Best integration for HomeKit,Siri enabled
  • Many useful features
  • Siri enabled and supports Thread
  • Inexpensive option

Cons

  • Eve app not available for Android

Need the perfect controller for your Apple HomeKit ecosystem? Look no further with the $100 Eve Aqua Smart Sprinkler Controller.

This controller integrates seamlessly with HomeKit, and you can quickly set it up within minutes. When installed, you can control the device with the voice assistant or Siri. Or, download the Eve app to access and remotely control all the Aqua Sprinker Controller’s features—but it’s only available for iOS. There’s also an onboard button as a traditional method.

The controller’s Bluetooth compatible, and it also supports Thread. However, you’ll need a HomePod Mini to act as a border router to connect to the Thread network. Luckily, you can use the controller without a bridge or gateway, as everything you need is in the box.

There are plenty of convenient features, such as child-lock to prevent accidental changes to the controls. You can create schedules that’ll run regardless of being connected to the internet. An auto shut-off feature prevents your sprinklers from over-watering, and you can track your water usage over time. Your privacy’s also respected as there’s no cloud service, registration required, or external tracking.

Best Smart Sprinkler Controller for HomeKit

Eve Aqua Smart Sprinkler Controller

Eve's Aqua Smart controller is the perfect controller for your HomeKit ecosystem. It's an affordable option that's only available for iOS.

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