The Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers Today

These WiFi-connected controllers monitor local weather data to conserve water while ensuring a healthy lawn.

Best Overall

The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Option: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

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Runner-Up

The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Option: Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller

Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Option: Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer

Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer

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If you have an inground sprinkler system and don’t have a smart controller, your sprinklers could end up watering at the same time it’s raining. With a smart sprinkler controller, this issue won’t come up. These WiFi-based controllers interact with weather data to adjust watering schedules, so your lawn is never overwatered or underwatered. Additionally, you can turn the water on or off from your smartphone while you’re away from home, and you can monitor water usage, too.

The best sprinkler controller will depend on your existing watering setup and lawn specifics. Ahead, learn how to shop for a smart controller and find out why the following sprinkler controllers are good options for most shoppers.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
  2. RUNNER-UP: Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer
  4. BEST HOSE-BASED: LinkTap G2S Wireless Water Timer
  5. BEST TOUCH SCREEN: Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart Irrigation Controller
  6. BEST FOR LARGE LAWNS: RainPoint Smart WiFi 2-Zone Sprinkler Timer
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Wyze 8-Zone WiFi Sprinkler Controller
The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller Option
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers

Everyone’s yard is different, so one of our main priorities in choosing the best smart sprinkler controllers was to offer as wide a selection as possible. That way there’s something for every planting scheme—and every lawn size.

Versatility is another key aspect. The ability to change watering schemes to suit the prevailing weather, to set timers, etc. can be quite important. In many cases, we selected smart sprinkler systems that use weather intelligence to take the burden off of you. This and other features can also minimize wasted water, plus we tried to find eco-friendly models that meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense certification.

Reliability and durability are always high on our list of considerations, and of course, cost plays a part. Some smart sprinkler controllers come with premium price tags, but an automated irrigation system doesn’t have to be expensive, and we have included some very affordable alternatives.

Our Top Picks

To qualify as a Top Pick, a smart sprinkler controller must be capable of handling the existing watering zones in your yard. And it should have an app that’s simple to understand and will allow you to configure the controller and then relax, letting the controller do all the rest. The following smart sprinkler controllers will work in various watering situations, and one will likely match your lawn’s watering requirements.

Best Overall

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

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The Weather Intelligence Plus feature on the Rachio 3 smart sprinkler controller comes with local weather integration to make watering your yard more efficient. An intuitive downloadable app makes setup a snap, and it will control up to 16 watering zones. From your smart device, you’ll be able to see your estimated outdoor water usage and configure watering schedules. You can also fine-tune the schedules by entering the type of grass being grown, the soil type, and even how much sun exposure a specific zone receives.

Product Specs 

  • Zones: Up to 16
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor (outdoor case is extra)
  • EPA WaterSense: Yes

Pros

  • Tremendously popular multifunction smart controller with many water-saving features
  • Patented hyper-local weather prediction provided without any monthly subscription fees
  • Straightforward installation and compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT, and Wink

Cons

  • Has a premium price tag

Get the Rachio smart sprinkler controller at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Runner-Up

Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller

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Bearing the EPA WaterSense label, the Netro smart sprinkler controller ensures compliance with local watering ordinances while using local weather information and statistics to conserve up to 50 percent more water. It comes with lifetime cloud service, and you can access the data via your smart device or even from a web browser. Depending on your lawn’s actual water needs, the Netro controller will adjust watering schedules to ensure a lush, healthy yard. This smart sprinkler controller will handle up to 12 separate watering zones.

Product Specs 

  • Zones: 12
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor
  • EPA WaterSense: Yes

Pros

  • Combines historical climate data and local weather alerts to minimize water consumption
  • Monitors local water laws and restrictions, and automatically adjusts to suit
  • Easy to replace existing “dumb” controller with only basic tools required

Cons

  • A few owners found the Wi-Fi to be flaky or the weather intelligence to lack sufficient accuracy

Get the Netro smart sprinkler controller at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best Bang for the Buck

Orbit 21004 B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the convenience of a smart sprinkler controller. The Orbit 21004 B-hyve smart hose watering timer is designed for use with a traditional hose. While it controls only a single hose, you can attach a multiple-faucet sill cock to your exterior faucet and add an Orbit controller to each head for more watering options. This affordable controller is also WeatherSense certified, so it will adjust watering to suit your area’s current weather conditions as well as gather information about local watering ordinances. You can also configure the app to consider soil type, grass type, and site conditions, such as whether your yard slopes. Monitor your water usage and receive alerts on a smart device.

Product Specs 

  • Zones: 1 (see description)
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Hub indoors; controller outdoors
  • EPA WaterSense: Yes

Pros

  • An affordable option that uses WeatherSense technology for accurately controlling watering
  • One of the easiest smart sprinkler controllers to install; has single-button manual override
  • Water-saving ability is underlined by EPA WaterSense Partner of the Year Award (2021)

Cons

  • Basic unit can only control 1 hose; the necessary batteries are not included

Get the Orbit 21004 smart sprinkler controller at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Hose-Based

LinkTap G2S Wireless Water Timer

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If you’re watering with a standard garden hose, you might want to check out the multifunction LinkTap G2S wireless water timer that adjusts watering time based on current weather data. It will also send an alert if a problem occurs, such as if the unit falls, the water shuts off, or a valve breaks, allowing water to flood out. The app can be configured to send an email alert to a family member or neighbor when you’re out of town. The intuitive app makes setup easy, and you’re able to view 90 days of water usage. You can also enter the per-gallon rate from your water bill to see how much money you’re saving while watering. The LinkTap G2S can be integrated with Alexa smart-home systems (though not Google Assistant).

Product Specs 

  • Zones: 1
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Hub indoors; controller outdoors
  • EPA WaterSense: No

Pros

  • Control and monitoring of watering using weather data; multiple fault alerts
  • Outdoor unit has excellent dust- and weatherproofing to the international IP66 standard
  • Setup takes just a couple of minutes; battery life is up to 2 years

Cons

  • A high price for a single hose, batteries are extra, and not EPA WaterSense certified

Get the LinkTap smart sprinkler controller at Amazon.

Best Touch-Based

Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart Irrigation Controller

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Most smart sprinkler controllers have excellent phone apps, and many can integrate with smart-home systems, but if you want to make quick adjustments on the unit itself while out in the yard, your options are limited. The Orbit 57950 B-hyve is one of few models that offers adjustments on the controller itself. The Orbit can be fitted indoors or out and offers all the same perks as other smart controllers, including the ability to regulate watering cycles based on current weather data in the area and to set timers. It is also EPA WeatherSense certified for conserving as much water as possible. Alerts are provided both on the unit and on the app.

Product Specs

  • Zones: Up to 12
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Either
  • EPA WaterSense: Yes

Pros

  • In addition to smart integration, it also has convenient controls on the device itself
  • Up to 12 zones for precise watering of multiple planting schemes and lawns
  • Sturdy, weatherproof casing allows the controller to be fitted indoors or out

Cons

  • Although faults are rare, some found Wi-Fi to be unstable

Get the Orbit 57950 smart sprinkler controller at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best for Large Lawns

RainPoint Smart WiFi 2-Zone Sprinkler Timer

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The ability to control multiple zones can be a big benefit if the planting scheme is varied. However, if all that’s required is to provide watering for a large lawn area, many models can be overkill. The RainPoint smart sprinkler controller is a more focused and more affordable solution that nevertheless offers all the functionality required. It provides control for two zones, each of which can have three independent timed periods per day. Two modes offer irrigation or spray to vary the density of watering, and push buttons on the RainPoint device itself provide manual control. It can integrate with both Alexa and Google Assistant. With its brass connector and ultraviolet (UV)-resistant, waterproof casing, the RainPoint smart sprinkler controller also has the durability you need.

Product Specs 

  • Zones: 2
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Hub indoors; controller outdoors
  • EPA WaterSense: No

Pros

  • An affordable faucet-mounted solution ideally suited to the regular watering of large lawns
  • Offers irrigation and spray modes, plus up to 3 different timer periods per day
  • Outdoor unit has durable brass connector, is UV-resistant, and is waterproof to the IP54 standard

Cons

  • Not EPA WaterSense certified
  • A few owners have reported leaks, and batteries are not included

Get the RainPoint smart sprinkler controller at Amazon.

Also Consider

Wyze 8-Zone WiFi Sprinkler Controller

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The Wyze smart sprinkler controller offers many of the valuable features found on more expensive models, but it comes with a surprisingly low price tag. You can control up to 8 zones, and schedules can either be fixed by the user or automated using weather intelligence. Each zone can have a picture associated with it for easy visual identification via the smartphone app. The device itself also has simple buttons that allow individual zones to be turned on or off manually. The manufacturer claims that Installation takes just 20 minutes. Drawbacks are few, but a subscription after the first year is required for the features that rely on weather intelligence. Also, the Wyze smart sprinkler controller is not compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant.

Product Specs 

  • Zones: 8
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor
  • EPA WaterSense: Yes

Pros

  • Given the number of zones and feature-rich specification, it is surprisingly affordable
  • Can water using fixed or weather-based schedules, and offers sunrise/sunset awareness
  • Simple buttons on the unit allow individual zones to be turned on or off manually

Cons

  • Weather intelligence requires subscription after first year, and a few users have found the timings to be unreliable

Get the Wyze smart sprinkler controller at Amazonor The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Smart Sprinkler Controller 

In the same way that having an automated lawn mower will save you from time spent maintaining your lawn, a smart controller will make effective watering decisions, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Use

Many smart sprinkler controller units are installed on the exterior of your home. Others have the option of being installed on an interior wall, such as a garage or foyer wall, so you can check the controller without having to go outdoors. The controller often pairs with an inground sprinkler system, but different models will also pair with a drip-irrigation system or even a garden hose.

Zones and Area Size

If you have an underground sprinkler system, it’s likely set up in zones to ensure that there’s sufficient water pressure to lift the sprinkler heads in a specific area of your lawn, one zone at a time. The larger the yard, the more zones there are. A smart controller will accommodate a specific number of zones, anywhere from about two to 16. You can usually find a zone setup diagram on the inside of your existing watering system control box.

On-Device Controls 

Smart sprinkler controllers come with apps you download to your smartphone or another digital device. Some sync with smart-home systems such as Amazon’s Alexa, which allows you to turn the water on or off via voice control. You can configure most from either a smart device or directly on the unit itself.

Smart Scheduling 

With many of today’s smart controllers, you won’t have to worry about changing the watering schedule during times of heavy rain or drought. Smart sprinkler controllers automatically download weather data in your area by using your zip code and adjusting the watering schedule depending on the weather. For example, suppose you configure your controller to water all parts of the lawn with 1 inch of water per week, and it rains ½ inch. In that case, the controller will automatically adjust the watering schedule to provide an additional ½ inch of water rather than a whole inch that week.

Notifications 

Many smart controllers come with the ability to notify you in case a problem arises, such as a water shutoff; a faulty valve that’s keeping the system from turning on or off; or excessive water flow, which could indicate a broken sprinkler head. Some apps can be configured to send text messages or audio alerts to your smartphone, while others emit an audible signal to alert anyone in the yard.

Smart-Tech Compatibility 

For a smart sprinkler controller to work, your home must have Wi-Fi. The controller syncs with your home’s router. Different controllers are also compatible with various smart-home devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink, and Samsung SmartThings. If you have an existing smart-home system, you might want to consider a compatible controller.

EPA WaterSense Certification

To conserve water, look for a smart sprinkler controller that comes with the WaterSense label, which means the controller meets EPA standards for conserving a maximum amount of water without underwatering. In addition to utilizing information about the weather and rainfall in your area, the controller will also monitor your community’s watering ordinances during a drought, so you won’t violate any watering rules.

Mounting 

Mounting is relatively simple, as the new smart controller works in conjunction with the existing sprinkler system controller. You’ll download the supporting app first, which will walk you through the rest of the setup process. Access to an electrical outlet to power the controller will be required, or the unit will need to be directly wired into your home’s electrical system. The latter requires an electrician to run the line.

The Advantages of Owning a Smart Sprinkler Controller 

Before buying a smart sprinkler controller, consider some of its advantages. The controller will allow you to:

  • Regulate watering schedules based on rainfall and other weather conditions.
  • Keep your lawn on its watering schedule even when you’re away.
  • Monitor your water usage and, with a capable model, even see how much you’re spending on water.

FAQs 

If this is the first smart sprinkler controller you’ve shopped for, you likely have some questions.

Q. How does a smart sprinkler controller work?

The way each smart sprinkler controller works will vary slightly, but most follow a similar design. For those who have an existing inground watering system, the smart controller fits in place of the existing “dumb” version. It is then connected via the smartphone app and may also sync with smart-home devices via your Wi-Fi. Once installed, many can download weather data to adjust watering schedules, so you don’t overwater or underwater. Most cheap smart sprinkler controls have two parts: a hub that plugs into a standard household outlet providing Wi-Fi connectivity and the controller that fits between the faucet and hose to control the water flow.

Q. Can a smart sprinkler controller save you money?

A smart sprinkler controller can almost certainly save you money when compared to a nonsmart irrigation system. You can set timers, and many smart models can adjust watering schedules to local weather and rainfall data so you won’t be over- or underwatering. Overwatering prevention in particular can save you money. It’s a good idea to look for EPA WaterSense certification when choosing a smart sprinkler controller as qualifying devices need to pass a series of tests that show they conserve water, and thus help reduce utility bills.

Q. How many sprinkler heads can you put in 1 zone?

General advice is to have somewhere between one and four sprinkler heads per zone. There are a number of considerations, including the water pressure at the main faucet, the planting within each zone, and any variations in terrain. There is plenty of advice available online to help you work out the best layout. However, those who are designing a complete watering system and looking at different sprinkler types may wish to consult a suitably qualified professional installer rather than risk putting together something that is either not sufficient for the task or, conversely, is overly complicated and expensive.

Q. Should I run sprinklers every day?

Whether you should run your sprinklers every day will depend on the planting scheme and the climate conditions. However, occasional deep watering that encourages root growth is recommended rather than small amounts daily. Healthy lawns, for example, require an average of 1 inch of water per week, but it’s better if this is applied in one or two soakings rather than on a daily basis. One of the big advantages of many smart sprinkler controllers is that they can monitor weather patterns and local conditions so the sprinklers are only running when they need to be.

Q. How long does a smart sprinkler controller last?

Most manufacturer warranties vary from 1 to 3 years. However, there is no reason why a high-quality smart sprinkler controller that is properly looked after shouldn’t last longer. Five years or more is not unusual. Indoor systems should have adequate protection, but it may be worth disconnecting outdoor models over the winter months when watering is not required. This can prevent damage from ice.

It’s also worth taking a periodic look at the condition of the existing sprinklers. Most new sprinklers are not expensive and will often help improve overall watering performance.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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