Trusty Joe’s Top Picks
In a hurry? Here’s a glimpse of the two best products you can get.
If you’ve got a bit more time you can find the full reviews and buying guide below.
How to pick the best smart sprinkler controller
If you’re anything like me, a green and healthy lawn makes you happy, and a smart sprinkler controller can ensure that it looks perfect without wasting water or money!
I can still remember how excited I was when we bought our new house a few years ago and I discovered that it had an electronic irrigation timer for watering the lawn. This small detail was a dream come true!
Before I bought this home, I constantly struggled to keep my other lawns looking green and the plants freshly watered. I often didn’t have enough time to water it by hand (or I forgot) and my yard never looked as good as my neighbors.
That drove me nuts!
So, when I found out that my new home already had an electronic water sprinkler system set up, I couldn’t wait to show off the lush green lawn to my family and friends all summer long.
However, the excitement quickly faded after we had our first torrential downpour that lasted almost a week.
You see, I didn’t know how to program this new unit very well and the sprinklers would still go off even when it was raining. Plus, after the rainfall had stopped, the system still wanted to water my lawn even though it didn’t need it.
This new irrigation sprinkler controller was a good thing to have, but it definitely had some flaws. I found myself having to babysit it more than I imagined. And, my water bill was higher than I expected since the sprinklers would continue watering my lawn no matter what the weather was like outside.
Those problems lead me to research for ways to modify this sprinkler system so it behaved better without me having to watch over it. After doing a little digging, I found out that you can easily replace an electronic irrigation timer with a smart WiFi sprinkler controller.
That’s exactly what I needed!
I discovered that the best smart sprinkler controller allows you to control up to 12 zones in your yard right from your own smartphone or tablet device. This meant I could water each section of plants, various patches of my lawn, and other parts of my yard with various amounts of water.
I was blown away by the level of control and detail you could have over your sprinkler system by switching to a smart WiFi device. Plus, you can make adjustments even when you’re not home since it can be programmed through your mobile device.
Today, a wireless sprinkler controller can do so much more to guarantee that your yard is perfectly watered all the time, and it doesn’t waste one drop doing it.
Buying the best WiFi sprinkler controller for your home is a smart decision and I’m so glad I did it. This handy device helped me keep my wife’s flowers alive and thriving, my lawn from turning brown, and patches in shady areas from becoming overwatered throughout the summer.
On top of having a beautiful yard everywhere you look, a smart sprinkler system also saves you a ton of money on your water bill. How? By being connected to your local weather forecast and preventing the sprinklers from watering before or after a rain is expected.
That feature alone makes it worth the investment, and you never have to worry about any part of your lawn or your plants getting too much water and dying out.
So how do you find the best WiFi irrigation controller without going over your budget?
That’s where I can help!
As your trusty companion, I’ve put more than 16 smart sprinkler controllers to the test and played with all of the cool settings just so I could bring you this simple buying guide.
But, before we get to my top picks and my WiFi sprinkler controller reviews, we’ll go over some important things you need to consider when picking out your new smart sprinkler controller.
Features to look for in the best WiFi sprinkler controller
Before we jump into my reviews of the top rated WiFi sprinkler controllers, there are a few features you’ll want to think about before making a purchase.
Paying attention to these small details will not only help you get the best Wifi water sprinkler controller, but you’ll also save the most money on the upfront cost too.
Number of zones
The number of zones that the wireless sprinkler system can control is an important factor to consider.
This is especially true if you have a large or oddly-shaped yard, or have multiple plant beds around the house.
Out of all of the products I tested, the best sprinkler controllers range from 6 to 12 zones.
You can set different watering schedules on each zone so each area of your yard can be watered independently of each other. This prevents the chance of over or underwatering your plants and lawn.
The thing I disliked most about my old electronic irrigation timer was that it had no sense of the outdoor environment. Rain or shine, the sprinklers still went off of the schedule I had set up.
With a good smart WiFi sprinkler system, you never have to worry that issue.
Each one of my picks below comes with built-in weather intelligence software. This means your sprinkler controller is connected to your local forecast. The software will read the forecast and adjust it’s watering schedule all by itself.
With a WiFi controller, you don’t have to worry about your sprinklers flooding your yard or plant beds after a rain. You also won’t have to worry about dry spots when it’s hot out.
This feature saves you a lot of money on your water bill and is great for the environment too.
Touch panel control
One of the major conveniences of having a smart sprinkler system is that you can control it directly from your smartphone or tablet.
However, there may be times when your mobile device is not available, other people in your home need to make adjustments, or you just want a bigger screen to work on.
In either case, you’ll want to get a WiFi controller that includes a touch screen panel. Unfortunately, this is not a standard feature on all smart controllers.
If this sounds like it may be important for you to have, you’ll find that 3 out of 5 of my top picks below have a touch panel for additional control.
EPA WaterSense certified
How would you like to protect the environment while still achieving the best results from watering your lawn?
If that sounds appealing, then you’ll want to look for a sprinkler unit that includes the EPA WaterSense Certification.
Products with the WaterSense label allow you to achieve more while using less water and are a great deal. Many locations offer money-saving rebates for WaterSense sprinklers. This means you can mail in a rebate and get cash back for the purchase of your sprinkler controller.
Choosing to be water efficient can really pay off. In some areas, you can get up to 50% of the cost back for the price of the sprinkler controller.
3 of the 5 recommendations I make below are EPA WaterSense certified. A fourth pick doesn’t include the label, however, it does have a water restriction feature that automatically complies with your local water restrictions. So that makes it a great investment too!
In the world of smart WiFi irrigation controllers, there are two types:
- indoor only units
- weather-resistant outdoor units
If you’re replacing an electronic water timer that’s located outdoors, then this is going to be a very important feature for you to look for. If you purchase the wrong type, it may get damaged by being outside and then you’ll have to buy a new one.
If your controller is located indoors, then you don’t have much to worry about. You can buy any type of device you want as long as it has the features you need.
In my reviews below, you’ll find two sprinkler controllers that include a weather-resistance box. One unit comes with a lock and key and the other requires you to purchase a lock separately.
Keep in mind, however, that although not every smart sprinkler controller is weather-resistant, many products do have an optional upgrade for a weatherproof box to protect it. For those that don’t, you can still buy a universal weatherproof box to protect it from the elements as long as the unit can fit inside it.
If you have other smart devices in your home and use Alexa, HomeKit or IFTTT to control them, then you’ll be happy to know that your new WiFi sprinkler control system can also be controlled by your voice.
By setting up your sprinkler controller to your smart home system, you’ll be able to tell it what to do and it will do it. There’s no need to reach in your pocket for your smartphone, look for your tablet, or touch the panel to change the settings.
Each one of my top picks below allows you to manipulate the sprinklers by voice commands.
The Top 5 Products
During my research, I uncovered a lot of good (and bad) products when putting together this list of the best WiFi irrigation controller reviews.
After a lot of testing, I was able to choose the top five winners for you. You’ll find a variety of options for all types of needs including a low-cost controller that handles 6 zones, to a 12 zone unit that has a weather-resistant lockbox, and everything in-between.
I hope you find the best and cheapest smart irrigation controller for your home among this list.
If you want the ultimate best WiFi sprinkler controller money can buy, this is going to be your top choice.
This wireless sprinkler system offers you up to 12 zones of control, which is the best you’re going to get without spending a lot of cash.
This product has it all too, including weather intelligence for accurately adjusting the watering schedule based on your local forecast, a handy touch panel control, and the EPA WaterSense Certification for saving the most amount of water.
The best part, however, is that it’s the only affordable product that also comes with a weather-resistant box for outdoor use. And it includes a lock with a key!
You won’t get much better than this when looking for a smart sprinkler system controller. So, if you want the best of the best for your home, give it a try!
If you want the best smart sprinkler controller to replace your current indoor timer, this is an excellent choice.
Unlike my top pick, this unit doesn’t come with a weather-resistance housing, but you can buy a protective box if you want to use it outdoors.
It can control up to 8 zones around your yard, which is ideal for many home applications and includes weather intelligence for the most effective watering.
The EPA WaterSense Certification mean’s its cheap to operate and the touch panel is a nice feature to have when your smartphone isn’t handy.
If you’re looking for an easy to use, cheap device, this is a great investment!
My third pick for the best wireless sprinkler controller is this product right here.
Like my #1 pick, it also includes a weather-resistant lockbox so you can install it outdoors. It doesn’t include a lock, however, so you’ll need to purchase one separately.
In addition to 8 zones of coverage, a really nice thing it has is a watering delay feature that you can set to suspend watering up to 14 days. This is a handy option to have if you’re going to be away unexpectedly and don’t want to fiddle with adjusting the whole schedule. After the set delayed time ends, watering resumes back to normal.
A touch panel control is also included as well as the EPA WaterSense Certified label.
This unit is a great choice for outdoor use and one you should highly consider if that is where you want to install your new wireless sprinkler controller.
How would you like a cheap WiFi sprinkler controller that takes less than 15 minutes to set up?
If that sounds good, then you’ll definitely want to consider this unit.
Although this is the cheapest product on the list, it does come with all of the necessary features to water your yard only when it needs it.
This unit handles up to 7 zones, is weather intelligent, and works seamlessly with smart home systems like Alexa.
The reason this controller is so affordable is because it’s missing some things that otherwise would drive up the price such as a touch panel, weather-resistance, and the EPA WaterSense Certification.
If you’re looking for a bargain product that can be controlled by your smartphone, and don’t mind giving up on those extra features, this is a great deal! You won’t find a cheaper alternative for a smart sprinkler control system.
Similar to my #4 pick, my final recommendation is for someone who doesn’t need a lot of fancy features from their sprinkler controller, or the ability to cover numerous zones.
Being the second cheapest WiFi sprinkler controller on this list, you can expect a basic operation.
It covers 6 zones, is weather intelligent, and an indoor-only model.
There is no touch panel or EPA WaterSense Certification, however, it does have a water restriction feature that automatically complies with your local water rules. This makes it highly efficient an cuts down on the risk of receiving a watering violation.
For a simple controller that can be programmed from your mobile device, this is a great deal. If you don’t need anything too extreme, it’s worth giving a try.
These are just a few articles I found that relate to sprinkler irrigation controllers.
- Definition of an Irrigation Controller (Wikipedia.org)
- The Advantages of Owning an Automatic Sprinkler System (Rainbird.com)
- EPA WaterSense Certification (EPA.gov)
- WeatherSense Rebate Finder Tool (EPA.gov)