9 Reasons To Buy a Smart Sprinkler Controller Today (And Which Are Best)

Woman is holding in hand a tablet computer with a program of irrigation control system on a garden sprinkler background.

9 Reasons To Buy a Smart Sprinkler Controller Today (And Which Are Best)

For decades, irrigation technology changed very little. Mechanical timers turned the system on and off at the same time every day. Fortunately, recent advancements in smart home technology have paved the way for some incredible smart irrigation systems. A major benefit is that you can remotely operate a smart sprinkler controller from anywhere with a mobile device.

However, these smart sprinkler systems can do a lot more than just turn water off and on. They can determine how much water your lawn needs, saving you money and taking the stress and guesswork out of manual operation. Today, we are taking a deep dive into nine of the best reasons to buy a smart sprinkler controller.

Reasons to Buy a Smart Sprinkler Controller

Remotely Control Your Sprinklers From Anywhere

Likely, the most important reason to consider a smart sprinkler controller is to operate the system remotely. Additionally, you can control the entire system and multiple zones from the convenience of a smartphone. Meaning, you won’t have to run outside to reset the timer or shut the system off.

Not only can you control the system from inside your home, but you can also do it from across the world. No matter where you are, you can modify the settings or turn the sprinklers on and off with the touch of a button. Keep in mind that the controller must be within range of your home’s WiFi to program it remotely.

Conserve Water

The next reason to use a smart sprinkler is to conserve water, which may interest you for several reasons. Most importantly, conserving water is necessary in areas where water is scarce. For example, there are often restrictions on how much water an individual can use in desert regions or areas where droughts frequently occur. It is also great if you irrigate with collected rainwater runoff.

Coming off one of the hottest summers on record, many utility companies saw critically low water levels as customers struggled to keep their dehydrated lawns alive. By using less water, you are limiting the impact on local utilities and ensuring your neighbors also have sufficient water. A smart sprinkler controller can monitor flow and reduce water usage during these critical periods.

Save Money

Besides water conservation being good for the planet and your neighbors, it is also great for your wallet. As water prices keep rising, managing how much you use is becoming increasingly important. Some utility companies will also tier their bill based on usage, with higher tiers paying more for water.

A smart sprinkler controller will help you manage water usage by measuring water flow so you can keep track of usage. Flow monitoring is a must-have feature if there are restrictions on your water consumption. Some controllers even let you set a maximum usage to better plan the irrigation schedules.

Control Individual Parts of Your Yard

Is one part of your yard more shaded, therefore, requiring less water? If so, then a conventional sprinkler controller can be difficult to manage. Newer digital controllers do an okay job managing multiple zones but are hard to program. However, a smart sprinkler controller makes controlling different parts of your yard much easier.

You will still need multiple control valves to turn the water flow off and on. Depending on your existing system, additional plumbing and wiring could be required to get the full benefits. When set up properly, every part of your yard will get the proper watering.

Get Alerted to Potential Problems

Because a smart sprinkler controller connects to your phone via the internet, it can also send you warnings and notifications. This allows you to fix minor problems before they become major ones.

Water flow can provide a lot of insight into how much you are going through and indicate potential issues. For instance, water flowing when the system is off indicates a leak, and the controller will send you an alert to check it out. Similarly, A lack of flow when the system is turned on will trigger an alert that you have no water.

Create Detailed Schedules

Old-style manual timers give homeowners few options to customize how long the sprinklers run. A simple clock mechanism trips a switch at the set time every day. That means you have to run the same schedule every day. Newer-style digital sprinkler controllers let you program different schedules for each day of the week, but they are often clunky to program.

A smart sprinkler controller lets you easily create the most detailed schedules from your phone. This is great if you want to have the sprinklers run at different times, but the controller can also program itself. If you don’t want to take the time to set a custom schedule, simply let the controller pick the most optimal schedule based on your region and climate.

No Need to Watch the Weather

Another fantastic reason to buy a smart sprinkler controller combines several factors we’ve already discussed. That is, you don’t have to worry about the sprinklers running when it is going to rain. Seeing someone’s sprinklers running in the rain is always funny, but it can also be a major annoyance for the homeowner.

Not only do you waste water by running the sprinklers when it is raining, but you also risk flooding your yard with water. Smart sprinkler controllers can check the weather, determine if it will rain, and then adjust the watering schedule appropriately. Some controllers even warn of an upcoming freeze, so you can drain the lines and winterize the system.

Integrates With Your Smart Home

smart screen with smart home with modern living room
Smart sprinkler controllers can connect to existing smart home devices.

©Casezy idea/Shutterstock.com

In addition to configuring a smart sprinkler controller on your phone, you can also connect it to other smart home devices. Most controllers work with popular smart devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. With this integration, you can tell your smart speakers to change the schedule or turn off the sprinklers.

Integrating the smart sprinkler controller with other devices via software like Apple’s HomeKit is also an option. With it, you can use other devices in and around your home to trigger the sprinkler controller to turn on and off. For instance, you could add a water sensor near a door and set the sprinklers to turn off if water is detected.

Eligible for Utility Rebates and Tax Credits

One of the most overlooked benefits of a smart sprinkler system is tax incentives and utility rebates that are often available. There are many federal, state, and local programs to encourage the use of less water. One way is by incentivizing people to replace their existing sprinkler controllers. While you may not get a ton of money back, it should be enough to help offset the upgrade cost.

You can check with the appropriate government entities and your local water company for the latest information. Remember that these incentives may come in the form of bill credits, tax deductions, or even cash rebates. Many factors can impact your eligibility, so you should always talk to an accountant about tax credits and deduction eligibility.

The Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers

As you’ve seen, there are a lot of great benefits to using a smart sprinkler controller. However, not all controllers are made equally. Some controllers simply connect to an app on your phone, while others have complex functionality, like the ability to check the weather. Now, let’s look at three of the best smart sprinkler controllers on the market today.

Rachio 3

Water Your Garden Worry-Free
Rachio 3: 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
  • Automated scheduling
  • Local weather integration
  • Control with app
  • Supports Alexa
  • Quick and easy installation
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12/08/2023 05:39 am GMT

The Rachio 3 is one of the best smart sprinklers because it has a wide range of functionality. It supports up to eight zones and can be easily installed by a homeowner. The Rachio 3 is also designed to work with Amazon Alexa and other smart home devices. Finally, it has a great weather detection system, which will modify the sprinkler schedule and warn you of upcoming freezing temperatures.

Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR

Most Futuristic
Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR Smart 16-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller
  • Easy to set up
  • Automatically adjust to weather
  • No subscription or hidden fees
  • Very clear display
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12/08/2023 05:53 am GMT

Orbit makes a wide range of sprinkler products, but the 57995 B-hyve XR is one of the most futuristic controllers. It even won an award at CES 2020 for its ease of setup and use. The Orbit B-hyve supports up to 16 zones, with an eight-zone model also available. The app’s user interface and the matrix display on the controller make it easy for anyone to start using this smart sprinkler controller.

Rain Bird ESP-TM2

Best for Budget
Rain Bird ESP-TM2 8 Station WiFi Ready Indoor/Outdoor Controller | TM2-8
  • Quick to install
  • Affordable option
  • Simple to program
  • Automatically adjust irrigation
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12/08/2023 05:53 am GMT

The Rain Bird ESP-TM2 looks very unremarkable as it resembles a basic digital timer. However, it is an affordable way to add smart technology to your irrigation system. You can program the controller manually with the digital display, but it can also connect to an app. However, you must purchase a separate Rain Bird LNK module to take advantage of the smart features.

Wrapping Up

Smart sprinkler controllers are a great way to add more automation to your home. Being able to control the sprinklers from anywhere is extremely convenient and efficient. Hopefully, the result will be a reduced water bill, which should help recover the cost of the controller. Not only is that better for you and your wallet, but also for the environment. If you’re still on the fence, then be sure to check out our reasons to avoid a new smart irrigation system.

Reasons To Buy a Smart Sprinkler Controller
1. Remotely control your sprinklers from anywhere
2. Conserve water
3. Save money
4. Control individual parts of your yard
5. Get alerted to potential problems
6. Create detailed schedules
7. No need to watch the weather
8. Integrates with your smart home
9. Eligible for utility rebates and tax credits

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to modify sprinkler wiring to use a smart controller?

The smart sprinkler controllers mentioned above will work with your existing sprinkler wiring. However, you may want to make some changes to take full advantage of the smart sprinkler controllers features.

What do you need for a multi-zone sprinkler controller?

A multi-zone sprinkler system requires solenoid valves to start and stop the flow of water. The controllers mentioned above are all compatible with zoned systems. However, this may require additional plumbing and wiring if you don’t already have a zoned system.

Do all smart sprinkler controllers monitor the weather?

Most of the smart sprinkler controllers available today offer weather monitoring, which will automatically adjust the sprinkler schedule based on the rain forecast. Though there are some simpler smart controllers that do not offer this feature.

Can a smart sprinkler controller measure your water usage?

Yes, most smart sprinkler controllers have a gauge built-in to measure your water usage. This comes in handy when calculating specific amounts of water and also if your jurisdiction has restrictions on water usage.

How does a smart sprinkler controller connect to your phone?

The smart sprinkler controller connects to your phone via the internet, which allows you to access it from anywhere around the world. This means your controller must be within reach of your home’s WiFi signal.

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