10 Best Sprinkler Controllers in 2020

Best Sprinkler Controllers
Image by Aspheric / Canva

Want to keep your yard in tip-top shape without the hassle of traditional sprinkler systems? The best sprinkler controllers allow you to automate the watering process, saving you time, energy, and above all, money. Many of the options on this list even allow you to control your system via smartphone or home assistant.

We’ve researched the top sprinkler controllers on the market and ranked them based on the features they offer. Our top pick, the Orbit 57950 B-Hyve, includes home-assistant compatibility, an easy-to-use app, and EPA-certified water-saving technology.

Continue reading for a comprehensive rundown of the best sprinkler controllers of 2020.

Our Top Picks: Best Sprinkler Controllers

Here’s a look at our top selections:

1. Orbit 57950 B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller System

The best sprinkler controller overall

Orbit 57950 B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller System

Brand: Orbit | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 6 or 12 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰

The Orbit 57950 B-Hyve takes the number one spot on our best home sprinkler controller list for its wide array of features, affordable price point, and overall ease of use. This is a fantastic choice for those looking to maintain their yard from anywhere. Featuring Orbit’s signature B-Hyve smartphone app, which is pretty smooth and intuitive to use, and home-assistant compatibility, you have full control over your yard with the touch of a button or a few words spoken to Alexa.

With this controller, you can either set your yard on a timer or let the automated weather sensors do the work for you. It’s also EPA WaterSense certified, which helps save you water and money, and is also great for the environment. Reviewers love how intuitive and straightforward the setup is and rave about the number of features for the affordable price.

  • Easy-to-use B-Hyve App
  • EPA WaterSense certification
  • Wi-Fi connectivity works great with Amazon Alexa

  • Requires relatively strong Wi-Fi
  • Some users found Orbit’s tech support frustrating

2. Rachio Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller

The best sprinkler controller runner-up

Rachio Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller

Brand: Rachio | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 8 or 16 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰💰

The Rachio Smart Lawn Sprinkler System is one of the best wireless sprinkler controllers for maintaining your yard from afar. This controller is a little more pricey than the Orbit 57950, but users love it for its convenience and easy setup, with an awesome in-app installation tutorial. Like the Orbit, this controller has an EPA WaterSense certification.

This one allows you to categorize areas of your yard into multiple zones, giving you optimal customization and control. In addition to the app, this Rachio controller is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, and doesn’t require a hub to use the voice-control feature.

  • Customizable
  • Easy installation and setup
  • No hub required for voice control

  • A bit pricey compared to other options
  • Some users reported Wi-Fi connectivity issues

3. RainMachine Forecast Sprinkler Controller

The best eco-friendly sprinkler controller

RainMachine Forecast Sprinkler Controller

Brand: RainMachine | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 8 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰

The RainMachine Forecast Controller is the perfect option for those looking for the best residential sprinkler controller. This kit features a controller with easy installation and efficient water-conservation technology. When you buy this controller, you get super easy-to-follow, step-by-step installation instructions in addition to great tech support by phone seven days per week.

If you’re looking for cost and energy savings, this is your best bet! Not only is this controller EPA WaterSense certified, but RainMachine also says you’ll get up to 80% more water savings compared to traditional models. That’s in part because this RainMachine updates weather data multiple times a day, allowing the system to calculate the exact amount of water your lawn or plants need.

  • Up to 80% better water savings
  • Great step-by-step instructions and tech support
  • The app works with your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer

  • Pricier than some other options
  • Wi-Fi connectivity can be finicky

4. Orbit 57894 4-Station Sprinkler Controller

The best budget sprinkler controller

Orbit 57894 4-Station Sprinkler Controller

Brand: Orbit | App Included: No | Number of Stations: 4, 6, 9, or 12 | Home Assistant Compatible: No | Price: 💰

While this sprinkler controller doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles found in other options on this list, it’s one of the best-rated options out there. Moreover, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for a well-made, functional system that gets the job done and doesn’t break the bank.

In fact, some users might actually prefer the straightforward design of this model compared to some of the other, more involved options. It doesn’t come with a mobile app or home-assistant connectivity, but at just over $40, users say this is a steal and still gets the job done with its functional, no-fuss approach.

  • Very affordable
  • Easy, straightforward setup
  • Comes in six-, nine-, and 12-station options too (for additional cost) if you need more

  • Users ran into issues with Orbit’s tech support
  • No smartphone app or home-assistant compatibility

5. Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller System

The best indoor sprinkler controller

Rain Bird Indoor Sprinkler Controller System

Brand: Rain Bird | App Included: No | Number of Stations: 4, 6, 9, or 12 | Home Assistant Compatible: No | Price: 💰

Coming in as one of the most affordable units on our list, this Rain Bird controller has an intuitive timer and multiple zone settings. If you live in a climate with extreme weather, you’d probably rather keep your sprinkler controller indoors anyway, and that’s what this controller is made for. Hang it by your kitchen window (or wherever gives you the best view of your yard) and control your watering from the comfort of your home.

The best thing about this model is its affordability, but it also gives you excellent control and allows you to adjust your settings according to the season, which is great for users who live in areas with four distinct seasons.

  • Super affordable
  • Straightforward zone-by-zone settings panel
  • Adjust the settings depending on the time of year with one button

  • Can’t be installed outside
  • No app or home-assistant compatibility

6. JMFONE Smart Sprinkler Controller

The best sprinkler controller to use with a home assistant

JMFONE Smart Sprinkler Controller

Brand: JMFONE | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 9 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰

The JMFONE Smart Sprinkler Controller makes watering your yard about as simple as you can imagine, simplifying your life and making lawn care a breeze. Featuring voice-activated home-assistant options from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, this controller pairs perfectly with every aspect of your smart home. It also has an easy-to-use app that allows you to monitor and control your sprinkler system from afar.

This controller adapts to weather and rain conditions via a built-in receiver, controlling output. It’s also pretty easy to set up, with most reviewers reporting that it took them about 15-30 minutes. That’s why it is our top pick for the best WiFi sprinkler controller.

  • Adapts to the weather 
  • Quick and easy installation
  • The app allows you to operate your controller remotely

  • The app’s user interface is not well designed
  • Requires more tech knowledge than other options

7. Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller

The best smart sprinkler system controller

Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller

Brand: Netro | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 6 or 12 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰

While many of the options in this list have included apps and are compatible with Alexa and other home assistants, this Netro controller takes smart to another level. If you’re looking for an intuitive sprinkler system controller that works seamlessly with your smart home, then this Netro is a perfect choice. 

It has a truly stunning app interface and works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa and other home assistants. The controller is fully automatic and adjusts the sprinkler settings based on weather data and the time of day. It also has a built-in plant library with more than 1,000 common species, so your watering schedules can be customized to your specific plants.

  • Connects via iOS and Android
  • Automatic controller and weather-awareness technology
  • Perfect for water conservation thanks to weather forecasting and built-in water ordinance detection

  • Some say it’s a bit too reliant on tech and can be a bit temperamental 
  • Doesn’t work with all routers, leading to occasional interference issues

8. Yardian Multi-Functional Smart Sprinkler Controller

The best multi-functional sprinkler controller

Yardian Multi-Functional Smart Sprinkler Controller

Brand: Yardian | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 8 or 12 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰

The Yardian Multi-Functional Controller is as unique as it is powerful. Without a doubt, it deserves to be mentioned in any best lawn sprinkler controller list. It comes with an array of features shared by lots of other options on this list, including weather-sensing technology and an intuitive smart-phone app.

But what makes this controller truly unique is that it doubles as a security system thanks to the built-in camera! In addition to watering your lawn, you can monitor your yard 24/7 through the well-hidden built-in 720P HD camera, which offers live video streaming in addition to free cloud storage. It also comes with a waterproof outdoor enclosure to protect your system and camera.

  • Connects to Wi-Fi and integrates seamlessly with Alexa
  • 24/7 monitoring through built-in 720P HD monitoring
  • Simple installation and intuitive Yardian app gives you total control

  • Camera sensor could be better
  • Setup isn’t as intuitive as it could be

9. NxEco Smart Irrigation Sprinkler Controller

The best sprinkler system controller for large yards

NxEco Smart Irrigation Sprinkler Controller

Brand: NxEco | App Included: Yes | Number of Stations: 8, 12, or 36 | Home Assistant Compatible: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰💰

If you have a large area to water, the NxEco Smart Irrigation Controller is an excellent choice. This model allows you to program up to 36 different zones, all from one centralized hub. It may take a bit longer to install than other options, but it covers a much greater distance and allows you to customize it to your particular needs.

EPA-WaterSense certified and smart-home ready, this one is heavy on the high-tech features, but you can also choose to control it manually using the signature NxEco Knob. With the scheduling, manual-watering, rain-delay, and override-smart-watering options, you have optimal control over your lawn.

  • Features NxEco Smart Controller
  • Includes weather detection and is EPA WaterSense certified
  • Simple display and manual knob for precision-point watering

  • Takes a while to install
  • The casing is not entirely waterproof

10. Hunter XC800 Sprinkler Controller

The best sprinkler controller with an easy setup

Hunter XC800 Sprinkler Controller

Brand: Hunter | App Included: No | Number of Stations: 8 | Home Assistant Compatible: No | Price: 💰💰💰

The Hunter XC800 controller offers a ton of value in one extremely easy-to-install unit. With the ability to cover and maintain up to eight different zones from one simple control panel, this Hunter system is a great package for a reasonable price. The instructions couldn’t be easier to understand and follow, and the controller features a single knob for quick adjustments.

This controller also comes with automatic short-circuit protection and a locking door panel for added security. While it doesn’t come with an app and isn’t home-assistant compatible, it comes with an easy-to-use remote control, allowing you to control your system from afar. Since it doesn’t need to connect to other devices in order to work as designed, the setup takes minutes.

  • Simple control panel
  • Automatic short-circuit protection and locking door panel
  • Comes with a remote control that allows you to operate the unit from a distance

  • Fewer high-tech features
  • Can only set one station at a time using manual selection

How Modern Sprinkler Controllers Work

Using One of the Best Sprinkler Controllers
Image by Kameleon / Canva

Sprinkler controllers, also sometimes called irrigation controllers, automate the watering of your lawn, garden, and other outdoor areas by hooking your sprinklers up to a main control panel.

There are many different types of sprinkler controllers, and which one is right for you will depend on the size and scope of the area that needs maintenance. Some systems work by connecting the sprinklers to a hydraulic system that pumps water out at specified times. Others work by connecting the controller to the sprinklers via an electronic circuit.

Since all the maintenance is controlled in one centralized unit, it’s as simple as setting your desired options through the control panel, a mobile app, or your home assistant and leaving the system to do the rest!

What to Look for in the Best Sprinkler Controllers

In today’s day and age, consumers benefit from all the recent advances in sprinkler controller technology. There are a ton of exciting features available; here are some we recommend you look for:

Manual Sprinkler Controller
Image by Canva

1. Weather Sensors

Some sprinkler controllers are equipped with automated weather sensors that allow the system to adjust your watering according to your local weather conditions. This is a pretty handy feature, especially if you live in an area that gets heavy rains during the summer.

2. Wi-Fi Connectivity

One of the major benefits of modern sprinkler control systems is that many of them connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, making them easy to control and integrate with other devices in your home or garden.

3. Apps for Easy Maintenance

Controlling your garden’s irrigation system is made even easier when your controller comes with an app. If you want to be able to easily set timers and custom schedules, check weather data, and adjust settings from anywhere, and at any time, a controller with an app is the way to go. Some of these apps are better and more intuitive than others, so it’s a good idea to read plenty of reviews to make sure you buy a controller that has a good app.

4. Smart Home Integration

Lots of the controllers on this list can be smoothly integrated into your smart home. If you want a truly automated irrigation system, find one with smart features that make your life easier, like home-assistant compatibility, smart weather tracking, and the ability to set a custom schedule.

5. Water-Saving Technology

If you’re looking for a system that conserves water and is environmentally friendly, we recommend narrowing your search down to models that are EPA-WaterSense certified. Almost all of the options on our list were picked with this feature in mind.

Our Process

For this guide on sprinkler controllers, our team spent 3 hours researching the most popular options from over 25 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about eighty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each controller. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 10 sprinkler controllers on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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