Using automatic weather awareness, local weather forecasts, and shut-off timers, among others, smart sprinkler controllers help you to comply with your local water restrictions and prevent overwatering. Since we also love green lawns and gardens, we went ahead to compile some of the best smart sprinkler systems available.
What to Look for in a Smart Sprinkler Controller
Not all smart sprinkler controllers are created equal. However, certain key requirements need to be considered before clicking the buy button. These include the following:
- Ease of Installation: While all smart sprinkler controllers will require some kind of setup or installation, involving (re)wiring, the best sprinkler controllers make it easy. Some provide DIY walkthrough videos or instructions. Here are essential DIY tools to get you started.
- Area of Use: Smart sprinkler controllers can be used (or mounted) indoors or outdoors. However, only weatherproof controllers can be used outdoors. (Some indoor sprinkler controllers can be mounted outdoors if you buy compatible weatherproof housing.)
- Watering Zones: Different smart sprinkler controllers support different numbers of watering zones. Be sure to buy a controller with commensurate watering zones, especially if you’re upgrading an existing irrigation system. (You can also buy one with extra watering zones in case you move.)
- WaterSense Compliance: This is by far the most important feature to look out for in a smart sprinkler controller. According to the EPA, a WaterSense-certified irrigation controller can save the U.S. up to 15,000 gallons per household per year.
- Operating Voltage: Smart sprinkler controllers come with different VAC ratings. Only buy one that matches your region’s power supply standard to avoid the risk of explosion or fire outbreak. Alternatively, purchase a plug adapter or power converter. (All of the products linked in this article are suited for U.S. power standards. That said, they’re also available in non-U.S. markets.)
Best Overall: Rachio 8ZULW-C 3rd Gen Smart Sprinkler Controller
- ✓ Eight different watering zones to choose from
- ✓ Easy to set up and install. Easily replaces old irrigation controllers
- ✓ Remote access with mobile app support, and self-programmable
- ✗ Not suitable for outdoor use without weatherproof outdoor enclosure (sold separately)
The Rachio 8ZULW-C 3rd Gen Smart Sprinkler Controller is by far one of the best smart sprinkler controllers on the market. This eight-zone irrigation controller is the third generation of Rachio smart sprinklers and has come a long way. It’s easy to install with the in-app walkthrough video and can replace 99% of existing sprinkler controllers. It works with Alexa and can automatically create watering schedules that comply with local water restrictions.
With its WeatherSense-compliant Weather Intelligence Plus technology, the Rachio 8ZULW-C uses hyper-local weather data to automatically skip watering on rainy, windy, and snowy days. Using the mobile app, you can also set up customized zones, and remotely access, control, and monitor your watering schedules and water usage. This 1-pound indoor controller measures 9.1 x 1.4 x 5.6 inches and is also available in four- and 16-zone variants.
Best Premium: Rain Bird ESP-TM2 Smart Irrigation Controller
- ✓ 12 different watering zones supported
- ✓ Easily set up, install, and manage via accompanying mobile app
- ✓ Works indoors or outdoors thanks to its weatherproof enclosure
- ✗ Quite pricey
- ✗ Compatible LNK Wi-Fi module sold separately
If your landscape has more than eight zones, and you can afford it, then get the Rain Bird ESP-TNZ Irrigation Controller. This premium irrigation controller controls up to 12 watering zones. Like the Rachio 8ZULW-C smart sprinkler controller, It is also easy to set up and can easily serve as a replacement irrigation controller for your outdated or damaged unit. It sports a modern UI that is quite easy to program, and operate, thanks to its Extra Simple Programming feature.
WeatherSense-certified, the 3.5-pound Rain Bird ESP-TM2 smart sprinkler controller features three programs and four start times per program. These allow you to conveniently manage your watering schedule and water usage in line with local water restrictions. Unlike the Rachio 8ZULW-C, and thanks to its custom weatherproof housing, this unit can be used indoors and outdoors. It is also upgradeable to a Wi-Fi controller with the purchase of an LNK Wi-Fi module. However, it is to be used only with 120VAC.
Best Budget: WYZE WSPRK1 Smart Sprinkler Controller
- ✓ WaterSense-certified with support for up to 8 watering zones
- ✓ Affordable and easy to install in minutes with walkthrough video
- ✓ Wi-Fi compatible with remote access via mobile app
- ✗ Software and support can both be problematic
While the Rain Bird ESP-TM2 Smart Irrigation Controller cost hundreds of dollars, the WYZE WSPRK1 Smart Sprinkler Controller is one of the best budget irrigation controllers out there. For less than $60, this simple yet powerful 8-zone Wi-Fi compatible and WeatherSense-compliant sprinkler controller can give the more expensive controllers a run for their money while still keeping up with local water restrictions. It measures 9.1 x 1.5 x 3.3 inches and weighs 7.6 ounces.
This indoor controller is also easy to set up and install but requires additional setup instructions (available on request) if you have rain or soil sensors installed. Its intelligent Weather-Based algorithm uses hyper-local weather data to determine if, when, and how much to water your lawns and gardens. It has a simple layout with buttons and LED lights for ease of use and can be remotely accessed, controlled, and managed via the accompanying mobile app.
Best for Indoors: Netro Sprite-6 Smart Sprinkler Controller
- ✓ Supports six watering zones and is WeatherSense-certified
- ✓ Easy to install in minutes and simple to program
- ✓ Wi-Fi compatible with free Netro Cloud service
- ✗ Designed for indoor use, requires separate weatherproof housing for outdoor mounting
If you’d prefer to mount your irrigation controller system indoors, the Netro Sprite-6 Smart Sprinkler Controller is one of your best options. This eco-friendly six-zone Wi-Fi compatible sprinkler controller is easy to set up and can easily replace your old or outdated setup. It is also compatible with Alexa and its mobile app allows you to remotely access, control, and manage your irrigation system.
Its built-in Weather-Aware (WeatherSense-compliant) and Restrictions Aware technology automatically pulls local weather forecasts and auto-complies with your local watering rules. With its free Netro Cloud service and extensive soil/plant library, you can enable Smart Zone to automatically schedule custom watering zones, and it works with all sprinkler systems. Measuring 5.7 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches and weighing 8.2 ounces, this fully automatic AI-powered irrigation is super lightweight and portable.
Best Weatherproof: Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Controller
- ✓ CES Innovation award winner, WaterSense-certified and supports 8 watering zones
- ✓ Easy to install and program
- ✓ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible with remote access via mobile app
Unlike the Netro Sprite-6 Sprinkler Controller, the Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Controller is designed for both indoor and outdoor mounting, without the need for a separate weatherproof casing. This 8-zone smart irrigation controller is also the winner of the CES Innovation award. As expected, it is WeatherSense-compliant, Wi-Fi compatible, super easy to install (in minutes), and easily replaces other sprinkler controllers.
Also compatible with Alexa, the 4-pounds Orbit 57985 is easily programmable. Using the B-hyve app, you can create custom watering schedules, set durations, get alerts, and manage your entire irrigation system. It automatically skips watering on rainy, windy, and snowy days. On dryer days, it automatically adjusts to deliver as much water as needed. It features multi-color LED light rings and buttons, including a manual override button. However, this must be used only with 110 VAC.