Top 10 Automatic WiFi Sprinkler and Irrigation Controller Reviews

Home automation doesn’t stop at the walls of your home. The rest of your property can benefit from intelligent technology. One of the most precious resources we have is water. Watering our gardens can be one of the most ecologically unfriendly things we do, not to mention a major chore.

Of course, there have always been sprinkler and irrigation systems that can take the chore bit out of the equation, but a system like that will water your lawn even when it’s raining.

Here we have reviews of some of the best smart irrigation controls available today. My favorites are listed first and the rest are not ranked.

Best Overall: RainMachine Touch HD-12 WiFi Irrigation Controller

Some irrigation controllers are just blank boxes that you have to control from either a phone, tablet, or computer. Others, like this RainMachine model, have a screen all of their own, which means you can still operate the system directly and manually should you need to and can get an at-a-glance overview of what’s going on.

One of the neat things about the RainMachine is how many sources of weather data it can use in order to decide whether to turn the taps on or not. Most impressively, you can connect it to a personal weather station such as a Netatmo so that its data is based on your exact spot.

Like most of the other products here you can access the Touch HD-12 from Android and iOS devices, as well as computers, but its defining feature has to be that pretty touchscreen. It is a 6.5” color unit that lets you take full control of the system and provides all the info you need to know what’s going on.

The RainMachine’s API is open and there is already integration with almost every important home automation system and (importantly) IFTTT.

The best part has to be the fact that, unlike many other products, the RainMachine is cloud-independent. If the WiFi goes down everything keeps working. The only internet data it needs comes from the weather services. Otherwise, it is completely independent.

Honestly, this has all the features I want in such as system. The price is a bit on the high side, but not expensive in absolute terms. I think we have found our winner.

Best for the Money: Nxeco Pro Smart Sprinkler Controller

The Nxeco Pro has spared no thought at all for its looks, preferring an almost completely functional design. It has a big physical knob akin to what you’d find on old-timey washing machines and has a very basic Casio-like LCD screen. The upside of this laser focus on functionality is the very reasonable price. For a 12-zone control unit this is probably as cheap as it’s going to get.

The other advantage, depending on how you look at it, is that the onboard controls are easy to operate with gloves on or for those who don’t feel comfortable using a smartphone app. The app itself is of course much more polished compared to the actual console, although it is still hardly an oil painting. Nxeco refer to their product as being “professional-grade”, although I’m not sure how that is the case.

Apart from WiFi you also have the option of a cellular or ethernet connection. One cool feature is that the unit will reboot itself if the WiFi stops working, although it would be more useful to reboot the router, as that’s more likely to be the cause of connection drops.

For all its robust looks, this is actually an indoor unit. There is an outdoor option that comes with a weather-resistant cabinet. So don’t go thinking that you can stick this cheaper model outside in the rain.

This controller also uses weather data to decide when to water and when not to. It also has EPA certification, so you can claim your money back from certain municipalities. Although apparently some places require that it be connected to a rain sensor in order to qualify for that rebate.

The verdict? Well, it seems to work as advertised; buyers have no complaints. The price is excellent for what you get and the smart features are there. A good choice. If however, you do qualify for a full rebate, so why not get something more expensive?

The Wayne Manor Pick: BlueSpray BSC24i Wireless Sprinkler System

The BlueSpray comes with a lovely box in exactly the shade of blue I imagine something called the “BlueSpray” would.

There’s not much to say about the way it looks, since this is another example of a controller that doesn’t seem to have any onboard buttons. Which means you’ll only have control via the web.

This particular model supports a whopping 24 zones and would be perfect for keeping your mansion’s lawn watered while you mess around with the Batputer down in the Batcave. It’s also very well-priced considering the number of zones that it supports.

You can connect a rain sensor directly to it, but most of the time the internet-based weather info should work perfectly well.

What I REALLY like is how the interface can use the satellite picture of your property from Google Maps as a direct representation of the zones. Even better, the system can be expanded to support a staggering 64 zones.

You can set your garage doors to close automatically before the spraying starts too, although the feature list doesn’t make it clear exactly what setup you need to make this happen. The system supports multiple master valves and in addition to the rain meter you can also connect a flow meter which can be used to detect leaks and lead to an automatic shutoff.

I have to say that I’m impressed. It’s a little more pricey than the average controller, but if you look at what you’re getting I’d say it’s more than reasonable. Even if you don’t live in a mansion, this may be worth the extra few dollars.

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

An unassuming little white box, you’d never suspect just looking at it that this controller from Rachio was one of the best-selling sprinkler automation solutions out there. I guess it doesn’t really matter what one of these look like, but the Rachio looks more like an indoor piece of electronics like a router than something meant for garden duty.

This is the second generation of this product, so we can expect it to be a more polished version of the generation one unit, which I understand was a bit of a hit in the competitive world of sprinkler controllers. OK, I don’t know how competitive that market actually is, but the gen 1 was popular.

As you’d expect from a WiFi-enabled system, you can dial in and take control of your irrigation from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

The app is compatible with Android and iOS, but you can also use a web browser from a desktop computer.

You don’t need to manually program a schedule into the Rachio, it automatically learns and adapts based on weather data. This unit is certified by the EPA and Rachio claims that it can cut water usage (and therefore bills) in half. In some states of the U.S. you can even get a rebate equal to the purchase price.

The Rachio works with Alexa and several other popular home automation systems. It will interface with Nest Partner and is a drop-in replacement for your current “dumb” control unit, given that it has eight or fewer zones.

The opinions of those who have bought a Rachio is almost unanimously positive. Based on what I’ve read and seen this is one of the most solid, reliable and simple systems on the market. For what you are getting the price is pretty reasonable too.

Orbit 57950 B-hyve Smart WiFi Sprinkler Control System

Let’s not beat around the bush here, this is not a pretty device. There are no fancy touchscreens in sight here. If I didn’t know any better I would never suspect that this is a new generation, WiFi-enabled smart device. It looks about the same as electronic sprinkler systems always have.

On the one hand this makes sense, since most of the time you are going to be operating the system from a smartphone app. It also makes sense because the fancy touchscreen models are not generally designed to be exposed to the outdoors. Hence the B-hyve’s little locking door. On the other hand, I want my smart gadgets to, well, LOOK smart. I know it’s shallow and has no bearing on the functionality of the thing, but that’s just the way I feel.

The feature list is right up there with the rest of the field as you may expect. It is a 12-zone unit. You can schedule manually or let the weather data guide it all automatically. This particular product uses WeatherSense technology that looks at other data points than just precipitation. It will also consider the soil, the slope of the land and other pertinent bits of information.

Interestingly, Orbit also sells compatible catch cups, which can help save you even more on your water bill.

User responses are very good, thanks in no small part I suppose to the very wallet-friendly price. It also helps that it works the way it is advertised. All in all, if you don’t care much for fancy looks, need a control panel on an outside wall and don’t mind the cheap, plasticky look, this may well be the best choice for you.

SkyDrop 8 Zone Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Sprinkler Controller

The SkyDrop 8 is too pretty to be just a sprinkler controller, but as fate would have it that’s exactly what it is. As the name suggests, this is an eight-zone device. Like the rest it uses weather data in order to decide when your lawn should be watered or not, and so claims that it will save you a whole bunch of money.

The SkyDrop seems really attractive on paper, and the price is definitely right. Unfortunately some people feel that it concentrates way too much on the automatic part of its programming, while taking some of the optional control out of the user’s hands. There have also been quite a few complaints about connectivity problems, but it seems a firmware update has sorted that issue out.

I just get the feeling that the SkyDrop is just not as polished as something like the RainMachine and not even the price difference would sway me towards this choice.

Blossom 12 Zone Smart Watering Controller

It’s clear that Blossom has not just taken a leaf out of Nest’s design book, but has cribbed entire chapters. Apart from the demure coloring, this controller looks pretty much dead on for something Nest would make. I like it. It’s simple, futuristic, and definitely in line with the looks you’d expect from a 21st-century smart home.

For a device that has no screen and is basically just a box that has to be controlled from an app, the price does seem a little steep, but there may be something beyond that pretty skin that makes it worth the asking price.

Like the rest, it uses weather forecast data to figure out when to water your garden. The interesting thing to me is that it not only supports WiFi, but also powerline communication.

That’s such an obviously useful feature for a device that is meant to go outside a house, that I am surprised we don’t see it a lot more. Sprinkler controllers often go where the WiFi is least likely to reach. The amount of data they need to shift is usually very little, which means weak WiFi is not the end of the world, but powerline networking will give you rock-solid reliability.

I like that Bloom was able to make this look like a fancy home automation futuristic gadget, while still maintaining its toughness against outdoor weather. That’s something special and I tip my hat to them.

Sounds wonderful, right? Well, it turns out that many customers have found the Blossom to be a bit of a disaster. The smart water seems to actually be sort of stupid. It also doesn’t help that the customer service guys don’t really communicate all that well. It all conspires to bring us a product with heaps of potential, but nothing to back it up.

Aifro WaterEco Irrigation Controller Review

The WaterEco has one of the friendliest, most inviting faces I’ve seen on a piece of garden equipment. It has a roomy 7” touchscreen with large colorful icons that looks just plain inviting. The iconography of the interface is brilliant and I really have to applaud the plain old good design of the visuals.

Of course, you can control it all remotely from your Android or iOS device. The unit has a built-in temperature sensor, but a rain sensor is an optional extra.

The on-paper features are on par with most other products in this category, but I’m seeing quite a lot of complaints that the software just doesn’t work. It all looks very pretty, but people are getting units shipped to them that won’t respond or don’t do what you indicate in the setup. It doesn’t help that the price is higher than almost anything else here. The WaterEco has potential, but at this price and in this rough of a condition there is no way I could recommend it.

HydroFLASH Sprinkler Automation (WiFi)

No this is not a combination of the Flash and Aquaman, this is just another sprinkler controller. Well, it’s also a lighting controller, which is I guess where they got the name from in the first place.

It makes a lot of sense to combine those two features, since most people who have a fancy irrigation system outside probably also have a nice lighting arrangement too. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.

This is a 16 zone unit, which should be more than enough for most people. It makes use of online weather data in order to control watering and has room for four watering programs.

You can control the whole thing from a mobile app, which is a good thing given how basic the unit itself is. There are, like, two buttons and a primitive LCD display.

It can control Insteon devices, which are mainly lighting-related, if you pair it with an Insteon 2413S modem. I find that sort of surprising, since I thought the massive price premium this comes with would mean all lighting control hardware would be included. I guess I was wrong.

People who have bought it and use it are very happy and positive with it, and I guess if you already have the Insteon stuff it may be a sensible purchase, but I just can’t see the point of paying so much just to have a single failure point for both your sprinklers and lights. If it were an all-in-one solution I may have been more sympathetic, but having to buy another piece of hardware in order to use fully half of its functionality seems pretty awful to me.

Lono Connected Smart Home Irrigation System

The Lono sure is a pretty product, with a design language that screams “kickstarter” and “startup”. Hey, let’s not knock it. Some of my favorite gadgets are products of those things, but by now I can spot that look a mile away. And, hey! It is indeed an Amazon Launchpad product, which is basically the same thing. Whether the Lono is actually the result of that culture is irrelevant – the style has now become fashionable.

So is our curvy black box with the lime-green highlight worth the mildly premium price? This unit can support 20 zones, which is more than most average people would ever need. It has some advanced weather scheduling that makes use of quite a few data points such as soil moisture and geographic location. Each zone can have its own attributes, so there is a significant level of granularity at work here. Overall they claim a 40% to 50% reduction in water use.

One negative here is that, as far as I can see, the app control is limited to Apple iOS. Technically there is an Android app (which the marketing material does not mention), but it barely qualifies as beta software. That’s a huge no-no. The install base of Android users is a lot larger than iOS users. Really, when it comes to apps there really shouldn’t be this sort of platform lock-in. Just for that one, rather large SNAFU I have to say give this one a skip unless you know that you’ll be an Apple faithful no matter what.

Reviews Considerations

As honestly useful as smart sprinkler controllers are, I have to say that it’s not the most interesting product category. There’s very little to choose between one controller and the next. I don’t mind the ones that don’t have any manual controls so much, but if you are not the person who mainly operates the sprinkler system you’ll have to take into account how someone like a gardener will gain access to it.

It’s also important to take into account whether a given controller is completely dependent on the cloud or if it can keep doing its job even when the link to the mothership is cut off. If the cloud provider is ever to go out of business, will you be stuck with an expensive paperweight?

Other than that, as long as the price is not crazy (remember to ask about rebates!) and the systems covers enough zones to serve your needs, it probably doesn’t matter too much. Just keep an eye out for buggy software or customer reviews of flakey aftermarket support.