The 10 Best Smart Sprinkler Systems
10. BlueSpray Lawn & Garden
- unlimited programs and times
- leak detection and auto shutoff
- doesn't track any data
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
9. Sprinkl Conserve
- installs with just a screwdriver
- works with most irrigation devices
- can't use without internet
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
8. SkyDrop SDCRW1.0
- calculates moisture loss
- configures to different plant types
- has wireless connectivity issues
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. Blossom 8
- can auto-detect zones
- installs using existing wiring
- master valve uses up a zone
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
6. Rain Bird ST8i-Wifi
- allows for multiple users
- self-adjusts based on conditions
- won't work on 5 ghz wifi
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. NxEco Pro
- apps for both apple and android
- valet feature for 3rd-party access
- instructions aren't helpful
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. Orbit 57950 B-hyve
- compatible with amazon alexa
- cabinet is weather-resistant
- device walks you through setup
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
3. Netro Smart
- learns from your interactions
- can be installed in 15 minutes
- sleek and beautiful design
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. RainMachine HD-12
- allows for month-to-month scheduling
- epa watersense certified
- intuitive touch interface
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Rachio 8ZULW-B
- manufacturer updates app often
- works with home automation systems
- easy manual override when needed
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
A Map For Your Water Flow
In case you don't have any sprinkler system installed on your property, and you're researching these controllers as part of an initial purchase, I'd like to take a moment to show you how this stuff gets laid out, so you can better pick the controller that's right for you.
Ideally, these systems are designed to connect and control the flow of water to different watering areas (or zones) which are comprised of a number of water delivery devices (sprinkler heads, drip lines, bubblers, etc.).
With the kinds of advanced systems we're reviewing here today, you can set individual zones to water at different times, for a different duration, on different days. You get the idea.
It's kind of like how your body sweats in certain areas depending on the situation producing the perspiration.
General cardiovascular exercise produces a kind of lawn-wide sprinkle, where every part is getting roughly the same amount of water.
Nervous sweating in just the arm pits and palms is more like a brief burst at one in the afternoon to compensate for the heavy evaporation that's taken place over a hot morning.
It would be nice if we could have the kind of control over our glands that we do over our sprinklers, but that might take the fun out of it in the end–and the surgery would be pretty painful.
Sprinklers And Sling Blades
There's a smart sprinkler system out there with your name on it. Or there was, and somebody else with your name came along and bought it, and they love it.
But now you've got to figure out which one to buy without such an easy help.
Fortunately, you only need to look briefly at your options to narrow down your choice to only a few controllers.
As you'll note in the general comments above, some of these units are easier to install than others, particularly when it comes to running the wires that control your sprinkler function.
If you and Carl from Sling Blade share the same affinity for technical play, regardless of your feelings toward french fried potatoes, you'd be just fine with one of these tough nuts.
However, if you've left your nutcrackers in storage with the Christmas decorations, you might consider a unit more lauded for its ease in setup.
Beyond the simplicity of the setup and the features and quality of the user interface, there isn't a whole heck of a lot to differentiate one controller from another other than price.
Price, however, is an interesting point. Some of these controllers only operate at their fullest when you contract to a monthly term, usually not more than $5.00/month, but, perhaps, enough to make you chafe at the presumption.
Look into whether these companies want to charge you for their full feature set, whether those features are among the things you want, and whether you're willing to pay for them.
Keeping The American Dream Hydrated
While smart sprinklers that incorporate information from the Web into their water management are relatively new to the market, automatic sprinklers of one kind or another have been available since the late 19th century.
Before then, lawns were primarily a luxury of only the upper classes in society, but now the lawn is an integral part of the American dream as we know it.
You've got the family, the house, the white picket fence, and the well-watered lawn that the fence borders.
Now, whether the development of that particular American dream is a product of propaganda amid a conspiracy to build up and eventually subjugate a perceived middle class is not the focus of our page.
What we're primarily interested in is how we went from having to stand around for a half an hour with our gardening hose to having merely to program in a few schedule points and let technology do the rest.
The first bits of technology to automate sprinkler function were basic timers, like you might see indoors to turn your lights on as the sun sets.
Later, sprinkler systems incorporated past data, like a farmer's almanac, into their programming.
The last thing taken into account before these systems received Internet hookups was a local weather station, one that, ideally, would also be connected to the property. Information gathered by this station could augment the data preset according to regional rain averages and produce a more efficient system.
Now that we have the Internet telling our sprinklers what to do, it's only a matter of time before some sneaky hacker finds his way into the NOAA database and drowns all our lawns. Heck, it'd be a fitting punishment for the folks who abuse their sprinklers to water their massive properties.