Featured Sprinkler Controllers
Makita XML03PT1 18V X2 (36V) 18" Battery Lawn Mower Kit with 4 Batteries
Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V Cordless Battery Lawn Mower
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Our Top Picks
Editors Pick for 2020: Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V
“I was impressed by the power of this mower through thicker grass as well as the longevity of the 80V lithium ion battery. The price is very competitive compared to other models and is one of the best electric lawn mower in it’s class“
Best Features: WORX WG774 Intellicut 20″ Mower
“I really like all of the features of the WORX WG774. It’s easy to push and maneuver, has decent battery length and good power.”
Top Value: Black & Decker CM2043C 20″
“This push lawn mower isn’t going to mow your 10 acre ranch, but it will get your lawns looking nice without breaking your back or your bank.”
Best Battery: EGO Power+ 21 Inch 56-Volt Lithium-ion
“Cool looking design, solid battery life and enough power to handle nearly any backyard make this one of my top battery power lawn mower choices.”
Best Power: Snapper XD SXDWM82K 21 Inch Cordless Mower Kit
“The Snapper XD is a serious player in the electric lawn mower game. It has a ton of power from dual 82V lithium batteries and 45 minutes of run time.”
Best Self Propelled: Greenworks 21-Inch M-210-SP Self-Propelled
“At 70lbs, you don’t even notice the weight, even when mowing thick grass. This model does all the work with strong self propelled rear wheels”
Best Mower for Large Yards: Yard Force YF120vRX Lithium-Ion 22″
“If you have large areas to mow, the Yard Force YF120vRX will make quick work of it and has power comparable to many gas mowers”
Best Battery Riding Mower: Ryobi 38 in Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48111
“If you have an extremely large area of lawn to maintain this Ryobi is the riding mower to buy. You will get 2.5 hours run time from the 48V 100 Ah battery.”
Best Robotic Lawn Mower: Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 315
“The Automower is so quiet you can schedule it for night mowing without bothering the neighbors. The AutoMower 315 weighs about 20 pounds and has a 70 minute mow time on full charge.”
Top 7 Smart Garden Sprinkler Systems Reviewed for 2021
Aww, walking onto your patio and gazing upon your gorgeous backyard, lush with deep green vegetation and blooming flowers you have just planted, the paradise you have worked so hard for. You take a cool drink, smile, and then a sudden fear trickles sweat down your brow. The question hits you in the gut, “How am I going to keep up with the watering on this place?” Let’s face it, we all wish we had the time to casually stroll our yards, utilizing the hose as we water our plants, gardens, and trees with a cold beverage in our hands, but reality can be cruel and we wake up to realize we need assistance to keep apace on our watering jobs. Have no fear, there is technology available that can conquer this panic and set your mind at ease. From everything to a wifi sprinkler controller, wireless sprinkler controller, to a smart irrigation controller, we have reviewed and researched the 7 best smart sprinkler controllers of 2021. These controllers will take the worry out of watering, as you will be able to set it, forget it with the latest technology.
TOP PICK – Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller comes in #1 on our list of the best Smart Sprinkler Controllers of 2020. This control from anywhere system has an easy to use app from which you can make schedules, run sprinklers, and keep track of your estimated outdoor water usage. Smart is right, as this 3rd generation Rachio has exclusive weather intelligence, boasting features like rain skip, wind skip, freeze skip, and more. With its keenly crafted smart schedules, the Rachio will automatically create schedules that will cater to your specific yard type, seeing that your lawn and plants are getting the appropriate amounts of water that they need.
The Rachio is easy to use and easy to install, typically set up in less than 30 minutes with no special tools. I love how it is compatible with so many smart-home platforms, such as: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, Smart Things, and Apple Home kit. Because of the Rachio’s intelligence and efficiency, you can look forward to saving anywhere from 30-50% on your water bills when used correctly.
The 3rd generation Rachio smart sprinkler eases all of your fears when it comes to keeping your yard vibrant and healthy. With weather intelligence, smart schedules, and compatibility from a vast array of smart devices, this smart sprinkler controller will take
care of all the watering for you with its easy to use app. Easy to install, a breeze to use, there is a reason why the Rachio comes in as our top pick.
- Premium Weather Intelligence
- Rain Skip, Wind Skip, Freeze Skip
- Smart Schedules
- Multiple Smart Compatibility: Alexa, Assistant, Apple Home Kit
- Easy Installation
- Can save 30-50% On Water Bills
- 8 Zone Watering Capacity
- Must Keep Up With Updates or Could Effect Proper Watering
#2 Rain Bird ST8I-2.0 Smart IndoorWiFi Sprinkler/Irrigation System Timer/Controller
Coming in at #2 on our list is the Rain Bird indoor WiFi sprinkler controller. This 2.0 version is improved and ready to take the burden out of watering your beautiful yard. With the capacity to water up to 8 zones from the palm of your hand, the Rain Bird is a snap to use and functions from anywhere in the world. Download the Rain Bird app to keep track of your watering schedules as it automatically adjusts to weather conditions, including rain, humidity, and rising and falling temperatures. It is compatible to Amazon Alexa, Apple iOS 8 or greater, and Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) or later.
Rainbird claims 20% percent water bill savings, when used correctly and could get you as high as 30% savings. An easy to install device, the Rain bird wifi will be set up with little hassle and have your yard on schedule in no time.
With features similar to our top pick, the Rain Bird is a WiFi sprinkler controller sure to meet all of your watering needs through the use of wireless technology. Rain Bird is also a name that hits home, as the company has been around since 1933, a trusted company in the world of watering your lawns and gardens for a long time. An easy to use app, monitoring schedules, weather, and efficiently saving you money.
- WiFi Technology
- 8 Zone Watering Capacity
- Auto Adjust to Weather Conditions
- Alexa, Apple iOs, Android Compatible
- Certified 20% Water Savings
- Easy Installation
- Trusted Rain Bird Name
- Small Display on Unit
- Updates Must Be Current
#3 Hunter PRO-HC PHC-600 Residential Outdoor Professional Grade Wi-Fi Controller
Landing in third position on our list is the Hunter Professional Wi-Fi Sprinkler Controller. A quick and easy setup, the Hunter Pro has a touchscreen interface and can be controlled from anywhere. This Wi-Fi sprinkler controller has 6 watering zones available to control at your fingertips. Instructions and usage are exactly as advertised, read the reviews and you will agree. Sometimes technology can get in the way of itself, but the Hunter does not overreach and does what it says it will do. The EPA Hydrawise web-based software allows for smart watering and ease of mind.
The predictive software will adjust watering schedules based on upcoming weather, including humidity, temperature, and rainfall. If you want to step up your game a bit, add a flow meter and you will get notified of a broken pipe or sprinkler.
The Hunter Pro Wi-Fi Sprinkler Controller is a system I was able to use with no sweat. I had no problem installing, setting up, or controlling the watering. Glitches were none, and peace of mind followed. I checked up to see if this was across the board, and sure enough, customers are satisfied. Being only a 6 zone could be a deterrent, but if you have no need for a massive amount of zones, most yards will not, then the Hunter is a great call.
- 6 Zone Watering System
- Wi-Fi Smart Technology
- EPA Hydrawise Web-Based Software
- Control From Anywhere
- Touchscreen Interface
- Easy Installation
- Weather Predictive Software
- Offers only 6 Zones
#4 RainMachine Touch HD-12, Cloud Independent Smart Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller
The Rain Machine Touch Wi-Fi irrigation controller comes in next on our list of smart sprinkler controllers. Offering a whopping 12 zones of watering availability, the Rain Machine can tackle a huge yard with lots of ground to cover. This system has a color touch screen compatible with iPhone, Android, and PC Browsers, and can be linked up with Alexa, Google Home, Nest, WINK, and Smart Things via IFTTT. With all of its technology, the Rain Machine can tap you into NOAA, METNO, or Wunderground weather services and you can hone in on National or Local weather so your system can deliver precise accuracy.
The Rain Machine Irrigation Controller can be installed in 15 minutes if everything goes smooth, and depending on climate and weather, can achieve up to 80% savings. The Rain Machine is also Water Sense Certified, meeting EPA criteria, which could lead you to some possible rebates with your local water agency after installed.
With its 12 zone capability, being tapped into weather services, and Water Sense certified, the Rain Machine can conquer spacious yards. I am a big fan of the large, easy to use touch-screen-color display, which makes it easy to lock in your schedules and settings. If you have a grandiose yard that requires the support of a product that can handle such an expanse, then the Rain Machine might be the way to go to suit your needs.
- 12 Zone Watering Capability
- Multiple Weather Sources (NOAA, METNO, etc.)
- Possible 80% Water Savings
- 15 Minute Installation
- Large, Color Touch Screen Display
- Compatible with iphone, Android, and PC Browsers
- WaterSense Certified
- May Not Support Flow Sensors or Apple Home Kit
#5 Sprinkl Control – The Smart Sprinkler Hub – 16 Zone WiFi Smart Irrigation Controller
Earning its way to the next spot on our list is Sprinkl Control Smart Irrigation Controller. If you have a massive yard, then this is the controller for you, offering an awesome 16 zones of watering capability. Like most of our controllers on the list, the Sprinkl is compatible with major providers, Apple, Android, and smart home hubs like Alexa. After you are installed and connected, you can expect up to 50% savings on your water bill. An excellent feature unique to the Sprinkl, offers moisture sensors (Sold Separately) which can eliminate your need to create schedules, as the sensors will be able to detect when your zones actually need watering through its Smart Autonomous setting. This feature is fabulous, as the Smart truly takes over, and waters more or less depending on conditions without having to reprogram a thing on your own.
With the ability to view sprinkler issues and troubleshoot problems directly from your phone, the Sprinkl truly puts the power of ease directly at your fingertips. Sprinkl is a newer, startup company out of Texas, but do not let their freshness on the market sway you, as the feedback on this product has been excellent.
The Sprinkl is a deluxe, all the bells and whistles, smart irrigation controller. 16 zones might be a bit much for some yards, but gives you the option to keep adding zones to better cover your entire yard if the need arises. The moisture sensors are fantastic, as they take the hassle and worry out of creating schedules, the wonder is gone, and the sensors do the work for you. Big yard, smart yard, the Sprinkl can handle it, save you money, and keep everything green and vibrant.
- 12 Zone Watering Capability
- Smart Moisture Sensors
- Smart Compatible (Apple, Android, Alexa, etc.)
- Water Savings Up To 50%
- Quick Easy Installation
- Sends Notifications (Updates, Sprinkler Issues, etc.)
- Smart Autonomous Setting
- Moisture Sensors Sold Separately
#6 Plaid Systems Spruce Irrigation 16 Zone WiFi Sprinkler Controller
Next on our list is the Plaid Systems Spruce WiFi Sprinkler Controller. This anytime, anywhere controller gives you full control from PC, Smartphone, or tablet. With its 16 zone capability, the Spruce WiFi Sprinkler Controller can handle the biggest and lushest of yards. The advanced options allow you to generate scheduling the way you want it, unique to each individual zone based on landscaping and sprinkler capacity of your yard. The Spruce will respond to incoming weather, as it will automatically adjust to forecasts, and, importantly, actual amount of rainfall as compared to predicted rainfall. Optional soil moisture sensors will take over the scheduling for you, as they react to actual moisture in the soil and react accordingly, giving your yard exactly what it needs.
The setup is a breeze as you will be guided by the Spruce Setup Wizard with no special tools required. Like many WiFi Sprinkler Controllers on this list, the Spruce is compatible with all the major devices, Apple, Android, Alexa, Assistant, and others. It also has over current detection, which will skip bad valves and continue to water without shutting down and skipping watering altogether.
With its 16 zone watering capability and advanced scheduling features, the Spruce provides all the technology and peace of mind to maintain a healthy backyard. Using the smart scheduling features allows for really honing in on the uniqueness of your individual zones, and dialing them in for exactly what each zone needs. The automatic climate adjustment saves you from the accidental mental lapses of sprinklers running in the rain. Add on the optional moisture sensors and your yard will thank you for it, as they will detect the proper amount of water your landscaping requires.
- Anytime, Anywhere Capability (Smartphone, tablet, PC)
- Hyper Local Climate Adjustment
- Spruce Setup Wizard for Easy Installation
- Advanced Analytics for Smart Scheduling
- Over-Current Detection
- Optional Moisture Sensors
- Moisture Sensors are Optional
#7 Aeon Matrix Yardian Indoor/Outdoor Smart Sprinkler Controller 8 Zone
Rounding out our list of the best Smart Sprinkler Controllers of 2020 is the Aeon Matrix Indoor/Outdoor Smart Sprinkler Controller. The Aeon boasts real time weather monitoring as it analyzes local weather data with extreme accuracy, keeping you from watering in the rain. This controller is Smart Home ready and works with Alexa and Google Home, easy to adjust schedules and control zones. The Aeon Yardian, once installed can save you up to 50% on your watering bills while still maintaining a lush, vibrant yard. With 8 zones available, the Aeon can supply the water you need to multiple areas on your property.
The installation is painless, and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. Also, offering the first of its kind, the Aeon Yardian can irrigate and provide surveillance at the same time, as it has a built in HD camera so you can keep an eye on your yard all hours of the day.
The Aeon is a very resourceful sprinkler controller, offering many of the same features as most of its pricier competitors, while remaining at a very comfortable price point. 8 zone capability is sufficient for most average yards and the added HD surveillance camera is a bonus for keeping eyes on rodents, possible busted sprinklers, or any suspicious activity going on in your space. Great value, easy to use and install, and right to the point.
- 8 Zone Watering Capability
- Real Time Weather Monitoring
- Water Efficiency, Saving up to 50%
- Smart Home Ready (Alexa, Google Home)
- HD Security Camera
- Only 8 zone Capability
Smart Sprinkler Controller Buyers Guide
Studying this list of the best Smart Sprinkler Controllers of 2020 one will discover many similarities between the products, but definitely uniqueness and individual features that can set the controllers apart according to one’s personal needs. Prices do not range too far from the next, all remaining within a relatively close distance from each other. More zones and more features equal more cash for the controller, so it is a good idea to educate yourself on the sprinkler that best fits your yard. Know your yard and its parameters, for there is no need to pay for a 16 zone controller when your yard will never require more than 6 zones.
As you sift through the list, most of these controllers give you multiple options on being able to link up with wi-fi, Apple, Android, PC, Tablet, Alexa, Google Home, and others. I am an Apple iOS user myself, and can link up fairly easily with most systems, but beware, make sure you research your specific devices as being compatible with the WiFi sprinkler controller of your choosing before purchasing. If you purchase and are not compatible, nothing is going to work. Do your due diligence ahead of time to save you the headache of finding out after you have set everything up that your devices do not sync up with the controller you just bought.
When thinking of purchasing a new sprinkler controller, do some thorough research on your yard beforehand. This list displays zone capability from 6 zones all the way to 16. What does your yard require? Do you have a front lawn, back lawn, a row of fruit trees, a garden bed? Does your yard have room to grow and plant more stunning greenery? Map out your yard and be realistic about what you need. The 16 zone Spruce and Sprinkl systems are awesome controllers, but do you really need that many zones at your disposal? Why pay the extra money for something you will never use? On the other hand, if your yard is currently about a 6 to 8 zone necessity, but can grow into a 12 or 16, you might think about stepping up to the plate and grabbing a wifi sprinkler controller you will grow into, instead of outgrowing one system and having to buy another one altogether. Be realistic and plan, get the zone capacity that fits your yard.
All of the smart sprinkler controllers on the list possess climate or weather adjustment of some sort. The more bells and whistles the more connection you have to multiple weather services. You can tap into National forecasts and local weather reports, the choice is yours on how much do you need? A national forecast might give you a prediction on what could be coming your way down the line, which may be something you are looking for. A local forecast is solid enough in my book, as your climate adjustment can generate the changes necessary as incoming weather comes to you; whether it be rain, wind, or temperature changes. This feature is awesome and can save you from having the sprinklers running in the rain, and unnecessarily wasting water. If you need large zone capability of 12 to 16, and the controller you choose comes with the advanced forecasts, bonus to you, but in my opinion seeking out these advanced forecasts as a deciding factor in your choice to buy might not be necessary.
Each system claims savings on your water bill once a smart controller is installed and up and running. From 20% all the way to an 80% possibility, savings can be made. It is really up to you, your scheduling, your updates, your staying on top of your controller to make sure you receive maximum savings. If you dial it in, water to your exact needs, savings are definitely possible with each of the controllers. Again it comes down to the controller that fits your specifications. When used properly, they can all cut down on your water bill, and while claims range quite a bit on what you can save, it really lies in the hands of the programmer.
Add-Ons, Extras, and Price Points
There are a few extras and add-ons that can sway you one way or another when purchasing your sprinkler controller. For example, the Aeon Matrix Yardian can control your sprinkler system while also offering an HD camera to keep an eye on your yard, a fun bonus item. The Sprinkl and the Plaid Spruce offer optional moisture sensors, which, although an extra cost, can be an invaluable investment. The sensors will check the soil for the proper amount of moisture. If it’s too wet, they back off, if it’s too dry, they will add more water, taking over the scheduling for you.
The price differentials between these controllers are not vast, ranging from the $150 dollar range up to almost $300. What do you need? Do you need up to 16 zones, then step up and pay a little more or else you will regret it, and end up buying another system and doubling your costs. Or do you have a smaller yard and 6 zones will be sufficient? The Hunter is a solid and reliable option, and will be on the lower end of your price scale if this is the case. Keep in mind your yard, your needs, and plan accordingly.
So Which Controller Is Right For You?
All of these controllers are helpful and are highly recommended. The choice rests on which system best fits your yard. These are all solid choices. If you study the reviews you will find very few negative comments, and those that are posted have to do with connectivity issues. This could be from non-compatible devices or poor coverage. If you keep up with the updates and notifications these systems can take the worry out of your watering. Plan out how many zones you need, or need to grow into, and make ultra sure the system you choose is compatible with the devices you already own. Match up your specifications with a controller system on this list that best meets your precise needs, and your yard will be well sated, maintained, and lush for years to come.
How to Install a Nexxtech ICON-4 Smart Sprinkler Controller
Installing a smart sprinkler control system is an excellent idea for those living in dry climates, or areas with plenty of rainfall. By automating the sprinkler system, you will not have to manually turn it off when it rains and waste water.
This article will provide you with instructions on how to install a smart controller and how to set up the accompanying app.
- Smart controller – Nexxtech ICON-4
- Water flow sensor – Nexxtech Dual Zone Water Flow Sensor
- Grounding rod – 1/4″ x 2 ft.
- Drill/drill bit – hammer drill or cordless drill with a 1/4″ masonry bit
- Screwdriver (optional) for installing the ground rod
- Wire cutters
- Wire stripper
- Wire connectors
Step 1: Choose the Location and Ground Rod
The first thing to do is to choose a location for the ground rod.
The ground rod needs to be in the same location as the sensor. This is because the sensor will need to be grounded to it, and since there are two sensors (one for each zone), you need a ground rod for each zone. If you’re not sure of the exact locations, then you can use a hilti-meter to find a spot.
The ground rod should be installed at least 2 feet into the ground and have dirt on top of it. This is because the sensor will work much better if it is in contact with the earth, and if the sensor is not in contact with the earth, then moisture will collect on top of it. That means less accuracy. Note that the ground rod should not be too close to a power source or anything metal. Also, if the sensor is less than 5 feet from your controller, it will work fine without the ground rod.
Once you have a spot picked out, then drill a hole that is about 10 inches deep. Insert the ground rod and screw it into place tightly (without over tightening). This is because the ground rod will be what grounds your sensor. Now you have a ground for your sensor and can start installing the rest of the system.
Step 2: Set Up the Controller
Now that you have a ground rod in place, the next step is to set up the controller. The Nexxtech ICON-4 is compatible with both Android (4. . and higher) and iOS (9. and higher) devices, so make sure your phone or tablet is compatible with it before purchasing it.
To get started, screw the ground wire to the ground rod with a screwdriver (if needed). Then, screw one end of the sensor into the ground wire’s screw terminal. Note that the plastic piece can be removed for easier access. Next, screw the other end of the sensor into one of the controller’s screw terminals.
The controller’s wire connector will have two red and two white wires. The red wires can be connected to each other and then connected to a power source (either an outlet or solar panel). The white wires will need to be connected.
If your sprinkler system has one zone, then connect the white wire on the left to the black wire on the right. If your sprinkler system has two zones, then connect them accordingly and then connect the black wire on the left to a ground terminal (not the one with the sensor). Note that you will need a separate ground rod for each zone.
Step 3: Set Up the App
The Nexxtech controller has its own app, which you can download on Google Play or in the iTunes App Store. Note that you will need an Android device to set it up, but iOS devices can be used for monitoring.
To get started, open the app and then head to the settings tab. Here, you will need to configure the controller (using your phone’s camera) so that you can connect it to the app. To do this, scan the QR code that is on the bottom of the controller with the camera. Once it is connected, then tap Next.
Now you will need to configure the outlet and zones. To do this, tap the outlet tab. Next, tap “Add a New Outlet” and then select your outlet by tapping it. Press Next and you’re done!
Step 4. Configure Zones
Now lets configure the zones. To do this, tap the first tab and then tap “Add a New Zone”. Next, tap the outlet that you want to configure and then press Next. You can now press “Start/Stop” on the app to make sure it is working. If it works, then top out!
Step 4: Set Up DIY Drip Irrigation System
The last step in setting up your drip irrigation system is to set up your sprinkler heads. If you are setting up a drip irrigation system with a timer, then this step is optional. If not, then continue reading.
To set up the sprinkler heads, follow these steps:
1. Attach the sprinkler and stakes to the sprinkler head.
2. Screw them onto the ground rod using the wrench provided in your package (optional). If you have multiple sprinklers in one zone, then attach them to the sprinkler head using the provided connectors.
3. Connect the wires to each other and then connect them to the screw terminals on your controller. The red wires should be connected together. Check out this video for a visual guide:
4. Place the sensor head on top of your sprinkler head (optional). Press the button on top of the sensor head to turn it on.
5. Go to your Nexxtech controller and select your outlet from the list (it will be located under “Outlets”). The app will start to display data from your sensor head. This means that your system is now set up! You can use the app to turn off and on your sprinklers if you are using a timer. If you are not using a timer, then use the sensor head to turn them on and off.
If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section below.
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