Best smart sprinkler system controllers 2022: Rachio, Rainmachine, Wyze and more

We’re well past the early stages of tech companies trying to connect every device inside our homes to the internet, converting “dumb” items into smart home products, and even though you might not want a connected microwave, one item you should seriously consider is a smart sprinkler system controller.

By connecting your sprinkler system to the internet, not only can you create schedules or turn it on/off directly from your phone, but some systems will automatically create sprinkler schedules based on your climate, weather forecast, and parties. your garden more or less shade during the day.

Below, we’ve rounded up four different sprinkler controllers, each with a unique approach to streamlining keeping your yard or garden lush and green.

Rachio 3

Smarter than most

Rachio 3

Image: Rachio


Areas: 8 or 16 | Smart home support: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Wink, Control4 and Nexia | Outdoor enclosure: $30 on Amazon | Supported weather services: National weather stations, 270,000 personal weather stations, etc. are used for Rachio’s Weather Intelligence Plus service |


Rachio’s sprinkler controllers are arguably the most popular, or at least the most commonly recommended, and for good reason. They’re easy to configure and install (like most sprinkler controllers), but also offer broad support for smart home platforms and leverage multiple weather sources for the company’s own Weather Intelligence Plus service.

This service will proactively adjust your watering schedule once a month, and if there is bad weather in the forecast, it will also skip watering days to accommodate the rainfall. All of this, again, is a core feature of smart sprinkler systems, but Rachio’s technology seems to be the smartest and most consistent.

As well: Convenient Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler: Intelligent watering controlled by your phone

ADVANTAGES

  • Accurate weather forecasts
  • Intelligently adjusts watering schedules once a month

THE INCONVENIENTS

  • Watering volume can sometimes be too extreme.

rain machine

The touch screen option

rain machine

Image: Rain Machine


Areas: 8, 12, 16 | Smart home support: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, Home Assistant | Outdoor enclosure: $35 on Amazon | Supported weather services: NOAA, NetAtmo, Wunderground, OpenWeatherMap and more |


The Rainmachine line of smart sprinkler systems seem unique in that all three models have a touchscreen and digital display. The Mini-8 is the most basic of the bunch and doesn’t support HomeKit. The Pro and Touch HD have larger screens and touch areas, with the Touch HD featuring a 6.5-inch display. All three models support automatic adjustment of your water cycles based on local weather reports.

The Mini-8 supports up to 8 zones, the Pro offers 8 or 16 zone support, and the Touch HD supports 12 or 16 zones. All three models support freeze control and heat wave protection, and support main valve automation.

A consistent complaint in reviews I’ve read of Rainmachine is that while it supports multiple weather services for rain delays, its forecast and watering schedules aren’t as accurate as the competetion.

ADVANTAGES

  • Extensive support for smart home platforms
  • Takes into account several meteorological services
  • unique design

THE INCONVENIENTS

  • Forecasting is a common complaint

Wyze sprinkler controller

The affordable option

Wyze sprinkler controller

Image: Wyze


Areas: 8 | Smart home support: Wyze app | Outdoor enclosure: $30.99 | Supported weather services: Wyze Sprinkler Plus Weather Service |


Wyze makes a bunch of devices at an affordable price, so it only made sense for the company to develop a minimal and inexpensive smart sprinkler system controller. The black oval design is minimal and will allow you to remotely control up to 8 different watering zones.

For the asking price, you get a year of the company’s Sprinkler Plus weather service which typically costs $9.99 per year. One downside to Wyze’s offering is that it doesn’t currently support any smart home services outside of the Wyze app. So while you can still control your sprinklers from your phone, you won’t be able to ask Alexa or Google Assistant to make adjustments.

ADVANTAGES

  • Affordable hardware
  • One year of Sprinkler Plus weather service included, $10 per year thereafter
  • Minimal design

THE INCONVENIENTS

  • Weather forecasts require an annual subscription
  • No smart home support outside of the Wyze app

Eve Aqua

For those with a pipe-based system

Eve Aqua

Image: Eve


Areas: Single | Smart home support: Home Kit | Outdoor enclosure: Designed for outdoor use | Supported weather services: Manually turn rain delay on/off via the Eve app or Apple |


If you water your garden with a more traditional hose and sprinkler, then Eve’s Aqua is a reliable option. You connect it to your outdoor tap and connect the hose to Aqua.

Eve has added Thread support to Aqua, enabling future integration with other smart home platforms as Thread continues to roll out and gain market traction. However, for now, you’ll need to use an iPhone and HomeKit to control it.

You can use the Eve app to turn Aqua on/off on demand, or set schedules for it to turn on and allow water to flow. The Eve app will even calculate how much water is flowing through the adapter, giving you a better estimate of what it’s costing you to keep your yard or garden watered.

ADVANTAGES

  • Retrofitting an outdoor faucet
  • Thread support for future integrations
  • Easy installation and configuration

THE INCONVENIENTS

  • No Android support at this time
  • Controls a single pipe/zone

Do smart sprinkler system controllers work with all sprinklers?

For the most part, yes. You will need to access your current sprinkler system controller. There should be a series of wires connected to your controller, each controlling a valve that turns water on or off for a sprinkler zone.

How are smart sprinkler system controllers powered?

Every controller included in this listing, with the exception of the Eve Aqua, will come with an AC adapter that plugs into a standard wall outlet. In other words, it’s powered just like any other gadget or device in your home.

Are smart sprinkler system controllers hackable?

Anything connected to the internet has a chance of being hacked, and smart sprinkler controllers are no different. As with any type of online account, it’s a good idea to choose a random, unique password – and use a password manager to remember it for you – to increase the security of your your account.

How did we choose these controllers?

I have personally used several different controllers over the years. More recently I installed and ran the Rachio 3. Drawing on my personal experience with smart irrigation controllers and reading countless reviews from other tech journalists as well as consumers is what ultimately led to the devices from this list.

Which controller is right for you?

There are a few aspects of smart irrigation controllers you need to consider when making the decision. The first is your budget. Wyze’s offering is the most affordable, but also requires an annual subscription (even though it’s only $10 per year, it’s still a recurring fee). More expensive controllers, such as Rachio and Rainmachine, use several different services to make weather and irrigation adjustments, which partly explains their higher price.

In the case of Rainmachine, its design and touchscreen integration also play a significant role in its cost.

Another factor to consider is the smart home platforms you currently use, or even plan to use. Rainmachine and Rachio support almost all platforms, while Wyze and Eve Aqua offer limited solutions.

The number of supported zones is something to consider, but to a lesser extent simply because most sprinkler controllers start out with a minimum of eight supported zones.