What Are the Best Smart Sprinkler Controllers?

A smart sprinkler controller is a fantastic addition to an in-ground sprinkler system. When choosing one, it’s critical that it can handle all of your watering zones, is WaterSense certified, and has the control options you want.

With many different smart sprinkler controllers on the market, it’s essential to do some research before purchasing one to ensure it’s the best fit for you and your lawn.

What is a Smart Sprinkler Controller?

Smart sprinkler controllers are the newest technology in lawn irrigation systems, significantly improving watering efficiency.

These digital controllers move everything from your sprinkler system’s control panel interface right into the palm of your hand. With the help of an app, the entire system is controlled through a smartphone or tablet. Your system still primarily functions the same way: you input a preset watering schedule and let the sprinklers come on and run like clockwork day in and day out. A smart controller just adds some fantastic benefits.

Smart controllers allow users to adjust watering schedules and turn sprinklers on and off no matter where they are. You can be sitting in your living room or relaxing on the beach in the Caribbean—just pull up the app, tap a few prompts, and you’ve made adjustments.

They also go one step further and use innovative technology to help determine when and how long to water. Some rely on local weather forecasts and data, while others have real-time sensors that measure soil moisture. They use this information to water your lawn very efficiently. The grass only gets water for the appropriate amount of time when needed.

Criteria to look for in a Smart Sprinkler Controller

Consider the following characteristics if you’re in the market for a smart sprinkler controller.

Adequate Number of Watering Zones

We’ve talked before that a sprinkler system—and the area it waters—is broken up into multiple zones that are each watered individually. When the sprinkler system turns on, it sends water to one zone at a time, as most houses don’t have adequate water pressure and water flow to supply all of the zones simultaneously.

Smart controllers will clearly state the number of zones they can control. Most will handle seven or eight, which is adequate for the average homeowner. If your lawn has more zones, you’ll need to look for a controller that can handle more.

WaterSense Certification

Some smart controllers bear the EPA’s WaterSense certification. This certification is similar to the Energy Star certification for home appliances regarding energy efficiency but is given to them for watering efficiency and conservation.

The controller must incorporate soil moisture readings or local weather data into watering schedules to be WaterSense certified. It guarantees the controller works more in-depth than a simple on/off timer.

Control Options

Many smart sprinkler controllers give you plenty of control options. You can control them via the app, use the manual controls on the interface panel, or set them up to work with digital assistants of smart home systems. If you rely heavily on Amazon Alexa, Google Home/Assistant, Siri, or Samsung SmartThings to control your smart devices, look for a controller that pairs with your preferred assistant or system.

Is the controller weatherproof?

Depending on where your controller is installed, it may need protection from the elements. You’ll either need to look for a waterproof controller or purchase a weatherproof housing, which adds to the cost.

Benefits of a Smart Sprinkler Controller

A smart controller benefits your lawn, the environment, and your household budget in the following ways.

  • Saves water
  • Saves money
  • Makes watering easy
  • Improves lawn health

1. Improves water-use efficiency

The most significant benefit of using a smart sprinkler controller is how much water it saves. On average, it reduces the water used for irrigation between 20% and 50%.

2. Saves utility costs

With such drastic water savings, a smart sprinkler controller also reduces your water bill by 20 to 50%, significantly slashing utility costs. Smart controllers with the WaterSense certification may also qualify for and receive rebates, cutting utility bills even further.

3. Irrigation is easy

Smart controllers also make watering a no-brain activity. You don’t need to adjust the program for rainfall or manually shut the system off if the weather is unnaturally cool and cloudy. The smart controller intuitively adjusts the schedule to meet your lawn’s needs.

4. Betters your grass in the long run

Overwatering your grass is a major detriment to its health. It puts it under significant stress, making it more susceptible to weeds, diseases, and insects. When your grass is given the right amount of water at the best time, you’ll see a drastic improvement in its health. A healthy lawn will not only look better, but it will be better equipped to defend itself against problems.

The Cost of a Smart Sprinkler Controller

How much this upgrade costs depends on the individual controller you’re looking at and its functions.

  • Popular smart sprinkler controllers cost between $80 and $300.
  • Irrigreen smart sprinkler controllers start at $1570 but offer greater watering efficiency.

Get Started On Your Smart Sprinkler Adventure!

Upgrading your system with a smart sprinkler is an excellent step towards creating a sustainable home. If you’re interested in a quote for an Irrigreen system or have questions, contact our sales team!

We’ll offer some valuable insight and lead you to a healthy, beautiful, water-wise yard.

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