Best Sprinkler Controller with wi-fi for 2022

Best Sprinkler Controller with Wi-Fi for 2022

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Our top pick

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio has been doing the best smart sprinkler controllers for years.

The 3rd generation is no exception.

Works with Alexa and Apple HomeKit

Add voice control by combining with an Alexa device and/or control from anywhere with the easy-to-use app.

Save money and water!

See up to 30-50% savings on your monthly water bill

Fast Installation

Fast DIY installation in 30 minutes or less with no special tools needed.

Other options

NETRO

Netro is a newer company that looks very promising.

WYZE WSPRK1

Cheapest Option.

Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR

Best bang for the buck.

Getting tired of babysitting your water sprinkler system? 

It gets a little tiresome to always have to pay attention to your sprinklers, particularly in these dry times we’ve been having.

There’s an easier way to handle this while taking advantage of local weather conditions to get more accurate watering. And lower water usage bills. 

Get a smart sprinkler controller with Wi-Fi.

In this article, we’re going to review four popular sprinkler controllers with Wi-Fi. These units will allow you to control your system over your smartphone, a tablet or even your PC.

What a better way to control your system rather than having to continually head to the garage, crawl under the porch or head down into the basement?

What Is a Wifi Sprinkler Controller?

A sprinkler controller is a device that allows you to program and automatically run the water sprinkler system at your home. 

You’re able to choose particular times and areas of your yard to get watering. 

On the market today are two types. The old manual style that’s been around for years and a newer model that uses Wi-Fi and your home network for remote control.

Is It Easy to Install?

The units in this review are all easy to install. 

It’s just a matter of drilling the holes for the mounting screws, mounting the unit and connecting the wires

You can also choose an expert installation from as little as $100.

Do They Work If the Power Goes Down?

The units have a battery backup that will help keep the settings that you’ve programmed in. 

However, without power, your sprinkler system won’t run.

Why Install a Drip Irrigation System?

Drip irrigation gives you an easy way to control the amount of water that goes on smaller areas and avoids the problem of flooding. 

A drip irrigation system is ideal if you’re watering smaller areas like gardens, flowerbeds, container plants, trees, or groundcover. 

It’s especially good for desert landscaping.

Is the Controller All You Have to Purchase or Do You Have to Buy All New Sprinkler Head?

The wireless sprinkler controller is all you need to connect to your normal irrigation system

If you are mounting outside, some of the units will need an optional outdoor box.

Is a sprinkler Controller worth the price ?

It depends on your own situation and priorities, but generally speaking, the answer would be yes. 

You WILL save a lot of time and money on your water bills

And of course, saving water should be everyone’s priority in the current climate crisis we are facing.

Is it easy to program ?

Yes it’s easy but you need to plan carefully the different zones of your yard

Each zone should include plants with the same watering requirements.

How Long Do Sprinkler Controllers Last?

That would depend on the brand and your personal use.

You can expect between 5 and 10 years.

How Strong Must the Wi-Fi Signal Be at the Controller?

Strong enough to let the sprinkler controller communicate with your network. So, the closer the controller can be to the wireless source the better. 

Next, take into consideration how many walls and other obstructions the signal has to pass through. The fewer the better.

How many other devices are operating on the same channel? If you have more than a couple, the interference may be too great for the outdoor mounted controller. 

Good news… 

A Wi-Fi extender boosts the signal and will help with the above issues.

Note: Some of these controllers communicate only on the 2.4 GHz band. If you’re running a 5 GHz home network, they won’t work. 

Only the Rachio 3 and the Orbit B-hyve will work on a 5 GHz network. 

Onward with the reviews…

OUR TOP PICK

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller 3rd Generation

PROS

CONS

Rachio were the first to produce smart sprinkler controllers.

The Rachio is a good-looking unit and the body is pretty solid. 

It is available in both 8 zone and 16 zone configurations.

Using WaterSense technology, it’s designed to help make yard watering easy and a lot less expensive. 

Let’s take a closer look in this Rachio mini review.

Rebates

The Rachio is EPA WaterSense Certified and you could get a rebate if your county or city is eligible and the water company is participating.

Hardware

It has three predrilled screw holes for mounting. Its dimensions are 9.1” x 5.5” x 1.4” and it weights 1.05 Lbs. 

The new easy-press connectors accommodate 14 & 18 gauge wire and make installation a breeze.

 

If you’re updating from 2nd generation, the mounting holes are also the same, so no need to re-measure!

The Rachio is not waterproof or water resistant and must be installed indoors

If you want to install outdoors, you can buy an outside enclosure. This is the one made by Rachio and it’s available on Amazon.

Install

Remember to take a photo of the wiring inside your existing controller to reference during installation. 

Remove your old controller from the wall and install the new screws. 

Remove the Rachio 3’s magnetic face-plate and mount your new controller by screwing it onto the wall. 

Connect your wires and you’re ready to go! 

You only need basic tools, a screwdriver, a hammer and a drill. It can be done in about 15 minutes. 

You can also hire a pro to do it for you.

Watch the installation process in this video :

Set up

The setup of the Rachio smart controller is pretty easy as well. It does require that you have your smart phone available with the app installed. This is so you can hook up to the smart controller then connect to the wireless network. 

Once you’ve got that connectivity set up, it’s just a matter of choosing each zone and entering in the rest of the information about your yard.

It’s this information coupled with the weather information that helps make the Rachio so effective. 

Don’t forget to check the history on your app to see if all the zones have been watered as you wanted.

You can also share the access with your gardener.

When you’re doing the initial setup of the Rachio on your smart phone, it will take you through each of the zones of your yard and ask pertinent questions for each zone. 

It will ask about soil type, what you’ve got growing, slope and several other items. This customization really helps to make it more accurate when it combines with weather sensing ability.

If your’re upgrading from 2nd generation, the app allows you to transfer your settings during onboarding, saving you even more time.

Watch the setup process in this video:

Integrations

The Rachio 3 can be fully integrated with the following systems : 

Apple HomeKit™️ 

Amazon Alexa 

Google Assistant 

IFTTT 

Alarm.com 

SmartThings

 

With new systems being added all the time :

URC 

Control4 

Nexia 

Wink

For the Geeks

Rachio also offers an open API that you can use to create your own watering application. Though most users find the current application to be pretty useful and loaded with good information. 

You also have service integration with a system called IFTTT. This allows you to create your own mini applets which are controlled by events. 

For example, if it’s a cloudy day and you don’t want your Rachio to water, you can have the weather forecast trigger IFTTT which will then communicate with the Rachio and tell it to turn off watering for the day.

Or, if the temperature happens to get too hot, you can have that condition trigger IFTTT to communicate with the Rachio and turn on watering.

What Are the Differences Between Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3?

If you already own an older Rachio, here are the benefits you will get by upgrading.

Source : rachio.com

The Gen 3 supports 5GHz Wi-Fi, premium Weather Intelligence™ Plus and the wireless Flow Meter, if you want to take water monitoring to the next level. 

There are three others handy additions. The easy-press connectors, the 14 & 18 gauge wire support and the on-unit Run, Pause, and Skip buttons.

Our Verdict

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Gen 3 is a great performer and easily integrates with multiple sources of weather information. It’s easy to install and set up with a responsive app.

Over 10,000 users give the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller a 4.7 out of five star rating on Amazon and the Rachio website.

The Rachio is our number one choice because it will give you more for your money

We also like that they have been a Certified B Corporation since 2017, meaning they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

Another plus is that they have been around for many years and are unlikely to go out of business.

FAQ

Rachio 3 smart sprinkler controller works with almost any existing sprinkler system. 

The following system types are not currently compatible with Rachio: 

  • Battery Powered/DC Systems 
  • 2-Wire Systems 
  • Most Commercial Systems with too many wires or zones.

The Rachio 3 controller has a built-in memory and a small battery to save the time. So once your home regains power, it will pick up right where it left off.

If you temporarily lose internet connectivity, your Rachio controller will attempt to reconnect to your network every 30 seconds for 24 hours, after which point your controller will go offline.

If this happens, you will need to manually unplug your Rachio and plug it back in.

 Each controller has a small built-in memory so that any schedules or settings you had before connection loss will be saved. Your controller will continue to run those schedules even without connectivity.

No. The Rachio 3 controller acts as both soil and rain sensor by using  a powerful software, numerous zone settings, and advanced weather forecasting.

You will be able to wire any existing flow meter to Rachio 3

Rachio 3 is compatible with:

  • Rachio Wireless Flow Meter
  • Master valve / pump relay
  • 3rd Party Sensors 
  • Rain Sensor: Wired & Wireless Normally Closed (NC) sensors
  • Soil Sensor: Wired & Wireless Normally Closed (NC) sensors

 

Testimonials from rachio.com

OUR TOP PICK

Rachio 3

Netro Smart

Netro Sprite is a newer product that gets good reviews and is very good value for money

We also like the nice design and it’s small size.

Let’s see in more details what you will get.

Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller, WiFi

PROS

CONS

Rebates

The Netro  is EPA WaterSense Certified and you may be eligible for a rebate.

Check with your city or county water department to see if they participate in the program.

Hardware

The Netro isn’t waterproof.

You must use a waterproof box if you want to install outdoors. Netro don’t make their own, users have used the one made by Orbit. 

The box comes with two screws to be mounted on a wall. 

Its size is 5.7 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches and its weight 0.51 lbs, which is practical.

Installation

Installation is easy and straightforward. 

You should be able to get it done in 15 minutes with basic tools.

Watch the installation process in this video:

Set Up

Then you can download the Netro app, create your account and connect to your Wi-Fi network. 

Note that Sprite is unable to connect to Wireless-B(11Mbps) routers. 

Sprite only supports the newer standards, namely Wireless N,Wireless-G and Wireless-AC. 

Sprite is incompatible with 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. 

Also, please make sure the SSID (name of your home Wi-Fi) does not contain special characters like spaces or quotation marks.

Watch the setup process in this video:

The app

The app will calculate to watering schedule of each zone depending on several factors, like your location, soil type etc. 

You can then manage and adapt the schedule to your own preference.

How to manage the watering schedule :

Integrations

Netro Sprite integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant and Google Home.

For the Geeks

Netro offers a public API and integrates with IFTTT if you wish to make your own customisations to the app.

Our Verdict

Netro Sprite is a cheaper alternative to the Rachio if you have 6 zones or less.

It’s a little bit more expensive than the Orbit B-hyve for 6 zones but has a more modern design. 

If you don’t use a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network and don’t need an integration with Apple HomeKit™️ or another system, it can work for you. 

On the minus side, this is a newer company, and we can’t be sure they will stay in business forever. 

FAQ

No. Only 110 V.

The Netro controller has a built-in memory and a small battery to save the time. So once your home regains power, it will pick up right where it left off.

If Wi-Fi is down, the Netro will continue to execute the pre-loaded schedules for up to one month.

No. You can add the Netro Whisperer if you wish it to : 

– Study your soil type 

– Learn the characteristics of your irrigation system 

– Monitor real-time environmental conditions

Yes. Netro Sprite works with all sprinkler systems.

6 Zones

12 Zones

WYZE WSPRK1

WYZE makes the cheapest sprinkler controller with WI-Fi on the market.

The main benefit of the WYZE WSPRK1 Smart Controller is its price

Like all WYZE products, it’s nothing very fancy but it does the job if your needs are simple

Let’s dive into the review.

Wyze WSPRK1

PROS

CONS

Rebates

The WYZE website states that you may be eligible for a rebate.

Check with your city or county water department to see if they participate in the program.

Hardware

The WYZE WSPRK1 is small, its dimensions are 9.1in x 3.3in x 1.5in (231 mm x 84 mm x 38 mm) and it weighs 7.6 oz

It works on 24V AC, 60Hz, 850mA and comes with a power adapter cable of 6 feet. 

The valve output is 24V AC, 60Hz. 

It’s compatible with wires sized 12 to 28 AWG. 

It’s not waterproof and must be mounted inside. 

For outside, WYZE is making their own Weatherproof Sprinkler Controller Box, which isn’t available on Amazon at the time of writing but on their website

There are eight lights on the front to tell you which zone is running

And also four buttons to the right of the display that can be used to run manual short waterings.

Installation

It’s easy to install yourself in just 20 minutes.

Set Up

The app doesn’t come with a wizard so you’re pretty much on your own. 

The smart watering schedule doesn’t seem to be all that smart and you are probably better off with a simple fixed schedule, that you can adapt to your needs. 

The advanced weather data is only available with the Sprinkler Plus subscription, which is included the first year and then will cost you $9.99 a year.

Integrations

WYZE doesn’t support any integration at this time.

You can combine it with the WYZE camera.

Our Verdict

The WYZE WSPRK1 is a good choice if your needs are very simple and you don’t want to pay a lot of money for a sprinkler controller with Wi-Fi. 

Many users report that the automatic schedule doesn’t work well. I am not sure I would trust it when away on a vacation. 

The app could do with many improvements too.

We love a company that makes affordable smart home products and with a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 for 744 reviews, we obviously aren’t the only ones!

But keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for.

FAQ

Yes! You are able to limit watering to specific days of the week or even/odd days.

No, Wyze Sprinkler requires power to operate your irrigation system.

If you lose connection to the Internet, Wyze Sprinkler will continue to operate on the saved schedule for the next 14 days.

No. But the WYZE controller is compatible with most sensors.

Wyze Sprinkler is compatible with most residential irrigation systems in North America and can be used with systems that have a master valve or pump relay.

Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR Smart

Orbit is one of the favorite brands of sprinkler controllers with Wi-Fi and are renowned for their durability.

The Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR has been released in 2020 and is the most advanced hardware by Orbit so far

It’s a cheaper alternative to Rachio and Netro if you need between 13 and 16 zones

Let’s take a look at what it can do for you.

Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR Smart

PROS

CONS

Rebates

The Orbit B-hyve XR is EPA WaterSense Certified and you may be eligible for a rebate.

Check with your city or county water department to see if they participate in the program.

Hardware

You can install the B-hyve® XR Smart Irrigation Controller outdoors if you wish. 

It has a sturdy and waterproof design. You can turn off the display for safety. 

No external box is required to keep your sprinkler controller safe from the elements. 

It runs on 120V AC/60Hz Input 24V AC Output. It now supports dual-band connectivity of 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz

There is a manual button that can be used for several fonctions but is as easy to use as learning morse. I remember that you can cancel all watering by holding it between 2 to 5 seconds and turn the device off by holding it 10 seconds

Although Orbit has done a nice effort on the design, it’s still very bulky at 4 x 9 x 11 inches and 4.00 lbs.

Installation

The installation is pretty easy but make sure to follow the manual instructions.

A novelty is the clips wiring (instead of tiny screws), which is both a blessing and a curse. 

In theory, it’s a time saver but you need to wire them quite forcefully in order to get a good connection.

Make sure you strip 1/2″ (13 mm) of insulation of each wire before you start.

There are also 2 wire hole knock-outs at the bottom of the unit that need to be removed with a screwdriver before you start

I couldn’t find a step by step instruction video.

Set Up

The set up is easy. 

Just follow the instructions on your app. 

It’s the nicest feature of the Orbit XR

Once again, a step by step video would have been nice.

Integrations

It works only with Alexa and Google Home but at least it works very well.

The XR supports most rain and freeze sensors.

It’s compatible with master valve and pump relay.

Our Verdict

Orbit has really made an effort to pack the XR with features at a reasonable price

Although that sounds good on paper, it’s working more or less in real life.

Like the single button you can’t use unless you have a super-human memory or the clips wiring which aren’t connecting as well as they should

Same with the app. All in all it’s very easy to use but it’s missing some key features. Like notifications when the watering starts or a useful watering history

Also, some step by step videos for installation and set-up wouldn’t go amiss. 

On the plus side, their phone tech customer service is top notch. 

Unless you have a very big yard and need 16 zones or more, we wouldn’t choose the Orbit as our top pick.

FAQ

They recommend placing this away from direct sunlight if possible and the operating temperature is 32-158 degrees Fahrenheit.

No. Only 110V.

If you lose connection to the Internet, your Orbit Sprinkler will continue to operate on the saved schedule.

No. But the B-hyve XR controller is compatible with most sensors.

No. Only one zone can run at a time.

Yes you can and you can manually run your system from any country as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Let’s Recap

Features

Rating

EPA WaterSense certified

Dual Band Wi-Fi

On-Unit Button

Alexa

Google Assistant

Google Home

Apple HomeKit

IFTTT

Advanced Weather Data

Rachio 3

5/5

Netro Smart

4/5

Wyze WSPRK1

3/5

Orbit 57985 B-hyve XR

3/5

So, what’s the best sprinkler controller with Wi-Fi in 2022?

What’s really cool about the wireless Wi-Fi controllers is that you get a ton of information. You’ll get a lot of charts and graphs using the data that each of the controllers collects. 

This is great for learning more about how to care for your lawn and garden. 

All of the units are easy to install and set up. They all get top ratings and user satisfaction.

Our choice is the Rachio 3 because it’s getting the best results for the price. Also it’s the best integrated sprinkler out there and Rachio keeps making better and better products. 

The Netro is following very closely but the longevity of the company isn’t garanteed yet and we don’t like the lack of an on-unit button. 

The WYZE smart sprinkler is making our list mostly for its price. We recommend it only if your watering needs are VERY simple and you are on a budget.

The B-hyve is a good and reliable product if you don’t mind the bulkiness and its minor flaws. It’s also the best value for money if you need 16 zones or more

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your budget, your watering needs and whether you need a lot of integrations or not.

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  1. […] Best Sprinkler Controller with wi-fi for 2022 […]

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  3. […] save water, you can install a sprinkler controller with Wi-Fi paired with a rain and soil sensor to make it even […]

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