5 Best Wireless Sprinkler Controller Devices
Keeping your plants watered properly can be a tedious task if you’re going to do it manually. Even if you have a sprinkler system, remembering to turn it on can be a big problem. This is the reason why you should get the best wireless sprinkler controller. This wireless device allows you to control the irrigation in your garden indoors. And if you’re away, you can set the controller timer so it will set off automatically. With this device, there would be no more dead grass or flowers in your garden.
Sprinkler controllers are not merely timers. It can also let you turn it off remotely if it happened to rain that day and you’re not at home. Also, you no longer have to get out of your seat just to water the plants. Simply reach for your phone, open the controller app, and activate the sprinklers.
However, you should know that sprinkler controllers aren’t made equal. This is why you should be careful with what you’re going to buy. Always check the features and invest your money in a unit that’s made to last.
Below, I reviewed five of the best options, so you no longer have to second-guess. Check which one suits your needs:
1. Rachio 3 16-Zone Sprinkler System
Rachio 3 is a leader in the sprinkler system market. Their controller is bundled here with a weather-proof enclosure to keep it safe wherever you plan to install it.
The Rachio 3 is programmed with a third-generation and 16-station system with a weather intelligence feature. If it rains, the controller will not set off even if scheduled it to do so. This prevents over-watering while helping you save money from your water bill. We have to thank its Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence feature for this amazing benefit.
- Bundle Includes our Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller (Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence) & our Rachio Weatherproof Outdoor Enclosure (custom designed and fully weatherproofed for outdoor use to protect your Rachio controller).
- Avoid watering in the rain. Exclusive weather intelligence plus automatically skips unnecessary watering with features like rain skip, wind skip, freeze skip, and more.
Aside from that, Rachio 3 can be controlled using its proprietary app. You can now view and set watering schedules, run sprinklers, and monitor the water usage in your garden.
Also, you can deliver the amount of water your garden needs based on plant type, sun exposure, soil type, and other factors. Features like ‘cycle and soak’, allow you to deliver a more accurate amount of water to your plants.
The Rachio 3 is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. You can also connect this to IFTTT for easier management as an app controlled sprinkler system.
Aside from the controller, the package also includes a quick start guide, 6-feet cord, and mounting hardware.
- Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit
- Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence
- 16-station sprinkler controller
- So far so good
2. Sprinkl Control Smart Sprinkler Hub
Another controller that I recommend is the Sprinkl Control Smart Hub. It has a wireless moisture sensor feature paired with the autonomous watering mode. This will allow the device to monitor the moisture in your soil so it will know when and when not to water.
Aside from that, Sprinkl uses the local weather conditions to detect whether it needs to water your lawn. It also bases its watering cycles on future rainfalls, temperature, and other conditions.
- EASY TO INSTALL. Takes less than 20 minutes to install with no experience necessary.
- AUTONOMOUS. Turn on autonomous watering mode when paired with moisture sensors (sold separately). Sprinkl will keep monitor moisture levels and only water the lawn when required.
You can control the Sprinkl device using its mobile app. Make sure that you turn the notifications on to get live updates on what’s happening in your yard. This wireless system is also compatible with Android and iOS devices as well as smart hubs like Alexa.
Like Rachio, Sprinkl has 16 stations that you can set up in less than an hour. Just note that this is designed for installation and no batteries are required.
Once the system is set up, you can start adding or changing watering schedules, monitor sensors, and customize run times for each zone. The app also has troubleshooting features so you’d know what went wrong.
Anyway, you have to purchase the ground sensors separately, which you can pair with this device.
- Detects local weather conditions
- No batteries needed
- Easy and quick installation
- You have to purchase the ground sensors separately
3. Orbit 12-Station Sprinkler System Timer
If you don’t have a consistent internet connection at home, you can opt for the Orbit 12-Station Sprinkler System instead. It uses remote control that connects to the controller through radio signals. As long as you have the remote control beside you, controlling your sprinklers would be a breeze.
Aside from that, you can set 12 zones with this sprinkler system with a coverage of up to 300 feet. Using the control buttons on both the remote control and device, you can set special watering conditions per zone.
- ULTIMATE WIFI AND TIMER CONTROL - The B-hyve app is fully functional for Android, iOS or web devices and gives you control wherever you need it. Program your timer on the app, at the timer, or let the weather-based software create a program for you.
- SMART WATERING - Weather Sense technology provides watering based on site conditions such as slope, soil type, sun/shade, historical ET and live weather feeds. It automatically adjusts your controller to deliver the right amount of water to your plants.
Moreover, the system includes a connection for rain sensors as well as rain delay programs for as long as you want. The display of the controller is back-lit, which allows you to tweak settings at night. Overall, this system is very easy to program if you’re not much of a WiFi-savvy person.
Take note that the irrigation control device must be plugged into a power source. Meanwhile, the remote control works in batteries. You should also note that since you’re not using a WiFi network, you need to stay closer to the irrigation control system for seamless operation. Also, avoid walls and blockages during installation, which may affect the radio signals.
- No WiFi connection needed
- Connection for rain sensors
- Weather-proof construction
- The radio signal is limited to your property’s perimeter
4. Hunter Sprinkler X-Core Controller Timer
The Hunter X-Core is another option for those who don’t want a WiFi controlled sprinkler system. The X-Core system is compatible with Hunter’s ROAM remote control that you have to purchase separately.
With this device, you can control eight stations using four start times and three programs. It also has an easy retrieve memory and interval watering features. If you want, you can also set this controller in an odd/even watering system.
- Compatible with Hunter's ROAM Remote Control
- Control up to 8 Stations with 3 Programs and 4 Start Times each
Moreover, the X-Core allows you to perform seasonal adjustments without the need to reprogram the controller. Also, this specific X-Core model is waterproof and can be installed outdoors. Be careful as there’s an indoor X-Core unit with no waterproofing.
Another thing I like about this sprinkler controller is its automatic short circuit protection. It also comes with the Hunter Quick Check that helps you troubleshoot the device in the event of wiring issues.
Lastly, this controller device is enclosed in a sturdy box with a keyed lock. This keeps your controller safe against the harshest outdoor elements. Most of all, it’s a cheaper option if you don’t have the budget to splurge on high-end models.
- Compatible with Hunter’s ROAM remote control
- Ideal for outdoor installation
- Enclosed in a weather-proof box
- Steep learning curve on the controls
5. Hunter Sprinkler 12-Station Indoor Irrigation Controller
Like what I said earlier, the Hunter Sprinkler Controller is available in an indoor version. This one is suitable for those who don’t want to go out just to tweak their sprinkler’s settings. The Hunter Sprinkler PCC is compatible with Hunter’s proprietary Solar Sync.
Aside from that, the updated PCC is now equipped to detect local weather conditions to change the necessary run times. This prevents over-watering or drought on your plants.
- The PCC is also compatible with the Hunter Solar Sync
- The PCC will now regulate run times based on local weather conditions
Remember that this is a residential controller where you can control up to 12 stations. It’s not expandable, just in case you’re planning to do so in the future. Also, you need to purchase the wire that runs from the zone valves and the unit to set this up. Overall, this system is easy to install since you don’t need a lot of tools.
Aside from that, I like how easy it is to learn as opposed to the outdoor unit. And the fact that it’s installed indoors gives you the chance to explore it comfortably.
Take note that you have to turn each zone manually when using this controller. It’s a trade-off I can accept, considering the ease of use and installation of this device.
- Compatible with Hunter Solar Sync
- Detects local weather conditions
- Easy to install and learn
- For indoor use only
How to choose a wireless sprinkler controller
When scouting for wireless sprinkler controllers, you must consider the following points:
Number of zones
The first thing you should check is the number of zones the device can cover. This is important so you can provide ample watering for each type of plant in your garden. Most smart sprinkler controllers can cover about 5 to 16 stations. Take note that the more stations it can control, the more expensive the device gets.
You can also look for expandable systems where you can install modules to increase the number of zones possible. Make sure that the number of zones you’re eyeing to control is suitable on the water flow in your garden.
Indoor vs. outdoor
Next, you should decide whether you want an indoor or outdoor controller. Indoor ones can be tweaked without going out. However, this type doesn’t come with remote control, so you have to press the buttons physically.
Outdoor systems, on the other hand, are made for the utmost convenience. Most outdoor units can be controlled through a WiFi network and a mobile app or a dedicated radio remote control.
Both works and it depends on your needs and preferences which one suits you best.
WiFi vs. radio signal connectivity
Sprinkler controller systems can either be WiFi or radio signal powered. With WiFi-connected systems, you can monitor and change the settings of each zone even if you’re away from home. You only need your smartphone with the compatible app. This is much easier than bringing a radio remote control around.
However, for those who don’t have a stable internet connection at home, radio signal comes handy. This counterpart works by connecting the main controller into a remote control through radio signals. The only downside here is that the range is limited and you can’t monitor your controller when you’re at work. The upside, though, is that these systems are much cheaper than smart ones.
Next, you should check the controls of the system you’re going to buy. You can choose if you want an app-controlled option or one that uses a remote control.
Also, check the learning curve. Usually, those with comprehensive features take time to get used to, but the hassle is worth it.
One of the most important features of wireless sprinkler controllers is weather detection. Regardless if you’re purchasing a remote-controlled or WiFi-connected option, this feature is indispensable. It allows the system to decide on its own, whether it needs to delay watering or not. This prevents over-watering or drought as the weather changes without you changing it manually.
Take note that not all sprinkler controller systems are weather-proof. If you’re planning to install one outdoor, make sure that it’s rated for such. Also, you need an enclosure or box to keep the device safe from accidental button pressing.
Next, consider the installation requirements of the unit based on what you can handle. Many sprinkler controllers need wirework. If you’re not much of a handyman, you should look for someone who can assist you.
Most smart sprinkler controllers have similar installation process with that of a thermostat or doorbells. You may need to rewire things or put up an extra wall plug to accommodate the installation. You can always refer to the user manual that comes with the package.
Price isn’t a determinant of quality, which means expensive doesn’t always mean good and cheap isn’t always a dud. It’s a matter of finding the right features that suit your needs. Most of all, the system should be working efficiently as advertised.
Still, it’s always worth investing in a system that has been tried and tested, just like the Rachio 3. Although it comes at a higher price, it’s bundled with tons of useful and accurate features.
With the best wireless sprinkler controller, your plants will not experience drought or over-watering. Aside from accurate watering, it also saves you from the hassle of doing the chore manually. It will also help you save money on your water bills. Over time, your sprinkler controller will pay for itself once the savings add up.