… Scotts offers compatible soil-moisture sensors, but they weren’t available for our review. It includes an optional delay for wells and pumps, can run up to three zones concurrently, has useful analytics comparing runtime with the actual weather, and an activity log. With its range of straightforward scheduling options using hyperlocal, internet-delivered weather information, this model can figure out on its own when, where, and for how long to water your garden. All data is encrypted in transit and sensitive data is stored according to industry best-practices. Run your sprinkler system anytime, anywhere right from your smartphone. Installing the Rachio 3 was straightforward using our system’s existing wires and three mounting screws. You’ll worry less about your lawn getting watered too much or too little regardless of the time of year. We will continue to build the astounding list of the reliable products for our customers. We installed each device in the covered porch of a 1960s home in Charleston, South Carolina. All of the controllers responded appropriately to rainfall, but the authors speculate that adding a rain sensor could help prevent controllers from possibly overwatering. I’ve been a writer and editor for 20 years and have spent the past decade trying to live a greener lifestyle (and writing about it). Indoor/outdoor mounting: Are you mounting the unit inside or outside? Water when your lawn needs it, automatically, to easily lock in lawn nutrients for maximum effectiveness and greener results. We’ve found that these don’t work all that well (they have a tendency to over-water), though options that skip watering when it rains can be a bonus feature. Comprehensive Connectivity. Although the RainMachine will continue to operate while offline, and we could still control it from the device, remote access is a key feature. Control from anywhere with the easy-to-use app. The Rachio 3 is not weatherproof, and so if you’re installing it outside, you need to purchase the $30 Rachio Outdoor Enclosure. Water Sensors . Aeon Matrix has recently launched its new Yardian Pro, the latest smart sprinkler. It gives you complete visibility and control over the irrigation system. (RainMachine has the option of storing all data locally, using an internet connection only to download weather forecasts.) Sounds great, but the reality is that most smart sprinklers exist as islands today: Only a few connect to anything at all, though Amazon’s Alexa has a modicum of support. There are also two less expensive models—the RainMachine Pro-8 and Pro-16—which have a smaller touchscreen interface with full controls and an Ethernet connector. All of the models we tested are WaterSense-certified; similar to the Energy Star program for home appliances, WaterSense products are tested to the EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. Provide pre-programmed … Push notifications are common, but many only notify you when the watering has completed, not when it starts (which is arguably more useful). Smart sprinkler controllers are much more convenient than manually watering your garden every day. Some smart sprinkler controllers make the adjustments themselves; others require a manual override. Accurately predicting and responding to weather in your immediate area. 6.Voice control. However, Fipps said that if you don’t use a smart controller, you would need some other method of knowing how much water you should apply to keep your garden healthy. B-hyve works reliably with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to control your sprinklers with voice. Based on our research and testing, we determined that the best smart sprinkler controller is one that’s easy to install, offers an intuitive user interface, and sets intelligent schedules for you—but also one that allows you to adapt and tailor schedules and evapotranspiration (ET) settings to your specific needs. Both options let you input watering restrictions, if you have them, and both can tie in to the Weather Intelligence Plus feature, so the system will adapt its watering to local conditions. “Smart” scheduling: Once of the great promises of smart watering systems is that they can take into account your local weather and environment to optimize your water delivery. Ultimately, I turned off the confusing smart watering schedule—as I’ve done with every other sprinkler controller I’ve tested—and set a fixed schedule of 10 minutes each evening. This model’s built-in touchscreen allows on-device control without needing an internet connection. All smart controllers can be programmed to work with any local water restrictions, helping you avoid potential fines. View On PC/Browser (Windows / Mac / Chromebook) Sprinkler Timer. For example, HomeKit is available only on the Rachio 3. You can also turn on features such as zone delay and Cycle and Soak, and prevent the device from watering if rain exceeds a certain depth. The app is missing a few alerts, too, including that there’s no warning when watering is about to begin. © 2021 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller, Who should buy a smart sprinkler/irrigation controller, Security, privacy, and smart sprinkler controllers, Budget pick: Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller, testing and researching weather-based irrigation controllers for over a decade, expected to face a water shortage in the next decade, the sum of evaporation and plant water use, Orbit 57095 Sprinkler System Weather Resistant Outdoor Mounted Control Timer Box Cover, testing and researching weather-based irrigation controllers for more than a decade, The Best Smart Garage Door Opener Controller, Orbit B-hyve Smart WiFi Sprinkler Controller, Rain Bird ST8I-WIFI Smart Irrigation Controller, WaterSense Labeled Irrigation Controllers (PDF), WaterSense Labeled Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (PDF), Evaluating the Operation of Residential WIFI Based Irrigation Controllers (PDF), Rachio 3e Smart Sprinkler Controller review, The Best Google Assistant–Compatible Smart-Home Devices for Google Home, The Best Alexa-Compatible Smart-Home Devices for Amazon Echo. 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