The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller

The Best Smart Sprinkler Controller

Our pick

Rachio 3

Rachio 3

Set it and forget it

This is the most flexible and easy-to-use smart controller for your yard or garden irrigation system.

Buying Options

$186 from Amazon
(eight zones)
$230 from Best Buy
(eight zones)

The Rachio 3 (available in versions for eight or 16 zones) provides straightforward plug-and-play functionality for a beginner, but it can be fine-tuned with advanced settings to satisfy a master gardener too. Its Weather Intelligence Plus feature allows for hyperlocal forecasting, which makes watering more efficient. We like the option of using the extensive (if not comprehensive) onboard controls (in lieu of the app), and that it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, among others.

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Also great

RainMachine Touch HD-12

RainMachine Touch HD-12

For local control

This model’s built-in touchscreen allows on-device control without needing an internet connection. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. But its watering method and forecasting are less precise than the Rachio 3’s.

Buying Options

$270 from Amazon
(12 zones)

The RainMachine Touch HD-12 (available in versions for 12 or 16 zones) can be controlled by an onboard touchscreen, a smartphone app, or a web interface. (It should be noted that on some sites this pick is also listed as model SPK3-1.) Unlike all of the other models we tested, the RainMachine doesn’t need to connect to the cloud to function, and it depends on the internet only for weather updates. RainMachine offers a huge range of weather services and provides deep, granular control over your irrigation. RainMachine’s app is less intuitive than the Rachio 3’s and doesn’t automatically create schedules, making it more daunting for novice gardeners to use.

Budget pick

Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller

Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller

Style and simplicity for less

The B-hyve is small, effective, and inexpensive, but it lacks some key features.

Buying Options

$110 from Amazon
(eight zones)
$80 from Home Depot
(eight zones)

The Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller (available for eight zones) is the least expensive smart controller you can buy, yet it offers many of the same features as our top picks, including smart scheduling, a nice app, and an innovative, slim design. It’s also WaterSense-certified, has basic controls on the device, lets you choose your weather station, and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It does lack some alerts, though, and its app isn’t as good as the Rachio 3’s.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Rachio 3

Rachio 3

Set it and forget it

This is the most flexible and easy-to-use smart controller for your yard or garden irrigation system.

Buying Options

$186 from Amazon
(eight zones)
$230 from Best Buy
(eight zones)

Also great

RainMachine Touch HD-12

RainMachine Touch HD-12

For local control

This model’s built-in touchscreen allows on-device control without needing an internet connection. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. But its watering method and forecasting are less precise than the Rachio 3’s.

Buying Options

$270 from Amazon
(12 zones)

Budget pick

Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller

Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller

Style and simplicity for less

The B-hyve is small, effective, and inexpensive, but it lacks some key features.

Buying Options

$110 from Amazon
(eight zones)
$80 from Home Depot
(eight zones)

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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