Remembering to water your lawn or flowers is a huge part of keeping them growing healthy and strong all season, but it can be difficult to manually do this every day. This is especially true if you plan on going on vacation or you’ll be away for a few days. You can’t leave them without watering them, and a sprinkler controller system can help you keep your watering schedule on track. Technology has evolved in recent years, and you now have dozens of quality sprinkler controllers available on the current market.
But, how do you decide which sprinkler controller system is the best choice for your needs? Some are more technologically advanced than others, and this can make it challenging to select the best one for your needs. I’ve picked out 10 quality sprinkler controllers from different brands, and you can compare the products before using the buying guide to make your final decision.
Automating the watering process can save you countless hours and guesswork when it comes to keeping your plants and yard looking lush and green. You want to pick a system that has enough zones that you can meet your plant’s unique watering needs, but it shouldn’t break your budget either.
1. Melnor 65036-AMZ Sprinkler Timer – Top Pick
You can easily take care of your lawn, container gardens, or plants with this sprinkler controller system. It has four outlet valves on it that can easily cover an extra-large area, and you can program each valve independently to give some areas more water and some less, depending on your plants’ needs. You can also set up a range of spray settings and sprinklers to customize your irrigation setup to cover your lawn to keep your plants healthy and thriving all season long. All you have to do is set how often you’d like it to switch the irrigation system on and forget it, and this makes it a very user-friendly and simple product.
You can set it to a Manual watering option if you just need to fill a bucket, and there is a Rain Delay setting that will stop the water from coming on for up to a week before it automatically switches back on. You get a leak-free seal with additional filter washers on this product, and this sprinkler controller system comes with extra filter washers that are easy to replace as they wear out. Additionally, these filter washers can prevent clogs or nasty buildup that can negatively impact how your system runs.
- Covers an extra-large area
- Features Manual Mode and Rain Delay
- Five filter washers prevent clogs and buildup
- Low maintenance
- Very user-friendly design
- Has three zone options when you buy it
- Metal connectors are durable
- Timers can be tricky to set
2. Hunter XC600i Sprinkler Controller – Step-Up Pick
This is a multifunctional sprinkler controller system that can control up to eight stations at one time without a problem, and you can set up to three individual programs and four start times for each station. In turn, you can have plants with different needs in each station and ensure they get enough water. You can also sync this system to other tools, including a weather sensor to ensure that it doesn’t water your lawn or flowers right before it rains. You can purchase a remote control if you want to be able to operate it from a distance, but it doesn’t come with the original package.
All you have to do with this sprinkler controller is plug in the Solar Sync ET sensor and it converts the X-Core into a smart controller that you can use from your phone. The system will run up to four hours at a clip without shutting down to soak the ground, and they’ll stop running during wind, freeze, or rain events to help protect your plants. If the power goes out, the system will revert to the saved power settings that it was running on before it lost power. So, you won’t have to go back and reprogram anything.
- Controls between six and eight stations
- Can sync with other tools
- Has a weather sensor
- Runs for four hours or less
- User-friendly design
- Saves settings in the event of a power outage
- Compact and lightweight
- Doesn’t have a remote included
3. US:E Smart Sprinkler Controller – Mid-End Budget Pick
This sprinkler controller system allows you to loosen up packed dirt in your lawn by saturating it so it’s easy to dig your shovel into the landscape. You can easily control this system using an app on your phone, and it also allows for voice control using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to allow you to choose the option that works best for your needs. This is a very flexible and convenient way for you to create automatic watering schedules in your yard, and you can easily set cycle times and soak times for every zone in your yard.
This is a smart remote sprinkler controller that automatically adjusts how much water it sends out based on weather changes. You can skip watering using the rain skip feature, and it also has freeze skip and wind skip to help conserve water and keep your lawn or plants healthy. This WiFi sprinkler controller can replace up to 99% of existing models, and you can install it in 30 minutes or less when you get it. You won’t need any special tools, and you get a 12-month limited warranty with lifetime technical support when you buy this product.
- 12-month warranty
- Installs in 30 minutes
- Works with an app or voice control
- Set cycle and soak times easily
- Automatically adjusts watering based on weather reports
- Features wind, freeze, and rain skip
- Lifetime technical support
- Takes up a lot of phone storage
4. Wyze WSPRK1 Smart Controller – Bargain Budget Pick
Your yard should be a source of pride instead of being something you stress out over, and this budget-friendly sprinkler controller system can help ensure that it’s nothing to cause stress. You can automate your sprinkler system completely with Sprinkler Plus, and the Wyze app allows you to quickly and easily control your system from anywhere that you have a stable internet connection. You can start or stop your irrigation system as you see fit to ensure all of your plants get the appropriate levels of water to survive, and this includes when rain pops up into the forecast so you don’t accidentally flood anything.
You can use this sprinkler controller system to edit your watering schedules when you’re on the go, and you can see both past and upcoming watering events to keep everything on track. You’ll get notifications to alert you when your system is up and running to make monitoring it easy, and it has a fast DIY installation process that doesn’t require any specialized tools. You can use the hyper-local weather data and the Smart Schedule algorithm to decide automatically when it’s best to water each zone, and you can choose from two styles when you order to tailor it to suit your needs.
- Connects to the Wyze app
- Allows you to automate your system
- Easy to edit watering schedules
- Easy DIY installation process
- Two styles available
- Smart Schedule algorithm
- Track past and upcoming watering events
- Control isn’t 100% consistent
5. Eve Aqua Apple HomeKit Irrigation Controller – Best For Smart Home Setups
When you use this sprinkler control system to keep your raised planter boxes healthy, you can activate the whole system using your iPhone, the onboard button, or Siri. You can easily set up watering schedules using the Eva app, and this allows Eve Aqua to take care of watering your plants, flowers, or lawn without you having to think about it. This is a totally automatic system without the need for a gateway, bridge, or internet connection, and it comes designed to be compatible with every popular hose system or multi-channel water distribution systems. You get seven watering periods that you can set to tailor it to keep your plants healthy.
This sprinkler controller system supports Thread and Bluetooth, and this makes your smart home network much more responsive while increasing its reach. It comes equipped with the Apple HomeKit, and it gives you advanced security with a very user-friendly platform. This product will join your Thread network automatically without you having to do anything special, and you get 100% privacy. There is no registration, Eve cloud, or tracking to worry about. You also get a multilingual support team based in Germany if you have any problems, concerns, or questions about this product.
- Has an app
- Allows multiple watering schedules
- Compatible with popular hose systems
- No tracking or data saving
- High security
- Supports Bluetooth and Thread
- 100% privacy guarantee
- Connections are limited
6. Toro 53806 Lawn Master II – Best For Rainy Climates
This is an affordable sprinkler controller system that comes packed with features while staying user-friendly. There are three independent watering programs on this product, and you can set up to three independent start times per program. This gives you a very flexible way to manage your watering needs between your plants, shrubs, flowers, and general lawn areas. You can use it to automate drip and traditional irrigation systems without an issue, and it works well with both existing and new systems. It’s simple to install, and you get a six-zone capacity with a port where you can install a rain sensor.
If you choose to use the Wireless Rain Sensor with this sprinkler controller, it will interrupt your sprinklers when it rains, and you can set it to go off between ⅛ and 1-inch of rain to avoid flooding the area. The sensor can be up to 300-feet from the main controller with the wireless model, or you can pick out a wired model with a 25-foot range. The Freeze Accessory is compatible with most automatic timer systems, and it’ll save both money and water by stopping the system from watering if the ground freezes. The Schedule Advisor Software will also recommend watering schedule durations and frequencies to ensure that you don’t over or under water.
- User-friendly design
- Wired or wireless Rain Sensor
- Three start time settings
- Three watering programs
- Use it with traditional or drip irrigation systems
- Simple to install
- Six zone capacity
- Can be tricky to program
7. Eden 25413 Programmable Water Timer – Best For Smaller Yards
You can easily program this sprinkler controller system to water at different times during the day to give your trellis climbing garden the perfect amount of water for all of your plants to thrive. Each valve on the system operates on a separate timer to allow you to water four areas at different times from a single faucet. All you have to do is pick out the days you want to water, the time of day, and how long you want it to run for. This will be your customized watering schedule. You can use the manual watering button to water on-demand, and there is a rain delay function to stop watering when rain enters your local forecast.
There is a larger LCD display set at an angle that is very easy to read, and the raised buttons make this sprinkler controller easy to push while you program your watering schedule. You can set the watering cycle from one minute to six hours, and you can water on specific days during the week. You can pair it with a timer and the soil moisture sensor to stop the system from watering too much, and it’s quick and easy to adjust your schedule to suit the climate.
- Set watering days easily
- Has a manual setting for water on demand
- LCD display
- Water cycle runs from one minute to six hours
- Four individual areas
- Rain delay function
- Can pair it with a soil moisture sensor
- Sensors aren’t very accurate
8. MissRain Intelligent Garden Water Timer – Best For
This sprinkler controller lets you have a wider range of run times and intervals to allow you to customize your output based on your needs to ensure that you don’t over water or under water. The watering durations range from one minute to four hours, and the irrigation intervals range from 1-hour to 12-hours and from one day to seven days. You can fully customize your watering schedule and adjust it at any time, and you get two different zones with this product. It has an LCD screen that makes it easy to set up your watering schedules, and it displays the program details, current time, and battery level at a glance.
You get a swivel coupling on this sprinkler controller system that makes connecting it easy and quick, and you get a user-manual to ensure that you set it up correctly when you get it. There is a rain delay feature that you can turn on to prevent soaking the ground before it rains, and the default rain delay time is 24-hours. It runs on two AAA batteries that you have to purchase when you get it, and you get a 24-hour return window with a worry-free year warranty from the date of purchase.
- Multiple watering durations
- Has rain delay settings
- Bright LCD screen
- Swivel coupling
- Battery level indicator
- Runs on two AAA batteries
- Year warranty
- Difficult to reach customer service
9. IRRIGOLD Bluetooth Sprinkler Water Timer – Best For Dry Areas
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You can easily add your smart sprinkler controller system to the Smartlife app using Bluetooth, and this allows you to modify and adjust your schedules as you’re out and about. It works well with any irrigation system that is within a 49.2-foot range, and you can easily attach it to your expandable hose to water all of the important areas in your yard. You get smart programming with automatic watering controllers that can meet a range of watering needs to keep your plants healthy. You can create multiple separate watering cycles per day, schedule the system to water on certain days, or start watering manually when it suits you.
There is a built-in water meter on this sprinkler controller system on the app that displays exactly how many gallons of water you’ve gone through, and this will allow you to estimate how much money it takes to keep your landscape in top shape. There is an automatic rainy day delay feature that will shut your watering schedules off when rain enters the forecast to prevent you from overwatering, for up to 72 hours. You can apply it to a host of irrigation systems without a problem.
- Works with a range of irrigation systems
- Connects to an app
- Multiple separate watering schedules
- Built-in water meter
- Automatic rainy day delay up to 72 hours
- Easy to set up
- Can water manually with it
- Shorter range
10. AISIRER Alexa Sprinkler Controller – Best For
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The final sprinkler controller on our list works with an iOS and Android app that gives you the freedom and flexibility to monitor, change, or set up your watering schedules while you’re on the go. You can also use this system with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa with voice control, and it can help you save up to 50% on your water bill each month by automating it. It helps cut back on your water usage while keeping your plants healthy, and you have a watering timer that runs without WiFi. It’ll monitor the latest forecasts to skip watering on rainy days.
You get eight zone controls with this sprinkler controller system, and this allows you to to create 100% unique watering schedules for your different plants. You can install this product in 30 minutes or less, and you won’t need any special tools to do so. There is a video installation tutorial provided to make it easier. It’ll remember your settings if you lose power, and there is a very responsive customer service team standing by if you have any questions or concerns.
- Can use Voice controls
- Can save up to 50% on your water bill
- Eight zone controls
- Sets up in 30 minutes or less
- Rain delay feature
- Has an iOS and Android app
- Remembers settings in a power failure
- May not have 100% accurate weather readings
Best Sprinkler Controller Buyer’s Guide
If you’re ready to automate your irrigation processes throughout your vegetable garden or backyard, a sprinkler controller is a step in the right direction. There are so many good brands to choose from, and they come with a host of nice features that makes your life easier. But, picking out the best sprinkler controller can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had one before. This short buying guide will outline the most important features to consider below.
Indoor or Outdoor Mounting
Do you plan to mount your controller inside or outside? Some products on the list recommend putting them in a dry place that has protection from the elements because moisture can destroy them. Other options come with a sealed interface that protects it from moisture or UV damage. Having it inside will protect it, but it can be a hassle to go in and out each time you want to switch something or adjust it.
Mounting your system outdoors allows you easier access to it if you want to adjust your settings, but exposure to the elements can shorten the product’s lifespan. You have to decide which option is better for your needs.
The zone number makes it easy to water individual sections of your yard on their own schedule. For example, maybe you have a fruit tree or two in your garden that needs a high amount of water, but you have succulents in another part of the yard. You’d need to have enough zones to ensure your high-water plants get everything they need while the plants that prefer drier climates don’t get too much. Some systems can have up to 36 zones, but 6 to 12 is a more average number. You have to program these zones one by one, so think about how many you really need before you settle on an option.
Smart Water Schedules
One of the nice things about having a controller that has smart watering schedule capabilities is that they can stream your local weather in real-time and the environment to tailor the perfect watering schedule to your area. These systems have to be highly accurate or you may find them overwatering, so keep a close eye on it if you let the program design a schedule with no input from you.
Smart Home Hub Support
More and more controllers are coming outfitted with smart home hub support that allows you to use software like Google Home or Amazon Alexa to use voice commands to set your watering schedule and modify it. Your device will need to be WiFi enabled, and it has to have a decent range. If it does, this will allow you to control it from anywhere in your yard, even out in your pergola as you relax.
Being able to connect your sprinkler system to a smart home hub allows you to use voice controls to adjust your system, turn it off, switch it back on, and more. This is useful if you already use voice in the house because it adds a convenience factor to it.
Ideally, how often would you want to water your yard or garden? Are you someone that waters every morning or evening? How about every two or three days? More? Less? Whatever your schedule, you want a device that can keep up with your watering schedule. Not all controllers have the capabilities to create and maintain complex schedules, so take a good look if this is important to you. Some even allow you to water multiple times a day and create tailored schedules based on each zone.
Sprinkler Controller Frequently Asked Questions
It’s not uncommon to have questions about these sprinkler controller systems if you’ve never had one before, but they’re extremely popular with gardeners because they’re so convenient and user-friendly. We’ve picked out a few questions many people had pertaining to this product and answered them for you below.
1. What does a sprinkler controller do?
A sprinkler controller is a device that allows you to turn your current watering system into an automatic one, including drip irrigation systems. You can usually set how often it waters your lawn, when it starts, and how long it goes. Also, some products allow you to set different watering zones in your yard.
2. What is the average lifespan of a sprinkler controller?
Since this can be a relatively expensive investment, it’s a good idea to know if you’ll get your money’s worth. The wires are one of the components that you may have to replace more often due to corrosion or incorrect installation. Valves will give you between 10 and 15 years of use, and the controllers usually last between 5 and 10 years.
3. Can an automated sprinkler system boost your home’s value?
Most sprinkler systems will increase a home’s value because they offer energy-efficient and time-saving maintenance for your lawn or landscape. As long as your system covers your whole yard and works properly, it can be beneficial for your home.
4. Do you need special tools to install your sprinkler controller?
As long as you already have the sprinkler system itself in place, you usually won’t need special tools or specialists to install anything. They attach to your existing system, and you can install them in under 30 minutes. Setting them up can take longer, depending on how much you want to customize the watering schedules.
The correct sprinkler controller takes the hassle out of watering your yard or garden. They allow you to get a beautiful and lush space without a lot of time-consuming effort on your part, and you can customize your pick based on your needs. I’ve reviewed 10 great options for you, and you can compare the various reviews while using the buying guide to narrow down the products to your final pick.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.