If you’re looking for a way to keep your lawn and garden looking lush and healthy without the hassle of manual watering, an irrigation controller is a great investment. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best irrigation controllers available, so you can easily find the perfect one for your home.

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Overall
Rachio 3: 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
4.6
  • Exclusive weather technology
  • Control from your phone
  • Fast & easy installation
Highest Rated
Orbit 57946 Smart 6-Zone Sprinkler Controller
4.8
  • Easy to install and use
  • Certified to save water and money
  • Durability and security
Budget Option
Rain Bird SST600IN Sprinkler System Timer
4.5
  • Easy to program
  • Customized watering schedules for different zones
  • Suspend watering during rain

Find the Best Irrigation Controller: Tips & Guide

1. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

If you want to have a beautiful yard and save water at the same time, Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is the perfect solution for you.

Pros
  • Automatically creates watering schedules that lower your water bill and ensure a beautiful yard.
  • The mobile app lets you manage your sprinkler system from anywhere.
  • The unit is 99% compatible and can be installed in ~30 minutes.
Cons
  • If you have a system that sources water from a well, you will likely need a pump to add pressure for sprinklers.
  • The mobile app is required to connect the controller to Wi-Fi.
  • The price is a little high compared to other irrigation controllers.

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is easy to use and install. You can control your watering from anywhere with the mobile app. The controller is equipped with hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus, which automatically creates watering schedules that lower your water bill and ensure a beautiful yard. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is also the most connected controller on the market, partnering with the top smart-home platforms including Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT.

With the patented Weather Intelligence, Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller automatically skips unnecessary watering with features like rain skip, wind skip, freeze skip, and more. The controller is compatible with 99% of existing sprinkler controllers and can be installed in 30 minutes or less with no special tools needed.

Overall, if you want to have a beautiful yard and save water at the same time, Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is the perfect solution for you.

2. Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller

Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller

If you’re looking for a smart sprinkler controller, the Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller is definitely worth considering.

Pros
  • Fully functional for android, iOS or web devices and gives you control wherever you need it.
  • Automatically adjusts your controller to deliver the right amount of water to your plants.
  • Weather-resistant case.
Cons
  • Compatible and compliant only with North American electrical outlets.
  • Hose threads are compatible only with North American faucets.
  • Software requirements and updates for this model are only approved for use in North America.

The Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller is easy to install and use, with a swing panel that provides easy access to the angled wiring terminals for convenient wiring and quick setup, and the plug-and-go line cord that can also be cut for hardwired applications. It is EPA WaterSense approved and certified, ensuring it will save you water and energy, and it can make your B-hyve timer eligible for local rebates, which can save up to 100% of the cost on your timer.

Overall, the Orbit B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller is a great choice for those who want to save water and money while still maintaining a lush and green lawn.

3. Rain Bird SST600IN Simple-To-Set Indoor Sprinkler/Irrigation System Timer/Controller

Rain Bird SST600IN

If you’re looking for an irrigation controller that’s easy to use and packed with features, the Rain Bird SST600IN is a great choice.

Pros
  • Easy to program – you won’t need the instructions!
  • Customizable watering schedules for each zone.
  • Designed for installation within a garage, home, or waterproof shed.
Cons
  • Some users report issues with the Wi-Fi control feature.
  • The built-in display may be too small for those with poor eyesight.
  • Unit is a little pricey compared to some other models.

This indoor-mounted timer is so easy to use that you won’t need the instructions. The intuitive, simple zone-by-zone settings allow customized watering schedules specific to each area of your yard, providing greener results with less water. You can control up to 6 valves with watering times from 0-240 minutes per zone. Simply turn the dial to each zone to quickly and easily set custom days of the week, odd or even days, or a cycle number of days independent of all other zones.

The Rain Bird SST600IN also programs up to four custom watering times per day to correctly water slopes and clay soils in short intervals allowing water to soak in and avoid runoff. You can quickly review all settings with the LCD screen and easy-to-read LED indicator lights. Additional features include “Seasonal Adjust,” which allows an increase in watering time up to +100% in hot/dry months or a reduction in cool/rainy periods to as little as -90%, and “Rain Delay,” which suspends watering for up to 72 hours, resetting automatically once delay ends.

This controller also offers superior built-in surge protection guards against damage from lightning strikes or power surges. All timer settings are stored indefinitely in memory, so there’s no need to reprogram in case of a power outage. Automatic troubleshooting of valves and wiring is also included: if a short is detected, the timer suspends watering to the zone and displays a warning message with the affected valve number. The sealed case protects against moisture, insects, and grime and is designed for use inside of home, garage, or waterproof shed.

The Rain Bird SST600IN supports a master valve or pump start relay, and a rain sensor. It’s compatible with most 24 VAC irrigation valves and includes a transformer power plug with a 6-foot cord and installation guide. The electrical specs are input – 120 VAC/ 0.17 AMP/ 60Hz and output – 25.5 VAC/ 0.65 AMP/ 60Hz. It’s UL and cUL certified.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an irrigation controller that’s easy to use, packed with features, and designed for indoor installation, the Rain Bird SST600IN is a great choice.

4. Hunter Sprinkler XC600 X-Core 6-Station Outdoor Irrigation Controller

Hunter Sprinkler XC600 X-Core 6-Station Outdoor Irrigation Controller

If you’re in the market for an irrigation controller, the Hunter Sprinkler XC600 X-Core 6-Station Outdoor Irrigation Controller is a great option to consider.

Pros
  • Provides essential water management features for up to 6 stations.
  • 3 flexible programs with 4 start times each and run times up to 4 hours.
  • Programs are stored in memory.
Cons
  • Only compatible with Hunter weather sensors.
  • Potentially “over-featured,” with lots of features you may never use.
  • There are whispers of product durability issues, so a protection plan may be a good idea.

This irrigation controller is easy to install and use, making it a great option for homeowners who want to keep their landscapes looking healthy without a lot of hassle. With three flexible programs and four start times each, you can easily customize your watering schedule to fit your needs. The built-in key lock on outdoor models also helps protect against vandalism, making this a great option for commercial properties as well.

One potential downside to this irrigation controller is that it is only compatible with Hunter weather sensors, which may limit your options if you prefer a different brand. However, the Cycle & Soak feature is a great addition that helps prevent runoff and ensures that your plants are getting the water they need to thrive.

Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable and user-friendly irrigation controller that will help keep your landscape looking beautiful, the Hunter Sprinkler XC600 X-Core 6-Station Outdoor Irrigation Controller is definitely worth considering.

Tips On Choosing The Right Irrigation Controller

  1. Understand Your Needs: Determine the size of your lawn, the number of zones, and the type of plants you have. This will help you decide on the number of stations you need and the type of irrigation controller that will be most suitable.
  2. Weather Sensing: Choose a controller that adjusts the watering schedule based on the weather. Features like rain skip, wind skip, and freeze skip can help in conserving water and ensuring that your plants are not over-watered.
  3. Smart Features: Look for controllers with smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app control, and compatibility with other smart home devices. This will allow you to manage your sprinkler system from anywhere and integrate it with your existing smart home setup.
  4. Easy Installation and Setup: Choose a controller that is easy to install and setup. Most controllers are compatible with existing sprinkler systems, but it is always good to check beforehand.
  5. Indoor or Outdoor: Decide whether you need an indoor or outdoor controller. Outdoor controllers need to be weather-resistant and should have a locking cabinet to keep it safe from harm.
  6. Water Conservation: Choose a controller that has water conservation features like cycle and soak, which gives plants enough time to properly absorb water without runoff.
  7. Compatibility: Make sure the controller is compatible with your existing irrigation system and electrical outlets.
  8. Budget: Finally, consider your budget. There are controllers available in various price ranges, so choose one that fits your budget but also meets all your requirements.

FAQs

  1. What should I consider when choosing the number of zones or stations for an irrigation controller? Consider the size of your lawn or garden, the types of plants you have, and the water pressure in your area. Different areas may require different amounts of water, so it’s important to choose a controller with enough zones to accommodate your needs. For example, lawns may need more water than flower beds or vegetable gardens.
  2. Is it necessary to have a Wi-Fi enabled irrigation controller? While it’s not strictly necessary, a Wi-Fi enabled irrigation controller offers several benefits. It allows you to control your irrigation system remotely from your smartphone, integrate with other smart home devices, and adjust your watering schedule based on real-time weather data. This can help you save water and ensure your plants are getting the right amount of water at the right time.
  3. What are the benefits of an irrigation controller with weather sensing capabilities? An irrigation controller with weather sensing capabilities can automatically adjust your watering schedule based on the current weather conditions. This includes skipping watering when it’s raining, reducing watering during cool or cloudy periods, and increasing watering during hot or dry spells. This helps in conserving water and ensures your plants receive the right amount of water to stay healthy and thrive.