If you’re looking for the best smart home technology, don’t overlook smart sprinkler controllers. And if you’re looking for the best smart sprinkler controllers, don’t overlook Skydrop. This is one smart home upgrade I would never want to live without now that I’ve got it setup and running. While there are other benefits, which I’ll discuss shortly, the big deal here for me is convenience. Lots and lots of convenience.
So if you’re unfamiliar with smart sprinkler controllers in general or with the Skydrop specifically, they basically let you remotely manage your sprinklers using your phone (or sometimes a browser). One of the big draws is that they can help you save money by using exactly how much water is needed — not a drop more. Additionally, the idea is to take all the hard work out of watering your landscape — something that Skydrop has definitely succeeded at. Using the Skydrop is kind of like hiring an expert to handle your landscape watering.
Let’s start by talking about the setup. It was easy. And that is coming from someone who had never installed anything sprinkler related before. Initially I have to admit I was a little nervous about messing with my sprinkler system, but I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly and quickly the whole experience made.
There are some basic instructions included in the box but what really made things so easy was the online installation tutorial. It was informative, to-the-point and very well produced. It clearly shows every step with visual demonstrations and text explanations.
It took me exactly 35 minutes to install my Skydrop!
The Skydrop has a screen on it to display watering and setup information and you control the device using a rotatable ring (that glows several cool colors) or using the accompanying app. The ring is very usable — and unique among Sprinkler controllers — but I do feel like a touch screen would be slightly more convenient. That said, I’m in no way disappointed; the easiest way to control any smart device is via an app.
And I really love using the Skydrop app. While the main dashboard does feel somewhat crowded (I’d love to see it simplified a bit in the future — there’s no need for a digital depiction of the control ring, for instance) it’s very usable. Even though everything is automated for me, I do open the app somewhat frequently to start a zone manually or check the watering history.
And those are two features I really like. I planted a new tree in my front yard a couple weeks ago and it needs more watering than other zones. Now I can give it more water with a literal tap of my finger!
And being able to see a watering history is really important to me. Now I am able to understand my water usage better whereas before it was all a shot in the dark. I don’t have to wonder why my watering bill might be higher or lower — I can see it for myself. And this feature is simply and well-presented.
If you happen to live in a place where there are watering restrictions, Skydrop has you covered. It will automatically adjust your watering times to comply with local laws and to prevent you from getting a potential fine.
And that brings us to what is probably the main feature of this smart sprinkler controller — the feature that makes this device “smart” in the first place: smart scheduling. While you can setup zones automatically to fit any watering schedule you’d like, Skydrop can schedule everything for you based on factors like the local weather forecast, the soil types and slope, sprinkler heads and the type of plants (grass, shrubs, etc.) for each individual zone.
The smart scheduling works flawlessly (so far — it’s only been a couple weeks). When it rains the system waters less. And different zones with different sprinkler heads are getting different amounts of water (ranging from 14 to 44 minutes currently). And yes, Skydrop works with drip lines (the app refers to them as inline sprinklers). Within the app it’s easy to click on a zone and use a slider to make sure it gets more or less water than the recommended amount, too.
Yep — I’m very impressed with the smart scheduling feature.
I would call the app — and the Skydrop system as a whole — very reliable. That said, the one small issue I’ve run into so far was that a few items on the dashboard didn’t load up once (and just once): the local forecast and the estimated watering time feature. Neither affected the watering of my lawn (automatic or manual) and both returned when I returned to the app later on.
During setup there were a few app features that required a little guessing on my part, but I quickly figured everything out. For instance, when selecting the type of sprinkler head in a zone: one comes pre-selected and selecting another doesn’t de-select the first one. You have to tap the first one to actually de-select it. Not a big deal, but there weren’t any instructions for that tidbit either.
There’s really not much else to say here. The Skydrop controller looks great (and modern!) mounted on my wall. It was surprisingly easy to install and is equally easy to use. And it “just works” which is it’s best feature. If you’re looking for the best sprinkler controller, smart or otherwise, don’t look past the Skydrop. I am one happy user.