I recently decided that I had had it with my old school sprinkler controller. It was incredibly unintuitive to use, constantly gave me problems, was physically hard to get to in my garage, quit working properly when the power went out and — did I already mention — it was anything but easy to use? Being a tech reviewer and enthusiast I knew it in my bones: it was time to find, and purchase, one of the best new smart sprinkler controllers on the market. And just like that my dilemma once again benefits the readers of this site as I went ahead and did the research for you (and narrowed it down, as I like to do, to my top three choices).
I’ve already talked a little bit about why I personally wanted to ditch my “dumb” sprinkler system, but there are actually several very good reasons why a person would want to “get smart” when it comes to watering their lawn. One big one is money: a smart sprinkler controller can save you in the neighborhood of up to 50% (in terms of water usage). Additionally — and this is just as important — they are easier and more convenient to use (and yes that includes easy installation).
At the end of the day, a smart sprinkler system may not seem as exciting as other smart devices like, say, the Amazon Echo or even a smartphone. But as the Internet of Things revolution becomes more and more mainstream, the added convenience of connecting devices and appliances that used to be “dumb” to the Internet — devices like thermostats, refrigerators and, yes, sprinkler controllers — is hard to resist. For me, at least, making the decision to get a smart sprinkler controller was absolutely a no-brainer.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (2nd Generation)
The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, now in it’s second iteration, is probably the most popular smart controller on the market. It’s got all of the features you would expect from a smart controller as it can adjust your watering based on the local forecast, soil and plant types, sun exposure and more. But for everything it does have, the Rachio doesn’t have a screen on the unit itself; although you could water your lawn directly from the controller itself, you’d definitely rather control things from the app or from a web browser on your computer (that’s ...