Keeping You Safe, Your Home Smart & Your Life Fun - since 2014
Home > Smart Home > Best WiFi Sprinkler Controller Reviews: Blossom vs SkyDrop vs Rachio vs RainMachine vs Hunter vs RainBird vs Orbit

Best WiFi Sprinkler Controller Reviews: Blossom vs SkyDrop vs Rachio vs RainMachine vs Hunter vs RainBird vs Orbit

How do we keep this site running? This post may contain affiliate links — the cost is the same to you, but we get a referral fee. Compensation does not affect rankings. Thanks!

1st
Rachio logo
2nd
Rainmachine logo
3rd
Orbit logo

Have you soaked a ton of money and effort into your home’s lawn, flower beds and gardens only to have them dry up due to irregular watering? If you work all day and are on-the-go, how do you keep up with your yard’s irrigation needs? It’s especially daunting if you live in an area where you’re under strict watering restrictions. Thanks to modern technology, you can stay on top of your yard from anywhere and anytime. A WiFi sprinkler control and system could be the answer to your watering woes. Read our best WiFi sprinkler controller reviews to see how they work and which products we recommend.

How Does a Smart Sprinkler System Work?

A smart sprinkler system involves a WiFi-enabled smart controller that syncs with your existing sprinkler system (any standard 24VAC valve will do). The sprinkler control allows you to remotely program the watering cycle of certain zones in your yard and garden. You can even set your controller to do the programming for you!  Totally high-tech, right?

Once you install and program your WiFi sprinkler controller either from the base unit or via your smartphone (or another web-enabled device), you can get real-time updates on your smartphone. As with most high-tech devices, some controllers work better, have more features and more customization capability than others. Here are some important factors to consider:

Smart Technology: Many smart sprinkler systems can self-program watering needs based on live weather feeds, site conditions, such as soil and plant types, sun exposure, yard slope, and historical weather data. Look for details about how advanced each product’s algorithm is, depending on the level of functionality you desire.

Controller Location: Do you want your wireless sprinkler controller mounted indoors our outside? If you don’t want an eyesore in your home, there are several outdoor units available.

Cost: WiFi irrigation controller prices vary by brand and the number of sprinkler zones you have. You should expect to pay at least $100 for a basic smart controller. Prices can run as high as $500-plus.

EPA WaterSense and SWAT Certification: Device certification is a huge plus, depending on where you live (and how much money you want to save on your water bills). Look for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense certification first and foremost. EPA WaterSense products meet the EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance — and qualify you for product rebates by many local municipalities (up to 100%). SmartWater Application Technologies (SWAT) is another well-recognized certification that could make you eligible for rebates. SWAT is the top independent lab that tests performance and water-use efficiency in irrigation products.

Best WiFi Sprinkler Control Reviews

We’ve based our WiFi sprinkler control reviews on several factors, including ease of installation and use, certification, customization ability, app performance, price and more. On to our reviews!

Rachio Review

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller#1

View on Amazon

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (2nd Generation) is our number one pick for the best WiFi irrigation controller on the market. This advanced WiFi sprinkler timer has all the features you’ll want with simple installation and seamless programming. It’s a number one best seller on Amazon and gets overall excellent reviews from hundreds of customers. The Rachio is EPA WaterSense and SWAT certified, making this controller worthy of a rebate (up to 100%) in many local municipalities. And Rachio can save you up to 50% on your watering bill.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy DIY installation
  • Up to 16 zones
  • Automatically adapts to weather forecasts and rainfall amounts
  • Customizable programming is better than competitors
  • WaterSense and SWAT certified
  • Integrates with Nest, Wink, Amazon Alexa and more
  • Excellent customer service
  • On the expensive side
  • Outdoor waterproof enclosure is an additional $29.99
  • Some consumer complaints about glitchy apps and WiFi connectivity issues

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 8-Zone:  $183.90
  • 16-Zone:  Check on Amazon
  • Supports iOS 9.0+ and Android 4.0+
  • Temperature Range: -31F to 140F
  • Supports dedicated 2.4GHz and dual-band networks
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Transformer Power Input: 120V AC / 60Hz
  • Transformer Power Output: 24V AC

RainMachine Review

RainMachine Smart WiFi Irrigation Controller#2

View on Amazon

RainMachine Smart WiFi Irrigation Controller (2nd Generation) wins our number two spot as the best smart sprinkler controller. RainMachine gives our number one choice, Rachio, a run for its money — the major differences come down to a higher price tag and the fact that you can only install it indoors. RainMachine gets local weather stats from more sources than its competitors, and it features an open API system, which allows you more integration flexibility. RainMachine is an excellent choice if you don’t mind paying a bit more and want your controller mounted indoors.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple indoor wall-mounted installation
  • Up to 16 zones
  • Automatically adapts current and future weather conditions
  • Customizable programming
  • EPA WaterSense certified
  • Syncs with Nest, Amazon Echo, Wink, IFTTT and more
  • Good customer support by phone and online
  • Expensive
  • Indoor use only
  • Several consumer complaints that the apps  don’t work much of the time (especially the iOS app)

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 12-Zone:  $239.00
  • Temperature Range: -4F to 120F
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • AC Input: 24VAC, 50/60Hz, 750mA (adapter included)

Orbit Review

Orbit 57946 B-hyve#3

View on Amazon

The Orbit 57946 B-hyve Smart WiFi Sprinkler System Controller comes in a close third in our best smart sprinkler controller reviews. Orbit comes at an excellent price point, is easy to install and has a ton of great features, but it lacks the level of customization and home automation integration capabilities that you get with our top two picks. Orbit has the certifications you’ll want, but some consumers report that you may need to integrate your sprinkler system with Orbit’s catch cup technology to reach the highest level of water efficiency.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple installation indoors or out (includes weatherproof lockbox)
  • Affordable
  • WeatherSense technology adjusts for local weather conditions/forecasts
  • B-hyve apps for Android, iOS, most PCs
  • Easy to set and customize programming
  • WaterSense & SWAT certified
  • Good customer service
  • 12-zone maximum
  • Need to integrate with Orbit’s catch cup technology to equal Rachio’s savings (sold separately)
  • No home automation integrations
  • Several customer complaints about poor app performance

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 6-Zone:  $99.98
  • Supports iOS 8.0+ and Android 4.3+
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Transformer Power Input: 120V AC / 60Hz
  • Transformer Power Output: 24V AC

Other WiFi Sprinkler Control Reviews

The following WiFi smart sprinkler controllers didn’t make our top three list, but you may want to read our reviews for these products. You may find a good fit for your needs!

Blossom | Hunter Hydrawise | Rain BirdSkydrop

Blossom Review

Blossom 12 Zone Smart Watering ControllerView on Amazon

The Blossom 12-Zone Smart Watering Controller is a budget-friendly WiFi sprinkler controller, but saving money means you’ll sacrifice a lot of the functionality you’d get with other smart controllers. While our top three picks are EPA certified and can save you up to 50% on your water bills, Blossom doesn’t have the same muster. You can still save up to 30%, but you won’t be eligible for a local rebate. You also lose out on the level of customizable programming, i.e. you can’t set your system to water at specific times twice a day. If you don’t need much sophistication or feedback about when your system is watering, Blossom could be a good choice to save you some cash.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to install and set up indoors or out
  • Affordable
  • Adapts to current and future weather conditions/forecasts
  • Decent customer service
  • Only up to 12 zones available
  • Not as customizable as many other controllers
  • Not EPA or SWAT certified
  • No home automation integrations
  • Minimal reporting, feedback or system notifications
  • Several customer complaints that Blossom stops working after several months

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 12-Zone:  Check on Amazon
  • Compatible with iOS 8.0+ and Android 4.3+
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Temperature Range: 0F to 130F
  • Transformer Power Input: 120V AC
  • Transformer Power Output: 24V AC

Hunter Hydrawise Review

Hunter HydrawiseView on Amazon

One of the top selling points of the Hunter HC-1200i Hydrawise Smart Wifi Enabled 12-Zone Sprinkler Controller is that you can expand it up to 36 zones (far more than other WiFi irrigation controllers we’ve reviewed here). The Hunter Hydrawise sprinkler control is an excellent product, but be forewarned — it will cost you big bucks! The 6-zone WiFi controller runs over $200. And you can only expand from the 12-zone model ($325+). With extensions to 36 zones, the controller will run you more than $625! Does it outperform similar systems that are much less expensive? Unfortunately, no. Its smart technology and customization are on par with our top two picks, Rachio and RainMachine, but it’s missing features they both have, namely EPA WaterSense certification and home automation integration.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to set up and program
  • Can expand up to 36 zones
  • Excellent customization and reporting
  • Advanced smart technology
  • iOS, Android and web-based apps
  • Good customer service
  • Wiring doesn’t fit well into the controller box
  • Most expensive we’ve reviewed
  • Indoor use only
  • No EPA WaterSense certification
  • Doesn’t integrate with home automation platforms
  • Some consumer complaints about spotty app performance

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 12-Zone:  $185.25
  • Comes with 2 sensor ports
  • Compatible with iOS 8.0+ and Android 4.3+
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Temperature Range: 0F to 140F (indoor only)

Rain Bird ST8I-Wifi Smart Irrigation Controller Review

Rain Bird ST8I-Wifi Smart Irrigation ControllerView on Amazon

The Rain Bird ST8I-Wifi Controller series is a reliable, affordable and easy-to-use system if you have a smaller yard. One of its standout features is their app (for both iOS and Android) that gets excellent customer reviews for its functionality — unlike some of our top picks. This controller also gives you good programming options and system feedback. Some of its drawbacks include an 8-zone limit, no home automation integration, no listed warranty and the lack of EPA or SWAT certification. But if those features don’t matter to you, Rain Bird is a solid choice. And it gets a majority of positive reviews from users on Amazon.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy installation and programming
  • Competitive price for indoor unit (external option is a bit pricey)
  • Automatic adjustments for local weather forecast
  • Good customizable programming
  • Very reliable app performance
  • Great feedback and system notifications
  • Only up to 8 zones
  • Must purchase wired rain sensor separately
  • No home automation integrations
  • Not EPA or SWAT certified
  • No warranty (but can return within 90 days)
  • No tech support phone number, email or live chat listed on website for homeowners

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Indoor only unit ST81:  $139.00
  • Outdoor/Indoor unit ST80: $187.57
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • No warranty listed
  • No temperature range listed for outdoor unit
  • Transformer Power Input: 120V AC
  • Transformer Power Output: 24V AC

Skydrop Review

Skydrop SprinklerView on Amazon

We really want to like the Skydrop 8-Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller — it has some cool features, like being able to expand the system to 16 zones with a simple and inexpensive add-on plate. Skydrop is also EPA WaterSense certified and claims to have the same level of smart technology as our top picks. But there are two red flags with this product. First, they’ve added a $6 per month charge to access your Skydrop controller from its apps. No other company charges you to use their apps. Second, nearly half of Amazon reviewers had significant complaints about the controller not connecting, not working properly or just outright dying.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple installation (easy to expand up to 16 zones)
  • Reasonably priced
  • Good customization with programming and advanced smart technology
  • EPA WaterSense certified
  • Integrates with Nest, Amazon Echo, IFTTT and more
  • Charges $6 per month to access your controller via apps
  • Outdoor controller case costs an extra $45
  • Many customer complaints about the controller not working, apps not connecting, overall poor product
  • Several consumer complaints that customer service is not helpful

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • 8-Zone:  Out of stock
  • Supports 2.4GHz WiFi
  • Compatible with iOS 7.1+ and Android 4.1+
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Temperature Range: -22F to 158F (with Outdoor Case)

What and Who’s Behind Our Top Pick Rachio?

Check out how Rachio works and how the CEO conceived his product in this local Denver news station coverage below. Rachio is a Colorado-based “start-up,” that’s taken the WiFi sprinkler controller industry by storm.

Are WiFi Smart Sprinkler Systems Worth the Dough?

Read our Smart Home Hub Reviews

If you’ve ever kept up a lawn and garden before, you know all too well that building and maintaining a thriving yard is a costly and time-consuming investment. Don’t let all your past work and money go down the drain. The cost of a WiFi sprinkler controller is a fraction of what you’d likely pay to have to replace dried up grass, beds and gardens. In the end, it’s worth the investment. Give your yard the TLC it deserves!

Why do you think your WiFi Sprinkler Control purchase was worth it?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Sally is a passionate writer but her interests do not stop there. She spends a lot of time daydreaming about the beach, however, she spends most of her time taking advantage of all the activities her town has to offer in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "Best WiFi Sprinkler Controller Reviews: Blossom vs SkyDrop vs Rachio vs RainMachine vs Hunter vs RainBird vs Orbit"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Greg
Greg

I did not see any review of RainBird as was mentioned in the title.

Alex Schenker
Admin
Alex Schenker

Hi Greg, apologies – we had them in the review but for a period of time they became unavailable, and we thought they had been discontinued. It turns out they’re back, so we are re-auditing them and will add back to the article as soon as our researcher has completed their work. Thanks for your patience!

Paul
Paul

Are you doing rainbird LNK WiFi Module compatible units or the ST8-WiFi Series?

MMJ23
MMJ23

My apartment complex I rent is in need of a solution because we have a larger grass area and I’m not always able to provide lawn care for the complex so this sounds like an easy, cost effective solution! Man, you can do just about anything from your smart phone these days eh?

wpDiscuz

Send this to a friend