Get your lawn ready for the summer with a smart sprinkler controller. Rachio makes a popular model that's at the forefront of smart sprinkler tech. Like most smart sprinklers, Rachio replaces your existing controller for your in-ground sprinkler system. Then, it connects to the cloud through Wi-Fi, monitors the weather and helps you make a smarter schedule for when to water. Plus, Rachio gives you full control over the system with an app.
Rachio's sprinklers go a step beyond basic smarts by working with the rest of your smart home. Since the first-gen Rachio Iro launched, the company has added support for online rule-maker IFTTT, the Amazon Echo and the Google Home smart speakers, the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Wink smart home platform. The new Rachio sprinkler costs $200 for an eight-zone controller, or $250 for a 16-zone model.
The $150 Blossom 8 does a lot of the same tricks as the Rachio controller. It allows app control of eight zones, and it monitors the weather itself and helps you adjust your schedule accordingly. Blossom also works with Amazon's assistant, Alexa.
Disappointingly, the original Blossom controller is no longer available. That model controlled 12 zones for a still reasonable $200. Plus, it supplemented the basic smarts with power line -- a means of communicating with your router through the wiring in your home if ordinary Wi-Fi was out of reach of your controller.
GreenIQ throws a few of its own wrinkles into the formula. In addition to working with Alexa, IFTTT, Nest and a few smart plant sensors, GreenIQ can control your garden lights. It also lets you back up your Wi-Fi controller with cellular data provided by AT&T. Like the rest, GreenIQ offers weather monitoring and app control as well. The $250 controller works with as many as six zones.
One of the first smart sprinklers to hit the market, Rainmachine now offers three options: an eight-zone "mini" for $160, a 12-zone model for $240 and a 16-zone controller for $270. Like the rest, Rainmachine connects to your router, monitors the weather and allows app controls. Rainmachine also works with IFTTT.
Pictured here at CES 2014, Skydrop was also among the first smart sprinkler controllers to hit the market. Skydrop works with IFTTT, Nest and Alexa in addition to the rest of the basic smarts. The eight-zone model costs $300, and you can buy a $25 add-on that expands the system to 16 zones.
A newer entry into the smart sprinkler category, Sprinkl Conserve stands out for its cheap price -- it's only $100. It doesn't work with any other smart home platforms, and it doesn't allow app controls over individual zones, but it does have basic app controls and weather tracking at a significant discount.
Another simpler model, Rain Bird doesn't offer a lot in terms of working with the rest of your smart home, but it does work with eight zones for only $180. The weather-proof model costs $230, and both do all the basics including weather monitoring and app controls over individual zones.
Orbit B-Hyve's sprinkler controller costs $100 for a six-zone model, or $120 for 12 zones. Even with these bottom-tier prices, B-Hyve offers app controls, weather monitoring and customizable zones, and it works with Amazon's Alexa.
If you don't have an in-ground sprinkler system installed at your home, you do have a couple of options to smarten up hose-fed sprinklers. The $70 Edyn Water Valve screws onto an ordinary hose and works with the Edyn Garden Sensor to give your plants the amount of water they need.