Smart Irrigation Controllers: Which One Should You Choose?

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Water Your Lawn the Smart Way

Ever wonder how you can keep your lawn green without wasting water?

Or maybe you’re tired of juggling old-fashioned sprinkler timers and just want an easier solution?

Smart irrigation controllers might be the game-changer you’re looking for.

These controllers, when used in combination with sensors, can create an efficient year-round watering schedule with minimal adjustment.

In this post, we’ll explore top smart irrigation controllers and help you find the perfect one for your irrigation installation in Bowling Green, Ohio.

By the end, you’ll know which controller can save you money and keep your lawn lush all season long.

Which Smart Irrigation Controller Should You Choose?

To determine the best smart irrigation controller for your needs, it’s crucial to understand the features, benefits, and limitations of the top models on the market.

Below, we compare leading controllers from Rain Bird, Netro, Orbit, and Hunter to help you make an informed decision.

These controllers are designed to optimize your irrigation system, ensuring your lawn remains vibrant while conserving water.

The Best Smart Irrigation Controllers of 2024

A woman holding a tablet computer with a blank screen in front of flowers.

Best Overall: Rain Bird ARC8 App Based Residential Controller

The Rain Bird ARC8 stands out for its versatile features and user-friendly design, making it a top pick for many homeowners in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Key Features

  • Compatibility: Works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

  • Advanced Functions: Tailored to meet regional watering restrictions with notifications, custom program cycles, and rain delay.

  • Water Savings: Self-adjusting technology can reduce water usage by up to 30%.

  • Intuitive Control: The Rain Bird mobile app allows for simple programming, even without WiFi.

  • Irrigation System Components: Compatible with various irrigation system components, including valves, controllers, and timers for both outdoor and indoor use.


  • Prompt Alerts: Get reliable notifications about your irrigation system.

  • Customizable Schedules: Easily create and adjust watering schedules to suit your lawn’s needs.

  • Wi-Fi Outage Protection: Continues to run schedules during Wi-Fi outages.

  • Simple Installation: Easy to set up and use.

  • Flexible Configuration: Available in a six-zone configuration.

  • Weatherproof Housing: Comes standard with weatherproof housing, suitable for outdoor installations.

Runner-Up: Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer

The Orbit B-hyve XR provides a blend of flexibility and affordability, making it a strong contender for homeowners looking to upgrade their irrigation systems without breaking the bank.

Key Features

  • Compatibility: Integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice control.

  • Weatherproof Design: Built to withstand outdoor conditions, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations.

  • Detailed Customization: Allows for precise adjustments across different zones.

  • Complete Sprinkler System Management: Manages a complete sprinkler system, including piping, PVC fittings, valves, and sprinkler heads.


  • Cost-Effective: Offers a budget-friendly option for efficient lawn irrigation.

  • Versatile Installation: Can be installed indoors or outdoors, depending on your setup.

App Usability Issues and Privacy Concerns

  • Interface Challenges: Users have reported that the app can be clunky and sometimes confusing to navigate.

  • Privacy Considerations: Be mindful of data sharing and permissions when using the app.

Budget Pick: Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Irrigation Controller

For those seeking an affordable solution, the Orbit B-hyve Smart Indoor Controller is an excellent choice, offering essential features at a lower cost.

Key Features

  • Affordable: Designed to be budget-friendly, making it accessible for small lawns.

  • Functional: Similar capabilities to the B-hyve XR, but at a lower price point.


  • Cost-Effective: Delivers good performance for basic irrigation needs without a hefty price tag.


  • Zone Count: Limited to four or eight zones, which may not be sufficient for larger properties.

  • Basic App Functionality: The app offers fundamental features but lacks some advanced capabilities.

Upgrade Pick: Hunter Hydrawise HPC-400 Outdoor Irrigation Controller

The Hunter Hydrawise HPC-400 is ideal for homeowners with large properties or complex irrigation requirements, providing advanced features and scalability.

Key Features

  • High Scalability: Capable of managing up to 32 zones, making it suitable for extensive landscapes.

  • Durable Casing: Designed with a weatherproof casing for reliable outdoor use.


  • Large Properties: Perfect for managing irrigation on large properties with multiple zones.

  • Reliable Performance: Consistently delivers efficient water management across various conditions.

Smart Home Integration Limitations

  • Smart Home Compatibility: Limited integration options beyond Amazon Alexa.

Other Notable Smart Irrigation Controllers

Netro Sprite Smart Sprinkler Controller

The Netro Sprite offers an excellent balance of user-friendly features and affordability, making it a great value for homeowners.

Key Features

  • Easy Interface: Simple and intuitive user experience, perfect for beginners.

  • Affordable Pricing: Budget-friendly without compromising on essential features.


  • Great Value: Ideal for small to medium-sized lawns, offering substantial savings.

Hunter Hydrawise X2 6-Zone Controller

Perfect for first-time buyers, the Hunter Hydrawise X2 6-Zone Controller provides ease of use and reliable performance.

Key Features

  • Contractor Access: Allows professional assistance through a contractor log-in feature.

  • Durable Build: Built to last, ensuring long-term reliability.


  • Beginner-Friendly: Easy to set up and manage, making it ideal for those new to smart irrigation.

  • Manageable: Suitable for smaller properties with fewer zones.

Hunter Hydrawise X2 14-Zone Controller with High Zone Count

For more complex irrigation systems, the Hunter Hydrawise X2 14-Zone Controller is highly effective and reliable.

Key Features

  • Extensive Coverage: Can handle large properties with advanced irrigation needs.

  • Advanced Management: Provides comprehensive control over multiple zones.


  • WaterSense Certification: The EPA’s WaterSense certification ensures efficient water use and savings.

  • Reliable: Consistent performance in managing extensive irrigation setups.

Orbit B-hyve 8-Zone Indoor Controller

The Orbit B-hyve 8-Zone Indoor Controller balances features and affordability, making it a solid choice for indoor installations.

Key Features

  • Affordable: Cost-effective for homeowners looking for an indoor solution.

  • Manual Override: Maintains preset settings even when manually adjusted.


  • Indoor Use: Best suited for indoor installations, offering reliable performance.

  • Dependable: Consistently manages irrigation tasks efficiently.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Smart Irrigation Controller

A sprinkler is spraying water on a lawn.

When selecting the best smart irrigation controller for your Bowling Green, Ohio, home, several factors need to be considered.

These considerations ensure that your irrigation system operates efficiently, conserves water, and meets your specific lawn care needs.

Smart Watering Schedules

Smart irrigation controllers offer the advantage of creating customized watering schedules based on various factors such as weather conditions, soil type, and plant requirements.

Follow the link to discover the best watering schedule for your lawn.

Understanding these schedules can help you make the most out of your system.

  • Weather-Based Adjustments: These controllers use real-time weather data to adjust watering schedules. For example, if rain is forecasted, the system will automatically delay or skip a watering session to prevent overwatering.

  • Customizable Options: Tailor your watering schedules based on the specific needs of your lawn and garden. This includes setting different schedules for various zones in your yard.

Wi-Fi Connectivity Requirements

Reliable Wi-Fi connectivity is crucial for the optimal performance of smart irrigation controllers.

These devices rely on Wi-Fi to receive weather updates and to allow remote control via a mobile app.

  • Ensuring Strong Coverage: Make sure your Wi-Fi signal is strong where you plan to install your controller. A weak signal can disrupt the functionality of the system.

  • Impact of Wi-Fi Outages: While many controllers can continue to run pre-set schedules during Wi-Fi outages, they won’t be able to adjust based on real-time weather data, potentially leading to inefficient watering.

Privacy and Security Tips

Using smart irrigation controllers involves handling data that may include your location and watering schedules.

Here are some tips to ensure your data remains secure.

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your account. This requires you to verify your identity through a secondary device, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

  • Creating Strong, Unique Passwords: Use complex passwords that are hard to guess and unique to your irrigation system’s app. Avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.

  • Regular Firmware Updates: Keep your controller’s firmware up to date to protect against any security vulnerabilities and to ensure you have the latest features and improvements.

By taking these considerations into account, you can select a smart irrigation controller that best fits your needs, providing efficient and effective lawn care while ensuring security and connectivity.

If you prefer non web-based controller, follow the link to learn how to choose the right irrigation controller.

Installation and Setup

Setting up your new smart irrigation controller might seem daunting, but it can be quite straightforward with the right guidance.

Whether you prefer a DIY approach or professional help, this section will provide all the necessary information to get your system up and running smoothly in Bowling Green, Ohio.

DIY Installation Steps

Installing a smart irrigation controller yourself can save money and give you a better understanding of your system.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Unplug Your Existing Controller: Start by disconnecting the power to your current irrigation controller to ensure safety.
  2. Detach the Low Voltage Zone Wires: Carefully remove the wires connected to your old controller. Labeling them can help make reinstallation easier.
  3. Remove the Old Controller from the Wall: Unscrew and take down the old unit.
  4. Attach the New WiFi Smart Controller to the Wall: Mount your new controller in the same spot or a more convenient location, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Reconnect the Zone Wires: Attach the wires to the corresponding terminals on your new controller.
  6. Connect the New Controller to Your WiFi: Follow the setup instructions on your controller’s app to connect it to your home’s WiFi network.

Professional Installation

For those who prefer not to deal with wires and tools, hiring a professional can be a wise investment.

  • When to Consider Hiring a Professional: If you’re unsure about handling electrical components, or if your irrigation system is complex, a professional installer can ensure everything is set up correctly.

Whether you choose to install your smart irrigation controller yourself or hire a professional, having it properly set up is crucial for efficient lawn care and water conservation.

Follow the link to explore the pros and cons of DIY vs. professional irrigation repair.

Upgrade Your Lawn with Simmons Landscape & Irrigation

By now, you’ve learned how smart irrigation controllers can save water, reduce utility bills, and keep your lawn lush and healthy.

Understanding the features and benefits of top models helps you make an informed choice for your Bowling Green, Ohio home.

For those who prefer professional help, Simmons Landscape & Irrigation offers expert installation and design services tailored to your needs.

Our team ensures your system is set up perfectly for optimal performance and water efficiency.

Ready to upgrade your irrigation system and enjoy a greener, healthier lawn?

Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call.