Choosing a smart sprinkler controller for your home


What is a smart sprinkler controller?

A smart sprinkler controller automatically adjusts irrigation schedules in response to changing weather conditions. It monitors information such as rain, wind, temperature, humidity, soil moisture, the amount of time it takes for water to evaporate and plant type to calculate the amount of water needed to keep plants healthy.

Smart controllers are also called “weather- based irrigation controllers.” The Irrigation Association defines these as

units that monitor and use information about environmental conditions for a specific location and landscape to decide for themselves when to water, and when not to, providing exactly the right amount of water to maintain lush, healthy growing conditions.

How does a smart controller know what the weather is like where I live? Manufacturers have found many ways to get local weather and related data. Some controllers are connected to sensors installed at your home that measure solar radiation, temperature, humidity, rainfall or soil moisture. Some use historical weather data for your area to project the amount of water needed. Other controllers receive data by satellite or the Internet from a network of weather stations, managed by private entities or public agencies.

Where did this technology come from?

Smart controllers use technology employed by golf courses, parks departments and other large landscapers to water plants efficiently.

How much do they cost?

Smart controllers range from about $90 to $300.

How much water will I save?

It depends on your irrigation system’s efficiency, how much water you use, and where you live. In one study, homeowners saved more than 37 gallons per household per day, or about 10-15 percent of total water use.

Where can I buy one?

Smart controllers can be found at most home improvement stores and irrigation supply stores. Log on to to find a list of stores and manufacturers.


Chris Alexakiswater