June 7, 2018 - From thewirecutter.com:
A smart sprinkler controller can automatically regulate—and likely reduce—the water use of your in-ground lawn sprinkler or irrigation system, as well as let you more easily control schedules, remotely manage your system, and integrate irrigation with other smart-home tasks. After spending three months testing 11 models, we think the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is the best option for most homeowners. It’s simpler to use than other models we tested, it’s available in eight- and 16-zone models (and each is expandable beyond that), and it features a Weather Intelligence system that responds better to real-time weather conditions and forecasts than any other. Its companion smartphone app also provides a better experience for controlling your irrigation system than the apps for other systems.
This is the most flexible and easiest to use smart controller for your yard or garden irrigation system.
The Rachio 3 (eight zones) is the latest version of our previous top pick and improves on that model by putting onboard controls front and center, so you don’t have to remove the cover to access them, and by adding a bigger, brighter LED indicator to tell you which zone is watering. It also offers both straightforward plug-and-play functionality for the hobbyist gardener and the flexibility for a master landscaper to fine-tune an irrigation system through advanced settings. And of all the models we tested, the Rachio 3 integrates with the widest selection of smart-home systems: You can just ask your voice assistant, or set your smart-home hub, to control your sprinklers—though the system requires an Internet connection to adjust schedules, even on the device itself. An optional wireless flow meter promises to increase the efficiency of your system, as well as alert you to leaks.