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Irrigation Control is an essential component to any well maintained and successful yard. As technology has continued to advance, it has made how we control irrigation systems easier and more convenient as well. Wireless Irrigation controllers are available in a variety of form factors and interfaces, each designed to suit your needs and yard size. With this Buyer's Guide we’re going to jump-start your knowledge of these product to help you choose the best controller for your needs. We are offering you some information below on Timers (A) that allow you to manually schedule watering times, and Wireless Controllers (B) which will allow you to remotely control your irrigation system from the web or via a smartphone or tablet.

A

Timers

Manual Controllers are the most basic controllers of the bunch and quickest to install. These are often battery powered controllers/timers and simply require the user to attach them to a water spigot in the same manner as one would a hose. Once connected you can now begin to set watering schedules for your yard and even create customized zone programs .

Interface - Manual controllers typically used a dial or keypad to program or schedule the timer. Wireless Controllers allow you to remotely program or schedule the device, often from a web interface or mobile app.

Zones - these are targeted watering areas of your yard that you have identified as needing more or less water than others. For smaller yards fewer zones will typically be needed. For larger yards that might have different sections that need varying amounts watering from other zones, a controller with more zones will be necessary.

Scheduling - this is the ability to set different watering times for your irrigation system. Set how long you want specific watering cycles to last, how often they should occur, which days they should run and more.

Rain Delay - do you live in an area that gets lots of rain? How about an area that offers rebates for water conservation? A rain delay helps prevent over-watering of yards by allowing users to activate this feature to delay their watering cycles by 24, 48 or 72 hours in the event it is about to, currently or just finished raining outside. Running your sprinklers before, during or shortly after a storm not only wastes water (and money) but can also kill your lawn, bushes and flowers through over-watering.

On Screen Display - also referred to as “OSD”. An OSD allows for manual access the system from the actual controller and displays information about your controller settings.

Product Image

Melnor Digital Aqua Timer Watering System

Orbit SunMate Complete Yard Watering Kit

Orbit SunMate 1-Dial 2-Port Digital Hose Faucet Timer

Description Melnor Digital Aqua Timer Watering System Orbit SunMate Complete Yard Watering Kit Orbit SunMate 1-Dial 2-Port Digital Hose Faucet Timer
Product SKU 41311 31034 31032
Timer Interface Manual Manual Manual
Zones 4 4 2
Scheduling Yes Yes Yes
Water Cycles Per Day Up to 6 Up to 3 Up to 4
Rain Delay Yes Yes Yes
On Screen Display Yes Yes Yes

B

Wireless Controllers

If you need the ability to manage more zones, set more customized schedules and do all this from the convenience of a smart device or computer then a wireless Controller with remote access capabilities is your product.

Remote Access - this feature allows users to access and manage their irrigation controller from a computer or smart device. Set a schedule or turn sprinklers on/off from the convenience of a couch, office or halfway across the world while on vacation. To have the ability to remotely access your system from anywhere you have an internet signal you will want to make sure that you are getting a Wi-Fi, X10 or INSTEON compatible model.

Communicating Range - range of communication between your computer and/or smart device and the controller will vary depending upon the communicating protocol.

  • Bluetooth - will have a limited range (typically around 30 feet) that will require your smart device to be within in order to connect to the controller and use it.

  • Wi-Fi and INSTEON - offer the ability to access and manage your controller from anywhere in the world using a computer or smart device.
  • Rain Sensor - do you live in an area that gets lots of rain? How about an area that offers rebates for water conservation? A rain sensor helps prevent over-watering of yards by intelligently preventing a watering cycle in the event it is raining outside or just finished raining. Running your sprinklers during, or shortly after a storm not only wastes water (and money) but can also kill your lawn, bushes and flowers through over-watering.

    Zones - these are targeted watering areas of your yard that you have identified as needing more or less water than others. For smaller yards fewer zones will typically be needed. For larger yards that might have different sections that need varying amounts watering from other zones, a controller with more zones will be necessary.

    Scheduling - this is the ability to set different watering times for your irrigation system. Set how long you want specific watering cycles to last, how often they should occur, which days they should run and more.

    On Screen Display - also referred to as “OSD”. An OSD allows for manual access the system from the actual controller and displays information about your controller settings. Not as important for remote access controllers but allows for someone without remote access to make adjustments if needed or for you to do so in the event using a computer or smart device just isn’t as convenient an option.

    Product Image

    iWater Wizard 12-Zone Irrigation Controller for Smartphone

    Smartenit 31270 INSTEON 8-Zone Sprinkler Controller

    netAQUA Wi-Fi Web Enabled Irrigation Controller

    Description iWater Wizard 12-Zone Irrigation Controller for Smartphone Smartenit 31270 INSTEON 8-Zone Sprinkler Controller netAQUA Wi-Fi Web Enabled Irrigation Controller
    Product SKU 56651 31270 31530
    Timer Interface Bluetooth INSTEON Wi-Fi
    Remote Access Yes - iOS devices only Yes Yes
    Communication Range 30 feet< Unlimited (via Wi-Fi connection) Unlimited (via Wi-Fi connection)
    Zones Up to 12 Up to 8 Up to 45
    Scheduling Yes Yes Yes
    Rain Sensor Yes No Yes
    On Screen Display No No Yes

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