The Best Irrigation and Sprinkler Controllers in Australia

A well-designed controller can help save you save time, money, and wasted water.

They can be regulated remotely or manually. Many controllers also use real-time data and can interpret weather alerts.

Essentially, these gadgets allow you to customise the amount of water distributed by your sprinkler system, making it easier to water your plants or lawn effectively.

There are plenty of controllers on the market that range from basic, entry-level designs to high-end smart controllers.

Narrowing down your options, though, can be hard when there are so many great products available.

That’s why we’ve made this guide — to help you choose the best controller for your needs, reduce wasted water and improve the health of your garden and lawn.

Top Pick: Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller

In our view, the Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller is the best irrigation controller currently on the market.

It’s an easy-to-use device that lets you instantly reduce water waste. It’s the best smart sprinkler for people who are put off by complex digital programme settings.

The Netro Smart Sprinkler can create schedules for itself, so all you have to do is set it up. The controller works with all sprinkler systems and is fully compatible with Google Home voice assistant. It’s a great option for anyone who wants an easy set-up process.

Things users love about this product include:

  • You can add your soil type and plant selection for each watering zone for a customised watering schedule
  • Set-up is easy and straightforward
  • Connects easily to your WIFI network
  • Intuitive smartphone interface

The Netro Irrigation Controller has all the features you’d expect to find in a smart watering system, including automatic operation and remote access.

The panel housing system must be installed indoors only and should not be mounted on the exterior of your home. It also doesn’t have a display interface; to use it, you’ll need to install the Netro app on your smartphone.

Runner Up: Rain Bird Outdoor Irrigation Controller

Rain Bird’s Outdoor Wi-Fi Controller comes in a package that allows you to customise the number of station locations and works for both residential and commercial applications.

It’s a durable irrigation controller that’s specially designed for light duty professional or standard residential use.

Available with six customizable smart timers, this controller allows you to easily meet your local water restrictions. It features an easy-to-read display, built-in weather sensor, and custom programming.

The Rain Bird is a 4, 6 and 8 station controller, which makes it ideal for medium to large residential sections or small commercial operations. It is also compatible with Con LNK, Wi-Fi and has 6 programmable user settings.

Rain Bird’s Outdoor Irrigation Control System has a wide variety of settings and represents good overall value. While we wish the display screen was larger, it is still a good option for most backyards.

Also Great: Orbit B-Hyve WiFi Irrigation Controller

The Orbit B-Hyve Wi-Fi sprinkler timing system makes it simple to water your lawn or garden and make scheduling selections based on your own area requirements.

It’s ideal for domestic use and is simple to set up and program.

This system combines cutting-edge programming technology with Wi-Fi connectivity for convenient irrigation management from anywhere. It may be controlled from a computer or from an Android or iOS smartphone.

Features include:

  • Three pre-set programs with four start times
  • 1-240 minute run periods
  • Selective watering schedules
  • Seasonal adjustments
  • Rain delay settings
  • Smartphone app
  • Smart watering settings
  • Functions with or without Wi-Fi

With standard controller station programming, you may program smart watering based on the local weather prediction and apply Smart Watering Setting by your local station for irrigation that meets the demands of your area and plant varieties.

This smart sprinkler controller is ideal for individuals who desire smart home integration without breaking the bank. The B-Hyve 6 Station Wi-Fi Sprinkler Controller is less expensive than many similar systems, and it can be used remotely thanks to its smartphone application.

While the initial setup could be a little faster, it’s still a fantastic alternative for individuals looking for a lot of personalised options at a reasonable price.

Hunter X-Core 6 Station Irrigation Controller

The Hunter X-Core 6 Station Outdoor Controller is a budget-friendly household irrigation controller with easy-to-use features and clever Solar Sync compatibility.

It’s simple to install and set up, and it allows you to operate up to eight stations.

It comes with three different programs, each with four different start times, as well as a revolutionary Solar Sync ET sensor.

This sensor controls irrigation depending on timings that are measured locally and take into consideration weather conditions.

This system is also compatible with Hunter brand remotes, allowing for quick irrigation activation through wireless technology.

It features a straightforward installation procedure and is simple to use and maintain. Anyone looking to enhance their irrigation efficiency will find this to be a great option.

Rain delay, smart program settings, and a maximum station operation duration of four hours are all included in the Hunter X-Core.

This is a great option if you already have a Hunter sprinkler system and want a controller that will sync up effortlessly.

Hoselink Automatic Tap Timer

The Hoselink Automatic Tap Timer lets you relax while your plants thrive, even when you’re not there.

It has three separate watering schedules—so you can set them up to fit in with your schedule. And as soon as it detects rain, it stops watering.

It’s easy to use and quick to set up: just choose from interval programming options, or the manual on/off watering feature.

Its large, clear LED display makes programming your watering schedule a snap. You can adjust your watering session between 1 second and 99 minutes, and set your watering frequency from every hour up to 15 days.

Orbit 6 Station Sprinkler Controller

The Orbit 6 Station Indoor Irrigation Control system is a smart sprinkler controller that is simple to use and achieves a good balance of efficiency and simplicity. It boasts a user-friendly design and offers a wide range of capabilities.

This is one of the best options for individuals who don’t want to install mobile apps or use Wi-Fi-enabled smart watering systems.

It includes a huge dial that allows you to manage the device’s water output settings. This is a terrific alternative for anybody who needs effective and simple home watering and irrigation system control, thanks to its simple and effective design and a variety of adjustable options.

The Orbit 6 Station Indoor system includes the following features and benefits:

  • a user-friendly interface,
  • an LCD display screen,
  • three distinct program settings,
  • four start times per program,
  • failsafe backup settings,
  • seven-day water distribution scheduling,
  • seasonal water adjustment,
  • non-volatile memory, and
  • compatibility with most home standard 24 volt sprinkler systems.

What to look for when buying an irrigation controller

Sprinkler and irrigation controllers come in a range of styles, with various smart irrigation controls.

When you’re shopping for sprinkler controllers — or watering timers and other watering products — keep in mind what they do, what makes them beneficial, which systems they will work best for, and what features your individual needs require.

Compatibility

It is important to make sure your irrigation controller will work with the existing sprinkler system.

Most good-quality irrigation controllers have a product brochure or manual available on the manufacturer’s website. You should be able to find information about compatibility in this document.

Number of stations or zones

Controllers typically have a maximum number of stations or zones they can control and it is important that your new controller has enough capacity for your needs.

Think about the different areas of your garden and what types of plants you have to determine how many zones you may need.

Number of programs

Most controllers allow multiple programs so that you can water different areas at different times and according to specific needs.

If flexibility is important, then you should choose a controller that offers several programs and start times as well as multiple cycles per program.

It also helps if you can customise watering periods by station or zone because some plants require more water than others while others may need less frequent watering depending on the variety or the type of soil they are planted in.

Watering period

This is the amount of time that each station or zone will be watered for.

You’ll want to choose an irrigation control system that allows you to easily adjust the watering period (also called run time) either directly on the device or through your smartphone app.

Select a device that has step-by-step instructions right on it — this will make it easy for you to adjust the settings.

Scheduling flexibility

As we’ve already discussed, some people want their landscaping watered every day while others prefer once per week.

That’s why the best irrigation controllers let you customise multiple schedules that take into account different factors such as soil type and types of plants grown in each zone.

On-device controls vs remote

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when buying a controller is whether it’s one that you control with your phone, or if it only has on-device controls.

Controllers without any kind of physical control panel will have to be controlled through an app.

There are upsides and downsides to both kinds of controllers: if you want something unobtrusive that’s easy to set up and use, an app-based controller might be best for you.

If your Wi-Fi connection goes down or you don’t have your phone on hand at the moment, though, having a controller that can still be accessed locally is helpful.

User interface and display screen

Some irrigation control systems have small screens, while others have big touchscreen displays with bright graphics.

Think about where the controller will be mounted. If it’s outdoors and exposed to direct sunlight, a display may become harder to read.

Indoor vs outdoor mounting

It might not seem like a big deal whether your irrigation controller is mounted indoors or outdoors.

But if you’re investing in one, wouldn’t you rather spend an extra few bucks now than have to worry about keeping its electronics safe from the rain in the future?

Mounting options are important when considering which controller is right for your watering system.

Weather adjustments

Some modern irrigation controllers use “Smart” scheduling based on local weather forecasts.

This ensures that water isn’t wasted by automatically adjusting how much water is being used based on outside conditions (i.g., rain or excessively hot temperatures).

Warranty

Some manufacturers offer warranties and these may range from 1 year up to 5 years so check this carefully before making your purchase.

Why use an irrigation controller?

An irrigation controller system is a device that enables you to turn your home’s garden hose sprinkler system on and off at convenient times, without having to constantly reset the timer.

It can operate in multiple zones at once and can be integrated with a smartphone app so that you don’t even have to physically go up to it.

There are several reasons why you might want one of these controllers:

  • If you’re busy or away from home often, an irrigation controller will free up time by allowing your sprinkler system to water your garden when you want it watered, without needing constant adjustment.
  • You may want specific areas of your yard or garden watered at different times. An irrigation controller allows for setting the watering schedule for each zone separately.
  • The amount of water used by a sprinkler system could lead to high water bills if left unchecked. Irrigation controllers enable automatic shutoff features that cut off the flow after a certain amount of water has been released in each zone or for the entire system as a whole. This makes them much more cost-effective than using hose-fed timers that must be set manually every day.

Where to buy an irrigation controller

Local irrigation supply stores

There are lots of local irrigation supply stores out there, which makes sense since irrigation is a need for so many types of properties.

The biggest advantage to buying your controller from one of these businesses is that they’ll have employees on hand who can explain the different models and help you find one that’s perfect for your needs.

Hardware stores and home improvement stores

If you have a hardware store or home improvement store in your area, such as Bunnings, it might be worth checking out their selection of irrigation controllers.

Although they won’t have quite as big an assortment as a place that specialises in irrigation equipment, they should still have a few options to choose from.

Online retailers

Many online retailers ship for low rates—or even offer free shipping on orders above a certain amount.

Plus product descriptions are usually available for every model and there’s often user-submitted feedback too (especially on Amazon).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the selection at your local store or prefer the convenience of shopping online anyway, this is definitely an option worth considering.

FAQ

Does Rachio 3 work in Australia?

Unfortunately, the Rachio 3 cannot be used in Australia due to the frequency used for communications with the flow meter. It uses the 900Mhz band, which is illegal in Australia. Here is the official response from the co-founder and CTO of Rachio: “We are using the 902-928MHz ISM band. For this reason, Australians cannot buy it and we can not sell the R3. The Gen2 unit is still completely within Australian regulations.”

Does Bunnings sell irrigation controllers?

Yes, at the time of writing, Bunnings sells several irrigation controllers including the Toro Tempus 4 Station and K-Rain 12 Station.