Do you water your fields or lawn manually? If yes, then you’re missing out on a lot. With an irrigation control system, you not only save time and energy, but also water. To top it all, you get the healthiest output because the plants receive the exact amount of water they need – not a drop more, not a drop less.
The worst losses occur to poor farmers who have to be dependent on rain or rivers for irrigation. However, if you can afford to have an irrigation controller, you should have it. Agriculture technology is not there for just making man’s work simpler and easier – it is there to provide you with a healthier and greater yield too.
In other words, it is important to have an irrigation control system – whether it’s for your farm or for your garden.
What is an Irrigation Control System?
We have a tendency of watering our plants every day. There’s one thing we do not consider – sometimes, too much water can also cause a problem. And for those who have multiple crops or plants in one area, you cannot just pour out equal amount of water because every plant has a different requirement.
Now this is where an irrigation control system comes to your rescue. This system comprises of the following:
Sprinklers (on the field): Usually, the irrigation takes place through sprinklers. In a complicated system, these sprinklers could be of different sizes to pour out the volume of water the plants can take.
Sprinkler control valve: This is the main part of the sprinkler that opens them when the plants need water. It also controls the pressure of the water and the zones receiving the water.
The Control Panel: This is like the brain of the system, which sends signals to the valves for watering or to stop watering.
Sprinkler timer: This is the device that assists the control panel to send signals to the valve. They can be set manually or be on automation, depending on the kind of system you have.
Stations: The control panel sends signals to the valves through stations. For larger fields which have more than one variety of plants, there are multiple stations connecting the valves to the controller so that every plant in every zone gets the right amount of water.
Sensors: In case of an irrigation control system, you have 2 types of sensors – those that detect the weather and those that detect the soil condition. They’re only present in smart irrigation control systems, controlling the sprinkler control valve.
How is a Smart Sprinkler Controller Different from a Manual One?
The main difference lies in the presence of sensors. A manual controller won’t have them – it will have a timer that you have to set manually. It is more like using an alarm clock, where you’re deciding on the time and the device simply does the job according to it.
On the other hand, a smart controller uses its own expertise. It is programmed in a way that it understands which plant needs how much water at the moment. So, you don’t have to instruct or set anything – just keep it turned on.
Here’s how the manual controller works:
- You have to set the date, days, time and duration on the sprinkler timer. If the controller has multiple timers, you have to set it for all of them.
- When it’s time to water them, the controller sends signals through the stations to the control valves. The control panel receives this information from the sprinkler timers.
Here, it is you who needs to know which plants will need how much water. The advantage is that you set this once and for a long time you can sit back and relax. However, after a heavy rainfall or a drought, you’ll have to control this system continuously.
Now, we come to the smart irrigation system. Here’s how it works:
- The control panel is connected to the sensors, which actually have the main job. They’ll give you reports on the weather condition, soil condition and plant condition.
- You’ll have a mobile app connected to the irrigation system where you’ll receive this data and get access to the irrigation timer too.
- You don’t have to set the timer manually. You set it on “auto-timer” mode instead, and the sprinklers will water the field only when necessary.
Why Opt for a Smart Irrigation System?
If you really want your job to be simpler, it is wiser to invest in a smart irrigation system. For some of these obvious reasons, it is way more efficient than the manual one:
You can access it remotely: A Wifi sprinkler controller can be accessed from anywhere. You don’t have to be anywhere near the controller to manage irrigation of your field.
It is smarter than you are: The sensors can tell better if it’s about to rain today. That way, you’ll know if you need to water plants today or Mother nature will do it for you.
The auto-schedule feature improves its efficiency: If you set the irrigation timer on auto-mode, there will be hardly anything for you to do other than monitoring.
It saves water: Quite naturally, if it can sense the weather and understand that the plants need lesser water today, it is reducing your water bill to a great extent.
Better and healthier yield: By providing your crops with the exact amount of water they need; you’re getting a higher yield of a better quality.
How to Buy the Best Irrigation Control System?
If you’re making up your mind to get one irrigation controller for your lawn, garden or farm, then you need to know what to look for. You won’t be investing a very small amount behind it, so you need to ensure that it’s worth the money.
Following are the features your irrigation controller should have:
- Easy to use
- Remote access through mobile app
- Presence of sensors – basically, a smart irrigation controller
- Easy to maintain
- Flexibility of usage – being able to control manually when you have to
- Multiple timers and stations – if you have multiple plants and a large field
- Within your budget
Top Irrigation Control Devices for You
Now that you have good knowledge of irrigation controllers, it’s time to step into the market. Take a look at some of the best-selling devices:
This is an easy-to-use and durable device. It is flexible enough to be used manually or on auto-mode. You’ll get 6 zones and a rain sensor here, that makes it convenient for you to water your fields conveniently and smartly.
This smart Wifi sprinkler comes with a very user-friendly app. You can check multiple fields or lawns from your phone, set the timer on auto or manual mode and even use voice assistant for making changes. You can get either 6 or 12 stations – both models are available.
This Hunter sprinkler controller comes with sensors that can detect local weather conditions and check field wiring. It automatically updates and adjusts duration of watering when necessary. You can save a lot of water wastage using this device.
Rachio smart sprinkler controller comes with a very user-friendly mobile app. Its advanced sensor is connected to more than 300,000 weather stations which makes it super-efficient to help you save water. The Rachio sprinkler is compatible with all your voice assistants, calendar and alarm app.
This Hunter irrigation controller comes with 12 zones and a touch screen. The model is available for both home owners and professional farmers and best known for saving at least 50% of your water. Its weather sensors, understanding of irrigation and professional support is very efficient.
Ideal for a comparatively small garden, this sprinkler has 2 outlets a duration of up to 240 minutes. The device is very easy to use and has both manual and auto modes. This is extremely easy to set up and use, especially for gardening beginners.
Being used since 2001, this irrigation controller model has 4 stations, though you get variants up to 32 stations too. Like other hunter sprinkler controller models, this one also has the Solar Sync and Quick Check sensors for detecting weather and faulty wiring.
This controller monitors the seasons, daily water usage and even the flow of water per minute. Basically, you can measure the amount of water you’re using and also understand how much water the plants will need. It is easy to use and setup, designed for small residential gardens and lawns.
How Long Can You Do Without Smart Irrigation Control?
You know how precious water has become on today’s date, especially if you pay for it. While one of the reasons why you need irrigation control is to save water, another one is to ensure that your plants get the exact amount of water they need. Over-watering plants can cause as much harm as drying them out with thirst does. When risk can be eliminated completely, why not give it a shot?