With the best price in its class, Orbit’s 12-Zone B-Hyve WiFi sprinkler controller is poised to be a strong competitor in a crowded field of smart devices.
Orbit is the first big irrigation company to offer a smart sprinkler controller, and I’ve got it in my hands.
The 12-Zone B-Hyve controller is built into a weatherproof enclosure and downloads weather data to determine a watering schedule. It can be controlled with web, iOS and Android devices. It even has manual control buttons on the device itself.
The B-Hyve by Orbit is the first WiFi sprinkler controller entry from one of the big boys in the home irrigation space. Orbit and RainBird have been slow to the punch, with many other alternatives filling the void.
If you’re looking to buy a smart sprinkler controller you should make sure the unit is EPA WaterSense certified. Certified controllers have been thoroughly tested by the EPA and are proven to save water by monitoring the weather and adjusting the irrigation schedule as needed. Some water agencies even offer rebates to offset the cost of a smart controller.
I’ve been using the Rachio Generation 2 WiFi sprinkler controller for the past few weeks and it lives up to the hype of being the most full-featured and polished offering in the market. It waters 16 zones and is controlled from anywhere on the web or with a smartphone app.
GreenIQ has released a flow meter to keep tabs on your watering habits and detect possible problems. Flow meters send data back to a sprinkler controller through a wire after being connected in-line to an irrigation pipe.
The second generation of PlantLink devices were announced by Oso Technologies at SXSW in Austin this week. The PlantLink Lush system promises to automate your watering by using a soil sensor paired with a watering valve.
After a few months of installing, testing and reviewing smart sprinkler controllers here on my blog, I thought it was time for a head-to-head comparison.
It may seem like a niche feature to include a public API with your sprinkler controller hardware, but most products on the market allow you to tinker with their hardware with your own software.